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USC engineers build synthetic synapse with carbon nanotubes

May 2, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Field effect transistor using carbon nanotubes to create synthetic synapse (credit: USC Viterbi School of Engineering)

Engineering researchers at the University of Southern California have built a carbon nanotube circuit that reproduces the function of a neural synapse.

“This is a necessary first step in the process,” said Professor Alice Parker, who began the complex project of looking at the possibility of developing a synthetic brain in 2006.

“We wanted to answer the question: Can you build a circuit that… read more

Onion News Network | Ear of genetically modified corn begs for death

April 28, 2011

Onion News Network logo

Source: Onion News Network

Onion News Network | In the Daily Briefing, Tucker Hope reports that a cob of bioengineered corn in Iowa begged to be killed.

Related:
The Onion | CynGen press release
The Onion | Genetically modified food activity around the nation
The Onion | collection of articles on genetically modified organisms
Onion News Network

Know Your Meme | Magnets, how exactly do they work?

April 27, 2011

Know Your Meme logo

Source: Know Your Meme — June 11, 2010

Know Your Meme | Internet Scientist Elspeth Jane of The Rocketboom Institute for Internet Studies explores the viral sensation that was Insane Clown Posse’s “Miracles,” aka “F***ing Magnets: How Do They Work?”

[ For more info on this, visit the Meme Database! ]

Related:
Know Your Meme
HowStuffWorks | "How magnets work"

Toward a Science of Consciousness: Brain, Mind, Reality

April 27, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: Center for Consciousness Studies)

Toward a Science of Consciousness: Brain, Mind, Reality will be held May 3–7, 2011 at Stockholm University, Stockholm Sweden, keynoted by Sir Roger Penrose, speaking on “Consciousness and Physical Law.”

I attended the 2010 conference in Tucson; it was one of the most interesting and mind-expanding events I’ve ever experienced. This one should be even better.

It will feature sessions like Brain Electromagnetic Fields andread 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

Know Your Meme | ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic explains Antares’ Auto-Tune technology sensation

April 27, 2011

Know Your Meme logo

Source: Know Your Meme — February 28, 2011

Know Your Meme | The Rocketboom Institute for Internet Studies examines the phenomenon of Auto-Tune with help from special guest Professor “Weird Al” Yankovic.

[ For more info on this, visit the Meme Database ]

Related:
Know Your Meme
Antares Audio Technology
More hilarious examples of Auto-Tuned music
Time | Auto-Tune: Why pop music sounds perfect

The Imaginary Foundation | The Undivided Mind virtual installation fuses the wonder of art and science

April 26, 2011

Imaginary Foundation logo

Source: The Imaginary Foundation — April 21, 2011 | Micah Daigle

The Imaginary Foundation | A tour of the cosmos in bytes and atoms: the mysterious think tank and art apparel collective known as The Imaginary Foundation recently created an installation entitled The Undivided Mind, which merged the seemingly opposing worlds of art and science.

The San Francisco gallery, covered wall to ceiling in scribbled chalkboard scientific diagrams and mathematical equations attracted hundreds of curious “imaginarians” on the opening night in late… read more

New movie Real Steel to pit Hugh Jackman against robot boxers

April 23, 2011

Real Steel poster

Wikipedia | Real Steel is an upcoming feature film inspired by Richard Matheson’s short story Steel. The story was first adapted for television by Matheson as an episode of The Twilight Zone. The film stars Hugh Jackman and is directed by Shawn Levy. Film is a gritty, white-knuckle, action ride set in the near-future, where the sport of boxing has gone hi-tech. Hugh Jackman stars as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up… read more

Who is John Galt?

April 18, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

atlasshrugged

Atlas Shrugged Part I, the movie, an adaptation of Ayn Rand’s 1957 objectivist novel Atlas Shrugged, tells the first installment in the story of a dystopian future in which a collectivist society has forced the great thinkers of the world to go on strike, leaving the functioning world without scientists, engineers, philosophers, or artists.

Its theme is the role of individual achievement in society and its… read more

A Darwinian explanation for the Fermi paradox [UPDATED 4/21/2011]

April 18, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Arecibo Observatory: risking destruction of the Earth?

The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with, such civilizations. As Enrico Fermi asked, “Where is everybody?”

One answer is that extraterrestial life sufficiently advanced to be capable of interstellar travel or communication must be rare, since otherwise we would have seen evidence of it by now. This in… read more

Schrödinger’s cat

April 18, 2011

Schrodinger cat cartoon

Noted physicists Schrödinger and Heisenberg are driving around in a car, and Heisenberg says,”I think we just ran over a cat.”

“Is it dead?” asks Schrödinger.

“I can’t be certain,” says Heisenberg.

Heisenberg and Schrödinger are driving in a car and they get pulled over. The police officer asks, “Do you know how fast you were going?” and Heisenberg says, “Well, not really, but I… read more

comic | What is the meaning of life?

April 15, 2011

cartoon meaning of life

UPDATE | Kurzweil to ‘grind into smithereens’ Colbert’s understanding of world tonight, says Comedy Central

April 12, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

colbert

Tuesday night April 12, “Ray Kurzweil — inventor and subject of the documentary Transcendent Man — stops by to take everything that Stephen thinks he understands about the world and grind it into unrecognizable smithereens before his forlorn and tearful eyes,” Comedy Central’s Indecision reports.

11:00 p.m. EDT update: In related news, at #30, Kurzweil has edged out Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert… read more

Ask Ray | Future battle for resource storage as a substrate for sentience

April 7, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

universe

Ray,

A disturbing thought occurred to me recently: given that we are on the cusp of personal immortality and the entrance into the age of conscious information (for lack of a better term), it seems that there will eventually become a real resource shortage at the most fundamental level.

What I’m suggesting (and you’ve probably already considered) is that as individuals make the transition to electronic… read more

Film Preview | Source Code movie combines mind-uploading, parallel universes, time travel, simulated reality

April 1, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

source-code3

In the science-fiction movie Source Code (April 1 release), a secret program called “Source Code” sends a pilot back in time to cross over into another man’s identity and relive the last eight minutes of the passenger’s life on a train.

The mission: find a bomb that exploded on the train, killing everyone on board, to prevent another terrorist attack in six hours.

“People… read more

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