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A Real-Life Debate on Free Expression in a Cyberspace City

January 16, 2004

A debate over free expression and ethical behavior in online worlds is reverberating in the real one.

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games now regularly attract a million or more Americans. Sims Online, Everquest and others, where the border between fantasy and reality is increasingly blurry, the games have become more than simply a source of entertainment. They are also a gateway to a complex social network that takes on… read more

Puzzled monkeys reveal key language step

January 16, 2004

The key cognitive step that allowed humans to become the only animals using language may have been identified, scientists say.

A new study on monkeys found that while they are able to understand basic rules about word patterns, they are not able to follow more complex rules that underpin the crucial next stage of language structure. For example, the monkeys could master simple word structures, analogous to realising that… read more

Japan invents the gadget of your dreams

January 15, 2004

A Japanese company has invented a product which, it says, allows owners to create their own dreams.

Transforming Thoughts Into Deeds

January 15, 2004

A brain-computer interface created by Cyberkinetics called BrainGate could help patients with no mobility to control a computer, a robot, or eventually their own rewired muscles, using only their thoughts.

A Terabyte In A Cigar Box

January 15, 2004

LaCie has introduced a 1 Terabyte disk for $1,199.

Bush Vows to Expand ‘Human Presence Across Our Solar System’

January 15, 2004

U.S. President George W. Bush today set in motion the most dramatic changes in NASA’s priorities since the dawn of the Apollo program more than 40 years ago and declared a new era in the age of space exploration.

Robot scientist outperforms humans in lab

January 15, 2004

An intelligent robot that could free genomics researchers from routine lab chores has proven as effective as a human scientist. The robot not only performs genetics experiments, it also decides which ones to do, interprets the results and comes up with new hypotheses.

The “Robot Scientist” consists of a PC running an experiment selection system called ASE and a hypothesis generator called Progol. The PC is linked up to… read more

Gene May Be Key to Evolution of Larger Human Brain

January 14, 2004

Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have identified a gene that appears to have played a role in the expansion of the human brain’s cerebral cortex.

By comparing the gene’s sequence in a range of primates, including humans, as well as non-primate mammals, the scientists found evidence that the pressure of natural selection accelerated changes in the gene, particularly in the primate lineage leading to humans.

The researchers, led… read more

Keen Eye for the Nano Guys

January 14, 2004

The world’s most powerful microscope, the SuperSTEM, is an electron microscope with a resolution of one angstrom, or one-tenth of a nanometer, allowing it to image nanoparticles.

The trick: eliminating positive spherical aberration.

Pig-human chimeras contain cell surprise

January 14, 2004

Pigs grown from fetuses into which human stem cells were injected have surprised scientists by having cells in which the DNA from the two species is mixed at the most intimate level.

It is the first time such fused cells have been seen in living creatures. The discovery could have serious implications for xenotransplantation — the use of animal tissue and organs in humans — and even the origin… read more

Ultimate Parasites Threaten Man

January 13, 2004

Viruses and bacteria are the ultimate parasites — and our only true predators. With the advent of international jet travel, these parasites can escape from their remote lairs to every corner of the world in just a few hours. The greatest threat humanity is facing is that one day a virus will emerge that can spread as efficiently as tuberculosis and that is as deadly as Ebola.

‘Super-TB’ Created by Scientists

January 13, 2004

A virulent form of tuberculosis was created in a laboratory by experts trying to alter its genetic structure. They disabled the collection of genes thought to give TB some of its virulence and expected to find a weakened form of TB as a result. Instead, the organism grew in virulence.

The Military — DARPA’s New Supersoldiers

January 13, 2004

DARPA-funded researchers have recently begun to crack the brain’s neural codes. This research provides glimpses into a future when people will be able to manipulate complicated machinery or remote-controlled weapons just by thinking. They are also testing the viability of storing human memories on implantable microchips, an advance that would eliminate the need for training by allowing soldiers to upload someone else’s technical know-how or combat experience.

There’s Electricity in the Air

January 13, 2004

The world’s first hydrogen-powered aircraft, the Electric Airplane (Eplane) will be powered by an advanced electric motor. In its final form, it will fly solely on the power of a fuel cell and have a 500-mile range, with emergency assist from reserve batteries.

Epic Trip for ‘Alternative’ Car

January 13, 2004

A car that runs on just hydrogen and solar power has completed a journey through Australia—the first crossing of a continent for a car of this type.

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