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Computers as Authors? Literary Luddites Unite!

November 22, 2004

A computer program known as Brutus.1 is generating brief outbursts of fiction that are probably superior to what many humans could turn out.

Clear Pictures of How We Think

November 22, 2004

Psychologists are using fMRI to analyze human decision-making, such as moral judgment, evolutionary development, and love.

Scientists debate blending of human, animal forms

November 22, 2004

How human must a chimera (hybrid animal) be before more stringent research rules should kick in?

During one recent meeting, scientists disagreed on such basic issues as whether it would be unethical for a human embryo to begin its development in an animal’s womb, and whether a mouse would be better or worse off with a brain made of human neurons.

2-D Holograms Make 3-D Color Display

November 19, 2004

Researchers from Seoul National University have developed a three-dimensional color display that uses a set of six holograms and is made from relatively compact and inexpensive components.

With a parallel processing computer system and a specialized chip, the method could be used for real-time three-dimensional broadcasting, according to the researchers.

New Vehicles Will Make Own Decisions Based on Commands

November 19, 2004

The next war could be fought partly by unmanned aircraft that respond to spoken commands in plain English and then figure out on their own how to get the job done.

Software sorts out subjectivity

November 19, 2004

Cornell University rearchers have devised a way to improve sentiment (author attitude) classification that sidesteps having to deal with meaning by instead concentrating on context. Their method weeds out neutral sentences.

The method could be used to automate the maintenance of review-aggregation sites (to extract ratings for movie reviews, for example), by search engines to sort or filter results by viewpoint, to track changes in attitudes toward a given… read more

Nano Fabric May Make Computers Thinner

November 19, 2004

Researchers in Russia and England claim they have discovered the world’s first single-atom-thick fabric.

The fabric may represent a new class of materials — so thin they are only two-dimensional — and may lead to computers made from a single molecule.

The graphene fabric is the first two-dimensional fullerene. The research team demonstrated an “ambipolar field-effect” that makes graphene a transistor under ambient temperature and pressure conditions.… read more

Shape-shifting robot shows off its moves

November 18, 2004

A shape-shifting robot comprised of many independently moving components, has been demonstrated walking, rolling and slithering for the first time.

The coordinated movement of numerous cells enables the robot to change its overall shape and also move itself along. The cells each have a computer and communicate with each other via an infrared link.

Seagate Ships 400-GB Drive

November 18, 2004

Setting a new record, Seagate Technology began shipping its first 400-Gbyte drive, the Barracuda 7200.8, this week.

Google Plans New Service for Scientists and Scholars

November 18, 2004

Google Inc. has launched Google Scholar, providing access to scholarly literature like peer-reviewed papers, books, abstracts and technical reports.

Google Scholar will make the world’s scientific literature universally accessible, says Anurag Acharya, who led the project.

It includes the number of scientific citations for each listing as well as ways to find materials at libraries that are not online.

Heart Scanner Stirs New Hope and a Debate

November 18, 2004

Multidetector CT scans, a new way to diagnose heart disease that takes only seconds and provides pictures so clear they show every clogged artery, may revolutionize cardiology.

At a cost of about $700, it can largely replace invasive, $4,000 diagnostic angiograms. In a CT scan, X-rays pass through the heart and are picked up by detectors that send information to a computer that constructs an image. The new multidetector… read more

New book released — Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever

November 17, 2004

Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever by Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman M.D. has been published by Rodale Books. It explains how advances in genomics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology have brought the possibility of immortality within our grasp.

The book describes three bridges to the future that can lead to longer, healthier lives:

1. Ray & Terry’s Longevity Program: present-day therapies and guidance that enables… read more

Fuel shortage is civilization’s major problem: Smalley

November 17, 2004

The shortage of fossil fuels is the most significant problem facing human civilization, said nobel prize winner Richard Smalley, director of the Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory at Rice University, speaking at SEMI NanoForum 2004.

Nanotechnology has the potential to provide an energy storage capability so that alternative energy sources can be widely adopted. “We need new technology to solve the energy problem,” he said.

However, Smalley warned that the… read more

Top scientist asks: is life all just a dream?

November 16, 2004

“Life, the universe and everything” may be no more than a giant computer simulation with humans reduced to bits of software, says Martin Rees, Royal Society professor of astronomy at Cambridge University, in a forthcoming BBC television documentary.

Countering this, MIT professor Seth Lloyd said such a computer would have to be unimaginably large.

China to be biggest chip market by 2008, says ST

November 16, 2004

By 2008 the market for semiconductors in China will be the largest in the world at about $50 billion, aocording to STMicroelectronics estimates.

The eastern part of the globe will represent 66 percent of the market for semiconductors and the western part, Europe and the Americas, just 34 percent.

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