Month: October 2004

  • Surprise Discovery Rewrites Human History

    In what could be one of the most astounding discoveries ever regarding human evolutionary history, anthropologists have discovered the remains of a hominin they have named Homo floresiensis that apparently lived up to about 13,000 years ago. H. floresiensis lived on the island of Flores, east of Java, in Indonesia. The hominin stood only about […]

  • Head-Scratching Images of Titan

    Scientists admitted this morning that they are stumped by the best-ever images of the Saturnian moon Titan. At a 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time press conference this morning, team members of the Cassini/Huygens mission tried their best to avoid speculating about the nature of the terrain visible in images, with varying degrees of success. The tantalizing […]

  • Titan up Close

    The best ever images of Titan are being beamed to Earth by the Cassini spacecraft through early this morning. Most of the pictures released by NASA so far have not been cleaned up, but reveal distinct divisions between dark and light areas, and areas were the darker material completely surrounds pockets of the light material. […]

  • Apple’s Latest Media Player Advance

    According to Frontier Channel’s “Future Wants” column in August 2004, the future “truly successful eBook reader” will include: a color display; the ability to view images and perhaps video; the ability to play music and read at the same time; accessibility features such as voice readback of text for the blind; and sharing features. Apple […]

  • Closing in on Titan

    Today is the big day. The Cassini spacecraft is heading toward a close flyby of Titan, with the likely result the best pictures ever taken of the shrouded Saturnian moon. On Sunday, Cassini snapped a clear image of the moon at a wavelength that allowed it to see through the thick atmosphere. The large and […]

  • Is Moore’s Law Dead? Not a Chance

    For the first time in a long time, the increase in desktop CPU speeds appears to be flat. Is this the beginning of the end for Moore’s Law? Does this put to rest the theory of a technological singularity? Gordon E. Moore, who co-founded Intel, observed that the complexity of components on a chip was […]

  • The Rise of the Brains

    In the mid-1990s, scientists succeeded in merging brain neurons with a microchip to allow communication between the two. Since then, scientists have improved the technology. Early in 2004 they succeeded in cultivating snail neurons on a microchip. At the University of Florida, scientists have grown a brain from rat neurons that is learning to operate […]

  • The Great Merge

    The merging of biology with technology frightens many people. Our fiction is full of horrors like killer cyborgs, conscious AI, and robots that rise to destroy humanity. People have taken comfort in the “fact” that biology and machine technology are very different, and can never merge. Humans are not machines. Machines cannot think. Life cannot […]

  • Cassini Set for Next Titan Flyby

    The Cassini spacecraft at Saturn will flyby Titan again on October 26, 2004. It will be much closer this time. Scientists are hoping for clearer images of the moon’s surface and clouds. Cassini’s orbit around Saturn has shrunk considerably and it will be making more frequent flybys of the planet and its moons in the […]

  • Mars Exploration Rovers – One More Martian Year?

    Dr. Laurence Soderblom from the U.S. Geological Survey provided yesterday an update on the Mars Exploration Rovers to faculty and students at the University of Arizona. Both rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are working well and could survive for another Martian year (about two Earth years). Opportunity is still inside Endurance Crater and may attempt to […]

  • The Segway Revolution that Wasn’t; and the one that Is

    When the Segway Human Transporter (HT) was unveiled a few years ago, most people reacted with a collective “That’s it?” and the expected transportation revolution never materialized. Interestingly enough, however, the few people who have actually tried and/or bought an HT have a completely different reaction. exhilarated praise. To take advantage of this fact, Segway […]

  • Human BMI Breakthrough Announced

    Much like any typical twentysomething American, he opens and reads his email, remotely controls the television, and plays video games. Unlike any typical twentysomething American, this quadriplegic is performing the above tasks using only his thoughts. Earlier this year, Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems announced they had received FDA approval for a pilot test in humans of […]

  • More Human/Computer Interface News

    The FDA has granted market approval for the VeriChip created by Applied Digital Solutions. This is a microchip that is implanted under human skin. The VeriChip holds a code that unlocks a patient’s medical data in a hospital database. This chip is already being used to track the movement of pets, help track down government […]