Science

Thu
15
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft-Google Battle Goes Galactic

Microsoft is launching an online service giving users access to images from space telescopes. It could mean yet another battle with Google, which has its own service, Google Sky. Bill Gates says the WorldWide Telescope project should be online by ... the end of the month. The free service is based on Microsoft's Visual Experience Engine, the same technology which runs the Microsoft Virtual Earth mapping software. By combining this software with thousands of images taken from space cameras, the service effectively acts as an interactive telescope. Where appropriate there will also be links to ... (view more)

Thu
08
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Fascinating: Memristor to replace Binary

For more than half a century, digital electronic devices have been based on a binary paradigm -- that is, electronic switching of a signal either 'on' (1) or 'off' (0). Everything we know about computing is based on this simple concept. Now that's ... about to change. As first reported this week by our own John Lister , scientists at Hewlett-Packard's Information and Quantum Systems Lab have discovered a new type of electrical resistor: one that has memory properties. The so-called "memristor" exploits the curious memory-like properties of a thin coat of titanium dioxide when a current is passed ... (view more)

Tue
06
May
Dennis Faas's picture

New HP Circuit Could Change Technology Forever

Hewlett Packard has uncovered a new form of electrical circuit which could allow them to make even smaller memory chips that consume less power than existing chips. The discovery could allow cell phones to run for weeks on a single charge, or give ... PCs the chance to start-up in an instant. Though the chips would be smaller, they will be able to store information once the power is turned off, similar to the Flash system used in camera memory cards or USB sticks. The advancement is tied to the way an electrical circuit works. Scientists have always known a circuit involves three basic components ... (view more)

Fri
02
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft Device Extracts Forensic Data

Microsoft has reportedly developed a small plug-in device that can be used by investigators to quickly extract forensic data from computers that may have been used in crimes. The Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE) is a USB "thumb ... drive" that Microsoft quietly distributed to a handful of law-enforcement agencies last June. The COFEE device contains 150 commands that dramatically cut the time it takes to gather digital evidence. It can decrypt passwords and analyze a computer's Internet activity and data stored in the computer. COFEE lets the investigator scan for evidence on ... (view more)

Fri
25
Apr
Dennis Faas's picture

A Sneak Peek at the High School World Robotics Competition

Wonder what it takes to win a high school world robotics competition? A St. Catherine's, Ontario, Canada team recently found out, awarded first prize for the construction of a robot capable of moving while aiming oversized balls at a target. The ... competition was held last weekend in Atlanta, Georgia and featured representation from an astounding eight countries totalling 344 teams (including a number of prominent U.S. high schools). However, it was the 25-member Canadian team from Governor Simcoe Secondary School in St. Catherines that captured the judges and the crowd with its 'Simbotics' ... (view more)

Mon
14
Apr
Dennis Faas's picture

New Photo Technology Rates Smiles

New technology out of Japan could ensure that you think twice about how your toothy grin will appear once a photo is taken. Omron Corp., a major electronics and health care company, has created new technology that works with virtually any type of ... modern camera to analyze a person's smile. The technology takes into account curved lips, eye movements and other facial features to determine how much a person is smiling. Multiply this feature by 100 faces within the same image and a simple photo becomes an interactive game of "who has the best smile". (Source: usatoday.com ) The technology has ... (view more)

Thu
27
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

'Bleeding' Signals with Google

Google was the big loser in a recent bidding auction for the 700 MHz spectrum, which is being abandoned by television networks as the entire industry moves to digital format under Congressional order. Now, Google is trying to get the Federal ... Communications Commission (FCC) to allow mobile devices to use what is called the 'white space' that exists between TV channels. (Source: slate.com ) While the regulatory board is reportedly intrigued by Google's proposal, many doubts remain. White space is used as a barrier between television channels to prevent signals from one broadcast interfering ... (view more)

Wed
26
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

Computer Crashed? Watch the Instant Replay

It's late (usually well past midnight) and you've just finished an eight-page term paper due at eight o'clock the next morning. You scroll over to click the print icon and then it happens...total darkness. After countless prayers and even more curse ... words, you finally come to the realization that your paper has been lost forever. While it takes everything you have to start from scratch, you begin to wonder: what if I had seen the crash coming, or at the very least, have seen what caused the crash to avoid future occurrences? Thanks to two researchers, this improbable concept has become a ... (view more)

Fri
21
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

The Rise of 'Killer' Software

We all know that many modern medical tools rely on sophisticated software to perform their magic in life-saving and life-threatening situations. However, it's now software that's being asked to decide, quite literally, whether someone lives or dies. ... Sound like a science-fiction fantasy? Maybe something from Huxley's 'Brave New World' or a Vonnegutt novel? It may have started that way, but with increased frequency, computer programs are being asked to make life or death decisions because of their intrinsic impartiality. Example 1: As far back as 2006, software, designed by a Beijing hi-tech ... (view more)

Tue
04
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

Magic Wand Makes Questionable Water Safe

When an individual travels to a far-off destination, often one of their first inclinations is to be very cautious of the possible contaminants in local drinking water. While many have resolved to purchase bulky filtration devices or abstain from ... drinking water altogether, one new hi-tech product promises to help travelers forget the issue while on vacation. The portable, wand-like device swirls the suspicious water using beams of ultraviolet light. The light purifies the water in less than 90 seconds and targets the DNA of bacteria and other viruses. The SteriPen Journey comes complete with a ... (view more)

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