David Kirkpatrick

April 30, 2008

Synthetic DNA new nanotech building block

From KurzweilAI.net:

Scientists make chemical cousin of DNA for use as new nanotechnology building block
PhysOrg.com, April 29, 2008

Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute scientist John Chaput and his research team have made the first synthetic self-assembled nanostructures, composed entirely of glycerol nucleic acid (GNA), a synthetic analog of DNA.

(Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University)

With GNA, the five carbon sugar commonly found in DNA (deoxyribose) is substituted by glycerol, which contains just three carbon atoms.

Unlike DNA and proteins, which have evolved to exist only as right-handed, the GNA structures are “enantiomeric” molecules (both left and right-handed). The ability to make mirror image structures opens up new possibilities for making nanostructures.

Read Original Article>>

Here’s one blog that places the blame …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:05 pm

… for this vicious Democratic primary squarely on the shoulders of the superdelegates.

I have to admit I’ve pretty much stopped blogging the election for the time being. I’m among many who has become sick and tired of the debacle the Democratic party is throwing at the electorate. I’m just glad I’m not a partisan Democrat, otherwise I’d probably just lay in bed with a towel over my head until the supers come to their senses and hand the deserved victory to Obama.

The destructiveness of Team Clinton combined with her previous nemeses on the hard right is amazing to me.

From the link:

For most of this campaign, the Democratic Party has been unified by optimism that our eventual nominee would trounce the Republican candidate in November, 2008. That began to change towards the end of February, when the contest between Senators Clinton and Obama began to turn sharply negative.

The media and the Clinton campaign deserve their share of blame for this. And Obama is not perfect, either. But the people who deserve the most blame are the superdelegates, for it is their indecision that has made this mess possible in the first place.

Since late February, it has been clear that the Clinton campaign’s only hope for victory rested in their hands. Over the past two months, the soleuncertainty about the campaign has been whether or not superdelegates will stage a coup against the voters.

At any point during the last two months, superdelegates could have made it clear that they would support the will of voters. Instead, by declaring their indecision, they provided Clinton with a new rationale for her campaign. Effectively, they encouraged her coup attempt. It was if they said to her: if you can prove to us that Barack Obama is unelectable, we will overturn the judgment of voters.


It is now clear just how foolish and unwise the superdelegates were for offering Clinton such a destructive path to the nomination, for she has tried to meet it with unrestrained vigor. Two months later, a party that was once unified is now divided. The septuagenarian Republican presidential candidate who devised the Iraq war strategy and wants to stay there for one hundred years is leading or tied in most polls.
(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

April 29, 2008

Nanoassembler prototype announced

From KurzweilAI.net:

US researchers have built a proto-prototype nano assembler
Nanowerk, April 28, 2008

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed an early prototype for a nanoassembler.

The NIST system consists of four Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) devices positioned around a centrally located port on a chip into which the starting materials can be placed. Each nanomanipulator is composed of a positioning mechanism with an attached nanoprobe.

By simultaneously controlling the position of each of these nanoprobes, the team can use them to cooperatively assemble a complex structure on a very small scale, using using a scanning electron microscope for real-time imaging of the nanomanipulation procedures.

The researchers suggest it should be possible to have multiple nanoassemblers working simultaneously to manufacture next-generation nanoelectronics.

Read Original Article>>


April 27, 2008

Sunday video fun — Bauhaus, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:15 pm

Spent a bit of time at Edgefest today supporting a gig by Proud Wine. An up-and-coming neo-psychedelia band fronted by a relative of mine. The bulk of the bill is emo and screamo, however.

In that vein today’s vido goes back to the days when emo was just simply goth, and some of the skinny boys wore skirts.

The standard? Peter Murphy, Bauhaus and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.”

