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The Translator’s Blues

January 10, 2006

The machine translation industry is now pulling in something like $8 billion a year globally, and growing fast. For clients in national intelligence, MT research now represents a potential magical fix for the shortfall of Arabic translators.

Nanotechnology, Nanomedicine and Nanosurgery

January 10, 2006

Nanomedicine pioneer Robert A. Freitas Jr. has written a landmark paper on nanosurgery in a peer-reviewed medical journal (“Nanotechnology, Nanomedicine and Nanosurgery,” Intl. J. Surgery 3, December 2005:1-4).

Freitas describes current state-of-the-art surgery using a micropipette to completely cut dendrites from single neurons without damaging cell viability, localized nanosurgical ablation of focal adhesions adjoining live mammalian epithelial cells, microtubule dissection inside yeast cells, and even nanosurgery of… read more

Cells That Read Minds

January 9, 2006

The monkey brain contains a special class of cells, called mirror neurons, that, surprisingly, fire when the animal sees or hears an action and when the animal carries out the same action on its own.

The discovery is shaking up numerous scientific disciplines, shifting the understanding of culture, empathy, philosophy, language, imitation, autism and psychotherapy.

Everyday experiences are also being viewed in a new light. Mirror neurons reveal… read more

Dogs as good as screening for cancer detection

January 9, 2006

Dogs do as well as state-of-the-art screening tests at sniffing out people with lung or breast cancer. The research raises the possibility that trained dogs could detect cancers even earlier and might some day supplement or even replace mammograms and CT scans in the laboratory.

The dogs correctly detected 99% of the lung cancer samples, and made a mistake with only 1% of the healthy controls. With breast cancer,… read more

Gadgets Galore at CES

January 9, 2006

Wired.com previews some of the best gadgets at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Hybrid structures fuse traits

January 9, 2006

Complex new structures that assemble themselves from combinations of semiconducting, metallic or magnetic nanoscale particles promise to have either the combined valuable traits of their ingredients or possess entirely new useful properties.

For example, structures that pair two different semiconductors “can be employed for new generation of solar cells and thermoelectric devices,” explained researcher Dmitri Talapin, a materials scientist formerly with IBM and now at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory… read more

In Love With Reality Truly, Madly, Virtually

January 9, 2006

The Canvas virtual reality system is now available to artists for about $3,000. Software is free. All the public needs is a pair of passive stereo glasses ($1) or datagloves ($20).

This is the kind of watershed moment that video art enjoyed in 1965, when portable video recording equipment became available at mass-market prices.

Your phone records are for sale

January 9, 2006

The Chicago Police Department is warning officers their cell phone records are available to anyone — for a price. Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts.

To test the service, the FBI paid Locatecell.com $160 to buy the records for an agent’s cell phone and received the list within three hours, the police bulletin said.

Data Mining 101: Finding Subversives with Amazon Wishlists

January 9, 2006

An individual with access to the Internet can develop a fairly sophisticated profile of hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens by using data mining of free and publicly available resources, such as Amazon.com’s vast database of wishlists, as programmer Tom Owad has proved.

He extracted names and cities for readers of “dangerous books” to show how easy it is. Their addresses and Google maps their homes could also have… read more

Computers estimate emotions

January 9, 2006

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research in Germany have developed a glove that senses a computer operator’s heartbeat and breathing rate, blood pressure, skin temperature and electrical resistance and connects to a device that infers emotions.

They are also working on techniques that will enable computers to interpret facial expressions and extract emotional elements from voice signals.

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft news

‘Robot agents’ to help settle disputes

January 8, 2006

The e-Dispute system provides fast online arbitration, mediation and conciliation services to help organizations quickly resolve disputes.

e-Dispute’s online collaboration tools include video, audio, live-chat, e-forum, text and transcript capabilities with full case management, fact assessment, analysis, and weighted issue/interesting variables.

MP3 players to select tunes to your taste

January 8, 2006

A new technology could let your computer recommend new music you might like based on an acoustic analysis of the tunes it already knows you enjoy.

By analyzing the characteristics of a song — like timbre, rhythm, tempo and chord changes — then comparing it to a database of a million songs, the software can recommend similar pieces of music, and even rank them by characteristics, like their key… read more

Buckypaper is 250 times stronger than steel and lighter

January 6, 2006

Buckypaper, made from carbon nanotubes, could improve computer and television screens; reduce heat in chips, allowing for more miniaturization; and protect electronic circuits and devices within airplanes from electromagnetic interference.

Florida State University is working to develop these and other real-world applications.

Source: Florida State University news release

Welcome to Mars express: only a three hour trip

January 6, 2006

A “hyperspace” engine that could make interstellar space travel a reality by flying into other dimensions is being investigated by the United States Air Force and Department of Energy.

The theoretical engine works by creating an intense magnetic field that, according to ideas first developed by the late scientist Burkhard Heim in the 1950s, would produce a gravitational field and result in thrust for a spacecraft.

Also, if… read more

Shift from TV to Internet accelerates

January 6, 2006

News and entertainment content is moving from TV to the Internet. Google and Yahoo are announcing plans at the Consumer Electronic Show to deliver TV programs directly to home computers via the Internet and to cellphones.

TV network news is already becoming available on the net — sometimes in advance of TV. And last year, Apple Computer introduced a video iPod and video downloads from… read more

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