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We may all be Martians, says geochemist

It's likely that life came to Earth on a Martian meteorite; conditions suitable for the origin of life may still exist on Mars
August 30, 2013

mars_nasa_image

New evidence has emerged that supports the long-debated theory that life on Earth may have started on Mars.

Speaking at the at the annual Goldschmidt conference on Thursday, Professor Steven Benner from The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology told geochemists that an oxidized mineral form of the element molybdenum, which may have been crucial to the origin of life, could only have been available… read more

We humans can mind-meld too

July 27, 2010

Uri Hasson of Princeton University.found that fMRI scans of 11 people’s brains as they listened to a woman recounting a story.showed that the listeners’ brain patterns tracked those of the storyteller almost exactly, but 1 to 3 seconds behind. In some listeners, brain patterns even preceded those of the storyteller.

We can survive killer asteroids — but it won’t be easy

April 4, 2012

(Credit: Don Davis)

More than a thousand known asteroids are classed as “potentially hazardous,” based on size and trajectory, says astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson in Wired Science.

Currently, it looks doable to develop an early-warning and defense system that could protect the human species from impactors larger than a kilometer wide. … Smaller ones, which reflect much less light and are therefore much harder to detect at great distances, carry enough energy to incinerate entire… read more

We can make multicore chips smarter, faster — we have the technology

March 2, 2015

(credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT)

Computer chips’ clocks have stopped getting faster, so chipmakers are instead giving chips more cores, which can execute computations in parallel.

Now, in simulations involving a 64-core chip, MIT computer scientists have improved a system that cleverly distributes data around multicore chips’ memory banks — increasing system computational speeds by 46 percent while reducing power consumption by 36 percent.

“Now that the way to improve performance is… read more

We can feed 9 billion people in 2050

January 12, 2011

The 9 billion people projected to inhabit the Earth by 2050 need not starve in order to preserve the environment, says a major report on sustainability out this week based on a huge five-year modeling exercise by the French national agricultural and development research agencies, INRA andCIRAD.

We Are the Web

August 3, 2005

The Web, a planet-sized computer, is comparable in complexity to a human brain. Both the brain and the Web have hundreds of billions of neurons (or Web pages). Each biological neuron sprouts synaptic links to thousands of other neurons, while each Web page branches into dozens of hyperlinks.

That adds up to a trillion “synapses” between the static pages on the Web. The human brain has about 100 times… read more

We are now one year away from global riots, complex systems theorists say

September 11, 2012

Riots

What’s the number one reason we riot? Hunger — food becoming too scarce or too expensive. So argues a group of complex systems theorists in Cambridge, and it makes sense, Motherboard reports.

In a 2011 paper, researchers at the Complex Systems Institute (CSI) unveiled a model that accurately explained why the waves of unrest that swept the world in 2008 and 2011 crashed when they… read more

We Are All Mutants: Measurement Of Mutation Rate In Humans By Direct Sequencing

September 3, 2009

We all carry 100-200 new mutations in our DNA, according to researchers from The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute/

‘Wavelength disk drive’ speeds distributed computing

June 12, 2001

The “wavelength disk drive” could make interactions between computers up to 20 times faster, expanding the scope of distributed computing.

Exchanged data is stored in wavelengths of light circling in a fiber-optic network. Computers on the network can perform calculations and “write” the data to an assigned wavelength. They then “read” other processors’ results from the light stream, repeating the process until the calculation is done.

Wave-particle duality visualized in quantum movie

March 27, 2012

interference pattern

An international team of scientists has shot a video that shows the build-up of a matter-wave interference pattern from single dye molecules. The pattern is so large (up to 0.1 mm), it can been seen with a video camera.

The video visualizes the dualities of particle and wave, randomness and determinism, and locality and delocalization in an intuitive way.

Physicist Richard Feynman once claimed that… read more

Wave energy costs should compare favorably to other energy sources

January 7, 2015

The Ocean Sentinel, one of the nation's first wave-energy testing devices, has been deployed off the Oregon Coast (credit: Pat Kight, Oregon Sea Grant)

Large-scale wave energy systems developed in the Pacific Northwest should be comparatively steady, dependable, and able to be integrated into the overall energy grid at lower costs than some other forms of alternative energy, including wind power, a new analysis suggests.

The findings, published in the journal Renewable Energy, confirm what scientists have expected — that wave energy will have fewer problems with variability than some energy sources and… read more

Watson’s new job: IBM salesman

February 8, 2012

IBMWatson

IBM’s Watson is having its biggest impact by pulling in new customers for existing business products as IBM persuades them to organize their data into formats that an AI like Watson can better understand.

IBM has created a slogan, “Ready for Watson,” to help sell its products that way.

At the heart of Watson is a system known as DeepQA. This is not yet for sale,… read more

Watson vs Venter: the loser is race-based medicine

August 21, 2008

A new comparison of the publicly available genome sequences of James Watson and Craig Venter indicates that skin color doesn’t necessarily tell you much about the rest of their genome or how they’ll respond to drugs or which drugs they’ll respond to, says Venter.

But the availability of cheap genetic testing — and soon complete individual genome sequencing — means that such personalized information will become increasingly important in… read more

Watson to help find new sources of oil

World’s first cognitive-technologies collaboration for oil industry applications
October 30, 2014

IBM's Cognitive Environments Lab researchers are developing software agents called "cogs" that will help energy company Repsol make better decisions on acquiring new oil fields and optimizing its strategy for current oil production (credit: Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

Scientists at IBM and Repsol SA, Spain largest energy company, announced today (Oct. 30) the world’s first research collaboration using cognitive technologies like IBM’s Watson to jointly develop and apply new tools to make it cheaper and easier to find new oil fields.

An engineer will typically have to manually read through an enormous set of journal papers and baseline reports with models of reservoir, well, facilities, production, export,… read more

Watson provides cancer treatment options to doctors in seconds

February 11, 2013

ibm_watson_medical

IBM and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center unveiled Friday the first commercially developed Watson-based cognitive computing breakthroughs.

These innovations stand alone to help transform the quality and speed of care delivered to patients through individualized, evidence based medicine, says IBM.

For more than a year, IBM has partnered separately with WellPoint and Memorial Sloan-Kettering to… read more

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