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Stem Cells Made From ‘Dead’ Human Embryo

September 26, 2006

Scientists say they have created a stem cell line from a human embryo that had stopped developing naturally, and so was considered dead. Using such embryos might ease ethical concerns about creating such cells, they suggested.

Atlas Squeaked: A Complete Map of the Brain of a Mouse

September 26, 2006

Scientists have gained a new window for peering into the brain: an electronic

Mixed Report on U.S. Nanotechnology Effort

September 26, 2006

The United States continues to lead the world in nanotechnology research, but the impact of the federal government’s multibillion-dollar investment in the field and shortcomings in the effort are impossible to quantify, according to a lengthy assessment for Congress of the National Nanotechnology Initiative.

Grow Your Own Limbs

September 26, 2006

DARPA is spending millions of dollars to help scientists learn how people might one day regenerate their own limbs.

The researchers’ first milestone is to generate a blastema — a mass of cells able to develop into various organs or body parts — in a mouse.

First zero-gravity surgery set to be performed

September 26, 2006

French doctors plan to attempt the world’s first human operation in zero-gravity on Wednesday, using a plane designed to simulate gravity-free conditions.

The operation is part of a project to develop surgical robots in space, guided via satellite by Earth-based doctors.

King of the chatbots

September 26, 2006

“George,” who recently received the Loebner prize for software capable of the most realistic human dialogues, has become an avatar, gaining a physical image, a voice, and voice- recognition software.

He speaks 40 languages and with 2000 people at the same time on the Internet on the Jabbberwacky site.

Virtual bees help robots see in 3D

September 22, 2006

Software that mimics the way honeybees work together to search for food could help robots explore and navigate.

Explorer bees report the location of a new food source by dancing. A new type of stereoscopic computer vision system takes inspiration from this trick. It uses virtual honeybees to home in on potential points of interest, which can then be rendered in 3D, based on all the simulated bees’ movements.… read more

Old beyond her years

September 22, 2006

She is the most ancient child ever discovered and was no more than three years old when she died about 3.3 million years ago.

Unearthed in Ethiopia, she belongs to the primitive human species known as Australopithecus afarensis and has been dubbed Lucy’s daughter, after the iconic fossil of an adult female from the same group discovered in 1974.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Google

September 21, 2006

“We teenagers have to live in ‘controlled spaces.’ Radio-frequency ID tags, real-time locative systems, global positioning systems, smart doorways, security videocams…” says science fiction writer Bruce Sterling in this spoof on a “pervasive and ubiquitous and geolocative” future.

(Accessible without subscription until Sept. 22)

Also see Bruce Sterling’s “

A Question of Mind Over Matter

September 21, 2006

Scientists are probing the limits of mind-body interaction, developing tools that use artificial intelligence, muscle and neuron sensors — and even plugging directly into the brain — to achieve unprecedented results.

Brain stimulation creates shadow person

September 21, 2006

Swiss scientists say they’ve found electrical stimulation of the brain can create the sensation of a “shadow person” mimicking one’s bodily movements.

Instant messaging worm builds menacing ‘botnet’

September 21, 2006

A computer worm that spreads via AOL instant messaging is being used to build an extensive “botnet” of remote-controlled PCs.

The goal appears to be to create a huge network of remote-controlled machines, known as a “botnet.” Botnets may be used to send out huge quantities of junk e-mail or attack business websites, or create click fraud on Internet ads.

How To Be Human

September 20, 2006

Call-center data could be what’s needed to achieve the ultimate goal of AI: creating a computer program smart enough to hold a natural conversation and passing the Turing Test.

Rollo Carpenter, this year’s winner of the Loebner Prize, created a program that learns by analyzing its conversations with people as they “chat” with it online. He is now extending his nearly 10 years of data by training a bot… read more

The bootless PC and terabytes on a dime

September 20, 2006

Imagine a PC with instantaneous boot up or storing 10TB of data on a device the size of a dime with data-transfer rates unhampered by any latency.

Antisocial robots go to finishing school

September 20, 2006

Robots will need emotional capabilities if they are to cooperate smoothly and flexibly with humans in our residential environments, says Shuji Hashimoto, director of the humanoid robotics centre at Waseda University.

One method: sensors worn by their owner to spot signs of stress. These could include galvanic skin sensors that detect sweat by measuring the conductivity of the skin, and pulse monitors. Neural networks will then be able to… read more

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