Posts

October 30, 2014

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11:53 PM | Hubble sees 'ghost light' from dead galaxies
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has picked up the faint, ghostly glow of stars ejected from ancient galaxies that were gravitationally ripped apart several billion years ago. The mayhem happened 4 billion light-years away, inside an immense collection of nearly 500 galaxies nicknamed "Pandora's Cluster," also known as Abell 2744. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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11:48 PM | Novel tinnitus therapy helps patients cope with phantom noise
Patients with tinnitus hear phantom noise and are sometimes so bothered by the perceived ringing in their ears, they have difficulty concentrating. A new therapy does not lessen perception of the noise but appears to help patients cope better with it in their daily lives, according to new research. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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11:27 PM | Giant tortoises gain a foothold on a Galapagos Island
A population of endangered giant tortoises, which once dwindled to just over a dozen, has recovered on the Galapagos island of Española, a finding described as "a true story of success and hope in conservation" by the lead author of a study published October 28th. Some 40 years after the first captive-bred tortoises were reintroduced to the island by the Galapagos National Park Service, the endemic Española giant tortoises are reproducing and restoring some of the […]
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11:15 PM | Plump turtles are better swimmers
For the first time, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Florida Atlantic University (FAU), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have measured the forces that act on a swimming animal and the energy the animal must expend to move through the water. A surprising finding: Longer, slender turtles are less efficient swimmers than more rotund turtles, which get better stroke for their buck. Subject:  Animal Research
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8:39 PM | Breakthrough in microring laser cavities
A significant breakthrough in laser technology has been reported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley. Subject:  Technology
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8:35 PM | Sorry, we will not all be having sex with robots in the future
What robot sex enthusiasts forget is that there's far more to sex than the mechanical act. Subject:  Robotics
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6:15 PM | Experts: Major cyberattack will hit in next 11 years
Almost two-third of technology experts expect a "major" cyber attack somewhere in the world that will cause significant loss of life or property losses in the tens of billions of dollars by 2025. A survey released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center found that many of analysts expect disruption of online systems like banking, energy and health care to become a pillar of warfare and terrorism. Subject:  Technology
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6:07 PM | Can robots learn right from wrong?
New research on machine morality published in the Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence looks at whether it’s considered evil for robots to masquerade as humans. The research team is looking at associations between developers, robots, users and owners to help them identify where ethical accountabilities lies. Subject:  Artificial Intelligence
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5:53 PM | It doesn’t matter if deep learning mimics the brain or Watson is cognitive. It matters if they work
Recent comments by machine learning experts have caused a stir, but debate over the novelty or architecture of deep learning might be best left in academia . As AI techniques make their way into developers’ hands, whether they catch on depends on whether they’re useful. Subject:  Artificial Intelligence
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5:29 PM | Ex Machina | Official Teaser Trailer
To erase the line between man and machine is to obscure the line between men and gods. In theaters April 10, 2015

