New tractor chomps up land mines on farm land

Unexploded anti-personnel landmines litter the border between Croatia and what was once Yugoslavia. The mine-infested area spans more or less half of the country and roughly 1,700 km2 of minefields are left to clear. EUREKA’s first foray into anti-personnel landmine technology, the ORACLE project has developed a rugged tractor for clearing mines and unexploded shells from agricultural land. Adapted from a conventional forestry vehicle, the ORACLE system is cheap, quick, reliable – and safe.

Gov't to test PDA network for bioattack response

The U.S. government announced that it will begin testing a system using handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs) for transmitting urgent information about biological agents to clinicians. The three-month pilot test of the PDA network is designed to gauge the best ways for federal officials to communicate effectively with front-line clinicians in the event of a bioterrorist attack. The project will evaluate how and when clinicians download this urgent information and whether they find it useful to receive it via their PDAs. “This important new project will allow us to harness the power of technology to communicate with many of the doctors, nurses, and other clinicians who will be called on to diagnose and treat patients quickly in the event of a bioterrorist attack,” HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said.

Virtual observatory prototype produces surprise discovery

A new approach to finding undiscovered objects buried in immense astronomical databases has produced an early and unexpected payoff: a new instance of a hard-to-find type of star known as a brown dwarf. Scientists working to create the National Virtual Observatory (NVO), an online portal for astronomical research unifying dozens of large astronomical databases, confirmed discovery of the new brown dwarf recently. The star emerged from a computerized search of information on millions of astronomical objects in two separate astronomical databases. Thanks to an NVO prototype, that search, formerly an endeavor requiring weeks or months of human attention, took approximately two minutes.

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

From anti-aging to the search for alien life, we promise to never bore.