science + technology news

‘Diamonds from the sky’ approach to turn CO2 into valuable carbon nanofibers

Decreasing CO2 to pre-industrial-revolution levels is the goal
August 19, 2015

Researchers are generating carbon nanofibers (above) from CO2 , removing a greenhouse gas from the air to make products. (credit: Stuart Licht, Ph.D)

A research team of chemists at George Washington University has developed a technology that can economically convert atmospheric CO2 directly from the air into highly valued carbon nanofibers for industrial and consumer products — converting an anthropogenic greenhouse gas from a climate change problem to a valuable commodity, they say.

The team presented their research today (Aug. 19) at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of theread more

Autonomous vehicles might have to be test-driven tens or hundreds of years to demonstrate their safety

Alternative testing methods needed, RAND report finds
April 11, 2016

A Lexus RX450h retrofitted by Google for its driverless car fleet (credit: Steve Jurvetson/CC)

Autonomous vehicles would have to be driven hundreds of millions of miles or even hundreds of billions of miles over tens and even hundreds of years (under some scenarios) to create enough data to statistically demonstrate their safety, when compared to the rate at which injuries and fatalities* occur in human-controlled cars and trucks, according to a new open-access RAND report.**

Although the total number of crashes,… 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

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

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

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

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

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 aliens would win

Five tips about aliens from ET searcher Seth Shostak
June 7, 2012

prometheus

Alien invasion is alive and well in Hollywood this season, given Men in Black III, Battleship, and Prometheus, which opens June 8 in the U.S., IEEE Spectrum Tech Talk reports.

Cue Seth Shostak, senior astronomer with the SETI Institute, who offers five points about aliens that don’t cut it in Hollywood:

1. Your great-great-grandma was probably not from outer space.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

Ray Kurzweil talk at DEMO Oct. 2 to be streamed live

October 2, 2012

DEMO

Ray Kurzweil will speak Tuesday Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. PDT at the DEMO conference at the Hyatt Santa Clara in Santa Clara, California on “how we are making exponential gains in reverse-engineering the human brain, how these insights are going to fuel an AI revolution, and the impact of that revolution on business and society.”

The conference will be streamed live here through Oct. 3.

Kurzweil’s… 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

Huge ultra-realistic outdoor 3D displays without glasses planned for next year

The boundaries of reality are about to dissolve
January 19, 2015

Billboards of the future could show astonishing 3D effects - due to a new technology developed in Austria. (Credit: TriLite)

Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) physicists have designed a radical autostereoscopic (“glasses-free”) laser display that will send different ultrathin laser beams directly to individual viewers’ eyes, with full sunlight readability. The objective: create a realistic 3D illusion that changes as viewers walk or fly around the virtual object, with up to several thousand 3D viewing zones — each zone displaying a different view.

TU Vienna spinoff… read more

The dilemma of human enhancement

August 20, 2015

Crosstalks

How far can science push the limits of human life?

That was the theme of a Crosstalks webcast today, “The dilemma of human enhancement,” available for download.

The show addressed questions like “Can we prevent people from dying? With implants, nanotechnology, artificial body parts and smart drugs we can enhance human physiology beyond our current limitations. But should we really pursue this? And can… read more

Mars-bound astronauts face brain damage from galactic cosmic ray exposure, says NASA-funded study

May encounter Alzheimer's-like long-term memory deficits, anxiety, depression and impaired decision-making --- will they even remember the trip?
October 14, 2016

An (unshielded) view of Mars (credit: SpaceX)

A NASA-funded study of rodents exposed to highly energetic charged particles — similar to the galactic cosmic rays that will bombard astronauts during extended spaceflights — found that the rodents developed long-term memory deficits, anxiety, depression, and impaired decision-making (not to mention long-term cancer risk).

The study by University of California, Irvine (UCI) scientists* appeared Oct. 10 in Nature’s open-access Scientific Reports. It follows one last year… read more

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