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Free Phone Calls With Startup’s $399 Box

September 19, 2007

A Silicon Valley startup will begin selling $399 gadgets Wednesday that consumers with broadband Internet service can use to make unlimited free domestic phone calls.

Skin and bones ‘made to measure’

January 19, 2005

University of Manchester scientists are developing an inkjet printer that can create “made to measure” skin and bones to treat people with severe burns or disfigurements.

Human cells are suspended in a nutrient-rich liquid before being printed out in several thin layers. The printers create 3-D structures, known as tissue scaffolds.

The journey of the e-book

December 22, 2010

Alan Kay with Dynabook (Wikimedia Commons)

In The Journey of the e-Book, Fast Company illustrates some of the forms that electronic reading has taken and might take.

The past:

The future?

Computer games stunt teen brains

August 20, 2001

Computer games are creating a dumbed-down generation of children far more disposed to violence than their parents, according to a controversial new study by Professor Ryuta Kawashima and his team at Tohoku University in Japan.The level of brain activity was measured in hundreds of teenagers playing a Nintendo game and compared to the brain scans of other students doing a simple, repetitive arithmetical exercise. The computer game only stimulated activity… read more

Designer Babies — Like It Or Not, Here They Come

March 2, 2009

The era of designer babies is here and there is no going back.

Case in point: the Fertility Institute will soon be able to offer couples the ability to screen their embryos for eye color, hair color, and complexion.

It also plans to offer almost any conceivable customization as science makes them available. Opponents are vilifying the company for shattering moral and ethical boundaries.

Storing Solar Power Efficiently

September 27, 2007

Thermal-power plants could solve some of the problems with solar power outages by turning sunlight into steam and storing heat for cloudy days.

Google’s search for meaning

January 30, 2005

Computers can now deduce the meaning of words from the frequency of nearby words in Google searches. The finding could bring forward the day that true artificial intelligence is developed.

Paul Vitanyi and Rudi Cilibrasi of the National Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science in Amsterdam have developed a statistical indicator based on a measure of a logical distance separating a pair of words: the “normalised Google distance,” or… read more

The Year in Web

December 29, 2010

Secrets are flying online, both state and personal, and Internet companies are still looking for ways to make money on applications—or with users’ private data.

Cost of evolution runs into billions

September 14, 2001

Humans are causing evolution on a grand scale – and it is costing us hundreds of billions of dollars each year, says a Harvard biologist.Every time a strain of bacteria becomes resistant to an antibiotic, or a weed mutates so it can thrive after being sprayed with a herbicide, there is a financial cost to humankind, Stephen Palumbi points out. He estimates that cost to be at least $100 billion… read more

The first virtual reality technology to let you see, hear, smell, taste and touch

March 5, 2009
Concept design of a mobile Virtual Cocoon

U.K. scientists are creating the “Virtual Cocoon,” a new “Real Virtuality” (all senses stimulated to create a fully immersive perceptual experience) device that can stimulate all five senses much more realistically than any other current or prospective device.

US scientist heralds ‘artificial life’ breakthrough (Update)

October 8, 2007

The Guardian reported Saturday that Craig Venter said he is set to annouunce the creation of a synthetic chromosome — the first ever artificial life form — within weeks, possibly as early as Monday.

But Venter spokeswoman Heather Kowalski declined to confirm any breakthrough: “We have not achieved what some have speculated we have in synthetic life. When we do so there will be a scientific publication and we… read more

TESTING DARWIN

February 14, 2005

After more than a decade of development, Avida’s digital organisms at Michigan State University are now getting close to fulfilling the definition of biological life.

These are digital organisms — strings of commands — akin to computer viruses. Each organism can produce tens of thousands of copies of itself within a matter of minutes. Unlike computer viruses, however, they are made up of digital bits that can mutate and… read more

Nanocarriers Come Through

January 7, 2011

Micelles travelling through the bloodstream glowing green (Science Translational Medicine)

A new nanodelivery system is able to sneak cancer treatments past the defenses of drug-resistant tumor cells — offering hope to many cancer patients who benefit little from existing drug treatments.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo designed small soapy clusters of molecules, called micelles, to carry drugs into tumor cells and release their cargo inside. The molecules harness the cell’s internal transport system to get close to their… read more

A Cautionary Tale for a New Age of Surveillance

October 8, 2001

It’s being proposed as a solution for terrorism. But once thousands of cameras from hundreds of separate closed circuit TV systems are able to feed their digital images to a central monitoring station, and the images can be analyzed with face- and behavioral-recognition software to identify unusual patterns, then the possibilities of the Panopticon (see-all surveillance system) will suddenly become very real.
The creation of a surveillance society in Britain,… read more

Tissues that Build Themselves

March 12, 2009

Cells coated with sticky bits of DNA can self-assemble into functional three-dimensional microstructures.

This bottom-up approach to tissue engineering, developed by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, provides a new solution to one of field’s biggest problems: the creation of multicellular tissues with defined structures.

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