Saturday, January 7, 2017

Mark Zuckerberg Talks About AI And Its Future In The World (Video)

Astronomers Predicty A Supernova Will Appear In The Sky In 2022

Our night sky could be set to include a new star in 2022, if the predictions of a group of astronomers turn out to be correct, because of a supernova explosion. Supernovas are intense explosions caused when two stars merge together. Pictured is an artist's impression

Daily Mail: Mark your calendars! A dazzling supernova will appear in the sky in 2022, predict astronomers

* Scientists have studied a binary star system for years and claim it will explode
* The supernova explosion is 'boldly' predicted for 2022, give or take a year
* If they are correct, it will be the first time anyone has predicted a supernova
* Will be one of brightest star in the night sky when it appears, astronomers say

Our night sky could be set to include a new star in 2022, if the predictions of a group of astronomers turn out to be correct.

A professor who has been studying a binary star system, two stars orbiting each other, claims they will soon start to merge together to create what he has dubbed 'Boom star'.

The stars will end their lives in an explosion, known as a supernova, he says.

This will be will make them ten thousand times brighter than they already are - producing one of the brightest stars visible in our sky.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: If it is bright enough .... for everyone this will be a once in a lifetime experience.

Would You Take A Blood Test That Predicts How Long You Will Live?

REUTERS/Luis Galdamez

Daily Mail: Would YOU take it? Scientists discover breakthrough blood test that could 'predict how long people will live'

* Experts at Boston University claim to have discovered the game-changing test
* They believe biomarker patterns in the blood will help predict a person's probability of developing cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes
* The discovery means patients will be able to identify realistic health risks early - and, crucially, modify behaviour to change the outcome

It may sound like the premise of a science fiction film.

But, believe it or not, scientists at Boston University claim to have discovered a game-changing blood test that could help predict lifespans.

The study, published in the journal Aging Cell on Friday, used biomarker data collected from 5,000 blood samples and analysed it against the donors' health developments over the subsequent eight years.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I wold definitely take it .... and avoid (or minimise) the risk factors that such a test would discover.

15 Sci-Fi Films We Want To See In 2017

Popular Mechanics: 15 Sci-Fi Films We Want To See in 2017 (and 4 We Don't)

The blockbusters, the hopeful sleepers, and the bottom feeders.

2017 holds plenty of uncertainty, but great sci-fi movies look like a sure thing. We'll see the return of Rick Deckard in Blade Runner 2049 and finally get some Luke Skywalker in the eighth installment of the Star Wars saga. But 2017 is full of exciting releases, crossing huge franchises, wonderful one-offs, and some more artsy types as well. These are the films that have us excited for 2017 (and few that we'll likely be skipping.)

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CSN Editor: Blade Runner is on the top of my list.

How To Defeat Facial Recognition Software

An image of a Hyperface pattern, specifically created to contain thousands of facial recognition hits. Photograph: Adam Harvey

The Guardian: Anti-surveillance clothing aims to hide wearers from facial recognition

Hyperface project involves printing patterns on to clothing or textiles that computers interpret as a face, in fightback against intrusive technology

The use of facial recognition software for commercial purposes is becoming more common, but, as Amazon scans faces in its physical shop and Facebook searches photos of users to add tags to, those concerned about their privacy are fighting back.

Berlin-based artist and technologist Adam Harvey aims to overwhelm and confuse these systems by presenting them with thousands of false hits so they can’t tell which faces are real.

The Hyperface project involves printing patterns on to clothing or textiles, which then appear to have eyes, mouths and other features that a computer can interpret as a face.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: It's good to know that the surveillance state can still be defeated.

Virtual Reality Was A Disappointment At This Year's CES

The words of the day at CES were "incremental improvement."
Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

CNET: Virtually boring: VR really disappoints at CES this year

Virtual reality promises to be a mega-trend that upends how we use computers and just plain get along. So why's it such a snooze at the world's biggest tech expo?

Call it a virtual disappointment. Or virtually unsurprising. I'll just say I was virtually underwhelmed.

Whatever pun you choose, the virtual reality industry has some explaining to do after this year's Consumer Electronics Show, during which the biggest product announcements can largely be categorized as "more of the same."

Consider computer maker Lenovo, which showed off a VR headset whose primary selling point is that it's cheaper than competitors like the $599 Oculus Rift from Facebook or the $799 HTC Vive -- though Lenovo isn't discussing prices yet and the prototype on display doesn't actually work.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: When you consider all the hype for the past year in regards to VR .... satisfying everyone's expectations was a tall order.

Latest X-Ray Images Are Giving Astronomers A Revealing Look At The History Of Black Holes

The image is from the Chandra Deep Field-South. The full field covers an approximately circular region on the sky with an area about two-thirds that of the full moon. However, the outer regions of the image, where the sensitivity to X-ray emission is lower, are not shown here. The colors in this image represent different levels of X-ray energy detected by Chandra. Here the lowest-energy X-rays are red, the medium band is green, and the highest-energy X-rays observed by Chandra are blue. The central region of this image contains the highest concentration of supermassive black holes ever seen, equivalent to about 5,000 objects that would fit into the area of the full moon and about a billion over the entire sky. Image courtesy X-ray: NASA/CXC/Penn State/B. Luo et al. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Space Daily: Deepest X-ray image ever reveals black hole treasure trove

An unparalleled image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is giving an international team of astronomers the best look yet at the growth of black holes over billions of years beginning soon after the Big Bang. This is the deepest X-ray image ever obtained, collected with about 7 million seconds, or 11 and a half weeks, of Chandra observing time.

