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Mother Nature’s Design Workshop

June 28, 2006

Scientists find the inspiration for the latest in surveillance and defense technologies by studying insects and other small creatures.

The Office of Naval Research has developed a Bio-Inspired Autonomous Undersea Vehicle, or BUAV, which draws on the principles behind fly wings and fish fins in its propulsion and maneuvering. UC Berkeley scientists have developed an artificial compound eye, inspired by the eyes of dragonflies or houseflies.

Surprising twist in debate over lab-made H5N1

March 11, 2012

H5N1 virus (credit: Lennart Nilsson)

A researcher who created one of the H5N1 mutants and a leading U.S. health official say the threat has been blown out of proportion, offering what they said were clarifications and “new data” to better gauge the risk it presents.

Contrary to widespread reports, the researcher, Ron Fouchier of Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, revealed that the virus made in his lab does not kill ferrets infected by… read more

Social networking sites to go 3D

April 9, 2008

Vivaty of Menlo Park, California, is creating a hybrid of conventional social networking sites such as Facebook and virtual worlds like Second Life.

To be offered to Facebook users, Vivaty users will get access to a virtual room where they can adorn the walls with photos, watch a virtual television that plays YouTube, invite friends over to join them, and chat via 3D avatars.

Kurzweil debates ‘law of accelerating returns’ with Denton, Tuomi

August 21, 2003

Ray Kurzweil, noted inventor, software developer and futurist, will present his work on “the law of accelerating returns” and debate its merits with biologist Michael Denton and innovation theorist Ilkka Tuomi at Accelerating Change ’03.

Twenty-four prominent thinkers will offer their insights from across a broad spectrum of cutting edge disciplines, such as biological computing, nanotech, cosmology, and futurism.

John Koza (Genetic Programming IV: Human-Competitive Machine… read more

TRANSCENDENT MAN film debuts at AFI film festival in Hollywood

October 15, 2009

TRANSCENDENT MAN will make its west coast festival debut on November 5th at 4:00 p.m. at the American Film Institute’s 2009 Film Festival at the Mann Chinese 6 Theatre in Hollywood.

The feature-length documentary film by director Barry Ptolemy chronicles the life and controversial ideas of Ray Kurzweil, exploring the social and philosophical implications of the profound changes ahead and the potential threats they pose to human… read more

DVD uses bug protein to store data

July 9, 2006

DVDs coated with a layer of protein made from genetically altered microbe proteins, could allow DVDs and other external devices to store 50 terabytes of data.

Galileo to spearhead extension of worldwide search and rescue service

March 14, 2012

Galileo GNSS

The global reach of Europe’s Galileo navigation system is being harnessed to pinpoint distress calls for rapid search and rescue.

Satellites locate the source of distress calls from radio beacons on ships and aircraft, then local authorities are alerted.



Cancer Therapy Without Side Effects Nearing Trials

April 15, 2008

A promising new cancer treatment that may one day replace radiation and chemotherapy is edging closer to human trials.

Kanzius RF therapy attaches gold or carbon nanoparticles to cancer cells identified by recognition molecules, and then “cooks” tumors inside the body with harmless radio waves.

IBM finds ally for supercomputer-on-a-chip

August 28, 2003

IBM and the University of Texas at Austin plan to collaborate on building a processor capable of more than 1 trillion calculations per second–faster than many of today’s top supercomputers–by 2010.

Prototypes are expected to be running in the lab by December 2005, capable of 32 billion operations per second, theoretically.

Green Genes

October 22, 2009

The possibility of transgenic primate models (suggested by recent research) could revolutionize medical research, offering a proving ground for new therapies that look promising in mice but seem too risky to try in humans.

If the genes associated with some cases of human illnesses such as Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Alzheimer’s disease were introduced into primates, colonies of the genetically altered animals could be… read more

Neurons return in damaged brains

July 16, 2006

A drug that triggers the birth of neurons in rat brains has opened up the possibility of a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

Animals given the drug generated dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra, the area of the brain where cells are lost in people with Parkinson’s.

SRI International releases report on costs and benefits of online learning programs

March 21, 2012

A new SRI International report prepared for the U.S. Department of Education provides guidance to educational leaders as they work to implement successful, cost-effective online learning programs for secondary schools.

The report, “Understanding the Implications of Online Learning for Educational Productivity,” summarizes past research on the cost and outcomes associated with online learning programs in higher education and offers strategies for implementing such programs effectively… read more

Google Earth Resurfaced

April 17, 2008

Google’s latest version of Google Earth, its 4.3 beta, includes Google Maps Street View, along with faster 3D rendering, photorealistic renderings for dozens of new cities, and and a button to view light changes throughout the day.

Getting More From a PC’s Spare Time

September 11, 2003

A new program, Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (Boinc), will eventually allow the SETI@home project to join forces with other distributed computing initiatives so volunteers can take part in multiple projects instead of just one.

David P. Anderson, a scientist at the University of California’s Space Sciences Laboratory who directs SETI@home, said the program would increase efficiency.

Theme-park dummy trick becomes teleconference tool

November 3, 2009

University of North Carolina researchers have developed a system to make teleconferencing more realistic by projecting video images of remote participants onto a 3D dummy model of their head.

The system could also be useful by doctors and patients for remote doctor visits, and as a “prosthetic presence” for patients unable to leave their home.


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