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The robot that thinks like you…

November 4, 2005

“Scientists built a robot that thinks like we do and set it loose to explore the world. New Scientist discovers what happened next

“The infant crawls across a floor strewn with blocks, grabbing and tasting as it goes, its malleable mind impressionable and hungry to learn. Before my eyes it is already adapting, discovering that the striped blocks are yummy and the spotted ones taste bad.

“Its exploration… read more

Robert Moog (1934-2005)

November 4, 2005

Motivated by a love for invention and for interacting with the musicians who used his technology, the synthesizer whiz had a profound impact on the music world, as Ray Kurzweil notes.

“In the 20th century, musical devices went beyond such natural ones (which were sometimes electrically amplified) to fully embrace high technology in the form of electronic music synthesis. The first synthesizers appeared in the early 1900s, but they… read more

U.S. Patent Office Publishes the First Patent Application to Claim a Fictional Storyline

November 4, 2005

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will publish history’s first “storyline patent” application today. Inventor Andrew Knight will assert publication-based provisional patent rights against the entertainment industry.

Knight will assert publication-based provisional patent rights against anyone whose activities may fall within the scope of his published claims, including all major motion picture manufacturers and distributors, book publishers and distributors, television studios and broadcasters, and movie theaters.

Source:… read more

Google adds library texts to search database

November 4, 2005

Google said Wednesday that it had completed the first major expansion of its Google Print database of searchable books, adding the full text of more than 10,000 works that are no longer under copyright, culled from the collections of four major research libraries.

The entire text of the works can be searched and read online through the Google Print site. Users can also save individual pages and cut and… read more

Scientists Crack Code for Motor Neuron Wiring

November 4, 2005

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers have deciphered a key part of the regulatory code that governs how motor neurons in the spinal cord connect to specific target muscles in the limbs.

The researchers said that understanding this code may help guide progress in restoring motor neuron function in people whose spinal cords have been damaged by trauma or disease. The studies suggest that the code — which involves… read more

Silicon chip works on the speed of light

November 3, 2005

A silicon chip that can carry light and even slow it down by a factor of 300 has been unveiled by IBM researchers in the US.

The idea is that such a device could synchronise data streams by slowing some streams, allowing others to catch up.

The chip demonstrates some of the essential techniques for creating high-speed photonic memory, which many researchers believe will one day make electronic… read more

Earliest starlight of the universe is revealed

November 3, 2005

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope may have detected the infrared glow from the very first generation of stars, a new study reports. If confirmed, the work would reveal the structure of the universe a few hundred million years after the big bang, when the galaxies that exist today were just beginning to take shape.

Astronomers zoom in on galaxy’s glittering heart

November 2, 2005

Astronomers have obtained the closest glimpse yet of the supermassive black hole thought to lurk at the center of our galaxy. They focused on radio emissions around the black hole over an area equal in width to the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

If astronomers are able to see up to the edge of the black hole’s event horizon — beyond which no light can… read more

Finding Signals in the Noise

November 2, 2005

A torrent of startups has surfaced recently to help us filter, manage, and control the flood of information on the Web. Some rely on insightful algorithms that understand popularity to filter the news, while others rely on the preferences of readers.

For example, Digg is a San Francisco startup that ranks news items by letting people choose which stories they like.

Why Microsoft Is Going “Live”

November 2, 2005

On Nov. 1, Bill Gates proclaimed this the era of “Live” software and insisted that Microsoft will play a major role in birthing a new generation of computing.

He laid out plans to create two families of Web services, one for consumers, called Windows Live, and one for small businesses, called Office Live.

Unlike traditional programs, such as Microsoft’s Office productivity suite, which reside on a PC, Web… read more

Superluminal Ultrasound?

November 2, 2005

The group velocity of an ultrasound wave could theoretically jump by five orders of magnitude over its ordinary values and exceed c (the speed of light), when pulses of high-frequency sound strike a mixture of water and tiny (approximately 0.1-mm diameter) plastic spheres.

Could Bluetooth chips talk to the stars?

November 1, 2005

Keeping in touch with far-flung space probes could become much cheaper and easier if space agencies used arrays of millions of tiny antennas based on existing wireless technology.

About 100 antennas could be printed on a standard circuit board and controlled by a computer chip.

Although each antenna would churn out a mere 10 milliwatts of power, 50 million of them could be united to achieve twice the… read more

U.S. Military Wants to Own the Weather

November 1, 2005

The U.S. military’s space-based response to Katrina may have represented the embryonic stages of an integrated military/civilian weather reaction and control system.

For example, artificial ionized plasma patterns with megawatts of power using inexpensive microwave power sources could be used to heat specific regions of the atmosphere to control hurricanes.

‘Dark’ Spins in Diamond Could Lead to Room-Temperature Quantum Computing

November 1, 2005

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have potentially opened up a new avenue toward room-temperature solid-state quantum information processing.

They discovered previously invisible “dark” (not visually detectable) spins from nitrogen defects in the diamond crystal.

“We have found a channel for moving information between single electron spins at room temperature,” said Awschalom, David Awschalom, a professor of physics. This is an initial step towards spin-based information processing.

The… read more

Beating the sub-wavelength limit

October 31, 2005

Physicists in Spain and Germany have proposed a technique for sending cold atoms through an array of slits that are much narrower than the de Broglie wavelength of the atoms. The phenomenon, which relies on “surface matter waves”, could be used to make atomic circuits.

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