The image comes from what is known as the Chandra Deep Field-South. The central region of the image contains the highest concentration of supermassive black holes ever seen, equivalent to about 5,000 objects that would fit into the area of the full Moon and about a billion over the entire sky.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: It is hard to fathom how massive these objects really are .... ranging in mass from about 100,000 to 10 billion times the mass of the Sun.

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Friday, January 6, 2017

NASA Can Now Better Predict A Total Solar Eclipse's Path

Using of a number of NASA datasets, notably the global elevation maps from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the shape and location of the shadow is depicted with unprecedented accuracy.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/SVS/Ernie Wright

Science Daily: NASA moon data provides more accurate 2017 eclipse path

On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, millions in the U.S. will have their eyes to the sky as they witness a total solar eclipse. The moon's shadow will race across the United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. The path of this shadow, also known as the path of totality, is where observers will see the moon completely cover the sun. And thanks to elevation data of the moon from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, coupled with detailed NASA topography data of Earth, we have the most accurate maps of the path of totality for any eclipse to date.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: This will be a rare opportunity for many who live in the U.S..

This Robot Can Play Chess With A Chessboard

A robot developed by Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute plays chess at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 8, 2017 ©Rob Lever (AFP)

AFP: For 'intelligent' robot, chess is just a hobby

A robot developed by engineers in Taiwan can pour coffee and move chess pieces on a board against an opponent, but he's looking for a real job.

The robot developed by Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute, which spent the week playing games against opponents at the Consumer Electronics Show, was displaying what developers call an "intelligent vision system" which can see its environment and act with greater precision than its peers.

With this enhanced vision, the robot can perform variety of tasks for service and manufacturing, and can also learn on the job with artificial intelligence.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Playing chess with a robot has just got interesting.

Huge Iceberg Is About To Break Off From Antarctica

An iceberg one-fourth the size of Wales is about to break off of Antarctica.
Credit: Copyright MIDAS Project, A. Luckman, Swansea University

Live Science: Delaware-Size Iceberg Is About to Break Off from Antarctica

An icy thread measuring a mere 12 miles (20 kilometers) long is all that's anchoring a massive iceberg the size of Delaware to its home in West Antarctica, climate scientists report.

If the iceberg breaks away — an event known as calving — the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica will lose more than 10 percent of its area, which amounts to about 2,000 square miles (5,000 square km), according to Project MIDAS, an Antarctic research project based in the United Kingdom.

MIDAS researchers noticed the rift in 2014, and have used satellite and other data to monitor it ever since. The rift made headlines late last year when NASA's IceBridge mission snapped a photo showing the eerily immense crack, which measured 70 miles (112 km) long, more than 300 feet (91 meters) wide and about one-third of a mile (0.5 km) deep as of Nov. 10, 2016.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: At its current rate, this will split within 2 years .... unless the region experiences a greater cooling trend.

The Art And Science of Designing Noise Alarms

Atlas Obscura: An Alarm Designer on How to Annoy People in the Most Effective Ways

There's an art and science to making one sound seem more urgent than another.

When the cockpit recorder transcript from Air France Flight 447 was leaked to the public in 2011, many startling details emerged. The plane, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board, had been under the control of pilots who were communicating poorly and not realizing one another’s mistakes. The plane’s speed slowed to dangerous levels, activating the stall alarm—the one, in the words of Popular Mechanics, “designed to be impossible to ignore.” It blared the word “Stall!” 75 times.

Everyone present ignored it. Within four minutes, the plane had hit the water.

Read more .....

CSN Editor: Like building a better mouse trap .... there is a need to build a better alarm.

The Race To Build Quantum Computers Is Heating Up

Next Big Future: Google, Microsoft, labs and start-ups will create universal quantum computers in 2017 and achieve quantum supremacy over classical computers

Google started working on a form of quantum computing that harnesses superconductivity in 2014. In 2017 or 2018 Google hopes to perform a computation that is beyond even the most powerful ‘classical’ supercomputers — an elusive milestone known as quantum supremacy. Its rival, Microsoft, is betting on an intriguing but unproven concept, topological quantum computing, and hopes to perform a first demonstration of the technology.

The quantum-computing start-up scene is also heating up. Christopher Monroe, co-founded the start-up IonQ in 2015, plans to begin hiring in earnest this year.

Physicist Robert Schoelkopf at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, who co-founded the start-up Quantum Circuits, and former IBM applied physicist Chad Rigetti, who set up Rigetti in Berkeley, California, say they expect to reach crucial technical milestones soon.

The largest trapped ion quantum computer with 20 qubits is being tested in an academic lab led by Rainer Blatt at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Both Microsoft and Google are investing heavily in this tech frontier.

Will Global Warming Result In Europe Cooling Down?

CONVEYOR BELT Rising temperatures could shut down the Atlantic Ocean current (depicted here) that helps warm northwestern Europe, a new simulation shows.

Science News: Warming could disrupt Atlantic Ocean current

New simulations revise freshwater impact on circulation’s stability.

Spewing too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere could shut down the major ocean current that ferries warm water to the North Atlantic, new climate simulations suggest. While not as extreme as the doomsday scenario portrayed in the movie The Day After Tomorrow, such a shutdown could cause wintertime temperatures to plummet by an estimated 7 degrees Celsius or more in northwestern Europe and shift rainfall patterns across the globe.

