science + technology news

In Challenge to Google, Yahoo Will Scan Books

October 4, 2005

Open Content Alliance, an unusual alliance of corporations, nonprofit groups and universities has announced an ambitious plan to digitize hundreds of thousands of books over the next several years and put them on the Internet, with the full text accessible to anyone.

Members include Yahoo, the Internet Archive, the University of California, and the University of Toronto, as well as the National Archive in England and others.

In… read more

Help for Info Age Have-Nots

October 3, 2005

To bridge the Digital Divide, MIT and companies like AMD, Motorola, and Yahoo are pushing devices and services aimed at bringing cutting-edge tech to parts of the world that need it most.

R Is for Robot

October 2, 2005

UC San Diego human-robot researchers hope to develop classroom teaching machines with a “human touch” and robotic companions that can develop personal relationships.

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.

Pill-sized camera gets to grips with your gut

October 2, 2005

Researchers have developed a radio-controlled crawling camera capsule that can move and stop on command to give doctors greater control over the images it takes, unlike existing camera capsules.

Google offers S.F. Wi-Fi — for free

October 2, 2005

Google Inc. has offered to blanket San Francisco with free wireless Internet access.

The proposal raises speculation that Google intends to create a free national Wi-Fi network.

‘The Singularity Is Near’ now #14 on Amazon

October 2, 2005

Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near is now ranked #14 in sales among all books, #5 among all Non-Fiction books, #1 in Science, #1 in Technology, #1 in Evolution, #1 in Science History and Philosophy, and #1 in Computers and Internet, as of Sunday Oct. 2.

New media coverage of the book includes a review, “Here It Comes,” in the Wall Street Journal, and “Rayread more

Ray Kurzweil deciphers a brave new world

September 30, 2005 reporter Declan McCullagh quizzed Ray Kurzweil in a wide-ranging interview on the implications of the Singularity for society.

Mighty Mice Regrow Organs

September 30, 2005

Genetically altered mice discovered accidentally at the Wistar Institute in Pennsylvania have the seemingly miraculous ability to regenerate like a salamander, and even regrow vital organs.

The results stunned scientists because if such regeneration is possible in this mammal, it might also be possible in humans.

Google confirms Ames plan, Search engine plans offices, partnership with space agency

September 30, 2005

Google Inc. plans to build up to 1 million square feet of offices at NASA Ames Research Center and collaborate with the space agency on research surrounding topics such as supercomputing that could benefit everything from moon launches to online searches.

It will also involve biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology.

Magnetic Microchips Replace Electronic Semiconductor

September 29, 2005

Researchers have created a computer by using magnetic microchips rather than semiconductor electronics.

Magnetic microchips reduce heat and are simpler and potentially cheaper to produce than electronic chips.

You Can’t Hide Your Lyin’ Brain

September 29, 2005

A scientist at the Medical University of South Carolina has found that magnetic resonance imaging machines also can serve as lie detectors, with more than 90 percent accuracy.

The MRI images show that more blood flows to parts of the brain associated with anxiety and impulse control when people lie. More blood also flows to the part of the brain handling multitasking because it is hard for people to… read more

AI systems may blow weathermen away

September 29, 2005

Weather forecasters could find themselves pushed out of a job by an artificial intelligence system designed to write clearer, less ambiguous reports.

Computer scientists at the University of Aberdeen, UK, were asked to generate an “artificial weatherperson” by operators of offshore oil rigs, who wanted more clarity in their forecasts. The vocabulary used by different forecasters can be vague and highly variable, says Ehud Reiter, who led the Aberdeen… read more

Molecule Walks Like a Human

September 28, 2005
A DTA molecule moves in a straight line on a flat surface, such as a copper sheet shown here, by mimicking a human walking

The “nano-walker,” a molecule that can move in a straight line on a flat surface has been designed by UC Riverside researchers, offering a new approach for storing large amounts of information on a tiny chip.

The molecule — 9,10-dithioanthracene or “DTA” — has two linkers that act as feet. Obtaining its energy from heat supplied to it, the molecule moves such that only one of the… read more

Computer users move themselves with the mind

September 28, 2005

Computer scientists have created a brain-computer interface that can read your thoughts. It allows you to stroll down a virtual street. All you have to do is think about walking.

The technology detects brain waves by using electrodes placed at strategic points on the scalp; they are positioned over brain areas known to be involved in moving specific body parts. The computer can then distinguish between signals corresponding to… read more

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