science + technology news

How cells with damaged DNA alert the immune system

July 6, 2005

University of California, Berkeley researchers have found that damage to a cell’s DNA sets off a chain reaction that leads to the increased expression of a marker recognized by the body’s immune system, allowing it to differentiate cells that are cancerous from those that are healthy and attack them.

Cells with damaged DNA can also involve other cells in the fight, triggering a mechanism that signals other cells –… read more

Science’s greatest questions revealed

July 6, 2005

A special, free news feature in Science magazine explores 125 big questions that face scientific inquiry over the next quarter-century.

The questions include:

What Is the Universe Made Of?

What is the Biological Basis of Consciousness?

Why Do Humans Have So Few Genes?

To What Extent Are Genetic Variation and Personal Health Linked?

How Far Can We Push Chemical Self-Assembly?

What Are the… read more

Laser pulses could power quantum logic gate

July 5, 2005

Hewlett-Packard and the National Institute for Informatics in Tokyo have devised a quantum computer that uses powerful laser pulses to process quantum bits.

The system would use laser beams as a communication channel between optical qubits. Information on the quantum state of qubits would be combined in the beam, and then processed by measuring the beam. This would make it easier to process quantum information, as beams can be… read more

Artists and scientists conspire at conference

July 5, 2005

Cartoons and morphing software may help to convey scientists’ finds more effectively.

Hewlett Cites Progress on Quantum Computer

July 1, 2005

Scientists at Hewlett-Packard said Thursday that they had developed a new strategy for designing a quantum computer composed of switches of light beams that could be vastly more powerful than today’s digital electronic computers, which are constructed from transistors.

Net Pioneer Wants New Internet

July 1, 2005

David Clark, who led the development of the Internet in the 1970s, is working with the National Science Foundation on a plan for a whole new infrastructure to replace today’s global network.

A new architecture could allow for ubiquitous embedded wireless communications devices and sensors. It could also provide for more secure and convenient forms of commerce. A super-high-speed Internet could even allow people a world apart to collaborate… read more

Nanowire splicing to make ultra-small circuits

July 1, 2005

Northwestern University researchers have created nanowires containing gaps just a few nanometres wide along its length. The gaps are so minute that individual molecules can be dropped in, converting the wire into simple, incredibly small, electronic circuitry.


June 30, 2005

Three leading scientists, J. Craig Venter, Ray Kurzweil, and Rodney Brooks, discuss “Biocomputation.”

Soot blamed for global warming underestimate

June 30, 2005

Global warming looks set to be much worse than previously forecast, according to new research.

Three top climate researchers claim that the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere should have warmed the world more than they have. The reason they have not, they say, is that the warming is being masked by sun-blocking smoke, dust and other polluting particles put into the air by human activity.

But they… read more

Entering a dark age of innovation

June 30, 2005

We are fast approaching a new dark age, says Jonathan Huebner, a physicist working at the Pentagon’s Naval Air Warfare Center.

He says the rate of technological innovation reached a peak a century ago and has been declining ever since.

He plotted major innovations and scientific advances over time compared to world population, using the 7200 key innovations listed in a recently published book, The History of Science… read more

Mind is analog, not digital

June 30, 2005

The mind works the way biological organisms do — as a dynamic continuum, cascading through shades of gray — says a new Cornell study, which found evidence that language comprehension is a continuous process.

The older models of language processing theorized that neural systems process words in a series of discrete stages. The alternative model suggests that sensory input is processed continuously, so that even partial linguistic input can… read more

Computers Get The Meaning

June 29, 2005

A new software language will let computers interpret the nuanced meaning behind a command in order to appropriately execute actions in manufacturing environments. Developed by federal government researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and colleagues in France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, the process-specification-language software should make computers reason much more precisely than they do now.

Researchers create first nanofluidic transistor

June 29, 2005

University of California, Berkeley, researchers have invented the first “nanofluidic” transistor, which allows them to control the movement of ions through sub-microscopic, water-filled channels.

One application tney are exploring is cancer diagnosis. A nanoscale chemical analysis chip could, theoretically, take the contents of as few as 10 cancer cells and pull out protein markers that can tip doctors to the best means of attacking the cancer.

Nanofluidic channels… read more

What Other People Say May Change What You See

June 29, 2005

A new study used advanced brain-scanning technology to cast light on a topic that psychologists have puzzled over for more than half a century: social conformity.

They found evidence that other people’s views can actually affect how someone perceives the external world, implying that truth itself is called into question.

Roadmap to unravelling autism revealed

June 29, 2005

Combining the Autism Genome Project with brain imaging studies may hold the key to understanding the complex disorder.

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