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U.S. engineering schools to educate 20,000 students to meet grand challenges

March 25, 2015

(credit: National Academy of Engineering)

In a letter of commitment presented to President Barack Obama at the White House Science Fair Monday, more than 120 U.S. engineering schools announced plans to educate a new generation of engineers expressly equipped to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century.

These “Grand Challenges,” identified through initiatives such as the White House Strategy for American Innovation, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges… read more

The end of Chinese manufacturing and rebirth of US industry

July 30, 2012

Tesla-Manufacturing

There is great concern about China’s real-estate and infrastructure bubbles.  But these are just short-term challenges that China may be able to spend its way out of.

The real threat to China’s economy is bigger and longer term: its manufacturing bubble.

Rising costs and political pressure aren’t what’s going to rapidly change the equation. The disruption will come from a set of technologies that are advancing at exponential… read more

The Pentagon wants your advice on tech for the year 2030 time frame

December 4, 2014

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is asking for ideas from the private sector on breakthrough technologies to guide military investment for the next decade and beyond, according to an article by futurist Patrick Tucker Wednesday in Defense One newsletter.

“On Wednesday, Defense Department officials issued a request for information calling on interested parties ‘to identify current and emerging technologies … that could provide significant military advantage to the United… read more

23-Year old with terminal brain cancer hopes to be cryopreserved (UPDATE)

October 18, 2012

kim_suozzi

As we noted previously, Kim Suozzi, 23, has terminal brain cancer that is highly aggressive and growing rapidly in a location that makes surgery impossible, and her final wish is to be cryopreserved.

Alcor Life Extension Foundation announced Wednesday that it has offered to cryopreserve Kim at a reduced cost, with the staff donating their time for her cryopreservation.

“I learned about cryonics… read more

The corrugated galaxy — Milky Way may be much larger than previously estimated

March 12, 2015

The Milky Way galaxy is at least 50 percent larger than is commonly estimated, according to new findings that reveal that the galactic disk is contoured into several concentric ripples. (Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

The Milky Way galaxy is at least 50 percent larger than is commonly estimated, according to new findings that reveal that the galactic disk is contoured into several concentric ripples.

The research, conducted by an international team led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Heidi Jo Newberg, revisits astronomical data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey which, in 2002, established the presence of a bulging ring of stars beyond the… read 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

Electrical signatures of consciousness in the dying brain

Higher levels of brain activity than in waking state
August 15, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A University of Michigan animal study shows that shortly after clinical death, in which the heart stops beating and blood stops flowing to the brain, rats display brain activity patterns characteristic of conscious perception.

The “near-death experience” (NDE) reported by cardiac arrest survivors worldwide may be grounded in science, according to research at the University of Michigan Health System.

“This study, performed in… read more

Video game playing found beneficial for the brain

November 1, 2013

Super Mario 64 (credit: Nintendo)

Playing the Super Mario 64 video game causes increased size in brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning as well as fine motor skills, a new study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine St. Hedwig-Krankenhaus has found.

The positive effects of video gaming may also be useful in therapeutic interventions targeting psychiatric disorders.

To investigate… read more

Moral machines

Oops! Now other countries have drones.
November 29, 2012

google_car

Google’s driver-less cars are already street-legal in three states, California, Florida, and Nevada, and some day similar devices may not just be possible but mandatory.

Eventually (though not yet) automated vehicles will be able to drive better, and more safely than you can; no drinking, no distraction, better reflexes, and better awareness (via networking) of other vehicles.

Within two or three decades the difference between automated driving and… read more

Neanderthals were not inferior to modern humans, says study

May 5, 2014

Geico got it right (credit: Geico)

The widely held notion that Neanderthals were dimwitted and that their inferior intelligence allowed them to be driven to extinction by the much brighter ancestors of modern humans is not supported by scientific evidence, according to researcher Paola Villa at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Neanderthals thrived in a large swath of Europe and Asia between about 350,000 and 40,000 years ago. They disappeared after our ancestors,… read more

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