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The Matrix Makers: virtual cinematography

December 25, 2002

The two sequels of “The Matrix” will feature photorealistic virtual actors that are impossible to tell from real ones, say the producers. “The Matrix Reloaded” arrives in theaters on May 15, “Matrix Revolutions” in early November.

Actor performances are captured on five high-resolution digital cameras; a complex algorithm calculates the actor’s appearance from every angle the cameras missed and allows for creating scenes with virtual actors.

The Matrix Reloads

May 6, 2002

Warner Bros. is producing two sequels to the Matrix, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions, both scheduled for 2003. The films continue the scenario of the human race imprisoned in a computer-generated reality and include the underground city of Zion, inhabited by the few hundred thousand humans who have escaped.

The measured life

June 22, 2011

Sleep Cycle iPhone app (credit: Maciek Drejak Labs AB)

Do you know how much REM sleep you got last night?

New types of devices that monitor activity, sleep, diet, and even mood could tell us, and also make us healthier and more productive.

Quantified Self enthusiasts believe that collecting detailed data can help them make better choices about their health and behavior.

Self-trackers are using an expanding selection of smartphone apps and various consumer… read more

The measured man

June 25, 2012


Dr. Larry Smarr, Director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), is charting his every bodily function in minute detail. What he’s discovering may be the future of health care: a patient-centric, computer-assisted world of medical care.

At 63, he is engaged in a computer-aided study of the human body — specifically, his body. It’s the start of a process that he believes will help lead,… read more

The mechanism that gives shape to life

October 17, 2011

hox genes

Researchers at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) and the University of Geneva (Unige) have solved the mystery of how genes determines the shape that many animals take.

During the development of an embryo, everything happens at a specific moment. In about 48 hours, it will grow from the top to the bottom, one slice at a time — scientists call this the embryo’s segmentation.… read more

The megaquake connection: Are huge earthquakes linked?

March 17, 2011

Ring of fire (image credit: UNAVCO)

The recent cluster of huge quakes around the Pacific Ocean has fueled speculation that they are seismically linked.

The December 2004 Sumatra quake, the February 2010 Chile quake, and now, Sendai have struck in just over six years. This presents a horrifying possibility: that there is a link between these megaquakes and that, as a result, more could strike.

What is clear is that for the 6.2 years… read more

The Memory Hacker

April 8, 2007

USC’s Center for Neural Engineering researchers have developed a chip that can communicate with brain cells, a first step toward an implantable machine that could restore memories in people with brain damage or help them make new ones.

The chip can receive analog signals from live brain tissue, convert them to digital signals, and then reconvert them to an analog signal relayed to healthy neurons on the other side.… read more

The Methuselah Manifesto

November 23, 2009

Maximum Life Foundation president David Kekich gathered a group of scientists, entrepreneurs, and visionaries to meet for three days with the goal of developing a scientific and business strategy to make extreme human life extension a real possibility within a couple of decades, dubbed the Manhattan Beach Project.

The Military — DARPA’s New Supersoldiers

January 13, 2004

DARPA-funded researchers have recently begun to crack the brain’s neural codes. This research provides glimpses into a future when people will be able to manipulate complicated machinery or remote-controlled weapons just by thinking. They are also testing the viability of storing human memories on implantable microchips, an advance that would eliminate the need for training by allowing soldiers to upload someone else’s technical know-how or combat experience.

The Millennium Project’s 2006 State of the Future published

August 20, 2006

The Millennium Project–a global participatory think tank–has released its 10th annual State of the Future report.

The report distills the collective intelligence of over 2,000 leading scientists, futurists, scholars, and policy advisors who work for governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations, universities, and international organizations.

Among its findings:

  • Dramatic increases in collective human-machine intelligence are possible within 25 years. It is also possible that within the
  • read more

    The Mind of an Inventor

    October 2, 2005

    Applied Minds, led by inventor Danny Hillis, is developing such imaginative inventions as “touch tables”: the surface of each is a high-resolution computer display showing a satellite-camera view of the world. By putting your hands on the table and spreading them, you zoom into a region, a city, a neighborhood. You can also slide your hand over the table to expose the view as captured at an earlier time.

    The Mind-Bending New World Of Work

    March 25, 2007

    Motion capture is starting to transform how businesses market their products as well as design and manufacture them, with technology similar to that seen in the film “Minority Report.”

    The mobile Internet you’ll be using in 10 years

    September 23, 2008

    The U.S. military’s next-generation Advanced Extremely High Frequency (EHF) communication satellite network gives a glimpse of the sort of data rates (~8 Mbps) and global network you might be using on mobile devices within the next decade.

    The Transformational Satellite Communications System (T-Sat) is planned to replace Advanced EHF starting in 2013.

    The molecular secrets behind resveratrol’s health benefits

    May 1, 2014


    Resveratrol has been much in the news as the component of grapes and red wine associated with reducing “bad cholesterol,” heart disease and some types of cancer. Also found in blueberries, cranberries, mulberries, peanuts and pistachios, resveratrol is associated with beneficial health effects in aging, inflammation and metabolism.

    Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have identified one of the molecular pathways that… read more

    The more science you know, the less worried you are about climate

    May 30, 2012


    Americans with higher levels of scientific and mathematical knowledge are more skeptical regarding the dangers of climate change than their more poorly educated fellow citizens, a U.S. National Science Foundation-funded study has found.

    The results of the survey are especially remarkable as the researchers were doing so from the position that the “scientific consensus” (carbon-driven global warming is ongoing and extremely dangerous) is a settled fact, and the priority is… read more

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