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Techno hits basic beat

January 7, 2004
Complexity of nine musical genres

Physicists have quantified differences in the patterns of various musical genres and their correlations to subjective, qualitative musical aspects of these genres by using a technique called detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA). DFA has been used to study complicated signals in economic, genetic and heartbeat data.

The method produces a number, “alpha,” that quantifies the complexity of patterns in a signal, in this case, the volume of music. Western classical… read more

‘Smart Bomb’ delivery destroys tumors in mice

January 6, 2004

Weizmann Institute scientists have destroyed malignant tumors in mice using allicin, a chemical that occurs naturally in garlic.

To zero in on the targeted tumor, scientists took advantage of the fact that most types of cancer cells exhibit distinctive receptors on their surfaces. An antibody that is “programmed” to recognize the tumor’s characteristic receptor is chemically bound to the enzyme alliinase. Injected into the bloodstream, the antibody seeks out… read more

First integrated circuit with nanotube transistors created

January 6, 2004

UC Berkeley and Stanford Researchers have created the first working integrated circuit that successfully incorporates carbon nanotubes.

They developed the integrated circuit to speed the analysis of thousands of synthesized carbon nanotubes, sorting them into metallic and semiconducting nanotubes. To do that, they grew carbon nanotubes directly onto “islands” on the circuit platform that contained the necessary catalyst for nanotube synthesis.

By turning certain switches on and off,… read more

Caltech lecture by Crichton on ‘consensus science’

January 5, 2004

Michael Crichton understands the core values of science better than some prominent scientists, as he showed in this lecture at Caltech about the dangers of “consensus science”: “I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks.

“Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter… read more

Beyond Google: Narrow the Search

January 5, 2004

New technologies are bringing order to searching the Web and could revolutionize how people mine the Internet for information.

Software now emerging analyzes search results and automatically sorts them into categories that present far more information than the typical Google-style textual list.

One tenth of stars may support life

January 5, 2004

One tenth of the stars in our galaxy might provide the right conditions to support complex life, according to a new analysis by Australian researchers. And most of these stars are on average one billion years older than the Sun, allowing much more time, in theory, for any life to evolve.

Anti-aging effect of calorie restriction explained

January 2, 2004

Shedding light on why drastically restricting calorie intake prolongs life span in some organisms, MIT researchers have found that lowering the level of the common NADH coenzyme activates an anti-aging gene in yeast.

MIT Biology Professor Leonard P. Guarente discovered in 2000 that calorie restriction activates the silenced information regulator (SIR2) gene,
which makes a protein called Sir2 that is normally activated by the coenzyme molecule NAD. Guarente has… read more

Chip miniaturization extended by strontium titanate

January 2, 2004

Researchers have found a way to use strontium titanate applied to a silicon wafer to extend the miniaturization and speed of transistors.

Silicon currently limits chip miniaturization because at a few atomic layers it loses its insulating property. Applying a strontium titanate layer overcomes that limit, according to simulations by Austrian researchers.

Technische Universitaet Clausthal press release

Young nerve cells can rewind their developmental clocks

January 2, 2004

Scientists have identified a gene in the cerebral cortex that apparently controls the developmental clock of embryonic nerve cells, a finding that could open another door to tissue replacement therapy in the central nervous system.

The researchers found that they could rewind the clock in young cortical cells in mice by eliminating a gene called Foxg1. The finding could potentially form the basis of a new method to push… read more

Top ten stories of 2003

January 2, 2004

The most popular stories published by New Scientist.com during 2003 include the first speed of gravity measurement, packet tracking for ultrafast Internet, the world’s first brain prosthesis, and James Watson’s statement that stupidity is a genetic disease that should be cured.

Nanotube antennas boost signal reception

December 31, 2003

Antennas in the form of carbon nanotube transistors can dramatically enhance the reception of RF signals, according to a study by USC scientist Bart Kosko, a professor in the school’s Electrical Engineering Department.

The finding is based on a theory called “stochastic resonance” that claims noise, or unwanted signals, can actually improve the detection of faint electrical signals. Kosko’s graduate student, Ian Lee, generated a sequence of faint electrical… read more

New Understanding Of Why Brain Cells Die After Stroke

December 31, 2003

Scientists have found a major mechanism that causes brain cells to die from stroke: when brain cells are deprived of oxygen and vital nutrients, as happens to parts of the brain affected by a stroke, a special channel on the surface of those brain cells is activated, triggering a lethal chain reaction.

The “TRPM7″ channel, when activated causes brain cells to produce large quantities of free radicals — toxic… 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 Fantasy and Reality of 2004

December 30, 2003

Experts say what they’d like to see happen in 2004 and what they think will happen.

Howard Rheingold, author and virtual community pioneer:

“I wish an interdisciplinary investigation (PDF) of human cooperation and collective action would begin to emerge in 2004, bringing together scientists, scholars and practitioners in self-organizing Internet politics, peer-to-peer computation, the sociology of managing common pool resources, the economics of open-source production, the… read more

Are you a bot or not?

December 29, 2003

You could call it the attack of the clones. Major websites such as Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, Altavista and Ticketmaster are being inundated by malicious automated programs pretending to be humans.

The main objective of these programs or “bots” is to gain access to the websites’ services and send spam, harass users, gather personal information or hog resources.

To ward off these bots, webmasters are increasingly turning to a… read more

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