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The Infinite Library

April 21, 2005

Google is converting the full text of millions of library books into searchable Web pages. How will libraries function in 2020 or 2050, once Google or its successors have finished digitizing the world’s printed knowledge?

Picture This: Image-based rendering creates photorealistic 3-D models from plain old pictures

March 6, 2002

Image-based rendering is being used in movies and sporting events for creating photorealistic 3-D computer images and animations from photographs.
Current research aims at combining image-based rendering with traditional geometric modeling to create models called “imposters” that combine the advantages of geometric models with the photorealistic detail of image-based rendering.

The best-known example of image-based rendering was in last year’s Super Bowl, where a network of cameras filmed players… read more

Nissan’s new concept car ‘feels like flying’

October 8, 2009

Nissan unveiled Thursday a futuristic concept car, the “Land Glider,” that tilts to the side when going around bends to make drivers feel like they are gliding through the air.

Before the Big Bang: A Twin Universe?

April 10, 2008

The universe that came before ours was its identical twin, a new study by Alejandro Corichi from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and Parampreet Singh from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics suggests.

Since the pre-bounce universe is contracting, it will look as if we were looking at ours backward in time.

Modified mice enjoy one-fifth more life

May 6, 2005

A mouse with the ability to mop up free radicals at the cellular level – and live longer as a result – has been created by scientists at the University of Washington.

The research is a boost for the free radical theory of ageing.

The transgenic mice created produce higher-than-normal levels of the antioxidant enzyme catalase. Cells use catalase to convert damaging hydrogen peroxide to harmless water and… read more

The ‘New Economy’ re-examined

April 8, 2002

The Internet revolution of the 1990s –and resulting worker productivity increases — created fundamental changes that are at least partly responsible for why the recent downturn was so mild, some economists believe.

Five Technologies That Could Change Everything

October 19, 2009

Five technologies that, if successful, could radically change the world energy picture are space-based solar power, lithium-air batteries, battery packs located close to customers to supply power when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing, carbon capture and storage, and next-generation biofuels.

Laser beams to the brain reveal seizures in real time

April 16, 2008
(Huabei Jiang)

University of Florida researchers have used a laser beam to detect areas of a mouse brain involved in an epileptic seizure.

The laser-induced PAT (photoacoustic tomography) procedure involves shining a laser beam through the skull. Cortical areas involved in the seizure absorb more energy, which is converted to sound vibrations that can be detected by an ultrasonic transducer, allow for mapping cortical activity.

Digital Immortality — Download the Mind by 2050

May 23, 2005

The wealthy will be able to download their consciousness into computers by 2050 – the not so well off by “2075 or 2080,” claims futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson, head of the Futurology unit at BT.

“The new PlayStation is 1 per cent as powerful as a human brain,” he said. “It is into supercomputer status compared to 10 years ago. PlayStation 5 will probably be as powerful as the… read more

Bell Labs breaks through on Moore’s Law

April 30, 2002

Scientists at Bell Labs have developed a way to image a single impurity atom in silicon to understand how impurities affect the properties of microchips.
The finding will help in creating new manufacturing technologies for smaller chips. Impurities are introduced into silicon to provide charge carriers that control a chip’s electrical properties.

As components continue to shrink, just a few atoms of impurities could determine the function of a… read more

Energy Department Aid for Scientists on the Edge

October 26, 2009

The federal Energy Department will announce on Monday 37 grants totaling $151 million for radical energy proposals with a “transformative impact,” in a program directed by the new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or Arpa-e.

On Tuesday, President Obama plans to discuss $3.4 billion in spending from the stimulus package to improve the electricity grid.

Meet Nexi, MIT Media Lab’s latest robot and Internet

April 19, 2008

Nexi, a new experimental robot from the MIT Media Lab, can show a wide assortment of facial expressions to communicate with people in human-centric terms.

Created by a group headed by Media Lab’s Cynthia Breazeal, known for earlier expressive robots such as Kismet, the new robot is known as an MDS (mobile, dextrous, social) robot. Unlike Kismet, which consisted only of a robotic head, the… read more

Would you have allowed Bill Gates to be born?

June 1, 2005

There is a good chance we will soon have a genetic test for detecting the risk of autism in an embryo or fetus.

The development of such a screening tool raises the possibility that parents might one day have the option of preventing the birth of a child with even a mild form of the disorder.

As genetic testing moves into the world of mental health, we are… read more

Quantum wormholes could carry people

May 24, 2002

“Quantum wormholes offer a faster-than-light short cut to the rest of the cosmos — at least in principle. Now physicists believe they could open these doors wide enough to allow someone to travel through.”
But matter travelling through a wormhole adds positive energy to it, which collapses it into a black hole, so any would-be traveller would be crushed.

“Ghost radiation” could be used to offset the positive energy… read more

3,000 Images Combine for Stunning Milky Way Portrait

November 3, 2009

(Axel Mellinger of Central Michigan University)

A new 648-megapixel panoramic image of the full night sky, melded together from 3,000 individual photographs with mathematical models, shows stars 1,000 times fainter than the human eye can see, as well as hundreds of galaxies, star clusters and nebulae.

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