January 14/21, 2004   

   Quantum dice debut
Einstein famously objected to quantum physics by saying that God does not play dice with the universe. The quantum world is filled with uncertainty, so much so that getting a quantum computer to generate random numbers would require an impractical amount of computing resources. A scheme for generating pseudo-random numbers, however, makes for practical quantum dice and could also play a key role in constructing quantum computers.
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Pressure shapes plastic
If you want to turn a plastic into a liquid you usually have to apply heat. A material with a nanoscale mix of hard and soft plastics, however, can be made to flow at room temperature, given high-pressure. The result could be cheaper and greener recycling.

Software repairs itself on the go
Computer software has become more sophisticated and we've come to rely heavily on it. This is a problem because it's a challenge keeping complicated programs running. The emerging field of self-healing software aims to make programs take care of themselves. A tool that models data structures helps computers get the picture.

Nanoparticle dyes boost storage
The idea of storing data in fluorescent dyes has been around for a while, and researchers have been trying to boost storage capacity by recording multiple bits of information in a single spot using several types of dye. The challenge has been finding ways to keep dyes from interfering with each other. One solution is layered particles five times smaller than a blood cell. The result could make counterfeiting much more difficult.

News briefs
Fiber optics goes nano... Melted fibers make nano channels... Wet biochip preserves proteins... Nanotubes grown on plastic... Hardy molecule makes memory... Atoms make quantum coprocessor.

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