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Researchers Find Surprise in Makeup of a Comet

December 15, 2006

Comets are not all made of interstellar dust and ice, but instead may contain material shot from the heart of the solar system during its tumultuous birth, scientists reported Thursday after examining pristine particles of a comet that were brought back by the Stardust spacecraft.

Geomagnetic storm impacts the Earth

December 15, 2006
SOHO EIT 304 Latest Image

A geomagnetic storm began on December 14, produced by a large Earth-directed coronal mass ejection on Dec. 12, according to an Official Space Weather Advisory issued Dec. 14 by the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Strong to severe geomagnetic storming is expected to last through Friday, December 15. Impacts from this event can cause problems with high frequency (shortwave) communications and satellite operations, and can induce… read more

Google searches U.S. patent database

December 15, 2006

Google’s new site,, lets anyone search for U.S. patents by keyword, patent number, inventor and filing date, and makes it easier to find relevant patents than the USPTO site.

Plastic Sheet of Power

December 14, 2006

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have demonstrated a prototype consisting of plastic and flexible electronics that can wirelessly supply power to any device that touches its surface.

Cloning Nanotubes

December 14, 2006

Researchers at Rice University have demonstrated that carbon nanotubes can be chopped into small pieces to form “seeds” that grow more nanotubes of precisely the same type.

The method could eventually make it possible to grow large amounts of carbon nanotubes with identical structure and properties, which could pave the way for vastly improved electrical transmission lines and ultracompact, high-performance computers.

IBM to Open Islands in Virtual World

December 14, 2006

IBM has created 12 islands in the popular virtual world Second Life, where employees and customers can hold meetings, take orientation and training sessions and discuss projects. IBM also hopes to use Second Life to interact directly with customers.

Kevin Warwick: The ITWales Interview

December 14, 2006

Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics at Reading University, says he has achieved the world’s first purely electronic communication from brain to brain, and therefore the basis for thought communication.

Warwich, who has an implant in his arm linking his nervous system to the internet, making him a human cyborg, is able to communicate this way with his wife, who has a similar implant.

“We’re looking at the first… read more

Crystal printing promises flexible electronics

December 13, 2006

A method for growing organic semiconducting crystals onto a surface could lead to better flexible electronic devices and video displays.

The new “block printing” technique can grow individual crystals on top of a surface previously patterned with metal electrodes. This provides a cheaper and simpler way to create circuitry on a surface.

Nano-devices hold promise for early-stage cancer detection

December 13, 2006

Miniature labs that can be swallowed like a pill, injected through a catheter, or woven into fabric could screen for, detect, and potentially treat cancer and other diseases when they are still at a single-cell size in early development stages. They will also detect harmful pathogens in food and water.

New slide speeds disease diagnosis

December 13, 2006

A glass microscope slide covered with bits and pieces of genetic information from nearly 30,000 different viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites can quickly tell disease hunters whether a patient has malaria, influenza or myriad other diseases, researchers say.

The device, known as a GreeneChip, is already being used by the World Health Organization and the Defense Department. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to receive its first… read more

DNA-like ice ‘seen’ inside carbon nanotubes

December 13, 2006

Nanoscale ice formations resembling the double helices of DNA will form when water molecules are frozen inside carbon nanotubes, detailed computer simulations suggest.

Report says most states still aren’t prepared for major emergencies

December 13, 2006

Five years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the country still isn’t fully prepared to respond to a major public health emergency such as bioterrorism or pandemic flu, a health policy group said in a report by The Trust for America’s Health.

For example, half of the states would run out of hospital beds within two weeks of a moderate outbreak — defined as eight to 12 weeks –… read more

Microsoft unveils public robotics software

December 13, 2006

Microsoft on Wednesday plans to take the wraps off Microsoft Robotics Studio, with hopes of paving the way for a broader robotics industry and taking a central role in its development.

The software is free for hobbyists or researchers, but companies aiming to profit from its use must license a commercial version for $399.

The software platform includes a 3D tool to simulate robotics applications; a services-oriented runtime… read more

Mileage from megawatts: Study finds enough electric capacity to ‘fill up’ plug-in vehicles across much of the nation

December 12, 2006

If all the cars and light trucks in the nation switched from oil to electrons, idle capacity in the existing electric power system could generate most of the electricity consumed by plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

A new study for the Department of Energy finds that “off-peak” electricity production and transmission capacity could fuel 84 percent of the country’s 220 million vehicles if they were plug-in hybrid electrics.

Why a hydrogen economy doesn’t make sense

December 12, 2006

In a recent study, fuel cell expert Ulf Bossel explains that a hydrogen economy is a wasteful economy. In contrast, in an efficient “electron economy” most energy would be distributed with highest efficiency by electricity and the shortest route in an existing infrastructure.

The large amount of energy required to isolate hydrogen from natural compounds (water, natural gas, biomass), package the light gas by compression or liquefaction, transfer the… read more

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