Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

Walking Molecule Now Carries Packages 108

Roland Piquepaille writes "Chemists from the University of California at Riverside designed two years ago a molecule which could move straight on a flat surface — a nano-walker if you wish. Now, they've found a way to force this walking molecule to carry packages. The nano-worker can now carry two CO2 molecules. And like yourself when you carry two heavy bags, this nano-worker is slower when it carries other molecules. The researchers think their discovery will lead to reliable ways of carrying molecules, an equivalent of the conveyor belts in today's factories."

Natural Language Processing for State Security 132

Roland Piquepaille writes "Obviously, computers can't have an opinion. What computers are very good at, though, is scanning through text to deduct human opinions from factual information. This branch of natural-language processing (NLP) is called 'information extraction' and is used for sorting facts and opinions for Homeland Security. Right now, a consortium of three universities is for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which doesn't have enough in-house expertise in NLP. Read more for additional references and a diagram showing how information extraction is used."

Solar Boat To Cross the Atlantic 190

Roland Piquepaille writes, "A group from Switzerland will soon attempt the first Atlantic crossing in a solar-powered boat. This ship, named SUN21, is a 14-meter-long catamaran able to sleep 5 or 6 persons. The goal is to leave Seville, Spain, in December 2006 and to reach ports in Florida and New York in the spring of 2007. This boat will achieve its 7,000-mile trip at a speed of 5-6 knots, about the speed of a sailing yacht, by using photovoltaic cells and without burning a single gallon of fuel. The consortium behind this project wants to demonstrate that the time has come for solar boats." The boat will cost about $556,000 to build and it will be for sale at some point after its crossing.

Robocabs Coming to Europe 176

Roland Piquepaille writes "Almost all of us can recall both good and poor memories of taxi rides when we arrived in a city we didn't know. This is why a short article from Spiegel Online, 'Bringing Robot Transportation to Europe,' caught my eye this morning. It briefly describes the European 'CityMobil' project which involves 28 partners in 10 countries at a cost of €40 million. This project plans to eliminate city drivers and three trial sites have already been selected. For example, in 2008, Terminal 5 in London's Heathrow airport will be connected to the car park by driverless electric cars along a 4-kilometer track. Read more for additional pictures and references about this project to make the roads in Europe's cities more efficient."

Catching Photons Coming from the Moon 146

Roland Piquepaille writes "In 'Shooting the moon,' the San Diego Union-Tribune describes how and why physicists from UCSD are using lasers to send light pulses in direction of an array of reflectors installed on our moon in 1969 by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. One of the goals of these experiments is to check the validity of Einstein's theory of general relativity. Another one is to measure the distance between the Earth and moon with a precision of one millimeter by catching photons after their round trip to the moon. But it is amazing to realize how difficult it is to capture photons after such a trip. I also have up a summary, which contains additional details and pictures, if you just want to learn how difficult it is to capture photons back from the moon."

The Molecular Secrets of Cream Cheese 211

Roland Piquepaille writes "The June issue of Wired Magazine carries a story about one of the two university labs in the U.S. dedicated to cream cheese research. This one is -- where else? -- in Madison, Wisconsin, where researchers are exploring the molecular mysteries of cream cheese. You may not know, but this cheese is tricky to produce because the acid-secreting bacteria used to coagulate the milk need to be killed at the right time. The researchers are now writing a guidebook about the secrets of cream cheese, a book which will be available to anyone, in a process similar to the open source movement for software. For more information, please read the entertaining article of Wired magazine, 'Schmear Campaign' or this summary to discover little-known facts about cream cheese."

A Traffic Control System For Molecules 64

Roland Piquepaille writes "Our cells contain small protein factories which have to deliver materials inside the cell via a network of microtubules. And the transportation is carried out by biomolecular motors. Now, researchers from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have built a traffic control system able to force individual molecules to choose between 'roads' by applying strong electrical fields locally at Y-junctions. This traffic control system can potentially lead to new nano-fabrication techniques. Read more for additional references and pictures showing how this traffic system works."

"For the love of phlegm...a stupid wall of death rays. How tacky can ya get?" - Post Brothers comics