April 25, 2008

Supercomputing and nanotech products in the news

Today’s KurzweilAI.net news includes a quantum computer breakthrough and news on the ubiquity of nanotech products:

Riding D-Wave
Technology Review, May/June 2008

In November of last year, with $60 million in funding, D-Wave demonstrated what it claimed was a 28-qubit adiabatic quantum computer, based on a design by MIT quantum computing scientist Seth Lloyd.

Now, the company’s scientists are attempting to demonstrate the fundamentally quantum-mechanical nature of their device.

Read Original Article>>

New nanotech products hitting the market at the rate of 3 to 4 per week
PhysOrg.com, April 24, 2008

New nanotechnology consumer products are coming on the market at the rate of 3 to 4 per week, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) Project Director David Rejeski said in testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday.

The number of consumer products using nanotechnology has grown from 212 to 609 since PEN launched the world’s first online inventory of manufacturer-identified nanotech goods in March 2006. Health and fitness items, which includes cosmetics and sunscreens, represent 60 percent of inventory products. The list of products is available free at www.nanotechproject.org/consumerproducts.
Read Original Article>>

April 24, 2008

Headway toward nanoprocessing

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:25 pm

From KurzweilAI.net:

Aligned nanotube swarms may lead to nanoprocessors
KurzweilAI.net, April 24, 2008

Duke University chemists have found a way to grow swarms of long, straight cylinders only a few atoms thick in very large numbers by using the crystal structure of a quartz surface as a template.

These single-walled carbon nanotubes also follow parallel paths as they grow, so they don’t cross each other to potentially impede electronic performance. Carbon nanotubes can act as semiconductors and could thus further scale-down circuitry to nanometer features.

The availability of forests of identical nanotubes would allow future nanoengineers to bundle them onto multiple ultra-tiny chips that could operate with enough power and speed for nanoprocessing, using less-expensive semiconductor wafers normally used in computer chips.

Source: Nanotubes grown straight in large numbers, Duke University

Markos adds his two cents …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:12 am

… on the state of the current Democratic situation. Along with a lot of poll information.

The summation?

So remind me again how is Clinton “more electable” against McCain than Obama?

She’s lost more contests to Obama than she’s won. She’s raised less money than he has. She fares poorer in the polling against McCain than he does. She trails in the popular vote.

And somehow, despite the fact she runs behind Obama in the general, the supers are supposed to overturn the will of the primary electorate and spur intra-party civil war on her behalf? Is she really that narcissistic?

Apparently so.

April 23, 2008

Andrew Sullivan sees …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:59 pm

no relief for Democrats in the coming weeks.

From the link:

Bill Clinton directly accusesthe Obama campaign of hostility to working class voters. When you see the brutal politics the Clintons are still eagerly deploying, you have to believe this will go to the convention. The Clintons are prepared to use any argument, any Republican tactic, and any social or cultural division to stay in the game. By tactically morphing into Rove Republicans, they are deliberately pivoting off a myth about Obama to make him unelectable. I think the idea that they will withdraw when Obama reaches the actual number of delegates required for the nomination is a myth. They will insist on having their say at the convention and changing the votes of pledged delegates if they need to. This is their party, in their minds. Obama has no right to lead it. Until he waits his turn and the Clintons give their blessing.

April 22, 2008

Pennsylvania votes

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:16 pm

Finally, the dry spell is over and Pennsylvania has voted.

All numbers from CNN.com and CNN.

Earlier with 15% reporting the state was already called for Clinton holding a six point lead 53-47. Penn is a state Clinton needs to win by double digits to truly remain viable. Doesn’t mean there’s any chance of her dropping out without that margin, but a nine-point, or less, win is essentially a loss.

Update 9:20 pm — 61 percent in, Clinton leads by eight points 54% to Obama’s 46%. If this differential holds he’ll have erased about twelve points off his deficit in Penn in around two months. Clinton lead by a solid 20 percent before the Texas and Ohio vote in early March.

