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Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence *

In Tech on February 26, 2016 at 10:30 am

By Tim Urban

We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. — Vernor Vinge

The Far Future—Coming Soon

Imagine taking a time machine back to 1750—a time when the world was in a permanent power outage, long-distance communication meant either yelling loudly or firing a cannon in the air, and all transportation ran on hay. When you get there, you retrieve a dude, bring him to 2015, and then walk him around and watch him react to everything. It’s impossible for us to understand what it would be like for him to see shiny capsules racing by on a highway, talk to people who had been on the other side of the ocean earlier in the day, watch sports that were being played 1,000 miles away, hear a musical performance that happened 50 years ago, and play with my magical wizard rectangle that he could use to capture a real-life image or record…

Full article… (Part 1 of 2)

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Scientists claim they can create babies without men by injecting eggs with artificial sperm

In Europe News, Tech on February 26, 2016 at 10:29 am

By John Von Radowitz

The Chinese team says the new discovery could pave the way for exciting new treatments to boost male fertility

Scientists have claimed they have found a way for women to have babies without men by creating artificial sperm.

The team from China claim they have created healthy mouse babies by injecting laboratory-made sperm into eggs to produce mouse offspring.

The scientists claim their stem cell technique could pave the way for new treatments for male fertility.

But British experts have called for the results to be independently verified and pointed out that any practical application is likely to be a long way off.

The mouse cells produced were technically “spermatids” – undeveloped sperm that lack tails and cannot swim.

Yet when they were injected into…

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Scientists create cloaking device that ‘hides’ whole events – making time itself disappear

In Big Brother, Tech on January 6, 2012 at 6:56 am

By Rob Waugh

Most of the human race don’t have any problem making time disappear – but scientists have cracked a very hi-tech way of doing exactly that.

Scientists have developed a ‘temporal cloaking’ device that can hide events from view.

The demonstration ‘hid’ events for 40 trillionths of a second – or 40 picoseconds – by speeding up and slowing down different parts of a light beam.

The different parts of the light beam were then put back together, so that any observers could not detect what happened during the ‘hidden’ time.

The information is simply not there to be read or reconstructed.

So far, the technique only works on periods of 0.00012 of a second – so the police can probably rest easy, as evildoers would have to move far faster than human beings ever could to ‘conceal’ their actions.

Instead, the ‘hidden’ fractions of a second could be used for ultra-secure communications.

The scientists think that the technique could even be combined with recent advances in optical ‘cloaking’ – to hide an event in both space and time.

Full article…

US Army unveils 1.8 gigapixel camera helicopter drone

In Americas, Tech on January 6, 2012 at 6:54 am

By BBC

The army said the technology promised “an unprecedented capability to track and monitor activity on the ground”.

A statement added that three of the sensor-equipped drones were due to go into service in Afghanistan in either May or June.

Boeing built the first drones, but other firms can bid to manufacture others.

“These aircraft will deploy for up to one full year as a way to harness lessons learned and funnel them into a program of record,” said Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Munster, product manager at the US Army’s Unmanned Aerial System Modernization unit.

Big eyes

The A160 Hummingbird systems are capable of vertical take-off, meaning access to a runway is not necessary.

The army also confirmed that they have hovering capabilities – something its existing unmanned aircaft lack.

Test flights will be carried out in Arizona at the start of the year before they are shipped to…

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Hackers plan space satellites to combat censorship

In Tech, World News on January 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm

By BBC

The scheme was outlined at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin.

The project’s organisers said the Hackerspace Global Grid will also involve developing a grid of ground stations to track and communicate with the satellites.

Longer term they hope to help put an amateur astronaut on the moon.

Hobbyists have already put a few small satellites into orbit – usually only for brief periods of time – but tracking the devices has proved difficult for low-budget projects.

The hacker activist Nick Farr first put out calls for people to contribute to the project in August. He said that the increasing threat of internet censorship had motivated the project.

“The first goal is an uncensorable internet in space. Let’s take the internet out of the control of terrestrial entities,” Mr Farr said.

Beyond balloons

He cited the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) in the United States as an example of the kind of threat facing online freedom. If passed, the act would allow for some sites to be blocked on copyright grounds.

Whereas past space missions have almost all been the preserve of national agencies and large…

Full article…

Monsanto’s GMO corn linked to organ failure

In Tech, World News on December 27, 2011 at 7:34 am

By Huffington Post

In a study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences, analyzing the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, researchers found that agricultural giant Monsanto’s GM corn is linked to organ damage in rats.

According to the study, which was summarized by Rady Ananda at Food Freedom, “Three varieties of Monsanto’s GM corn – Mon 863, insecticide-producing Mon 810, and Roundup® herbicide-absorbing NK 603 – were approved for consumption by US, European and several other national food safety authorities.”

Monsanto gathered its own crude statistical data after conducting a 90-day study, even though chronic problems can rarely be found after 90 days, and concluded that the corn was safe for consumption. The stamp of approval may have been premature, however.

In the conclusion of the IJBS study, researchers wrote:

“Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted. As there normally exists sex differences in liver and kidney metabolism, the highly statistically significant disturbances in the function of these organs, seen between male and female rats, cannot be dismissed as biologically insignificant as has been proposed by others. We therefore conclude that our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity….These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown.”

