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Chinese astronauts may grow vegetables on the Moon

December 6, 2012

800px-Kundasang_vegetables

Chinese astronauts may get fresh vegetables and oxygen supplies by gardening in extraterrestrial bases in the future, according to Deng Yibing, deputy director of the Beijing-based Chinese Astronaut Research and Training Center, Xinhua News reports.

Yibing said the experiment focused on a dynamic balanced mechanism of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water between people and plants in a closed system.

According to Deng, a cabin of 300 cubic meters… read more

New self-driving car system tested on UK roads

February 20, 2013

Self-driving RobotCar

Scientists at Oxford University have developed a self-driving car that can cope with snow, rain and other weather conditions. The system can be fitted to existing cars and could one day cost just £100 (US$150), The Guardian reports.

The new system has been installed in a Nissan Leaf electric car and tested on private roads around the university. It will halt for pedestrians, and could take over… read more

Bitcoin attracts major investors

May 24, 2013

bitcoin

Bitcoin is gaining traction outside its existing community of enthusiastic early adopters.

An estimated 1,100 people attended Bitcoin 2013, the first large conference dedicated to Bitcoin, MIT Technology Review reports. The conference also showed that Bitcoin has begun to attract the backing of conventional technology industry investors, who have sunk millions of dollars into a handful of Bitcoin startups.

In the Bitcoin system,… read more

The island where people forget to die

October 26, 2012

Ikaria

For a decade, with support from the National Geographic Society, I’ve been organizing a study of the places where people live longest, Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zoneswrites in The New York Times.

The project grew out of studies by my partners, Dr. Gianni Pes of the University of Sassari in Italy and Dr. Michel Poulain, a Belgian demographer. In 2000, they identified a region of… read more

New theory uncovers cancer’s deep evolutionary roots

Authors predict that if cancer cells are saturated with oxygen but deprived of sugar, it will slow them down or even even kill them
July 16, 2013

This typical four-week-old human embryo looks similar to fish embryos, with proto-gills and a tail.(credit: University of New South Wales)

A new way to look at cancer — by tracing its deep evolutionary roots to the dawn of multicellularity more than a billion years ago — has been proposed by Paul Davies of Arizona State University’s Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science in collaboration with Charles Lineweaver of the Australian National University.

If their theory is correct, it promises to transform the approach to… read more

Revolutionary space engine turns an airplane into a spaceplane

July 1, 2013

skylon

A revolutionary engine that can turn an aircraft into an orbiting spaceplane has won fresh backing from the British Government.

The hybrid engine called Skylon (Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine) — is currently being developed by Reaction Engines, SEN reports.

Until now, spacecraft heading for orbit have had to be launched by conventional rockets because of the amount of fuel needed to be get them… read more

Is climate science ‘settled’?

"Rigidly promulgating the idea that climate science is 'settled' (or is a 'hoax') demeans and chills the scientific enterprise."
September 23, 2014

(Credit: iStock)

The claim that “climate science is settled,” which runs through today’s popular and policy discussions, is misguided, says computational physicist Steven E. Koonin*, Director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University, writing in The Wall Street Journal Friday.

“It has … distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment … and inhibited… read more

Don’t fear the Cybermind

August 6, 2012

(credit: Christine Daniloff)

The line that separates my mind from the Internet is getting blurry, Harvard professor of psychology Daniel M. Wegner writes in the New York Times Sunday Review.

“This has been happening ever since I realized how often it feels as though I know something just because I can find it with Google. Technically, of course, I don’t know it. But when there’s a smartphone or… read more

Big Bang or Big Chill? The ‘Quantum Graphity’ theory

August 21, 2012

Is this the hidden granular structure from lensing-like effects? (Credit: James Q. Quach et al./

The start of the Universe should be modeled not as a Big Bang but more like water freezing into ice, according to a team of theoretical physicists at the University of Melbourne and RMIT University.

They suggest that by investigating the cracks and crevices common to all crystals — including ice — our understanding of the nature of the Universe could be revolutionized.

Hidden patternsread more

Extending Einstein’s theory beyond light speed

October 11, 2012

Spacetime_curvature

University of Adelaide applied mathematicians have extended Einstein’s theory of special relativity to work beyond the speed of light.

Einstein’s theory holds that nothing could move faster than the speed of light, but Professor Jim Hill and Dr Barry Cox in the University’s School of Mathematical Sciences have developed new formulas that allow for travel beyond this limit.… read more

Australian billionaire wants to build Jurassic Park-style resort

August 1, 2012

jurassic_park

Controversial billionaire Clive Palmer is rumored to be planning to clone a dinosaur from DNA so he can set it free in a Jurassic Park-style area at his new Palmer Resort in Coolum, Sunshine Coast Daily reports.

Palmer has apparently been in deep discussion with the people who successfully cloned Dolly the sheep to bring his dinosaur vision to life.

A spokesman said Palmer would hold a… read more

When will a computer pass the Turing Test?

An interview with Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google
August 14, 2013

Schmidt

“Many people in AI believe that we’re close to [a computer passing the Turing Test] within the next five years,” said Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google, speaking at The Aspen Institute on July 16, 2013.

In a wide-ranging interview by writer/biographer Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, Schmidt covered topics ranging from future user interfaces (“the next UI is AI”) to phone-based medical… read more

Warp drive may be more feasible than thought, scientists say

September 18, 2012

warp-drive-starship

A warp drive to achieve faster-than-light travel — a concept popularized in television’s Star Trek — may not be as unrealistic as once thought, according to scientists at the 100 Year Starship Symposium, Space.com reports.

A warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from moving fasterread more

Low-cost self-driving cars expected by 2016

May 28, 2013

audi_mobileye

Mobileye Vision Technologies has created a self-driving system for an Audi A7 car, John Markoff writes in The New York Times.

It is capable only of driving in a single lane at freeway speeds, as well as identifying traffic lights and automatically slowing, stopping and then returning to highway speeds.

But by blending advanced computer-vision techniques with low-cost video cameras, the company is… read more

Serious Blow to Dark Matter Theories?

April 19, 2012

galactic_halo

The most accurate study so far of the motions of stars in the Milky Way has found no evidence for dark matter in a large volume around the Sun.

According to widely accepted theories, the solar neighborhood was expected to be filled with dark matter, a mysterious invisible substance that can only be detected indirectly by the gravitational force it exerts. But a new study by a team of… read more

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