Wednesday, November 27, 2002

NASA nanometer breakthrough uses hot pond protein

NASA nanometer breakthrough uses hot pond protein
NASA SCIENTISTS say they have invented a breakthrough biological method to make ultra-small structures that could be used to produce electronics 10 to 100 times smaller than today’s components.

The scientists apparently use modified proteins from 'extremophile' microbes to grow mesh-like structures so small that an electron microscope is needed to see them. These naturally-occurring microbes live in near-boiling, acidic hot springs, according to an article in on-line version of the journal Nature Materials.

One of the scientists, Andrew McMillan, revealed: "We took a gene from a single-celled organism, Sulfolobus shibatae, which lives in near-boiling acid mud, and changed the gene to add instructions that describe how to make a protein that sticks to gold or semiconductors.

"What is novel in our work," he added, "is that we designed this protein so that when it self-assembles into a two-dimensional lattice or template, it also is able to capture metal and semiconductor particles at specific locations on the template surface."

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Ars Technica: Smaller electronics from...bacteria???

Ars Technica: Smaller electronics from...bacteria???

Smaller electronics from...bacteria???

Posted 11/26/2002 - 5:29PM, by zAmboni
Problems may develop as semiconductors are shrunk to smaller and smaller processes, Nvidia can attest to that. New techniques and methods need to be developed in the sub-micron world and researchers at NASA Ames Research Center have elicited help from "extremophile" bacteria in building nanoscale structures. Why start from scratch in creating ordered structures when nature has already done so...packaged in tiny self-replicating factories?

In an online version of Nature Materials, researchers in the Ames labs outlined a technique for creating nanometer scale quantum dot arrays using a protein from the bacteria Sulfolobus shibatae. They isolated heat shock protein (HSP60) from the bacteria and engineered it to bind quantum dots. The protein self assembles into a ringed structure which forms an ordered lattice when crystallized. Since it is derived from an extremophile bacteria, the protein is stable to extreme temperatures and pH conditions.

"We apply the crystals to a substrate such as a silicon wafer, and we add a gold or semiconductor slurry," said McMillan. "The tiny particles of gold or semiconductor (cadmium selenide/zinc sulfide) stick to the lattices." According to McMillan, the minute pieces that adhere to the protein lattice are ‘quantum dots’ that are about one to 10 nanometers across. Today’s standard computer chips have features that are roughly 130 nanometers apart.

The researchers hope to use these materials for use in memory, logic and sensor chips. I'm sure Silicon Valley will find some use for it. It may be strange seeing bacteria brewing vats at TMSC fabs though.

Secure DNS service forgets to renew own domain name

Secure DNS service forgets to renew own domain name Secure DNS service forgets to renew own domain name

Oops... these things happen, we shouldn't smirk

By Adamson Rust: Tuesday 26 November 2002, 18:47

THE TZOLKIN Corporation – which claims the accolade of being the most reliable dynamic DNS service out there, suffered a SNAFU earlier today.

It apparently forgot to renew its domain name. That caused a huge shuffling about because users noticed that their client software wasn't connecting too well first thing this morning, across the second biggest pond on the planet.

But Tzolkin reacted swiftly and told thousands of users that service would be restored by 16:00 Eastern Standard Time.

In the meantime, users were advised to smurf across to, while the propagation has err... propagated and in some regions of the globe, normal service is resumed at

It can happen to all of us, if we forget to renew,, or whatever, we guess... µ

Ars Technica: The PC enthusiast's resource

Ars Technica: The PC enthusiast's resource Professor Louis Bloomfield made news last year when he unleashed a search code to detect plagiarism in his Physics 105 class at the University of Virginia. Bloomfield originally wrote his search program because he believed the internet provided the students opportunity to download and share information which could be used for term papers. His search resulted in 158 students suspected of plagiarism, yet only 59 were eventually charged with violating U. Va.'s strict honor code. Needless to say, this seriously taxed the Honors Committee which normally handles about 60-80 cases per year, but they eventually weeded through all of the cases.

Nigerian state slaps

Nigerian state slaps "death sentence" on Miss World reporter The government of a mainly Muslim state in northern Nigeria called for believers to kill a woman journalist who wrote an article on the Miss World pageant which was seen as insulting to the Prophet Mohammed.

Zamfara State's information commissioner, Umar Dangaladima, told AFP that the state government endorsed a "fatwa" -- an Islamic religious decree -- calling for the death of fashion writer Isioma Daniel, whose report triggered bloody riots.

There is no danger that the decree will be carried out -- Daniel lives far from Zamfara in Lagos and is said to have fled Nigeria -- but the statement marks another dispute between the leaders of the Muslim north and Nigeria's secular government.

Information Minister Jerry Gana, who acts as a spokesman for Nigeria's secular government, dismissed the decree as both "null and void" and unconstitutional and vowed it would not be enforced.

"The federal government under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will not allow such an order in any part of the federal republic," he told AFP.

Last week more than 220 people died in the northern city of Kaduna in rioting, which has been blamed on the report, and the Miss World organisation was been forced to abandon plans to stage the spectacle in Nigeria.

