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Another faster-than-light neutrinos challenge

October 1, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Cherenkov radiation (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

This just in: a new critique of the CERN OPERA finding of faster-than-light neutrinos. In “New Constraints on Neutrino Velocities,” Cohen and Glashow argue that the high-energy (17.5 GeV) superluminal muon neutrinos would actually lose energy rapidly (down to about 12.5GeV) on the 730km trip, long before arriving in Italy.

But that didn’t happen. Ergo, the neutrino weren’t really traveling faster than light, say Cohen… read more

What just happened? Why some of us seem totally spaced out

October 7, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

fMRI of individual without a paracingulate sulcus (credit: Jon Simons)

Ever wonder why uncle Louie seems to imagine stuff that didn’t happen, and calls you crazy? Well now’s there’s an explanation.

Half of you won’t like it, I warn you.

A new study of the brain by University of Cambridge scientists explains why some people can’t tell the difference between what they saw and what they imagined or were told about — such as whether they or another… read more

Singularity Summit 2011 roundup

October 19, 2011 by Giulio Prisco

Stephen Wolfram

The tone of the Singularity Summit 2011 in New York was set by Ray Kurzweil, who presented many examples of accelerating developments, countering the arguments presented by Microsoft’s co-founder Paul Allen in a recent article, The Singularity Isn’t Near.

Robots vs. humans

James McLurkin introduced the concept of swarms of small, light, and cheap robots that communicate with each other, solve… read more

Kurzweil responds: Don’t underestimate the Singularity

October 20, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

Last week, Paul Allen and a colleague challenged the prediction that computers will soon exceed human intelligence. Now Ray Kurzweil, the leading proponent of the “Singularity,” offers a rebuttal. — Technology Review, Oct. 10, 2011.

Although Paul Allen paraphrases my 2005 book, The Singularity Is Near, in the title of his essay (cowritten with his colleague Mark Greaves), it appears that… read more

The Internet, peer-reviewed

October 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

hypothesis

It could be one of the most important innovations on the Internet since the browser.

Imagine an open-source, crowd-sourced, community-moderated, distributed platform for sentence-level annotation of the Web. In other words, a way to cut through the babble and restore some sanity and trust.

That’s the idea behind Hypothes.is. It will work as an overlay on top of any stable content, including news, blogs, scientific articles, books,… read more

Microsoft offers a glimpse into the future of productivity

October 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

cell

Microsoft has posted an awesome new concept video with some ubercool new interfaces that could be here in five to ten years, estimates Kurt DelBene, President, Microsoft Office Division.

That sounds a bit conservative. “All of the ideas in the video are based on real technology,” he said. “Some of the capabilities, such as speech recognition, real time collaboration, and data visualization, already… read more

Beyond GPS: your phone in 2015

November 1, 2011 by Giulio Prisco

Galileo GNSS

Attention smartphone users: the recent launch of the first two satellites for Europe’s Galileo global navigation satellite system (GNSS) could make things a lot more interesting in about four years.

Galileo will deliver real-time positioning accuracy down to one meter range, compared to 10 meters for GPS, the European Space Agency (ESA) states, and it plans to give non-European… read more

Mask-bot: A talking video humanoid robot

November 8, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Mask-Bot

Welcome to the creepiest uncanny-valley experience yet: a talking robot face called Mask-botdeveloped by a team at the Institute for Cognitive Systems (ICS) at TU München and AIST, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan.

What sets Mask-bot apart is that it can instantly construct and project a static video image of anyone’s face (from a photo) on a 3D surface,… read more

A limitless power source for the indefinite future

November 11, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Space solar power satellite (credit: SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc./Spaceworks Commercial)

On Monday, the National Space Society (NSS) will present findings from an eye-opening new report by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). You’re hearing about this here first. (Full disclosure: I’m a member of the NSS board of directors.)

Some background: By 2030–40, the projected annual electrical energy consumption will be a staggering 220 trillion kiloWatt hours, double the consumption in 2010 — and four times more… read more

A Connectome Observatory for nanoscale brain imaging

November 14, 2011 by Giulio Prisco

Ken Hayworth's online talk

Dr. Ken Hayworth, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and designer of the Automatic Tape-Collecting Lathe Ultramicrotome (ATLUM), proposed to build a “Connectome Observatory” for nanoscale brain imaging in an online talk Sunday, How to create a Connectome Observatory of the mouse brain and beyond, presented in teleXLR8, a 3D interactive video conferencing space.

Hayworth suggested that Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopes… read more

New hope for repairing diseased or damaged brains

November 25, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Two exciting landmark studies of ways to repair damaged or diseased brains have just been published, and are discussed on KurzweilAI today.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison study found that when neurons generated from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) were implanted into the hippocampus of a mouse, the neurons began to behave like normal rat neurons. That means that for humans in the future, there could be limitless… read more

Let’s tell everyone how to make a virus that could kill millions!

November 26, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

H5N1 virus (credit: Lennart Nilsson)

Here’s an idea: why don’t we just tell everybody in the world how to make an airborne H5N1 influenza virus strain (“bird flu”) that has been genetically altered to be easily transmissible (between ferrets, which mostly closely mimic the human response to flu), and which if released, could trigger an influenza pandemic, quite possibly with many millions of deaths?

OK, it seems like a totally evil idea, one that… read more

Bots gone wild

November 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

ant-roach

Introducing random — a new, occasional blog category for stuff that’s way too weird for our regular weird posts. Like these wacky robot stories:

Wanna take a ride on a 15-foot-long inflatable walking robot named Ant-Roach (as in anteater-cockroach)? Um, maybe not, but hey, “human safe” bots are not a bad idea, especially if you plan to have one in your home, with kids. A future Disney… read more

Ask Ray | Will future people lose sight of their humanity?

November 30, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

A Nice Place to Visit

Dear Ray:

Have you seen this Twilight Zone episode, “A Nice Place to Visit?” I think it is a good illustration of the likely consequences of our future.

I’m eager for my 12-year-old son to watch Transcendent Man with me. I think it’s important for him to understand the implications of free will.

Resa

Resa,

Thanks. Yes, I’m very familiar… read more

When the Singularity happens, it will be ‘very obvious’: Vernor Vinge vs. the Singulars

December 7, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

singularityfringe

How will we know if we have passed through a Singularity? Damn good question, one that keeps me up at night. Like right now.

Science fiction writer Vernor Vinge, originator of the technological Singularity concept, came up with some interesting answers in an io9 video interview: “When things begin to happen in the real world that no human has any explanation for … or if… read more

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