Many previous climate simulations predicted that the Atlantic circulation would remain largely stable under future climate change. But those simulations failed to accurately portray how relatively freshwater flows between the Atlantic and Southern oceans, an important mechanism as the climate warms. After fixing that inaccuracy, Yale University climate scientist Wei Liu and colleagues set up an extreme climate scenario to test the current’s robustness. Doubling CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere shuttered the Atlantic current in 300 years, the researchers’ simulation showed.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: So the argument now is .... global warming will cause catastrophic cooling in Europe.

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A Historical Analysis On Climate Change

Screenshot of MWP Mapping Project (Source: Luening downloaded 27-Dec-2016)

Watts Up With That?: Documenting the Global Extent of the Medieval Warm Period

In this article I pose the following questions:

Was the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) a global event?
Where the MWP temperatures higher than recent times?
The reasons for asking these questions are that climate establishment have tried to sideline the MWP as a purely local North Atlantic event. They also frequently state that current temperatures are the highest ever.

I attempt to answer these questions below.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: A good historical analysis on climate change.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Communist Zil Limousine Is No More


Popular Mechanics: The Ultimate Communist Automaker Is Dead

Who'll make Putin a new American-style copycat limo now?

What the hell is ZiL to begin with? Well, it's the acronym of 'Zavod imeni Likhachova', or 'Plant named for Likhachov', an automobile, truck, military vehicle and heavy equipment manufacturer based in Moscow, Russia. Its trucks, you've seen plenty of in cold war movies and in developing countries around the world. Its cars, not so much. That's because they were never meant to be driven by the common people.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: This model is so out of date that .... in a way .... gives it a certain style.

Who Invented The Microwave Oven?

Microwaves cook and heat food, boil water and pop popcorn and aren't harder on food than the stove. Credit: GE

Live Science: Who Invented the Microwave Oven?

A microwave oven is a kitchen appliance that is in nearly every U.S. home — 90 percent of households have one, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With the touch of a couple of buttons, this ubiquitous device can boil water, reheat leftovers, pop popcorn or defrost frozen meats in mere minutes.

The microwave oven was invented at the end of World War II. Yet it took awhile for them to catch on. At first they were too big and expensive, and people didn't trust them because of the radiation they use. Eventually, technology improved and fears faded. By the 2000s, Americans named the microwave oven as the No. 1 technology that made their lives easier, according to J. Carlton Gallawa, author of the Complete Microwave Oven Service Handbook.

And it was all due to a happy accident with some melted chocolate.

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CSN Editor: I am old enough to remember the microwave was an oddity that no one could afford to have. Today .... I own 2 of them ... one in my home and one at my chalet .... and all for around $100 per.

This 'Anti-Robot' Can Carry A Human And Run Over 20mph

Daily Mail: Meet 'Prosthesis', the terrifying 14ft-tall 'anti-robot' that can carry a human and run over 20mph almost SILENTLY

* Prosthesis is an 'exo-bionic racing robot' that is controlled by a human pilot sitting inside it
* The human sits at the center of the machine, and moves their arms to control it
* According to the creators, it can hit speeds of more than 30 km per hour

A 14-foot-tall exo-bionic racing robot could soon be tearing across the Nevada desert.

Exhibitors revealed the massive Prosthesis bot at CES 2017 in Las Vegas today, and they say it can hit a top speed of roughly 20 miles per hour – and despite its imposing size, it’s nearly silent when it moves.

The 7,700lb ‘anti-robot’ is controlled by a human pilot who stands at the center of the mechanical exoskeleton, using arm movements to drive it forward at terrifying speeds.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: This is one big robot.

Look At All The World’s Global Trade In One Interactive Map

Foreign Policy: Watch: All the World’s Global Trade in One Interactive Map

It’s hard to understand the jargon-laden and math-saturated world of international trade. But a new interactive map helps visualize global imports and exports, showing just how massive global trade really is.

Each dot, color-coded by type of trade like agriculture, minerals, plastics, and transportation, represents $1 billion. As the graphic shows, there are a lot of dots — 15,600, in fact, to represent the $15.6 trillion of international trade in 2015 (the latest year from which U.N. data is available) according to the U.N. Comtrade database that tracks the world’s economic statistics.

Take a gander at the interactive version here. Or simply watch the above video:

Read more ....

CSN Editor: China, Europe, and the U.S. is where all the action is.

China Invests Big In 'Green Technologies'

China is shifting away from dirty coal power and towards cleaner fuels. (Reuters: Jason Lee)

ABC News Online: China to spend $493 billion on green power by 2020

China will plough 2.5 trillion yuan ($493 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020, the country's energy agency says, as the world's largest energy market continues to shift away from dirty coal power towards cleaner fuels.

The investment will create over 13 million jobs in the sector, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said in a blueprint document that lays out its plan to develop the nation's energy sector during the five-year 2016 to 2020 period.

The NEA said installed renewable power capacity including wind, hydro, solar and nuclear power would contribute to about half of new electricity generation by 2020.

The agency did not disclose more details on where the funds — which equate to about $98 billion each year — would be spent.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: No breakdown on where the money is going to be spent .... but I am willing to bet that most of it will be on nuclear power.

Japanese Company Replaces Office Workers With Artificial Intelligence

Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance believes it will increase productivity by 30% Photograph: Toru Hanai/REUTERS

The Guardian: Japanese company replaces office workers with artificial intelligence

Insurance firm Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance is making 34 employees redundant and replacing them with IBM’s Watson Explorer AI

A future in which human workers are replaced by machines is about to become a reality at an insurance firm in Japan, where more than 30 employees are being laid off and replaced with an artificial intelligence system that can calculate payouts to policyholders.

Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance believes it will increase productivity by 30% and see a return on its investment in less than two years. The firm said it would save about 140m yen (£1m) a year after the 200m yen (£1.4m) AI system is installed this month. Maintaining it will cost about 15m yen (£100k) a year.

The move is unlikely to be welcomed, however, by 34 employees who will be made redundant by the end of March.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: So it begins.

Faraday Future Unveils Super Fast Electric Car

BBC: CES 2017: Faraday Future unveils super fast electric car

Start-up Faraday Future has unveiled a self-driving electric car that it says can accelerate from zero to 60mph (97km/h) in 2.39 seconds.

Faraday says the FF91 accelerates faster than Tesla's Model S or any other electric car in production.

It was shown off at the CES tech show in Las Vegas.

But Faraday Future has faced financial difficulties and one analyst said it had to challenge "scepticism" following last year's CES presentation.

The FF91 was introduced via a live demo, in which it drove itself around a car park and backed into an empty space.

Pre-recorded footage also showed the car accelerating from standstill to 60mph in 2.39 seconds.

Tesla's fastest model did it in 2.5 seconds on the same track.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I wish them luck .... but Tesla has a big head start over them.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Here Are 25 Things That Are Turning 25 In 2017

Mental Floss: 25 Things Turning 25 in 2017

If you were born in 1992, you're in good company! Here's our annual list celebrating 25 things (people, companies, movies, books, etc.) turning 25 this year.

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CSN Editor: Wow .... the Cold War ended 25 years ago (see above video).

Former World Chess Champion Kasparov On The Future Of Artificial Intelligence

Chess News: Kasparov on the future of Artificial Intelligence

"You will go down in history as the first person to be beaten by a machine in an intellectual pursuit where you were the most advanced member of our species," says American author, philosopher, and neuroscientist in this extraordinary podcast interview with Garry Kasparov. After discussing the current world political situation they go on to the subject of machine intelligence. Kasparov also announced a book called Deep Thinking that is due for release in May.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: The interesting part of this entire story is that today's chess programs can easily defeat Deep Blue when it Defeated World Champion Garry Kasparov 20 years ago.

5 Brilliant Scientific Accidents (Video)

A Look At How The Pencils are Made

NPR: Trace The Remarkable History Of The Humble Pencil

A class of fifth-graders from Green Acres Elementary in Lebanon, Ore., asked us to find out how pencil lead is made. That quest took us all the way back to the dawn of the universe and then all the way up to a factory in Jersey City, N.J.

In the process, we learned that pencil lead (actually not lead at all but a mineral called graphite) has a storied past.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: That is one cool video.

Artificial Intelligence (A Bloomberg Quick-take)

Bloomberg: Artificial Intelligence

It’s the stuff of sci-fi movies and dystopian, end-of-humanity nightmares — and now, of mind-numbingly dull white-collar work. After decades of premature promises, artificial intelligence is finding its way into all sorts of businesses. Its arrival has been low-key. That’s primarily because the line between ordinary software and AI software has blurred as artificial intelligence has been adapted to narrow, unsexy tasks. But there is a difference. AI programs can look at a confusing situation, make an informed guess about what’s going on and act on it — and learn from what happens. The result has been progress so fast that people are now asking themselves two very different questions: What can we do with this to make money, and how do we stop it from going awry? AI could usher in an era of unprecedented prosperity or unprecedented inequality. Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, among others, have a deeper fear: That we may be, in Musk’s words, “summoning the demon.”

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CSN Editor: A good brief summary.

How Long Can A Person Hold Their Breath?

Smithsonian: Ask Smithsonian: What’s the Longest You Can Hold Your Breath?

A dive into the science shows it is possible to override the system

Whhile some studies say most people can hold their breath for 30 seconds to maybe a few minutes at most, Aleix Segura Vendrell of Spain, the most recent Guinness World Record holder, held his for an astonishing 24 minutes and 3 seconds while floating in a pool in Barcelona.

Don’t feel ashamed if you can’t even approach Segura Vendrell’s pulmonary prowess. The ability to hold your breath is hardwired.

Segura Vendrell achieved the record with the help of what is known as an oxygen-assist. He breathed pure oxygen for a certain period of time before he began his extended float—essentially hyperventilating, filling his lungs to capacity with oxygen.

Lung function—and breath holding—varies widely from individual to individual, says Clayton Cowl, chair of preventive occupational and aerospace medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

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CSN Editor: 24 minutes and 3 seconds is the world record.

This Man Has The Fastest Home Internet Connection In The United States

Motherboard: This Guy Has the Fastest Home Internet in the United States

What does the guy with the fastest internet in the United States use his jealousy-inducing bandwidth for? Analyzing X-rays… and gaining an advantage in Call of Duty, of course.

Startup and community-run internet service providers have grabbed headlines over the last two years as they’ve begun rolling out the first 10 gigabit-per-second residential internet connections in the United States. As far as I can tell, though, only one person in the entire country has actually bought one of these connections, which are still incredibly expensive because the technology is so cutting edge.

I met with James Busch—a radiologist and the proud owner of what I am almost certain is the first 10 Gbps residential connection in the United States—at a coffee shop in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I told him about my trials and tribulations with Time Warner Cable in New York City, and he tried to drum up some empathy from a distant past in which he used to send medical imaging studies on a T1 line in Boston. I reminded him that most of us were still on dialup at the time. And then I raised the point that his family alone is living in our blazing fast future.

