October 10, 2005


The Net: not so vulnerable
A key finding from researchers who have teased out the structure of the Internet during the past half-dozen years has been that that, though the Internet is resistant to random failures, attacks targeting the largest hubs could fragment the network...

Cheap solar cells get efficient
Plastic solar cells promise to dramatically lower the cost of generating electricity from sunlight -- once researchers figure out how to make them more efficient...

Swimming blood cells
Scientists have turned red blood cells into microbial cyborgs by equipping them with artificial filaments and using magnetic fields to cause the filaments to propel the cells...

Microbes drive sensor
Scientists are looking for ways to use simple chemistry techniques to make electronics that are smaller, faster and cheaper than today's chip-based devices. Researchers have recently begun using microbes in this effort, both as templates for wires and electrodes, and also as living components whose biological responses can play a role in the devices' operation...

Bits and pieces
Shape-shifting surgical tool, molecular rotary motor and biochip heaters in coolers.


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 11, 2005
Grammar as time machine
Researchers have been able to show how early humans spread throughout Europe and Asia over the past several thousand years or so by studying changes in language vocabulary. The method has proved reliable going back only about 8,000 years, however, because it becomes impossible to differentiate between real relationships and chance resemblances that far back in time

October 5, 2005
Uphill water walkers

September 30, 2005
Seashells and CO2

September 27, 2005
A-salting freshwater

"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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