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Worse Than Gray Goo

February 24, 2004

“If we ever get to the point where script kiddies can release dangerous gray goo, we’re probably doomed –since it’ll surely be harder to stop goo than to stop slow-moving, slow-thinking meat robots from pushing the wrong buttons, says Center for Responsible Nanotechnology Director of Research Chris Phoenix.

“But we will have much more severe dangers to deal with before that point. Like nano-arms races with weapons much more… read more

US military creates second Earth

February 24, 2004

The US Army is building a second version of Earth on computer to help it prepare for conflicts around the world.

The project aims to help the US Army plan future conflicts. The software Earth is being created for the US Army by gaming company There. It is planning to model the entire planet at a scale that would make it possible to walk across the United States if… read more

Real pain dulled in virtual worlds

February 24, 2004

Fantasy worlds created by virtual reality have been shown to provide a novel form of relief to patients suffering from intractable pain.

Dr Hunter Hoffman, research fellow at the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, has tested his virtual worlds on victims of burns injuries who suffer excruciating pain during their daily dressing changes which conventional drug therapy fails to control.

Virtual analgesia is founded on the principle of… read more

Big Bang to be plumbed by supercomputer

February 24, 2004

IBM’ s Blue Gene/L supercomputer will support a radio astronomy attempt to view the earliest epoch of the universe 13 billion years ago, possibly the first stars and the first fragments of galaxies to emerge after the Big Bang.

The system will be used by Astron, an astronomy organization in the Netherlands. The signal-processing algorithm will require the computer to crunch around 700 Gbits of data per second from… read more

New insights about brain organization

February 23, 2004

New evidence from rat studies suggests that theories about how the brain processes sight, sound and touch may need updating.

Researchers found that while large regions are overwhelmingly devoted to processing information from a single sense, in the borders between them, cells can share information from both senses.

“This represents a new view of how the brain is organized,” said Mark Wallace, an associate professor of neurobiology and… read more

Hey, Gang, Let’s Make Our Own Supercomputer

February 23, 2004

Building on the concept of flash mobs, the sudden Internet-organized gatherings, a lecturer has arranged for 1200 students to assemble the first “flash mob supercomputer” in the school gym from their home PCs.

New Data on 2 Doomsday Ideas, Big Rip vs. Big Crunch

February 23, 2004

A dark unseen energy is steadily pushing the universe apart, just as Einstein predicted, suggesting the universe may have a more peaceful end than recent theories envision, according to striking new measurements of distant exploding stars by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.

U.S. Air Force Plans for Future War in Space

February 23, 2004

The U.S. Air Force Transformation Flight Plan for space superiority combines three capabilities: protect space assets, deny adversaries’ access to space, and quickly launch vehicles and operate payloads into space to quickly replace space assets that fail or are damaged/destroyed.

From space global laser engagement, air launched anti-satellite missiles, to space-based radio frequency energy weapons and hypervelocity rod bundles heaved down to Earth from space, the plan portrays how… read more

CMU the favorite in robot race across Mojave

February 23, 2004

On March 13, up to 20 robotic vehicles will compete in a $1 million Grand Challenge race sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The winner will be the first machine to cover the still-undisclosed route from somewhere outside Barstow, Calif., to somewhere in the vicinity of Las Vegas within 10 hours.

No robot has ever done anything like this. Never has an autonomous vehicle gone so far,… read more

View to the Edge of No-Return

February 23, 2004

Imagine making a natural telescope more powerful than any other telescope currently operating. Then imagine using it to view closer to the edge of a black hole where its mouth is like a jet that forms super-hot charged particles and spits them millions of light-years into space.

The length of a telescope needed to do that would have to be gigantic, about a million kilometers wide. But just such… read more

Earth sows its seeds in space

February 23, 2004

Deep-frozen spores that spread life in space (the Panspermia concept) could survive if they can escape the Sun’s gravity more quickly. And that might happen if the rocks they sit on are first ground to dust, says William Napier, an astronomer at the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland.

The pressure of sunlight can quickly blow grains this small out of the solar system and such a grain could travel… read more

Biochemical clues to long lifespan revealed

February 20, 2004

Researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston have found that longer life results, at least in part, from biochemical interactions that boost cells’ ability to resist environmental stresses while inhibiting them from committing suicide.

The team found that the Sir2 gene regulates a group of proteins known as FOXO transcription factors. These proteins have been linked with longevity; they control the expression of genes that regulate cell suicide, and also enable… read more

Researchers Find a Type of Stem Cell May Have the Ability to Repair the Brain

February 20, 2004

Neural stem cells, whose function has been a mystery, may have the potential to repair brain damage or disease, scientists reported in Nature, Feb. 19.

The cells form ribbons of astrocytes, which produce different types of brain cells, including neurons. Found in the lining of two fluid-filled pockets near the front of the head, they may turn out to serve no purpose or may migrate to other parts of… read more

Cdn. researcher: Cells can grow on silicon

February 20, 2004

Researchers at the University of Calgary have found that nerve cells grown on a microchip can learn and memorize information which can be communicated to the brain.

The findings could help in the design of devices that combine electronic components and brain cells. That includes controlling artificial limbs or restoring sight for the visually impaired.

Future research will focus on interfacing silicon chips with the human brain to… read more

Five Robots That Will Change Your Life

February 20, 2004

For decades, science fiction has been promising a future filled with robots that will make the various annoyances and dangers of life easier or more bearable.

But now a new generation of robots–either available now or in development–will take on a whole new range of tasks, and could conceivably change your life….

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