Dangaladima told AFP: "The state government did not on its own pass the fatwa. It's a fact that Islam prescribes the death penalty on anybody, no matter his faith, who insults the Prophet.

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Friday, November 22, 2002

When the human genome was first sequenced in June 2000, there were two pretty big surprises. The first was that humans have only about 30,000-40,000 identifiable genes, not the 100,000 or more many researchers were expecting. The lower -- and more humbling -- number means humans have just one-third more genes than a common species of worm.
The second stunner was how much human genetic material -- more than 90 percent -- is made up of what scientists were calling "junk DNA." The term was coined to describe similar but not completely identical repetitive sequences of nucleotides (the same substances that make genes), which appeared to have no function or purpose. The main theory at the time was that these apparently non-working sections of DNA were just evolutionary leftovers, much like our earlobes.
But if biophysicist Andras Pellionisz is correct, genetic science may be on the verge of yielding its third -- and by far biggest -- surprise.
In addition to possessing an honorary doctorate in physics, Pellionisz is the holder of Ph.D.'s in computer sciences and experimental biology from the prestigious Budapest Technical University and the Hungarian National Academy of Sciences respectively -- institutions that together have produced nearly a dozen Nobel Prize winners over the years.
In a provisional patent application filed July 31, Pellionisz claims to have unlocked a key to the hidden role junk DNA plays in growth -- and in life itself.

Nvidia's Crush chipset for the Athlon 64 will be a single chip NVIDIA SHOWED OFF its Crush K8 chipset for the AMD Athlon 64 to selected customers at the 2002 Comdex show, Digitimes reports.
And the chipset will be a single chip configuration, with the AGP controller interface integrated into the south bridge chip, the wire reports. Nvidia’s senior director of platform product management Drew Henry, said that Nvidia decided to include the AGP controller interface in the south bridge to enable mobo makers to design boards for the chip more easily using Crush. He said that, with AMD incorporating the north bridge-based memory controller into its upcoming processors, the role of the north bridge chip would become rather limited, the wire reports.

Dell and Microsoft share your data DELL AND MICROSOFT are to share information they have gathered on their customers in order to more closely target their marketing efforts in Japan, we learn from an article in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
According to the piece, Dell has some "cursory" information on about 100,000 small and midsize companies on its books in the region. Microsoft it seems, has more detailed information on around 20,000 customers. The pair are to share the information in an attempt to push more servers running Windows 2000 Server, through Dell's doors.

An unexpected discovery working with LEDs may help in making more efficient, low cost solar cells. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs were working with a new generation of wide-band gap LEDs which shine blue instead of the more traditional red when they ran across something strange. They were trying to get LEDs to work with indium nitride, but they couldn't get them to shine at the published band gap of 2 eV. After some further research they found the band gap was actually much lower, 0.7 eV to be exact. Because of this discovery, indium nitride nicely fills a gap which could allow for a full spectrum solar cell and allow for a theoretical 50% maximum efficiency in a two layer cell. Currently, the most efficient two layer solar cell is 30%.
Indium gallium nitride's advantages are many. It has tremendous heat capacity and, like other group III nitrides, is extremely resist to radiation. These properties are ideal for the solar arrays that power communications satellites and other spacecraft. But what about cost?
"If it works, the cost should be on the same order of magnitude as traffic lights," Walukiewicz says. "Maybe less." Solar cells so efficient and so relatively cheap could revolutionize the use of solar power not just in space but on Earth.
There are some problems that need to be overcome since indium gallium nitride crystals are "riddled with defects." But research in LEDs has shown the material is quite defect-tolerant, and the group hopes2

New Scientist A team led by Peter Savolainen at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm analysed samples of mitochondrial DNA from dogs in Asia, Africa, Europe and arctic America.
The analysis showed that modern dogs fall into five distinct genetic groups, with three of the groups accounting for more than 95 per cent of the dogs sampled. Each group is thought to be descended from a single female wolf.
But these groups do not correspond in any way to modern dog breeds, which were developed over the past 500 years. "You see the same sequence in the poodle and the German shepherd," Savolainen told New Scientist.
The greatest differences in the DNA sequences were in samples from east Asia, indicating that dogs originated in this region.

ScienceDaily News Release: Photosynthesis Analysis Shows Work Of Ancient Genetic Engineering The analysis revealed clear evidence that photosynthesis did not evolve through a linear path of steady change and growing complexity but through a merging of evolutionary lines that brought together independently evolving chemical systems -- the swapping of blocks of genetic material among bacterial species known as horizontal gene transfer.
"We found that the photosynthesis-related genes in these organisms have not had all the same pathway of evolution. It's clear evidence for horizontal gene transfer," said Blankenship.

