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Scientific American's Top 50 75

Posted by Hemos
from the advancements-in-science dept.
dptalia writes "It's that time of year again, where everyone is putting out their best of 2006 lists. Last week, Popular Science did it, and today, Scientific American has released their top 50 list. Of note are improvements in RFID technology, discoveries in nantechnology, and net neutrality."
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Scientific American's Top 50

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  • by Salvance (1014001) * on Monday November 13, 2006 @12:57PM (#16824940) Homepage Journal
    I thought it was interesting that the section on green cars ("on the road to green" [sciam.com]) mentioned GM and DaimlerChrysler for their work on new Hybrid technology, and HyMotion for their new plug-in Hybrid conversion kits, but didn't mention any of the advances with pure electric car designs. For example, the Tesla roadster [wikipedia.org] has sold a couple hundred sports cars that perform well (0-60 in 4 seconds) with excellent range (250 miles). This achievement in a production auto certainly seems worthy of their top 50. While it's not exactly for your average consumer (it costs $100K), the company plans to offer family cars for their homepage.
  • Re:I Wanna Know... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Monday November 13, 2006 @01:21PM (#16825272) Homepage Journal
    Heh.. good or bad, though, devices introduced in 2001 don't really fit on "best of 2006" lists.
  • Re:Summaries (Score:3, Informative)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday November 13, 2006 @01:22PM (#16825284)
    It's a list of 50 scientific accomplishments from 2006 that the Scientific American editors feel are noteworthy. You can probably get a better idea of this from the introduction [sciam.com] to the article/list.
  • Re:Pure sciences (Score:2, Informative)

    by hebcb (984915) on Monday November 13, 2006 @01:56PM (#16825800)
    Over the past 20 years SciAm seems to have moved more towards technology/applied articles than pure science. I remember a much higher number (per issue) of pure mathemetics/physics/anthropology/etc articles. Maybe there's something to the position some have taken is that there is nothing left to discover ;-) An alternative view might be that the number of "pure science" (i.e. academic) journals keeps growing and it's more important for the already strapped academics to keep churning out articles in the peer-review journals.
  • by superstick58 (809423) on Monday November 13, 2006 @02:31PM (#16826328)
    Everyone always talks about RFID as it is used by the end user, i.e. Wal-Mart, toll-ways, credit cards etc. However, where better improvements are really needed is on the factory floor for all the suppliers that Wal-Mart mandates must use the technology. If a vendor wants to be a supplier to Wal-Mart, they face mandates that they must tag at some level of pallet, box, item. Suppliers can do this, but it offers no value except that Wal-Mart will buy their stuff. So how do they add value? The idea is to implement the RFID tagging higher up the line into the manufacturing process so that each supplier can track their inventory as it rolls off the line, into storage, and out the dock doors onto the truck. However, current UHF RFID technology is pretty poor at integrating in the manufacturing environment. With all the metal, hot air, dust, etc. etc., the limitation of RFID is really shown. Plus, depending on your material (hmmm beverage makers? Sorry liquid is a pain to work with), the application may be near impossible to implement. Read rates are generally good, but encoding is very very difficult. Reliability is perhaps in the 90% range if you are lucky which is very bad for processes that generally require quality results in the 99% ranges. I'd like to see RFID developed so it can be used on the shop floor with high reliability and easier implementation.

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