science + technology news

Nano-Batteries That Keep On Going

March 7, 2007

Leveraging nanotechnology research initiated at MIT, A123 Systems has commercially developed a new generation of lithium-ion batteries that deliver up to 10 times longer cycle life, five times more power and dramatically faster charge times over conventional high-power battery technology.

Venture Capitalists Want to Put Some Algae in Your Tank

March 7, 2007

United States venture capital flowing into clean energy leapfrogged to more than $2.4 billion in 2006, well more than double that invested in 2005, and more than triple from 2004.

The ascent of venture capital in renewable energy has reminded some Silicon Valley venture capitalists of the early flow of money into the Internet in the mid-1990s.

Searching for Michael Jordan? Microsoft Wants a Better Way

March 7, 2007

Microsoft has announced plans for new web search technologies.

Mix will allow Web surfers to organize search results and easily share them.

Web Assistant is intended to improve the relevance of search results and help resolve ambiguities in results.

Personalized Search will help determine relevance of search results.

Connecting Your Brain to the Game

March 7, 2007

Emotiv Systems has announced that video-game makers are able to buy Emotiv’s electro-encephalograph (EEG) caps and software developer’s tool kits so that they can build games that, they claim, can use the electrical signals from a player’s brain to control the on-screen action.

However, biomedical experts are skeptical because of problems with lead coupling and transients and interference from strong signals from muscles in the head.

NASA can’t pay for killer asteroid hunt

March 7, 2007

NASA officials say the space agency is capable of finding nearly all the asteroids that might pose a devastating hit to Earth, but there isn’t enough money to pay for the task so it won’t get done.

The cost to find at least 90 percent of the 20,000 potentially hazardous asteroids and comets by 2020 would be about $1 billion, according to a report NASA will release later this… read more

Syria ready with bio-terror if U.S. hits Iran

March 6, 2007

Jill Bellamy-Dekker, an American biodefense analyst living in Europe, says if the U.S. invades Iran to halt its nuclear ambitions, Syria is ready to respond with biological weapons, using a variation of smallpox.

She referenced an April 2000 article published by Syrian defense minister General Mustafa Talas, titled “Biological (Germ) Warfare: A New and Effective Method in Modern Warfare.”

Time Change a ‘Mini-Y2K’ in Tech Terms

March 6, 2007

The daylight saving time change takes effect March 11–three weeks earlier. Many companies are scrambling to reset BlackBerry e-mail devices, desktop PCs and data-center computers used to automate payrolls, purchasing and manufacturing.

For the roughly 7,000 public companies in the United States, Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst at Forrester Research estimates, the total cost of making computer fixes to deal with the daylight saving time shift is more than $350… read more

New Graphene Transistors Show Promise

March 6, 2007

Researchers at the University of Manchester have announced a single-electron transistor made out of graphene, a single sheet of graphite only one atom thick.

The researchers’ device, which is the first single-electron transistor to operate at room temperature, offers evidence that graphene is a promising alternative to silicon.

When most metals are shrunk to the size of quantum dots–about two to three nanometers wide–they become fragile and move… read more

GREEN VALLEY

March 6, 2007

Green tech, also known as clean tech, is Silicon Valley’s latest incarnation.

Some of the technologies involved are unproven but have immense promise. They inlude thin-film solar, higher-efficiency solar, cellulosic ethanol, algal biofuels, and fuel cells small enough to power mobile phones and large enough to light buildings.

The ‘new age’ of super materials

March 6, 2007

Levitating high-speed trains, super-efficient power generators and ultra-powerful supercomputers would become commonplace thanks to a new breed of materials known as high temperature superconductors (HTSC).

Cheap Nano Solar Cells

March 5, 2007

Researchers at University of Notre Dame have demonstrated a way to significantly improve the efficiency of solar cells by adding single-walled carbon nanotubes to a film made of titanium-dioxide nanoparticles.

The method doubles the efficiency of converting ultraviolet light into electrons when compared with the performance of the nanoparticles alone. The solar cells could be used to make hydrogen for fuel cells directly from water or for producing electricity.

Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Human, Cause for Warming, Scientist Says

March 5, 2007

Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet’s recent climate changes have a natural — and not a human-induced cause — according to one scientist’s controversial theory.

Darwin’s God

March 5, 2007

In the world of evolutionary biology, the question is not whether God exists but why we believe in him. Is belief a helpful adaptation or an evolutionary accident?

Nanorod coating makes least reflective material ever

March 5, 2007

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers have found that depositing an array of angled silicon-dioxide nanorods on a surface boosts the efficiency of silicon solar cells, by allowing them to absorb more light energy.

The coating could also reduce reflective losses in devices like LEDs and improve photographic lenses and mirrors that selectively reflect specific wavelengths.

How common viruses can turn cells cancerous

March 5, 2007

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory researchers have found evidence for how certain viruses can trigger specific cancers.

During tumor development, the chromosomes of affected cells often become wildly rearranged. They found that cell fusion appears to be the cause.

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