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Annihilation omens

October 11, 2006

Ever-faster advances in brain science and computers are merging to build superhuman intelligence systems, says Fred C. Ikle in his latest book, “Annihilation from Within.”

Homo connectus will relegate the obsolete nation-state and its dysfunctional institutions to artifacts of history, quaint but useless. This gigantic leap of history will “obliterate all previous notions about military power, pose a fundamental challenge to all religions, and eventually upend human civilization.”… read more

UK debut for ‘blind’ mobile

November 24, 2003

The first mobile phone designed specifically for blind and partially sighted people will go on sale in Spain next week. A speech synthesizer reads everything that would normally appear on the screen and speaks the name or number of incoming callers.

Brain scan reveals memories of where you’ve been

March 13, 2009

Functional MRI scans of the hippocampus (responsible for memory) have for the first time been used to detect a person’s location in a virtual environment.

The finding suggests that more detailed mind-reading, such as detecting memories of a summer holiday, might eventually be possible, says Eleanor Maguire, a neuroscientist at University College London.

Computer Scientists Inject Context into Automated Image Annotation

October 18, 2007

Computer scientists from UC San Diego and UCLA have brought common sense to an automated image labeling system, using context to help identify objects in photographs.

They are using the Google Labs tool called Google Sets, which generates lists of related items or objects from just a few examples, providing contextual information that improves the accuracy of automated image labeling systems.

UCSD news release

Tamiflu could boost drug-resistant flu in wild birds

October 18, 2006

In a flu pandemic, millions of people are expected to take the antiviral drug Tamiflu, but new research shows that ultimately much of the drug will pass through the people taking it and end up in waterways. Chances are it will then linger long enough to promote Tamiflu-resistant flu viruses in wild birds.

Microbeams have big impact on cancer cells

December 4, 2003

Scientists microbeams have discovered that targeting just a few cells with a “microbeam,” which launches streams of helium ions a micron wide, can cause massive destruction to other diseased cells.

The findings could have important implications for improving the effectiveness of radiotherapy for cancer. It also means that even very low doses of radiation may be doing more damage to normal cells than scientists thought.

Looking ahead with tech icon Bob Metcalfe

March 19, 2009

The goal in the next six or seven decades should be to produce “squanderably abundant, cheap and clean energy,” says Internet pioneer Bob Metcalfe.

There were innovations no one saw coming that made the Internet possible and better — the semiconductor, the PC, packet-switching, Ethernet, TPC/IP protocol. There will be surprises in the energy field, too, he belives.

Depleting oil supplies threaten ‘meltdown in society’

October 30, 2007

The Energy Watch Group (EWG) in Berlin, Germany reported this week that a study showed that world oil production peaked in 2006 — far earlier than expected.

EWG analysed oil production figures and predicted it would fall by 7 per cent a year, dropping to half of current levels by 2030. The report also predicts significant falls in gas, coal and uranium production. The group warns that supply shortages… read more

High-Tech Military in Due Course

November 1, 2006

The kind of a war scenario seen in a science fiction film like Star Wars is likely to become a reality in about 10 years, as the government is accelerating plans to equip the South Korean military with high-tech unmanned weapons systems and versatile combat robotic systems.

By 2025, the Army plans to introduce unmanned state-of-the-art vehicles, called Experimental Autonomous Vehicles (XAV), for use in light and heavy combat… read more

Net beats the papers

December 16, 2003

Americans logged onto the Internet to learn about the capture of Saddam Hussein because the news broke after most of the nation’s newspapers had “gone to bed.”

A generation of younger readers admits to getting their news from the Internet, not newspapers.

Internet competition is forcing newspapers — and their giant newsgathering forces — to publish more original reporting on their Web sites, a practice they have resisted… read more

How to save the world from an asteroid impact

March 26, 2009

Asteroids could be nudged away from a a collision course with Earth by a small nuclear explosion or by using lasers to vaporize a region, creating a plume of gas that should provide enough thrust to push the asteroid off course, according to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and University of Glasgow scientists.

A Planetary System That Looks Familiar

November 8, 2007

Astronomers reported Tuesday that there were at least five planets circling a star 41 light-years from here in the constellation Cancer, known as 55 Cancri, where only four had been known before.

This makes it the most extensive planetary system yet found outside our own. It is also the one that most resembles our solar system, with a giant planet orbiting far out from the star and four smaller… read more

A Step Closer to Nanotube Computers

November 14, 2006

Stanford University researchers have developed a method of separating out purely semiconducting nanotubes with a consistent range of diameters stretching across the source and drain.

The method is scalable to a bulk manufacturing process.

‘Get me rewrite!’ Now, computers can play along

December 29, 2003

MIT and Cornell researchers have created a program that can automatically generate paraphrases of English sentences.

The program gathers text from online news services on specific subjects, learns the characteristic patterns of sentences in these groupings, and then uses those patterns to create new sentences that give equivalent information in different words.

Vibrating touch screen puts Braille at the fingertips

April 1, 2009

A new way of presenting Braille characters on a mobile device could lead to a Braille-ready touchscreen phone.

University of Tampere in Finland and colleagues used a Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, which has a piezoelectric material built into the touch screen that vibrates when an electric signal is applied to it. To generate characters, they installed software that represents a raised dot as a single pulse of intense vibration,… read more

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