science + technology news

Watching atoms vibrate in real time

March 21, 2007
This slow-motion simulation of the JILA nanoscale motion detector shows the wiggling of a floppy metal beam, just 100 nanometers thick, as it is struck by an electric current at the dot. Red indicates the greatest change in position from the rest state.

A new nanoscale apparatus–a tiny gold beam whose 40 million vibrations per second are measured by hopping electrons–offers the potential for a 500-fold increase in the speed of scanning tunneling microscopes, perhaps paving the way for scientists to watch atoms vibrate in high definition in real time.

The new device measures the space between a metal beam and an electrically conducting point just a single atom wide,… read more

Map of relationships among scientific paradigms

March 21, 2007

A map of relationships among scientific paradigms has been constructed based on roughly 800,000 published papers sorted into 776 different scientific paradigms, based on how often the papers were cited together by authors of other papers.

Microdevice remotely guided in artery

March 20, 2007

Researchers at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal have succeeded in guiding a microdevice inside an artery at 10 centimeters a second, in vivo and via computer control.

The device is a 1.5-millimeter-diameter ferromagnetic sphere, guided within the carotid artery of a living animal placed inside an MRI system.

Could lasers zap away dangerous asteroids?

March 20, 2007

Lasers may be able to detect asteroids from 10 times farther away than current radar observatories, and deflect them away from Earth, too.

Mathematicians finally map 248-dimension structure

March 20, 2007

A team of mathematicians has exhaustively explored an esoteric 248-dimension structure called E8. The results take up 60 gigabytes of data.

The unique structure of E8 might help in the quest for a unified theory of gravity and the other forces in nature.

Two dimensions in the E8 root system

CPR: Mouth-to-Mouth Not Much Help

March 19, 2007

For adults who suddenly collapse, CPR is more effective if rescuers focus on chest compression over mouth-to-mouth ventilation.

By interrupting lifesaving chest compressions, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation may do more harm than good.

A quiet death for bold project to map the mind

March 19, 2007

DARPA has killed the BICA (Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures) project to reverse-engineer the human brain.

The brain effort linked experts from neuroscience, cognitive psychology, robotics and artificial intelligence, who wanted to replicate how different parts of the brain interact.

“In some ways, it was like a Manhattan project or the Apollo project. Building a brain is a big task,” said Randall O’Reilly, an associate professor at the University… read more

Robot Code of Ethics to Prevent Android Abuse, Protect Humans

March 19, 2007

The government of South Korea is drawing up a code of ethics to prevent human abuse of robots and vice versa.

The Robot Ethics Charter will cover standards for robotics users and manufacturers, as well as guidelines on ethical standards to be programmed into robots.

The document will also deal with legal issues, such as the protection of data acquired by robots and establishing clear identification and traceability… read more

The sky is falling, really

March 19, 2007

Two potential deflection techniques for asteroids appear to work nicely together.

First we would deflect the asteroid with kinetic impact from a missile (that is, running into it); then we would use the slight pull of a “gravity tractor” — a satellite that would hover near the asteroid — to fine-tune its new trajectory to our liking.

The bad news? NASA doesn’t plan to do it.

A Single-Photon Server with Just One Atom

March 19, 2007

A team of physicists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics has built a single-photon server based on a single trapped neutral atom.

The high quality of the single photons and their ready availability are important for future quantum information processing experiments with single photons.

Computers Gone Wild

March 19, 2007

Symantec’s biannual “Internet Security Threat Report,” released Monday, reports that China has the highest number of botnet-infected computers, 26 percent of the world’s total. The U.S. came in second, with 14 percnet of the worldwide total.

Lunar dust ‘may harm astronauts’

March 19, 2007

Scientists are investigating the possible threat posed to astronauts by inhaling lunar dust.

A study suggests the smallest particles in lunar dust might be toxic, if comparisons with dust inhalation cases on Earth apply.

Adobe offers early peek at Apollo

March 19, 2007

Apollo, planned for the second half of this year, is designed to bridge the world of Web applications and desktop computers.

The release of the software is highly anticipated among people who develop so-called rich Internet applications, meaning Web applications that have some of the interactivity of traditional desktop applications.

Full-Mental Nudity

March 19, 2007

Until this experiment, nobody had ever tried to take a picture of free will…

John-Dylan Haynes, a brilliant researcher at Germany’s Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, is using fMRI to look for that core in the brain’s medial prefrontal cortex.

Scans have also been used to identify brain signatures of disgust, drug cravings, unconscious racism, and suppressed sexual arousal, not to mention psychopathy and propensity to kill.… read more

Activity discovered at Yellowstone supervolcano

March 16, 2007

One of the largest supervolcanoes in the world lies beneath Yellowstone National Park, and activity has been increasing lately.

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