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The Deadly Art of Viral Cinema

August 3, 2005

Harvard biophysicist Xiaowei Zhuang uses lasers, a microscope, and pair of hi-res digicams to capture viral infection in action.

These movies are crucial to scientists searching for opportunities to block viruses in transit. Equally important, researchers may learn from Zhuang’s films how to mimic viruses, which could help them engineer drugs that penetrate cells and treat genetic disorders from within.

The Death of E-Mail

November 19, 2007

Email is increasingly for old people, as kids turn to instant-messaging, mobile text-messaging, blogging, micro-blogging, Twitter tweet, and Facebook status updates to overcome e-mail’s shortcomings.

The digital Dark Age

September 26, 2005

A major challenge faces the “digital” generation: how can masses of machine-generated, machine-read material be stored in a form that is safe, secure from degradation.

Computer experts worldwide believe that, far from a panacea that provides increasingly efficient answers to problems of recording, storing and retrieving information, technology is deeply flawed.

They fear that rather than ushering mankind into a techno-utopia of paperless offices and clean, eco-friendly, endlessly… read more

The Digital Utility

March 3, 2008

In a new book, The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google, Nicholas Carr argues that we’re moving from the era of the personal computer to an age of utility computing–by which he means the expansion of grid computing, the distribution of computing and storage over the Internet, until it accounts for the bulk of what the human race does digitally.

The dilemma of being a cyborg

February 1, 2012

“We’re all cyborgs now,” the anthropologist Amber Case said in a TED talk in 2010.

Our devices allow us to compress time and space in a way that we’re able to mentally transport ourselves between planes of existence with the touch of a button. (Or, rather, a digital rendering of a button.)

This is the dilemma of being a cyborg: it’s that we’re collectively engaged in a mass… read more

The Disappearing Computer

December 4, 2002

“We are in the early years of a truly digital decade, in which the intelligence of the PC is finding its way into all kinds of devices, transforming them from passive appliances into far more significant and indispensable tools for everyday life,” says Bill Gates.

“Computers are becoming smaller, more powerful, less power-hungry and far less expensive, making it easier to build computing power and connectivity into everyday devices.… read more

The Display That Watches You

June 5, 2009

Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) have developed a screen technology that could help make wearable displays more compact and simpler to use. By interlacing photodetector cells with display pixels, the researchers have built a system that can display a moving image while also detecting movement directly in front of it.

The dizzying data rate conundrum

June 8, 2009

Physicists can’t agree about strategies for storing the petabytes of data per year to be generated by the the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and in what format.

The LHC is emblematic of a broader problem in science.

The problem is also emblmematic of a broader problem on the Internet, as video and audio firehouses generate similar concerns. – Ed

The DNA so dangerous it does not exist

January 4, 2007

Boise State University researchers are searching for “primes”: DNA sequences and chains of amino acids so dangerous to life that they do not exist.

They have identified more than 60,000 primes of 15 nucleotides in length and 746 protein “peptoprime” strings of five amino acids that have never been reported in any species, and that represent the largest possible set of lethal sequences.

The next step is to… read more

The Doctor Kiosk

February 25, 2009
(Massachusetts General Hospital)

A computerized kiosk under development at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) can take a patient’s medical history, weight, pulse, blood pressure, and other vital signs, and even perform simple blood tests for glucose and cholesterol.

Physicians hope that the device will one day bring relief to the overburdened healthcare system, and allow doctors to intervene earlier in chronic disease.

The Doctor Will Freeze You Now

May 5, 2004

BioTime has developed a process that cools living bodies down to the brink of freezing — a state in which the brain takes hours, not minutes, to wither.

Given the need to preserve donor organs for as long as possible, brain-dead accident victims may lead the way in whole-body cryobiological research. The day may not be far off when we freeze these cadavers for transport, then thaw them and… read more

The Doctor Will See Your Prototype Now

February 11, 2005

The Physiome Project is assembling digital models of every system and anatomical feature of the human body – from large organs to tiny cellular and molecular functions.

The ssytem would allows physicians to test various scenarios on your digital model – surgery, radiation, chemotherapy – and watch how your system reacts.

The Doctrine of Digital War

April 6, 2003

“Rumsfeld’s new-wavers think massing huge numbers of land troops isn’t always needed in an era when powerful networked-computing systems and unerringly accurate munitions can do much of the dirty work.”

The Double Thinker

September 24, 2007

Steven Pinker brings his theory of human nature and his obsession with words together in his new book, “The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window Into Human Nature.”

The Drake Equation for the Multiverse

February 11, 2010

Multiverse Drake equation

Marcelo Gleiser at Dartmouth College has devised a version of the classic Drake equation (for the total number of intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way) for the entire multiverse (multiple universes).

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