• Breakthrough: Robot makes scientific discovery on its own

    Researchers build a robot which used artificial intelligence to discover simple but new scientific knowledge about the genomics of the baker’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae; not only this: the robot hypothesized that certain genes in baker’s yeast code for specific enzymes, which catalyze biochemical reactions in yeast — and then devised experiments to test these predictions, ran the experiments, interpreted the results, and repeated the cycle

  • Composite materials extend life of existing bridges

    The Obama administration’s stimulus package directs large amounts of money toward rehabilitating the aging U.S. infrastructure; Jayhawks researchers are testing a new class of devices that could double the life of America’s existing bridges using composite materials

  • Mathematician foresees tight races in MLB's Eastern divisions

    The baseball season is about the begin, and a professor of mathematics has developed an intricate model to predict the winners of the American and National leagues; his model computes the probability of a team winning a game against another team with given hitters, bench, starting pitcher, relievers, and home field advantage

  • DARPA wants stealthy 3D building-interior mapping kit

    SWAT teams, special forces units, and first responders often are called upon to storm buildings in which terrorists hide; would it not be better if these units had up-to-date, accurate pictures of the insides of the structures they are about to storm? DARPA thinks it is a good idea

  • Disinfectants create toxic by-products

    Using disinfectants to keep water drinkable was one of the major achievements of the twentieth century; a recent study now shows that the chemicals used to purify the water we drink and use in swimming pools react with organic material in the water yielding toxic consequences

  • Andrew Marshall: Futurist-in-chief

    DARPA is not the only Pentagon outfit in which bold, out-of-the-box ideas and concepts are tested; the Office of Net Assessment (ONA), led since its 1973 inception by Andrew Marshall, should be recognized as well for its original work

  • Computer models of unconventional warfare

    Wildcats researchers to design intelligent software that can analyze the behavior and customs of political and cultural groups; part of the Asymmetric Threat Response and Analysis Project, known as ATRAP

  • DARPA, U.S. Army looking for social computing technology

    Here is the Pentagonese for social network technology: “new technologies to rapidly create theoretically-informed, data-driven models of complex human, social, cultural, and behavioral dynamics that are instantiated in near-realtime simulations”

  • TSA wants to screen your baggage -- emotional baggage, that is

    To improve on X-ray and millimeter-wave scanning and go beyond group profiling, some suggest screening passengers for hostile intentions

  • Soft power: CIA funded first Russian edition of Dr. Zhivago

    The Soviet authorities banned Boris Pasternak’s “Dr. Zhivago” because of its critical treatment of the 1917 revolution; the manuscript was smuggled to the West and published — but to be considered for the Noble Prize, a work of fiction must be published in its original language; the CIA steps in to fund publishing the Russian version of the book (in Holland) — allowing the Noble Prize committee to award Pasternak, and embarrass the USSR