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‘Electron-spin’ trick boosts quantum computing

August 18, 2006

A new silicon chip capable of manipulating the spin of a single electron could ultimately allow futuristic quantum computers to be built using conventional electronic technology.

Govt to back intelligence robot development

August 18, 2006

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to begin assisting the development of next-generation intelligence robots in fiscal 2007 with the aim of commercializing them in 2015.

Intelligence robots are capable of recognizing sounds and images through sensors and of automatically analyzing the obtained information to determine their actions.

Speedy silicon sets world record

August 18, 2006

A simple tweak to the way common silicon transistors are made — adding fluorine implants to the silicon layers using a common ion-implantation manufacturing process — could allow them to operate at a speed of about 110GHz, using existing silicon manufacturing technology.

Atomic hopper shows promise for nano switching

August 18, 2006

A single cobalt atom has been made to hop back and forth between two positions in response to an electric current by NIST researchers.

The technique could some day lead to the development of “atomic switches” for nanoscale devices.

New Chip Design Promises Terahertz Processors

August 18, 2006

Scientists at the University of Rochester have come up with a new “ballistic computing” chip design that could lead to 3-terahertz processors that produce very little heat.

The Ballistic Deflection Transistor (BDT) bounces the electrons into their chosen trajectories. Using inertia, it functions more as an intersection for electrons than as a device that expends energy to stop and start them. Because of this approach, far less power is… read more

Lifeboat Foundation announces new existential-risk programs

August 17, 2006

The Lifeboat Foundation said today it has launched four programs to combat existential risks (threats to human survival) — BioShield, InfoShield, NanoShield, and Space Habitats — and has announced 11 other planned programs, ranging from AsteroidShield to AntimatterShield, to “prevent antimatter-based annihilation.” Public participation is invited.

The programs fill a gap left by governments and corporations, which “only think short term, so we felt that… read more

How Human Cells Get Their Marching Orders

August 17, 2006

Stanford University biologists say they have discovered a coordinate system in human cells that may shed light on processes like wound healing and lend some hope to the prospect of regenerating human tissues from mature cells, instead of stem cells.

New brain cells die without a job to do

August 17, 2006

Salk Institute for Biological Studies researchers have found that the survival of newly formed adult brain cells depends on the amount of input they receive.

Fastest-evolving human gene linked to brain boost

August 17, 2006

The fastest evolving gene in the human genome is one linked to brain development, which has undergone “accelerated evolutionary change” in just five million years, as we evolved from our shared simian ancestor.

What do futurists really know?

August 17, 2006

The World Future Society’s annual meeting in Toronto featured keynote speaker Ray Kurzweil, citing “an impressive set of statistics about technologic acceleration to support his predictions, from the increasing number of transistors on a chip to the decreasing cost of sequencing a single unit of DNA. When Kurzweil is explaining it, a glorious future seems almost inevitable.”

The Expert Mind

August 16, 2006

Studies of the mental processes of chess grandmasters have revealed clues to how people become experts in other fields as well.

Nanotube Coating Meshes with Living Cells

August 16, 2006

Using a polymer coating that mimics part of a cell’s outer membrane, University of California, Berkeley investigators have developed a versatile method for targeting carbon nanotubes to specific types of cells.

This new coating could spur the development of new anticancer agents that rely on the unique physical characteristics of carbon nanotubes.

Reporting their work in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the researchers demonstrated that they… read more

Separated at Birth?

August 15, 2006

The universe looks eerily like a mouse’s neurons.

Digital DNA detector spots single molecules

August 15, 2006

A modified nanoscale transistor could dramatically speed up the detection of DNA sequences.

The detector consists of a quantum dot with a piece of DNA attached. It only allows current to flow when a matching sequence of DNA binds to the attached piece and could provide a simple, faster way to detect viruses or track gene expression.

Ice Age DNA may now be sequenced

August 15, 2006

We might now be able to sequence the genomes of mammoths and even Neanderthals, thanks to a new way to correct the errors in sequencing ancient DNA that are made because it degrades over time.

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