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Radically Inept
Monday, May 24, 2004
  Science Monday

As usual, a sampling of some of the science articles forwarded in the KurzweilAI.netnewsletter, unless cited otherwise.

How fast can you go?
KurzweilAI.net:
"Offering an example of this impact, Kurzweil forecasted that 'Once we have full nanotechnology-based manufacturing, virtually all physical products will have their value primarily attributable to information. We're not that far from that today (even without nanotech). The price-performance of all information technologies -- hardware and software -- doubles about every year, so that means 50% deflation (the same information/capability costs 50% less a year later).'

This trend reflects Kurzweil's 'Law of Accelerating Returns.' The paradigm shift rate is now doubling every decade, so the 21st century will see 20,000 years of progress at today's rate, he said. 'Computation, communication, biological technologies (for example, DNA sequencing), brain scanning, knowledge of the human brain, and human knowledge in general are all accelerating at an even faster pace, generally doubling price-performance, capacity, and bandwidth every year."
I got into a discussion over at KurzweilAI.net's Mind·X Forum with someone on the subject of the coming information singularity. My position is that it won't be a 'singularity', if the information rapidly disipates. I mean, if all of a sudden, we begin entering consiousness into machines, or cross over to other dimensions, or spead out across the galaxy, than there really won't be a singularity, because of the speed of diffusion and dispersion of the energy. On the other hand, if it happens that we are unable to dissipate the energy/information, well then, by Jove, we will have a singularity...My thoughts on it anyway.

New languages, and I can't speak the old ones
Semantic Web Ready for Phase Two: "Semantic Web Ready for Phase Two by Ryan Naraine:
The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Semantic Web is ready for a new phase of development that will lead to the creation of new tools, languages and applications, the W3C's director said.

In the process, the Semantic Web will respond more intelligently to user queries.

The future of the Semantic Web dominated the discussions at this year's week long World Wide Web Conference. Tim Berners-Lee used his keynote to applaud the recent approval of two key technologies -- Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the Web Ontology Language (OWL) -- and outline a vision of building up and out from those foundations.

Berners-Lee, one of the driving forces behind the idea of giving data more meaning through the use of metadata (define), said the second phase will offer a time of 'less constraints' where many new tools and languages built on RDF will emerge.

He predicted a future where enterprises would adopt the Semantic Web and be startled by the dramatic way in which data can be collected and formatted in order to help humans and machines interact with information. 'We will see many new different applications and RDF and OWL will tie them all together. We'll see an extension of languages with variables and quotation.'"
I'll just have to confess to being out of the loop on this one.

I wouldn't like these odds
New Scientist: Tonsil tests suggest thousands harbour vCJD
: "00:01 21 May 04
Almost 4000 Britons aged between 10 and 30 may be harbouring the prion proteins that cause the human form of mad cow disease. The new estimate comes from direct analyses of human biopsies, and is much higher than epidemiological projections of the likely number of deaths from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD).

The investigators discovered three infected tonsil or appendix samples from a total of 12,674 stored between 1995 and 1999. However, because so few positive samples were found, the projected total of 3808 can only be speculative. Furthermore, harbouring the prions may not necessarily lead to vCJD.

'I don't think too much should be read into our findings, but they should be investigated further,' says David Hilton, of the Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, UK, who led the study.

He notes that only one of the three positive samples matched the usual pattern of prion accumulation seen in confirmed vCJD cases.

The other two are different. 'It could mean these are false positives,' says Hilton. If they are, then the predicted incidence of the disease drops by two-thirds, from 237 per million British citizens to just 79 per million."


Nanobacteria?
New Scientist: Nanobacteria revelations provoke new controversy:
"Some claim they are a new life form responsible for a wide-range of diseases, including the calcification of the arteries that afflicts us all as we age. Others say they are simply too small to be living creatures.

Now a team of doctors has entered the fray surrounding the existence or otherwise of nanobacteria. After four years' work, the team, based at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has come up with some of the best evidence yet that they do exist.

Cautiously titled 'Evidence of nanobacterial-like structures in human calcified arteries and cardiac valves', the paper by John Lieske and his team describes how they isolated minuscule cell-like structures from diseased human arteries.