“When you think about it like that, it’s pretty cool,” Busch told me. “You get spoiled with it.”

For reference, the Federal Communications Commission officially classifies “broadband” as 25 Mbps. His connection is 400 times faster than that.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am super jealous.

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The Case For Why We All Need A Vacation

Financial Times: The case for rest

Is there an optimum amount of vacation and idea-incubating time?

At four in the morning, snug in a cottage nestled on a hillside deep in tiger country, I nudge my partner: “You’re snoring really loudly!” I say. “That’s not me,” he says equally sleepily, and I doze off before jerking wide-awake when I realise what he’s said.

Behind our cottage, high up on the crest of the hill, a leopard saws into the night. It’s New Year’s Day. I listen to the big cat for a while, alert but deeply content. When I go back to sleep, my dreams are filled with forests, trails and all the large and small creatures that belong to the jungle.

We come back home not just refreshed but rebooted by our short holiday in Gwehri, above an Indian national park. My mind feels on fire; all of last year’s tiredness is blown away like clouds driven by the high mountain winds.

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CSN Editor: Sighhh .... I need a vacation.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Growing Role Of China In Developing Artificial Intelligence

Wu Haishan, a senior Baidu data scientist, at the Baidu Technology Park in Beijing, China. Baidu is widely seen as being at the forefront of AI in Asia. Photo: Bloomberg

South China Morning Post: The Machines are Coming: China's role in the future of artificial intelligence

After a year of breakthroughs, experts believe they are on the brink of revolutionising our daily lives through artificial intelligence – and Asia can play a leading role in this brave new world

Try typing “the machines” into Google and chances are that one of the top results the artificial intelligence-powered search engine will return is the phrase: “The Machines are Coming”.

After a 2016 filled with high-profile advances in artificial intelligence (AI), leading technologists say this could be a breakout year in the development of intelligent machines that emulate humans.

Asia, until now lagging Silicon Valley in AI, will play a bigger role as the field cements itself at the pinnacle of the technology world in 2017, the experts say.

AI – technically, a computing field that involves the analysis of large troves of data to predict outcomes and patterns – is as old as modern computers but its esoteric nature means it has long endured caricatures of its actual potential – think for example, the 1960s space age cartoon The Jetsons, which featured a sentient robot maid and automated flying cars (both of which we are still waiting for, even 50 years on).

Read more ....

CNS  Editor: Silicon Valley has always lead the way in developing AI platforms .... but it looks Asia wants to catch-up.

SpaceX Completes Rocket Explosion Investigation. Will Resume Rocket Launches Starting January 8 SpaceX Completes Rocket Explosion Investigation, Aims for Jan. 8 Launch

WASHINGTON — SpaceX plans to resume Falcon 9 launches on Jan. 8 after completing the investigation into the pad explosion that destroyed another Falcon 9 four months ago.

In a statement posted on the SpaceX website Jan. 2, the company said the explosion was caused by the failure of one of three helium tanks, known as composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs), inside the liquid oxygen tank in the rocket’s second stage. The company had previously indicated that a COPV failure was a leading cause of the accident.

Each COPV is made of an aluminum liner surrounded by a carbon composite overwrap. Other COPVs recovered from the Falcon 9 showed buckling of their liners, although what caused the buckling isn't stated.

Read more ....

More News On SpaceX Completing Its Rocket Explosion Investigation And Announcing That It Will Resume Rocket Launches Starting January 8

SpaceX finds failure cause, announces January 8 as target for flight resumption --
SpaceX eyes Jan. 8 return to satellite launches after finishing explosion investigation -- L.A. Times
SpaceX Launches Set to Resume in January -- WSJ
SpaceX announces cause of launchpad failure, plans for January 8 return to flight -- Extreme Tech
SpaceX Announces Cause of Falcon 9 Explosion, Sets New Launch Date -- Popular Mechanics

Instead Of Humans Will Robots Be The Ones Who Hire And Fire You In The Future?

US-based Bridgewater Associates is reportedly developing artificial intelligence

Daily Mail: Robots that hire and fire staff could soon be employed by the world's largest hedge fund in bid to improve efficiency

* US-based Bridgewater Associates is reportedly developing artificial intelligence
* The firm wants to use robots to hire and fire so emotions don't get in the way
* Billionaire founder Ray Dalio appointed Systemised Intelligence Lab for the job

Robots could soon be hiring and firing staff at the world’s largest hedge fund under secret plans drawn up to improve efficiency.

A team of engineers at US-based Bridgewater Associates is reportedly developing artificial intelligence which can run the firm without emotions getting in the way.

Billionaire founder Ray Dalio is seeking to create a new business model where most employees are programmers and decisions are made by a computer.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: So much for hiring someone based on a "gut feeling".

Scientists Identify The Processes That Makes Memories Permanent

Daily Mail: How memories become permanent: Scientists identify process that controls 'rhythmic' brain waves for the first time

* Sharp wave ripples play a key role in strengthening memories
* But the mechanism that forms their shape and rhythm had not been identified
* Now, a team of researchers have found they are formed by synaptic inhibition
* They also believe it 'could be main factor in memory consolidation'

In order to remember a skill or experience, the memory needs to be strengthened through a process called memory consolidation.

Although it is known that brain waves play a key role in this process, the mechanism that forms their shape and rhythm had not yet been determined – until now.

