Did You Know?

  • that Vodafone New Zealand are embarking on trials of a
    new technology called General Packet Radio Service. This technology will
    allow mobile phones to communicate at a rate of 300Kb per second, over 30
    times the current speed, allowing for high speed internet connections via
    mobile phone and multimedia content such as videophone.
  • that Britain is expected to approve the cloning of
    human embryos for medical research, which could allow scientists to create
    spare parts for the body. A panel of experts has decided the potential
    benefits outweigh ethical objections.
  • that Applied Digital Solutions, patent holder of the
    Digital Angel (see page 12), is America's 5th fastest growing
    technology company. Although Internet companies represent only 9% of the
    1999 Fast 500 list, three of the top five revenue-earners, Excite@Home,
    Netscape and EarthLink Networks, are leading Internet players. Siebel
    Systems and Applied Digital Solutions, the other two companies
    rounding out the top five, consider the Internet to be a central factor in
    their future growth.
  • that U.K. chemists have taken a step closer to building
    a supercomputer that might pack the power of a million silicon chips into
    a wrist-watch sized device and work a hundred times faster. Prasanna de
    Silva and Nathan McClenaghan at Queen's University Belfast report linking
    many molecules that switch on and off, giving out tiny bursts of light
    that can be used to do addition. De Silva's molecules act as logic gates,
    the fundamental building blocks of computers that make all the decisions
    on each bit of information that passes through them.
  • that Japan has slapped export controls on Sony's new
    video game console, Playstation2, because the machine is so sophisticated
    it could be used for military purposes. The game console has been
    designated as "general-purpose products related to conventional
    weapons'', because it contains components that could be used for military
    devices such as missile guidance systems.
  • that governments in Tokyo and Japan are planning to
    test a device that allows tracking of old people unable to take care of
    themselves. The transmitter is attached to the body and makes use of
    satellite-based global positioning systems and cellular phone networks.
    Concerned relatives need only send a request by a portable terminal and up
    pops the runaway's location on a computerised map.