science + technology news

Artificial and Biological Intelligence

November 17, 2005

If machines with consciousness are created, they would be living machines, that is, variations on life forms as we know them, says Subhash Kak, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Louisiana State University.

The material world is not causally closed, and consciousness influences its evolution. Matter and minds complement each other. At the level of the individual, even medical science that is strongly based on the machine paradigm has now… read more

Visionary Kurzweil Touts Technologies Of Tomorrow

November 17, 2005

Computer visionary Ray Kurzweil examined the effects of accelerating growth of technologies on the present and future of human technological innovation during a speech at the ninth annual CRN Industry Hall of Fame, held Tuesday in Santa Clara, Calif.

The bulk of human intelligence is pattern recognition, which Kurzweil said is the quintessential example of a self-organizing system. This will be instrumental in the development of future Web-based applications,… read more

World first trial grows blood vessels from patient’s own skin

November 17, 2005

Scientists have successfully implanted blood vessels grown entirely from a patient’s own cells.

The veins were created in a laboratory by scientists at Cytograft Tissue Engineering before being transplanted into patients undergoing kidney dialysis to test whether they could withstand high blood pressures.

The team is now about to embark on an unprecedented trial at Papworth hospital in Cambridge, which will see lab-grown blood vessels used in heart… read more

Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes

November 17, 2005

“Are you ready to see the Net privatized from the bottom to the top? Are you ready to see the Net’s free and open marketplace sucked into a pit of pipes built and fitted by the phone and cable companies and run according to rules lobbied by the carrier and content industries?

“Do you believe a free and open market should be ‘Your choice of walled garden’ or ‘Your… read more

Ultra-sensitive microscope reveals DNA processes

November 16, 2005

A new microscope sensitive enough to track the real-time motion of a single protein, right down to the scale of its individual atoms, has revealed how genes are copied from DNA.

Plastic diode could lead to flexible, low power computer circuits, memory

November 15, 2005

Ohio State University researchers have invented a new organic polymer tunnel diode, which could one day lead to plastic computer memory and plastic logic circuits on computer chips.

The diode design lends itself to easy, inexpensive manufacturing for smart cards and other memory devices.

Source: Ohio State University news release

Googling Your Genes

November 15, 2005

“Sergey Brin and Larry Page have ambitious long-term plans for Google’s expansion into the fields of biology and genetics through the fusion of science, medicine, and technology…. ‘Too few people in computer science are aware of some of the informational challenges in biology and their implications for the world,’ Brin says….,” in The Google Story by David A. Vise.

“‘The ultimate search engine,’ says Page, ‘would understand exactly what… read more

PET Imaging Reveals the Immune System at Work

November 14, 2005

Researchers at Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) at the University of California Los Angeles have taken a key step toward noninvasively viewing how a cell confronts disease by using positron emission tomography (PET) to observe key cells of the immune system as they responded to tumors in mice.

In their experiments, they were able to see the lymph nodes, which resided at some distance from the tumor, spring into… read more

Interview with Robert Freitas (Part 2)

November 14, 2005

Ray Kurzweil’s scenario of billions of nanorobots positioned in our brains, to create full-immersion virtual reality, will be feasible in the future, says Robert A. Freitas, Jr., author of Nanomedicine and other works.

He believes the achievement will require noninvasive neuroelectric monitoring, neural macrosensing (nanorobots eavesdropping on the body’s sensory traffic, including auditory and optic nerve taps), modification of natural cellular message traffic by nanorobots stationed nearby (including signal… read more

Are U.S. Innovators Losing Their Competitive Edge?

November 14, 2005

The scientific and technical building blocks of our economic leadership are eroding at a time when many other nations are gathering strength, according to a National Academy of Sciences report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.”

The report recommends enhanced math and science education in grade school and high school, a more hospitable environment for scientific research and training at the… read more

World’s Fastest Computer Gets Even Faster

November 14, 2005

The IBM Blue Gene/L supercomputer, which operates at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, has doubled its performance to 280.6 trillion calculations a second (teraflops), up from 136.8 teraflops from the list released in June.

The system is used to study the United States nuclear stockpile and perform other research.

Neuroscientists break code for visual recognition

November 13, 2005

Neuroscientists in the McGovern Institute at MIT have been able to decipher a part of the code involved in recognizing visual objects.

In a fraction of a second, visual input about an object runs from the retina through increasingly higher levels of the visual stream, continuously reformatting the information until it reaches the highest purely visual level, the inferotemporal (IT) cortex. The IT cortex identifies and categorizes the object… read more

In Study, Hormone Reduced Appetite in Mice

November 11, 2005

Stanford University researchers have found a hormone that sharply reduces the desire to eat.

The new substance, obestatin (OHB-statin), is made in the stomach and small intestine, and it seems to prompt the brain to send out a signal that says “eat less.”

Interview with Robert Freitas

November 11, 2005

Robert A. Freitas, Jr., author of Nanomedicine and other works, and Ralph Merkle are writing a book-length discussion of diamond mechanosynthesis, entitled Diamond Surfaces and Diamond Mechanosynthesis (DSDM), to be published in 2006 or 2007.

Freitas is also involved in research collaborations to develop computational chemistry simulations of plausible mechanosynthetic tooltips and reaction sequences. He also filed the first-ever U.S. patent on diamond mechanosynthesis that describes a specific process… read more

Science to ride gravitational waves

November 10, 2005

Scientists hope to finally detect the most elusive of astrophysical phenomena — gravitational waves — in experiments using ultrasensitive laser interferometers, starting in November.

The aim is to gather data continuously for 18 months. In that time, they would expect to see perhaps two events, maybe more, that can be put down to a passing gravitational wave.

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