IOL: Jet with warpable wings begins flight tests The F/A-18A with warping wings began test flights this month. The experiments could lead to aircraft equipped with wings that bend and shape themselves to manoeuvre in flight, rather than using flaps, slats and ailerons that do the job on today’s planes

Popular Mechanics - Technology Kodak Is First With A 14-MP Digital SLR

Space Elevator Upstarts Settle Down To Business Constructing a vertical railroad stretching into space is no longer wistful fantasy carried in science fiction novels. Just ask the folks at HighLift Systems in Seattle, Washington. Selling the idea of a space elevator, however, takes a lot of ground floor shoe leather and handshakes.
For the last few months, officials at HighLift Systems have been talking it up with an alphabet soup of government agencies, like NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as well as the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

A Chandra image of NGC 720 shows a galaxy enveloped in a slightly flattened, or ellipsoidal cloud of hot gas that has an orientation different from that of the optical image of the galaxy. The flattening is too large to be explained by theories in which stars and gas are assumed to contain most of the mass in the galaxy.
According to the standard theory of gravity, the X-ray producing cloud would need an additional source of gravity - a halo of dark matter - to keep the hot gas from expanding away. The mass of dark matter required would be about five to ten times the mass of the stars in the galaxy.
An alternative theory of gravity called MOND, for Modified Newtonian Dynamics, does away with the need for dark matter. However, MOND cannot explain the Chandra observation of NGC 720, which shows that the dark matter halo has a different shape from that of the stars and gas in the galaxy. This implies that dark matter is not just an illusion due to a shortcoming of the standard theory of gravity - it is real.
The Chandra data also fit predictions of a cold dark matter model. According to this model, dark matter consists of slowly moving particles which interact with each other and 'normal' matter only through gravity. Other dark matter models, such as self-interacting dark matter, and cold molecular dark matter, are not consistent with the observation in that they require a dark matter halo that is too round or too flat, respectively.

HubbleSite - News&Views - Hubble Spots an Icy World Far Beyond Pluto NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has measured the largest object in the solar system ever seen since the discovery of Pluto 72 years ago. Approximately half the size of Pluto, the icy world is called "Quaoar" (pronounced kwa-whar). Quaoar is about 4 billion miles away, more than a billion miles farther than Pluto. Like Pluto, Quaoar dwells in the Kuiper belt, an icy belt of comet-like bodies extending 7 billion miles beyond Neptune's orbit. - the place for BROADBAND Not owned by a big company!

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

The Evil That Is the DMCA
by Adam C. Engst
Much has been written about what's wrong with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). After all, it's been used to jail programmers, threaten professors, and censor publications, and because of it, foreign scientists have avoided traveling to the U.S. and prominent researchers have withheld their work. In a white paper about the unintended consequences of the DMCA, the Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the DMCA chills free expression and scientific research, jeopardizes fair use, and impedes competition and innovation. In short, this is a law that only the companies who paid for it could love.

Just who are we talking about here? Primarily the large movie studios and record labels, who own the copyrights on vast quantities of content and who have been working with one another and via their industry associations, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), to control how we are allowed to interact with that content. Their unity of purpose and storm-trooper tactics have led some to dub them the "Content Cartel."

However, the DMCA is merely one link in a chain that's being used by the Content Cartel and many others to restrict access to the shared cultural heri

Monday, November 18, 2002

TMe: Comic Book Grades, Glossary, and First Appearances

Newisys - Integrity and Innovation Newisys - and let's get its name straight - it's pronounced New Isys like the Egyptian goddess Isis - is the vehicle for vaulting AMD's 64-bit counter-Itanium Hammer chip into the big time. It's the privately held Texas technology gamble that's been quietly designing industrial-strength SledgeHammer, now Opteron, servers for the last two years and now it wants IBM, HP and Dell, you know, the major OEMs, to license and sell the things (CSN No 428). All the vendors would have to do is certify the boxes, create the collateral materials, educate their people and make a market. They wouldn't even have to build them. Newisys has made contract-manufacturing arrangements.

AgJournal Anthony G. Laos, president and chief executive of ProdiGene, Inc. was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as a member of the Board for International Food and Agriculture Development (BIFAD). Mr. Laos will serve a four-year term, expiring on July 28, 2005.
BIFAD, which consists of seven members all appointed by the President, provides advice to the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on international food issues such as agriculture and food security. BIFAD also assists and advises the U.S. Government Inter-Agency Working Group on Food Security in carrying out commitments made in the U.S. Country Paper for the November 1996 World Food Summit and on the Plan of Action agreed to at the summit.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Friday, November 15, 2002

JLAB Linux File Servers

Dalepak Direct Ltd - One for All Kameleon Touchscreen Replacement Remote Control One For All have developed a special electro-luminous display, which shows only the keys that are needed to operate the selected equipment. Animations appear on the screen to make it more intuitive and fun in use. The keys have a tactile feel that make operating more reassuring.

Home Welcome to Armadillo Aerospace!
Armadillo Aerospace is a small research and development team working on computer-controlled hydrogen peroxide rocket vehicles, with an eye towards X-Prize class vehicle development in the coming years. The team currently consists of a bunch of guys, a girl, and an armadillo named Widget. Our fearless leader, John Carmack, will lead us to space and, well, outer space. Please feel free to make yourselves at home and check out our journey.

Clearance Items

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Researchers boost computer data storage with common materials - 11/11/02 An epoxy glue sold at hardware stores and a glass-like substance were formed into a DVD-size disk able to hold about 87 gigabytes, equal to 87,000 paperback books.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

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