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Showing posts from August, 2008

On-Demand Star Trek Replicator

Shapeways Allows You to Materialize Any 3D Object, Star Trek StyleShapeways is a spin-off from Philips' Lifestyle Incubator. On one side, it's a website where you can upload your 3D models—which can even have joins—or use an online 3D creator with access to everyday models. The online 3D creator is extremely easy to use, so anyone can modify them without any technical or product design knowledge. With this, anyone can make a candle holder or a fruit bowl out of song lyrics or a personal message by just typing it. Advanced users to access to 3D packages can upload any model they can imagine in a 3D standard format, like STL, Collada or X3D.On the other side, there are different types of rapid prototyping machines that can create that model using a variety of materials, from nylon to plastic composites, each with different properties. For example, the nylon one results in a semi-flexible object, while a plastic called "Cream Robust" gives you an extremely hard finish. …

Worlds’ most distant webcam goes live

You can use a webcam to sneak peeks at birds’ nests, active volcanoes, watch the Shuttle launch, and even to check traffic. But that’s just local stuff. What if you want more of a far look? Then you need to check out the most distant webcam (so far) in the solar system: the Mars Express Visual Monitoring CameraSo go to their site and check out Mars. It just might be the most interesting heavenly body you’ll see on a web cam.

Can Asphalt collect more energy than Solar Panels

Researchers in Massachusetts are working on a technique to turn heat gathered by asphalt into useable energy via water pipes. Their paper, released this week at the International Symposium on Asphalt Pavements and Environment in Zurich, posits that asphalt roads could be better than solar panels in gathering energy.
Read full article at EcoGeek

MIT scientists develop virus-powered, cell-sized batteries

Miniature devices of the future could be powered by tiny new batteries that are about half the size of a human cell. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have come up with an idea to leverage characteristics of viruses to built small power sources that one day could supply the smallest electronics with electricity.Finding enough space for batteries in shrinking consumer electronics devices are one of the big challenges of hardware designers. But while the available space in today’s consumer electronics still seems to be manageable and evolve over time, there are less convenient solutions available for tiny microdevices such as implantable medical sensors. In the past, we have seen futuristic announcements of entire nano-power plants that are imagined to be implanted within arteries to use the blood flow to generate electricity where it is needed, but these devices are still very much science fiction. Before these power plants arrive, micro batteries are mor…

New immunization strategy could halve the doses for stopping computer virus spreading

Researchers have developed a new immunization strategy that requires up to 50% fewer immunization doses compared with the current most efficient strategy. The new strategy could be used to prevent the spread of human epidemics and computer viruses, and it applies to a wide variety of networks.The new method, called the “equal graph partitioning” (EGP) immunization strategy, is being proposed by a team of scientists from Boston University, Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel, and Stockholm University. Their study is published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters. In real life, the number of immunization doses is often limited or very expensive, so a strategy that requires the fewest doses could be very useful. As the researchers explain, the question of how to immunize a network with a minimum number of doses is mathematically equivalent to asking how to fragment a network with a minimum number of node removals. In this sense, the new EGP strategy works differently than th…

We Can See Sound, Scientists say

Turning conventional neuroscience on its head, new research suggests the human visual system processes sound and helps us see.Here's the basics of what was Neuroscience 101: The auditory system records sound, while the visual system focuses, well, on the visuals, and never do they meet. Instead, a "higher cognitive" producer, like the brain's superior colliculus, uses these separate inputs to create our cinematic experiences. The textbook rewrite: The brain can, if it must, directly use sound to see and light to hear. The study was published last week in the journal BMC Neuroscience. Monkey hear, monkey seeResearchers trained monkeys to locate a light flashed on a screen. When the light was very bright, they easily found it; when it was dim, it took a long time. But if a dim light made a brief sound, the monkeys found it in no time — too quickly, in fact, than can be explained by the old theories. Recordings from 49 neurons responsible for the earliest stages of visu…

Ten Years of Google, "Friendly" or a "Privacy Violating" Giant?

Ten years ago next month, in an innocuous suburban garage, Page and Brin, two geeky students at Stanford University, founded a company called Google. They would go on to create what is regularly voted the world's top brand, earn accolades as the world's best employers and become billionaires many times over. They would also, say their critics, cut a swathe through the laws of copyright, threaten to devour media like a 'digital Murdoch' and harvest more of our secrets than any totalitarian government - smashing the core certainties of advertising executives, book publishers, newspaper owners, television moguls and civil libertarians.Brin and Page's mission is to 'organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful'. They are doing it every minute of every day in indexed web searches, in blogs, in books, in email, in maps, in news, in photos, in videos, in their own encyclopedia. They have built a giant electronic brain made up …

Exploring the virtual ant colony

From BBCGround-penetrating radar has been used to nondestructively map an ant colony for the first time.The results have been digitised and fed into an interactive visualisation system so that the colony can be explored virtually. The system is inexpensive compared to earlier approaches and could be used in many fields. Visitors at the SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles have been putting the system through its paces this week. Hands-off mappingThe colonies of leafcutting ants like the Atta texana are huge, spanning many metres underground. "Leafcutting ant nests can hold a 3-storey house—the rural legend is that tractors can disappear into them," says Carol LaFayette, a fine artist by training who spearheaded the project. Myrmecologists seeking to map out the colonies have resorted to painstaking methods such as scraping away soil layer by layer, or pouring a casting material into the colonies and then excavating the casts.

