Friday, January 1, 2016

Q-Carbon, A Product That Is Harder Than Diamonds

(Credit: clearviewstock/Shutterstock)

Discover Magazine: Q-carbon Puts Diamonds in Second Place

Long ago, ancient scientists attempted to master the craft of alchemy, or the mythical process of turning lead into gold. Alchemy has since been proven to be a hopeless task, but modern scientists have successfully unlocked the secrets to an even more stunning transformation: turning carbon, the basic building block of life, into diamonds.

A new, simple carbon-transforming technique that uses a laser to produce tiny diamond “seeds” is yielding even more sparkling results. Researchers, in a new study, used their method to create an entirely new phase of carbon that surpasses even diamonds in terms of hardness, and the new material could have a number of applications in medical and industrial fields.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: The applications are endless.

Documentary: How Big Oil Conquered The World

A Flying Car In The Near Future?

Discover: One Small Step for Flying Cars

A drone’s flying test may help pave the way for flying cars. In early December, U.S. regulators gave their approval for unmanned hover tests of a miniature flying car model made by the company Terrafugia. Such testing would provide feedback for eventually building a full-size version of a flying car capable of hovering for vertical takeoff and landing.

Contrary to some more breathless news headlines, this does not mean the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has cleared a hover-capable flying car for flight tests in U.S. airspace. Instead, Terrafugia only received special permission to operate a “one-tenth scale TF-X vehicle” under the classification of a small Unmanned Aircraft System weighing less than 55 pounds. The small-scale model of the TF-X prototype—basically a small drone—will have to operate at altitudes below 400 feet and at speeds under 100 miles per hour. Still, it’s a crucial step on the road to creating a flying car with the likeness of the futuristic vehicles seen in science fiction films such as “Back to the Future,” “Blade Runner” or the “Star Wars” prequels.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I want one.

Has A Cure For PTSD Been Found?


PsyPost: PTSD-related study finds a single dose of MDMA helps conditioned fear go extinct

Researchers have discovered that MDMA — commonly known as ecstasy or molly — speeds up the extinction of the conditioned fear response in mice. The findings help explain why the psychedelic drug is of benefit to people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Clinical studies have found that using MDMA as an aid during psychotherapy resulted in long-lasting improvements in PTSD symptoms. But Matthew Young of Emory University and his colleagues wanted to understand the psychological mechanism behind these results.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: A reader of this blog sent me this link a few days ago. I forgot his name (sorry about that), but I kept the link and I have only gotten the chance to read it now. Wow .... I hope this works. I know a lot of people who are suffering from PTSD, and it will be Godsend to the many soldiers and families who are suffering because of it.

This Video Shows Why Joss Whedon's Serenity Was A Unique, Genre-Bending Movie

CSN Editor: For Serenity out-takes see the video below.

Here Comes The Robot Cops

Tech Crunch: Meet Knightscope’s Crime-Fighting Robots

The robots might one day rise up and take over, but a Palo Alto startup called Knightscope has developed a fleet of crime-fighting machinery it hopes to keep us safe.

Knightscope’s K5 security bots resemble a mix between R2D2 and a Dalek from Doctor Who – and the system behind these bots is a bit Orwellian. The K5’s have broadcasting and sophisticated monitoring capabilities to keep public spaces in check as they rove through open areas, halls and corridors for suspicious activity.

The units upload what they see to a backend security network using 360-degree high-definition and low-light infrared cameras and a built-in microphone can be used to communicate with passersby. An audio event detection system can also pick up on activities like breaking glass and send an alert to the system as well.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Robocop it is not .... but they are getting there.

Hot To Spot A Psychopath

Like Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, (played by Christian Bale, pictured) psychopaths can be intelligent and charming, while hiding a lack of empathy. Now a self-confessed psychopath has shared how he generally behaves to gain the trust of others and then use them to his own advantage

Daily Mail: How to spot a psychopath: Expert reveals the traits to look out for in others and how to tell if YOU have the personality disorder

* Self-professed psychopath Jacob Wells posted his advice on Quora
* He described how he befriends people then uses them to his advantage
* Description matches psychopathic traits such as charm and manipulation

Like Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, psychopaths can be intelligent and charming, while hiding a lack of empathy.

So given their ability to manipulate others, how easy it is for you to spot one?

