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Silicon becomes a superconductor

November 23, 2006

By substituting 9 percent of the silicon atoms with boron atoms, Physicists in France have found that the resistance of the material drops sharply when cooled below 0.35 K.

Gene duplications may define who you are

November 23, 2006

Two separate studies of the human genome have revealed an unsuspected amount of variation between people in the number of copies of genes they have.

Such variations appear to involve as much as 12 percent of our DNA, so as personalized genetic sequencing becomes more common, questions are raised about what constitutes a “normal” genome.

Thinking Machines

November 22, 2006

Danny Hillis talks about the real-world challenges of creating artificially intelligent machines.

Bionic foot for hit and run victim

November 22, 2006

Scott Wall is one of the first people in Britain to be fitted with a bionic foot after he had part of his left leg amputated.

The Proprio Foot, designed by Icelandic company Ossur, is the first to use sensors to detect surfaces and slopes, which activates a motor to adjust itself to cope with a changing environment. Its software recognizes such things as hills and stairs and then… read more

Emissions of key greenhouse gas stabilise

November 22, 2006

Levels of the second most important greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere have levelled off, report atmospheric chemists.

They caution that although this is good news, it does not mean that methane levels will not rise again and that “carbon dioxide remains the 800-pound gorilla” of climate change.

Robot with ‘human soul’ explores remotely

November 22, 2006

Technology that lets a human “inhabit” the body of a distant robot for remote exploration is being tested in Germany.

The robot sits on top of a wheeled platform and has an extendable arm that it uses to manipulate objects. An operator moves the robot around by simply walking or using a foot pedal and can see out of twin cameras positioned on the robot’s head after donning a… read more

So what’s with all the dinosaurs?

November 22, 2006

The Creation Museum – motto: “Prepare to Believe!” – will be the first institution in the world whose contents, with the exception of a few turtles swimming in an artificial pond, are entirely fake.

It is dedicated to the proposition that the account of the creation of the world in the Book of Genesis is completely correct, and its mission is to convince visitors through a mixture of animatronic… read more

NewScientist special report features predictions by leading scientists

November 21, 2006

New Scientist’s Special Report, “Brilliant Minds Forecast the Next 50 Years,” includes predictions on what the next 50 years will bring from leading scientists, including Francis Collins, Edward O. Wilson, Ray Kurzweil, Steven Pinker, “Oliver Sacks, Dan Dennett, Stephen Wolfram, Bill Joy, Jaron Lanier, Rodney Brooks, and… read more

Efficiency Jump for White OLEDs

November 21, 2006

In an advance that could hasten the day when energy-efficient glowing plastic sheets replace traditional lightbulbs, a method for printing microscopic lenses nearly doubles the amount of photons coming out of the materials, called organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs.

The technology increases the light output of the thin, flexible OLEDs by 70 percent, bringing them closer to being competitive with white-light sources.

Colon cancer stem cells identified

November 21, 2006

Scientists have identified a population of human colon cancer stem cells that can initiate tumor growth and differentiate into mature tumors, according to two reports in Nature.

These cells, representing just two to three percent of the overall tumor, should be the focus of cancer therapies, according to Ruggero De Maria, research director, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Rome, who led one of the two… read more

‘Grey goo’ engulfs virtual world

November 21, 2006

Virtual world Second Life was overwhelmed by a flood of “self-replicating” objects dubbed “grey goo” on Sunday.

Big brother is listening to you

November 20, 2006

To prevent fights breaking out, surveillance cameras in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands have been adapted to listen out for voices raised in anger. Microphones attached to the cameras feed the sound signals to software that can detect voices that are aggressive in tone.

In a trial earlier this year, police made three arrests after being alerted by the system

Brilliant Minds Forecast the Next 50 Years

November 20, 2006

What will be the biggest breakthrough of the next 50 years?

As part of New Scientist’s 50th anniversary celebrations, they asked over 70 of the world’s most brilliant scientists for their ideas.

In coming decades will we: discover that we are not alone in the universe? Unravel the physiological basis for consciousness? Routinely have false memories implanted in our minds? Begin to evolve in new directions? And will… read more

NASA Studies Manned Asteroid Mission

November 20, 2006

NASA is appraising a human mission to a near-Earth asteroid, gauging the scientific merit of the endeavor while testing out spacecraft gear, as well as mastering techniques that could prove useful if a space rock ever took aim for our planet.

PROFILE: Cynthia Breazeal

November 20, 2006

On Nov. 22, MIT researcher Cynthia Breazeal will introduce viewers to some of her seminal inventions: the famous toddler-like robotic head named Kismet; Leonardo, a million-dollar joint project with Stan Winston, legendary in Hollywood for The Terminator robots; and a touch-sensitive teddy bear called the Huggable, which may someday comfort patients and assist caregivers in hospital pediatric wards.

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