science + technology news

Parasites brainwash grasshoppers into death dive

September 5, 2005

A parasitic worm that makes the grasshopper it invades jump into water and commit suicide does so by producing proteins which directly and indirectly affect the grasshopper’s central nervous system.

Some of the proteins were linked to neurotransmitter activities. Others were linked to geotactic behaviour — the oriented movement of an organism in response to gravity.

Diamond-nanotube nanocomposite developed

September 5, 2005

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have combined the world’s hardest known material — diamond — with the world’s strongest structural form — carbon nanotubes.

The resulting material has potential for use in low-friction, wear-resistant coatings, catalyst supports for fuel cells, high-voltage electronics, low-power/high-bandwidth radio frequency MEMS/NEMS, thermionic energy generation, low-energy-consumption flat panel displays, and hydrogen storage.

The new hybrid material was created using… read more

4G prototypes reach blistering speeds

September 5, 2005

Cellphones capable of transmitting data at a gigabit per second have been demonstrated by NTT DoCoMo in Japan.

In experiments, prototype phones were used to view 32 high definition video streams, while travelling in an automobile at 20 kilometers per hour.

Multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) multiplexing was also used to send data via various routes across a network to further increase data capacity.

Dark matter highlights extra dimensions

September 5, 2005

University of Oxford scientists say extra spatial dimensions can be inferred from the perplexing behavior of dark matter, which behaves differently in small galaxies and large clusters of galaxies.

Three extra dimensions are altering the effects of gravity over very short distances of about a nanometer, they speculate, implying that the Universe is only about a nanometer wide in these three “directions.”

New ‘Alien Nanofiber’ Has Potential Anti-Counterfeiting Applications

September 1, 2005

Carlos Rinaldi, assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, has created 150-nanometer fibers that can be placed inside a garment or paper document and serve as a “fingerprint” that proves the garment or document is genuine.

The fibers contain nanoparticles with an electrical, magnetic or optical signature that can prove a product genuine if scanned by a device looking for the particular signature.

‘Miracle mouse’ can grow back lost limbs

September 1, 2005

Wistar Institute scientists have created a “miracle mouse” that can regenerate amputated limbs or badly damaged organs, making it able to recover from injuries that would kill or permanently disable normal animals.

The experimental animal is unique among mammals in its ability to regrow its heart, toes, joints and tail.

The researchers have also found that when cells from the test mouse are injected into ordinary mice, they… read more

Drexler’s Nanofactory Design Animation Now Available as Streaming Media

September 1, 2005

“Productive Nanosystems: From Molecules to Superproducts,” an animated video, is now available in streaming media format on The large 80 MB file previously took a long time to download, so access was limited.

Productive nanosystems are a goal of Dr. K. Eric Drexler’s twenty-year research in nanotechnology. To illustrate the concept, he has worked with engineer-animator John Burch to produce this 3D tour of one potential… read more

Studying the brain’s chemistry, neuron by neuron

September 1, 2005

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed tools for studying the chemistry of the brain, neuron by neuron. The analytical techniques can probe the spatial and temporal distribution of biologically important molecules, such as vitamin E, and explore the chemical messengers behind thought, memory and emotion.

By dismantling a slice of brain tissue into millions of single cell-size pieces, each of which can be interrogated by mass spectrometric… read more

In Chimpanzee DNA, Signs of Y Chromosome’s Evolution

August 31, 2005

Scientists have decoded the chimp genome and compared it with that of humans, a major step toward defining what makes people human and developing a deep insight into the evolution of human sexual behavior.

New algorithm for learning languages

August 31, 2005

Cornell University and Tel Aviv University researchers have developed a method for enabling a computer program to scan text in any of a number of languages, including English and Chinese, detect recurring patterns or rules, and autonomously and without previous information, infer the underlying rules of grammar.

The rules can then be used to generate new and meaningful sentences. The method also works for such data as sheet music… read more

Accelerating Change 2005 focuses on AI and IA

August 31, 2005

This year’s Accelerating Change 2005 conference (AC2005), Sept. 16-18 at Stanford, promises to be “outstanding,” organizer John Smart tells Accelerating Intelligence news, with 51 top speakers and emcees.

The conference focuses on “artificial intelligence and intelligence amplification transforming technology, empowering humanity.” Consistent with that theme, Ray Kurzweil will keynote the event and will distribute pre-publication signed copies of his The Singularity is Near to the first 250… read more

Roberts v. the Future

August 31, 2005

As legislators address a host of futuristic issues, from the genetic enhancement of children to the use of brain scanning to identify criminal suspects, laws will inevitably be challenged in court, raising novel and surprising questions about how to interpret our constitutional rights to privacy, equality and free expression.

Rather than focusing on John Roberts’s past, the senators questioning him might get a better sense of his future on… read more

Nano-material is harder than diamonds

August 31, 2005

A new harder-than-diamond material, aggregated carbon nanorods (ACNR), has been created in the lab by compressing and heating buckyballs.

It should be easy to mass produce and better than diamond for deep drilling and polishing abrasive materials.

Molecular motors push liquid uphill

August 29, 2005

Droplets of liquid have been moved uphill by molecular motors designed to manipulate Brownian motion.

The “nano-shuttles” are long hydrocarbon-based molecules each with a ring of organic molecules strung, but not chemically bonded, around them. They could create a range of different types of smart surfaces, such as adhesive surfaces that can be switched on and off, or surfaces that can be switched from one color to another.

Most scientific papers are probably wrong

August 29, 2005

Small sample sizes, poor study design, researcher bias, and selective reporting and other problems with experimental and statistical methods mean that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper are true.

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