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Human fertility experiment prompts wrath

October 15, 2003

US doctors have created the first pregnancies using a controversial technique related to cloning. The babies died before birth.

Other experts have condemned the procedure because the health risks are unknown.

The team fertilized eggs from two women in test tubes. They then sucked out the nucleus of one egg and injected it into the other, which they had stripped of its own nucleus. The idea is that… read more

Rob Cohen Puts Josh Lucas in Stealth Mode

October 15, 2003

Columbia Pictures’ big-budget action film Stealth tells the story of an artificial intelligence pilot who is brought aboard to learn combat skills from human pilots. When the A.I. pilot begins to have ideas of his own, complications ensue.

It is slotted for Memorial Day, 2005 release.

Turn That PC Into a Supercomputer

October 15, 2003

ClearSpeed Technologies has announced a new high-performance, low-power, floating-point parallel processor capable of performing 25 gigaflops/second.

According to the company, the chip has the potential to bring supercomputer performance to the desktop. An ordinary desktop PC outfitted with six PCI cards, each containing four of the chips, would perform at about 600 gigaflops (or more than half a teraflop).

At this level of performance, the PC… read more

Leading humanity forward

October 14, 2003

Project Cyborg 4.0 is Prof. Kevin Warwick’s plan to be the first human with a brain inplant.

“I can see a future when we do link human brains and machine brains together to create cyborgs, and this oldfashioned way of communicating by speech will be thrown out. We’ll communicate just by thinking at each other,” he says.

Egnineers grow tissues in 3-D using stem cells on polymer scaffold

October 14, 2003

MIT engineers report a new approach to creating three-dimensional samples of human tissue that could push researchers closer to their ultimate goal: tissues for therapeutic applications and replacement organs.

The team “seeded” human embryonic stem cells, which have the potential to differentiate into a variety of specialized cells, onto a biodegradable polymer scaffold. By treating the scaffold/stem cell structure with chemical cues, or growth factors, known to stimulate the… read more

Breathing life into messy sketches

October 14, 2003

AI-based software being developed by the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT will observes what we draw on the screen and then turns the sketch into computer code.

The smart program is able to interpret what we had in mind from the crude drawing, then animates the sketch by applying the laws of physics to create motion using gravity and momentum — balls roll down slopes, a propeller creates lift.

Citizens strike back in intelligence war

October 14, 2003

Government Information Awareness (GIA), a website to be launched later in 2003, will allow people to post information about the activities of government organizations and officials.

To protect against legal action if postings are false, the two MIT researchers behind the project plan to use a peer-to-peer network with data stored in a number of locations around the Internet.

Neuroscience Networks: Data-sharing in an Information Age

October 13, 2003

The current challenge in brain mapping is data sharing and integrating information into a coherent, accessible form that permits hierarchical analysis from RNA to protein to morphology to connectivity to experimental behavioral and clinical sciences.

Efforts driven by collaboration, coordination, and computation should yield the data, tools, and resources that neuroscientists will need in the coming decades. New electronic publications [such as PLoS Biology, launched today, and free to… read more

Purdue researchers stretch DNA on chip, lay track for future computers

October 10, 2003

Researchers have precisely placed strands of DNA on a silicon chip and then stretched out the strands so that their encoded information might be read more clearly, two steps critical to possibly using DNA for future electronic devices and computers.

Join the dots

October 10, 2003

A network of quantum dots that pass electrons between them one at a time can be used to carry out logic operations at very high device integration densities.

Cosmic Soccer Ball? Theory Already Takes Sharp Kicks

October 10, 2003

The just-announced model of the universe as a kind of 12-sided hall of mirrors, in which the illusion of infinity is created by looking out and seeing multiple copies of the same stars, has already been disproven, say some scientists.

Free science journal hits press

October 10, 2003

The Public Library of Science has launched a free magazine for scientists, PLoS Biology.

The magazine charges researchers $1,500 to publish a paper, rather than readers.

What’s wrong with the electric grid?

October 10, 2003

Experts widely agree that failures of the power-transmission system such as the recent Northeast United States blackout are a nearly unavoidable product of a collision between the physics of the system and the economic rules that now regulate it.

To avoid future incidents, the nation must either physically transform the system to accommodate the new rules, or change the rules to better mesh with the power grid’s physical behavior.

Tantalising evidence hints Universe is finite

October 9, 2003

Scientists have announced hints that the Universe is actually relatively small — something like 70 billion light years across — with a hall-of-mirrors illusion tricking us into thinking that space stretches on forever.

The thinking is based on observations by NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), which measures temperature ripples in the cosmic microwave background.

Our Universe seems like an endlessly repeating set of dodecahedrons (12 identical pentagons)… read more

GM ‘could be another Thalidomide’

October 9, 2003

Plans for the future of GM crops in Britain suffered a massive blow as insurance giants issued dire warnings about the unknown dangers posed by the supercrops.

Insurance firms are refusing to offer cover to farmers who want to plant GM crops because they fear a public health disaster and huge compensation payouts.

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