Self-professed psychopath Jacob Wells has revealed how he behaves in different situations and has listed questions that may help others identify whether they have any psychopathic traits - as well as recognise them in others.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Scary stuff here.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Problem Of Space Debris Keeps On Growing

Daily Mail: See decades of space debris swarm the Earth in 60 seconds: Video reveals how the planet's orbit has become a 'junkyard'

* Video shows decades of debris ringing the planet in just one minute
* Earth's orbit is a spacecraft junkyard and has been steadily growing
* UCL researcher animates 20,000 pieces of junk amassing around Earth

It is difficult to keep track of just how much stuff we throw away each day, but imagine trying to capture that on a global scale, for almost sixty years, and in space.
A new video has achieved this staggering feat by visualising decades of space debris as it accumulates around the Earth.
Dr Stuart Grey, a lecturer at University College London, generated the visualisation which captures the accumulation from 1957 through to 2015.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Houston .... we have a problem.

There Is A Scientific Reason Why New Year's Eve Is Generally Terrible

The Independent: New Year’s Eve: The scientific reason why it is generally terrible

Those who plan to have a great time on New Year's Eve are likely to be the most miserable of all.

In the movies, New Year’s Eve is always full of excitement and intrigue, attractive people in sparkly outfits, and surprise kisses at midnight. So why does real-world New Year’s Eve always seem to consist of losing your friends in a crowded bar, standing in line forever for drinks, and waiting an hour in the cold for a ridiculously priced Uber?

Research done by a team of psychologists and economists on how we experience happiness actually offers an explanation. In a 1999 study called “The pursuit and assessment of happiness can be self-defeating,” Jonathan Schooler, now of the University of California Santa Barbara, Dan Ariely of Duke University and George Loewenstein of Carnegie Melon offer evidence that those who plan to have a great time on New Year's Eve are likely to be the most miserable of all.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Yup .... it always comes down to high expectations that never pan out.

High Expectations For Faraday Future's Car

Daily Mail: Faraday Future teases the ‘Tesla killer’: Mysterious Chinese-backed firm provides the first glimpse of its electric car

* Teaser video of vehicle driving around shows its wheel but not much else
* It will be revealed at Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday
* The company predicts a production model will hit the roads by 2020
* The firm is backed by 'China's Steve Jobs', multibillionaire Jia Yueting

Faraday Future has provided a glimpse of its top-secret electric car, billed the 'Tesla-killer', ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next week.

The secretive Chinese-backed company today posted a teaser video of vehicle driving around showing not much more than a wheel.

The car, which is set to be revealed at CES in Las Vegas on Monday, will be a concept vehicle with a production model set to hit the roads by 2020.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I am looking forward to this unveiling.

The 10 Most Expensive Cars In The World

Photo by Clément Bucco-Lechat. Source: wikipedia creative commons

Daddu: 10 Most Expensive Cars In The World

Some cars are designed just to get you from point A to point B. Some cars are designed to get you from point A to point B really fast. And then there are cars designed with such lavish style and breath-taking performance that point B doesn’t even matter anymore – just driving it is the point.

These cars fall into the latter category. They are built with a level of luxury that most of us will never even see in person, let alone get the chance to own. But we don’t all get to own a Rembrandt or Monet, either. That doesn’t stop us from enjoying a trip to the museum. And the cars on this list are more than just cars – they are triumphs of engineering, works of art on wheels.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 10 most expensive cars in the world

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Sighhhh .... I can only dream ....

An App To Police The Cops

The Economist: How three teenagers invented an app to police the cops

The high-school students want citizens to rate their interactions with officers

THE Christian siblings were doing their homework when the police arrived. Two officers entered the house, guns drawn, pursuing what was evidently a prank tip-off about a captive being held at their address. The guns stayed out even when the mistake became apparent; they ran the details of the children’s father—who, like them, is black—through the police system on the off chance of turning something up.

The family was traumatised. The incident (in 2013) brought home to Ima Christian, now 18, that Americans could be vulnerable to rough policing “no matter where you live, or who you are”; her sister Asha, who is 16, says it is “not until you are face to face with an officer that you realise what the deal is.” The sisters—from Stone Mountain, just outside Atlanta—didn’t get even, exactly. Instead, with their brother Caleb (now 15), they developed an app, called Five-O, intended to help improve police behaviour and community relations. It lets citizens rate their experiences with officers, record both parties’ race and sex and the purpose of the interaction, and find aggregate scores for county forces.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Police departments should embrace this .... but I suspect that many will not.

Oetzi, The Tyrolean Iceman Is The Oldest Tattooed Human

Ötzi the Iceman on a sheet-covered autopsy table. Wikipedia

Discovery News: Oetzi the Iceman Has World's Oldest Tattoos

Oetzi, the Tyrolean Iceman entombed beneath an alpine glacier some 5,300 years ago, is the oldest tattooed human, according to a new study.

The mummy boasts tattoos grouped across 19 body parts. Earlier this year, Marco Samadelli and colleagues from the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Italy, spotted a new tattoo on the mummified body, bringing the total count of the Iceman’s skin markings up to 61.

