science + technology news

In a Digital Future, Textbooks Are History

August 10, 2009

Textbooks may soon be replaced by digital textbooks and online courses, or even by lessons assembled from the wealth of free open-source courseware, educational games, videos, blogs, Twitter feeds, and projects on the Web.

Gold Can Be Magnetic on the Nanoscale

March 4, 2008

Georgia Institute of Technology physicists have announced discoveries about gold’s nanoscale properties: electric fields can change the shape of gold nanoclusters from pyramidal to flat, gold can be made magnetic, and oxygenated gold nanowires switch from being conductors to insulators when longer than 6 gold atoms in length.

This marks the first time on the nanoscale that such a metal-to-insulation transition has been found.

The results could result… read more

Pardon Me, but the Art Is Mouthing Off

November 28, 2005

Digital-media artist Lynn Hershman Leeson’s latest project is an AI known as DiNA, designed to chat with visitors about current affairs using voice-recognition software and a talking head on a flat-screen monitor.

Brain calisthenics for abstract ideas

June 6, 2011

Recent research has found that true experts have something at least as valuable as a mastery of the rules: gut instinct, an instantaneous grasp of the type of problem they’re up against. Like the ballplayer who can “read” pitches early, or the chess master who “sees” the best move, they’ve developed a great eye.

Now, a small group of cognitive scientists is arguing that schools and students could take… read more

The robot gets connected

February 5, 2003

Mitsubishi has developed a robot on wheels that will become a house-sitter, caretaker, nurse and friend for the family.

It has cameras and voice and face recognition capabilities that allow the machine to search for and follow voices, faces and movements. It links to the Internet and can send its camera images to mobile phones and computers away from the home. It can also be programmed to send e-mail… read more

IBM Scientists Build Computer Chips From DNA

August 17, 2009

IBM scientists are researching ways in which DNA can self-assemble into patterns on a chip’s surface, acting as scaffolding for millions of carbon nanotubes and nanoparticles that can serve as interconnects and transistors on future computer chips.

Brain Enhancement Is Wrong, Right?

March 10, 2008

Debates in Nature magazine and The Chronicle of Higher Education have focused attention on the ethics of the use of cognitive enhancers.

Connotate looks beyond traditional search

December 9, 2005

A new generation of “intelligent search” tools is emerging.

Connotate Technologies supplies “intelligent agents” programmed to retrieve specific information from the Web in real time.

The company claims its software can search more than 500 billion Web pages and seek out specific pieces of information and monitor specified Web pages as often as once per second, delivering alerts and summaries to customers via the Web, e-mail, mobile devices… read more

Foresight@Google conference announced

June 13, 2011

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Foresight has announced its final conference program for Foresight@Google’s 25th Anniversary Reunion Conference, to be held June 25–26 in Mountain View, CA.

“This weekend, full of plenary talks, panels, and breakout sessions, is a unique opportunity to be stimulated, enlightened and inspired by direct interaction with ground-breaking movers and shakers in nanotechnology,” said Christine Peterson, Foresight Co-founder and President.

Keynotes:

  • Jim von

read more

Robotics put new face on the future

February 17, 2003

Robots could be based on adaptive animals like octopi and could use new electroactive polymers that emulate muscle tissue. These could lead to more realistic and capable robots.

The scientists spoke at a symposium on “biologically inspired intelligent robots” at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Robofish and microchips

August 25, 2009

MIT engineers have developed robofish that could inspect pipelines, lakes, rivers and boats.

Scientists identify new longevity genes

March 13, 2008

University of Washington scientists have found 25 genes regulating lifespan in two organisms separated by 1.5 billion years of evolutionary change; at least 15 of those genes have similar versions in humans.

Finding genes that are conserved between the two organisms is significant, the researchers say, because the two species–single-celled budding yeast and the roundworm C. elegans–are far apart on the evolutionary scale. That, combined with the presence of… read more

Wikipedia alternative aims to be ‘PBS of the Web’

December 21, 2005

Digital Universe, a new online information service launching in early 2006, aims to build on the model of free online encyclopedia Wikipedia by inviting acknowledged experts in a range of subjects to review material contributed by the general public.

Robot finger has feeling

March 4, 2003

“Scientists in Spain have developed a robotic finger with a sense of touch. It is made of a polymer that can feel the weight of what it’s pushing and adjust the energy it uses accordingly.”

Preparing for the Swine Flu

September 1, 2009

A scenario issued by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology last week posited an epidemic that could produce symptoms in 60 million to 120 million people and cause as many as 90 million to seek medical attention; up to 1.8 million could be hospitalized, 300,000 could flood into crowded ICUs, and 30,000 to 90,000 people could die (a vaccine to prevent swine flu will not be ready… read more

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