Palaces For The People
Monday, October 20, 2003
 
Self-assembled Nanocells Function As Non-volatile Memory


Self-assembled Nanocells Function As Non-volatile Memory
HOUSTON, Oct. 20, 2003 -- Chemists at Rice University have demonstrated that disordered assemblies of gold nanowires and conductive organic molecules can function as non-volatile memory, one of the key components of computer chips.

"A large part of the cost associated with creating integrated circuits comes from the painstaking precision required to ensure that each of the millions of circuits on the chip are placed in exactly the right spot," said lead researcher Jim Tour, an organic chemist at Rice. "Our research shows that ordered precision isn't a prerequisite for computing. It is possible to make memory circuits out of disordered systems."

The research appears in the Oct. 29 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. It marks the first time that a self-assembled ensemble of molecular electronic components has been used to create complex devices that carry out basic computing functions. Dubbed NanoCells, the devices were shown to function as re-programmable memory with memory states that hold for more than a week at room temperature, and probably far longer. Present-day dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, only holds its memory state for about one hundredth of a second and must be refreshed every thousandth of a second.

In previous experiments, Tour, the Chao Professor of Chemistry and professor of computer science, mechanical engineering and materials science, has used single molecules as switches, memory devices, resistors, diodes, junctions and wires. The creation of the prototype NanoCell marks the first time such molecules have been used to form a working microelectronic device.

The NanoCell consists of a set of discontinuous islands of gold film that are vapor-deposited onto a flat rectangle of silicon dioxide measuring about 40 microns by 10 microns. By submersing the sliver of silicon dioxide into a liquid solution of precisely synthesized organic molecules and gold nanowires, Tour is able to create conductive links between the islands of gold foil. Ten gold leads spaced five microns apart around the perimeter of the NanoCell carry electronic signals to and from the device. The size of the host platform is not critical, so the technology can scale down to much smaller sizes.

Compared to metal-oxide semiconductor technology, molecular electronic devices like NanoCells, offer the potential to reduce device size and fabrication costs by several orders of magnitude. With the NanoCell architecture, Tour hopes to address the nanoscale via the microscale, taking advantage of the ultrasmall molecules using current lithographic tools.

In addition to memory, Tour's group is actively studying how NanoCells can be used to as logic gates. Since the precise placement of components is disordered, the NanoCells can't be programmed like today's computers. Instead, they must be trained to carry out specific logical functions. Even if this process is only a few percent efficient in the use of molecular devices, it could result in very high logic densities, making it possible for computer makers to create much more powerful chips.

The JACS paper, titled "NanoCell Electronic Memories," was co-authored by Tour, postdoctoral researchers Long Cheng and Yuxing Yao, graduate student Austen Flatt, Penn State chemist Thomas Mallouk and his graduate student Sarah St. Angelo, and North Carolina State electrical engineer Paul Franzon and his graduate student David Nackashi.


The research was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Naval Research and Molecular Electronics Corp.


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This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Rice University.


 
The Mercury: Disease risk fears for state ecology [15oct03]: "Disease risk fears for state ecology
By ROHAN WADE
15oct03
A DISEASE estimated to have already killed 50,000 Tasmanian devils was likely to alter the entire ecology of the state, a workshop in Launceston was told yesterday.

It also heard that anecdotal evidence of a surge in aborted lambs from toxoplasmosis, a disease carried by cats, could be proof that feral cat numbers were increasing with less devil competition.
Convened by the Primary Industries, Water and Environment Department, the workshop brought together experts from interstate and overseas in a first-step toward combating the disease threatening to wipe-out Tasmania's internationally recognised animal symbol.
US animal disease expert Marco Rostani said taking devils out of the state's predator system would have immediate impacts on other animals.
He suggested other predators -- native ones such as quolls, and introduced foxes and feral cats -- would thrive without devils feeding on their young and competing for food.
Department wildlife officer Nick Mooney said he had already observed an apparent correlation between high feral cat numbers and low devil populations being pressured by the disease, which causes cancer-like tumours on infected animals' faces."
 