Published in the February 2016 edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, the research reveals how an error in reading radiocarbon data wrongly attributed the record to an unidentified South American mummy.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Wow .... it looks like man and his fascination for tattoos goes back thousands of years.

8 Ingenious Ways To Split Wood (Without An Ax)

Off The Grid News: 8 Ingenious Off-Grid Ways To Split Wood (Without An Ax)

I’ve had a pile of firewood sitting in the backyard for a while — actually for a few years. This pile was made up of branches that I’d cut off our various trees, either because the branches were dead or I needed to cut back branches of the trees because they were spreading too far. Regardless of the reason, there was a stack of tree limbs that needed to be dealt with.

Finally, though, I got around to building a firewood rack, so that I’d have a place to put all of that wood. Setting the rack beside the garden shed, I started stocking it. So far so good. Some logs had to be cut to length, “bucking” them for firewood, but that wasn’t much of an issue, either. The problem came when I tried to split them.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I am sold on all 8 of them.

Growing Fears That This Year's El Nino Will Lead To Hunger In Africa

El Nino has contributed to making 2015 the warmest year on record and will continue to influence in 2016

BBC: Worries grow over humanitarian impacts of 'strongest El Nino'

The strongest El Nino on record is likely to increase the threat of hunger and disease for tens of millions of people in 2016 aid agencies say.

The weather phenomenon is set to exacerbate droughts in some areas while increasing flooding in others.

Some of the worst impacts are likely in Africa with food shortages expected to peak in February.

Regions including the Caribbean, Central and South America will also be hit in the next six months.

This periodic weather event, which tends to drive up global temperatures and disturb weather patterns, has helped push 2015 into the record books as the world's warmest year.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Another example on how interconnected the world's weather systems are.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Here Comes Google Glass 2.0

IBTimes: 'Glassholes' Rejoice: Google Glass Is Back In Sleeker, Foldable Form

It’s a new year for Google Glass, the ubiquitous computer headset everyone thought was a flop. Google has filed for new equipment authorization by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The filing, submitted in May but only recently made available on the FCC’s website, indicates that a new version of Google Glass is coming soon, this time with a few new features.

The “Enterprise Edition,” of Google Glass appears to be foldable, sleeker, has improved internal hardware, and a larger prism (the clear rectangle that displays the information and images). Here are some of the prototype images.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: if at first you do not succeed .... try .... try .... try again.

More News On The Comeback Of Google Glass

How Google Is Learning From Past Mistakes With New Version of Glass -- ABC News
Google Glass Redux: High-Tech Wearable Gets Ready for Business -- Live Science
Google Glass version 2: New photos appear in FCC filing -- PC World
This is Google Glass: Enterprise Edition in the flesh [Gallery] -- 9to5Google
Next Generation of Google Glass Aimed at Enterprise Users -- Top Tech News
Here's a first look at the new foldable Google Glass for the workplace -- Verge
Google Glass making a comeback? -- SF Chronicle/L.A. Times
Google Glass is still a bad idea -- Gizmodo

The Early Inhabitants Of Ireland Came From Beyond The Black Sea

BBC: Ancient DNA sheds light on Irish origins

Scientists have sequenced the first ancient human genomes from Ireland, shedding light on the genesis of Celtic populations.

The genome is the instruction booklet for building a human, comprising three billion paired DNA "letters".

The work shows that early Irish farmers were similar to southern Europeans.

Genetic patterns then changed dramatically in the Bronze Age - as newcomers from the eastern periphery of Europe settled in the Atlantic region.

Details of the work, by geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen's University Belfast are published in the journal PNAS.

More News On Gene Testing that Reveals That Irelands First Inhabitants Were From The Black Sea And The Middle East

Irish Genome Sequenced, Revealing Early Celtic Origins -- Nature World News
Secrets of 5,200-year-old Irish woman, 4,000-year-old men revealed in genome project -- Irish Central
Ancient Irish genome reveals a massive migration from the east -- Washington Post
Irish have roots in the Middle East and Black Sea, scientists discover --
From The Middle East To Meath: Early Settlers Came To Ireland From Beyond The Black Sea -- Yahoo News
Ancient DNA Traces Irish Roots To Mass Migrations -- Forbes
First Sequences of Ancient Irish Human Genomes Support Mass Migration History -- Genome Web

U.S. Marine Corps Cancels Robotic Dog/Mule Project

Washington Times: Marines shelve Google’s $42M robot ‘AlphaDogs’ because they are too noisy

Marines will not be using robotic mules called “AlphaDogs” any time soon because the machines were deemed too noisy to be useful in a combat situation.

Boston Dynamics, the robotics company owned by Google’s parent Alphabet, has been working with DARPA, the Pentagon’s research division, to build the robots designed to carry supplies for troops.