Update 9:50 pm — 79% in, Clinton reaches the double digit threshold 55-45. According to CNN exit polling suggested something tighter than eight points. Looks more movement is possible, or the exit polls were off as usual.

Update 10:15 pm — 87 % in, holding at 55-45 for Clinton.

Over at the GOP vote, there’s still some anti-McCain protest voting going on. Ron Paul has 16% and Mike Huckabee 12% of the vote.

This’ll be the last update unless the Democratic numbers significantly move one direction or the other.

April 21, 2008

Putting a thumb on the scales …

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:25 pm

… a bit, AT&T?

From KurzweilAI.net:

AT&T: Internet to hit full capacity by 2010
CNET News.Com, April 18, 2008

AT&T has claimed that, without investment, the Internet‘s current network architecture will reach the limits of its capacity by 2010, due to the increasing amounts of video and user-generated content being uploaded.

“In three years’ time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire Internet today,” said AT&T vice president Jim Cicconi, and that a new wave of broadband traffic would increase 50-fold by 2015, driven by high-definition video, which is 7 to 10 times more bandwidth-hungry than typical video today.

He said that at least $55 billion worth of investment was needed in new infrastructure in the next three years in the U.S. alone, with the figure rising to $130 billion to improve the network worldwide.

Read Original Article>>

April 20, 2008

War criminals in the Bush 43 regime

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:43 pm

Here’s a voice of reason from a member of the US military and a true patriot.

From the Daily Dish link:

“Haynes, Feith, Yoo, Bybee, Gonzalez and – at the apex – Addington, should never travel outside the US, except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel. They broke the law; they violated their professional ethical code. In future, some government may build the case necessary to prosecute them in a foreign court, or in an international court,” – Larry Wilkerson, former army officer and chief of staff to Colin Powell, US secretary of state at the time the torture program was set up.

If you want to blow …

Filed under: Arts, Business, et.al. — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:08 pm

… $100 dollars just buy a four pack of these outlet covers.

From the link:

Machina Dynamica’s Tru-Tone Duplex Cover is a special audiophile-grade cover for all duplex wall outlets; they are intended to replace all types of duplex covers – steel, plastic, wood, etc. – in the listening room — including non-audio outlets and unused outlets. We suggest a baseline of 3-4 Duplex Covers in the room to see what these covers will do.

The gullibility of audiophiles is both constantly surprising and quite embarrassing. if these people spent a fraction of the money put into cables, interconnects and apparently outlet covers, into education on basic acoustics and auditory biology they’d be able to see through the inane claims of companies like Machina Dynamica.

And probably enjoy the sounds emanating from their systems quite a bit more as well.

(Hat tip: JREF’s SWIFT)

April 19, 2008

Saturday video fun — It’s …

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:09 am

… peanut butter jelly time!

Yeah, I did two videos in a row. This is a classic.

April 18, 2008

Slo-mo water balloon popping

Filed under: et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:17 pm

This is one cool video. A high-speed camera catches a water balloon popping in slow motion.

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish, via Wired)

Music lessons strengthen brain

Filed under: Arts, Science — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:51 pm

I knew all that guitar practice would eventually pay off

From the link:

Taking music lessons can strengthen connections between the two hemispheres of the brain in children, but only if they practice diligently, according to a study reported here 14 April at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. The findings add to a long-running debate about the effects of musical training on the brain.

(Hat tip: KurzweilAI.net)


Single atom thick graphene transistors

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:48 pm

From KurzweilAI.net:

Atom-thick material runs rings around silicon
NewScientist.com news service, April 17, 2008

University of Manchester researchers have used graphene to make some of the smallest transistors ever, at one atom thick and ten atoms wide.

credit: MU Mesoscopic Physics Group

They found that cutting small quantum dots of graphene gave the material switchable conductivity. Dots just a few nanometers across trap electrons due to quantum effects, and applying a magnetic field to the smallest dots lets current flow again, making a switchable transistor. The smallest dots that worked as transistors contained as few as five carbon rings–around 10 atoms or 1 nm wide.