Toyota to Present "Ecology & Emotion" at 37th Tokyo Motor Show Latest Automotive News Auto Industry News Reviews Specs and More: Automotive News Car News Latest Auto News: "Toyota to Present 'Ecology & Emotion' at 37th Tokyo Motor Show (10/15/03 12:52:51 PM)
10/15/2003 Tokyo, Japan - TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) plans to exhibit six concept vehicles (eight units), two racecars and 21 production vehicles (for a total of 31) at the 37th Tokyo Motor Show (Oct. 25 - Nov. 5*1) in Makuhari, Chiba, under the theme 'Ecology & Emotion.'

TMC views the Tokyo Motor Show as an opportunity to propose new automotive possibilities. Over the years, the company has used this occasion to unveil a wide variety of concept vehicles and technologies. Under the banner of 'Ecology & Emotion', TMC's vehicles at this year's show will propose advanced hybrid technology for the environment and explore new concepts for our motorized society. TMC will also present numerous technology exhibits.

The concept vehicles and racecars to be on display are the:
* new-concept fuel cell hybrid vehicle Fine-N*2
* new-concept hybrid vehicles CS&S*3 and SU-HV1*4
* new-concept vehicles PM*5 (three units), NLSV*6 and CROWN CONCEPT
* Toyota TF103 F1*7and 'Indy 500 Winner' IRL*8 racecars"
 
Defra, UK - Environmental Protection - Genetic Modification (GM) - Farm Scale Evaluations: "Genetically Modified Crops - Farm-Scale Evaluations


The GM crop farm-scale evaluations are a three-year programme of research by independent researchers aimed at studying the effect, if any, that the management practices associated with Genetically Modified Herbicide Tolerant (GMHT) crops might have on farmland wildlife, when compared with weed control used with non-GM crops.
All of the field trials are now complete. The results for the three spring sown crops, maize, beet and spring oilseed rape, have now been published. Details of how they can be obtained are given below. Results for winter oilseed rape are due in 2004.
For more details see this press release from the Scientific Steering Committee and the farm-scale evaluations research team:"
 
Bush, hunter and collector of endangered species: Can Australia cash in? - www.smh.com.au: "Note: While various references - such as those to Koala Dundee - should have made it clear that the argument of this talk was ironic, some listeners appear to have concluded that koala hunting was being seriously proposed. The talk was, of course, a critique of the application of economic ideas to conservation, and is entirely tongue-in-cheek."
 
Bush, hunter and collector of endangered species: Can Australia cash in? - www.smh.com.au: "The vital question is: How much could be charged for the opportunity to shoot a koala on Kangaroo Island? A fee of $1000 per koala would be a very conservative estimate, with at least $1,500 for a mother and baby. American tourists could be offered complete packages for several thousand dollars, including airfares, accommodation, gun hire, trophy fees and taxidermy. Taxidermy would of course be a critical part of the experience, and an important promotional device, as many homes would be adorned with stuffed koalas clinging to eucalypt branches an ideal conversation starter about the wonderful time the hunters had in Australia."
 
U.S. Newswire - Bush Endangered Species Import Plan Poses 'Serious Threat to More than 500 Species Worldwide, Says Defenders of Wildlife

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Defenders of Wildlife, the Species Survival Network, and nearly two dozen other organizations today called for a halt to White House plans to allow the importation of hides, hunting trophies, and live specimens of endangered animals. In official comment on the proposal, Defenders charged that this approach could lead to the extinction of any of more than 500 species around the world.

"This Bush policy is truly Orwellian, encouraging killing endangered animals in order to save them," said Carroll Muffett, director of international programs for Defenders of Wildlife. "Turning these species into commodities will only increase the slaughter and encourage illegal trade and poaching."

