Saturday, February 10, 2007

Science Trek | Feb 10, 2007

[I am planning on changing the formatting of this "column" so that I can publish it more often...instead of elaborating on each story, I shall post short one to two line entries with links to the actual story. This way I get more stories in as well...Also, since I haven't published one in close to two months, this first story will be a roundup of interesting stories in the last month or so...]

We lead off with an MSNBC article which details China's planned space programme, which eventually will have humans landing on the moon. This apparently is not just about national pride - it involves the utilization of a limitless supply of a clean, safe, energy source, Helium 3 (3He), which is available in abundant quantities on the Moon's surface. To put it in perspective, a mere 40 tonnes of this material can handle the energy needs of the United States for a year!

The next big thing in physics, according to the New York Times, is a machine 20 miles long which will be used to recreate conditions when the universe was only a trillionth of a second old! The "International Linear Collider", as it will be known, will cost $6.7 billion and will slam together electrons and positrons. It will be later extended to a length of 31 miles!

In the semiconductor/microprocessor industries, Intel led with the announcement of the 45 nm processor technology. This would ensure that the self-fulfilling prophecy that is Moore's Law will still be true. IBM was not far behind with their own 45 nm announcement.

Climate was in the news, what with Richard Branson announcing a $25 million prize for the technology that removes the most Carbon from the atmosphere. But on a more ominous note, experts who regularly assess dangers to human civilization have added climate change as one of the greatest threats to mankind! As a result, the group moved the famous "doomsday clock" two minutes closer to midnight! Here are the changes the doomsday clock has undergone in the past:

British scientists have created genetically modified chickens, which can lay eggs which can be used to create cancer-fighting drugs! The eggs will have useful proteins which can be used to produce cheap drugs to fight cancer ! Incidentally, this was the same group that cloned the sheep, Dolly.

While the world was going ga-ga about Apple's iPhone, the OQO UMPC (ultra-mobile PC) model 02 launch flew under the radar. The OQO mode 02 claims to be the smallest Vista-capable PC. Take a look at the images to see for yourself!


No comments: