Google's Latest Attempt to Take Over the World
When the Internet in general, and Google in particular, grew so
big that Microsoft finally took notice, the software giant built
a search engine to try to get a piece of the pie. Now Google is
returning the favor. That's right - the search engine giant is building
an operating system, to be based on its Chrome browser.
The new operating system, dubbed Google Chrome OS, is designed
for people who spend most of their time on the web. To that end,
consumers will start finding it on netbooks in the second half of
next year. It will be based on Linux, but its applications will
run on the web. In short, this is cloud computing at its most radical.
And it doesn't stop with netbooks. Google says the operating system
can be used to power full-size desktop systems, thus putting it
in direct competition with Microsoft. Don't want to switch your
OS? No problem; Google said that all of its web-based applications
will run not only on its OS, but “on any standards-based browser
on Windows, Mac, and Linux.” Given Internet Explorer's known quirks,
one wonders if Microsoft's browser counts as “standards-based” by
Google's definition, thus raising the heat even more. It looks like
the operating system space just got a whole lot more competitive.
more about this
Nano Tech James Bond Would Love
If you've ever recovered a document after deleting it, you know
that ordinary deletion rarely gets rid of data completely. Even
documents on paper can often be recovered, depending on how they've
been handled. This can be a problem for those handling sensitive
information. Now, thanks to nano technology, we may soon see documents
that delete themselves after they've been read.
A research team at Northwestern University in Illinois coated gold
nanoparticles with a substance that reacts to ultraviolet light.
When exposed to the light, the coating changes its shape and charge
distribution. With the change in charge distribution, the nanoparticles
change their location, which causes the document to change color.
To actually use this color-changing ability, the team suspended
the nanoparticles in a gel, and spread the gel between two plastic
sheets. A UV pen allowed the scientists to write words on the “paper;”
they could also use the UV light for printing images.
In the absence of UV light, however, the words and images gradually
disappear, leaving no trace of their existence. The scientists found
they could control how long the image lasted by varying the concentration
of of the coating on the nanoparticles. They could get images to
last for hours to days – or, by exposing the paper to intense visible
light or mild heat, they could erase the image in seconds. The process
has one problem: the film starts out red in color. Paper (or film)
that starts out white or colorless would be preferable for use by
more about this
Flying Metal Bats out of NCSU
Ornithopters with flapping wings have been the stuff of science
fiction and even early science experiments. They don't seem to scale
well – but researchers at North Carolina State University plan to
keep their version small. The little flying metal bat they're working
on boasts some modern modifications. Specifically, it uses smart
materials to fill in for the muscles of a living bat.
The prototypical robobat's skeleton weighs perhaps six grams and
fits in the palm of your hand. It will carry small sensors that
make it ideal for detection missions, including the discovery of
biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons - or of humans trapped
in a collapsed cave or building. But will it really fly?
Dr. Stefan Seelecke, graduate advisor of the mechanical engineering
student working on the project, notes the use of “a shape-memory
metal alloy that is super-elastic for the joints” and an alloy that
responds to heat by contracting for the muscles. It is hoped that,
by using these materials, the flying robot will “respond quickly
to changing conditions - such as a gust of wind - as perfectly as
a real bat.” Aside from its immediate practical applications, a
metal flying bat could expand our understanding of aerodynamics,
perhaps even leading to more efficient aircraft.
more about this