How many bits of data can be crammed onto a single optical fiber? About 150 terabits per second per fiber, according to Partha P. Mitra, a physicist and researcher at Lucent Technologies' Bell Laboratories. "Currently, the maximum amount of data we send is around two terabits per second," says Mitra. He and researcher Jason Stark conducted experiments and report that, at a certain point, increasing signal capacity will not increase information transmission capacity. "We found that instead of output rising as the signal increases, the capacity peaks," says Mitra. "Beyond that, capacity doesn't increase proportionally to signal strength," he notes. Mitra adds that although there is room to grow our signal capacity, actually transmitting data at that rate will require new components and new de-signs for telecommunication equipment. For more information, call 908-582-2446.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
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