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This crop revolution may succeed where GM failed

October 30, 2006

New agricultural technology called marker-assisted selection (MAS) offers a sophisticated method to greatly accelerate classical breeding.

A growing number of scientists believe MAS will eventually replace GM food.

Rapidly accumulating information about crop genomes is allowing scientists to identify genes associated with traits such as yield, and then scan crop relatives for the presence of those genes.

High-Aptitude Minds: The Neurological Roots of Genius

August 1, 2008

Researchers have fingered parts of the parietal and frontal lobes as well as a structure called the anterior cingulate as important for superior cognition.

Some studies suggest that the brains of brighter people use less energy to solve certain problems than those of people with lower aptitudes do. But under certain circumstances, scientists have also observed higher neuronal power consumption in individuals with superior mental capacities.

‘AI Bush’ chatbot uses advanced natural-language programming

December 14, 2003

AI Bush, “an interactive Robot President,” is an experimental natural-language program and game from EllaZ Systems.

Announced today, it is based on the program “Ella,” which won the worldwide Loebner Prize Contest in 2002 as the “most human computer.”

AI Bush games include the strategy game “Reelect Bush?” You are a close advisor, helping him make decisions. The President’s expressions, voice clips, and tracking… read more

Researchers make first direct recording of mirror neurons in human brain

April 13, 2010

UCLA neuroscientists have for the first time made a direct recording of mirror neurons in the human brain.

The researchers found that the neurons fired or showed their greatest activity both when the individual performed a task and when they observed a task.

Entrepreneurs See a Web Guided by Common Sense

November 12, 2006

Computer scientists are finding new ways to mine human intelligence.

Their goal is to create Web 3.0, or the “semantic Web,” by adding a layer of meaning on top of the existing Web that would make it less of a catalog and more of a guide — and even provide the foundation for systems that can reason in a human fashion.

Radar Networks, for example, is one of… read more

First Solar: Quest for the $1 Watt

August 11, 2008

First Solar’s solar cells will likely meet typical grid-parity prices ($1/Watt) for the off-peak market in developed countries in just two to four years, analysts say.

Its product has three massive cost benefits: its ­active element is just a hundredth the thickness of silicon; it is built on a glass substrate, which enables the production of large panels; and manufacturing takes just two and a half hours–about a tenth… read more

Love better than drugs in reducing pain: neuroscientists

March 3, 2011

Neuroimaging researchers at Stanford School of Medicine have linked feelings of the early stages of a new romantic relationship (intense feelings of euphoria, well-being, and preoccupation with the romantic partner) to activation of reward systems in the human brain.

The results of those studies may be relevant to pain management in humans, suggest the researchers, since it is known that pharmacologic activation of reward systems can substantially… read more

Rate of broadband growth slows in US

December 23, 2003

The number of U.S. residents connected to the Internet through broadband services increased by 18 percent during the first half of 2003, from 19.9 million to 23.5 million, compared to a 23 percent increase during the last half of 2002, according to the FCC.

For the full year ending June 30, 2003, high-speed lines (more than 200 kbps) increased by 45 percent.

Brain Images Predict Suicide Risk

April 22, 2010

Predict Stack

UCLA researchers are using “quantitative EEG” (QEEG) — an algorithm that mathematically analyzes data from EEG electrodes to transform the results into a map of brain activity — to detect markers of antidepressant-induced suicidal thoughts.

Patients on antidepressants who indicated an increase in suicidal thoughts showed a drastic decrease in activity in the midline- and right-frontal (MRF) portion of the brain just 48 hours after starting their meds–six times… read more

Heart stem cells discovered by three teams

November 23, 2006

Cardiovascular “precursor” cells from cultures of mouse embryonic stem cells, dubbed “master” heart cells, hold the promise of treating patients with serious cardiovascular disease by rebuilding both cardiac muscle and blood vessels.

Self-assembling polymer arrays improve data storage potential

August 15, 2008

University of Wisconsin-Madison and Hitachi have achieved higher data-storage density by using self-assembling block copolymers to shrink the size of the pattern manufacturing templates used in disk drives and other data-storage devices, paving the way to smaller electronic devices and higher-capacity hard drives.

When added to a lithographically patterned surface, the copolymers’ long molecular chains spontaneously assemble into the designated arrangements, down to the molecular level. The method offers… read more

Is the Navy trying to start the robot apocalypse?

March 10, 2011

The U.S. Navy recently issued a proposal to build “a coordinated and distributed swarm of micro-robots” capable of manufacturing “novel materials and structures,” using desktop manufacturing  to “print” 3-D objects.

DARPA has also experimented with “programmable materials,” possible to “mimic the shape and appearance of a person or object being imaged in real time.”

Verizon trumps Wi-Fi with 500 k/bits

January 9, 2004

Verizon is rolling out its “BroadbandAccess” (300 to 500 kbit/s, with with bursts of 2 Mbits/s) cell phone service nationwide this year.

Verizon promises its “iobi” service will offer features such as programmable call forwarding or voice mail showing up as email and much closer integration between landline, IP and cellular networks.

Bioengineer calls for personal health devices

April 29, 2010

A growing set of nanoscale components are emerging from the lab that someday will power handheld devices that can provide custom health care advice, marrying novel bioengineering components with existing computer and consumer technologies, says Luke P. Lee, professor of bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley.

The new devices he envisions could, for example, “examine your physiological data every week and help you behave based on examining very sensitive biomarkers… read more

Pocket Projectors

December 6, 2006

Microprojector technology could let handheld gadgets like mobile phones and iPods display big pictures. The The Microvision system, composed of semiconductor lasers and a tiny mirror, will be small enough to integrate into a phone or an iPod.

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