These particles self-replicated in culture, and could be identified with an antibody and a DNA stain. "The evidence is suggestive," is all Lieske claims.

Critics are not convinced. "I just don't think this is real," says Jack Maniloff of the University of Rochester in New York. "It is the cold fusion of microbiology." John Cisar of the National Institutes of Health is equally sceptical. "There are always people who are trying to keep this alive. It's like it is on life support."
Science in conflict. It does lend it a sense of drama, don't it?

Do you get a free toaster when you open an an account?
Wired News: 1st Nat'l Bank of Stem Cells:
"The world's first embryonic stem-cell bank opened in Britain Wednesday, breaking new ground in one of the most controversial areas of medical research.

The bank will store and supply stem cell lines -- strings of identical cells -- for research and possible treatment of conditions like diabetes, cancer and Parkinson's disease. Its store of cell lines is expected to number tens of thousands.

But opponents say such research involves the 'wanton creation and destruction of human life' and have condemned the bank as a storage site for dead babies."
Well, it's got to be better than an alley dumpster.

Found two more that are worth posting

On our way to Predator
Researchers demonstrate wearable electronics to aid health and fashion:
"Frederic Zenhausern, director of the Applied NanoBioscience Center at ASU's Arizona Biodesign Institute, is co-leading the project that sports both fashion and function. The ASU exhibit features two very dissimilar outfits that utilize embedded electronics and fluidics � one is a 'wellness' costume designed in the style of a personal health garment, the second is a camouflage military outfit. Both were developed to show how electronics and fluidics could transform clothes into smart biometric bodysuits that respond to a wearer's environment and vital signs.

"The era of wearable electronics for fashion and health is here," said Zenhausern. "The biometric bodysuit shows how electronics and fluidics can be incorporated into clothing to perform a wide range of tasks, from highly functional (like dispensing medicine, detecting pathogens or providing environmental awareness for personal safety and protection) to the aesthetic (clothes that change colors or display patterns as downloaded from a website to change the fashionable motifs and designs of a garment). This will be the standard of the future for interactive personal communication systems."

The ASU researchers call their outfits the Scentsory Chameleon Bodysuit, which act as a "smart second skin" through the integration of printed organic opto-electronics and integrated flexible nano-genetic devices on textiles. They enable real-time remote personal health and medical monitoring into multi-media and sensorial clothing."


Dark matter, dark energy, the dark forces are upon us
The New York Times > By X-Raying Galaxies, Researchers Offer New Evidence of Rapidly Expanding Universe by DENNIS OVERBYE:
"Observations of giant clouds of galaxies far out in space and time have revealed new evidence that some mysterious force began to push the cosmos apart six billion years ago, astronomers said yesterday.

The results constitute striking confirmation of one of the weirdest discoveries of modern science: that the expansion of the universe seems to be accelerating, the galaxies flying apart faster and faster with time, under the influence of some antigravitational force. The work, astronomers said, opens up a powerful new way of investigating the nature of this 'dark energy' and its effect on the destiny of the cosmos.

The astronomers used an orbiting X-ray satellite called Chandra to observe hot gases in the distant galactic clusters. By analyzing the X-rays emitted by those gases, they could calculate the distance from Earth and the speed of each of the clusters and thus trace the history of the expansion of the universe over the last 10 billion years, they said.
'The universe is accelerating,' said Dr. Steve Allen of Cambridge University in England, leader of the international team that did the work. 'We have found strong new evidence for dark energy.'

They announced their results at a news conference at NASA headquarters in Washington. A paper describing the work has been submitted to the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Other astronomers hailed the X-ray cluster method as a potential complement to other ways of investigating dark energy but said they would withhold judgment about this particular calculation until they could study the details. Most of the previous studies, including those that led to the discovery of dark energy, used exploding stars known as Type 1a supernovas as cosmic distance markers.

Dr. Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, an original discoverer of dark energy, hailed the work as another sign of the new age of "precision cosmology."
 
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Comments:
Not what I was searching for, but none the less and interesting blog here. Thanks for putting it up. I've enjoyed reading alot of the text here. I got you bookmarked for the future, I'll be back.

My site is a bit different, some think it's odd. I guess it's a matter how you look at it. I have a 2 diabetes related site. Most of the articles are on 2 diabetes.
 
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