Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 5 Issue 88 | March 31, 2006 |

   Cover Story
   Straight Talk
   Slice of Life
   Time Out
   Food For Thought
   Human Rights
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
   New Flicks
   Write to Mita

   SWM Home


Two-Day Fuel Cell Juices Up Notebooks
Today at IDF, UltraCell showed off its two-day hot-swappable fuel cell, the UltraCell XX25, for laptops. As its description implies, the XX25 will run a notebook computer continuously for two solid days, and you can hot-swap the methanol fuel cartridges to keep the machine running eternally without interruption. This particular unit is for military use only, but the company will be releasing a commercial version, the UC25, around the end of this year. Pricing is not available at the moment.

Power of prayer to help heal studied
Two U.S. studies, scheduled to be soon released, found mixed results on the power of prayer to help cure ailing people. Skeptics of the studies say the work is a deeply flawed and misguided waste of money that tries to validate the supernatural with science, while some believers in the power of prayer say it is pointless to try to divine the workings of God with experiments devised by mortals. Prayer is the most common complement to mainstream medicine -- far outpacing acupuncture, herbs, vitamins and other alternative remedies and surveys have found that about half of Americans regularly pray for their own health. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism -- every religion believes in prayer for healing, said Paul Parker, a professor of theology and religion at Elmhurst College outside Chicago. Some call it prayer, some call it cleansing the mind. The words or posture may vary. But in times of illness, all religions look toward their source of authority.

Origami Revealed
Three weeks of suspense have drawn to a close this morning as Microsoft has revealed its mysterious Origami Project to be none other than the Ultra-Mobile PC that everyone's been thinking it would be. The new platform, for which Microsoft only supplies the operating system, meets minimum hardware specs including Windows XP Tablet Edition 2005, a 7-inch display with a minimum resolution of 800 x 480 (good for web surfing), a weight of about 2 pounds, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. As expected the machines will all play multimedia and run the usual host of Windows apps. What they won't do by default is GPS mapping, although that is an available option. The Samsung Q1 (pictured here) will include a 40GB hard drive, 512MB of RAM, and a GPS in addition to all the specs above. No word yet on when you'll actually be able to get your hands on one of these things, or how much it'll cost.

Israeli police go on a diet
Israeli police officials, concerned so many officers are overweight, have reportedly ordered significant changes at police station dining halls. The nutritional overhaul was ordered after surveys indicated most Israeli police officers, although thin when joining the force, become overweight during their years of service says reports. Among the changes being implemented: Police officers now are served low-fat bread and cheese instead of buns and fatty cheeses, During stakeouts, officers are provided low-fat pastrami sandwiches and granola bars, instead of the greasy sausage sandwiches, pretzels and chocolate bars that had been the regular carte du jour. Cooking oil in police kitchens has been changed in favour of a healthier brand. Chicken breast has been substituted for hotdogs, while water is now being served instead of juice.

Ocean virus identified in human blood
Scientists say a virus of ocean origin that can cause a range of diseases in several animal species has been found in human blood samples. The virus, or antibodies to it, was found most often in the blood of individuals with liver damage, or hepatitis of unknown cause related to blood exposure. Scientists from Oregon State University, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and AVI BioPharma say the association between viral infection and the presence of a disease of unknown cause does not prove cause and effect. But they say the data are intriguing and raise important new questions. The researchers say further study is needed to establish proof that infection with the virus in humans is causing liver damage or some other problems, which may include encephalitis and spontaneous abortion.

What to do with 7 million fish
About 125 years ago a few carp were introduced into Utah Lake and began multiplying -- now Utah officials don't know how to get rid of 7.5 million carp. In an effort to save the lake and the June sucker, one of the rarest fish in the world and native only to the lake, crews next year will remove 1 million carp annually from Utah Lake. Experts are hoping for suggestions, preferably with market potential, as to what to do with all that carp. We're not going to fund someone who says 'We'll haul them to the landfill,' Reed Harris of the Utah Department of Natural Resources. We're looking for a market for the carp, everything from fertiliser to using them for pet food as well as human consumption, livestock food ... stuff like that. Those with ideas of how to market 1 million carp annually should submit 10 copies of their statement of qualifications along with 10 copies of the proposal and 10 sealed copies of the budget.

Scientists advance photonic technology
Scientists at Denmark's Aalborg University have created a family of devices for guiding and processing light in chip-based information technology. Sergey Bozhevolnyi and colleagues say their research will help overcome a main obstacle -- the difficulty of manipulating light at very small scales -- to making photonic technology comparable to microelectronics. The scientists say the key problem for microphotonics is that light can only be transmitted through channels and holes wider than its wavelength. Today's fiber-optic telecommunications use wavelengths of about 1.5 micrometers -- much bigger than the channels in present-day silicon chips. But Bozhevolnyi's team suggests light waves can be used to excite collective, wavelike motions of electrons known as plasmons on the surface of metals. Plasmons aren't restricted by size limit. The researchers previously demonstrated some plasmons can move -- in the form of linked light and electron waves -- along the bottom of V-shaped grooves in metal, grooves that are much narrower than the wavelength of the light. The scientists now have shown such channels can be shaped to act as photonic devices for splitting and modifying light signals.


Compiled by IMRAN H. KHAN


Source: Wired and Webindia123


Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2006