Previous graphene transistors were significantly bigger–ribbons 10 nm across and many times longer.

Read Original Article>>

Dean pushes Dem superdelegates

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:33 am

DNC chairman Howard Dean turns up the heat for undeclared, or undecided, superdelegates.

From the link:

An increasingly firm Howard Dean told CNN again Thursday that he needs superdelegates to say who they’re for – and “I need them to say who they’re for starting now.”

“We cannot give up two or three months of active campaigning and healing time,” the Democratic National Committee Chairman told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We’ve got to know who our nominee is.”

April 17, 2008

Live action “Ghost in the Shell”

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:57 pm

That phrase either really excites anime fans, or hits like a stomach punch depending on the “purist” quotient.

Not sure where I stand. I do think it could be very, very bad. The live action “Aeon Flux” did nothing but drag down a great bit of animation.

A link for, and excerpt from, the Variety.com article:

DreamWorks has acquired rights to the Japanese manga “Ghost in the Shell” with plans to adapt the futuristic police thriller as a 3-D live-action feature.

Story follows the exploits of a member of a covert ops unit of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission that specializes in fighting technology-related crime.

Created by Masamune Shirow, “Ghost in the Shell” was first published in 1989. It went on to generate two additional manga editions, three anime film adaptations, an anime TV series and three videogames. The second anime film, “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence,” was released in the U.S. by DreamWorks in 2004.


(Hat tip: KurzweilAI.net)

3D imagery, Drake formula revision and a little futurism

Today’s roundup from KurzweilAI.net includes a miniature 3D camera, revisiting the Drake formula on intelligent life in the universe, and a group of predictions for the next 50 years.

How to create precision 3D images anywhere
KurzweilAI.net, April 17, 2008

The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering has developed a miniaturized, portable stereo camera that can create 3D images anywhere.

The “Kolibri CORDLESS” device includes a miniaturized LED-based projector that casts a pattern of stripes on the photographed objects. The geometry of the measured object can be deduced, by software running on a laptop, from the deformation of the stripes.

Uses include gathering evidence at the scene of a crime, measuring faces for medical applications, and measuring the dimensions of installed components in areas that are difficult to access.


Drake formula revisited
KurzweilAI.net, April 17, 2008

University of East Anglia scientist Andrew Watson has developed a new mathematical model of the probability of intelligent life in the universe.

His model, published in the journal Astrobiology, suggests the odds of finding new life on other Earth-like planets are low, given the time it has taken for beings such as humans to evolve, the remaining life span of Earth, and the low probability of the four independent evolutionary steps needed to create intelligent life (less than 0.01 per cent over four billion years).


The Way We Will Be 50 Years From Today
KurzweilAI.net, April 17, 2008

In the new book The Way We Will Be 50 Years From Today: 60 Of The World’s Greatest Minds Share Their Vision Of The Next Half-Century (Thomas Nelson, April 2008), Mike Wallace asks a group of visionaries, including 15 Nobel Prize winners, to describe the next half-century.

Among the forecasts:

– Our grandchildren will live to be 140 years old.
Diseases such as breast cancer and heart disease will be preventable or even wiped out.
– Each of us will have a copy of our own complete DNA sequence, incorporated into a highly accurate electronic medical record and can be accessible from anywhere.
– Schizophrenia and bipolar disorders will be well understood and treatable.
– People will be forced to marry others based on genotypes and those who are not authorized will be subject to tremendous tax burdens for any sick or disabled children.
– Humans will have exhausted most of the coal and oil reserves of the planet and added many pollutants to the environment.
– We may have lived through a nuclear war.

Essayists in the book include Nobel-prize-winner George Smoot, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, Internetco-creator Vint Cerf, and futuristRay Kurzweil.

