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Mapping a path for the 3D Web

May 9, 2006

With the spread of online games, virtual worlds and services like Google Earth and, people may soon be spending more time, communicating more and shopping more in complex 3D Web environments.

Korea Unveils World’s Second Android

May 9, 2006

Korea has developed its own android capable of facial expressions on its humanoid face.

The 15 monitors in the robotic face allow it to interpret the face of an interlocutor and look back at whoever stands near it. Ever-1 also recognizes 400 words and can hold a basic verbal exchange.

A Question of Resilience

May 8, 2006

“Resilience” — springing back from serious adversity — can best be understood as an interplay between particular genes and environment — GxE, in the lingo of the field.

Researchers are discovering that a particular variation of a gene can help promote resilience in the people who have it, acting as a buffer against the ruinous effects of adversity. In the absence of an adverse environment, however, the gene doesn’t… read more

‘Cyclic universe’ can explain cosmological constant

May 5, 2006

A cyclic universe, which bounces through a series of big bangs and “big crunches,” could solve the puzzle of our cosmological constant, physicists suggest.

At every big bang, the amount of matter and radiation in the universe is reset, but the cosmological constant is not, Paul Steinhardt at Princeton University and Neil Turok at Cambridge University believe. Instead, the cosmological constant gradually diminishes over many cycles to the small… read more

Now you see it, now you don’t: cloaking device is not just sci-fi

May 4, 2006

Mathematicians claim to have worked out how to make a cloaking device to render objects invisible at certain frequencies of light.

The cloaking device relies on recently discovered materials that have a negative refractive index, which effectively makes light travel backwards.

Battery electrodes self-assembled by viruses

May 4, 2006

Genetically modified viruses that assemble into electrodes could one day revolutionize battery manufacturing.

The MIT team genetically modified viruses to create the electrodes. They introduced snippets of single-stranded DNA that caused the viruses to manufacture specific molecules on their outer coating that attach to cobalt ions and gold particles. This combination turns the virus into an efficient anode as they provide an ideal conduit for electrons.

Brain Power

May 3, 2006

The Classification System for Serial Criminal Patterns (CSSCP) combs through police department IT systems, searching for patterns or clusters of data elements that might tie together a string of crimes and give police the data they need to find the perpetrators, derived from analysis of the most successful detectives in Chicago.

The Times Emulates Print on the Web

May 3, 2006

Microsoft and The New York Times have unveiled software that preserves the print edition’s design online.

IBM uses atomic microscope for direct writing

May 3, 2006

IBM has unveiled a new method of direct writing (like an inkjet printer) to substrates that harnesses an atomic force microscope (AFM) to electronically control molecular-scale lithography.

For semiconductors, IBM’s new electronically controlled direct writing method uses AFM positioning accuracy to define complex patterns in a variety of materials with features down to 10 nanometers — five times smaller than today’s e-beam lithography equipment and 10 times smaller than… read more

DARPA announces Urban Challenge.

May 2, 2006

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) today announced plans to hold its third Grand Challenge competition on November 3, 2007.

The DARPA Urban Challenge will feature autonomous ground vehicles executing simulated military supply missions safely and effectively in a mock urban area. Safe operation in traffic is essential to U.S. military plans to use autonomous ground vehicles to conduct important missions.

Teams will compete to… read more

Shifting constant could shake laws of nature

May 2, 2006

A series of experiments suggests that over the past 12 billion years, the ratio of the mass of a proton to that of an electron may have decreased.

Various versions of string theory suggest that extra dimensions occupied by a particle might affect properties such as its mass. Subtle changes in these dimensions could make physical constants vary slightly, acccording to John Barrow, a cosmologist at the University of… read more

‘Cooking’ carbon nanotubes like spaghetti

May 1, 2006

Scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a technique to force a variety of enzymes to self-assemble layer-by-layer on carbon nanotubes with the help of noodle-like polymer molecules.

In “A biosensor layered like lasagna,” the researchers say that this technique can be applied to a wide range of applications. In particular, it will be possible to build other biosensors “that react specifically with other biological chemicals,… read more

Subliminal advertising may work after all

May 1, 2006

Researchers have shown that if the conditions are right, subliminal advertising to promote a brand can be made to work.

Nanowires and water are a memorable mix

May 1, 2006

Adding water to nanowires could create computer memory devices capable of storing 10 million times more information in the same physical space as existing drives.

Researchers estimate that the wires could theoretically be used to make computer memory drives with a data density of 10,000 terabits per cubic centimeter. By contrast, current flash memory drives store about five gigabits per cubic centimeter.

Wrinkled cell nuclei may make us age

April 28, 2006

A new study shows that cells from people over the age of 80 tend to have specific problems with the nucleus. The elderly nucleus loses its pert, rounded shape and becomes warped and wrinkled.

The National Cancer Institute team suggests that healthy cells always make a trace amount of an aberrant form of lamin A protein, but that young cells can sense and eliminate it. Elderly cells, it seems,… read more

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