Saturday, April 5, 2014

‘Bionic Olympics’ Coming In 2016

‘Bionic Olympics’ Coming in 2016 -- Defense Tech

Couple the Defense Research Projects Agency’s major and well-funded interest in prosthetics with the grit shown by amputee veterans to excel in sports and you’ve got a heck of start for building a U.S. team for the first-ever bionic Olympics.

The Cybathlon, an international competition for athletes using advanced prosthetics, is to be held in October 2016 in Zurich, Switzerland.

“The competitions are comprised by different disciplines that apply the most modern powered knee prostheses, wearable arm prostheses, powered exoskeletons, powered wheelchairs, electrically stimulated muscles and novel brain-computer interfaces,” according to the games’ official website.

The games are being organized on behalf of the Swiss National Competence Center of Research in Robotics.

Read more ....

My Comment: I predict that this will be well watched.

The Optical Illusion App That Makes You Hallucinate

The Optical Illusion App That Makes You HALLUCINATE: Mind-Bending Moving Illusion Makes Everything Around You MELT -- Daily Mail

* DO NOT watch if you suffer from epilepsy or are sensitive to flashing lights
* Watch videos in full screen mode for 30 seconds while focusing on centre
* Look away and watch the world deform. Effect can last for up to 20 secs
* Illusion created when brain cells detecting motion become tired
* After the eyes look away, the cells that detect motion in the other direction are more active and a stationary object appears to be moving

For a drug-free mind-bending hallucination, take a look at some of these incredible optical illusions.

Open the illusion up in a full-screen window as they will work best if they fill your entire field of vision.

Focus your eyes on the centre of the illusion for around 30 seconds before gently looking away into the distance.

Read more ....

My Comment: OMG!!! It works.

Vehicles Will Soon Be Able To Talk To Each Other

Vehicles May Soon Be Talking To Each Other -- Voice of America

WASHINGTON — U.S. regulators are close to approving new standards for enabling vehicles to communicate with each other, hoping the new technology will reduce traffic accidents. Within as little as three years, automakers may be required to equip all new cars with the so-called ‘vehicle-to-vehicle’ communication devices.

Vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V, is a short-range communication technology that enables vehicles to exchange vital information 10 times per second, about location, speed, acceleration and braking. Cars will be able to calculate the hazard risk within about 300 meters and alert their drivers or even take automatic collision-avoidance action.

The drivers will be able to see, hear and even feel the hazard signals through vibration of the seat.

Read more ....

My Comment: Another reason to increase car prices .... but what am I interested in is .... can such a system be rigged to warn drivers of speed traps?

World's Hottest Tourist Attractions

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
Hot spot: Sightsmap allows users to search the map to find the top places in a given area, including the most photographed 1,000 locations in a country

World's Hottest Tourist Attractions: Interactive 'Heat Map' Reveals Top 10 Most Photographed Travel Destinations Across The Globe -- Daily Mail

Anyone who has visited New York will have whipped out their camera to take an obligatory shot of the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty.

And a visit to Paris or Rome isn’t complete without a smartphone selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower or Spanish Steps respectively. But which tourist sights are the world’s most iconic?

An interactive 'heat map' has revealed the top 10 photographed cities in the world - along with which tourist attraction is the most snapped in each location.

Read more ....

My Comment: Europe is the "hottest spot".

Friday, April 4, 2014

Blood Moon Eclipse On April 15

Blood Moon Eclipse On April 15 Is A Special Event -- USA Today

Sky watchers are getting ready for an evening of special viewing when a total lunar eclipse arrives just after midnight on April 15.

What's more, this begins a rare sequence of four total lunar eclipses expected over the next two years.

Some Christians see this series of so-called blood moons as linked to a biblical prophecy of the End Times.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and moon line up so the Earth's shadow falls on the moon, darkening it.

The one on April 15 will begin at 1:20 a.m. on the East Coast, according to Sky and Telescope magazine.

Read more ....

My Comment: I saw one about 40 years ago .... it is a memory that is still with me.

Why Robots Cannot Be Regulated?


