science + technology news

Programmer speeds search for gravitational waves

May 18, 2006

A global effort to detect gravitational waves has received an unexpected boost after a volunteer improved the Einstein@home computer code used comb through data from ground-based detectors.

Technology’s Future: A Look at the Dark Side

May 17, 2006

Any technology powerful enough to improve life radically is also capable of abuse and prone to serious, unanticipated side effects.

Frankencotton, the Shirt: Coming Soon to a Wardrobe Near You

May 17, 2006

Genetically modified cotton, also known as Bt, or transgenic, cotton, is grown all over the world and is present in unknown numbers and styles of garments.

Was our universe made for us or not?

May 17, 2006

The anthropic principle — which argues that our universe is finely tuned to support life and there is no point in asking why it is so — has been criticised as lazy, untestable science. Now there may be a way to test the theory for one of the most problematic instances of fine-tuning.

Cosmologists have observed that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, and have attributed this to… read more

Biggest map of universe reveals colossal structures

May 16, 2006

Giant structures stretching more than a billion light years across have been revealed by two new maps of the distribution of galaxies in the universe. The updated atlases lend more support to the idea that the universe is dominated by dark matter and dark energy.

‘Cloaked’ carbon nanotubes become non-toxic

May 16, 2006

A way to cloak carbon nanotubes, making them both non-toxic and highly customizable, marks a step towards using nanotubes in biological research and medicine.

The method uses mucins — rod-shaped synthetic polymers that mimic molecules found naturally on the outer surface of the body’s cells.

Diabetes gene therapy carried by ‘bubbles’ in the blood

May 16, 2006

Tiny “bubbles” may deliver genes to help fight diabetes, researchers say.

Researchers directed an ultrasonic pulse at the pancreas of the rats to burst the tiny bubbles, releasing the genetic contents. When they later dissected the rats and examined their organs, they found there were higher levels of fluorescence in pancreatic tissue than in other tissues.

In the second part of the experiment, the bubbles contained plasmids with… read more

IBM announces data storage breakthrough

May 16, 2006

Researchers at IBM say a new
method for cramming 6.67 billion bits into a square inch of tape and 8 terabytes on a single cartridge.

They contend that would be 15 to 20 times denser than today’s industry-standard tape products.

Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD Arrive

May 16, 2006

High-definition DVD has arrived … in two, incompatible formats — Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD.

Both formats offer capacities several times that of conventional DVDs. At launch, Blu-ray Disc is available in 25GB single-layer and 50GB dual-layer flavors (for prepackaged media as well as for recordable and rewritable media). By contrast, HD DVD’s capacity comes in at 15GB for a single-layer disc and 30GB for a dual-layer disc (for… read more

The Future Is Now

May 15, 2006

The Tofflers’ new book, “Revolutionary Wealth,” argues convincingly that we are on the verge of a post-scarcity world that will slash poverty and “unlock countless opportunities and new life trajectories,” at least if we avoid the rapidly escalating risks to such progress.

In Tokyo, the New Trend Is ‘Media Immersion Pods’

May 15, 2006

In the world’s most media-saturated city, people take a break by checking themselves into media immersion pods: warrens cluttered with computers, TV’s, video games and every other entertainment of the electronic age.

The Bagus Gran Cyber Cafes are Tokyo’s grand temples of infomania, containing row after row of anonymous cubicles. At first glance the spread looks officelike, but be warned: these places are drug dens for Internet addicts.

Singularity Summit reports

May 14, 2006

Reports on the lively Singularity Summit on Stanford University Saturday are coming in from several blogs, including Renee Blodgett’s Down The Avenue, ZDNet’s Between The Lines, and Responsible Nanotechnology, filed live by Mike Treder during the event.

Also see “Smarter than thou? Stanford conference ponders a brave new world with machines more powerful than their creators,” San… read more

Lost links to Fantastic Voyage

May 11, 2006

The TV show Lost has begun a web-based game with a link to “Life Extension” that links to Ray Kurzweil’s Fantastic Voyage book, reports Brian Atkins
of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

The most realistic virtual reality room in the world

May 11, 2006

More than $4 million in equipment upgrades will shine 100 million pixels on Iowa State University’s six-sided virtual reality room.

That’s twice the number of pixels lighting up any virtual reality room in the world and 16 times the pixels now projected on Iowa State’s C6, a 10-foot by 10-foot virtual reality room that surrounds users with computer-generated 3-D images. That means the C6 will produce virtual reality at… read more

The new incredibles: Enhanced humans

May 11, 2006

People with enhanced senses, superhuman bodies and sharpened minds are already walking among us. Are you ready for your upgrade?

They’re here and walking among us: people with technologically enhanced senses, superhuman bodies and artificially sharpened minds. The first humans to reach a happy, healthy 150th birthday may already have been born. And that’s just the start of it. Are you ready for your upgrade, asks Graham Lawton… read more

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