October 3, 2005


Machine copies itself like DNA
A device that combines air hockey and DNA marks at least the third time this year the nascent field of self-replicating machines has seen a significant advance...

Thoughts wander in VR
Devices that allow for direct brain-computer communications are advancing on two fronts: devices implanted in the brain, and external electrodes that pick up the brain's electrical signals. In general the external devices are safer and cheaper, but the implants provide more control...

DNA computing gets chipped
DNA computers can simultaneously check many possible answers to large problems like determining the best possible traveling salesman's route. There are billions of possible routes that include just 15 cities, and there are no mathematical shortcuts for solving this type of problem, which means they easily overwhelm ordinary computers...

We like people like us -- even fakes
Social science researchers have known for decades that we view people who mimic our body language more favorably than those who don't. It turns out that this effect holds true for our interactions with artificial people as well...

Bits and pieces
Magnetic logic, finding the flu, and mapping electrons.


View from the High Ground: USC's Michael Arbib
Computing matter, the action-perception cycle, imagining tea with grandmother, passionate robots, transferring brain settings, the Mirror System Hypothesis, Hurricane Katrina, universal health care, and Goethe.

How It Works: Two schools of cryptography
There are two approaches to securing information: extremely difficult mathematical problems and the randomness of nature. Both count on the limits of technology.

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October 5, 2005
Uphill water walkers
Walking on water is a tricky business. So is defying gravity. Some bugs can do both.

The insects and spiders that walk on water are light enough that surface tension will support their weight. The tricky part of traversing water, however, is crossing the border between liquid and land

September 30, 2005
Seashells and CO2

September 27, 2005
A-salting freshwater

September 19, 2005
Room temperature ice

"If we consider the fate of New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina, we can certainly see challenges for technology in terms of better design and maintenance of levees, or in communication systems, but we also see the fruits of pork-barrel politics, lack of planning and coordination (technology can help, but one needs bright dedicated people to make use of it), and acceptance of a status quo in which too many people live in poverty."
- Michael Arbib, University of Southern California

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