Why It Is Not Possible To Regulate Robots -- The Guardian

We regulate machines, from drills to defibrillators. What distinguishes a power-drill from a robot-drill? A computer driving it

There's an old joke about the sciences: biology is just applied chemistry, chemistry is just applied physics, and physics is just applied maths. It's really a neat little quip about essentialism and reductionism. While it's true that biology can be accurately described as "applied chemistry," treating living things as alive – and not as a set of chemical reactions no different in principle from making a cup of cocoa or extracting a pigment to use in housepaint – has undeniable utility.

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My Comment: A long commentary .... but it is not an easy subject to analyze and discuss. A prediction .... this discussion will only increase with time as computers and robots develop into even more sophisticated models and networks than what they are today.

Scientists Pin Down Moon's Birth Date

This artist's illustration depicts a giant impact between the early Earth and a Mars-size object, a cataclysmic collision thought to have created the moon about 4.5 billion years ago.NASA/JPL-Caltech

Moon's Age Revealed, And A Lunar Mystery May Be Solved -- FOX News

Scientists have pinned down the birth date of the moon to within 100 million years of the birth of the solar system — the best timeline yet for the evolution of our planet's natural satellite.

This new discovery about the origin of the moon may help solve a mystery about why the moon and the Earth appear virtually identical in makeup, investigators added.

Scientists have suggested the moon was formed 4.5 billion years ago by a gigantic collision between a Mars-size object named Theia and Earth, a crash that would have largely melted the Earth. This model suggested that more than 40 percent of the moon was made up of debris from this impacting body. (Current theory suggests that Earth experienced several giant impacts during its formation, with the moon-forming impact being the last.)

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CSN Editor: 4.5 billion years .... give or take.

Skydiver Captures The First Ever Footage Of A Falling Meteorite After It Has Stopped Burning

Meteorite Narrowly Misses Norwegian Skydiver -- The Telegraph

A skydiver in Norway captures the first ever footage of a falling meteorite after it has stopped burning

A Norwegian man narrowly avoided being hit by a meteorite while skydiving and has captured the first ever video footage of a meteorite travelling through the air after its flame has gone out.

Anders Helstrup, who belongs to the Oslo Parachute Club said "I got the feeling that there was something, but I didn't register what was happening,"

"When we stopped the film, we could clearly see something that looked like a stone. At first it crossed my mind that it had been packed into a parachute, but it's simply too big for that."

Read more ....

My Comment: It is there for an instance .... and then it is gone. Wow.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Nasa Is Developing Robots That Could Perform Surgery In Space

The Robots That Could Perform Surgery In SPACE: Tiny Doctor Droids Could Perform Complex Medical Procedures On Astronauts -- Daily Mail

* Prototype has been created by Nebraska-based Virtual Incision and Nasa
* 0.9lb (0.4kg) device has tools that can grab, cauterise and suture tissue
* Its head is fitted with a camera which sends a feed back to control station
* Nasa said astronauts could be trained to use the robot to perform select surgeries on each other

Imagine a miniature robo-surgeon sliding into your body through an incision in your stomach.

Once inside, the robot can expertly manoeuvre its way around the abdominal cavity, which has been filled with gas to make more room for work.

It can then perform procedures such as an emergency appendectomy or perforate a gastric ulcer.

This is the scenario being explored by Nasa in the hope that risky surgical operations in space will someday become a routine matter.

Working in collaboration with Virtual Incision in Lincoln, Nebraska, the space agency has developed a prototype of a remotely-operated fist-sized robot doctor.

Read more ....

My Comment: They still have a long way to go .... but the advancements are impressive.

Quantum Computing And New Approaches To Artificial Intelligence

Quantum Computing And New Approaches To Artificial Intelligence Could Get The Resources To Achieve Real Breakthroughs In Computing -- Next Big Future

Ramez gives examples and problems to achieving an intelligence explosion

* the complexity of important problems like computational chemistry have exponentially increasing complexity
- if designing intelligence is an N^2 problem, an AI that is 2x as intelligent as the entire team that built it (not just a single human) would be able to design a new AI that is only 70% as intelligent as itself

* There are already entities with vastly greater than human intelligence working on the problem of augmenting their own intelligence. A great many, in fact. We call them corporations. And while we may have a variety of thoughts about them, not one has achieved transcendence.

