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From a Physicist and New Nobel Winner, Some Food for Thought

October 20, 2004

Nobel Prize winner Dr. David Gross has listed the most enticing items that physics had learned enough to be ignorant about in 25 different areas.

Physicists are injecting themselves into the search for the origin of consciousness and other life science issues; not content to muse about building quantum computers, they are thinking of training computers themselves to be physicists.

Coming to the Battlefield: Stone-Cold Robot Killers

January 7, 2009

Armed robotic aircraft soar in the skies above Pakistan, hurling death down on America’s enemies in the war on terrorism. Soon — years, not decades, from now — American armed robots will patrol on the ground as well, fundamentally transforming the face of battle.

The Army stands on the threshold of one of the greatest transformations in war-fighting history, on the short list with steel and gunpowder. The Future… read more

Super Realistic Bionic Hand

July 19, 2007

Touch Bionics’ i-Limb is supposedly the world’s most advanced bionic hand.

New Species Revealed: Tiny Cousins of Humans

October 28, 2004

Skeletons of a new human species, Homo floresiensis, have been discovered in a cave on Flores, an island 370 miles east of Bali, by archaeologists.

The finding was “among the most outstanding discoveries in paleoanthropology for half a century,” said anthropologists Dr. Marta Mirazon Lahr and Dr. Robert Foley of the University of Cambridge.

The little (three and a half feet high) people were a downsized version of… read more

Supercomputer on a chip

March 13, 2001

Sony Computer Entertainment, Toshiba and IBM announced today they are teaming up on a $400 million project to develop a “supercomputer-on-a-chip.”

Code-named “Cell,” the new microchips will employ the world’s most advanced chip-making techniques, including copper wires, silicon-on-insulator transistors and low-K dielectric insulation, with features smaller than 0.10 microns.

The result will be consumer devices that are more powerful than IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer, operate at low power,… read more

A Breakthrough in Imaging: Seeing a Virus in Three Dimensions

January 13, 2009

Researchers at IBM Almaden Research Center have captured the first three-dimensional image of a virus, using a new technique, magnetic resonance force microscopy, or MRFM, which is similar to MRI.

They captured a 3-D image of tobacco mosaic virus particles with a spatial resolution down to four nanometers.

Explosion Kills Three at Mojave Air and Space Port

July 30, 2007

The July 26 test stand accident at the Mojave Air and Space Port, Calif., that killed three Scaled Composites employees and injured three others stunned the community of entrepreneurial companies there and around the United States.

Scaled Composites founder and president Burt Rutan said during a July 26 press conference that the accident occurred during propellant flow testing on SpaceShipTwo, the first of a fleet of suborbital space tourism… read more

Putting a face to ‘Big Brother’

November 9, 2004

Jeremiah, a virtual face that attempts to emulate humans in the way it responds to activity, could improve our interaction with hi-tech gadgets.

Joy still urges relinquishment of risky tech development

April 9, 2001

PALO ALTO — In a reprise of his controversial Wired article last April, “Why the future doesn’t need us,” Sun Microsystems chief scientist Bill Joy spoke at a Wired-sponsored event at Stanford University last Thursday.

Joy said the article got little response from the high-tech world. “It came out at the peak of IPOs,” he said, “when they were more concerned with launching”… read more

A Virus That Rebuilds Damaged Nerves

January 22, 2009

Bacteriophage viruses that mimic supportive nerve tissue may someday help regenerate injured spinal cords, University of California, Berkeley bioengineers have found.

Scientists Train Nano ‘Building Blocks’ To Take On New Shapes

August 8, 2007

Researchers from the University of Delaware and
Washington University have trained synthetic polymer molecules to behave– to literally “self-assemble”– and form into long, multicompartment cylinders 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, with potential uses in radiology, signal communication and the delivery of therapeutic drugs in the human body.

Nanomechanical memory demoed

November 22, 2004

A team at Boston University has made a minuscule mechanical memory cell from silicon. The device is a bistable compressed beam clamped at both ends.

The memory cell beam is 8,000 nanometers long by 300 nanometers wide by 200 nanometers high. It can be switched at 23.5 MHz. The cell’s size allows more than 100 gigabytes to be stored per square inch and uses several orders of magnitude less… read more

Silicon microparticles with gadonanotubes promise advance for MRI sensitivity

November 11, 2010

A way to trap contrast agents inside a silicon particle that, when injected into a patient’s bloodstream, would make them up to 50 times more effective  has been discovered by scientists at Rice University and other Texas Medical Center institutions and colleagues in Colorado, Italy and Switzerland. Contrast agents “light up” damaged tissue in the body in images produced by MRI instruments.

Silicon microparticles, or SiMPs served as a… read more

IBM plans self-aware computers

May 1, 2001

IBM has unveiled eLiza, an ambitious program to create computers that can maintain and update themselves automatically.

The name eLiza stands for “electronic lizard,” from the statement by futurist Ray Kurzweil that the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue (the chess computer that took on Gary Kasparov) was as smart as the average lizard.

A version of eLiza is being implemented on Blue Gene, the world’s fastest computer.

Blade Runner sequel

January 29, 2009

A sequel to Blade Runner and an adaptation by Ridley Scott of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World with Leonardo DiCaprio are in the works.

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