science + technology news

Plant proteins mapped: new ‘omics’ tools fuel plant-biology research

April 25, 2008

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology researchers have completed the first catalog of proteins (the “proteome”) produced by the plant Arabidopsis, capturing proteins created in different plant organs and at various developmental stages.

Earlier in 2008, other labs sequenced the same plant’s epigenome (all the sequences in the genome that may be chemically modified by the addition of a methyl group). Researchers are now working on the plant’s transcriptome (all… read more

The Times Emulates Print on the Web

May 3, 2006

Microsoft and The New York Times have unveiled software that preserves the print edition’s design online.

Quantum logic could make better robot bartenders

September 7, 2011

Creating robots with multiple personalities may be one way to make them act more like us. Quantum logic, with its limitless and apparently random outcomes, could do the trick.

To help in designing and testing quantum-driven programs with multiple personalities, roboticists used a science fiction story about a robot bartender.

Breathing New Life Into Medicine

July 17, 2003

Scientists are developing ways to rapidly deliver medicine such as liquid insulin via the lungs.

Mystery ‘dark flow’ extends towards edge of universe

November 17, 2009

Up to 1000 galaxy clusters have found to be streaming at up to 1000 kilometers per second towards one particular part of the cosmos, a possible sign that other universes are out there.

A Google Prototype for a Precision Image Search

April 29, 2008

Google researchers say they have developed a new software technology intended to do for digital images on the Web what the company’s original PageRank software did for searches of Web pages.

Their VisualRank algorithm combines image-recognition software methods with techniques for weighting and ranking images that look most similar.

A Meeting Of The Metal Minds

May 22, 2006

This year’s theme at the 2006 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation is “Humanitarian Robotics.”

A primary role of these lifelike robots is not to advance human mimicry but rather human understanding. Scientists formulate theories about how various systems of the human body work, and roboticists believe that some of these theories can be verified or rejected by building robots.

50 new exoplanets discovered

September 14, 2011

La Silla Observatory (credit: ESO)

Astronomers have discovered more than 50 new exoplanets orbiting nearby stars, including sixteen super-Earths (planets with a mass between one and ten times that of the Earth).

They used the HARPS spectrograph on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO‘s La Silla Observatory in Chile, the world’s most successful planet finder.

One of the recently announced newly discovered planets, HD 85512 b, is estimated… read more

World’s smallest electric rotor made

July 24, 2003

Scientists have built an electric rotor with a gold blade 300 nanometers long. This sits atop an axle made from a multiwalled carbon nanotube; gold electrodes at either end of the axle lash the device to a silicon chip.

Applying a voltage between the nanotube and one of three more electrodes around it rotates the blade. The nanotube rotor can operate at great speed, over a wide range of… read more

Measured — The time it takes us to find the words we need

November 24, 2009

Word forms are retrieved by the brain about one fifth of a second after a picture is shown, researchers at Bangor and Barcelona universities have found.

Revving up the world’s fastest nanomotor

May 2, 2008
Tracks left by various types of speeding nanomotors (American Chemical Society)

Arizona State University researchers have developed a new generation of nanomotors with an average speed of 60 micrometers per second.

Existing catalytic nanomotors–made with gold and platinum nanowires and fueled with hydrogen peroxide–have top speeds of about 10 micrometers per second.

The new design adds carbon nanotubes to the platinum (boosting the average speed) and spikes the hydrogen peroxide fuel with hydrazine to increase the nanomotor’s… read more

The Right to Human Enhancement

June 6, 2006

The recent Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights conference examined the right to use enhancing technologies, such as making inheritable changes to the human genome, controlling our own brain, and uploading human consciousness into a computer.

  • Martine Rothblatt, Terasem Foundation: “Bemes” — units of beingness — could eventually be captured, perhaps by wearable recording systems and neuron-sensing nanowires, and uploaded into computers.
  • Richard Glen Boire, Center
  • read more

    A veritable cognitive mind

    July 31, 2003

    Marvin Minsky, MIT professor and AI’s founding father, says today’s artificial-intelligence methods are fine for gluing together two or a few knowledge domains but still miss the “big” AI problem. He says the missing element is something so big that we can’t see it: common sense.

    In his forthcoming book, The Emotion Machine, Minsky shares his accumulated knowledge on how people make use of common sense in the context… read more

    Updated: Intel revamps teraflop MPU efforts

    December 3, 2009

    Intel Corp. has re-positioned its “tera-scale” processor R&D efforts, moving towards a more mainstream, x86-based multicore design instead of a proprietary technology.

    Intel has demonstrated an experimental, 48-core processor–or “single-chip cloud computer” (because it resembles the organization of datacenters used to create a “cloud” of computing) based on a 45-nm process using high-k and metal-gate technology.

    In the future, Intel’s “single-chip cloud computer” processor could be powerful enough… read more

    Nanowires for Displays

    May 7, 2008

    Researchers at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign have developed a simple process to grow upright copper nanowires on different surfaces.

    The nanowire arrays could find use in field-emission displays, a new type of display technology that promises to provide brighter, more vivid pictures than existing flat-panel displays.

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