Let's focus on as a very particular example: The Intel Corporation. Intel uses the collective brainpower of tens of thousands of humans and probably millions of CPU cores to.. design better CPUs! (And also to create better software for designing CPUs.) Those better CPUs will run the better software to make the better next generation of CPUs. Yet that feedback loop has not led to a hard takeoff scenario.

Read more ....

My Comment: The money for this research is now coming in .... but will the results follow? I guess we will find out in the next fwe years.

Saturn's Moon Enceladus Has A Sea Of Water The Size Of Lake Superior

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
A view of Saturn's fourth-largest moon, Enceladus, as seen from the Cassini spacecraft. Credit NASA

A Moon of Saturn Has A Sea, Scientists Say -- New York Times

Inside a moon of Saturn, beneath its icy veneer and above its rocky core, is a sea of water the size of Lake Superior, scientists announced on Thursday.

The findings, published in the journal Science, confirm what planetary scientists have suspected about the moon, Enceladus, ever since they were astonished in 2005 by photographs showing geysers of ice crystals shooting out of its south pole.

“What we’ve done is put forth a strong case for an ocean,” said David J. Stevenson, a professor of planetary science at the California Institute of Technology and an author of the Science paper.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That Saturn's Moon Enceladus Has A Sea Of Water The Size Of Lake Superior

Saturn Moon Harbors Ocean, Raising Possibility of Life -- National Geographic
Liquid Ocean Sloshes under Saturn Moon’s Icy Crust, Cassini Evidence Shows -- Scientific America
Underground Ocean Makes Enceladus A Top Candidate For Extraterrestrial Life -- Science/Wired
Ocean as Large as Lake Superior Found on Enceladus, a Tiny Moon Orbiting Saturn -- Newsweek
NASA Cassini spacecraft finds sign of subsurface sea on Saturn’s moon Enceladus -- Washington Post

Trion SuperCars Wants To Develop The Nemesis, An American Supercar With 2,000hp

Trion SuperCars plans to introduce a prototype for the Nemesis, an American supercar with 2,000hp. Yahoo News

2,000-hp Trion Nemesis Angling To Be America's Next Great Supercar -- Autoblog

You can add one more name to the list of boutique builders hoping to break into the automotive industry. This time it's a California-based outfit called Trion Supercars that is launching the 2,000-horsepower Nemesis. It's supposed to be a driver-oriented sportscar and is aimed at the wealthiest people in the world. At the moment it still only exists in renderings, though.

"We want to be the Nemesis of the Europeans," said company leader Richard Patterson to Autoblog about in the inspiration for the name. The company claims the it's going to be one of the world's fastest cars when it's ready, theoretically packing a twin-turbo V8 with more than 2,000 hp and an eight-speed sequential gearbox. The company believes that its creation could hit 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and reach a top speed of over 270 mph. If that is the case, then it would put the newcomer against the heavyweights like the Hennessey Venom GT and Koenigsegg Agera One:1.

Read more ....

More News On Trion SuperCars Wanting To Develop The Nemesis, An American Supercar With 2,000hp

US firm developing 2,000hp supercar -- Yahoo News
Trion Supercars Nemesis promises the US a 2000hp street bullet -- Slash Gear
With ‘Predator Mode’ and 2,000 horsepower, Trion’s Nemesis is as mythical as it sounds -- Digital Trends
Trion Nemesis 2,000-hp Super Car Imagined by American Firm -- Motorward
Trion Nemesis Supercar Sports 2,000hp For Top Speed Of Over 270mph -- Geeky Gadgets
The Trion Nemesis Is A Ridiculous 2,000-HP Supercar For Tall People -- Jalopnik

Tesla Motors Wants To Replace Sideview Mirrors With Cameras

Tesla Motors Leads Campaign To Replace Sideview Mirrors With Cameras -- Digital Trends

The car has been around for so long that it’s easy to take things for granted. Things like side mirrors.

Tesla Motors is leading a campaign to replace those reflective pieces of glass with cameras, Automotive News (sub. required) reports.

The Silicon Valley carmaker has teamed up with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers – a trade group that represents 12 major car companies – to ask the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its OK.

Read more ....

