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Sensor Listens to Cells for Cancer

November 29, 2005

A tiny sensor that can hear the subtle electrical signals naturally emitted from cells could be used one day to listen for cancer.

The “microelectrode cell array” has the potential to detect tumors much earlier than current methods and help develop drugs that effectively kill cancerous cells.

The sensor is a specially designed semiconductor chip that contains an array of electrodes, each no wider than a human hair,… read more

Is There a Link Between Stress and Cancer?

November 29, 2005

A tenuous connection has emerged between stress, the immune system, and cancer, with a surprising new insight that is changing the direction of research: it now appears that cancer cells make proteins that actually tell the immune system to let them alone and even to help them grow.

One immediate consequence of this line of thinking is a new idea for treatment: scientists could seal off the cancer cells’… read more

Scientists, be on guard … ET might be a malicious hacker

November 29, 2005

Richard Carrigan, a particle physicist at the US Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, believes the SETI@home project is putting Earth’s security at risk by distributing the signals they receive to computers all over the world.

Nanopillars reverse optical behaviour

November 29, 2005

Scientists in the UK and Russia have succeeded in fabricating a material that has a negative permeability at visible wavelengths.

The development is important because it could lead to “left-handed” materials, which exhibit a negative refractive index and function as a perfect lens, focusing light to a smaller spot than is usually possible.

Brighter Nanotubes

November 29, 2005

IBM researchers have fabricated nanotube devices around 1,000 times more efficient than previous ones at emitting light.

Such light-emitting nanotubes could find applications in creating faster transistor interconnections and in telecommunications. The tubes emit light in the wavelengths used by the telecom industry to send information through optical fibers.

The nanotubes, which produce tightly focused light, could also be used for optical probing, manipulation, and spectroscopic analysis at… read more

Google makes data free for all

November 29, 2005

Google has launched a new service called Google Base. It allows anyone to upload files for free to its massive server farms, making the data instantly searchable.

Although mainly aimed at online markets for such things as homes and jobs, scientists say the facility could have important implications for data-sharing in science, and perhaps boost efforts to make the web more “intelligent,” bringing structured web pages to the masses… read more

Nanotube forest does concertina scrunch

November 29, 2005

A film of upright carbon nanotubes can be compressed like a spring, making the material ideal padding for tiny objects, or to form components for microscopic mechanical devices.

Air guitarists’ rock dreams come true

November 29, 2005

The Virtual Air Guitar project, developed at Helsinki University of Technology, uses a computer to monitor the hand movements of a “player.” The system adds riffs and licks to match mid-air finger work.

Scientists embrace technology for cyberhugs

November 29, 2005

Singapore scientists have devised a vibration jacket for chickens controlled with a computer that gives the animal the feeling of being touched by its owner.

The next step would be to use the same concept to transmit hugs over the Internet, researchers at Nanyang Technological University said.

Pardon Me, but the Art Is Mouthing Off

November 28, 2005

Digital-media artist Lynn Hershman Leeson’s latest project is an AI known as DiNA, designed to chat with visitors about current affairs using voice-recognition software and a talking head on a flat-screen monitor.

Living camera uses bacteria to capture image

November 28, 2005

A “living camera” that uses light to switch on genes in a genetically modified bacterium can take a picture at a resolution of 100 megapixels per square inch over a period of four hours.

The researchers used genetic engineering techniques to shuttle genes from photosynthesising blue-green algae into the cell membrane of the E. coli.

It could lead to the development of “nano-factories” in which minuscule amounts of… read more

Holographic-memory discs may put DVDs to shame

November 28, 2005

A disc that can hold 300 gigabytes of data — 60 times more than a DVD — and can be used to read and write data 10 times faster is set to go on sale with compatible drives in late 2006 by InPhase Technologies and Hitachi.

The disc stores information in holographic memory.

InPhase says the technique could theoretically be used to store up to 1.6 terabytes of… read more

Breakthrough for quantum measurement

November 23, 2005

Two teams of physicists have measured the capacitance of a Josephson junction for the first time. The methods could be used to measure the state of quantum bits in a quantum computer without disturbing the state.

Butterflies master photonics

November 23, 2005

Exeter University researchers have found that the nanoscale structure of the wings of the African Princeps nireus butterflies closely matches the most advanced photonic materials under development in laboratories around the world.

Its fluorescent blue patches are formed from two-dimensional photonic crystal positioned above distributed Bragg reflectors. Fluorescent pigment in the photonic crystal structure of the butterfly wing absorbs light from blue skies and emits darker blue light.… read more

Growing Biofuels

November 23, 2005

A new biofuel production method converts biomass (organic leftovers) into a fuel called “syngas” that outperforms both petroleum and plant oil-based biodiesel.

It also produces 85 to 90 percent less climate-changing carbon dioxide than motoring on fossil diesel, and generates less soot and smog because the fuel contains none of the sulfur found in conventional diesel and few aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene.

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