science + technology news

Scientists Warn of Diminished Earth Studies From Space

January 16, 2007

The nation’s ability to track retreating polar ice and shifting patterns of drought, rainfall and other environmental changes is being put “at great risk” by faltering efforts to replace aging satellite-borne sensors, the National Research Council of the National Academies warned.

By 2010, the number of operating Earth-observing instruments on NASA satellites, most of which are already past their planned lifetimes, is likely to drop by 40 percent.

Can HP fool Moore’s Law?

January 16, 2007

Researchers from HP Labs plan to publish a paper this month that outlines how it may become possible to substantially increase the performance of certain types of chips, and reduce their power consumption, by replacing the communication wires inside chips with a crossbar grid of nanowires.

By removing the traditional interconnects, the size of a given chip would naturally and drastically shrink. Performance would increase, but the chips could… read more

March of the consumer robots

January 15, 2007

Home robotics is a growing trend at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The Future of Robotics

January 15, 2007

Robotics researchers should be working on achieving the visual object recognition capabilities of a two-year-old child and the manual dexterity of a 6-year-old child, says Rodney Brooks, director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Teeny-Weeny Rules for Itty-Bitty Atom Clusters

January 15, 2007

Berkeley has become the first government body in the United States — and possibly anywhere, according to some analysts — to explicitly regulate businesses that make or use nanoparticles.

The new regulation requires businesses to annually identify any materials they use or produce with at least one dimension of 100 nanometers or less, no matter how small the quantities. They must also share what they know about how toxic… read more

Silicon ‘Lego bricks’ used to build 3D chips

January 14, 2007

Silicon wafers covered with matching patterns of Lego-like teeth and holes could aid the development of 3D electronics.

Must-know terms for the 21st Century intellectual: Redux

January 12, 2007

George P. Dvorsky has created a list of the most fundamental and crucial terms that re-define the human condition and should be known by any expert generalist.

They include Accelerating Change, Anthropic Principle, Artificial General Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Cosmological Eschatology, Engineered Negligible Senescence, Mind Transfer (Uploading), Molecular Assembler, and of course, Technological Singularity.

Laser-induced explosion of gold nanoparticles: potential role for nanophotothermolysis of cancer

January 12, 2007

Researchers have used laser-induced explosion of absorbing nanoparticles in selective nanophotothermolysis of cancer.

This is realized through fast overheating of a strongly absorbing target during a short laser pulse. The resulting explosion of nanoparticles may be accompanied by optical plasma and shock waves with supersonic expansion and particle fragmentation with fragments of high kinetic energy. These can contribute to the killing of cancer cells.

A Better Artificial Skin

January 12, 2007

University of Cincinnati scientists have grown artificial skin cells, using collagen scaffolds. They could ultimately produce a type of artificial skin that can sweat, tan, and fight off infection more effectively.

Shrinking telomeres linked to heart disease

January 11, 2007

People who go on to have heart attacks have much shorter telomeres than those who remain healthy, a major new study has shown.

Telomeres are strands of DNA that cap chromosomes and wear away with each cell division.

Statins’ ability to protect patients from heart disease and stroke so effectively might be due to limiting the damage caused by telomere shortening, said Leicester University cardiologist Nilesh Samani.

Animal-human hybrid cloning deferred

January 11, 2007

Controversial proposals to make embryos by merging human and animal material remain on hold following a decision on Thursday by the UK regulator of embryo research.

The researchers want to use cow or rabbit eggs as a short cut to making cloned embryos which could yield human embryonic stem cells. These are vital for research into major illnesses.
Opponents of embryo research say the creation of embryos from animal… read more

End-Time for the Internet

January 11, 2007

Spam, spyware, and viruses will drive smart computer users to dumber appliances like BlackBerrys, iPods, and Xboxes, says Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet governance and regulation at Oxford University.

The migration to closed systems will end innovation on the Internet, he says.

The nonhuman touch

January 11, 2007

In experiments across the country, robots are providing the human caring touch to patients who need more help than there are therapists and nurses: stroke victims, autistic children, and the elderly.

Record-Breaking Speed for Flexible Silicon

January 10, 2007

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, have made ultrathin silicon transistors that operate more than 50 times faster than previous flexible-silicon devices and are expected to reach 20 Gigahertz.

Brain power focused on future-tech quest

January 10, 2007

America’s big names in engineering, as well as millions of Internet users around the world, are being asked to weigh in with their picks for the greatest technological challenges of the next century — a nine-month process that could give birth to new research initiatives.

The National Academy of Engineering project, called the “Grand Challenges for Engineering” program, is aimed at gathering up all those ideas and distilling them… read more

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