More News On Tesla Motors Wanting To Replace Sideview Mirrors With Cameras

Automakers lobbying to replace rearview mirrors with cameras -- FOX News
Tesla, Auto Alliance Submit Proposal to Eliminate Side Mirrors -- Motor Trend
Tesla Wants To Put Side Mirrors In The Rearview Mirror -- Huffington Post
Camera happy auto industry? Tesla, auto makers looking to replace side-view mirrors with cameras -- Tech Times
Tesla Wants to Replace Side-View Mirrors With Cameras -- PC Mag
Tesla behind lobbying push to ditch side mirrors -- Autoblog
Why It’ll Be a While Before We Can Replace Car Mirrors With Cameras -- Damon Lavrinc, Autopia/Wired

Why Do Zebras Have Stripes?

Why Do Zebras Have Stripes? Scientists Have The Answer -- The Guardian

There have been many explanations for the zebra’s impressive stripes. New research strongly suggests that they have evolved to deter parasitic flies.

The zebra’s striped coat is simultaneously extraordinary and stunning. So wondrous, in fact, that many people have imagined it to be evidence of God’s infinitely artistic hand. Over the years, there have been many more rational explanations, but that all-important scientific consensus has remained elusive.

Charles Darwin certainly found the zebra’s stripes to be a conundrum. In The Descent of Man, he dismissed the idea they could act as camouflage, citing William Burchell’s observations of a herd:

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My Comments: It apparently all comes down to biting flies not liking stripes.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NASA Breaks Contact With Russia's Space Agency Because Of Crimea

Backdropped by Earth, the International Space Station is seen in this image photographed by an STS-130 crew member on space shuttle Endeavour after the station and shuttle began their post-undocking relative separation, in this undated NASA handout photo. Reuters

NASA Suspends Contact With Russia Over Ukraine Crisis -- The Verge

Work on International Space Station will continue.

Citing Russia’s ongoing violations of Ukraine’s sovereign and territorial integrity, NASA told its officials today that the agency is suspending all contact with Russian government representatives. In an internal NASA memorandum obtained by The Verge, the agency said that the suspension includes travel to Russia, teleconferences, and visits by Russian government officials to NASA facilities. NASA is even suspending the exchange of emails with Russian officials.

Ongoing International Space Station activities are exempt from this suspension, however, as are meetings with other countries held outside of Russia that include the participation of Russian officials. The directives come directly from Michael O'Brien, the agency associate administrator for International and Interagency Relations.

Read more ....

More News On NASA Breaking Contact With Russia's Space Agency Because Of Ukraine

NASA Internal Memo: Suspension of NASA contact with Russian entities -- Space Ref
NASA cuts ties with Russia except on space station -- AP
NASA halts contact with Russia, except for International Space Station -- CBS News
NASA orders its staff to stop talking to Russia, because Crimea -- Washington Post
NASA Limits Cooperation With Russia -- Voice of America
NASA to suspend almost all ties with Russia, according to leaked internal memo -- Christian Science Monitor
NASA suspends ties with Russian gov't officials over ongoing crisis in Crimea -- FOX News
NASA Suspends Some Ties With Russia Over Ukraine Crisis -- NPR
NASA Breaks Most Contact With Russia -- New York Times
NASA Cuts All Non-ISS Ties with Russia Over Ukraine (Updated) -- Gizmodo
NASA suspends relations with Russia space agency -- UPI
NASA Limits Contact With Russia, Except for Space Station -- NBC
NASA suspends cooperation with Russia over Ukraine crisis -- RT
NASA Suspends Space Contracts With Russia Due To Ukraine Crisis -- Red Orbit
Leaked NASA Memo Says Agency Is Giving Russia the Cold Shoulder -- Time
The U.S.-Russia Fight Has Entered Space -- National Journal
NASA suspends relations with Russia, but Putin holds all the cards -- Peter Spotts, Christian Science Monitor
NASA must immediately cease contact with Russia [Updated at 19:30 CDT] -- Ars Technica
Russia regrets NASA halting cooperation, experts warn of impact on intl space work -- RT

Whale Sets Record For Deepest Ever Dive After It Plunges 9,816ft (2,992 Metres) Below The Waves

A study has revealed that the shy Cuvier's beaked whale performs the deepest dives made by any mammal on the planet at 9,816ft (2,992metres) below the waves - the equivalent of just under seven Empire State Buildings - and stays below for 138 minutes

