science + technology news

Are we the Mongols of the Information Age?

October 30, 2006

The future of U.S. power rests in its Industrial Age military adapting to decentralized adversaries.

Firms point to biometric future

October 27, 2006
Three dimensional facial images can be created and stored in seconds

Keys, cards, passports and PINs could soon be a thing of the past as biometric technology makes our bodies the only passwords we need.

Launching a new kind of warfare

October 27, 2006

By 2015, the US Department of Defense plans that one third of its fighting strength will be composed of robots, part of a $127 billion project known as Future Combat Systems (FCS), a transformation that is part of the largest technology project in American history.

Honeybee genome sequenced

October 26, 2006

The just-completed genome sequence of the western honeybee may help explain the molecular and genetic basis of this insect’s unusual sociality.

The Baylor College of Medicine in Houston scientists found that several types of honeybee genes are more similar to vertebrate genes than to other insect genes, including many involved in circadian rhythms, RNA interference, DNA methylation, and learning and memory.

A Growing Intelligence Around Earth

October 26, 2006

NASA’s EO-1 is a new breed of satellite with AI programming to notice things that change (like the plume of a volcano) and take appropriate action, such as monitoring that specific location.

EO-1 can re-organize its own priorities to study volcanic eruptions, flash floods, forest fires, disintegrating sea-ice, and other unexpected events. It can also use sensors on other satellites or on the ground as a “sensorweb.”

WWF: Humanity Using Resources Too Fast

October 26, 2006

The Earth’s ecosystems are being run down faster than ever because humanity is using more natural resources than our planet can replenish, the World Wildlife Fund said Tuesday.

Eventually, ecological assets, such as forests and fisheries, will be harvested to such a degree that they might disappear altogether.

Researchers make important advancement in unraveling mysteries of fusion energy

October 26, 2006

University of Nevada researchers have used a plasma confinement system that can generate 100-nanosecond pulses exceeding 20 million amps to create the microscopic effects that cause inefficiencies limiting the conversion of electrical energy required for implosion energy.

‘Tower of Babel’ translator made

October 26, 2006

A new device being created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University uses electrodes attached to the neck and face to detect the movements that occur as a person silently mouths words and phrases.

Using this data, a computer can work out the sounds being formed and then build these sounds up into words. The system is then able to translate the words into another language, which is read out… read more

160-lumen white power LED lighting

October 25, 2006

New LED lamps capable of 70 lumens per watt may cut our light-based electrical bill ultimately by more than 90 percent.

And Toyota has said that replacing a car’s lights with LEDs would be equivalent to getting an extra 20 percent mileage through reducing vehicle weight.

Software generates video news bulletins

October 25, 2006

Software that automatically generates timely video news bulletins, presented by computer-animated characters, could revolutionize news broadcasting.

The system, called News at Seven, can produce reports tailored to a person’s particular interests.

Using keywords entered by the user, the program selects news site RSS feeds and specific stories to focus on. The next step is to extract further key terms from these reports and use these to search for… read more

Human v 2.0: Ray Kurzweil vs. Hugo de Garis

October 24, 2006

“Meet the scientific prophets who claim we are on the verge of creating a new type of human – a human v2.0.

“It’s predicted that by 2029 computer intelligence will equal the power of the human brain. Some believe this will revolutionise humanity – we will be able to download our minds to computers extending our lives indefinitely. Others fear this will lead to oblivion by giving rise to… read more

Chiang Mai University involved in tiny nanobot’s human voyage

October 24, 2006

A Chiang Mai University team has developed a motor that will power a microscopic robot on an expedition through human blood vessels, looking for such things as tiny tumors in internal organs.

The piezoceramic device is remote controlled by low-voltage electric current or microwaves, and is propelled by changing its size.

Moderate drinkers have reduced risk of heart attack

October 24, 2006

For men with healthy lifestyle habits, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may be associated with a lower risk of heart attack than drinking heavily or not drinking at all, according to a report in the October 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Previous studies have found that adults who drink moderate amounts of alcohol have a lower risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack)… read more

Cheap, Transparent, and Flexible Displays

October 24, 2006

By developing a low-cost method for making high-performance transparent transistors, researchers at Northwestern University have taken an important step toward creating sharp, bright displays that could be laminated to windshields, computer monitors, and televisions but would blend into the background when not in use.

They could also be used as transparent processors and memory, incorporated into a thin, flexible sheet, saving manufacturing costs and introducing a new form of… read more

‘Personalised’ cancer drug test

October 24, 2006

A gene test that predicts which cancer drugs will be most effective for different people is to be trialled by Duke University researchers.

The test scans thousands of genes from a patient’s tumor to produce a genomic profile of the cancer’s molecular makeup.

It could also save lives and reduce patients’ exposure to the toxic side effects of chemotherapy drugs.

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