Iran launches domestic made satellite

From BBCIran says it has successfully launched a rocket capable of carrying its first domestically built satellite. Officials said only the rocket had been fired, correcting state media reports that the communications satellite itself had been sent into orbit. The White House voiced concern, saying the technology could also be used for launching weapons. Tehran has pursued a space programme for years, despite international concern over its nuclear plans. In February it sent a probe into space as part of preparations for the launch of the satellite. Long-held ambitionFootage aired on Irinn (Islamic Republic of Iran News Network) showed the launch of the Safir rocket in darkness. The presenter said that the satellite launch was a trial which was successful. State and military officials confirmed the launch had taken place. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was at the event, said one report. In October 2005 a Russian-made Iranian satellite named Sina-1 was put into orbit by a Russian …

Stopping Glacial Melt with Giant Screens

Germans Try to Stop Glacial Melt with Giant Screen:
German researchers trying to slow melting glaciers have set up a large screen in the Swiss Alps that they hope will trap cold air over the icy mass, Johannes Gutenberg University said Thursday."We hope our installations will bring about a net cooling of the area. And if the melt is not stopped, that it is at least slowed," the project's leader, geography professor Hans-Joachim Fuchs, said in a statement.The structure, 15 metres long and three metres high (49 feet by 10 feet), was raised in the middle of the Rhone glacier in Switzerland's southwestern Valais region by 27 students from the German university.The purpose of the screen -- which sits at an altitude of 2,300 metres -- is to keep cold winds over the glacier.Already successfully tested in a laboratory, the experiment will be studied on site until August 21, according to the university, located in the German city of Mainz.

Study Reveals Ocean 'Dead Zones' Expanding Worldwide

Study Reveals Ocean 'Dead Zones' Expanding Worldwide: Oceanic "dead zones" where marine life cannot survive have been steadily increasing over the past five decades and now encompass 400 coastal areas of the world, a US-Swedish study said Friday.The number of these areas, in which aquatic ecosystems disappear due to lack of oxygen in the water, have "approximately doubled each decade since the 1960s," said the study in the journal Science.Dead zones now comprise around 245,000 square kilometers (95,000 square miles), according to researchers Robert Diaz of the Marine Sciences Institute at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and Rutger Rosenberg, a marine scientist at Gothenburg University in Sweden."The formation of dead zones has been exacerbated by the increase in (pollution) ... fueled by riverine runoff of fertilizers and the burning of fossil fuels," the study said.The phenomenon, called eutrophication, is caused by industrial pollut…

Spin flip trick points to fastest RAM yet - tech - 13 August 2008 - New Scientist Tech

Engineers and physicists from Germany have demonstrated the quickest prototype yet of an advanced form of RAM tipped by hardware manufacturers to be the future of computing. The device is so fast it brushes against a fundamental speed-limit for the process.Magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) is a faster and more energy efficient version of the RAM used in computers today, and hardware companies think it will in a few years dominate the market. Its speed and low power will in particular boost mobile computing.Whereas conventional RAM stores a digital 1 or 0 as the level of charge in the capacitor, MRAM stores it by changing the north-south direction of a tiny magnet's magnetic field. Each variable magnet is positioned next to one with a fixed field. Reading a stored value involves running a current through the pair to discover the direction of the variable magnet's field."

MIT developing super-realistic image system - MIT News Office

MIT developing super-realistic image system - MIT News Office: "By producing '6-D' images, an MIT professor and colleagues are creating unusually realistic pictures that not only have a full three-dimensional appearance, but also respond to their environment, producing natural shadows and highlights depending on the direction and intensity of the illumination around them."

How To Build a World: The Basics

Kids love to build their own worlds. They do it without prompting as they "play pretend" with toys and with one another, but some excel and go on to greatness. Everyone takes joy in a good story, but one that is set in a dynamic, believable world really stands out.

New imaging technologies reveal architecture of the brain

Traditional magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, can detect the major anatomical features of the brain and is often used to diagnose strokes and brain tumors. But advances in computing power and novel processing algorithms have allowed scientists to analyze the information captured during an MRI in completely new ways.