The AlphaDog robots, also called the Legged Squad Support System (LS3), were designed to carry up to 400 pounds and provide much-needed relief for soldiers, reported.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I concur .... it was too noisy.

More News On The U.S. Marine Corps Cancels Robotic Dog/Mule Project

Marine Corps Shelves Futuristic Robo-Mule Due to Noise Concerns --
U.S. Marine Corps rules out robotic dog, mule -- UPI
Robot Mule Put Out to Pasture by Marine Corps -- NBC
Noisy Robotic Mule Sidelined by Marines -- VOA
Hee-Haw! DARPA’s noisy robotic ‘pack mule’ mothballed over fears it could spill the beans -- RT
The Marines Are Shelving Their Robot Dogs -- Inverse
The US Marines won’t be using Google’s robot dogs because they fail a pretty basic test -- Quartz
US military says robotic pack mules are too noisy to use -- Verge
US Marine Corps doesn’t want Google’s ‘Alpha Dog’ LS3 robots because they’re too loud -- Digital Trends
AlphaDog Robot Sidelined by the Marines Because It’s Way Too Noisy -- Epoch Times
Marines’ LS3 robotic mule is too loud for real-world combat -- Ars Technica
U.S. Military Puts Down Its Robot Mule for Being Too Loud -- Popular Mechanics

3-D Printing Is About To Cause Major Disruptions In Global Trade

T.X. Hammes, War On The Rocks: 3-D Printing Will Disrupt The World In Ways We can barely Imagine

In the last few years, additive manufacturing, also known as 3-D printing, has transformed from an interesting hobby to an industry producing a wide range of products. It is on the path to causing major disruptions in global trade — and changing the international security environment. The explosion of additive manufacturing means it is virtually impossible to provide an up-to-date list of materials that can be printed, but a recent top ten list includes: metals, such as stainless, bronze, steel, gold, nickel steel, aluminum, and titanium; carbon fiber and nano-tubes; stem cells; ceramics; and food. Researchers are exploring the application of 3-D printing to fields from agriculture and biology to design and manufacturing. MIT developed a $7,000 multi-material printer than can print ten materials in the same object during a single fabrication process. As businesses learn to use these multi-material printers, the range of products they will be able to print will expand exponentially.

CSN Editor: An excellent summary on how 3D printing will revolutionize the world.

A Look At Current Existing Longevity Treatments

The Next Big Future: Currently existing longevity treatments are feasible but expensive and difficult to access

If you want to do something about your long-term health and life expectancy that are available then focus on exercise and calorie restriction - nothing else at that same level of easy availability is anywhere near as effective or as proven.

Fighting Aging describes the first gene therapies, stem cell transplants, and glimmerings of SENS-like repair therapies capable of removing some of the metabolic wastes associated with age-related diseases.

In order to actually undergo one of these new therapies, you would have to undertake some combination of the following:
(a) spend money at early adopter levels, high in comparison to the cost a customer would pay for a final product years down the line,
(b) network for connections to find access to the necessary services and other items,
(c) persuade the small number of current developers to depart from their current practice of adhering to regulation and provide you access,
(d) break (the unjust and largely horrible) laws related to provision of medical services,
(e) travel to a less restrictive jurisdiction as a medical tourist, and
(f) accept a fair degree of risk of failure - that even if everything else goes well, and all involved do their jobs, the present implementation of the treatment just doesn't work, or the present understanding of the science and data provides a false and inflated impression of what the treatment can achieve.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Bottom line .... sleep, reducing stress, exercise, and proper diet .... these are the best and most effective solutions

The Most Detailed View Of The Earth's Seafloor To Date Has Been Released

This map shows a global view of gravity changes. Shades of orange and red represent areas where seafloor gravity is stronger than the global average, a phenomenon that mostly coincides with the location of underwater ridges, seamounts, and the edges of Earth’s tectonic plates. Shades of blue represent areas of lower gravity, corresponding largely with the deepest troughs in the ocean

Daily Mail: The most accurate ocean floor map ever made: Scientists reveal the alien landscape beneath the sea in incredible detail

* The map was created by measuring the shape and gravity field of Earth using a series of satellites
* Shades of orange and red represent areas where seafloor gravity is stronger than the global average
* This phenomenon mostly coincides with the location of underwater ridges, seamounts and tectonic plates
* Shades of blue represent areas of lower gravity, corresponding largely with the deepest troughs in the ocean

We have more complete maps of the surface of Mars than we do of some areas on Earth.
In an effort to change this, scientists have created the most detailed view of the Earth's seafloor to date, revealing huge mountains and giant crevices beneath the ocean.
The map was created by measuring the shape and gravity field of Earth, a relatively-new discipline known as geodesy. It provides gives an accurate picture of seafloor topography at a scale of 3.1 miles (5km) per pixel.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: A smart concept .... using gravity as a means to map out the sea-floor.