Researchers have discovered that one of the brain waves needed for consolidating memories is dominated by synaptic inhibition, which they believe 'could be a main factor in memory consolidation'.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I like their summary (at the bottom of this Daily Mail Post) on how to boost your memory.

The Largest Digital Sky Survey Has Been Released By Astronomers

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
This compressed view of the entire sky visible from Hawai’i by the Pan-STARRS1 Observatory is the result of half a million exposures, each about 45 seconds in length, taken over a period of 4 years. The shape comes from making a map of the celestial sphere, like a map of the Earth, but leaving out the southern quarter. The disk of the Milky Way looks like a yellow arc, and the dust lanes show up as reddish brown filaments. The background is made up of billions of faint stars and galaxies. If printed at full resolution, the image would be 1.5 miles long, and you would have to get close and squint to see the detail.

SCiTechDaily: Astronomers Release the Largest Digital Sky Survey

The Pan-STARRS project is publicly releasing the world’s largest digital sky survey from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).

“The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys allow anyone to access millions of images and use the database and catalogs containing precision measurements of billions of stars and galaxies,” said Dr. Ken Chambers, Director of the Pan-STARRS Observatories. “Pan-STARRS has made discoveries from Near Earth Objects and Kuiper Belt Objects in the solar system to lonely planets between the stars; it has mapped the dust in three dimensions in our galaxy and found new streams of stars; and it has found new kinds of exploding stars and distant quasars in the early universe.”

“With this release we anticipate that scientists – as well as students and even casual users – around the world will make many new discoveries about the universe from the wealth of data collected by Pan-STARRS,” Chambers added.

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WNU Editor: Cool.

A Look At Eight Futuristic Foods

Gizmodo: Eight Futuristic Foods You'll Be Eating in 30 Years

We ate some weird shit in 2016. A person born in the year 1000 AD definitely wouldn’t comprehend a Dorito. He certainly wouldn’t understand why kids love the taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and if you showed him a Twinkie, he’d probably burn you at the stake. But the way things are headed, our food is bound to get a lot weirder.

Scientific research doesn’t just bring us more convenient and cheaper food options, but the hope of overcoming sustainability issues, too. The meat industry plays a huge role in climate change—around 10 percent of America’s total greenhouse gas emissions came from the agriculture sector in 2014, with almost a third of that climate-warming carbon attributed to methane from cattle, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile, Earth’s population is growing fast, and many are fretting about how to feed the 9 billion people who will be inhabiting the planet in 2050.

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CSN Editor: Bugs? Algae?

The Best Gadgets Coming in 2017

MIT Technology Review: The Best Gadgets Coming in 2017

Here are the likely standouts among the smartphones, VR headsets, and smart watches hitting the market this year.

Smartphone geeks have a lot to look forward to in 2017. Phones dominate our list of the six most significant gadgets we expect to see this year.

Apple iPhone 8

To mark the iPhone’s 10th anniversary this year, Apple is expected to overhaul the phone’s design. One model could swap its liquid-crystal LCD display for one made of OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) that will wrap around the gadget’s edges. OLED displays are thinner, lighter, and more flexible than LCDs. Samsung’s Galaxy Edge phones sport a similar design and have been called gimmicky; Apple appears to be trying to make the feature more useful by enabling the phone to react when you touch any of its sides instead of just one.

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When Is The Best Time To Drink Coffee?

Metro: Why you shouldn’t drink coffee first thing in the morning

There’s nothing quite like the smell of a freshly ground coffee in the morning.

The waft of hot milk in a cappuccino, the bitter after taste of a double espresso and the sweetness of a caffe mocha. Nothing can beat that, right?

But drinking a coffee in the morning to wake up and give yourself a caffeine boost is all a myth, suggests research gathered by Ph.D candidate Steven Miller at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda.

And ordering that cup of coffee first thing could even lead to an increased tolerance of caffeine, dulling the effects long term.

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CSN Editor: After 9:00 AM is when I have my one cup of coffee.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Earth Has Experienced Five Mass Extinctions

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Cosmos: The big five mass extinctions

Biologists suspect we’re living through the sixth major mass extinction. Earth has witnessed five, when more than 75% of species disappeared. Palaeontologists spot them when species go missing from the global fossil record, including the iconic specimens shown here. “We don’t always know what caused them but most had something to do with rapid climate change”, says Melbourne Museum palaeontologist Rolf Schmidt.

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WNU Editor: Bottom line .... 5 major extinction events.

It Took Six Months For Dinosaur Eggs To Hatch

A hatchling Protoceratops andrewsi fossil from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. Credit M. Ellison/American Museum of Natural History

New York Times: Some Dinosaur Eggs Took Six Months or More to Hatch

For decades now, the drumbeat of dinosaur news has been their similarity to birds. They were warmblooded! They had feathers! And they’re still around, because birds are actually dinosaurs.

All true, but those that were nonavian dinosaurs, as they are now called, were not all beak and tweet. They were closely related to other living reptiles like crocodiles, and new findings about how long their eggs took to hatch bring that point home.

Scientists reported on Monday that by using a new technique on exceedingly rare fossils of unhatched dinosaur embryos, they determined that those embryos took twice as long to hatch as bird eggs of a similar size. The embryo of a large duck-billed dinosaur took at least six months to hatch, and the eggs of larger dinosaurs may have taken even longer.

