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Inter-planetary Internet expands to Mars and beyond

February 26, 2007

Internet pioneer Vint Cerf is overseeing efforts by NASA to build a permanent Internet link to Mars by 2008.

Robots Take on Social Tasks

September 28, 2007

Robotics experts say gadgets introduced Thursday could usher more socially oriented robots into the U.S. market.

A new device by iRobot Corp. has a webcam, designed to enable parents on a business trip could remotely check up on children. The Spykee, a WiFi spy robot, could potentially help catch a home intruder if placed near a door or window. If the robot’s motion sensor is triggered, it can activate… read more

Humans vs. Computers, Again. But There’s Help for Our Side.

April 20, 2004

The latest race to create a true breakthrough that makes computers much more useful is “knowledge management” (KM). It is an effort to bring Google-like clarity to the swamp of data on each person’s machine or network.

Wolfram Alpha Computes Answers To Factual Questions. This Is Going To Be Big.

March 9, 2009

Stephen Wolfram’s forthcoming Wolfram Alpha online service, a “computational knowledge engine,” will compute answers to factual questions, using models of fields of knowledge, complete with data and algorithms, with a natural-language interface.

The project involves more than a hundred people working in stealth to create a vast system of reusable, computable knowledge, from terabytes of raw data, statistics, algorithms, data feeds, and expertise.

Time Change a ‘Mini-Y2K’ in Tech Terms

March 6, 2007

The daylight saving time change takes effect March 11–three weeks earlier. Many companies are scrambling to reset BlackBerry e-mail devices, desktop PCs and data-center computers used to automate payrolls, purchasing and manufacturing.

For the roughly 7,000 public companies in the United States, Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst at Forrester Research estimates, the total cost of making computer fixes to deal with the daylight saving time shift is more than $350… read more

Are mirrors the best way to deflect asteroids?

October 10, 2007
Illustration: M Vasile et al, University of Glasgow

A swarm of spacecraft with mirrors focused on asteroids is the best way to deflect them, a new study finds.

To deflect a 20-kilometer asteroid, about the size of the one that wiped out the dinosaurs, it would take the combined work of 5000 mirror spacecraft focusing sunlight on the asteroid for three or more years.

Super Organics

April 28, 2004

Forget Frankenfruit — the new-and-improved flavor of gene science is Earth-friendly and all-natural. Welcome to the golden age of smart breeding.

Researchers are beginning to understand plants so precisely that they no longer need transgenics to achieve traits like drought resistance, durability, or increased nutritional value. Over the past decade, scientists have discovered that our crops are chock-full of dormant characteristics. Rather than inserting, say, a bacteria gene to… read more

Google-Backed 23andMe Seeks Parkinson’s Patients Spit

March 13, 2009

23andMe, the gene-testing company backed by Google Inc., wants to collect DNA from the spit of 10,000 people with Parkinson’s disease to hunt for common genes that may cause the illness or predict patients’ response to drugs.

Study Says Computers Give Big Boosts to Productivity

March 13, 2007

Money spent on computing technology delivers gains in worker productivity that are three to five times those of other investments, according to a study being published today. But the study also concluded that the information technology industry itself was unlikely to be a big source of new jobs.

Toward world’s smallest radio: nano-sized detector turns radio waves into music

October 18, 2007

Researchers have developed the world’s first working radio system to use a nano-sized detector made of carbon nanotubes that receives radio waves wirelessly and demodulates them into sound signals.

The study demonstrates the feasibility of making other radio components at the nanoscale in the future and may eventually lead to an itegrated nanoscale wireless communications system.

How Much Does Information Technology Matter?

May 6, 2004

In May 2003, The Harvard Business Review published a conversial article by a former editor, Nicholas G. Carr, titled “IT Doesn’t Matter.” Industry chief executives voiced rebuttals.

Mr. Carr has replied to his critics with a new book, “Does IT Matter?” His basic point: At one time, information technology was so expensive and so difficult to manage that companies could make large amounts of money simply by being able… read more

Bioentrepreneur: From slime to tissue culture

May 20, 2011

Micro Bioreactor

TissueFlex, a disposable micro-bioreactor that allows cells to be grown in three dimensions rather than two, is being developed by a start-up firm called Zyoxel.

The micro-bioreactor is made from a biocompatible silicone-based polymer and comprises just two parts: the bottom layer, containing wells, and the top cover, which seals each well. Lengths of needle-like steel tubing, which make the inlet and outlet ports for… read more

Robots could flex muscles that are stronger than steel

March 20, 2009

University of Texas, Dallas scientists have developed a new type of artificial muscle based on nanotube ribbons that is stronger than steel, stiffer than diamond, and weighs little more than its volume in air.

The nanotubes expand in width by 220% in milliseconds when a voltage is applied and then return to their normal size once it is removed. Collections of those ribbons could act as artificial muscle fibers… read more

Mathematicians finally map 248-dimension structure

March 20, 2007

A team of mathematicians has exhaustively explored an esoteric 248-dimension structure called E8. The results take up 60 gigabytes of data.

The unique structure of E8 might help in the quest for a unified theory of gravity and the other forces in nature.

Two dimensions in the E8 root system

Researchers show evidence of ‘memory’ in cells and molecules

October 30, 2007

Researchers have found evidence that some molecular interactions on cell surfaces may have a “memory: that affects their future interactions. The report could lead to a re-examination of results from certain single-molecule research.

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