Calculating The Cost Of Rescuing Matt Damon In The Movies


UPROXX: Here’s How Much Money Has Been Spent Saving Matt Damon

Scotty still doesn’t know what Fionna and me are doing in my van every Sunday, but someone figured out how much money has been spent saving Matt Damon. It goes beyond Saving Private Ryan (France), Interstellar (space), and The Martian (space again; someone keep him on Earth and away from Nazis, please) — Damon also needed assistance in Courage Under Fire, Titan A.E., Syriana, Green Zone, and Elysium. And it’s cost a lot of potatoes.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Hint .... it costs a lot.

MIT Technology Review's 2015 Annual Summary On Developments In Robots And AI

Will Knight, MIT Technology Review: What Robots and AI Learned in 2015

It was the year that self-driving cars became a commercial reality; robots gained all sorts of new abilities; and some people worried about the existential threat posed by super-intelligent future AI.

The robots didn’t really take over in 2015, but at times it felt as if that might be where we’re headed.

There were signs that machines will soon take over manual work that currently requires human skill. Early in the year details emerged of a contest organized by Amazon to help robots do more work inside its vast product fulfillment centers.

The Amazon Picking challenge, as the event was called, was held at a prominent robotics conference later in the year. Teams competed for a $25,000 prize by designing a robot to identify and grasp items from one of Amazon’s storage shelves as quickly as possible (the winner picked and packed 10 items in 20 minutes). This might seem a trivial task for human workers, but figuring out how to grasp different objects arranged haphazardly on shelves in a real warehouse is still a formidable challenge for robot-kind.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: A brief and concise summary of the year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Will Artificial Intelligence Doom Mankind?

Raffi Khatchadourian, New Yorker: The Doomsday Invention

Will artificial intelligence bring us utopia or destruction?


Last year, a curious nonfiction book became a Times best-seller: a dense meditation on artificial intelligence by the philosopher Nick Bostrom, who holds an appointment at Oxford. Titled “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies,” it argues that true artificial intelligence, if it is realized, might pose a danger that exceeds every previous threat from technology—even nuclear weapons—and that if its development is not managed carefully humanity risks engineering its own extinction. Central to this concern is the prospect of an “intelligence explosion,” a speculative event in which an A.I. gains the ability to improve itself, and in short order exceeds the intellectual potential of the human brain by many orders of magnitude.

Such a system would effectively be a new kind of life, and Bostrom’s fears, in their simplest form, are evolutionary: that humanity will unexpectedly become outmatched by a smarter competitor. He sometimes notes, as a point of comparison, the trajectories of people and gorillas: both primates, but with one species dominating the planet and the other at the edge of annihilation. “Before the prospect of an intelligence explosion, we humans are like small children playing with a bomb,” he concludes. “We have little idea when the detonation will occur, though if we hold the device to our ear we can hear a faint ticking sound.”

Read more ....

Update: Some scientists fear superintelligent machines could pose a threat to humanity (Washington Post)

CSN Editor: A thought provoking article on the implications of developing AI platforms. I still believe that mankind .... because of its survival instincts .... will never put itself in a position where it may be destroyed. Still .... one has to wonder and it is on this issue that this New Yorker post is a must read.

For Drone Owners, Beware Of Drone Jamming Zones

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Daily Mail: Drone-jamming equipment to be deployed at public events to stop terrorists using cheap unmanned aircraft in killer attacks

* System was installed for the first time on the roof of Scotland Yard
* Specialised equipment can detect, track and even intercept drones
* The £700,000 device could be used to defend critical infrastructure

A device to block drones flown by terrorists will be used at major public and sports events following a successful trial at London’s Remembrance Sunday parade.

The system was installed on the roof of Scotland Yard, close to where the commemoration took place – the first time it has been deployed by police in the UK.

The equipment, designed and built by a British consortium, can detect, track and intercept small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flown by enemies – potentially saving hundreds of lives.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I guess it will only be a matter of time before this tech becomes affordable and widely used.

23 Science Fiction Books Are Being Adapted Into TV Shows

Outer Places: 23 Science Fiction Books Being Adapted into TV Shows

Comic book adaptations might be all the rage right now, but TV execs are rapidly seeking inspiration from the world of science fiction writing for their next shows. With studios gobbling up adaptation rights to everything from Asimov's classics to as-yet-unreleased stories, our TV screens are soon going to be littered with some of the greatest stories this genre has ever told.

Read more ...

CSN Editor: I have already seen Childhood's End (I give it 3 stars out of 4). I am definitely anxious to see what they will do with Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.

