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Thirty years with computers

May 28, 2004

“According to Moore’s Law, computer power doubles every 18 months, meaning that computers will be a million times more powerful by 2034,” estimates computer useability expert Jakob Nielsen.

“According to Nielsen’s Law of Internet bandwidth, connectivity to the home grows by 50 percent per year; by 2034, we’ll have 200,000 times more bandwidth.

“That same year, I’ll own a computer that runs at 3PHz CPU speed, has a… read more

Search engines try to find their sound

May 28, 2004

Consumers armed with broadband connections at home are driving new demand for multimedia content and setting off a new wave of technology development among search engine companies eager to extend their empires from the static world of text to the dynamic realm of video and audio.

StreamSage has developed speech recognition technology to transcribe audio and video content and contextual analysis to understand the language and parse the themes… read more

Researchers zero in on a cause of aging

May 27, 2004

Taking a major step toward identifying one cause of aging, researchers have shortened the life of mice and created signs of old age by injecting a small genetic defect in the mice’s mitochondria, the tiny power plants within each cell.

The New ‘Molecular Economy’

May 26, 2004

A new “molecular economy” is on its way, while the information economy hasn’t completely matured. As the information economy comes of age, a surprising thing is happening: Information systems are starting to take their cues from biological ones. Information is converging with biology, and business is following suit.

(Excerpts from IT’S ALIVE: The Coming Convergence of Information, Biology, and Business by by Christopher Meyer & Stan Davis.)

Universe Measured: We’re 156 Billion Light-years Wide!

May 25, 2004

The universe is at least 156 billion light-years wide.

The calculation is based on the calculations that the universe is about 13.7 billion years old. So one might assume that the diameter of the universe is 27.4 billion light-years wide. But the universe has been expanding ever since the beginning of time, bringing the estimated diameter to 156 billion light-years.

Malformed Proteins Found in Sheep Muscle

May 24, 2004

Prions have been found in sheep muscle, scientists announced Saturday — the first time they have been discovered in animal flesh that many humans normally eat.

The animals were infected with scrapie, a prion disease that is not the same as bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Scientists believe that mutated scrapie prions may have caused the British epidemic of mad cow disease of the 1980′s, but no case of scrapie transmitted… read more

Doctors Put Hope in Thin Wires for a Life in Epilepsy’s Clutches

May 24, 2004

Deep-brain stimulators (“pacemakers for the brain”) are at the forefront of research by neuroscientists seeking to treat a variety of difficult conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and other types of tremors and movement disorders.

Conditions may eventually include depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and Tourette’s syndrome.

The devices inhibit syncronized nerve impulses in parts of the brain that are too active.

In the Era of Cheap DVD’s, Anyone Can Be a Producer

May 21, 2004

Independent filmmakers, specialty magazine publishers, artists, educators — all those with a video to sell, no matter how narrow the niche –are turning out DVD’s and distributing them through the mail.

It’s a trend that began in the era of videotape but has accelerated with DVD’s because they are inexpensive to duplicate and ship.

Semantic Web Ready for Phase Two

May 21, 2004

The World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Semantic Web is ready for a new phase of development that will lead to the creation of new tools, languages and applications, Tim Berners-Lee, the W3C’s director, said.

He predicted a future where enterprises would adopt the Semantic Web and be startled by the dramatic way in which data can be collected and formatted in order to help humans and machines interact with… read more

Tonsil tests suggest thousands harbour vCJD

May 21, 2004

Almost 4000 Britons aged between 10 and 30 may be harboring the prion proteins that cause variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), the human form of mad cow disease.

The estimate is speculative since it’s based on extrapolation from only three infected tonsil or appendix samples.

BioCDs could allow for rapid disease tests

May 20, 2004

While-you-wait medical tests that screen patients for thousands of disease markers by detecting proteins could be possible with “BioCDs” –compact-disc technology patented by a team of Purdue University scientists led by physicist David D. Nolte.

CDs ordinarily store digital information as billions of tiny “pits” in their surface. The test transforms these into miniature test tubes that can hold a trace quantity of a chemical that reacts to a… read more

Nanobacteria revelations provoke new controversy

May 20, 2004

Mayo Clinic researchers have found evidence for the existence of controversial “nanobacteria” — a possible new life form. The research suggested that the organisms are self-replicating in culture and could be identified with an antibody and DNA stain.

Some scientists say nanobacteria are responsible for a wide range of diseases, including calcification of the arteries.

Others say they are simply too small (50 to 500 nm) to be… read more

Smart glasses detect eye contact

May 20, 2004

Sunglasses that can detect when someone is making eye contact with the wearer could be used to tell when someone might be too busy to receive a phone call and for automatically detecting and recording interactions and conversations with other people.

Light emitting diodes positioned around the lenses emit infrared light to locate any eyes in the scene. The system then looks for the glint created by the light… read more

1st Nat’l Bank of Stem Cells

May 20, 2004

The world’s first embryonic stem-cell bank opened in Britain Wednesday, breaking new ground in one of the most controversial areas of medical research.

The bank will store and supply tens of thousands of stem cell lines for research and possible treatment of conditions like diabetes, cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

Google Moves Toward a Direct Confrontation With Microsoft

May 19, 2004

Edging closer to a direct confrontation with Microsoft, Google is preparing to introduce a powerful file and text software search tool for locating information stored on personal computers.

Code-named Puffin, the project was started, in part, to prepare Google for competing with Windows Longhorn, which according to industry analysts will dispense with the need for a stand-alone browser.

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