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Shifting constant could shake laws of nature

May 2, 2006

A series of experiments suggests that over the past 12 billion years, the ratio of the mass of a proton to that of an electron may have decreased.

Various versions of string theory suggest that extra dimensions occupied by a particle might affect properties such as its mass. Subtle changes in these dimensions could make physical constants vary slightly, acccording to John Barrow, a cosmologist at the University of… read more

‘Cooking’ carbon nanotubes like spaghetti

May 1, 2006

Scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a technique to force a variety of enzymes to self-assemble layer-by-layer on carbon nanotubes with the help of noodle-like polymer molecules.

In “A biosensor layered like lasagna,” the researchers say that this technique can be applied to a wide range of applications. In particular, it will be possible to build other biosensors “that react specifically with other biological chemicals,… read more

Subliminal advertising may work after all

May 1, 2006

Researchers have shown that if the conditions are right, subliminal advertising to promote a brand can be made to work.

Nanowires and water are a memorable mix

May 1, 2006

Adding water to nanowires could create computer memory devices capable of storing 10 million times more information in the same physical space as existing drives.

Researchers estimate that the wires could theoretically be used to make computer memory drives with a data density of 10,000 terabits per cubic centimeter. By contrast, current flash memory drives store about five gigabits per cubic centimeter.

Wrinkled cell nuclei may make us age

April 28, 2006

A new study shows that cells from people over the age of 80 tend to have specific problems with the nucleus. The elderly nucleus loses its pert, rounded shape and becomes warped and wrinkled.

The National Cancer Institute team suggests that healthy cells always make a trace amount of an aberrant form of lamin A protein, but that young cells can sense and eliminate it. Elderly cells, it seems,… read more

The Total Information Awareness Project Lives On

April 28, 2006

Technology behind the Pentagon’s controversial Total Information Awareness (TIA) data-mining project has been acquired by NSA and is probably in use.

Nanotube-enhanced Solar Energy

April 28, 2006

AMBIT Corporation plans to accelerate investment in its patented nanotube-on-silicon technology, which can boost the efficiency of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity by up to 18 percent.

The nanotubes act as antennas for the solar light and can also be used for optical detectors and nanotube memory.

Your Thoughts Are Your Password

April 28, 2006

Researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, are exploring the possibility of a biometric security device that will use a person’s brain wave patterns to authenticate her or his identity.

‘Bug-eyed’ lens takes a broader view

April 28, 2006

An artificial insect “eye” could give surveillance cameras, cellphone cameras, and surgical endoscopes a much wider field of vision: the ability to see almost everything around them.

The ultra-wide-angle compound lens, which is about the size of an insect’s eye, was developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

Micro-pump to cool future computer chips

April 27, 2006

Purdue University engineers have developed a “micro-pump” cooling device small enough to fit on a computer chip that circulates coolant through channels etched into the chip.

“Our goal is to develop advanced cooling systems that are self-contained on chips and are capable of handling the more extreme heating in future chips,” said Suresh Garimella, director of Purdue’s Cooling Technologies Research Center.

The prototype chip contains numerous water-filled micro-channels,… read more

Software lets programmers code hands-free

April 26, 2006

VoiceCode, a new speech-recognition tool, promises to let programmers write clean code without ever having to lay a finger on their keyboard.

It has been developed to help programmers with repetitive strain injury

Japanese researcher shows robot legs that could replace wheelchairs

April 26, 2006

A Japanese researcher demonstrated in Tokyo Wednesday a pair of robotic legs that can negotiate stairs and could eventually find use as a wheelchair substitute.

Gamers may soon control action with thoughts

April 26, 2006

Two start-ups have developed technology that monitors a player’s brain waves and uses the signals to control the action in games. They hope it will enable game creators to immerse players in imaginary worlds that they can control with their thoughts instead of their hands.

Experts see computers getting bigger and smaller at the same time

April 25, 2006

Experts visiting Carnegie Mellon University last week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of computing at Carnegie Mellon shared what might come out of their labs in the next five to 10 years.

Rick Rashid, head of Microsoft Research, said it’s now possible to buy a terabyte of computer memory for about $700.

Dan R. Olsen Jr., a computer science professor at Brigham Young University, said he could now… read more

Model hearing

April 25, 2006

Robots may one day be equipped with the advanced listening skills of human beings if a team of Newcastle University researchers succeeds in its attempt to develop a complex computer model of the part of the brain that processes sound.

The technology could be used to enable voice control of machines in noisy conditions, or be used at the heart of a new generation of sophisticated hearing aids that… read more

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