After Every Star Wars Movie Babies Have Been Named After The Characters

Quartz: After each Star Wars film come the Star Wars babies

Star Wars is everywhere. With the latest installment of the film series about to be released, there are Star Wars toasters, Star Wars tape dispensers, and Star Wars soup.

There are even Star Wars babies.

Our analysis of the Social Security Administration’s data on American baby names shows that the film franchise has definitely moved the needle on naming trends in the US. Star Wars created hundreds of Lukes, Leias, Hans, Landos, and even, yes, Darths.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Who in his (or her) right mind wound name their kid "Darth"?

Will Future Wars Be Waged Using Quantum Computers?

Zoe Hawkins, National Interest: How to Fight a War With a Quantum Computer

The Australian Government recently announced plans to invest $26 million in the development of quantum computing technology as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA). Prime Minister Turnbull has argued that NISA is part of a new “ideas boom” designed to “create a modern, dynamic and 21st century economy for Australia.” It emphasizes quantum computing as an important area for government investment based on its ability to produce “jobs and economic growth.” And while this industry could certainly be “worth billions,” it offers much more than financial prosperity: quantum technologies could play a significant role in our future defense and security.

Quantum technology harnesses the obscure properties of subatomic matter to achieve computing processes unobtainable with classic computers. Today’s computers run on binary digits, or bits, which exist as either 1s or 0s. In contrast, quantum bits, or qubits, exploit the bizarre principle of superposition that enables them to occupy all possible states (both 1 and 0) at the same time. This allows quantum computers to undertake multiple calculations in parallel, unlocking unprecedented processing power that could “solve problems that would take conventional computers centuries.”

CSN Editor: This BBC report explains why the Pentagon and the NSA want Quantum computers .... Why Google and the Pentagon want 'quantum computers' (BBC).

These Entrepreneurs Want To Share Their Future AI Discoveries With The World


Wired: Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar AI Plan Is About Far More Than Saving the World

ELON MUSK AND Sam Altman worry that artificial intelligence will take over the world. So, the two entrepreneurs are creating a billion-dollar not-for-profit company that will maximize the power of AI—and then share it with anyone who wants it.

At least, this is the message that Musk, the founder of electric car company Tesla Motors, and Altman, the president of startup incubator Y Combinator, delivered in announcing their new endeavor, an unprecedented outfit called OpenAI. In an interview with Steven Levy of Backchannel, timed to the company’s launch, Altman said they expect this decades-long project to surpass human intelligence. But they believe that any risks will be mitigated because the technology will be “usable by everyone instead of usable by, say, just Google.”

Read more ....

CSN Editor: We are still far away before any meaningful discoveries are found.

Gonorrhoea May Soon Become 'Untreatable'


BBC: Gonorrhoea 'could become untreatable'

Gonorrhoea could become an untreatable disease, England's chief medical officer has warned.

Dame Sally Davies has written to all GPs and pharmacies to ensure they are prescribing the correct drugs after the rise of "super-gonorrhoea" in Leeds.

Her warning comes after concerns were raised that some patients were not getting both of the antibiotics needed to clear the infection.

Sexual health doctors said gonorrhoea was "rapidly" developing resistance.

A highly drug-resistant strain of gonorrhoea was detected in the north of England in March.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The old diseases are now coming back with a vengeance.

A New Genetic Theory Sheds Light On Understanding Human Intelligence

Image: Oliver Sved/Shutterstock.

The Guardian: New genetic theory might pave way to understanding human intelligence

Scientists from Imperial College believe that intelligence may be influenced by two networks of genes, possibly controlled by a master regulatory system

British scientists believe they have made a huge step forward in the understanding of the mechanisms of human intelligence. That genetic inheritance must play some part has never been disputed. Despite occasional claims later dismissed, no-one has yet produced a single gene that controls intelligence.

Read more ....

More News On The Discovery Of  "Intelligence Genes"

Scientists identify 'intelligence' genes and how to control them -- Daily Mail
Intelligence genes discovered by scientists -- The Telegraph
Scientists discover the parts of the brain which determine intelligence – and say they may be able to control them -- The Independent
Scientists have discovered brain networks linked to intelligence for the first time -- Science Alert
Genes linked to human intelligence discovered -- IBTimes
This Is Where Your Intelligence Lies In The Brain -- Health Aim
Researchers Identify Intelligence Gene Networks -- Sci-news
Gene Clusters In Brain Help Understand Human Intelligence -- Crazy Engineers
Intelligence Networks Discovered in Brain for the First Time -- Scientific Computing

Monday, December 28, 2015

Teaching Computers To Learn

ABC News Australia: Scientists teach computers how to learn like humans

For artificial intelligence and smart machines to really take off, computers are going to have to think more like people, according to experts in the field.

Now, US scientists have created a computer model, or algorithm, that captures the unique human ability to grasp new concepts in a study that involved learning unfamiliar handwritten alphabet characters.

