Radically Inept
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
  Science Monday [on Wednesday, I know]

All come via KurzweilAI.net.

But is it really teleportation?
Yahoo! News - Australian scientists claim breakthrough in teleportation:
"The team's leader, Chinese-born Ping Koy Lam, was building on work done by the university in 2002, when they teleported information using a laser beam.

But Ping described the latest achievement as 'a much more complex form of information teleportation in the sense that it involves multiple recipients.'

Teleportation is defined as the production, disembodiment and successful reconstruction of a signal, which in this case was a high frequency sound to three participants. The message in the future may be spoken or typed.

The researchers used crystals, lenses and mirrors to produce a pair of 'entangled' laser beams that are then used to carry fragile information in the form of quantum states.
'These quantum states cannot be measured or copied, making eavesdropping impossible,' Lance said in a statement released by the university. 'The transmission of the light beams constitutes a secret communication scheme with guaranteed security.'

The process of secret sharing is said to be a fundamental part of present day telecommunication, computer and banking practices.

'Such network communication can be enhanced using the laws of quantum physics to protect the information, a process called quantum state sharing.

'The benefit of this technology is that the encrypted message can only be decoded by a majority of recipients"

"For example, if an encrypted message was sent to a spy network containing 15 individuals, a minimum of eight agents would be needed to access the message - limiting the chances of the message being infiltrated or deleted by a double-agent."
Besides, I don't know if I know fifteen people I'd want to share any kind of a secret with.

My kind of government spending
Wired News: NASA Funds Sci-Fi Technology:
"For 25 years, Ross Hoffman has had a vision: to use tiny changes in the environment to alter the paths of hurricanes, slow down snow storms and turn dark days bright.

For most of those years, Hoffman kept his ideas largely to himself. His adviser at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told him weather control was too outlandish for his Ph.D. thesis. The chances of a buttoned-down foundation or government agency funding such research were so slim, Hoffman didn't even bother to ask.

But, in 2001, all that changed. Hoffman stumbled upon a tiny, obscure cranny of the American space program -- the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, or NIAC. In this $4 million-a-year agency, Hoffman found a place where the wildest of ideas were not only tolerated, they were welcome.

Shape-shifting space suits? Step right up. Antimatter-powered probes to Alpha Centauri? No problem. Robotic armada to destroy incoming asteroids? Pal, just sign on the dotted line. Weather control seemed downright down to earth in comparison.

Hoffman is now wrapping up his half-million-dollar study for NIAC. But the agency is continuing to bankroll concepts for a future decades away.

Some space analysts wonder how long it can last, however. With NASA in turmoil, and a presidential directive to return to the moon, will a science fiction-oriented agency like NIAC survive?

"They're interested in taking some risks, unlike most other government organizations these days," said Hoffman, a vice president at Atmospheric and Environmental Research in Lexington, Massachusetts. "At NIAC, if it's not risky, it's not going to get funded."

Over the last six years, NIAC has backed 118 studies into the chanciest of propositions: interplanetary rapid transit, aircraft without moving parts, and radio signals bounced off of meteors' trails.

The idea, according to NIAC director Robert Cassanova, is to give concepts 10 to 40 years out a chance to grow, and then to pass those models on to NASA proper for further development."
Man, I'd love to get a grant to study this kind of stuff. This is where the fun is.

Hell, it's just junk, right?
In the News: 'Junk' DNA Reveals Vital Role:
"Geneticists have known for some years that there are critical sections of DNA aside from the much-acclaimed genes. A fair fraction of the mouse and human genomes, aside from protein-coding sequences, show strong similarities.

But ultraconserved segments are particularly unusual because they are 100% identical in man and mouse. Until now, some thought they were human DNA that had contaminated mouse samples. 'People had a hard time believing it,' Frazer says.

The presence of exact copies in different animals suggests that even tiny changes in the sequence of these segments destroy whatever they do, and have been weeded out during evolution. Non-essential regions of DNA, by contrast, tend to accumulate mutations so that the sequences vary in different organisms."
I wonder how much I share with my dogs? I mean, they're just like family.

Entertainment in 4-d
The New York Times, For the Viewer, No Escape Hatch in a Digital 3-D Film:
"Viewers of a new short 'Star Trek'' film that opened in the Las Vegas Hilton last month might find that sort of critical distance a bit more difficult to summon. A digital effects company in Santa Monica, Calif., has created a 3-D movie that not only gives the illusion of a world in front of you, but all around.

The visual technique created by the company, Threshold Digital Research Labs, surrounds the viewer with images in the same way that Dolby Digital 5.1-channel audio gives listeners a sense that they are enveloped by voices and effects: it's surround sound for the eyes.

The technique is being used in a seven-and-a-half-minute film that is part of 'Star Trek: Borg Invasion 4D,'' a 22-minute attraction at the hotel...[

]...The film's conceit is that the humanlike Borgs are trying to capture the space station that the attraction's audience is ostensibly visiting. As the station's crew fights back, viewers find themselves in the middle of the action. The floor of the theater moves, seat cushions inflate and deflate to simulate acceleration and impact, and at one point a mist of water is sprayed in viewers' faces.

The film combines 10 actors with 130 computer-generated figures. To shoot the live action, Threshold used two high-definition video cameras mounted next to each other. To change the sense of depth, the cameras' distances were varied."
You know, real life is in 4-d too. Why not try to find entertainment in your own life, rather than...You could go to Iraq for adventure. You could go sky diving, or learn to hang glide. No, rather sit in a theater and have someone else to the work, eh?

Of course they're hard to find. They're 'Dark'
www.iop.org News - Dark matter remains at large:
"The most sensitive dark-matter experiment in the world has failed to find evidence for the mysterious particles that are thought to make up almost one third the Universe. However, the team behind the CDMS II (Cryogenic Dark Matter Search) experiment -- which is four times more sensitive than other dark-matter detectors -- hope to improve the sensitivity of the experiment by another factor of 20 over the next few years. The detection of a dark matter particle would represent a major breakthrough in both particle physics and cosmology.

Dark matter was originally proposed by astronomers to explain why galaxies rotate much faster than can be explained by the amount of visible matter they contain. This mysterious form of matter does not emit or absorb electromagnetic radiation -- hence the name 'dark' -- and can only be detected by its gravitational influence on ordinary matter. Black holes and other objects are known to make up some of the dark matter in our galaxy. However, many cosmologists believe that galaxies also contain exotic particles left over from the big bang. These include so-called weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPS) and other particles not included in the Standard Model of particle physics."
Well, enough science for today. The web seems really slow today, and I'm getting tired of having to find the articles in alternative locations because the original sites aren't responding. So... 
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