GT Spectrum

Reports from the IT horizon.

by , / December 3, 2004
Preserving Tissues and Organs
Body tissues such as blood vessels, cartilage and skin -- and organs such as kidneys, livers and hearts -- could become more available for transplants because of a new way to chill body tissues and organs below freezing without forming ice crystals in them.

Tissue "vitrification" chills tissue and organs to a disordered, glasslike solid without ice formation. Organ Recovery Systems of Chicago developed it with support from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institutes of Health.

Organs and some tissues presently are stored for short periods at refrigerator temperatures. Freezing has not been possible before now due to ice crystals, which damage delicate cells and greatly reduce tissue viability or functions. -- NIST

Doctors conducted more than 24,000 organ transplants in the United States in 2002.

Someone is added to the donor waiting list every 12 minutes, and 16 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant. -- National Institute of Standards and Technology

Tag, You're It
Wannado City, an indoor role-playing theme park for children, uses RFID tags to track people's whereabouts in its 140,000-square-foot facility in Sunrise, Fla.

Visitors receive a WannaFinder plastic wristband, a hybrid wireless bracelet that combines a passive, low-frequency transponder and an active RFID tag from Texas Instruments.

The wristband communicates information, including a person's location, via radio signals to a series of reading devices. The information is accessible through WannaFinder touchscreen kiosks scattered throughout the park, where group members access the real-time location of other group members on a map of the park by scanning their wristbands at any kiosk. -- Texas Instruments

In Jeopardy
An unpatched Windows PC connected to the Internet will last only about 20 minutes, on average, before it's compromised by malicious software, according to the Internet Storm Center, which is part of the SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security Institute.

That figure is down from around 40 minutes, the center's estimate in 2003. The drop from 40 minutes to 20 minutes is worrisome -- the average "survival time" is not long enough for a user to download the patches that would protect a PC from Internet threats.

Ivan by Satellite
This image of Hurricane Ivan, a Category 4 storm, was collected by ORBIMAGE's OrbView-2 SeaWiFS satellite on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2004, at approximately 2:30 p.m. EST.
Shane Peterson Associate Editor
Jessica Jones Managing Editor