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Kurzweil to be featured on CBS ’48 Hours’ Friday night

June 14, 2002

Ray Kurzweil will be featured on CBS 48 Hours: “It’s All In Your Head” on Friday, June 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, discussing nanobots and other future scenarios.

Inflatable tower could climb to the edge of space

June 8, 2009

A giant inflatable 15-kilometer-high tower could carry people to the edge of space without the need for a rocket, and could be completed much sooner than a cable-based space elevator, its proponents claim.

If built from a suitable mountain top, it could reach an altitude of around 20 kilometers, where it could be used for atmospheric research, tourism (without the difficulties of zero gravity), telecoms, or launching spacecraft

iPhone app lets the blind see through the crowd’s eyes

May 12, 2011

Using an iPhone app called VizWiz, the blind can now receive realtime assistance from sighted workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service.

With the app, blind users use their phone to take a picture of something they want identified, have it sent automatically to a recruited worker on the Internet, and receive back an answer, all within an average time of 27 seconds. Yasmina, a student at the University of… read more

Google’s free 3-D service brings views of Earth down to the PC

June 29, 2005

Google unveiled a free, three-dimensional satellite mapping technology Tuesday that is part flight simulator, part video game and part world atlas.

Google Earth allows users to zoom in from space, simulate flying above terrian or a city, get directions, find businesses and share the information with friends.

Google also introduced an updated version of its personalized search that personalizes results based on what a user has searched for… read more

Google to Host Terabytes of Open-Source Science Data

January 21, 2008

Google plans to host terabytes of open-source scientific datasets on research.google.com.

The storage will be free to scientists and access to the data will be free for all. Two planned datasets are all 120 terabytes of Hubble Space Telescope data and the images from the Archimedes Palimpsest, the 10th century manuscript that inspired the Google dataset storage project.

Small word network

July 5, 2002

Word association can link just about any two common (root) words in the English language using an average of three steps (degrees of separation), says a team of scientists at Arizona State University.
The researchers think the network structure of a language probably has its origins in the nature of cognition and memory. Different concepts, such as “actor” and “universe,” are closely linked by a short series of semantic… read more

‘Resurrection bug’ revived after 120,000 years

June 15, 2009

A tiny bacterium has been coaxed back to life after spending 120,000 years buried three kilometers deep in the Greenland ice sheet.

Researchers say it could resemble microbes that may have evolved in ice on other planets.

Applying neuroscience to robot vision

May 17, 2011

Robot Head2

A major European study in which robots attempt to replicate human behavior related to vision, gripping objects, and spatial perception has been developed by researchers at Robotic Intelligence Laboratory of the Universitat Jaume I (UJI) in Spain.

A robot head with moving eyes was integrated into a torso with articulated arms, built using computer models computer models from animal and human biology.

The robot… read more

Ethicists Offer Advice for Testing Human Brain Cells in Primates

July 15, 2005

If stem cells ever show promise in treating diseases of the human brain, any potential therapy would need to be tested in animals. But putting human brain stem cells into monkeys or apes could raise awkward ethical dilemmas, like the possibility of generating a humanlike mind in a chimpanzee’s body.

What Are We Thinking When We (Try to) Solve Problems?

January 30, 2008

Researchers have monitored the brain activity of volunteers tackling verbal problems to uncover what goes through the mind–literally–when the brain has an “aha!” moment of problem solving.

Asteroids on collision course with Earth?

July 24, 2002
NASA hypothetical simulation

A two-kilometers-wide asteroid — large enough to cause continent-wide devastation on Earth — could strike the planet on February 1, 2019, based on astronomers’ preliminary orbit calculations, BBC News reports. The uncertainty of the forecast is large, however — several tens of millions of kilometers, according to Dr. Donald Yeomans of NASA JPL.

Invisible comets made of an exotic material called “mirror matter” could also be on a collision… read more

New method to detect quantum mechanical effects in ordinary objects

June 23, 2009

A superconducting qubit could be used to demonstrate nanomechanical quantum entanglement and superpositions in a large collections of atoms in a NEMS resonator, say California Institute of Technology researchers.

Oversimplified memory theories ignore time-based patterns: psychologist

May 24, 2011

Cognitive psychologist Douglas L. Hintzman has urged memory researchers and theorists to consider the wide variety of things that memory does for us and not to oversimplify them.

“Cognitive psychologists are trying to be like physicists and chemists, which means doing controlled laboratory experiments, getting numbers out of them and explaining the numbers,” says Hintzman, now retired from the University of Oregon.  Most experiments, he says,… read more

New Spintronic Speed Record

July 29, 2005

The fastest-yet magnetic version of a random access memory (MRAM) cell switches at a rate of 2 GHz, as good as or better than the fastest non-magnetic semiconductor memories and faster than static RAM (or SRAM) memories, currently the fastest memories.

The new version, developed by Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt researchers, uses a “ballistic bit addressing” scheme to overcome limitations of previous designs.

MRAM, which uses electron spin to store… read more

DNA Is Blueprint, Contractor And Construction Worker For New Structures

February 4, 2008

Northwestern University researchers report they have used DNA as the blueprint, contractor and construction worker to build a three-dimensional structure out of gold.

Changing the DNA strand’s sequence of As, Ts, Gs and Cs changes the blueprint, and thus the shape, of the crystalline structure.

The technique, to be published in the journal Nature, and reflecting more than a decade of work, is “a major and fundamental step… read more

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