science + technology news

Human evolution at the crossroads

May 16, 2005

Where are humans headed? Here’s an imprudent assessment of five possible paths, ranging from homogenized humans to alien-looking hybrids bred for interstellar travel.

More-Precise Genetic Engineering for Plants

April 30, 2009

New techniques allow for more precise changes in plant genes, greatly increasing the efficiency of generating genetically engineered plants for use as food or fuel, or for absorbing carbon and cleaning the environment.

Let the robot revolution commence

April 18, 2002

“Californian company Evolution Robotics (ERI) plans to release an operating system that it claims will do for robotics what Microsoft did for the personal computer with DOS and Windows.
“The idea has two aims: to slash the time and cost involved in developing new robots, and to let people who buy robotic lawnmowers, beer gophers or vacuum cleaners reprogram them.”

Microsoft, I-Robot, and other competitors are pushing their own… read more

Glow-in-the-dark cat could help cut disease

December 13, 2007

Scientists have genetically modified three cloned kittens so they appear fluorescent under ultraviolet light, a procedure which could help develop treatments for human genetic diseases.

The Gyeongsang National University (South Korea) scientists cloned the cats after manipulating a gene to change their skin color.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Science and Technology said: “The ability to produce cloned cats with the manipulated genes is significant as it… read more

Invisible Wi-Fi signals caught on camera

March 10, 2011

WiFi Camera

A team of designers from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design has created a device that can produce a large scale visualization of the fluctuating Wi-Fi signals around a city.

Their latest prototype is a four-meter-tall rod, lined with LEDs that incorporates a microcontroller, Wi-Fi device, computer program, and Wi-Fi module to reveal its signal strength, displayed by lighting up an appropriate number of LEDs.

The signal… read more

Rise of the Plagiosphere

May 27, 2005

Emerging technologies are causing a shift in our mental ecology, one that will turn our culture into the plagiosphere: we look at our ideas with less wonder, and with a greater sense that others have already noted what we’re seeing for the first time.

The plagiosphere is arising from three movements: Web indexing, text matching, and paraphrase detection.

Rest in Peace, RSS

May 5, 2009

“It’s time to get completely off RSS and switch to Twitter,” advises technology journalist Steve Gillmor.

“Twitter, not RSS, became the early warning system for new content. Facebook, not RSS, became the social Rolodex for events, casual introductions to RSS’ lifeblood, the people behind the feeds. FriendFeed, not RSS, captured the commentsphere. RSS got locked out of its own party….

“The race for realtime is already… read more

Scientists Get Atoms Ready for a Close-Up

May 15, 2002

Scientists at Lucent Technologies’ Bell Labs have developed a microscopy technique that can image individual atoms within a silicon sheet, allowing for precision analysis of dopant distribution.
As transistor sizes shrink, they require higher concentrations of electrons to work and are more sensitive to problems with dopant distribution.

The Lucent microscope shoots a narrow beam of high-energy electrons and measures deflection angles to locate individual atoms.

Move over, silicon: Advances pave way for powerful carbon-based electronics

December 19, 2007

Princeton engineers have developed a novel way to replace silicon with carbon on large surfaces, clearing the way for new generations of faster, more powerful cell phones, computers and other electronics devices.

The Princeton engineers developed a method to place small graphene crystals on a computer chip, demonstrating the method by making high-performance working graphene transistors.

Nanowires show promise for atomic engines

June 9, 2005

Atomic electromagnets made from coils of individual gold atoms could prove valuable for nanocircuits and machines.

Study establishes major new treatment target in diseased arteries

May 11, 2009

By eliminating the gene for a signaling protein called cyclophilin A (CypA) from a strain of mice, researchers at the University of Rochester and were able to provide complete protection against abdominal aortic aneurysm, a fatal event in 90 percent of cases.

Inhibition of CypA also appears to have benefit in several diseases that involve blood vessels in the brain and heart, the researchers suggest.

New microscope creates 3D movies of living things

January 21, 2015

This schematic depicts SCAPE’s imaging geometry. The light sheet is swept at the sample by slowly moving a polygonal mirror mounted on a galvanometer motor. This alters the angle at which the light is incident at the edge of the objective's back aperture, causing the beam to sweep across the sample. The light emitted by fluorophores within this illuminated plane travels back through the same objective lens, and is de-scanned by the same polygonal mirror (from an adjacent facet). This light forms an oblique image of the illuminated plane that stays stationary and aligned with the illumination plane, even though the light sheet is moving through the sample (just as a confocal pinhole stays aligned with the scanning illuminated focal point in laser scanning confocal microscopy). So with one (<5 degree) movement of the polygon, the entire volume is sampled. (Credit: Elizabeth Hillman, Columbia Engineering)

A Columbia University scientist has developed a new microscope that can image freely moving living things in 3D at very high speeds — up to 100 times faster 3D imaging than laser-scanning confocal, two-photon, and light-sheet microscopy.

Developed by Elizabeth Hillman, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, SCAPE (swept confocally aligned planar excitation microscopy) uses a… read more

Consciousness in Human and Robot

June 6, 2002

AI skeptics offer several reasons
why robots could never become
conscious. MITs’ humanoid Cog robot
project may give them pause.

The Generational Divide in Copyright Morality

December 25, 2007

Today’s college students don’t find file-sharing wrong, according to one informal audience survey.

Nano-levers point to futuristic gadgets

June 27, 2005

Billions of “Nanomech” mechanical levers could be used to store songs on future MP3 players and pictures on digital cameras.

Nanomech memory, which is nonvolatile, stores data using thousands of electro-mechanical switches, each a few microns long and less than a micron wide.

close and return to Home