science + technology news

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.

Nanocoating could eliminate foggy windows and lenses

August 29, 2005

MIT scientists have developed a unique polymer coating made of silica nanoparticles that they say can create surfaces that never fog.

The coatings consist of alternating layers of silica nanoparticles and a polymer called polyallylamine hydrochloride. The super-hydrophilic nanoparticles in the coating strongly attract the water droplets and force them to form much smaller contact angles with the surface. As a result, the droplets flatten and merge into a… read more

Cornell researchers create DNA buckyballs for drug delivery

August 29, 2005

Cornell University researchers have made DNA buckyballs that could be used for drug delivery and as containers for chemical reactions.

The buckyballs are made from a specially prepared, branched DNA-polystyrene hybrid. The hybrid molecules spontaneously self-assemble into hollow balls about 400 nanometers in diameter.

Source: Cornell University news release

On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Bot

August 29, 2005

WinHoldEm, the first commercially available autoplaying poker software, wins real money while you sleep.

Xtreme Defense

August 29, 2005

Lightning guns, heat rays, weapons that can make you hear the voice of God. This is what happens when the war on terror meets the entrepreneurial spirit.

Early Look at Research Project to Re-engineer the Internet

August 29, 2005

The National Science Foundation’s Global Environment for Networking Investigations project is intended to fundamentally re-engineer the Internet and overcome its shortcomings.

The network will focus on security, “pervasive computing” environments populated by mobile, wireless and sensor networks, control of critical infrastructure and the ability to handle new services that can be used by millions of people.

Carbon nanotube technology, closer than you think

August 26, 2005

Scientists are looking at using the highly conductive properties of carbon nanotubes to dissipate heat from computer chips, which would allow them to run faster without overheating.

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