10,000 FEET Under The Sea: Whale Sets Record For Deepest Ever Dive After It Plunges Seven Empire State Buildings Deep -- Daily Mail

* One Cuvier's beaked whale dived 9,816ft (2,992 metres) below the waves and stayed below for 38 minutes
* The equivalent of 6.75 Empire State Buildings placed on top of one another
* Biologists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California tagged eight of the whales off San Nicholas Island in southern California
* They are interested in whether the whales display unusual behaviour when they hear sonar emitted from ships

Whales are capable of swimming vast distances across oceans, but they are also expert divers.

And now a study has revealed that the shy Cuvier’s beaked whale performs the deepest dives made by any mammal on the planet.

Scientists were surprised to record one of the mammal's dives, which was 9,816ft (2,992 metres) below the waves.

Read more ....

My Comment: Wow .... I never knew that they can dive that deep and stay underwater for that long.

Why Do The Japanese Wear Surgical Masks?

Why Do Japanese People Wear Surgical Masks? It’s Not Always For Health Reasons -- Rocket News 24

Like kimono and T-shirts with English writing (sometimes vulgar, sometimes comical, always unintelligible), the number of people you’ll see in Japan wearing surgical masks is pretty surprising. Sure, Japan is a hard working society, and the spread of productivity-sapping sickness is always a concern at schools and workplaces, but that doesn’t seem like reason enough for the proliferation of facial coverings that sometimes has Tokyo offices looking more like an operating room.

Health concerns are only part of the equation, though, as recent studies have revealed multiple reasons people in Japan wear masks that have nothing to do with hygiene.

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My Comment: So typically Japanese .... they are being polite and considerate of others.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pentagon Announces A ‘Super-Soldier’ Serum That Will Grant ‘Significant Boost To Troop Performance’

U.S. Military Perfects ‘Super-Soldier’ Serum That Grants ‘Significant Boost To Troop Performance’ --

U.S. Military scientists in conjunction with the office of the Vice President and Warner Music Group have developed a working “super-soldier” serum that “significantly boosts troop performance.”

While President Obama recently confirmed the military is already “building Iron Man,” (see video below) the revelation that a “super-soldier” serum exists comes as nothing short of a surprise. According to military researchers, Project Perspective began over 70 years ago at the height of WWII, but it was only after combining two never-before-tried elements that the experiment truly began to shine.

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My Comment: OK .... I am two days late with my April Fools joke. :)

Ebola Outbreak Is Spreading In West Africa

Ebola Outbreak Causing Panic In West Africa -- Jennifer Lazuta, Special for USA TODAY

DAKAR, Senegal – The rising death toll and the wide spread of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has sparked fear across the region with at least 80 already having died from the nearly always fatal virus.

"Every day we're reading about it in the newspaper, hearing about it on the radio, and wondering when it's going to come here," said 32-year-old Mossa Bau, who lives in Dakar, Senegal. "Everyone is very scared because, really, it's a dangerous disease and no one has the means to stop it."

The World Health Organization says that as many as 125 people across three countries are now believed to have contracted the highly contagious disease. Senegal shut off its border with Guinea, where the outbreak is believed to have originated, in the hopes of keeping the disease from spreading its way.

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My Comment: This is a nasty disease.

America's Beer Map

Researchers analysed a million tweets to see what people preferred to drink, and found huge differences between the coasts

The East Coast Prefers Bud, While The West Goes For Coors: Beer Maps Of America Reveals Top Tipples (And Finds If You Live Near The Coast, You're Probably Drinking Wine) -- Daily Mail

* Researchers analysed a million tweets to find what beers people were drinking
* Found those living near the coast tend to prefer beer over wine
* Washington, Colorado and California prefer wine, while Midwest, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas prefer beer

The East Coast prefers Bud Light, and those near the coast are more likely to prefer wine over beer, a new study of America's drinking habits has revealed.

Researchers analysed a million tweets to find out which each region prefers.

They found tweet preferences for Bud Light were found mainly in the Eastern half of the US, while preferences for Coors Light originate in the Western half, particularly near Colorado and surrounding states.

Read more ....

My Comment: I prefer Guinness and Stella Artois.