science + technology news

DNA Machine May Advance Genetic Sequencing for Patients

August 1, 2005

A new kind of machine for decoding DNA may help bring costs so low that it would be feasible to decode an individual’s DNA for medical reasons. The machine, developed by 454 Life Sciences of Branford, Conn., was used to resequence the genome of a small bacterium in four hours, compared to four to six months in 1995.

The machine uses luciferase, the chemical in fireflies, to generate a… read more

It knows where you are…

August 1, 2005

Explorer — an interactive tourist guidebook — detects exactly where you’re standing within the 850-acre parkland surrounding Ashton Court, using GPS signals, and presents related pictures, sound effects and narrative.

Within a year, you should encounter it in some of the best-known tourist centers, including the Louvre in Paris, Alcatraz in San Francisco, Edinburgh Castle and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Life’s ingredients found in early universe

July 31, 2005

The molecular building blocks of life had already formed by the time the universe was only a quarter of its present age, new observations by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope reveal. The research bolsters the case for extraterrestrial life and may shed light on the nature of galaxies in the early universe.

The signature of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules were found in two galaxies. The molecules contain about 100… read more

Surfaces have built-in ‘fingerprints’

July 29, 2005

The surfaces of most paper documents, plastic cards and cardboard packages contain unique “fingerprints” that could be used to combat fraud, according to physicists.

The fingerprint is contained in microscopic imperfections on the surface and can be read by a portable laser scanner. The results could eventually eliminate the need for expensive security measures — such as holograms, chips and special inks — on passports, identity cards and pharmaceutical… read more

New Spintronic Speed Record

July 29, 2005

The fastest-yet magnetic version of a random access memory (MRAM) cell switches at a rate of 2 GHz, as good as or better than the fastest non-magnetic semiconductor memories and faster than static RAM (or SRAM) memories, currently the fastest memories.

The new version, developed by Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt researchers, uses a “ballistic bit addressing” scheme to overcome limitations of previous designs.

MRAM, which uses electron spin to store… read more

Crick’s last stand

July 29, 2005

Francis Crick and Christof Koch proposed to explain the neurological basis of human consciousness by studying the claustrum, a thin sheet of grey matter that lies concealed beneath part of the cortex.

Sensations could be bound together into one cohesive, conscious experience by the claustrum, they claim in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.


July 28, 2005

Feng-Hsiung Hsu, author of “Behind Deep Blue,” which told the story of how world chess champion Garry Kasparov was defeated by the IBM computer known as Deep Blue, says he had been planning at IBM to “create something a hundred to a thousand faster and capable of beating” Garry Kasparov, with 100 to 1 time odds, before IBM cancelled the project.

Hsu, now a senior manager and researcher at… read more

Japanese develop ‘female’ android

July 28, 2005

Japanese scientists have unveiled the most human-looking robot yet devised –a “female” android called Repliee Q1.

She has flexible silicone for skin, a number of sensors, and 31 actuators to allow her to turn and react in a human-like manner, which can programmed by a human wearing motion sensors.

She can flutter her eyelids and move her hands like a human. She even appears to breathe.

Professor… read more

Turning the concept of search on its head

July 26, 2005

Watson, a tool from Intellext that turns the concept of search on its head, does the searching for you. It runs in the background as you work, analyzing your documents and looking for relevant information.


July 26, 2005

A Technology Timeline compiled by researchers at BT’s futurology department has come up with a list of advances it says will change tomorrow’s world.

It includes:

2016 – 2020: As robots become more sophisticated and involve the addition of organic material into their construction there will be calls for their rights to be safeguarded.

2031 – 2035: At the rate that computer technology advances, they could become… read more

Do China and India threaten U.S. economic lead?

July 26, 2005

Changes in the global job market for science and engineering (S&E) workers are eroding US dominance in S&E, which diminishes comparative advantage in high tech production and creates problems for American industry and workers, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research paper.

A New Face: A Bold Surgeon, an Untried Surgery

July 26, 2005

Dr. Maria Siemionow of the Cleveland Clinic is planning to undertake what may be the most shocking medical procedure to occur in decades: a face transplant.

Her team has managed to induce long-term tolerance to hind-leg transplants with a drug regimen lasting only seven days. If similar results can be achieved in humans (many previous efforts along these lines have failed), the advance will alter the calculus behind transplantations,… read more

The CEO’s Tech Toolbox

July 26, 2005

Podcasts, RFID tags, and mesh networks are among the 10 new technologies that should be on the radar of every chief exec.

For example, IBM is developing AI-based software called the Uber-Personal Assistant (UPA). It will analyze your schedule, e-mails, and the text you’re typing to figure out exactly what you’re working on. Then, it will alert you to new e-mails pertinent to that project.

Using nanoparticles, in vivo gene therapy activates brain stem cells

July 26, 2005

University at Buffalo scientists have delivered genes into the brains of living mice with no observable toxic effect.

Scientists used gene-nanoparticle complexes to activate adult brain stem/progenitor cells in vivo, demonstrating that it may be possible to “turn on” these otherwise idle cells as effective replacements for those destroyed by neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s.

In addition to delivering therapeutic genes to repair malfunctioning brain cells, the nanoparticles… read more

Nanotech Moves Closer to Cure

July 26, 2005

Nanotech-enabled cancer therapy could be in doctors’ office within five years, says Dr. James Baker, who will head the University of Michigan’s new Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and the Biological Sciences.

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