The USFWS proposal allows imports of animal parts or live specimens of endangered animals into the United States, so long as the importer says that some portion of the purchase price went into conservation efforts in the country of origin. In theory, this would give an economic incentive to protection of these species, but the proposal contains no provisions that would allow the FWS to verify these claims.

Muffett said the proposal is "shockingly silent on even rudimentary standards" to ensure that any of the money actually went to conservation, and noted that the proposal would invite fraud and even liquidation of endangered animals by developing nations desperate for hard currency.

"Sustainable use" programs like the one proposed by the Bush Administration have proven largely unsuccessful at achieving real conservation, and frequently have the opposite effect. Resumption of a legal ivory trade in southern Africa, for example, appears to have led to increased elephant poaching not only in the exporting states, but elsewhere in Africa and Asia. In Kenya, this resurgence was accompanied by increased slayings of Maasai peoples in encounters with heavily armed poachers.

"Behind every dubious example of 'sustainable use' - endangered crocodile skins from Mexico, rare hunting trophies, elephants for circuses - you'll find a well-heeled industry with an armada of lobbyists," Muffett said. "Once again, the Bush Administration is letting industry write its own rules."

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U.S. Newswire - Bush Endangered Species Import Plan Poses 'Serious Threat to More than 500 Species Worldwide, Says Defenders of Wildlife

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Defenders of Wildlife, the Species Survival Network, and nearly two dozen other organizations today called for a halt to White House plans to allow the importation of hides, hunting trophies, and live specimens of endangered animals. In official comment on the proposal, Defenders charged that this approach could lead to the extinction of any of more than 500 species around the world.

"This Bush policy is truly Orwellian, encouraging killing endangered animals in order to save them," said Carroll Muffett, director of international programs for Defenders of Wildlife. "Turning these species into commodities will only increase the slaughter and encourage illegal trade and poaching."

The USFWS proposal allows imports of animal parts or live specimens of endangered animals into the United States, so long as the importer says that some portion of the purchase price went into conservation efforts in the country of origin. In theory, this would give an economic incentive to protection of these species, but the proposal contains no provisions that would allow the FWS to verify these claims.

Muffett said the proposal is "shockingly silent on even rudimentary standards" to ensure that any of the money actually went to conservation, and noted that the proposal would invite fraud and even liquidation of endangered animals by developing nations desperate for hard currency.

"Sustainable use" programs like the one proposed by the Bush Administration have proven largely unsuccessful at achieving real conservation, and frequently have the opposite effect. Resumption of a legal ivory trade in southern Africa, for example, appears to have led to increased elephant poaching not only in the exporting states, but elsewhere in Africa and Asia. In Kenya, this resurgence was accompanied by increased slayings of Maasai peoples in encounters with heavily armed poachers.

"Behind every dubious example of 'sustainable use' - endangered crocodile skins from Mexico, rare hunting trophies, elephants for circuses - you'll find a well-heeled industry with an armada of lobbyists," Muffett said. "Once again, the Bush Administration is letting industry write its own rules."

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Endangered Species: Conservation or Depredation? (washingtonpost.com): "Endangered Species: Conservation or Depredation?

Friday, October 17, 2003; Page A28
I was disappointed to read about the Bush administration's policy shifts on threatened species ['U.S. May Expand Access to Endangered Species,' news story, Oct. 11].


I conducted field research for Kenneth Stansell and others at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1996 that refuted the very arguments he and others in the administration are using to justify the shift.
Commercial use of wildlife, whether through captive breeding or controlled 'harvesting,' does not pay for the species' conservation. Even when government sets a good policy and fair management rules and regulations are in place and reasonably enforced, private businesses often evade the scientific and management protocols with serious, sometimes irreversible consequences to the species. Local people, especially those living in poverty, rarely benefit, for reasons related not to wildlife biology but to politics.
This is true in both developing and developed countries. And make no mistake: Trading and trafficking in wildlife is serious business, which may help explain the Safari Club International's enormous political contributions ($274,000) in the 2000 election cycle.
I studied the effect of the commercial use in El Salvador of green iguanas, a protected species at the time. I interviewed local people, the iguana ranch owners, the ranch employees, the government officials responsible for enforcing the regulations and wildlife biologists and conservationists in El Salvador and in the United States.
My findings were straightforward: The local communities received no tangible benefits from the sustainable production and trade of green iguanas "
 
