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IEEE Spectrum

Issue 12 • Dec. 2008

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  • [Front cover - IEEE Spectrum]

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): c1
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Contents

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s):1 - 3
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  • Dance Into The Light

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 4
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (1099 KB) | HTML iconHTML

    Staring at the Mercedes-Benz F700 sitting in his Stuttgart, Germany, studio, photographer Steffen Jahn is ready for the shot. But this time he won't be behind the camera. Instead, he walks over to the car, grabs a fluorescent lamp, and tells an assistant to shut off all the lights. Then he does a little dance. View full abstract»

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  • Contributors

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 6
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  • The Audacity Of Technology

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 9
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (536 KB) | HTML iconHTML

    Barack Obama believes in the power of technology. The cellphone-toting, BlackBerry-packing next president of the United States ran a brilliant Web 2.0 campaign, demonstrating how everything from social networking to GPS could be deployed to organize and mobilize volunteers and voters alike. He's not a technologist, but he has surrounded himself with tech-savvy strategists. View full abstract»

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  • Forum

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 10
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  • The Price Is Wrong for Oil Shale and Tar Sand Tech

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s):11 - 12
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    The huge run-up in oil prices over the last several years, reaching a peak of close to US $150 per barrel this past summer, has given energy companies a big incentive to find new ways of harvesting unconventional oil, especially in North America. Technology firms targeted oil from tar sands in Canada and from shale, a sedimentary rock abundant in the western United States. But in the fourth quarte... View full abstract»

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  • Exascale Computing by 2015?

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 12
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (1365 KB) | HTML iconHTML

    The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) asked a group of eminent engineers and computer scientists to figure out how to get a thousandfold increase in supercomputing ability by 2015. The group, led by University of Notre Dame professor and IEEE Fellow Peter M. Kogge, found that if technology trends continue into the future, exascale computing will still be just a dream in 2015. View full abstract»

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  • Spotting Snipers With Sound

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 14
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    In the movies, action heroes can dodge bullets or even catch them with their hands. In the real world, your average soldier is happy just to know where the shooter is. For three years now, soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have had help locating snipers. An acoustics system known as Boomerang, developed by BBN Technologies, in Cambridge, Mass., determines the location of a shooter by sensing the bl... View full abstract»

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  • A Battery-Capacitor Hybridfor Hybrids

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 15
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    Lead-acid batteries are relics that haven't changed much since their invention nearly 150 years ago. Heavy and unable to withstand rapid charge-discharge cycles, they are unsuitable for the automotive world's killer app, hybrid-electric vehicles. Hybrids instead use expensive nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries or, experimentally, lithium batteries. But a new, souped-up version of lead-acid batt... View full abstract»

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  • Google Searches for Ad Dollars in Social Networks

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 16
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    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently published a series of intriguing patent applications from Google. They raise questions about the search giant's significance for the profitability of social networks-and whether anyone has figured out how best to translate Web 2.0 hype into bankable income. Dozens of social-networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, and Friendster continue to fl... View full abstract»

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  • Tiny Implants Combat Chronic Pain

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 18
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (279 KB) | HTML iconHTML

    Back in 2006, Adam Hammond, a U.S. Army skydiver, experienced every jumper¿s worst nightmare when his parachute failed to deploy. ¿I was basically in free fall,¿ Hammond says of his accident. ¿When I hit the ground, my helmet shattered and my shoes flew off my feet.¿ Hammond was completely immobilized by chronic pain for two years. Earlier this year he received an implanted device that electr... View full abstract»

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  • A New Spin On Architecture

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s):20 - 21
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    It's your LegoLand building-block fantasy come to life. When the twisted tower in this rendering is completed in Dubai in 2010, each of its 80 floors will rotate independently around a central column that will house its elevator shafts, stairwells, and utilities. Sections of each floor, complete with cabinets, electrical wiring, and bathroom fixtures, will be preassembled off-site, hoisted up, and... View full abstract»

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  • Trafficking in Words

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 22
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
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    On residential streets, engineers attempt to control car speeds by installing traffic- calming devices. You probably know all about the venerable speed bump, but these days you're more likely to drive over the lower and wider speed hump or the even wider speed table. Many people refer to these generally as sleeping policemen, a richly evocative, perhaps even poetic locution. View full abstract»

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  • The EE Gender Gap Is Widening

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 23
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (6101 KB) | HTML iconHTML

