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The race to decode a person's genome on the cheap got tighter this week. The sequencing company Ion Torrent announced this week in Nature that it used a $49, 500 machine, based on computer chip technology, to unravel a full human genome - aptly, using the DNA of Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel. The same machine decoded the E. coli strains from a recent outbreak in Germany in a matter of hours, and is drawing praise for its novel approach to reading DNA. But in the goal to bring the price point down to $1, 000 per genome, some caution not to get too excited - yet. Unlike some of its other competitors, the Ion Torrent machine uses semiconductor chip technology to read DNA - this Nature News article explains how DNA is washed across a $99 computer chip with more than a million tiny wells (the chips were $250 not too long ago)

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Artists have been using various kinds of technology since before there was language to describe it, but now the accelerated pace of change has drawn even technophobes into the game. This year, two of the most talked-about films - the critically acclaimed "Tarnation, " made for $218 mostly on a Macintosh, and "The Polar Express, " the critical bomb made for $170 million with innovative "performance capture" sensors - both made headlines for their unconventional technology.

For three generations, two families have fought over an acre of farmland in an arid stretch of southern India, each waving documents to support its claim. Throughout this long feud, the land deeds that would settle it have probably lain in mounds of records in some dusty, rat-infested government storehouse, and they may never be found. But now computers are coming to the rescue.

In less than five years, Tustin-based CTEK has become known for fabricating innovative products that include one-of-a-kind futuristic cars for the entertainment industry, unusually contoured glass panels for the likes of Frank Gehry and artworks for major artists such as Robert Graham and Liz Larner. The company also designs and produces its own projects, among them the new Ford Thunderbird. "We started in 1997 with five people making automotive clay models.

The star of "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" is an inventor, part Einstein, part Bart Simpson. He blows a gum bubble big enough to float him to school when he misses the bus. He creates a pair of pants that put themselves away at the end of the day, and he builds a toaster that ejects slices of browned bread at rocket speed.

IBM Corp. is wringing new profit from old goods by refurbishing leased computers or cannibalizing them for parts when they're turned in. At a hangar-like facility near Raleigh, N.C., truckloads of used personal computers, laptops and servers pour onto conveyor belts and forklifts. The swift, automated process resembles manufacturing in reverse, the aim being to extract value rather than build it in. The refurbished machines and used parts are sold on auction Web sites and to brokers.

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