Month: February 2005

  • Evidence for Extant Life on Mars?

    A rumor says yes but NASA responds with an emphatic “No.”

  • Photonics Breakthrough by Intel

    Scientists at chipmaker Intel Corporation have successful built and operated a continuous silicon laser, something that until recently was believed to be impossible. Silicon tends to scatter photons. As reported in an article in the current issue of the journal Nature, the new silicon laser makes use of a diode to prevent this scattering, resulting […]

  • Internet E-Archeology

    Google recently completed a project to archive the past 20 years of Usenet messages within their free Google Groups service. These are text messages posted on newsgroups (kind of like electronic bulletin boards) since the early days of computer networking. Usenet predates personal computers, DOS, the World Wide Web (WWW), and Internet browsers; in essence, […]

  • Human Trials for Artificial Retinas Successful

    One of the top news stories about the future of medical technology making the rounds last week was based on a journal article now almost a year old. In the April 2004 issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology doctors reported on “The Artificial Silicon Retina Microchip for the Treatment of Vision Loss From Retinitis Pigmentosa.” […]

  • Opportunity’s Long Drive

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is heading south on a long and flat expanse of desert. There are few rocks in the region, low dunes, and uninterrupted views of the horizon. Because of the lack of obstacles, Opportunity is covering record distances (sometimes over 150 meters a day).

  • Radio Frontier Channel

    The Frontier Channel is launching a podcast called Radio Frontier Channel on Sunday, February 20, 2005. Podcasting is the emerging phenomena of audio broadcasts on the Internet. The audio feeds can be automatically downloaded using podcast subscription software like iPodder using the RSS standard. Wikipedia has an article explaining what podcasting is all about. Radio […]

  • Ban Pet Cloning!?

    Crazy talk! California Assembly Member Lloyd Levine is calling for a ban on pet cloning. Why? Pet cloning is unregulated. Animal shelters are filled to capacity. “Who knows what’s going to happen if these things get released into the wild?” Vulnerable people are being exploited. My response to Mr. Levine: Instead of banning pet cloning, […]

  • Making 20/10 Vision a Crime

    There are many debates these days about the ethics of human enhancement through technology. Should we draw a line between medical treatment and human enhancement? For bioethicists calling for the outright bans on some research, the potential benefits for treatments and cures of common medical conditions are outweighed by negative consequences. Others argue that it […]

  • Mimas and Blue Saturn

    Talented technicians often turn the images returned by space probes into works of art. This has most certainly been the case with many of the images returned by Cassini from the Saturnian system. Technicians combine images from different filters to try matching what the human eye would see. In the foreground image, Mimas can be […]

  • Spam Negatively Affecting Linguistic Research

    Spam. EBay has policies against it, search engines and email clients are constantly upgraded to filter it out, and most people just hate it. Now it turns out that they might be hampering the work of those linguists who have turned to Google to directly observe the evolution of language. One popular technique used by […]

  • Another Moon, More Mystery

    In a little over a week, Cassini will pass within 1,179 km of another Saturn moon, Enceladus. Images already returned have revealed a young water ice surface lacking craters. The wrinkles and ridges in the image are tantalizing indicators of recent geological activity on the small (499 km in diameter) moon.

  • I am a Transhumanist

    When asked recently “What ideas, if embraced, would pose the greatest threat to the welfare of humanity?” by Foreign Policy magazine, Dr. Francis Fukuyama, professor of international political economy at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, author, and member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, chose transhumanism. Wikipedia defines transhumanism as “[…] an […]

  • Leis On Life: The Blog

    When I was in high school I thought I had important things to tell everyone. The teacher advisor for the school paper humored me and published the monthly column I wrote called “Leis on Life.” The title is a play on the pronunciation – “lease” – of my last name. Roughly double my age and […]

  • Hybrid Microdevice Walks

    Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), have successfully built and tested a “muscle-powered” microdevice that merges silicon technology with biology. The contraption was made of a silicon microdevice connected to “legs” made of bundles of rat heart cells grown on gold. The microdevice was able to “walk” because of the natural contractions […]

  • Polar Heat on Saturn

    On the Earth and other bodies with poles, the polar regions are their coldest locations. While 91 Kelvin (-296 degrees Fahrenheit) may be colder than most people can imagine, Saturn’s south pole turns out to be the hottest spot on the planet. In a surprising discovery by the W.M. Keck I Observatory at Mauna Kea, […]