    Walk into a classroom of environmental engineering students and, odds are, nearly half of them will be women. Now head next door to an electrical engineering class: you'll likely find eight men for every woman. The failure to recruit and retain more women in electrical and computer engineering-large fields with lots of students-is a major reason the representation of women in U.S. engineering as a... View full abstract»

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  • A Rock Named Judy

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 24
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    The ancient Greeks named the stars after heroes. Now the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is doing it too. That's how a lump of rock numbered 23155 became Asteroid Judithblack, in honor of a 19-year-old student who won a US $1500 prize for her scheme to improve the efficiency of an automated box-cutting machine in a factory near her home in Warrenpoint ,Northern Ireland. Black, who... View full abstract»

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  • Dealing With Difficult People

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 24
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    The mere mention of " difficult people" brings knowing looks to our faces. These people won't go away, so you need to deal with them effectively before they cause any real damage. Easier said than done! First, learn to recognize difficult people. Some key characteristics: they're never satisfied, they don't communicate easily with others, they can be argumentative and unreasonable, and they often ... View full abstract»

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  • The Jurassic, Live And In Person

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 25
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (1219 KB) | HTML iconHTML

    As far as my two Jurassic Park fanatics are concerned, dinosaurs are a current fact. It's just a matter of time until Coby, 6, pulls his own lab together to create his own raptor. Sam, 3, pleads for him to stick to "plant eaters." So from the kid point of view, seeing 15 life-size dinosaurs fill New York City's Madison Square Garden wasn't very different from watching the New York Knicks come runn... View full abstract»

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  • Small Is Big In Notebooks - But Not Too Small

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s):26 - 27
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    A lot of road warriors have learned, much to their chagrin, that a notebook computer can indeed be too light or too thin. Shrink one much below 1.8 kilograms (4 pounds) - the class known as ultralight-and it gets maddeningly hard to use for much more than e-mail or Web browsing. That's why manufacturers have recently begun reemphasizing a slightly larger breed-call them not-quite-ultralights. Thes... View full abstract»

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  • A Poor Man's Tesla

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 27
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    If you're itching to own a sexy electric roadster but can't afford the USUS $109 000 price tag for Tesla Motors' sleek new model, there's another option you might want to consider: building your own. View full abstract»

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  • How We Found The Missing Memristor

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s):28 - 35
    Cited by:  Papers (140)  |  Patents (26)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (6398 KB) | HTML iconHTML

    This article discusses the development of a memristor and how it works. A memristor is a contraction of a memory resistor and is a two-terminal device whose resistance depends on the voltage applied to it and the length of time that voltage has been applied. This device remembers its history, that is, when you turn off the voltage, the memristor remembers its most recent resistance until the next ... View full abstract»

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  • The Soul Of A New Mercedes

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s):36 - 41
    Cited by:  Papers (4)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (6151 KB) | HTML iconHTML

    Car buyers everywhere are spurning gas guzzlers, and some carmakers feel the pain more than others. Take Mercedes-Benz, long known for its luxury cars - its flagship S-Class is a full-size sedan that starts at around US $90,000. Without sacrificing performance or comfort, the company must meet the expectations of its increasingly environmentally conscious customers. Mercedes, a division of Daimler... View full abstract»

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  • A Fairer, Faster Internet

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s):42 - 47
    Cited by:  Papers (9)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (473 KB) | HTML iconHTML

    The Internet is founded on a very simple premise: shared communications links are more efficient than dedicated channels that lie idle much of the time. And so we share. We share local area networks at work and neighborhood links from home. And then we share again - at any given time, a terabit backbone cable is shared among thousands of folks surfing the Web, downloading videos, and talking on In... View full abstract»

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  • Bots Get Smart

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s):48 - 56
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (7385 KB) | HTML iconHTML

    The main challenge in making video games is to make computer-generated characters-dubbed bots-act realistically. They must, of course, look good and move naturally. But, ideally, they should also be able to engage in believable conversations, plan their actions, find their way around virtual worlds, and learn from their mistakes. That is, they need to be smart. Today many video games create only a... View full abstract»

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  • The Rise of the Machines

    Publication Year: 2008, Page(s): 88
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (1189 KB) | HTML iconHTML

    There are now 1 million industrial robots toiling around the world, and Japan is where they're the thickest on the ground. It has 295 of these electromechanical marvels for every 10 000 manufacturing workers-a robot density almost 10 times the world average and nearly twice that of Singapore (169), South Korea (164), and Germany (163). View full abstract»

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IEEE Spectrum Magazine, the flagship publication of the IEEE, explores the development, applications and implications of new technologies.

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Editor-in-Chief
Susan Hassler
IEEE Spectrum Magazine