science + technology news

IBM’s chief steps into ‘Second Life’ for incubator launch

November 13, 2006

IBM’s CEO Sam Palmisano is set to launch a $100 million investment Tuesday to incubate new businesses–and he will make the announcement in both the physical and virtual worlds, via a “town hall” meeting in Beijing and in the Second Life virtual world.

Palmisano’s avatar will discuss the announcement in Second Life’s Forbidden City, a space created in the virtual environment by IBM and the Chinese government.

Comprehensive model is first to map protein folding at atomic level

November 12, 2006

Scientists at Harvard University have developed a computer model that can fully map and predict protein folding for some 10 microseconds — about as long as some proteins take to assume their biologically stable configuration, and at least a thousand times longer than previous methods.

“This appears to have achieved a holy grail: simulating and predicting protein folding from a linear amino acid sequence,” said Ray Kurzweil. “It is… read more

Entrepreneurs See a Web Guided by Common Sense

November 12, 2006

Computer scientists are finding new ways to mine human intelligence.

Their goal is to create Web 3.0, or the “semantic Web,” by adding a layer of meaning on top of the existing Web that would make it less of a catalog and more of a guide — and even provide the foundation for systems that can reason in a human fashion.

Radar Networks, for example, is one of… read more

Doctors using Google to diagnose illnesses

November 12, 2006

In a test of difficult diagnostic cases published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year, Google searches found the correct diagnosis in 58 per cent of the cases, including obscure conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Studies of autopsies have shown doctors seriously misdiagnose fatal illnesses about 20 per cent of the time.

Cheap, Superefficient Solar

November 9, 2006

Technologies collectively known as concentrating photovoltaics are starting to enjoy their day in the sun, thanks to advances in solar cells, which absorb light and convert it into electricity, and the mirror- or lens-based concentrator systems that focus light on them. The technology could soon make solar power as cheap as electricity from the grid.

Kurzweil keynotes Cleveland Clinic 2006 Medical Innovation Summit

November 9, 2006

Ray Kurzweil presented a keynote talk at the Cleveland Clinic 2006 Medical Innovation Summit on November 6.

The conference highlighted new technologies, economics and trends in the neurosciences. His keynote on “future technology” featured a dialogue with Allen Roses, M.D., Senior Vice President, Genetics Research, GlaxoSmithKline, moderated by Thomas Stewart, Editor of the Harvard Business Review.

HPNA gets speed boost to 320Mbps

November 9, 2006

The HomePNA Alliance has released a new networking standard that allows for 320Mbps transmission over twisted-pair copper wire or coaxial cable in the home.

Retinal Transplant Restores Vision in Mice

November 9, 2006

The prospect of restoring vision in people who have been blinded by disease is now on the verge of being a real possibility, thanks to the first successful transplant of light-sensitive retinal cells in mice.

The researchers harvested stem cells that were in the process of turning into light-sensitive photoreceptor cells and implanted them in the eyes of mice that had been bred to suffer from retinal… read more

Kurzweil receives IEEE award for engineering communication

November 9, 2006

Ray Kurzweil has received the IEEE Professional Communication Societies Goldsmith Award for 2006 for Distinguished Contributions to Engineering Communication.

The award honors those “broadly involved in communication as related to engineering and scientific endeavors” and was announced at the 2006 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. Ray will be speaking at the 2007 conference on October 1st, 2007 in Seattle.

New Techniques Pave Way for Carbon Nanotubes in Electronic Devices

November 8, 2006

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute reports two new techniques, each following a different approach, for placing carbon nanotube patterns on metal surfaces of just about any shape and size.

Two nerve cells in direct contact

November 7, 2006

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Martinsried near Munich (Germany) have been able to show how two nerve cells communicate with each other from different hemispheres in the visual centre. This astoundingly simple circuit diagram could at a later date provide a model for algorithms to be deployed in technical systems.

‘Nanoporous’ material gobbles up hydrogen fuel

November 7, 2006

Hydrogen-powered cars could one day store fuel safely and efficiently using polymers filed with nanoscopic holes.

Zapping sleepers’ brains boosts memory

November 7, 2006

Applying a gentle electric current to the brain during sleep can significantly boost memory, University of Luebeck researchers report.

They believe this is due to the pattern of the applied current mimicking that seen in naturally occurring deep sleep, where memory consolidation is thought to take place.

3D maps let travellers take virtual city tours

November 7, 2006

Microsoft’s updated Virtual Earth mapping software includes photo-realistic three-dimensional models of real buildings and other structures.

It May Come as a Shock

November 7, 2006

Two different kinds of stimulatory devices are now in large-scale clinical trials for possible use in patients with the most severe migraine cases.

The two approaches are occipital nerve stimulation, or ONS, and transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. Experts say approaches like these represent a powerful new trend in migraine research.

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