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The NSA is building the country’s biggest spy center (watch what you say)

March 19, 2012

iStock_hackerSmall

The Utah Data Center, being built for the National Security Agency, is intended to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be operational in September 2013.

It has established warrantless listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas in a program codenamed… read more

Giant black hole could upset galaxy evolution models

November 30, 2012

Image of the disk galaxy (lenticular galaxy) NGC 1277, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. This small, flattened galaxy contains one of the biggest central super-massive black holes ever found in its center. With the mass of 17 billion Suns, the black hole weighs in at an extraordinary 14% of the total galaxy mass. (Credit: NASA / ESA / Andrew C. Fabian / Remco C. E. van den Bosch (MPIA))

A group of astronomers led by Remco van den Bosch from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) have discovered a black hole that could shake the foundations of current models of galaxy evolution.

At 17 billion times the mass of the Sun, its mass is much greater than current models predict — in particular in relation to the mass of its host galaxy. This… read more

Google Glass: how to get one

February 21, 2013

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“We’re looking for bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be a part of shaping the future of Glass,” says the Google Glass team.

“We’d love to make everyone an Explorer, but we’re starting off a bit smaller. We’re still in the early stages, and while we can’t promise everything will be perfect, we can promise it will be exciting.”

“Using Google+… read more

Mayo Clinic study unmasks regulator of healthy life span

Promising target for aging disorders and cancer
December 20, 2012

A new series of studies in mouse models by Mayo Clinic researchers uncovered that the aging process is characterized by high rates of whole-chromosome losses and gains in various organs, including heart, muscle, kidney and eye, and demonstrate that reducing these rates slows age-related tissue deterioration and promotes a healthier life span.

“We’ve known for some time that reduced levels of BubR1 are a hallmark of aging… read more

Has dark matter finally been found?

February 19, 2013

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (left) (credit: NASA)

Big news in the search for dark matter may be coming in about two weeks, the leader of a space-based particle physics experiment said Feb. 17 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Space.com reports.

That’s when the first paper of results from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a particle collector mounted on the outside of the International Space Station,… read more

Human v 2.0: Ray Kurzweil vs. Hugo de Garis

October 24, 2006

“Meet the scientific prophets who claim we are on the verge of creating a new type of human – a human v2.0.

“It’s predicted that by 2029 computer intelligence will equal the power of the human brain. Some believe this will revolutionise humanity – we will be able to download our minds to computers extending our lives indefinitely. Others fear this will lead to oblivion by giving rise to… read more

Why software’s wealthiest should fund experimental technologies

September 12, 2012

terrapower_tp1

In the next few decades, we need more technology leaders to reach for some very big advances, says Nathan Myhrvold, a founder and vice chairman of TerraPower and former chief technology officer of Microsoft, writing in Technology Review.
If 20 of us were to try to solve energy problems — with carbon capture and storage, or perhaps some other crazy idea — maybe one or two… read more

Independent Mars mission planned for 2018

February 25, 2013

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The Inspiration Mars Foundation,  led by Dennis Tito, the first space tourist, will announce on Wednesday Feb. 27 a planned mission to Mars in 2018.

The mission would take advantage of a unique window of opportunity; the orbits of Earth and Mars will be closely aligned. The round-trip journey would start in January 2018 and take 501 days.

No details are available yet on how they… read more

‘Super-Turing’ machine learns and evolves

April 9, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Computer scientist Hava Siegelmann of the Biologically Inspired Neural & Dynamical Systems (BINDS) Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, an expert in neural networks, has taken Alan Turing’s work to its next logical step.

She is translating her 1993 discovery of what she has dubbed “Super-Turing” computation into an adaptable computational system that learns and evolves, using input from the environment in a way much more like our… read more

Lit Motors will shake up the electric vehicle market with its two-wheeled, untippable C-1

September 12, 2012

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Imagine a vehicle that’s smaller than a Smart Car, nearly a third of the price of a Nissan Leaf ($32,500), safer than a motorcycle with a range capacity that just lets you drive and won’t ever tip over.

What you get is Lit Motors‘ C-1, the world’s first gyroscopically stabilized, two-wheeled all-electric vehicle, which launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco today, writes Peter Ha on read more

Minnesota bans free online education, caves to Internet pressure

October 21, 2012

Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education was forced by public pressure Friday to cancel its bizarre bureaucratic decision to prohibit free online college courses offered through Coursera and other websites, Slate reported Friday.

Low-carbon technologies ‘no quick-fix,’ say researchers

February 16, 2012

Wind power

A drastic switch to low carbon-emitting technologies, such as wind and hydroelectric power, may not yield a reduction in global warming until the latter part of this century, research published today by the Institute of Physics suggests.

Furthermore, it states that technologies that offer only modest reductions in greenhouse gases, such as the use of natural gas and perhaps carbon capture and storage, cannot substantially reduce climate… read more

Carnegie Mellon computer searches web 24/7 to analyze images and teach itself common sense

NEIL program labels images, learns associations with minimal help from people
November 22, 2013

eye part of baby

A computer program called the Never Ending Image Learner (NEIL) is now running 24 hours a day at Carnegie Mellon University, searching the Web for images, doing its best to understand them. And as it builds a growing visual database, it is gathering common sense on a massive scale.

NEIL leverages recent advances in computer vision that enable computer programs to identify and label objects in images,… read more

Forget electric cars, this one runs on compressed air

August 19, 2012

tata airpod car 2

India’s Tata Motors is pushing technology for compressed air to power cars forward with its project to build “Airpods zero-pollution, cute-as-a-bug smartcars that zip along at 40 m.p.h. via the magic of squeezed air, The Atlantic Cities reports.

They are built with pneumatic motors that use pressurized air to drive pistons.

The mid-sized model fits three passengers, although one must face backward.… read more

Does your brain see things you don’t?

Doctoral student shakes up 100 years of untested psychological theory
November 15, 2013

Sanguinetti showed study participants images of what appeared to be an abstract black object. Sometimes, however, there were real-world objects hidden at the borders of the black silhouette. In this image, the outlines of two seahorses can be seen in the white spaces surrounding the black object. (Image courtesy of Jay Sanguinetti)

A new study indicates that our brains perceive objects in everyday life that we may not be consciously aware of.

The finding by University of Arizona doctoral student Jay Sanguinetti challenges currently accepted models, in place for a century, about how the brain processes visual information.

Sanguinetti showed study participants a series of black silhouettes, some of which contained meaningful, real-world objects hidden in the… read more

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