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More News On How Long Did It Take Dinosaur Eggs To Hatch

No wonder the dinosaurs died out: They were vulnerable for the SIX MONTHS it took them to get out of their eggs when they were born -- Daily Mail
We Finally Know How Long It Took for Dinosaur Eggs to Hatch -- Seeker
Did Dinosaur Eggs Lead To Their Doom? -- Discover Magazine
Dinosaur 'Baby Teeth' Reveal That Dino Eggs Hatched Slowly -- NPR
Dinosaur eggs: Slow hatching eggs made dinosaurs go extinct when asteroid struck -- International Business Times

The United Nations Has Decided To Take On Killer Robots In 2017


Seeker: U.N. Vote Puts 'Killer Robots' on the Agenda in 2017

International pressure mounts for a preemptive ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems.

Good news, fellow humans: The United Nations has decided to take on killer robots.

At the international Convention on Conventional Weapons in Geneva, 123 participating nations voted to initiate official discussions on the danger of lethal autonomous weapons systems. That's the emerging designation for so-called "killer robots" — weapons controlled by artificial intelligence that can target and strike without human intervention.

The agreement is the latest development in a growing movement calling for an preemptive ban on weaponized A.I. and deadly autonomous weapons. Last year, a coalition of more than 1,000 scientists and industry leaders, including Elon Musk and representatives of Google and Microsoft, signed an official letter to the United Nations demanding action.

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CSN Editor: Too late .... the genie is already out of the box.

These Sixteen Inventors Were Killed By Their Own Inventions

Max Valier in a rocket car, circa April 1930. Public Domain / Wikipedia

The Independent: Sixteen inventors who were killed by their own inventions

Inventions push mankind forward scientifically and economically.

Unsurprisingly, it is the inventor who is often the early tester of those inventions. And some of those inventions pose deadly risks.

We compiled a short list of brilliant engineers, scientists, and old-fashioned daredevils who fell victim to their own ideas.

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CSN Editor: Ouch.

More Details On CBS Star Trek Discovery Have Been Released

Next Big Future: CBS Star Trek Discovery likely set in Four Year Klingon War in Prime Timeline and Cast is revealed

Star Trek: Discovery is an upcoming American television series created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman for CBS All Access. It is the first series developed specifically for that service, and the first Star Trek series since Star Trek: Enterprise concluded in 2005. Set roughly a decade before the events of the original Star Trek series, separate from the timeline of the concurrent feature films, Discovery explores a previously mentioned event from the history of Star Trek while following the crew of the USS Discovery. Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts serve as showrunners on the series, with producing support from Akiva Goldsman.

Star Trek: Discovery is set to premiere on CBS in May 2017, before moving to All Access. The first season will consist of 13 episodes

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CSN Editor: I am definitely looking forward to this.

86 Burglars Were Asked How They Broke Into Homes

KGW: We asked 86 burglars how they broke into homes

What burglars said were the biggest deterrents, what didn't stop them and how you can protect your home.

Do you ever wonder whether your home security system or “Beware of Dog” sign actually keeps burglars away?

We did too. So KGW's investigative team sent letters to 86 inmates currently serving time for burglary in the Oregon Department of Corrections. The inmates were asked to respond anonymously to 17 questions detailing how they broke in, when the crime occurred and what they were looking for.

What we learned could help you keep your home safe from burglaries.

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CSN Editor: The GF has a Rottweiler. The best deterrent that I ever saw.

The World's Top 10 Lightning Hotspots Revealed

The lightning hotspots are shown on this map. In the top ten, the the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) took five places with Kabare Territory in the country's east near Lake Tanganyika taking second spot with 205 strikes. South America took a further two places

Daily Mail
: Africa and South America are the most electric places on Earth: The world's top 10 lightning hotspots revealed

* Lake Maracaibo, in Venezuela, has he highest rate of lightning strikes
* A single square kilometre on the lake gets more than 230 times a year
* Africa and South America dominate the list with areas around Central America, the Caribbean and Asia featuring heavily outside of the top 20 places

When a storm comes we all know not to stand by a tree or in the middle of a golf course.

And now you can add to that list being on a boat in the middle of a South American lake which is the most lightning-struck place on Earth.

A single square kilometre of Lake Maracaibo, in Venezuela, has been found to have the highest rate of lightning strikes in the world getting strikes more than 230 times a year.

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CSN Editor: And I thought North America was the #1 place for lightning strikes.

The Year 2016 In Archaeology

This 11,000-year-old pendant from Star Carr is the earliest example of Mesolithic art in Britain

BBC: The year 2016 in archaeology

2016 had its fair share of exciting discoveries in the world of archaeology. Together, they reveal the human characteristics that unite us all and expose the impacts that past peoples continue to have on life today. Here's a selection of the most inspiring findings of the year.

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WNU Editor: The story on how long cats have been domesticated is what interested me.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Nikolai Tesla's Inventions Continue To Fascinate

Popular Mechanics: This Handmade Tesla Gun Is Shockingly Cool

Just be careful where you point that thing.

Nikolai Tesla has been pretty popular in his afterlife. After dying the defeated foe of Thomas Edison, his name has stuck out to geeks as someone who consistently thought differently about the world, who refused the status quo. But perhaps most importantly, he lives on in inventions like this Tesla gun, built by the folks at Smarter Every Day.

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CSN Editor: The above video is a must see for Tesla fans.

Has Google’s AI Translation Tool Invented Its Own Internal Language?

Tech Crunch: Google’s AI translation tool seems to have invented its own secret internal language

All right, don’t panic, but computers have created their own secret language and are probably talking about us right now. Well, that’s kind of an oversimplification, and the last part is just plain untrue. But there is a fascinating and existentially challenging development that Google’s AI researchers recently happened across.

