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The Genetics of Language

January 3, 2008

Neurogeneticists have begun to tease out how we evolved the capacity for sophisticated speech, using improved techniques for detecting DNA, cutting-edge analytical tools, and the genome sequences of species from humans to mice.

The Ghost in Your Machine

August 26, 2003

The world of smart computers — machines that would be familiar with your habits and know when you’re stressed or fatigued — could be only a few years away. The computers would note your mental logic for saving information and follow the same logic in saving files. They would accurately infer your intent, remember past experiences (for instance, that you tend to make errors in multiplication), and alert you to… read more

The ghost of personalized medicine

June 15, 2011

While the FDA recommends that doctors genotype patients for specific genetic biomarkers before prescribing more than 70 commonly-used medications, in a 2008 survey, only 10 percent of doctors believed they were adequately informed about how to test their patients for biomarkers.

The AMA states on its website that physicians today can use more than 1,200 genetic tests for more than 1,000 different diseases to help diagnose and treat their… read more

The God Particle and the Grid

March 25, 2004

The physics lab that brought you the Web is reinventing the Internet. Get ready for the atom-smashing, supercomputing, 5-gigabits-per-second Grid Economy: a super-reliable, superpowerful network that supplies on-demand computing capacity anytime, anywhere.

The good news in our DNA: Defects you can fix with vitamins and minerals

June 3, 2008

University of California, Berkeley, scientists have found an important reason (besides finding disease genes) to delve into your genetic heritage: to find the slight genetic flaws that can be fixed with remedies as simple as vitamin or mineral supplements.

They found there are many genetic differences that make people’s enzymes less efficient than normal, and that simple supplementation with vitamins can often restore some of these deficient enzymes to… read more

The Google Glass feature no one is talking about

March 3, 2013

When everything is connected --- a scene from Watchdogs, a future PS4 game (credit: Ubisoft)

“Google Glass might change your life, but not in the way you think. There’s something else Google Glass makes possible that no one — no one — has talked about yet, and so today I’m writing this blog post to describe it,” says Mark Hurst on Creative Good.

“It’s lifebits, the ability to record video of the people, places, and events around you, at all times. with a… read more

The Google of material properties

December 22, 2011

New materials

Thanks to a new online toolkit developed at MIT and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, any researcher can now find a material with specific desired properties far more easily than ever before.

Using a website called the Materials Project, you can explore an ever-growing database of more than 18,000 chemical compounds.

The site’s tools can quickly predict how two compounds will react with one another, what… read more

The Google Supercomputer

May 10, 2004

A consensus now believes that Google has about 100,000 servers, aggregated into one giant supercomputer organized by a sophisticated proprietary file system that holds all of the Web and performs seamlessly.

Also see “How many Google machines,” which estimates Google’s supercomputer performance at between 126 and 316 teraflops, making it by far the fastest supercomputer in the world, based on the Top500 list. – Ed.

The Grammar of Sound

May 1, 2003

Fast-Talk software lets you index and search audio much faster than in the past. Developed by Fast-Talk Communications, a Georgia Tech spinoff, the software lets users locate clips in an audio file simply by phonetically spelling and entering any term they want to find.

Note: KurzweilAI.net reviewed a beta version of Fast-Talk and found it effective and fast in retrieving information from audio interviews. – Ed.

The Great Brazilian Sat-Hack Crackdown

April 22, 2009

Truckers, criminals, farmers, and others in Brazil are illegally hijacking aging U.S. Navy communications satellites for personal communications.

The Great Woz Tells All

May 24, 2006

“I’m looking forward to the day when a computer can be a teacher,” says Apple computer inventor Steve Wozniak. “We’re not there yet, since we haven’t yet conquered artificial intelligence. Once we’ve made a robot that can make a cup of coffee, then we’ve probably got enough artificial intelligence. Then we can have 30 teachers in a class of 30 kids, and the computers can go at different rates with… read more

The Growing Web

December 30, 2003

In March 2000, 52 million Americans logged onto the Internet each day. By this past August, that figure had swelled 27 percent, to 66 million.

The Internet research project by the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts has done a comparative analysis of the data collected since the project’s inception. In a report released last week, there was ample evidence that the Internet has become mainstream.

The Guts of a Cell, Frozen in Time

December 17, 2007

A new twist on a technique called cryo-electron tomography offers a closer-than-ever look inside a human skin cell: it generates a 3-D image with resolution fine enough to distinguish the structures of proteins.

The new method, which involves freezing a cell and slicing it into thin sections, will allow scientists to probe how proteins organize and interact deep within a cell without disturbing them from their native states. The… read more

The Healing Power of Light

January 21, 2011

Broken polymer chains reform to repair a crack (Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Carnegie Mellon University)

A new polymer material created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Kyushu University that can repeatedly heal itself at room temperature when exposed to ultraviolet light presents the tantalizing possibility of products that can repair themselves when damaged.

Self-healing materials have been made before, mainly polymers and composites. But most of those have relied on tiny capsules that are filled with a healing agent. When the polymer cracks,… read more

The Health Effects of Social Networking

February 25, 2009

Two British scientists have recently suggested that spending all day, and much of the night networking on a computer might in fact be bad for your body and your brain.

Susan Greenfield, a neuroscientist at the University of Oxford, said her fear is that “these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small… read more

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