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Engineers aim to make average singers sound like virtuoso

April 25, 2003

Researchers are creating computer models for voice analysis and synthesis that break the human singing voice into components (such as pitch, duration, and vibrato) that can then be modified to produce a more professional-sounding rendition of the original voice.

Intel’s Plan to Replace Copper Wires

September 25, 2009


Intel has announced plans to ship in 2010 an optical cable called Light Peak that will be able to transmit 10 gigabits of data per second between electronic devices such as a laptop and external hard drive.

A single Light Peak cable will also be capable of transporting different types of data simultaneously, meaning it will be possible to back up a hard drive, transfer high-definition video, and connect… read more

The Brain Under Anesthesia

April 3, 2008

A large-scale study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that a commonly used device designed to prevent anesthesia awareness–the rare event when a patient is actually conscious during surgery–was largely ineffective.

Massachusetts General Hospital researchers are using brain imaging of human volunteers and, in animals, electrophysiology approaches–which more directly measure brain activity–to gain a deeper understanding of anesthesia. Their preliminary research suggests that measuring activity… read more

Skip Your Veggies? Not So Fast

February 13, 2006

A recently published study of 48,835 women, questioning low-fat diets, had serious design defects, experts say.

Subjects with “healthier” diets cut calories from fat by only 8.2 percent compared with the normal group and ate only 1.1 additional servings of fruits and vegetables a day — too small a difference to expect health benefits.

And hy focusing only on total fat intake, the study misleadingly failed to distinquish… read more

New Technique Could Stem Spread of Altered Genes From GM Crops

May 6, 2003

“A key concern regarding the use of genetically modified crops is the possibility that they will spread their altered genes to wild plants. Research published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences could help prevent these occurrences. Scientists have engineered a strain of GM plant that propagates successfully on its own, but cannot mix with non-GM plants.”

How to grow nanotubes as metallic or semiconducting

October 2, 2009

(Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University)

A new method to precisely grow carbon nanotubes so that they have either metallic or semiconducting properties has been developed by researchers at Honda, Purdue University and the University of Louisville, and could make possible more powerful, compact and energy-efficient computers, as well as ultra-thin nanowires for electronic circuits.

The nanotubes are grown in a vacuum chamber by exposing iron particles to methane gas. The gas contains carbon and… read more

Alzheimer’s Vaccine Clears Plaque But Has Little Effect On Learning And Memory Impairment

April 7, 2008

A promising vaccine being tested for Alzheimer’s disease that clears beta-amyloid plaques from the brain does not seem to help restore lost learning and memory abilities, according to a new study by University of California at Irvine researchers.

The results suggest that treating plaques by themselves may have limited clinical benefit if started after significant plaque growth, so Alzheimer’s disease therapies must also target related neuron damage and cognitive… read more

Quantum Dots ‘Talk’

February 23, 2006

Ohio University scientists who hope to use quantum dots as the building blocks for the next generation of computers have found a way to make these artificial atoms communicate.

They found that when the dots were arranged at a distance from each other greater than the radius of the dots, light waves traveled between the nanocrystals coherently. In previous research, the light’s wavelength would change or become irregular during… read more

‘Our Final Hour’: Global Warning

May 19, 2003

In his new book, Martin Rees, Britain’s Astronomer Royal, gives civilization as we know it only a 50-50 chance of surviving the 21st century.

Risks include bioterror or bioerror, self-reproducing nanoparticles that could eat us and every other living thing on Earth, and certain physics experiments that might be even more catastrophic.

Prizes Aside, the P-NP Puzzler Has Consequences

October 8, 2009

The importance of the unsolved “P versus NP problem,” one of the fundamental mathematical problems of our time, grows with the rise of powerful computers for tasks like optimizing the layout of transistors on a computer chip or cracking computer codes.

Targeted Delivery for Nanoparticles

April 10, 2008
These microscopic discs, made of porous silicon, can be used to deliver nanoparticles to tumors to treat cancer (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston)

As an alternative to chemotherapy, research groups are developing approaches that use microscopic carriers to deliver a variety of particles–including drugs, molecular tags that target tumors, and imaging agents to monitor and destroy cancer cells.

These microscopic delivery vehicles would evade the body’s defenses and target blood vessels near a tumor, then release their payload.

The Longevity Dividend

March 10, 2006

Congress should invest $3 billion annually in understanding the biology of aging and how it predisposes us to a suite of costly diseases and disorders expressed at later ages, say a group of researchers led by S. Jay Olshansky, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Illinois.

Quantum dots boost tissue imaging

June 2, 2003

An ultra-high resolution technique for imaging living tissue can provide a thousand-fold increase in resolution, thanks to the addition of tiny nanocrystals called quantum dots. Researchers ultimately hope to use the technique to probe ovarian tumors and other types of cancer deep in the body.

Specific cells, such as cancer cells, can be targeted by adding antibodies to quantum dots, which then act as homing devices.

How the human brain computes language

October 16, 2009

X-ray and brain scan showing electrodes that surgeons use to find and remove the source of seizures (to cure epilepsy), while sparing the source of mental functions like language (Ned T. Sahin)

Broca’s area, a small piece of the brain, can compute three different things at different times and within a quarter of a second (not just one thing when processing language, as previously thought), researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report.

Direct recordings from sets of brain cells revealed that three fundamentally distinct aspects of language (meaning, structure, and word sounds) are computed in Broca’s… read more

Gauging a Collider’s Odds of Creating a Black Hole

April 15, 2008

Some experts say too much hype and not enough candor on the part of scientists about the promises and perils of what they do could boomerang into a public relations disaster for science, opening the door for charlatans and demagogues.

Some in the public have fears about the Large Hadron Collider, centering on about creating black holes or hypothetical particles called strangelets, which critics said could transform the Earth… read more

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