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I’ve seen the future of electronics and it’s … vacuum tubes!

July 12, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

back_to_the_vacuum

Huh? Yep, you read it right.

We are bumping into a limit to increasing transistor speed, determined by the “electron transit time” — the time it takes an electron to travel, says Hong Koo Kim, a professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering.

It’s back to the vacuum, folks.

Kim explains: electrons traveling inside a semiconductor device frequently experience collisions or scattering… read more

Evidence of extraterrestrial life?

March 7, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Ivuna CI1 meteorite filament. partially encased in thin carbon-rich sheath. Image: Richard B. Hoover

Richard B. Hoover, Ph.D. NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center has discovered evidence of microfossils similar to terrestrial cyanobacteria in freshly fractured slices of the interior surfaces of two meteorites. He found that similar to trichomic cyanobacteria and other trichomic prokaryotes such as filamentous sulfur bacteria.

“The filaments have been observed to be embedded in freshly fractured internal surfaces of the stones,” said. “They exhibit features (eg, the size and size… read more

How to remote-control a robot on another planet

July 4, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

justin_the_robot

Meet Justin, an android on Earth who will soon be controlled remotely by an astronaut in the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station. The astronaut will don an exoskeleton to remotely control Justin.

The long-range goal: explore the Moon and planets with tele-operated robots.

How to learn things automatically

December 12, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Decoded Neurofeedback

OK, this one’s right out of The Matrix and The Manchurian Candidate.

Imagine watching a computer screen while lying down in a brain imaging machine and automatically learning how to play the guitar or lay up hoops like Shaq O’Neal, or even how to recuperate from a disease — without any conscious knowledge.

Researchers at Boston University (BU) and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan… read more

Social networks, surveillance, and terrorism

January 10, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: iStockphoto)

“We are creating systems of comprehensive surveillance in which a billion people are involved and those people’s lives are being lived under a kind of scrutiny which no secret police service is the 20th century could ever have aspired to achieve,” claims militant digital privacy advocate Eben Moglen, Betabeat reports.

“And all of that data is being collected and sold by people whose goal it is to… read more

Ask Ray | Study shows a 30% lower rate of breast cancer mortality with supplement use

December 30, 2013 by Terry Grossman

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment cover

Dear readers,

Here is a study coming out of the large and well respected Women’s Health Initiative showing positive results for supplements and breast cancer.

Unfortunately, the media has largely ignored it.

It seems there is a strong media bias to headline studies suggesting negative or no benefit results and to ignore positive ones that do show benefit. For example, this study shows a 30% lower rate… read more

Electronic hippocampal system turns long-term memory on and off, enhances cognition

June 17, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

electrode_array

Can we reverse-engineer the brain, and eventually replace damaged portions of it with electronic devices? Research just announced suggests that’s a realistic idea.

In a major breakthrough in treating brain disorders, Theodore Berger and his team at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, along with Wake Forest University researchers, have developed a neural prosthesis for rats that is able to restore their ability… read more

How to access TV news on any topic for the last three years

September 20, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

internet_archive_news

This is fantastic news for journalists and voters: the Internet Archive has launched the free TV News Search & Borrow service.

The collection now contains 350,000 news programs collected over 3 years from national U.S. networks and stations in San Francisco and Washington D.C.  The archive is updated with new broadcasts 24 hours after they are aired.  Older materials are also being added.… read more

Ask Ray | Supporting women in the sciences and technology

April 28, 2014

(credit: iStock)

Dear readers,

There is a major push in Silicon Valley to recruit more women into software engineering. The overall issue of the lack of women in this field is a national issue.

I strongly encourage and support women in the sciences and in technology.

A recent article I found interesting, and wanted to share:
The New York Times | “Technology’s man problem”

Here is… read more

Beyond texting: augmented-reality windshields — what could go wrong?

January 16, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

ar_car

What? You thought distracted drivers texting on cell phones and swerving erratically is a problem? That’s so 2011.

Imagine a future in which icons flash on your car windshield, hologram-style, as your car approaches restaurants, stores, historic landmarks or the homes of friends, effuses CNN.

Simply point your hand at them, and the icons open to show real-time information: when that bridge over there was built,… read more

book review | Science fiction bots becoming fact

March 3, 2011 by R.U. Sirius

We, Robot book cover

An interview with Mark Stephen Meadows, author of We, Robot: Skywalker’s Hand, Blade Runners, Iron Man, Slutbots, and How Fiction Became Fact.

 With We, Robot (Lyons Press, 2010), Mark Stephen Meadows explores the recent edges of robotic development in the context of some of our favorite fictional narratives.

It’s a smart, edgy read, written in a very hip, almost cyberpunk style (for one example, the author describes himself

read more

Robots invent spoken language, join Facebook

May 18, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Lingodroidsintro

OK, I just made up the Facebook part, but IEEE Spectrum reported Tuesday on two robots that communicate linguistically like humans and invent new words. Spooky.

They’re called “Lingodroids” (reminds me of Stephen King’s even spookier The Langoliers, which were robotic monsters dealing with a “time rip”).

Researchers at the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology in Australia have designed… read more

Tiny bugs are controlling your mind!

August 30, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

probiotic

Before you take another probiotic cap, you may want to read this. Yet another study at McMaster University in Canada suggests that gut bacteria might be able to alter your brain chemistry and change your mood and behavior, reports Science NOW.

We reported on earlier research on gut bacteria at McMaster University and at Ohio State University. We also mentionedread more

Passing of the typewriter

April 27, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: iStockhphoto)

Sadly, one of the world’s last remaining typewriter factories, Godrej & Boyce in Mumbai, India, is closing down its typewriter production line, survived only by Moonachie, N.J.-based Swintec.

We may not know what we’ve lost. Despite its limitations, with a typewriter, you are pressed to think out the entirety of what you are trying to say in your head to avoid endless retyping (or using… read more

Report on the fourth conference on artificial general intelligence

September 3, 2011 by Ben Goertzel

The Fourth Conference on Artificial General Intelligence (AGI-11) was held on Google’s campus in Mountain View (Silicon Valley), California, in the first week of August 2011. This was the largest AGI conference yet, with more than 200 people attending, and it had a markedly different tone from the prior conferences in the series.

A number of participants noted that there was less of an out-of-the-mainstream, wild-eyed maverick… read more

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