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Researchers craft curved, eyelike electronic camera

Drawing inspiration from the simple design of the human eye, Illinois engineers have invented a new kind of eyelike camera that avoids some pitfalls of ordinary cameras and could lead to a host of novel devices based on flexible electronics.The electronic eye made by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University collects light on a curved screen resembling a retina, in contrast to digital cameras that use lenses to focus images on a flat sheet of light detectors. A curved surface reduces the need for multiple lenses and cuts down on distortion that comes from projecting the light on a flat surface.That allows for a compact camera with low distortion and a wide field of view, much like a natural eye, according to a study published in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature.Making curved arrays of electronics is far tougher than it sounds, experts say. Until now, nearly all complex electronics have been etched on flat wafers, with even sl…

5 Scientific Theories That Will Make Your Head Explode

#5.The Theory: Quantum EntanglementThe Crazy Part:The part where you jiggle an electron on one side of the universe and an invisible force traverses millions of light years and smacks another electron into wiggling instantaneously, which is about a million years faster than is technically possible without time travel.#4.The Theory:EvolutionThe Crazy Part: The part where the family tree of every living creature on Earth collides at a single point on a single day in the past, making you related to Hitler as well as every insect you’ve ever killed..#3.The Theory: The Copenhagen InterpretationThe Crazy Part: The part where the furniture in your house behaves differently when you’re not around.#2.The Theory: The Many Worlds TheoryThe Crazy Part: The part where you realize that somewhere in some parallel universe you just died while reading this sentence.#1.The Theory: The Universe Is BigThe Crazy Part: The part where the Universe isn’t just bigger than you can possibly comprehend, but acco…

Scientists Create World's Thinnest Balloon

Scientists have created the world's thinnest balloon, made of a single layer of carbon just one atom thick.The fabric that the balloon is made of is leakproof to even the tiniest airborne molecules. It could find use in "aquariums" smaller than a red blood cell, through which scientists could peer at molecules, researchers suggested.The balloon is made of graphite, as found in pencils, which is made of atom-thin sheets of carbon stacked on top of each other known. The sheets are known as graphene.Graphene is highly electrically conductive, and scientists are feverishly researching whether it could find use in advanced circuitry and other devices."We were studying little graphene trampolines, and by complete accident, we made a graphene sheet over a hole. Then we started studying it, and saw that it was trapping gas inside," said researcher Paul McEuen, a physicist at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.By experimenting further with bubbles made of graphene, McEue…

Physicists Verified Quantum-"Uncollapse" Hypothesis

In 2006, Andrew Jordan, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester, together with Alexander Korotkov at the University of California, Riverside, spelled out how to exploit a quantum quirk to accomplish a feat long thought impossible, and this week a research team at the University of California at Santa Barbara has tested the

The Price Difference Between Macs & PCs Widens

For some time, Mac fans have argued that, feature-for-feature, Apple's computers aren't really that much more expensive than their PC competitors. When the processors, memory, hard drive and screens are all matched up, the price premium on a Mac was negligible, they insist, and sometimes non-existent. But does that still hold true?

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Mozilla mocks up possible Firefox successors in idea factory

Mozilla Labs this week took steps to open up its idea factory to wider outside input, asking for community help to develop the next big ideas that might power future browsers. Like any good research lab, the goal is not an immediate product but a set of innovative ideas that can be played with and debated without the pressure of an immediate implementation.Mozilla Labs' "concepts" can consist of three parts: ideas, mockups, or prototypes. The idea of throwing open the lab to more voices was all about hearing from... new voices (surprise!), so Mozilla wants to make sure that plenty of people can contribute, even if they can't hack code."You don’t have to be a software engineer to get involved, and you don’t have to program," says the announcement. "Everyone is welcome to participate. We’re particularly interested in engaging with designers who have not typically been involved with open-source projects. And we’re biasing towards broad participation, not …

Opinion: Can Google be bested? Not anytime soon

From Ars:Google may be the de facto leader in search today, but will its lead last forever? With services like Mahalo and Cuil gaining attention and Microsoft willing to pour continued billions into its quest for online dominance, Google's rivals are legion, and they're hungry, but that doesn't mean the Big G needs to elevate its corporate blood pressure; Google's dominance is assured far into the future.

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AMD Fusion details leaked

It appears that AMD’s engineers in Dresden, Markham and Sunnyvale have been making lots of trips to little island of Formosa lately - the home of contract manufacturer TSMC, which will be producing Fusion CPUs. Our sources indicated that both companies are quite busy laying out the productions scenarios of AMD’s first CPU+GPU chip.

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New technique to compress light

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have devised a way to squeeze light into tighter spaces than ever thought possible, potentially opening doors to new technology in the fields of optical communications, miniature lasers and optical computers.Optics researchers succeeded previously in passing light through gaps 200 nanometers wide, about 400 times smaller than the width of a human hair. A group of UC Berkeley researchers led by mechanical engineering professor Xiang Zhang devised a way to confine light in incredibly small spaces on the order of 10 nanometers, only five times the width of a single piece of DNA and more than 100 times thinner than current optical fibers."This technique could give us remarkable control over light," said Rupert Oulton, research associate in Zhang's group and lead author of the study, "and that would spell out amazing things for the future in terms of what we could do with that light."

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