You may remember that back in September, Google announced that its Neural Machine Translation system had gone live. It uses deep learning to produce better, more natural translations between languages. Cool!

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CSN Editor: It makes you wonder if machines can operate at a far more smarter level than what we have taken for granted.

The Non-Meat Revolution Has Begun

Marginal Revolution: The Revolution Has Begun: Beyond Meat

Animal rights will be the big social revolution of the 21st century. Most people have a vague feeling that factory farms aren’t quite ethical. But few people are willing to give up meat so such feelings are suppressed because acknowledging them would only make one feel guilty not just. Once the costs of giving up meat fall, however, vegetarianism will spread like a prairie wildfire changing eating habits, the use of farm land, and the science and economics of climate change.

Lab grown or cultured meat is improving but so is the science of veggie burgers. Beyond Meat has sold a very successful frozen “chicken” strip since 2013 and their non-frozen burger patties are just now seeing widespread distribution in the meat aisle at Whole Foods. Beyond Meat extracts protein from peas and then combines it with other vegetable elements under heating, cooling and pressure to realign the proteins in a way that simulates the architecture of beef.

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CSN Editor: I have also tried these non-meat products .... and yes .... I have been pleasantly surprised.

Futuristic Predictions That Came True in 2016

The replicant Pris from Blade Runner. Could synthetic humans be right around the corner?

Gizmodo: The Most Futuristic Predictions That Came True in 2016

Another year has passed, which means we’re another step closer to the tomorrow of our dreams. Here are the most futuristic developments of 2016.

An artificial intelligence finally defeated a grandmaster at Go

In a tournament that rivaled the historical importance of Deep Blue vs chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1996 and Deep Blue vs the best Jeopardy champs in 2011, Google’s AlphaGo won four of the five games it played against Go world champion Lee Sedol. Going into the tournament, some experts naively presumed that the machine wouldn’t have a chance against a human in a game notorious for its complexity and sophisticated gameplay.

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CSN Editor: The quick development of driver-less cars is what surprised me.

What Happens When Your Smart Phone Is Stolen (Video)

Laughing Squid: Dutch Filmmaker Intentionally Lets His Phone Get Stolen In Order to Follow Its Path Through Spyware

Dutch filmmaker Anthony van der Meer decided to intentionally allow a thief to steal his mobile phone in order to find out what happens afterwards, using spyware that he installed ahead of time. The resulting film, entitled “Find my Phone” shows how just much information a thief can get with someone else’s phone.

In the Netherlands, 300 police reports a week are filed for smartphone-theft. Besides losing your expensive device, a stranger has access to all of your photos, videos, e-mails, messages and contacts. Yet, what kind of person steals a phone? And where do stolen phones eventually end up? The short documentary ‘Find My Phone’ follows a stolen phone’s second life by means of using spyware.

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CSN Editor: I can deal with losing my phone. But losing my photos, videos, and other personal information ... that is where it really hurts.

“I Know What You Download” Is A Website That Claims To Know What You Have Donwloaded

The Independent: 'I Know What You Download': Website claims to let people see everything their friends have torrented

The company appears to be using the intrusive website as a way of marketing its services to police and content owners, but serves a reminder of the kind of information made readily available on the internet

A new website claims to be able to show everything you – and your friends – have torrented.

“I Know What You Download” gathers information frm across the internet to find out the things that people have been downloading. And it even provides an easy way for friends to make that information available, too – meaning that you may already have been tricked into exposing your torrenting habits.

The tool works simply by looking up the IP address of the person using it. While torrents might feel secret, unless they are protected they are attached to those same unique IP addresses – meaning that anyone looking to find a download can be identified by others doing so at the same time.

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CSN Editor: more proof that there are no longer any secrets when it comes to the World Wide Web. The website “I Know What You Download” is here.

These Are The 7 Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs Of 2016

RT: The 7 greatest scientific breakthroughs of 2016

From the discovery of an Earth-like planet to the unraveling of one of the great mysteries of physics, 2016 has been a blockbuster year for scientific breakthroughs.
Gravitational waves

Perhaps the biggest scientific feat of 2016 was the detection of gravitational waves in the fabric of space-time, from a pair of colliding black holes. The development added more weight to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.

The researchers backed up their findings by repeating the feat a few months later. The discovery was named Physics World Breakthrough of the Year and is hotly tipped to earn a Nobel Prize.

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CSN Editor: I found this to be the most interesting discovery .... Disposing of 'cellular litter' could prolong life by up to 35% - study (RT).

Russia Has A ‘Colossal’ Supercomputer

Building of Russian Ministry of Defence at Frunzenskaya Embankment. Moscow, Russia. Wikipedia. Wikipedia

RT: Army’s brain: Russia’s ‘colossal’ supercomputer helps predict wars, defense minister says

A “colossally powerful” supercomputer installed at Russia’s military headquarters helps the country’s armed forces tackle emerging threats by analyzing previous conflicts, such as the Yugoslavian war and the like, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said.

The supercomputer is a key part of the headquarters’ IT infrastructure and is so powerful that the military uses less than half of its capacity, Shoigu told Rossiya 24 TV channel, which filmed a documentary about Russia’s National Defense Management Center (NDMC).

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CSN Editor: It looks like Russia wants to build its own Skynet computer system .... Powerful Russian supercomputer to ‘speak’ to any robotic system, no matter which manufacturer (RT).