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Scientists Hope to Unravel Neanderthal DNA

July 21, 2006

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology plan to collaborate with an American company in an effort to reconstruct the genome of Neanderthals, the archaic human species that occupied Europe from 300,000 years ago to 30,000 years ago until being displaced by modern humans.

Recovery of the Neanderthal genome, in whole or in part, would be invaluable for reconstructing many events in human prehistory and evolution.

Making Old Muscle Young

June 17, 2008

Researchers at University of California, Berkeley have manipulated stem cells in older muscle tissue to produce new muscle fibers at levels comparable to young stem cells.

Old muscle tissue produces elevated levels of the molecule TGF-beta, which is known to inhibit muscle growth. The researchers used RNA interference, which can silence specific genes, to inhibit the TGF-beta pathway in old mice.

Muscle wasting–loss of muscle mass–occurs both during… read more

Molecular library opens era of personal medicine

September 22, 2003

The U.S. National Institutes of Health is launching a national molecular library to accelerate the development of new drugs and nano-scale agents for an emerging “era of personalized medicine.”

The library will act as a repository “for some of the hundreds of thousands of molecules the pharmaceutical industry screens for their use in identifying target agents that could be used to track or treat diseases.”

The blurry lines of animated ‘news’

February 3, 2010

Taiwan-based Next Media has garnered millions of Web hits for its controversial animated news, using animators and actors in motion-capture suits to dramatize the day’s news events to supplement actual news footage.

Shape-shifting lens mimics human eye

August 3, 2006

A shape-shifting lens has been developed that alters its focal length when squeezed by an artificial muscle, a ring of polymer gel that expands and contracts in response to environmental changes, eliminating the need for electronics to power or control the devices.

Different polymer gels can be used to create a lens that responds to changes in acidity, temperature, light, electric fields or even certain proteins.

A lens… read more

The Future of The Web

June 23, 2008

In five to ten years, the Web will have more voice technology–in hands-busy scenarios such as driving, and to increase accessibility, and will feature the Semantic Web “done right,” says Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee.

According to Vint Cerf, Vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google, “Seventy percent of all mobiles will be Internet enabled in 10 years or less. Gigabit speeds in wired and wireless modes will be… read more

Lasers operate inside single cells

October 6, 2003

With pulses of intense laser light a millionth of a billionth of a second long, US researchers are vaporizing tiny structures inside living cells without killing them. The “laser nanosurgery” technique could help probe how cells work and perform super-precise surgery.

In the future, laser scalpels could cut inside tissues without opening up the patient, says physicist Eric Mazur of Harvard University.

How Long Till Human-Level AI?

February 10, 2010


A significant number of individuals informed about AI believe it is likely that artificial general intelligence (AGI) at the human level or beyond will occur around the middle of this century, and plausibly even sooner, probably integrating a wide range of approaches, according to a survey of 21 AGI-09 conference participants.

The experts were asked when they estimated AI would reach each of four milestones:

    read more

    Leaping lizards and dinosaurs inspire robot design

    January 3, 2012


    University of California, Berkeley, biologists and engineers have studied lizards and found that swinging the tail upward is the key to preventing a forward pitch.

    The scientists subsequently added a tail to a robotic car they named Tailbot.

    Tailbot’s design pushed the boundaries of control in robotics in an area researchers call inertial assisted robotics. They are now investigating the role of the tail in controlling… read more

    Govt to back intelligence robot development

    August 18, 2006

    Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to begin assisting the development of next-generation intelligence robots in fiscal 2007 with the aim of commercializing them in 2015.

    Intelligence robots are capable of recognizing sounds and images through sensors and of automatically analyzing the obtained information to determine their actions.

    The Brains Behind the Image Fulgurator

    June 30, 2008

    The guerrilla-art stunt “Image Fulgurator” projects stealth images into the flash photographs of strangers.

    A photograph flash triggers a flash located behind a film camera to project an instantaneous image (from a 35 mm slide) onto the scene being photographed.

    Nanotubes boost storage

    October 16, 2003

    Scientists have demonstrated that multiwalled carbon nanotube tips can be used to write more than 250 gigabits per square inch of data onto a polymer film.

    The power efficiency of indent writing with MWCNT tips was found to be higher than that of conventional silicon tips owing to better heat transfer at the tip-polymer interface.

    Lantz, M. et al. Carbon nanotube tips for thermomechanical data more

    Cyberattack Drill Shows U.S. Unprepared

    February 18, 2010

    “Cyber Shockwave,” which simulated a massive cyberattack — mobile phone worm and power grid attack — on Tuesday, found that the U.S. is ill-prepared to handle a large-scale cyberattack.

    Physicists invent ‘QuIET’ — single molecule transistors

    August 30, 2006

    University of Arizona physicists proposed to turn single molecules into working transistors as small as a single nanometer.

    The Quantum Interference Effect Transistor (QuIET) design uses a benzene ring-like molecule with two molecular electrical leads attached to create two alternate paths through which current can flow and a third lead to turn the device on and off, the “valve.”

    Why Fly When You Can Float?

    July 7, 2008

    As the cost of fuel soars and the pressure mounts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, several schemes for a new generation of airship, based on new materials and sophisticated means of propulsion, are being considered by governments and private companies.

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