The algorithm enabled computers to recognise and draw simple symbols that were indistinguishable from those created by humans.

The study, reported in the journal Science, is a "significant advance" in the field of artificial intelligence, the scientists said.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: If these developments continue, I guess it is only going to be a matter of time before the student (AI machines) will surpass the teacher (this is us).

Tracking Global Migration Trends

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Zero Hedge: Tracking People Flows: Global Migration Summarized In 7 Charts

With the topic of global (im)migration getting increasingly more prominence as we get ever closer to the presidential elections, not to mention Europe's ongoing plight with the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, here is a handful of factual, and bias-free, charts summarizing the key aspects of global human mobility.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I concur with the Zero Hedge's analysis .... global migration is going to be a big news story for the next few years (if not longer).

US Wild Bee Numbers Continue To Decline

This map shows bee abundance in 2013

BBC: US wild bee numbers decline as land is converted for biofuel

Wild bees in the US have declined in many farming areas according to the first national effort to map their numbers.

The study suggests that between 2008 and 2013, the numbers of wild bees went down across almost a quarter of the US.

The researchers say that the conversion of land to grow corn for biofuels is a key element in the decline.

If the trend continues say the scientists, it could drive up costs and destabilise crop production.

Wild bees play an important role in pollinating many US crops and plants. It's estimated that they contribute around $3bn to the value of agriculture every year.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: This is not a positive trend.

North Korea Has Developed Its Own Computer Operating System

A North Korean operating system is seen in this screen shot taken in Seoul December 23, 2015. REUTERS/JAMES PEARSON

Reuters: Paranoid: North Korea's computer operating system mirrors its political one

North Korea's homegrown computer operating system mirrors its political one, according to two German researchers who have delved into the code: a go-it-alone approach, a high degree of paranoia and invasive snooping on users.

Their research, the deepest yet into the secretive state's Red Star OS, illustrates the challenges Pyongyang faces in trying to embrace the benefits of computing and the internet while keeping a tight grip on ideas and culture.

The researchers, Florian Grunow and Niklaus Schiess of German IT security company ERNW GmbH, spoke to Reuters before presenting their findings to the Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg on Sunday, a gathering of hackers and security researchers.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I have experienced the major Russian and Chinese operating systems .... "groan" is the only word that comes to my mind. Software is a decidedly Western advantage ... and will probably be the case for the foreseeable future.

Update #1: Russian Operating System to Launch in Next Decade (Moscow Times)
Update #2: A first look at the Chinese operating system the government wants to replace Windows (Quartz)

A Cash Free Future?

New York Times: In Sweden, a Cash-Free Future Nears

STOCKHOLM — Parishioners text tithes to their churches. Homeless street vendors carry mobile credit-card readers. Even the Abba Museum, despite being a shrine to the 1970s pop group that wrote “Money, Money, Money,” considers cash so last-century that it does not accept bills and coins.

Few places are tilting toward a cashless future as quickly as Sweden, which has become hooked on the convenience of paying by app and plastic.

This tech-forward country, home to the music streaming service Spotify and the maker of the Candy Crush mobile games, has been lured by the innovations that make digital payments easier. It is also a practical matter, as many of the country’s banks no longer accept or dispense cash.

At the Abba Museum, “we don’t want to be behind the times by taking cash while cash is dying out,” said Bjorn Ulvaeus, a former Abba member who has leveraged the band’s legacy into a sprawling business empire, including the museum.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Being one who grew up appreciating cash .... this is one trend that this old editor is going to have trouble accepting.

The Science Of Human Taste And Smell

Faye Flam, Bloomberg: The Science Behind a Chocolate Funk

It's been a horrible week for Mast Brothers Chocolate, and therein lies a scientific mystery.

Just days ago, serious foodies were buying the stuff for $10 a bar. Then, a series of posts on a blog called suggested the chocolate was not as authentic as the Brooklyn-based company claimed, and suddenly the food press was calling the product “crappy," “bitter” and “chalky.” One scathing review in the Guardian suggested that one of the bars carried “that sweaty gym sock sourness” associated with funky cheese.

If the chocolate really tastes that terrible, why is it only obvious now?

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I have tried their chocolate .... it is not bad at all.

Is Apple Running Out Of Ideas?

Repetition ... After launching the Apple Watch this year, Apple’s next big thing is more of the same. Picture: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg Apple sales set to slump in 2016 with no new products, analysts warn

AFTER a year of big Apple releases, analysts are predicting a flat 2016 where the world’s biggest tech company refines product lines rather than produces the next big thing.

Apple’s share price has taken a battering in the past six months, with more than $220 billion slashed from the company’s value as analysts look towards an era of smartphone saturation.

