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Archive for the 'Found On Web' Category

Scaling up from atomic assembly and individual nanodevices to macroscopic systems

Posted by Jim Lewis on January 13th, 2011

51 years after Richard Feynman envisioned nanoscience in his famous address, “Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” four extraordinary researchers joined in a roundtable discussion of the future of nanoscience.

One-molecule robot to be presented at January’s TEDxCaltech conference

Posted by Jim Lewis on January 2nd, 2011

A one-molecule robot capable of following a trail of chemical breadcrumbs will be presented at TEDxCaltech-Feynman’s Vision: The Next 50 Years.

Nanodot in excellent company among top 50 blogs

Posted by Jim Lewis on November 30th, 2010

A list of the “Top 50 Blogs by Scientific Researchers” includes Nanodot among blogs focusing on open source and open access, academia, projects funded by organizations, and news produced by writers who research science.

Alien Invasion

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on February 24th, 2010

Robin Hanson comments on David Brin’s response to a New Scientist editorial. As Brin notes, many would-be broadcasters come from an academic area where for decades the standard assumption has been that aliens are peaceful zero-population-growth no-nuke greens, since we all know that any other sort quickly destroy themselves.  This seems to me an instructive [...]

Is gravity an entropic spring?

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on January 15th, 2010

Two nanoparticles connected by a polymer will tend to be drawn together at finite temperatures (though not at absolute zero) because as the polymer chain explores the states available to it, there are many more tangled and balled up ones than stretched-out straight ones — even though there is no overt force pulling the chain [...]

Learning from science

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 31st, 2009

There’s a really nice article at Wired about Kevin Dunbar’s research how science is really done and how often scientists get data they didn’t expect. Dunbar knew that scientists often don’t think the way the textbooks say they are supposed to. He suspected that all those philosophers of science — from Aristotle to Karl Popper [...]

Quantum propulsion?

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 11th, 2009

From the TR Physics Arxiv blog: The quantum vacuum has fascinated physicists ever since Hendrik Casimir and Dirk Polder suggested in 1948 that it would exert a force on a pair of narrowly separated conducting plates. Their idea was eventually confirmed when the force was measured in 1997. Just how to exploit this force is [...]

2009 winter H+ out

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 9th, 2009

H+ magazine is available online:  my article, Singularity: nanotech or AI, is on page 82.  enjoy!  

Royal Society classic science papers

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on November 30th, 2009

The Royal society has a new website making freely available a selection of classic papers from the history of science. (h/t Luboš Motl’s The Reference Frame): I am just looking at an Isaac Newton’s letter about light and colors sent to the editor of Cambridge University Press in February 1671/72. It describes some Newton’s basic [...]

Eine Kleine Nachtphysik

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on November 29th, 2009

(or a little physics about climate change. Or at least a few clarifications about some of the points being raised.) In the wake of Climategate, a wide variety of mistakes and misapprehensions are being circulated on the Internet (as if that weren’t happening before). For example, in this article from the Telegraph: Phil Jones, the [...]

Peer Review

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on November 27th, 2009

Just for fun: (h/t Roger Pielke, Jr.)   (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VRBWLpYCPY) (h/t Megan McArdle)  

Climategate, or, how science works

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on November 25th, 2009

“Science advances, funeral by funeral.” (often attributed to Timothy Ferris) The blogosphere has been abuzz over the past week or so with the release of data — emails and program source and documentation — from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, one of the premier climatology research institutions in the world. [...]

A molecular machine in action

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on November 24th, 2009

From the protein crystallography beamline at Berkeley Labs Advanced Light Source: an action shapshot the Rho transcription factor from E. coli. The orange spiral in the middle is a strand of RNA, and Rho is everything else.   (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPQ0OnlfkkA) (h/t Technology Review blog)

Gallery – A joyride through the nanoscale – Image 1 – New Scientist

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on November 16th, 2009

Gallery – A joyride through the nanoscale – Image 1 – New Scientist. This New Scientist article has some nice images from Whitesides recent book, sort of a retake on the “Secret House” idea.  

Five essential things to know about evolution – Ars Technica

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on September 16th, 2009

Five essential things to know about evolution – Ars Technica. John Timmer dispels some common misconceptions. An understanding of evolution is key to understanding technological change — we individual humans are the mutations and crossover, but the dynamics of the overall process is similar.

Foreseeing the next paradigm shift

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 27th, 2009

The evolution of science moves, in Kuhn’s famous theory, not in a smooth accretion of knowledge but in a series of punctuated equilibria. This means that before a paradigm shift happens, there is an overhang where the majority of scientists believe something that the mojority won’t a scientific generation later. Thomas Bouchard, the psychologist who [...]

Moral Railroads

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on June 25th, 2009

Over at the Moral Machines blog, there’s a pointer to an AP story about the recent DC train crash: Investigators looking into the deadly crash of two Metro transit trains focused Tuesday on why a computerized system failed to halt an oncoming train, and why the train failed to stop even though the emergency brake [...]

Do the math

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 20th, 2009

There is at Technology Review’s arXiv blog an article “How to find bugs in giant software programs.” It’s an overview of a paper on arXiv which is a statistical study of program sizes and bug distributions in the Eclipse dataset of Java programs. TR says, So how are errors distributed among these programs? It would [...]

Codex Futurius on Gray Goo

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 19th, 2009

“Codex Futurius” is a project of Discover Magazine’s Science Not Fiction blog in which they ask science questions raised by science fiction.. Then they ask the National Academy of Sciences’ Science and Entertainment Exchange to reccommend them experts to answer the questions. Their first question came to me, and it was about gray goo … [...]

Playing with Wolfram|Alpha

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 18th, 2009

The highly anticipated Wolfram|Alpha site came online over the weekend, and here are some first impressions: They need a little work on the html — this was Firefox, but it looked the same on Konqueror.