ABC News is the big loser

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:05 pm

Commentary about last night’s “debate” is impossible to miss today. Judging by comments left by readers at various websites — most notably ABC News — the real loser was ABC News itself.

This Washington Post story pretty much sums up the general attitude.

From the link:

When Barack Obama met Hillary Clinton for another televised Democratic candidates’ debate last night, it was more than a step forward in the 2008 presidential election. It was another step downward for network news — in particular ABC News, which hosted the debate from Philadelphia and whose usually dependable anchors, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, turned in shoddy, despicable performances.

For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with.


This post about one of tonight’s debate “moderators” …

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:24 am

 … from Matthew Yglesias is getting a lot of traction on the blogosphere. And for good reason.

The linked post:

I’d forgotten that for months now Charlie Gibson has been asserting that $200,000 is a solid middle-class income, blissfully unaware that just 3.4 percent of U.S. households have an income of $200,000 or more. You could be richer than 96 percent of your fellow citizens, but still just folks to Gibson. Obviously that’s not on a par with being bad at bowling or anything on the “out of touch” scale, but it’s still disappointing to learn that even our salt of the earth working class multimillionaire television news personalities aren’t utterly infallible.

James Fallows on air taxis

Filed under: Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:05 am

Just got around to reading a good chunk of the print May Atlantic magazine. James Fallows has a great article on “air taxis” covering what is happening right now in the US Southeast and the overall feasibility of the concept.

Very cool stuff and an interesting article. Overall it looks like a promising way to get around at a reasonable price for consumers.

From the link:

How could a brand-new company in the chronically troubled aviation business have come so quickly to the point where its main challenge is growing too fast? And this through a period when security concerns of all sorts have risen, fuel prices have soared, environmental doubts about aviation have intensified, and airports and airways have become more congested by the day—and the economy of the company’s home area, in southern Florida, has been through a real-estate crash?

The answer involves an odd assemblage of talents and disciplines that includes American computer scientists who call their specialty “ant farming”; Russian mathe­matical prodigies who made their way from Minsk and Moscow to Florida, via Jerusalem; Internet-business pioneers; and, yes, pilots and maintenance experts and dispatchers, including many refugees or retirees from the troubled airlines. Plus Bruce Holmes himself, who joined the company a year ago, after NASA radically cut back its airplane-related activities to shift its resources to space exploration.

DayJet’s success to date has also depended on the confluence of several technologies that all matured at once. Indeed, the most startling aspect of its story is the insistence from top to bottom that at heart, it is not an aviation company at all. “You could think of us as really a software company,” Jim Herriott, one of the ant farmers, told me. What he meant was that the Internet has become an unimaginably refined and powerful tool for routing packets of data from place to place. “We are about developing an Internet for stuff”—the stuff in this case being passengers in seats.

April 16, 2008

Edward Lorenz, RIP

Filed under: et.al., Science — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:57 pm

Edward Lorenz, known for chaos theory and the “butterfly effect” has died at 90. I read James Gleick’s “Chaos” years ago. That book, and men like Lorenz and the “Lorenz attractor,” spawned an ongoing love for fractals and chaos theory. 

From the first link:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Edward Lorenz, the father of chaos theory, who showed how small actions could lead to major changes in what became known as the “butterfly effect,” died of cancer on Wednesday at the age of 90, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said.


Lorenz, a meteorologist, figured out in the 1960s that small differences in a dynamic system such as the atmosphere could set off enormous changes. In 1972 he presented a study entitled “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”


Born in 1917 in West Hartford, Connecticut, Lorenz earned degrees in mathematics from Dartmouth College in 1938, from Harvard University in 1940, and degrees in meteorology from MIT in 1943 and 1948.


While serving as a weather forecaster for the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War Two, he decided to study meteorology.


“As a boy I was always interested in doing things with numbers, and was also fascinated by changes in the weather,” Lorenz wrote in an autobiography.

