science + technology news

Yahoo’s human touch to answers

December 9, 2005

Yahoo has launched Yahoo Answers, which allows users to get their questions answered online for free by volunteers.

Users can submit questions on any topic at and wait for others to post responses. To flag inaccuracies, individuals can rate the responses based on quality.

Japanese researchers unveil 3-D stack for chip integration

December 8, 2005

Japanese researchers have come up with a new three-dimensional integration technology called Super-Smart-Stack that uses a self-assembly technique to maintain chip alignment accuracy to within 1 micron.

The technique promises to allow for stacking various chips types with different sizes and thicknesses and fabricated using different process technologies.

Ethical Concerns on Face Transplant Grow

December 8, 2005

American scientists are expressing increasing concerns that the world’s first partial face transplant, performed in northern France on Nov. 27, may have been undertaken without adequate medical and ethical preparation.

Boxer bares all

December 8, 2005

Researchers have published the full genetic code of a dog. It should make it easier to find the causes of genetic diseases, such as cancer, that affect both dogs and people.

The scientists involved in the effort, whose research appears in Nature on December 8, say the genome has already helped them to pinpoint a group of DNA sequences that do not code for specific genes, but are extremely… read more

‘Data-in, data-out’ signals quantum breakthrough

December 8, 2005

Harvard University and Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have succeeded in transferring quantum information between “quantum memories” — from atoms to photons and back again.

Both teams employed powerful laser pulses to extract quantum information from a cloud of atoms in the form of a single photon. That photon was then transmitted through a normal optical fiber before its quantum state was transferred to a second atomic cloud.… read more

Intel Research Shows Compound Boosts Chip Performance

December 8, 2005

Intel researchers’ latest experiments with Indium Antimonide have shown that it has the potential to bump future transistors’ performance by as much as 50 percent, while reducing power consumption by a factor of 10 against that of its current state-of-the-art transistors.

Printing Organs on Demand

December 7, 2005

University researchers have developed bio-ink and bio-paper that could make so-called organ printing a reality.

So far, they’ve made tubes similar to human blood vessels and sheets of heart muscle cells, printed in three dimensions on a special printer.

Why this brain flies on rat cunning

December 7, 2005

A “brain” grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a single rat embryo has been taught to fly an F-22 jet simulator by scientists at the University of Florida.

They hope their research into neural computation will help develop sophisticated hybrid computers with a thinking biological component. The first result could be to enable scientists to enabling more flexible and varied means of solving problems.


December 6, 2005

“Q: As consumer products gain more computer intelligence, how will they change?

“A: Three trends are at work. Wi-Fi connects our portable devices at tremendous speeds. These devices sense where you are, so you get media associated with that location. All products are getting radio frequency ID tags.

“… Q: How does computer intelligence come into this?

“A: It’s all about systems anticipating your needs. The location-based… read more

Mac Programs That Come With Thinking Caps On

December 6, 2005

New “thinking tools” — software for storing, retrieving and generally making the best use of information — are now available on Mac computers.

They include Devon, which uses a “semantic search” process that is more sophisticated than search engines and can bring up files or passages whose meaning is related to what you are looking for, even though they do not contain the exact search terms; and Tinderbox, which… read more

The expanding electronic universe

December 6, 2005

The Dec. 1 issue of Nature looks at what wikis, blogs, digital libraries, Google Base, and other Internet technologies may mean for the future of scientific communication beyond the confines of scientific journals.

These tools offer fresh opportunities both before publication, when people are debating ideas and hypotheses, and after, when they are finding and discussing published results. They also provide scientists with exciting new possibilities for communicating with… read more

New nano material is far tougher than diamonds

December 5, 2005

Israeli scientists have have discovered a material 40 times harder than diamonds.

Polyyne, a superhard molecular rod, is comprised of acetylene units.

Car paints changing with temperature

December 5, 2005

German researchers have used ion bombardment and gold metallisation to produce new particles whose bonding behavior can be chemically tailored. This could lead to new shimmering car finishes which can change with temperature or humidity, new cosmetics, and new applications in optical data processing.

Robots aim to explore and build on other worlds

December 5, 2005

NASA is offering two new $250,000 prizes to stimulate advances in the use of robots in planetary exploration and automated construction.

The Telerobotic Construction Challenge aims to promote the development of semi-autonomous robots that can build complicated structures with minimal remote guidance from human controllers.

The other competition will award funding to teams that build an uncrewed, auto-piloted plane that can follow a complex flight path using only… read more

IBM introduces self-healing data center software

December 5, 2005

IBM has released new data center software designed to automatically detect and fix performance problems, advancing its effort to build “self-healing” technology.

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