science + technology news

First Evidence For Entanglement of Three Macroscopic Objects

March 4, 2005

First evidence for entanglement of three macroscopic objects has been seen in a superconducting circuit built at the University of Maryland.

By examining an electrical circuit operating at temperatures near absolute zero, the researchers have found new evidence that the laws of quantum mechanics apply not just to microscopic particles such as atoms and electrons, but also to large electronic devices called superconducting quantum bits (qubits).

Superconducting circuits… read more

Taiwan develops face-recognition vending machine

January 17, 2011

Researchers in Taiwan have developed a vending machine that recommends purchases based on people’s faces, attempts to detect any smartphones, e-readers or tablets the buyer might be carrying, to indicate whether the shopper was equipped to download books, music or films.

Fermi’s Paradox II: What’s Blocking Galactic Civilization?

November 13, 2001

There has been plenty of time for aliens keen on colonizing the Milky Way to pull it off, but we see no signs of galactic federation. SETI astronomer Seth Shostak offers some explanations, including cost of interstellar travel and required stamina for long trips.

Crawling the Web to Foretell Ecosystem Collapse

March 23, 2009

Humans can make huge changes to ecosystems faster than the standard methods of data collection can keep up, but by trawling scientific list-serves, websites, and local news sources, ecologists think they can use human beings as sensors by mining their communications.

Much of the pioneering work in this type of Internet surveillance has come in the public health field, tracking disease.

Tiny sensor detects a mouse heart’s magnetic pulse

November 2, 2007

An atomic magnetometer not much bigger than a grain of rice can detect magnetic fields as weak as 70 femtoteslas — about a billionth of the Earth’s magnetic field, using optical magnetometry.

The detectors are even sensitive enough to detect alpha waves from the human brain and generate magnetocardiograms that provide information similar to an electrocardiogram (ECG), without requiring electrodes on the patient’s body.

Champions declared in AI poker tournament

July 30, 2012

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The Annual Computer Poker Competition that recently concluded at the AAAI conference in Toronto introduced a new Poker program called “Slumbot,” using low-end machines instead of supercomputers, Richard Gibson (a member of the competing team from the University of Alberta’s Computer Poker Research Group) reports in IEEE Spectrum Tech Talk.

 

Photonic crystal slows down light

March 16, 2005

Researchers have succeeded in reducing the group velocity of light by a factor of more than 100 in a novel two-dimensional photonic crystal.

The development is important for building optical interconnects for future computers operating at speeds above 20 gigahertz, where presently used electrical interconnects have severe limitations.

Studying, recreating sound in three dimensions

December 6, 2001

Realistic computer sound, specifically tuned for each listener, could get a little closer using a new, free public database of acoustic measurements developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis.
“We’ve captured the critical information needed to reproduce actual sounds as each listener perceives them,” said Ralph Algazi, who led the research team at the UC Davis Center for Image Processing and Integrated Computing (CIPIC).

Spatially realistic sound… read more

Alarm raised about religion defamation ban

March 30, 2009

The U.N.’s top human rights body has approved a “defamation of religion” proposal by Muslim nations urging the passage of laws protecting religion from criticism.

Christian, Jewish, and secular groups say the non-binding resolution restricts freedom of speech and will worsen relations between faiths.

From Molecules To The Milky Way: Dealing With The Data Deluge

November 9, 2007

CSIRO Australia has a new research program aimed at helping science and business cope with masses of data from areas like astronomy, gene sequencing, surveillance, image analysis and climate modelling.

The research program, which began this year, is called “Terabyte Science” and is named for the data sets that start at terabytes (thousands of gigabytes) in size, which are now commonplace.

Newest Chip Is Combination of Fiber Optics and Electronics

March 29, 2005

Luxtera has announced a new class of silicon chips with the potential to blend the low-cost manufacturing prowess of the semiconductor world with the ultrahigh-speed potential of laser optical networking.

The convergence is expected to have a major impact on the computing and communications industries, both in the design of future computers and on drastically less expensive networks that will make applications of such fiber optic networks to homes… read more

‘Hard-Wired’ Grammar Rules Found for All Languages

January 16, 2002

In 1981, Noam Chomsky proposed that the grammars of all languages can be described by a set of universal rules or principles, and the differences among those grammars are due to a finite set of options that are also innate. Now Dr. Mark C. Baker, a linguist at Rutgers University, has presented supporting evidence in the book, “The Atoms of Language: The Mind’s Hidden Rules of Grammar.”

A Catalyst for Cheaper Fuel Cells

April 3, 2009

Researchers at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) in Quebec have dramatically increased the performance of an iron-based catalyst.

Their material produces 99 amps per cubic centimeter at 0.8 volts, a key measurement of catalytic activity. That is 35 times better than the best nonprecious metal catalyst so far, and close to the Department of Energy’s goal for fuel-cell catalysts: 130 amps per cubic centimeter.

UN meeting gives telcos access to terrestrial TV spectrum

November 16, 2007

A UN telecoms meeting has decided to give mobile service providers access to bandwidth currently reserved for terrestrial UHF television broadcasts, offering the promise of high-speed Internet access on-the-move anywhere in the world by 2015, at lower cost.

A U.S. government auction scheduled for February is expected to fetch up to US$15 billion from the sale of bandwidth in the 698 to 806 megahertz range.

The same frequencies… read more

Colour coding DNA promises cheaper sequencing

April 12, 2005

A new technique that color-codes DNA for laser sequencing may offer a faster and cheaper way of sequencing genomes.

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