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The search engine that can predict what you want

April 22, 2011

Futureful, a Finnish startup, is building a predictive discovery iPad app that will deliver personalized information.

The company’s algorithms glean information from social feeds, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Delicious, Tumblr, and Flickr, to locate trending topics. The algorithms crunch users’ interests, behavior, and posts with those of friends and other users to suggest subjects for further exploration.

Tapping one or more of these subjects on… read more

The Search for a Clearer Voice

January 12, 2011

Google’s improved Voice Search takes speech recognition to its next level: Google’s servers will now log up to two years of your voice commands in order to more precisely parse exactly what you’re saying.

In tests on the new app, which appeared in Google’s Android Market a week before Christmas, the app originally got about three out of five searches correct. After a few days, the ratio crept up… read more

The Search for Genes Leads to Unexpected Places

April 27, 2010

Scientists have identified thousands of genes, including those in plants, that can give rise to diseases in humans when they mutate.

The search for seeds of black holes

Galaxy mergers are not necessary to create big black holes, new observations suggest
March 31, 2014

The galaxy NGC 4395 is shown here in infrared light, captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A new study using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has turned up what might be the cosmic seeds from which a supermassive black hole will sprout.

The smallest black holes, only a few times greater in mass than our sun, form from exploding stars. The biggest, billions of times the mass of our sun, grow together with their host galaxies over time, deep in the… read more

The Secret China-U.S. Hacking War

March 14, 2008

Numerous hacks from the Far East look like concerted attacks against U.S. military installations, but nobody’s saying for sure.

Is the United States under attack again?

The Secret Lives Of Objects: StickyBits Turn Barcodes Into Personal Message Boards

March 10, 2010

Stickybits, a new iPhone and Android app that lets you scan any barcode and attach a geo-tagged message to that physical object, has been launched by Stickybits.

The barcode in a greeting card, for instance, could trigger a video message from the sender. One on a box of medical supplies could inventory what is inside. A business card with a code on it could link to a resume or… read more

The Secret of Life

February 11, 2003

Cracking the DNA code 50 years ago has changed how we live, heal, eat and imagine the future. A special issue of Time explores the revolution.

The secret of longevity for the world’s longest-living rodent: better protein creation

October 3, 2013

Naked mole rats are small, hairless, subterranean rodents native to eastern Africa (credit: Adam Fenster/University of Rochester)

Better-constructed proteins could explain why naked mole rats live long lives — about 30 years — and stay healthy until the very end, resisting cancer, say University of Rochester biologists Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov.

Their work focuses on naked mole rat ribosomes, which assemble amino acids into proteins. Ribosomes are composed of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) molecules and proteins.

When… read more

THE SECRET SHARER: Is Thomas Drake an enemy of the State?

May 17, 2011

NSA crypto-mathematician Bill Binney estimated that there were some two and a half billion phones in the world and one and a half billion IP addresses. Approximately 20 terabytes of unique information passed around the world every minute. So he started assembling ThinThread, a system that could trap and map all of it.

By 2000, Binney, using fiber optics, had set up a computer network that could chart relationships… read more

The Secrets of Anti-Aging Genes

July 17, 2008

An ambitious plan to sequence 100 genes in 1,000 healthy old people could shed light on genetic variations that insulate some people from the ailments of aging, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, allowing them to live a healthy life into their eighties and beyond.

Eric Topol, a cardiologist and head of the Genomic Medicine Program at the Scripps Translational Science Institute, is leading the project.

Researchers are… read more

The secrets of intelligence lie within a single cell

April 27, 2010

The brain’s power will turn out to derive from data processing within the neuron rather than activity between neurons, suggests University of Cambridge research biologist Brian J. Ford.

“Each individual neuron is itself a computer, and the brain a vast community of microscopic computers… the human brain may be a trillion times more capable than we imagine,” he adds.

The self-driving car logs more miles on new wheels

August 8, 2012


Members of the Google self-driving car team will soon start using the cars solo (rather than in pairs) for things like commuting to work, says Google Official Blog.

Our vehicles, of which about a dozen are on the road at any given time, have now completed more than 300,000 miles of testing. They’ve covered a wide range of traffic conditions, and there hasn’t been a single accident… read more

The self-driving Golf that would give Herbie a run for its money

July 3, 2006

Volkswagen has unveiled a fully automatic prototype car that can drive itself at up to 150 mph.

The “Golf GTi 53 plus 1″ has radar and laser sensors to “read” the road and send the details back to its computer brain. A satellite navigation system tracks its exact position. It was developed initially to help Volkswagen engineers test their vehicles.

The selfless gene: Rethinking Dawkins’s doctrine

March 9, 2009

A small but growing coterie of evolutionary biologists argues that the selfish-gene concept leaves us blind to crucial evolutionary processes at higher scales — among groups, species and even the whole ecosystem.

The semantic engineer

April 20, 2004

Daniel Dennett is writing a new book opposing the rise of supernaturalism, to be called “Breaking the spell.”

It will attempt to extirpate supernaturalism. “I have absolutely no doubt that the secular and scientific vision is right and deserves to be endorsed by everybody, and as we have seen over the last few thousand years, superstitious and religious doctrines will just have to give way,” he said.

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