Category Archives: Technology and Society

Not Just For Robots Any More

Now, this is what I’ve been waiting for (well, at least until they come up with superior technology to replace it):

As reported in the London Daily Mail, Yacoub’s team harvested the stem cells and used a chemical cocktail to coax them into becoming heart cells. Placed on a “scaffold” made of biodegradable plastic, they grew and fused together to form discs of heart valve tissue just an inch wide. As the valves developed, the scaffold decayed, leaving behind solid tissue.

Yacoub, a professor of cardiac surgery at Imperial College London, noted: “Although there has been huge progress in developing mechanical replacements, they still work mechanically and not physiologically

Dr. Strangelove Redux?

Did the Soviets build a doomsday machine that’s still operational?

Blair is not a wild-eyed Cassandra raising unsupported suspicions. Colleagues in his field regard him as a serious and cautious scholar raising real questions. Stephen M. Meyer, an expert o the Russian military at MIT, told the Times that Blair “requires of himself a much higher standard of evidence than many people in the intelligence community.”

Blair’s troubling papers, along with his book The Logic of Accidental Nuclear War, serve as a reminder that the illogic, irrationalities, and vulnerability to catastrophic error of our Cold War nuclear war command and control mechanisms were never resolved or fixed, just forgotten when the Cold War ended. His analysis suggests that during the Cold War, we may have escaped an accidental nuclear war by luck rather than policy.

Sleep tight…

[Update on Thursday morning]

Alan K. Henderson is having a flashback. Errrr…make that flashforward.

The End Of The Silicon Age

Is drawing near:

Researchers at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in California developed a technique for measuring magnetic anisotropy, a property of the magnetic field that gives it the ability to maintain a particular direction. Being able to measure magnetic anisotropy at the atomic level is a crucial step toward the magnet representing the ones or the zeroes used to store data in binary computer language.

In a second report, researchers at IBM’s lab in Zurich, Switzerland, said they had used an individual molecule as an electric switch that could potentially replace the transistors used in modern chips. The company published both research reports in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.

Wonder what the implications of this technology are for Moore’s Law?

[Update a few minutes later]

Howard Lovy (who is back to blogging on nanotech again) has some thoughts on the paucity of imagination in reporting these things.