October 29, 2014

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10:28 PM | Saliva may reveal deadly diseases early enough to treat them
UCLA research could lead to a simple saliva test capable of diagnosing — at an early stage — diabetes and cancer, and perhaps neurological disorders and autoimmune diseases. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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10:07 PM | Visualizing the physics in the film 'Interstellar'
Although I like science, or maybe because of it, I tend to get irritated with films that casually break the laws of science merely to achieve a cheap solution to a plot problem. I don’t expect perfect fidelity but gratuitous violations of laws (such noisy explosions in space or the presence of Earth-like gravity on spaceships) are annoying. This is why I liked 2001: A Space Odyssey and to a lesser extent Gravity, because they tried to stick as closely as possible to what may be […]
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9:50 PM | Brain responses to disgusting images help reveal political leanings
Maggot infestations, rotting carcasses, unidentifiable gunk in the kitchen sink – how much your brain responds to disgusting images could predict whether you are liberal or conservative. In a study to be published in an upcoming issue of Current Biology, an international team of scientists led by Virginia Tech reports that the strength of a person's reaction to repulsive images can forecast their political ideology. Subject:  Brain & Behavior […]
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8:18 PM | The science of charismatic voices
When a right-wing Italian politician named Umberto Bossi suffered a severe stroke in 2004, his speech became permanently impaired. Strangely, this change impacted Bossi's perception among his party's followers -- from appearing authoritarian to benevolent. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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8:07 PM | Sleep apnea may affect memory of everyday events
Sleep apnea may affect your ability to form new spatial memories, such as remembering where you parked your car, new research led by NYU Langone Medical Center sleep specialists suggests. The study, published online Oct. 29 in Journal of Neuroscience, demonstrates through the playing of a specific video game that disruption of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep as a consequence of sleep apnea impairs spatial memory in humans even when other sleep stages are intact. Subject:  […]
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6:14 PM | New algorithm saves computing capacity
The control of modern infrastructure such as intelligent power grids needs lots of computing capacity. Scientists of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) at the University of Luxembourg have developed an algorithm that might revolutionise these processes. Subject:  Computer Science
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4:52 PM | Identity, a neurobiological perspective
The philosophical problem of identity is epitomized by the paradox known as the “Ship of Theseus.” Suppose a ship is rebuilt by removing one plank at a time, and replacing it with a new plank of the same shape and material. Is it still the same ship? Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:43 PM | Physicists closer to understanding balance of matter, antimatter
Physicists in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse Univ. have made important discoveries regarding Bs meson particles—something that may explain why the universe contains more matter than antimatter. Distinguished Professor Sheldon Stone and his colleagues recently announced their findings at a workshop at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. Titled “Implications of LHCb Measurements and Their Future Prospects,” the workshop enabled him and other members of the Large […]
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4:17 PM | Can the wave function of an electron be divided and trapped?
New research by physicists from Brown University puts the profound strangeness of quantum mechanics in a nutshell—or, more accurately, in a helium bubble. Subject:  Technology
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3:43 PM | Why don't plants get sunburn?
Plants rely on sunlight to make their food, but they also need protection from its harmful rays, just like humans do. Recently, scientists discovered a group of molecules in plants that shields them from sun damage. Now, in an article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, one team reports on the mechanics of how these natural plant sunscreens work. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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3:38 PM | Just get moving!
Everyone knows that exercise makes you feel more mentally alert at any age. But do you need to follow a specific training program to improve your cognitive function? Subject:  Health & Medicine
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3:31 PM | The quick brown fox can help secure your passwords online
In 2004 Bill Gates pronounced usernames and passwords dead. Gates, a man consistently thinking ahead of the crowd, was right. Most of us – including our employers and the online services we rely on – just haven’t caught up yet. Subject:  Computer Science
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3:17 PM | Aerospace Windowless Aircraft
A look at what the future may hold for air travel as current technological developments mature and find applications in markets such as the aerospace industry. With over 80% of the fully laden weight of a commercial airliner taken up by the fuel, weight reduction is a constant challenge. Explore high value technologies such as OLED displays and discover the potential opportunities available in aerospace development with the support of CPI's expert knowledge and state of the art […]
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12:47 AM | Emergent behavior lets bubbles “sense” environment
Tiny, soapy bubbles can reorganize their membranes to let material flow in and out in response to the surrounding environment, according to new work carried out in an international collaboration by biomedical engineers at the University of California, Davis, and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. This behavior could be exploited in creating microbubbles that deliver drugs or other payloads inside the body—and could help us understand how the very first living cells […]
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12:27 AM | Supply rocket bound for space station explodes
An unmanned commercial supply ship bound for the International Space Station exploded moments after liftoff Tuesday evening, with debris falling in flames over the launch site. No injuries were reported following the first catastrophic launch in NASA's commercial spaceflight effort. Subject:  Technology

October 28, 2014

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11:59 PM | Sleeping with more than 20 women in a lifetime linked to lower prostate cancer risk
Around 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. But a new study - which is likely to be welcomed by many men - claims that having more than 20 female sexual partners in a lifetime may significantly reduce the risk of developing the disease. Sleeping with more than 20 men in a lifetime, however, is associated with increased risk of prostate cancer. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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9:12 PM | Pair bonding reinforced in the brain
In addition to their song, songbirds also have an extensive repertoire of calls. While the species-specific song must be learned as a young bird, most calls are, as in the case of all other birds, innate. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Seewiesen have now discovered that in zebra finches the song control system in the brain is also active during simple communication calls. This relationship between unlearned calls and an area of the brain responsible for learned […]
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9:09 PM | Politics can interact with evolution to shape human destiny
Politics can have unintentional evolutionary consequences that may cause hastily issued policies to cascade into global, multigenerational problems, according to political scientists. "Most western democracies look at policies as if they are bandages, we fix what we can and then move on," said Pete Hatemi, associate professor of political science, Penn State. "But we need to consider generational policies so that we can fix what we can now, but also be prepared for what comes next." […]
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7:39 PM | Three breakthroughs that have finally unleashed AI on the world
A few months ago I made the trek to the sylvan campus of the IBM research labs in Yorktown Heights, New York, to catch an early glimpse of the fast-arriving, long-overdue future of artificial intelligence. Subject:  Artificial Intelligence
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4:41 PM | Facing death-10: Dying without illusions
In post #9 in this series, I discussed the fear that people have of dying while the rest of the world continues without them. I think it is better to face death without illusions. This does not mean that one has no regrets. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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