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The Internet Knows What You’ll Do Next

July 4, 2006

Google Trends allows you to check the relative popularity of any search term, to look at how it has changed over the last couple years and to see the cities where the term is most popular.

When this and other new tools get good enough, you can see how the business of marketing may start to change. As soon as a company begins an advertising campaign, it will be… read more

Biologists Take a Turn at Raising Eyebrows

July 4, 2006

“Challenging Nature: The Clash of Science and Spirituality at the New Frontiers of Life,” by Lee M. Silver, a molecular biologist at Princeton, hacks away at the various mysticisms and superstitions that, in his view, are impeding many rational exploitations of biotechnology like genetically modified foods and research on embryonic stem cells.

The Computational Universe

July 4, 2006

The universe can be viewed as a giant quantum computer made up of connected quantum gates that flip quantum bits and thereby propagate information and uncertainty, says Seth Lloyd in a new book, Programming The Universe.

The “ultimate laptop” (one with 1 kilogram of mass and 1 liter of volume) would have a maximum of 1051 operations per second on 1032 bits, but would be roughly 100 times hotter… read more

‘Virgin birth’ stem cells bypass ethical objections

July 4, 2006

“Virgin-birth” embryos have given rise to human embryonic stem cells capable of differentiating into neurons.

The embryos were produced by parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction in which eggs can develop into embryos without being fertilised by sperm. The technique could lead to a source of embryonic stem cells that could be used therapeutically without having to destroy a viable embryo.

Crucial immune cells derived from stem cells

July 4, 2006

For the first time, human embryonic stem cells have been coaxed into becoming T-cells, suggesting new ways to fight immune disorders.

Top computer hangs on to its title

July 3, 2006

IBM’s BlueGene/L computer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, has once again been crowned world champion by the TOP500 list of the fastest supercomputers used for scientific applications, with a computing speed of 280.6 terraflops per second.

Horst Simon, associate laboratory director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a member of the TOP500 team, said the next TOP500 champ would be a big jump to 500 or… read more

Cell phones as dangerous as drunk driving

July 3, 2006

A study by University of Utah psychologists found that drivers talking on cell phones, either handheld or hands-free, are more likely to crash because they are distracted by conversation.

Asteroid Spotting: Skywatchers to Glimpse Close Flyby

July 3, 2006

A large asteroid made an exceptionally close approach to our planet early on July 3, passing just beyond the Moon’s average distance from Earth.

An another object is destined to pass much closer to Earth and possibly could pose a threat to our planet. On April 13, 2029, the asteroid 99942 Apophis is expected to pass a mere 18,600 miles (30,000 km.) above Earth’s surface.

Frozen Brains Awaiting Resurrection Day in Storage

July 3, 2006

Kriorus, the world’s first cryonics company outside the United States, located in Alabushevo village in Russia, has two brains in cryonics storage so far.

The price: $9,000.

Stem cells contain immortal DNA

July 3, 2006

Scientists at the Pasteur Institute have shown for the first time the mechanism that adult muscle stem cells use to protect their DNA from mutations: they retain the original DNA strands.

Understanding this has important implications for cancer research, the study of gene regulation, and ultimately growing stem cells of therapeutic potential in the laboratory.

The self-driving Golf that would give Herbie a run for its money

July 3, 2006

Volkswagen has unveiled a fully automatic prototype car that can drive itself at up to 150 mph.

The “Golf GTi 53 plus 1″ has radar and laser sensors to “read” the road and send the details back to its computer brain. A satellite navigation system tracks its exact position. It was developed initially to help Volkswagen engineers test their vehicles.

Why We Must Flee the Planet: The Geometry of Earth is All Wrong

July 1, 2006

Our planetary home is the wrong shape, says SETI Institute’s Seth Shostak. A sphere has less surface area than any other form of the same volume.

Gerald O’Neill’s proposed mammoth, rotating aluminum cylinders in orbit have a very low tonnage-to-terran ratio. Rather than crowding a few billion people onto the moon, for example, where residents will have to contend with such domestic inconveniences as no air, no water, and… read more

Does This Mean People Turned Off, Tuned Out and Dropped In?

June 30, 2006

Speakers of Aymara, an Indian language of the high Andes, think of time differently than just about everyone else in the world. They see the future as behind them and the past ahead of them.

Killer tomatoes attack human diseases

June 30, 2006

Genetically modified tomatoes containing edible vaccine are to be used to challenge two of the world’s most lethal viruses, HIV and the hepatitis B virus, by manufacturing proteins to prompt the body to create antibodies against the viruses.

Weapon of Mass Diffraction

June 30, 2006

Shoot a laser 56 miles into the mesosphere and measure the distortion. Then adjust the laser’s mirrors until the beam is back in focus. Whatever optical tweaks correct the beam will also focus a telescope. And help build an anti-satellite weapon.

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