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The Genetic Early Adopters

September 8, 2008

Anyone with $350,000 to spare can now have his or her own genome sequenced by Cambridge, MA startup Knome — delivered on an eight-gigabyte USB drive.

Cheaper personal-genomics services are already available, offering analysis of hundreds of thousands of genetic variations, to predict risk of disease or assess ancestry and other traits. But Knome sequences the entire genome–nearly all three billion bases.

Knome aims to sequence 20 genomes… read more

The Genetically Modified Bomb

September 24, 2003

Anybody who’s part of a group with a shared genetic profile may be at risk in the future from “genetic bombs,” a virus or bacteria designed to kill people who fit a certain genotype for purposes of mass genocide or social control.

The Genetics of Language

January 3, 2008

Neurogeneticists have begun to tease out how we evolved the capacity for sophisticated speech, using improved techniques for detecting DNA, cutting-edge analytical tools, and the genome sequences of species from humans to mice.

The Ghost in Your Machine

August 26, 2003

The world of smart computers — machines that would be familiar with your habits and know when you’re stressed or fatigued — could be only a few years away. The computers would note your mental logic for saving information and follow the same logic in saving files. They would accurately infer your intent, remember past experiences (for instance, that you tend to make errors in multiplication), and alert you to… read more

The ghost of personalized medicine

June 15, 2011

While the FDA recommends that doctors genotype patients for specific genetic biomarkers before prescribing more than 70 commonly-used medications, in a 2008 survey, only 10 percent of doctors believed they were adequately informed about how to test their patients for biomarkers.

The AMA states on its website that physicians today can use more than 1,200 genetic tests for more than 1,000 different diseases to help diagnose and treat their… read more

The God Particle and the Grid

March 25, 2004

The physics lab that brought you the Web is reinventing the Internet. Get ready for the atom-smashing, supercomputing, 5-gigabits-per-second Grid Economy: a super-reliable, superpowerful network that supplies on-demand computing capacity anytime, anywhere.

The good news in our DNA: Defects you can fix with vitamins and minerals

June 3, 2008

University of California, Berkeley, scientists have found an important reason (besides finding disease genes) to delve into your genetic heritage: to find the slight genetic flaws that can be fixed with remedies as simple as vitamin or mineral supplements.

They found there are many genetic differences that make people’s enzymes less efficient than normal, and that simple supplementation with vitamins can often restore some of these deficient enzymes to… read more

The Google Glass feature no one is talking about

March 3, 2013

When everything is connected --- a scene from Watchdogs, a future PS4 game (credit: Ubisoft)

“Google Glass might change your life, but not in the way you think. There’s something else Google Glass makes possible that no one — no one — has talked about yet, and so today I’m writing this blog post to describe it,” says Mark Hurst on Creative Good.

“It’s lifebits, the ability to record video of the people, places, and events around you, at all times. with a… read more

The Google of material properties

December 22, 2011

New materials

Thanks to a new online toolkit developed at MIT and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, any researcher can now find a material with specific desired properties far more easily than ever before.

Using a website called the Materials Project, you can explore an ever-growing database of more than 18,000 chemical compounds.

The site’s tools can quickly predict how two compounds will react with one another, what… read more

The Google Supercomputer

May 10, 2004

A consensus now believes that Google has about 100,000 servers, aggregated into one giant supercomputer organized by a sophisticated proprietary file system that holds all of the Web and performs seamlessly.

Also see “How many Google machines,” which estimates Google’s supercomputer performance at between 126 and 316 teraflops, making it by far the fastest supercomputer in the world, based on the Top500 list. – Ed.

The Grammar of Sound

May 1, 2003

Fast-Talk software lets you index and search audio much faster than in the past. Developed by Fast-Talk Communications, a Georgia Tech spinoff, the software lets users locate clips in an audio file simply by phonetically spelling and entering any term they want to find.

Note: KurzweilAI.net reviewed a beta version of Fast-Talk and found it effective and fast in retrieving information from audio interviews. – Ed.

The Great Brazilian Sat-Hack Crackdown

April 22, 2009

Truckers, criminals, farmers, and others in Brazil are illegally hijacking aging U.S. Navy communications satellites for personal communications.

The Great Woz Tells All

May 24, 2006

“I’m looking forward to the day when a computer can be a teacher,” says Apple computer inventor Steve Wozniak. “We’re not there yet, since we haven’t yet conquered artificial intelligence. Once we’ve made a robot that can make a cup of coffee, then we’ve probably got enough artificial intelligence. Then we can have 30 teachers in a class of 30 kids, and the computers can go at different rates with… read more

The Growing Web

December 30, 2003

In March 2000, 52 million Americans logged onto the Internet each day. By this past August, that figure had swelled 27 percent, to 66 million.

The Internet research project by the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts has done a comparative analysis of the data collected since the project’s inception. In a report released last week, there was ample evidence that the Internet has become mainstream.

The Guts of a Cell, Frozen in Time

December 17, 2007

A new twist on a technique called cryo-electron tomography offers a closer-than-ever look inside a human skin cell: it generates a 3-D image with resolution fine enough to distinguish the structures of proteins.

The new method, which involves freezing a cell and slicing it into thin sections, will allow scientists to probe how proteins organize and interact deep within a cell without disturbing them from their native states. The… read more

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