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NASA, GM team up to build robotic astronauts

February 5, 2010

NASA and General Motors (GM) are developing humanoid robots that can work side-by-side with humans to help astronauts during dangerous missions and to help GM build cars and automotive plants.

Robonaut 2, aka R2, is designed to be a “faster, more dexterous and more technologically advanced” robot than Robonaut 1, using its hands to manipulate small parts, while also having exceptional strength.


Machine brains poised to surpass us

August 7, 2002

Ray Kurzweil believes we are fewer than 30 years away from a time when machine intelligence will surpass our own, he said, speaking at the annual conference of the American Association of Artificial Intelligence.Kurzweil predicted:

  • By 2010, computers as we know them will disappear and be embedded in our clothes and eventually our bodies.
  • Humans will be using computers embedded in the body to augment their
  • read more

    Physicists Store Images in Vapor

    June 24, 2008

    Physicists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Weizmann Institute of Science have stored images for up to 30 microseconds in rubidium vapor.

    Storing images in vapor could be useful for image processing and correlation applications, quantum information processing, and quantum communication. The scientists also predict that it should be possible to store more elaborate images, including movies.

    Bush Remarks Roil Debate Over Teaching of Evolution

    August 3, 2005

    A sharp debate between scientists and religious conservatives escalated Tuesday over comments by President Bush that the theory of intelligent design should be taught with evolution in the nation’s public schools.

    Selective brain damage modulates human spirituality

    February 11, 2010

    Selective damage to the left and right posterior parietal regions induced a specific increase in a personality trait called self-transcendence (ST), thought to reflect a decreased sense of self and an ability to identify one’s self as an integral part of the universe as a whole, Dr. Cosimo Urgesi from the University of Udine and colleages have found by studying patients before and after surgery to remove a brain tumor.… read more

    Nanotubes speed up

    August 27, 2002

    Transistors fabricated from carbon nanotubes now have electrical characteristics that can rival silicon devices. For example, IBM researchers have developed a carbon-nanotube FET (field effect transistor) that can compete with the leading prototype silicon transistors currently available.Progress has also been made in reducing the resistance at the nanotube-electrode interface. This has allowed different nanotubes to be assembled into basic logic circuits, an important step towards nanoelectronics.

    Limitations in manufacturing… read more

    Citing Need for Assessments, U.S. Freezes Solar Energy Projects

    June 30, 2008

    Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years.

    The decision has caused widespread concern in the alternative-energy industry, as fledgling solar companies must wait to see if they can realize their hopes of harnessing power from swaths… read more

    HIV breakthrough raises hopes for a cure

    August 15, 2005

    A cheap drug has shown promise in stamping out hidden pockets of HIV in three people who have long been infected with the virus.

    Four patients who had been on long-term HAART treatment were given a drug called enfurvitide twice daily for 4 to 6 weeks to intensify the effect of the HAART drugs. They were then given valproic acid, a drug which is usually used to treat epilepsy,… read more

    Simpler antidote for heavy eyelids

    May 23, 2011

    Anti Sleep Pilot (credit:ASP Technology, Ltd.)

    The makers of the $179 Anti Sleep Pilot have taken a simpler and different approach to the problem of driver fatigue.

    Rather than focus on looking for clues that the driver is about to fall asleep, this device requires regular input from drivers to ensure they are alert.

    Placed on the dashboard, the Oreo-size Anti Sleep Pilot has a built-in motion detector, flashing lights, and an audible… read more

    Random fluctuations give rise to odd genetic phenomenon

    February 18, 2010

    MIT biophysicists have demonstrated that some cases of incomplete penetrance* are controlled by random fluctuations in gene expression, which could influence the mutations that can cause cancer.

    Knowing the specific points in cellular pathways that are most important in controlling a cell’s response to mutation could give drug designers better targets for new therapies.

    * Not every person who carries a mutated gene expresses the trait or condition… read more

    Hollywood goes to war

    September 16, 2002

    Using tools such as a virtual-reality theatre with a 150-degree screen, a monster SGI computer, and a 10.2 Dolby sound system, the Institute for Creative Technology, affiliated with the University of Southern California, seeks to create interactive games that reflect 21st-century military challenges. It is at the forefront of work on AI and expects to create a virtual human able to talk, express emotions and display body language, within five… read more

    ‘Smart bomb’ nanoparticle strategy to stop metastasis

    July 8, 2008

    Researchers at University of California, San Diego have developed a nanoparticles/anti-cancer-drug combination that acts as a “smart bomb” to target metastasis (spreading) in mouse pancreatic and kidney cancer.

    The 100-nm. nanoparticle comprises (unnamed) lipid polymers that deliver the drug doxorubcin, selectively targeting blood vessels that feed cancerous lesions by homing in on the protein marker integrin alpha-nu-beta-3 found on the surface of those blood vessels. It has a strong… read more

    Carbon nanotube technology, closer than you think

    August 26, 2005

    Scientists are looking at using the highly conductive properties of carbon nanotubes to dissipate heat from computer chips, which would allow them to run faster without overheating.

    Putting the Web in a Spreadsheet

    March 1, 2010

    IBM BigSheets can be used to collect, analyze, and visualize large quantities of unstructured data on the Web.

    It uses IBM’s Hadoop to crawl through Web pages, parsing them to extract key terms and other useful data. It organizes this information in a very large spreadsheet, where users can analyze it using the sort of tools and macros found in desktop spreadsheet software.

    Bugs trained to build circuit

    October 11, 2002

    Researchers are developing bacteria to form nanoscale microbial machines that could eventually repair wounds or build microscopic electrical circuits.

    Researchers at the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute in Ibaraki, Japan trained the bacterium Acetobacter xylinum to exude ribbons of cellulose, a biological building material, laying down strips at a rate of 4,000ths of a millimetre per minute.

    They are also exploring the use of genetically modified bacteria… read more

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