Monsanto has immediately responded to the study, stating that the research is “based on faulty analytical methods and reasoning and do not call into question the safety findings for these products.”

The IJBS study’s author Gilles-Eric Séralini responded to the Monsanto statement on…

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Bill Gates going nuclear with china

In Americas, Big Brother, Tech on December 8, 2011 at 10:41 pm

By Sarah Kessler

Bill Gates is in discussions with China to jointly develop a new and more efficient type of nuclear reactor.

“The idea is to be very low cost, very safe and generate very little waste,” Gates told CBC and other news outlets while giving a talk at China’s Ministry of Science and Technology on Wednesday.

Gates is an investor and the chairman of an energy startup called TerraPower, which recently completed a design for a reactor that it says can run without refueling for decades on depleted uranium – currently a waste byproduct of the enrichment process.

“Huge amounts of depleted uranium, useless to today’s reactors, already exist in stockpiles around the world,” explains TerraPower’s website. “Stocks of this material grow as uranium is enriched for the refueling of conventional reactors. [TerraPower’s reactor] directly converts depleted uranium to usable fuel as it operates. As a result, this inexpensive but energy-rich fuel source could provide a global electricity supply that is, for all practical purposes, inexhaustible.”

A February article in The Wall Street Journal noted that TerraPower was at the time looking for a country to host the experimental reactor and that “current U.S. rules don’t even cover the type of technology TerraPower hopes to use.”

It now appears that…

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European super X-Ray to study Earth’s core

In Europe News, Tech, World News on November 15, 2011 at 7:14 am

By The Inquisitr

Scientists have long speculated exactly what may reside at the center of the Earth’s core and now researchers at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility plan to find out through the use of a super X-ray beam.

The ESRF has been recently configured to use a huge particle accelerator that can create various intense X-Ray beams which provide scientists with an atom-level look at subjects. Called the ID24 the machine will allow scientists to subject metals to extremely high pressures and temperatures that are normally only observed in Earth’s core, they will then observe what happens to those objects to better understand our planets core.

In an official ESRF news release the process is explained:

The ID24 beamline works like an active probe rather than a passive detector, firing an intense beam of X-rays at a sample. It uses a technique called X-ray absorption spectroscopy where the way how atoms of a given chemical element absorb X-rays is studied in fine detail. From this data not only the abundance of an element can be deducted but also its chemical states and which other atoms, or elements, are in their immediate neighborhood, and how distant they are. In short, a complete picture at the atomic scale of the sample studied is obtained.

According to Popular Science ID24 won’t begin experimentation until Spring 2012 but when it finally goes into production researchers hope to receive 1 million measurements per second which in turn will show them precisely what happens when elements such as Iron are heated to 10,000 degrees.

By examining how metals examine at extreme depths scientists also hope to…

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*Military’s ‘persona’ software cost millions, used for ‘classified social media activities’

In Big Brother, Tech on November 7, 2011 at 6:10 am

By Stephen C. Webster

Most people use social media like Facebook and Twitter to share photos of friends and family, chat with friends and strangers about random and amusing diversions, or follow their favorite websites, bands and television shows.

But what does the US military use those same networks for? Well, we can’t tell you: That’s “classified,” a CENTCOM spokesman recently informed Raw Story.

One use that’s confirmed, however, is the manipulation of social media through the use of fake online “personas” managed by the military. Raw Story recently reported that the US Air Force had solicited private sector vendors for something called “persona management software.” Such a technology would allow single individuals to command virtual armies of fake, digital “people” across numerous social media portals.

These “personas” were to have detailed, fictionalized backgrounds, to make them believable to outside observers, and a sophisticated identity protection service was to back them up, preventing suspicious readers from uncovering the real person behind the account. They even worked out ways to game geolocating services, so these “personas” could be virtually inserted anywhere in the world, providing ostensibly live commentary on real events, even while the operator was not really present.

When Raw Story first reported on the contract for this software, it was unclear what the Air Force wanted with it or even if it had been acquired. The potential for misuse, however, was abundantly clear.

A fake virtual army of people could be used to help create the impression of consensus opinion in online comment threads, or manipulate social…

Full article…

Brain scanner ‘reads’ people’s dreams – accurately enough to see what they are dreaming about

In Big Brother, Tech on October 31, 2011 at 5:52 am

By Rob Waugh

Most of us remember only a tiny fraction of our dreams – but that could soon change.

Scientists predict that we could soon use computers to ‘see’ what we have dreamed about – and perhaps even record dreams to watch the next day.

Psychiatrists at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany think have already demonstrated that brain scanners can see into the dreams of ‘lucid dreamers’ – people who can control their dreams.

It means that recent breakthroughs in ‘reading’ the thoughts of waking subjects using brain monitors could apply to dreamers too.

The Planck institute scientists proved that scans of ‘lucid dreamers’ dreams looked the same as scans of their brain when they do the same thing while conscious.

The research, published in Current Biology, could be used with recently demonstrated ‘reconstruction’ technology to create moving images of people’s dreams.

The lucid dreamers agreed to move their eyes and hands from side to side to show the researchers the moments they ‘controlled’ their dreams to dream about clutching a hand.

The scientists monitored the dreamers with both magnetic resonance imaging and near-infrared spectroscopy to see

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