Goodall assails Bush administration plan for Endangered Species Act
Goodall assails Bush administration plan for Endangered Species Act

By JULIE DAVIDOW
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

Jane Goodall, the British anthropologist who has observed chimpanzee behavior in Tanzania for four decades, said yesterday that a Bush administration proposal to ease restrictions on hunting, capturing and importing endangered species would worsen cruel and corrupt practices in poor countries.

"The live-animal trade is horrible -- shooting mothers and capturing their babies," Goodall, 69, said during a telephone interview from a hotel room in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Goodall, who travels 300 days a year, will visit Seattle the week after next to raise money for the Jane Goodall Institute, established in 1977 to promote wildlife education and conservation programs around the world.

"Global wildlife is facing dire threats almost everywhere," Goodall said. "In this country right now, the assault on the Endangered Species Act is of great concern."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be accepting public comment through today on the proposal, which would allow hunters, circuses and the pet industry to buy endangered animals from other countries.

Fish and Wildlife authorities say issuing the permits is consistent with the Endangered Species Act, adopted 30 years ago, and would simply implement rarely used provisions in the law.

Permits would be issued only in countries where conservation efforts are under way. Money spent on crocodile skins from Central America or the importation of the Asian elephant, two of the examples included in the proposed changes, could be used to protect the species in their native countries, according to the proposal.

But Goodall doesn't believe that poachers will heed the rules.

"There's a tendency all over the developing world to just be chasing after worldly goods and not making decisions based on how will this effect children seven generations ahead," Goodall said.

Through her work with chimpanzees, Goodall is credited for altering long-held assumptions about the relationship between human beings and animals.

During her time in the Gombe National Park in what is now Tanzania, where she arrived in 1960, Goodall watched chimpanzees use tools, hunt for meat and exhibit signs of distinct personalities.

She spends most days now preaching conservation, advocating for human and animal rights and soliciting donations for the institute.

Roots & Shoots, one of the institute's main programs, encourages young people worldwide to take an interest in the environment, animals and community through service learning projects.

In the Kigoma region of Tanzania, for example, children plant trees and grass, attend workshops on HIV and AIDS prevention and visit Gombe.

There are 30 Roots & Shoots programs in the Seattle area and nearly 200 across the state.

During her three-day Seattle stay, Goodall will visit Peter Kirk Elementary School in Kirkland, where students and parents recently started a Roots & Shoots chapter.

Goodall will tour a forest behind the school where children have planted native trees, created a compost pile and used the fertilizer to grow tomatoes.

Theresa Demeter, co-coordinator of the program at Peter Kirk, said more than 50 families have signed up.

They have not yet chosen a project, but it likely will include exchanging videotapes of their work with a Roots & Shoots chapter in Africa.

"It's a good opportunity to be locally as well as more globally focused," Demeter said.


 
Fate of ibis depicts situation of endangered species: "


Yoshikazu Suzuki Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer
The last pure-bred toki (Japanese crested ibis) died before Japan and China could reach agreement on a plan to jointly protect ibises.
What kind of lessons did the ibis, which died after a long life, teach us?
The female ibis, named Kin, died on Oct. 10 at the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center in Niibomura, Niigata Prefecture. Kin was captured when she was a chick and spent nearly 36 years at the center.
The death of the bird, which lived to the equivalent of more than 100 years in human terms, meant the extinction of the pure-bred Japanese crested ibis, whose scientific name is Nipponia Nippon. Ibises are internationally protected birds. "

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