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Vanishing Gas Confirms Black Hole Event Horizons

January 12, 2006
 Animation of a neutron star X-ray burst. (NASA)

A type of X-ray explosion found on neutron stars does not occur near black holes, scientists announced at the 207th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

The lack of explosions is strong evidence for the existence of a black hole event horizon, a theoretical boundary into which matter vanishes and cannot escape.

“By looking at objects that pull in gas, we can infer whether that gas… read more

Dwarf galaxy found merging into the Milky Way

January 12, 2006

A huge but very faint structure, containing hundreds of thousands of stars spread over an area nearly 5,000 times the size of a full moon, has been discovered and mapped by astronomers of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-II).

At an estimated distance of 30,000 light years from Earth, the structure lies well within the confines of the Milky Way Galaxy. However, it does not follow any of Milky… read more

Researchers Discover New Way to Stimulate Brain to Release Antioxidants

January 12, 2006

Burnham Institute Resesarchers and a team from Japan have discovered a novel way to treat stroke and neurodegenerative disorders by inducing nerve cells in the brain and the spine to release natural antioxidants, such as bilirubin, that protect nerve cells from stress and free radicals that lead to neurodegenerative diseases.

In stroke and various neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease, glutamate, an amino acid found… read more

New Doubts Are Cast on Einstein’s Cosmological Constant

January 12, 2006

Astronomer Bradley E. Schaefer said that a new analysis of cosmic history based on gamma ray burst data casts doubts on Einstein’s cosmological constant, the leading explanation for the mysterious force that appears to be pushing apart the universe.

E-Weapons: Directed Energy Warfare In The 21st Century

January 12, 2006

A new breed of weaponry, “directed-energy weapons,” may well signal a revolution in military hardware — perhaps more so than the atomic bomb.

Directed-energy weapons take the form of lasers, high-powered microwaves, and particle beams, according to J. Douglas Beason, author of the recently published book: The E-Bomb: How America’s New Directed Energy Weapons Will Change the Way Wars Will Be Fought in the Future,

Robonauts

January 10, 2006

The new robot designs for space exploration are part of a broader shift toward a vision of robots that are partners, not simply remote-controlled probes.

At the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, robots are developing the skills they’ll need to be useful to people. The Mertz robot recognizes faces and distinguishes one person from another. Obrero, a mechanical arm, has a touch so sensitive it can… read more

Digging for data that can change our world

January 10, 2006

Scientific research is being added to at an alarming rate, so it’s not surprising that academics seeking data to support a new hypothesis are getting swamped with information overload.

The U.K. government’s response has been to set up the National Centre for Text Mining, the world’s first center devoted to developing AI-based tools that can systematically analyze multiple research papers, abstracts and other documents, and then swiftly… read more

Desktop fusion is back on the table

January 10, 2006

Can the popping of tiny bubbles trigger nuclear fusion, a potential source of almost unlimited energy? This controversial idea is back on the table, because its main proponent has new results that, he claims, will silence critics.

The idea: blast a liquid with waves of ultrasound and tiny bubbles of gas are created, which release a burst of heat and light when they implode. The core of the bubble… read more

The Translator’s Blues

January 10, 2006

The machine translation industry is now pulling in something like $8 billion a year globally, and growing fast. For clients in national intelligence, MT research now represents a potential magical fix for the shortfall of Arabic translators.

Nanotechnology, Nanomedicine and Nanosurgery

January 10, 2006

Nanomedicine pioneer Robert A. Freitas Jr. has written a landmark paper on nanosurgery in a peer-reviewed medical journal (“Nanotechnology, Nanomedicine and Nanosurgery,” Intl. J. Surgery 3, December 2005:1-4).

Freitas describes current state-of-the-art surgery using a micropipette to completely cut dendrites from single neurons without damaging cell viability, localized nanosurgical ablation of focal adhesions adjoining live mammalian epithelial cells, microtubule dissection inside yeast cells, and even nanosurgery of… read more

Cells That Read Minds

January 9, 2006

The monkey brain contains a special class of cells, called mirror neurons, that, surprisingly, fire when the animal sees or hears an action and when the animal carries out the same action on its own.

The discovery is shaking up numerous scientific disciplines, shifting the understanding of culture, empathy, philosophy, language, imitation, autism and psychotherapy.

Everyday experiences are also being viewed in a new light. Mirror neurons reveal… read more

Dogs as good as screening for cancer detection

January 9, 2006

Dogs do as well as state-of-the-art screening tests at sniffing out people with lung or breast cancer. The research raises the possibility that trained dogs could detect cancers even earlier and might some day supplement or even replace mammograms and CT scans in the laboratory.

The dogs correctly detected 99% of the lung cancer samples, and made a mistake with only 1% of the healthy controls. With breast cancer,… read more

Gadgets Galore at CES

January 9, 2006

Wired.com previews some of the best gadgets at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Hybrid structures fuse traits

January 9, 2006

Complex new structures that assemble themselves from combinations of semiconducting, metallic or magnetic nanoscale particles promise to have either the combined valuable traits of their ingredients or possess entirely new useful properties.

For example, structures that pair two different semiconductors “can be employed for new generation of solar cells and thermoelectric devices,” explained researcher Dmitri Talapin, a materials scientist formerly with IBM and now at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory… read more

In Love With Reality Truly, Madly, Virtually

January 9, 2006

The Canvas virtual reality system is now available to artists for about $3,000. Software is free. All the public needs is a pair of passive stereo glasses ($1) or datagloves ($20).

This is the kind of watershed moment that video art enjoyed in 1965, when portable video recording equipment became available at mass-market prices.

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