science + technology news

Huge protein-interaction database could save lives

February 27, 2006

The Human Protein Reference Database, the first large-scale analysis of how proteins interact inside our cells, may help biologists identify novel gene mutations involved in human disease, researchers say.

Enzyme computer could live inside you

February 24, 2006

A molecular computer that uses enzymes to perform calculations has been built by researchers in Israel.

They believe enzyme-powered computers could eventually be implanted into the human body and used to, for example, tailor the release of drugs to a specific person’s metabolism.

Is our universe about to be mangled?

February 23, 2006

Our universe may one day be obliterated or assimilated by a larger universe, according to a controversial new analysis. The work suggests the parallel universes proposed by some quantum theorists may not actually be parallel but could interact — and with disastrous consequences.

Quantum Dots ‘Talk’

February 23, 2006

Ohio University scientists who hope to use quantum dots as the building blocks for the next generation of computers have found a way to make these artificial atoms communicate.

They found that when the dots were arranged at a distance from each other greater than the radius of the dots, light waves traveled between the nanocrystals coherently. In previous research, the light’s wavelength would change or become irregular during… read more

Quantum computer works best switched off

February 23, 2006

A quantum computer program has produced an answer without actually running.

Digital Books Start A New Chapter

February 22, 2006

Lighter devices, better displays, and the iPod craze could make digital books best-sellers.

Portable devices are becoming lighter and more appealing. Books are being scanned into digital form by the thousands. The most important step forward may be in “digital ink,” the technology used for displaying letters on a screen.

E Ink has created a method for arranging tiny black and white capsules into words and images with… read more

Quantum teleporter creates laser beam clones

February 22, 2006

Quantum physicists have moved beyond teleporting individual photons to imitating a classic science-fiction scenario — a teleportation machine that generates two near-identical copies of the original.

The Unconscious Mind: A Great Decision Maker

February 21, 2006

Dutch psychologists found that people struggling to make complex decisions did best when they were distracted and were not able to think consciously about the choice at all.

The research not only backs up the common advice to “sleep on it” when facing difficult choices, but it also suggests that the unconscious brain can actively reason as well as produce weird dreams and Freudian slips.

Stem Cells May Be Key to Cancer

February 21, 2006

At the heart of every tumor, some researchers believe, lie a handful of aberrant stem cells that maintain the malignant tissue.

The idea, if right, could explain why tumors often regenerate even after being almost destroyed by anticancer drugs. It also points to a different strategy for developing anticancer drugs, suggesting they should be selected for lethality to cancer stem cells and not, as at present, for their ability… read more

Culture of Fear

February 20, 2006

Attempting to avoid all risk is a recipe for technological and economic stagnation, said speakers at the “Panic Attack: The New Precautionary Culture, the Politics of Fear, and the Risks to Innovation” conference.

The strongest versions of the precautionary principle demand that innovators prove that their inventions will never cause harm before they are allowed to deploy or sell them. In other words, if an action might cause harm,… read more

Segway creator unveils his next act

February 20, 2006

Dean Kamen, the engineer who invented the Segway, has invented two devices, each about the size of a washing machine, that can provide much-needed power and clean water in rural villages.

The water purifier makes 1,000 liters of clean water a day from any water source. The power generator makes a kilowatt off of anything that burns.

Web program simplifies artificial gene design

February 20, 2006

GeneDesign, a new web-based program that simplifies many tricky steps involved in designing artificial DNA, has been released by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers.

But this is also a source of concern. An investigation conducted by New Scientist in November 2005 revealed that few gene synthesis companies check that the genes they are being asked to make are safe, or perform customer background checks after receiving an… read more

I.B.M. Researchers Find a Way to Keep Moore’s Law on Pace

February 20, 2006

IBM researchers plan to describe an advance in chip-making on Monday that could pave the way for new generations of superchips.

The development will make it possible to create semiconductors with features thinner than 30 nanometers, one-third the width of today’s industry-standard chips.

The researchers have created the thinnest line patterns to date using deep ultraviolet lithography, extending the life of argon fluoride excimer lasers that generate the… read more

Most likely host star for advanced life named

February 20, 2006

Beta CVn, a binary star roughly 26 light-years away that resembles our own Sun, and epsilon Indi A are on a list of likely life-bearing systems compiled by Margaret Turnbull, at the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

A lost interview with ENIAC co-inventor J. Presper Eckert

February 17, 2006

The ENIAC, the first practical, all-electronic computer, unveiled on Feb. 14, 1946, was the watershed project that showed electronic computing was possible, using 18,000 vacuum tubes and programmed by plugging wires in from place to place.

Its first use was by Edward Teller in doing calculations for the hydrogen bomb.

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