David Kirkpatrick

September 2, 2009

Blame quantum amnesia for lack of time travel

Filed under: et.al., Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:54 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net — And if quantum amnesia is a real phenomena without a solution time travel would be a one-way affair. I’m not sure if anyone would sign up for a one=way ticket to an uncertain future.

Quantum amnesia gives time its arrow

NewScientist Physics & Math, Aug. 26, 2009

The forward-only direction of time is the result of quantum-mechanical amnesia that erases any trace thattime has moved backwards, says Lorenzo Maccone of MIT.

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August 27, 2009

Looking into the first eleven dimensions

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:34 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net — Multidimensional research is always fun.

Beyond space and time: Fractals, hyperspace and more
NewScientist, Aug. 26, 2009

NewScientist explores dimensions from zero to 10D string theory in a special feature.

 
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October 24, 2008

Army seeks robotic search unit

From KurzweilAI.net — Matt Yglesias, now blogging at Think Progress, occasionally opines/worries about our robotic future. This Short Sharp Science short on an Army request for a “Multi-Robot Pursuit System” to hunt down humans may give Matt a little pause, and maybe some vindication.

Packs of robots will hunt down uncooperative humans
Short Sharp Science (NewScientist blog), Oct. 22, 2008The Army is looking for contractors to provide a “Multi-Robot Pursuit System” that will let packs of robots “search for and detect a non-cooperative human.”
 
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June 16, 2008

Conductive plastics

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:46 pm

A potentially very useful nanotech application. Putting two insulating plastics together creates a two nanometer electrically conductive strip. This interface is more conductive than standard semiconductors.

From the link:

Jamming the right two pieces of plastic together creates a thin but strongly conducting channel along the junction that acts like a metal, say Dutch researchers. The discovery could lead to a whole new way of making electronics from non-metallic materials, and even new superconductors.

Alberto Morpurgo’s team at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands attached a micrometer-thick crystal of the organic polymer TTF to a similarly thin organic crystal of the polymer TCNQ.

The thin, flexible crystals conform to each other’s shape and stick together due to van der Waals forces, says Morpurgo.

Metal surprise

Both TTF and TCNQ are electrical insulators. But Morpurgo’s team found that a 2-nanometre-thick strip along the interface between the two crystals conducts electricity as well as a metal.

(Hat tip: KurzweilAI.net)

Microscope on a chip

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:40 pm

From KurzweilAI.net — interesting news about a high-power scanning electron microscope.

‘Microscope on a chip’ to give four times the detail
NewScientist news service, June 13, 2008

A new scanning electronmicroscope (SEM) design by physicist Derek Eastham could achieve a resolution around four times better than existing SEMs–as low as 0.01 nanometers (roughly the distance between a hydrogen nucleus and its electron).

It also produces a beam with about 100 times less energythan usual in an SEM, lowering the cost and possibly allowing it to study delicate structures normally destroyed by electron microscopes, such as untreated proteins and DNA.

 
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May 16, 2008

50 years of DARPA

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:37 pm

Here’s a cool NewScientist article on 50 years of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Just in case you didn’t know, you owe DARPA for the ability to read this blog. The earliest version of what has become the World Wide Web was a DARPA project, ARPANET.

(Hat tip: KurzweilAI.net)

April 8, 2008

Small scale nuke exchange could zap ozone layer

Filed under: Politics, Science — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:30 pm

This is a sobering bit of conjecture. A hypothetical exhange of 100 15-kiliton nuclear weapons (Hiroshima-sized) could pretty much wipe out the ozone layer.

From the NewScientist link:

Apart from the human devastation, a small-scale nuclear war between India and Pakistan would destroy much of the ozone layer, leaving the DNA of humans and other organisms at risk of damage from the Sun’s rays, say researchers.

Michael Mills of the University of Colorado at Boulder, US, and colleagues used computer models to study how 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs would affect the atmosphere.

They say that their scenario – in which each country launches 50 devices of 15 kilotons – is realistic, given the countries’ nuclear arsenals.

“The figure of 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs compares pretty accurately to the approximately 110 warheads that both states reportedly possess between them,” agrees Wyn Bowen, professor of non-proliferation and international security in the War Studies Group at King’s College, UK.

(Hat tip: KurzweilAI.net)

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