Gingrich on the state of the GOP

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:51 pm

Via the Daily Dish, Newt speaks the truth about today’s GOP:

“They went off the rails. That’s it. They took a majority that took 16 years to build and they destroyed it … There was a fundamental misunderstanding about how to govern. The concept of red versus blue is a tactic, not a strategy. In the long run, in order to mobilize your base, you tend to become more intense and your positions become more vitriolic, and you drive away the independents. Then you are no longer a majority,” – Newt Gingrich on what has happened to the GOP over the last eight years.

World’s first thermal nanomotor

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:35 pm

The release:

Researchers create the first thermal nanomotor in the world

The motor functions as a nanotransporter by moving and rotating cargo from one end of the carbon nanotube to the other

This release is available in Spanish.

Researchers from the UAB Research Park have created the first nanomotor that is propelled by changes in temperature. A carbon nanotube is capable of transporting cargo and rotating like a conventional motor, but is a million times smaller than the head of a needle. This research opens the door to the creation of new nanometric devices designed to carry out mechanical tasks and which could be applied to the fields of biomedicine or new materials.

The “nanotransporter” consists of a carbon nanotube – a cylindrical molecule formed by carbon atoms – covered with a shorter concentric nanotube which can move back and forth or act as a rotor. A metal cargo can be added to the shorter mobile tube, which could then transport this cargo from one end to the other of the longer nanotube or rotate around its axis.

Researchers are able to control these movements by applying different temperatures at the two ends of the long nanotube. The shorter tube thus moves from the warmer to the colder area and is similar to how air moves around a heater. This is the first time a nanoscale motor is created that can use changes in temperature to generate and control movements.

The movements along the longer tube can be controlled with a precision of less than the diameter of an atom. This ability to control objects at nanometre scale can be extremely useful for future applications in nanotechnology, e.g. in designing nanoelectromechanical systems with great technological potential in the fields in biomedicine and new materials.




The research has been published in the online journal Science Express (www.sciencexpress.org) and was directed by Adrian Bachtold, researcher at CIN2 (Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Research Centre, CSIC-ICN) and at CNM (National Microelectronics Centre, CSIC), and by Eduardo Hernández at ICMAB (Institute of Material Science, CSIC), all of which form part of the UAB Research Park. Research members included Riccardo Rurali from the UAB Department of Electronic Engineering, and Amelia Barreiro and Joel Moser from CIN2 (CSIC-ICN), with the collaboration of researchers from the University of Vienna, Austria and from EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology is a private foundation publicly funded by the Catalan Government and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. The Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Research Centre is run jointly by the Spanish National Research Council and the Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology. The National Microelectronics Centre (CNM) and the Institute of Material Sciences (ICMAB) both belong to the Spanish National Research Council. The UAB Research Park – a joint alliance between UAB, CSIC and IRTA (Institute for Food and Agricultural Research and Technology) – is formed by a group of research centres and consortiums located at the Bellaterra campus of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

(Hat tip: KurzweilAI.net)

Molecular movie stars, stem cells and quantum computing

Nice roundup from KurzweilAI.net today.

First up is nngews on a more accurate method for creating movies of molecular and biological processes

Keeping with the biology theme is a breakthrough for treating heart damage with stem cells.

Finishing the group is a bit about progress toward a quantum computer.

Movies of biological and chemical molecules made for first time
KurzweilAI.net, April 16, 2008Argonne National Laboratory scientists have developed accurate techniques for making movies of actual biological and chemical molecules for the first time.

X-ray movie reveals movement of DNA molecule

Biological and organic molecules in solution are far more complex than the standard crystalline structures of salt or metals since they are constantly moving and changing over time.

Using the high-intensity X-rays at the Advanced Photon Source, the scientists have measured images that are blurred by these motions and used computer processing algorithms to create more accurate movies of the molecular motions.

Source: Argonne scientists develop techniques for creating molecular movies


Molecule prompts blood stem cells to help repair heart damage in animal model
PhysOrg.com, April 15, 2008University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center researchers used drug-treated blood stem cells to repair heart damage in an animal model.

They screened about 147,000 molecules to find one that could transform human blood stem cells into a form resembling immature heart cells. When they implanted blood stem cells activated by this compound into injured rodent hearts, the human cells took root and improved the animals’ heart function.

Read Original Article>>


Toward a Quantum Internet
Technology Review, April 15, 2008Northwestern University researchers have build a quantum logic gate–a fundamental component of a quantum computer–within an optical fiber, using entangled photon pairs.

The gate could be part of a circuit that relays information securely, over hundreds of kilometers of fiber, from one quantum computer to another. It could also be used on its own to find solutions to complicated mathematical problems.

Read Original Article>>

“Expelled” antidote

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media, Science — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:49 am

Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy has some antidote for the new film by proponents of “intelligent design” — Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. (Oh whither hast thou gone, Ben Stein?)

From the link:

What? Someone makes a movie arguing against evolution and it turns out they’re a bunch of evil lying frauds? How can such a thing be?


It’s true: the makers of the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed have been lying their heads off since square one. I would go into details, but I don’t need to: The National Center for Science Education (Genie Scott’s group) has created a wonderful website which explains very carefully just how evil the Expelled crowd is. The site is called Expelled Exposed, and I highly recommend sending everyone you know there, especially if they may be prone to listen to a propaganda piece like the movie. They more than anybody need to know the truth behind it.

April 15, 2008

The Straight Dope on the federal income tax

Filed under: Business, et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:08 pm

For the edification of US readers facing the tax man today, here’s Cecil Adams on income tax and the Thirteenth Amendment.

The shortest verdict from the link:

Despite judicial rejection of every imaginable antitax argument, the protesters keep trying them anyway.

Billionfold increase in technical capacity according to Kurzweil

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:21 pm

This sort of adjunct to Moore’s Law is a Ray Kurzweil specialty and a key component of the “singularity” concept. So far Ray’s predictions, if maybe a bit grandiose, have come to pass. I wouldn’t count this futurist out when contemplating the next few decades.

From KurzweilAI.net:

Making the World A Billion Times Better
Washington Post, April 13, 2008As powerful as information technologyis today, we will make another billion-fold increase in capability (for the same cost) over the next 25 years, says Ray Kurzweil.

“Only technology possesses the scale to address the major challenges — such as energy and the environment, disease and poverty — confronting society. That, at least, is the major conclusion of a panel, organized by the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Engineering, on which I recently participated.”

Read Original Article>>

Large Hadron Collider — a realistic risk assessment

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:23 pm

There’s been plenty written on the subject of Cern’s Large Hadron Collider and the potential for ending life as we know it via a tiny black hole or stranglets. The whole concept has received a lot more publicity after a lawsuit was filed to stop Cern from flipping the “on” switch.

The linked NYT’s article does about as good of job as I’ve read covering the realities of the issue at hand. The overall verdict? Sure it’s not entirely risk-free, but nothing truly is so move along folks. All will be fine. I’ve read a lot on this by some qualified scientific minds. There’s pretty much universal agreement the risk is more than acceptable. I’ll defer to the experts here and discount the cassandra-ish laymen.

From the link:

That question has been raised by the impending startup of the Large Hadron Collider. It starts smashing protons together this summer at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or Cern, outside Geneva, in hopes of grabbing a piece of the primordial fire, forces and particles that may have existed a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

Critics have contended that the machine could produce a black hole that could eat the Earth or something equally catastrophic.

To most physicists, this fear is more science fiction than science fact. At a recent open house weekend, 73,000 visitors, without pitchforks or torches, toured the collider without incident.

Nevertheless, some experts say too much hype and not enough candor on the part of scientists about the promises and perils of what they do could boomerang into a public relations disaster for science, opening the door for charlatans and demagogues.

For all my LHC blogging hit this link.

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