Sci-Tech

  • New computer chip computes probabilities, not logic

    A new type of chip has been unveiled that uses probability inputs and outputs instead of the conventional 1’s and 0’s used in logic chips today; crunching probabilities is much more applicable to many computing task performed today rather than binary logic

  • Testing rayguns

    Technologies for using laser energy to destroy threats at a distance — these weapons known as directed energy weapons — have been in development for many years; before these weapons can be used in the field, the lasers must be tested and evaluated at test ranges, and the power and energy distribution of the high-energy laser beam must be accurately measured on a target board, with high spatial and temporal resolution

  • Tracking algorithms for multiple targets win Australia's prestigious Eureka Prize

    A University of Western Australia team — including two borthers who are professors at the school — have won the Eureka Prizes, Australia’s “science Oscars,” for a tracking system that has revolutionized the surveillance and monitoring of potential threats in the vast air, sea, and land space of Australia — and of other countries

  • DARPA looking for VTOL UAV to plant covert spy devices

    The Pentagon is looking for a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) UAV/UASs - or V-Bat - which will autonomously plant such surveillance devices as remote cameras/bugs, communications relays, marker beacons, small battery powered ground-crawler, or inside-buildings flying robots

  • Emergency Managers and Homeland Security are distinct, if related, disciplines

    Emergency Management and Homeland Security do share some of the same principles, but they are also distinct: they have different philosophies about prevention vs. mitigation and response vs. recovery

  • Decline of species at Chernobyl linked to DNA

    Brightly colored birds and birds that have a long distance migration were some of the organisms most likely to be affected by radioactive contaminants; one scientist says: “One explanation may be that these species have, for whatever reason, less capable DNA repair mechanisms”

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  • DARPA funds giant space nets to scoop up space trash

    One legacy of the space age is the growing amount of debris — defunct satellites, fragments of rockets, and any unused object originally built and launched by humans — accumulating in space; currently there are 2,465 identified objects of more than two kilograms in low Earth orbit, and these objects threaten projects such as the space elevator; a futuristic company proposes collecting the debris with a dozen space vehicles, each equipped with 200 nets, which would scoop up the debris and then either fling them into the South Pacific, send them closer to Earth where they would eventually decay, or recycle the materials

  • Small bridge sensors will give early warnings of anomalies, weaknesses

    University of Maryland researchers devised a lightweight, low-power, wireless, credit card-sized sensor that will detect weaknesses in bridges and other infrastructure before they can turn into calamities; the sensors would detect anomalies in the structure of even the most inaccessible parts of bridges and send alerts via cellular frequencies to its human masters. Among the things it would measure would be stress loads, vibration, temperature and the creation and growth of cracks

  • Undersea oil remains in Gulf of Mexico

    A study of the effects of the Deepwater Horizon spill has confirmed the presence of a toxic chemical residue one kilometer below the sea surface; the investigation shows a plume of crude oil-based chemicals up to 200 meters high and 2 kilometers wide, extending 35 kilometers from the spill site

  • Scanning for oil from the air

    A Scottish firm develops technology to scan for underground oil deposits from the air; the technique called atomic dielectric resonance (ADR), detects and measures onshore oil reservoirs using radio and microwaves, reducing the need to drill test wells

  • Veterinary students train to help in agro-terrorism situations

    Because of the number of feedlots in Kansas, the state could be a prime target for agro-terrorism; Kansas State University veterinary medicine students take part in two different U.S. Department of Agriculture preparedness programs: the foreign animal disease practitioner’s training course and agriculture emergency response training; the programs train veterinarians to aid in relief efforts and protect the public in hazardous situations

  • Smart clothing will power electronic devices

    Researchers are set to develop clothing fabric that generates electricity through wearers’ movement and body heat; this technology could be used to power personal devices such as MP3 players or wireless health-monitoring systems; soldiers and first responders could one day power electronic devices such as personal radios using just their own movements on the battlefield or in a disaster area

  • 3D, interactive X-ray to offer dramatic improvement in security scans

    The latest X-ray scanners can glean information about the atomic or molecular weight of a substance, and so help distinguish between materials, but the results are crude; the best they can manage is to show metal objects in one color, organic materials in another, and everything else in a third color; a new technique — called kinetic depth effect X-ray imaging, or KDEX — builds up a 3D image of the object which can be rotated and viewed from a wide range of angles

  • Obama panel recommends active U.S. backing for clean coal

    A panel appointed by President Obama calls for an active U.S. government role in promoting carbon capture and storage, or CCS, a largely undeveloped technology that aims to prevent carbon emissions blamed for global warming from entering the atmosphere; panel recommends government’s consideration of accepting liability over carbon storage sites for thousands of years to come

  • Preventing robots from colliding with each other

    With more ands more autonomous vehicles — or robots — on land, sea, and in the air are being employed in more and more military, law enforcement, and first response mission, there is a growing need to make sure that, when on a mission, they do not collide with each other as they go about their business