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DNA trail points to human brain evolution

October 11, 2006

The human brain may have evolved beyond that of our primate cousins because our brain cells are better at sticking in place, researchers say.

The genetic assembly of the ten billion neurons in the human brain relies on precise expression of adhesion molecules that allow for thousands of connections between neurons and the matrix of proteins around them.

Time capsule to be beamed from Mexican pyramid

October 11, 2006

Mexico’s Teotihuacan, once the center of a sprawling pre-Hispanic empire, is set to become the launch pad for an attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life.

Starting on Tuesday, enthusiasts from around the world will have a chance to submit text, images, video and sounds that reflect human nature to be included in the message.

Those contributions–part of media company Yahoo’s “Time Capsule” project–will be digitized and beamed with… read more

The Long Zoom

October 10, 2006

Electronic Arts’ forthcoming Spore game will allow you to “create an world that is entirely yours: the creatures, the vehicles, the cities, the planets,” says designer Will Wright.

Those layers map onto different spatial scales that you advance through as you play: cell, creature, tribe, city, civilization and space.

As you work your way through the Spore levels, your creatures are automatically sent back to the central Spore… read more

20 Smart Companies to Start Now

October 10, 2006

Business 2.0 Magazine has listed 20 tantalizing business ideas, ranging from a host of new websites and applications to next-generation power sources and a luxury housing development.

HP’s Memory Spot Chip is Spot On

October 10, 2006

A prototype of a tiny wireless chip capable of storing and transmitting data was recently revealed by HP.

HP’s Memory Spot Chip reads sound from a picture

When the new chip hits the market in about two years, it will enable a variety of applications ranging from digital wristbands that store patient medical information to a new form of storing digital versions of documents or sound bytes on… read more

Gas induces ‘suspended animation’

October 10, 2006

Hydrogen sulphide was found to slow down heart rate and breathing and decrease body temperature in mice, while keeping a normal blood pressure.

The effects of the gas seemed to be reversible, with the mice returning to normal two hours after the mice started to breathe normal air again.

Scientific world gathers data on ‘nuclear test’

October 10, 2006

Scientists around the world are taking a cautious wait-and-see attitude after North Korea claimed to have successfully conducted an underground nuclear test on Monday.

Only careful analysis of data returned by seismic or atmospheric sensors will determine whether the blast was a success or a damp squib, they say. Nor could they rule out the possibility of a scam, in which North Korea blew up a huge stock of… read more

Making Water From Thin Air

October 10, 2006

Aqua Sciences has developed technology capable of creating water from the air nearly anywhere in the world is now under contract to nourish U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq.

The 20-foot machine can churn out 600 gallons of water a day without using or producing toxic materials and byproducts.

Virus boosts nanoparticle memory

October 6, 2006

A new type of digital memory device has been created by incorporating inorganic platinum nanoparticles into the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV).

The TMV is a 300 nm tube consisting of a protein capsid (outer shell) and RNA core. According to the researchers, the TMV’s thin, wire-like structure makes it suitable for attaching nanoparticles. In this case, it allowed them to add an average of sixteen positive platinum ions per… read more

AI Re-Emerging as Research in Complex Systems

October 6, 2006

The future of AI will be embodied intelligent systems, able to model and understand the environment and learn from interactions, while learning and evolving in constantly changing circumstances; and re-emergece as research in complex systems.

Single-pixel camera could simplify imaging

October 6, 2006

A single-pixel camera that captures complete images by taking many snaps with an array of micro-mirrors could consume less power and produce more compact image files than conventional imaging devices.

The camera switches each mirror randomly between one of two positions — so that they either reflect light onto the pixel or do not. The current version repeats this process about a thousand times in a second, recording the… read more

Biodefence special: Fortress America?

October 6, 2006

Project BioShield has fallen short of delivering biodefence remedies, with a limited range of pathogens that BioShield is targeting and inadequate plans for deploying the countermeasures it does have.

The authorities appear bent on building a stockpile of silver bullets against imagined enemies that may not work or may never be needed.

Making molecular machines work

October 6, 2006

Advances towards the construction of synthetic machines are described in Volume 1 No 1 of a new journal, Nature Nanotechnology.

The article documents approaches taken by several research groups to construct synthetic molecular machines and devices, such as molecular rotors, elevators, valves, transporters, muscles and other motor functions used to develop smart materials.

(Free access)

$10 Million Prize Set Up for Speedy DNA Decoding

October 5, 2006

A $10 million prize for cheap and rapid sequencing of the human genome was announced today by the X Prize Foundation.

The terms of the prize require competitors to sequence 100 human genomes of their choice within 10 days, and within six months those of a further 100 people chosen by the foundation.

The foundation plans a series of prizes to motivate inventors and entrepreneurs, with its first… read more

Software Being Developed to Monitor Opinions of U.S.

October 5, 2006

A consortium of major universities is developing natural language processing software that would let the government monitor negative opinions of the United States or its leaders in newspapers and other publications overseas.

The researchers have complied a database of hundreds of articles that it is being used to train a computer to recognize, rank and interpret statements.

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