August 27/
September 3, 2003   

   Software speeds modeling
A prototype design tool generates computer models of buildings in seconds -- just add basic shapes, and presto, instant architecture. The software automates the laborious task of generating realistic, varied models, which should give a big boost to architecture modeling, urban planning, game design and movie making.
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DNA plays tic-tac-toe
In addition to its natural role as the blueprint of life, DNA has been tapped to compute and to form nanoscale machines. A new type of DNA logic is aimed at marrying these artificial functions to make control circuits for nano machines. The first result is an unbeatable tic-tac-toe player.

Email updates six degrees theory
The venerable six-degrees-of-separation theory has been the key concept of many studies of networks like the Internet. An email-based update of the original experiment shows that one conclusion is off the mark. It turns out that the most well-connected people are not always the best contacts.

Cellophane turns LCDs 3D
The same plastic wrap that makes your leftovers last longer turns out to be efficient at rotating the polarization of light by 90 degrees. This property is half of what it takes to make a three-dimensional display. Place a piece of cellophane over one side of a laptop screen that is showing two copies of an image, don a pair of crossed polarizer glasses, and enjoy the 3D view.

News briefs
Detector senses single DNA... Crystal shortens infrared waves... Tool sketches quantum circuits... Nanotubes spark gas detector... Metal process makes heat chips... Light makes molecule shine.

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