July 4/11, 2001   

   Split pulses speed signals
Chop a light pulse into 20 sections and you have 20 light pulses in the time it took you to make one. Figure out how to switch them off at will and you've effectively sped up communications networks by 20 times.
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Gender gap shows cyberspace bias
The slight advantage men have in orienting themselves in space is magnified in virtual environments, and it has nothing to do boys spending more time with joysticks. For VR training and testing, proceed with caution.

Software lets appliances speak softly
Letting household appliances communicate with each other seems like a good idea, and sound waves are a good medium for in-home wireless networking. The trick is to avoid filling your house with a bunch of chatterboxes.

Molecular shuttle gains light throttle
Nature is full of mechanisms for moving molecules around. The challenge is figuring out how to control them. In one approach, researchers fashion a fuel pump from ultraviolet light.

Light-sensitive memory does not fade
Near-field recording uses light to cram lots of data onto disks. The key is figuring out how to read the disks with lasers without scrambling the data.

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