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ET Visitors: Scientists See High Likelihood

January 17, 2005

Our world is immersed in a much larger extraterrestrial civilization, recent astrophysical discoveries suggest.

Why the Sun seems to be ‘dimming’

January 17, 2005

Scientists have reached the disturbing conclusion that the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface has been gradually falling due to air pollution. By, 2100, there could be a temperature rise of 10 degrees Celsius, rendering many parts of the world uninhabitable.

Can studying the human brain revolutionise economics?

January 17, 2005

A new field dubbed “neuroeconomics” may provide fresh insights on how reason and emotion together produce economic behavior.

Grids Unleash the Power of Many

January 14, 2005

Computer scientists in three states — West Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado — are each combining their technology resources into separate computer grids that will give researchers, universities, private companies and citizens access to powerful supercomputers.

The project designers say these information aqueducts will encourage business development, accelerate scientific research, and improve the efficiency of government.

Dr. Nanotech vs. Cancer

January 14, 2005

Nanosensors being developed by California Institute of Technology researchers will simultaneously look for thousands of different biomolecules and could be the basis for more accurate, cheaper, and more convenient cancer tests.

To turn a nanowire into a transistor, the researchers bring each of its ends into contact with metal wires so that a current can be passed through it. They then position an electrode close to the nanowire. Charging… read more

DNA scheme builds computers

January 13, 2005

Researchers have devised a pair of computer architectures that would be built from self-assembling DNA.

Computers assembled by DNA have the potential to be extremely small, fast and inexpensive, and would consume very little power.

The researchers’ architectures call for single-stranded artificial DNA molecules that have silicon nanorods attached to their ends to assemble into circuit patterns. The DNA junctions between rods are then plated with metal to… read more

Conversations control computers

January 13, 2005

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology are aiming to decrease day-to-day data entry and to augment users’ memories with a method that allows handheld computers to harvest keywords from conversations and make use of relevant information without interrupting the personal interactions.

Video organizes paper

January 13, 2005

University of Washington researchers are working to more closely integrate the paper world with the world of electronic data.

Their system uses a computer and overhead video camera to track physical documents on a desk and automatically link them to appropriate electronic documents.

The paper-tracking system allows users to pinpoint the location of a given document within a stack of documents on the desktop. Users can find documents… read more

Facing Biotech Foods Without the Fear Factor

January 13, 2005

Contrary to public perception, nearly every food we eat has been genetically modified, through centuries of crosses, both within and between species, and for most of the last century through mutations induced by bombarding seeds with chemicals or radiation.

In each of these techniques, dozens, hundreds, even thousands of genes of unknown function are transferred or modified to produce new food varieties.

But alarmist warnings about the possible… read more

‘Morse code’ signal switches genes

January 13, 2005

Cells use a morse code-like signal to switch genes on and off, researchers have found.

According to Professor Douglas Kell, who sits on the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and is a member of the research team, “This raises new challenges for drug designers. It appears that simply aiming to knock down signalling molecules with drugs, as many people are trying to do, may have weak or… read more

Making microscopes go faster

January 12, 2005

Scientists in the US and Israel have demonstrated an atomic force microscope that can take images of periodic processes with a time resolution of microseconds.

Higher temporal resolutions can be obtained by using the AFM in a “force-sensing” mode, which can detect movements from a single point on a sample. They improved on the technique by combining a series of individual force-sensing measurements to construct images.

The method… read more

Nanoneedle gets into cells

January 12, 2005

Japanese scientists have used nanoneedles attached to an atomic force microscope to penetrate the nucleus of living cells.

The needles could be used to deliver molecules such as nucleic acids, proteins or other chemicals to the nucleus, or maybe even to carry out cell surgery.

The nanoneedles the scientists tested were 200-300 nm in diameter and 6-8 microns long. They were etched from pyramidal silicon AFM tips using… read more

Nanoshells ideal as chemical nanosensors

January 12, 2005

Tailored nanoparticles known as nanoshells can enhance chemical sensing via Raman scattering by as much as 10 billion times, Rice University researchers have found.

The finding means that all-optical nanoscale sensors — essentially new molecular-level diagnostic instruments — could be designed that detect as little as a few molecules of a target substance, such as a drug molecule, disease protein, or deadly chemical agent.

Nanoshells are ball-shaped and… read more

A DNA Success Raises Bioterror Concern

January 12, 2005

Researchers have made an unexpectedly sudden advance in synthesizing long molecules of DNA, creating concern the technique might be used to create the smallpox virus.

“This has the potential for a revolutionary impact in the ease of synthesis of large DNA molecules,” said Dr. Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University.

“This will permit efficient and rapid synthesis of any select agent virus genome in very short… read more

Vestiges of Big Bang Waves Are Reported

January 12, 2005

Astronomers have seen, in the patterns of galaxies scattered across the night sky, the vestiges of sound waves that rumbled through the universe after the Big Bang.

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