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Nearly half of US jobs could be at risk of computerization, Oxford Martin School study shows

Transport, logistics, and office roles most likely to come under threat
September 19, 2013

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Nearly half of U.S. jobs could be susceptible to computerization over the next two decades, a study from the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology suggests.

The study, a collaboration between Dr. Carl Benedikt Frey (Oxford Martin School) and Dr. Michael A. Osborne (Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford), found that jobs in transportation, logistics, and office/administrative support are at “high… read more

An experimental spaceplane with ‘aircraft-like’ operations in orbit

September 19, 2013

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The current generation of satellite launch vehicles is expensive to operate, often costing hundreds of millions of dollars per flight. Moreover, U.S. launch vehicles fly only a few times each year and normally require scheduling years in advance, making it extremely difficult to deploy satellites without lengthy pre-planning. Quick, affordable and routine access to space is increasingly critical for U.S. Defense Department operations.

Imagine a fully reusable unmanned vehicle… read more

A smartphone ‘microscope’ that can detect a single virus, nanoparticles

September 19, 2013

smartphone microscope

UCLA engineers have created a 1/2-pound, portable smartphone attachment that can be used to perform sophisticated field testing to detect viruses and bacteria without the need for bulky and expensive microscopes and lab equipment.

“This cellphone-based imaging platform could be used for specific and sensitive detection of sub-wavelength [smaller than the wavelength of light] objects.

These include bacteria and viruses and therefore could enable the practice… read more

Google announces Calico, a new company focused on health and well-being

September 18, 2013

calico-google

Google announced Calico, a new company that will focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases. Arthur D. Levinson, Chairman and former CEO of Genentech and Chairman of Apple, will be Chief Executive Officer and a founding investor.

Announcing this new investment, Larry Page, Google CEO said: “Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer… read more

Where is imagination located in the human brain?

September 18, 2013

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Imagination lies in a widespread neural network — the brain’s “mental workspace” — that consciously manipulates images, symbols, ideas and theories and gives humans the laser-like mental focus needed to solve complex problems and come up with new ideas, Dartmouth researchers conclude in a new study.

“Our findings move us closer to understanding how the organization of our brains sets us apart from other species and provides… read more

BRAIN initiative report lists detailed research priorities

September 18, 2013

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A scientific team has released a report that identifies research priorities for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative, Science Insider reports.

The report lists nine top research priorities. It highlights the need for cheaper, faster technologies that can trace connections between individual brain cells and record large networks of cells acting in synchrony.

It calls for development of tools that can… read more

How to turn your iPad into a mobile 3D scanner

September 18, 2013

(Credit: Occipital)

Occipital just launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Structure, a portable 3D sensor that straps to the back of your iPad. It should ship by next February for $329 (early adopter package), TechCrunch reports.

Got rhythm? You can learn languages and reading better

The surprising link between music, rhythmic abilities and language skills; can music training help you learn to read?
September 18, 2013

Mechanical metronome (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Northwestern University researchers have found biological evidence linking the ability to keep a beat to the neural encoding of speech sounds.

The study has significant implications for reading, according to Nina Kraus, director of Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory.

The study demonstrates that accurate beat-keeping involves synchronization between the parts of the brain responsible for hearing as well as movement.

The experimentread more

New room-temperature magnetic semiconductor material holds promise for ‘spintronics’ data-storage devices

September 17, 2013

Cross-section transmission electron micrograph of SSO/c-YSZ/Si<br />
(001) heterostructure

Researchers at North Carolina State University have created a new compound that can be integrated into silicon chips and is a dilute magnetic semiconductor — meaning that it could be used to make “spintronic” devices, which rely on magnetic force to operate, rather than electrical currents.

“Spintronics” refers to technologies used in solid-state devices that take advantage of the inherent “spin” in electrons and their… read more

It’s time to turn cache management of multicore memory over to software, MIT research shows

September 17, 2013

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In today’s computers, moving data to and from main memory consumes so much time and energy that microprocessors have their own small, high-speed memory banks, known as “caches,”  which store frequently used data.

Managing the caches has traditionally required  fairly simple algorithms that can be hard-wired into the chips. But to meet consumers’ expectations for steadily increasing computational power, chipmakers have had to begin equipping their chips with more… read more

Will phase-change memory replace flash memory?

September 17, 2013

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Phase-change memory, a new material built from aluminum and antimony, shows promise for next-generation data-storage devices.

Phase-change memory relies on materials that change from a disordered, amorphous structure to a crystalline structure when an electrical pulse is applied. The material has high electrical resistance in its amorphous state and low resistance in its crystalline state — corresponding to the 1 and 0 states of binary data.… read more

A radical new holistic view of health based on cooperation and disease based on competition

September 16, 2013

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Researchers at The Mount Sinai Medical Center have developed a radical holistic view of health — seeing it as a cooperative state among cells, while they see disease as result of cells at war that fight with each other for domination.

Their unique approach is backed by experimental evidence. The researchers show a network of genes in cells, which includes the powerful tumor suppressor p53,… read more

A cosmic factory for making building blocks of life

September 16, 2013

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Scientists have discovered a “cosmic factory” for producing the building blocks of life, amino acids.

The team from Imperial College London, the University of Kent, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered that when icy comets collide into a planet, amino acids can be produced.

These essential building blocks are also produced if a rocky meteorite crashes into a planet with an icy surface.… read more

Dogs dig sociable robots

Will robot-dog games replace cat videos?
September 16, 2013

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Dogs react sociably to robots that behave socially towards them, even if the devices look nothing like a human, Gabriella Lakatos of the Hungarian Academy of Science and Eötvös Loránd University and associates have found.

The researchers used a customized human-sized PeopleBot with two arms and Mickey Mouse cartoon-style four-fingered hands. One of its robotic arms makes simple gestures and grasps objects.

It was programmed to either perform… read more

‘Terminator’ polymer regenerates itself

September 16, 2013

T-1000 terminator

Scientists have developed the first self-healing polymer that can spontaneously achieve healing in the absence of a catalyst.

Self-healing polymers have been able to mend themselves by reforming broken cross-linking bonds, but that requires an external catalyst (trigger) to promote bond repair, such as heat, light, or specific environmental conditions, such as pH.

Ibon Odriozola at the CIDETEC Centre for Electrochemical Technologies in Spain used a poly(urea–urethane)… read more

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