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty recently predicted that 2016 would be first time that iPhone sales would shrink, dropping by up to three per cent.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Like Facebook (previous post) .... innovate or die.

Facebook Wants To Dominate The World

CNet: Facebook will stop at nothing short of world domination

How do you keep growing when you're already the world's largest social network? Fast food may provide the answer.

Facebook has more in common with McDonald's than you might think.

Both are at the top of their respective fields, so widely used and recognized that they're the icons of the industries they dominate. It took the fast-food chain eight years to serve up a billion burgers; it took the social network eight years to sign up a billion people.

Now it seems they've taken similar strategies to get more attention and win over more customers.

McDonald's looked beyond its staples of Big Macs and fries and added the Filet-O-Fish, Chicken McNugget and Egg McMuffin to its menu over a few decades, along with salads and gourmet coffees.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: The story of every tech company .... innovate or die. Facebook is not an exception to this rule.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

If You Missed The SpaceX Landing, You Can Watch It Here

Popular Science: Missed The SpaceX Landing? Watch It Here

Last night, SpaceX stuck its landing, setting down the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket after it launched satellites into space.

The move means that it may now be possible to re-use rockets that can transport cargo into orbit. But this particular rocket isn't slated to return to flight. The Verge reports that Elon Musk doesn't want this rocket to fly again because it's the first they've brought back, and is therefore unique. It will be test-fired on the ground, just to see if it could have been reused, then presumably retire to a farm upstate where it can frolic in the meadows. Other rockets that come later will actually be reused across multiple launches (which is kind of the point of re-usable rockets).

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Cool

These Incredible Maps Reveal The World At A Glance

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
This map shows how large parts of Asia have the smallest penis measurements, between 4.5 inches and 11.4cm, while men in Sudan, the Democratic of Congo and Columbia, amongst others, typically measure between 6.5 inches and 16.5cm in length

Daily Mail: The stunning maps that reveal the world at a glance: From manhood and breast size to obesity and divorce rates, how does YOUR country fare?

* Men in some African and Central American countries have the biggest penis sizes averaging more than 6.5 inches
* Women in Russia have the largest average breast size, with most measuring in at above a D-cup
* The places with the highest levels of obesity were the US and Saudi Arabia when it comes to both men and women

Ever wondered where women with big breasts are abundant and which country has men that are most well-endowed?

These colourful globes map the world's vital statistics but as you have never seen them before.

It seems that some of the stereotypes are true at least with men in many African countries having the biggest penis sizes on average.

Meanwhile, women in Russia have the largest cup-size, with most females measuring in at a D-cup or above.

From which fast-food joint is the most popular in Denmark to which nation keeps the most people incarcerated, some of the results are likely to surprise you.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: This answers a few questions that I have accumulated over my many years of travel.

Why Modern Cars Are So Much Safer

Popular Mechanics: The Physics of Why Modern Cars Are So Much Safer, Explained in 146 Seconds

The science of why you should learn to love the crumple zone.

Car crashes are still extremely deadly—32,719 Americans died in car accidents in 2013, or almost 90 people a day. But the number of people dying in car crashes—particularly when expressed as how many people per 100,000 die in an auto accident—has essentially steadily declined since the early 1970s. the early 1970s.

CSN Editor: The problem with cars that easily "crumple" is that it is easy to damage them at minor speed ... hence higher insurance rates. But it is a still a no brainer .... at moderate to high speeds it is better to be in a a car that crumples than being in a car that does not.

A Look At How Animals Think

Economist: Animals think, therefore…

The inner lives of animals are hard to study. But there is evidence that they may be a lot richer than science once thought

IN 1992, at Tangalooma, off the coast of Queensland, people began to throw fish into the water for the local wild dolphins to eat. In 1998, the dolphins began to feed the humans, throwing fish up onto the jetty for them. The humans thought they were having a bit of fun feeding the animals. What, if anything, did the dolphins think?

Charles Darwin thought the mental capacities of animals and people differed only in degree, not kind—a natural conclusion to reach when armed with the radical new belief that the one evolved from the other. His last great book, “The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals”, examined joy, love and grief in birds, domestic animals and primates as well as in various human races. But Darwin’s attitude to animals—easily shared by people in everyday contact with dogs, horses, even mice—ran contrary to a long tradition in European thought which held that animals had no minds at all. This way of thinking stemmed from the argument of René Descartes, a great 17th-century philosopher, that people were creatures of reason, linked to the mind of God, while animals were merely machines made of flesh—living robots which, in the words of Nicolas Malebranche, one of his followers, “eat without pleasure, cry without pain, grow without knowing it: they desire nothing, fear nothing, know nothing.”

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I sometimes wonder if my dog trained me .... and not the other way around.