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Offshore wind farms could tame hurricanes before they reach land, Stanford-led study says

Wind farm could reduce peak hurricane wind speeds by up to 92 mph and decrease storm surge by up to 79 percent
February 26, 2014

Offshore wind farm (credit: Seimens)

Computer simulations by Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson have shown that offshore wind farms with thousands of wind turbines could have sapped the power of three real-life hurricanes, significantly decreasing their winds and accompanying storm surge, and possibly preventing billions of dollars in damages.

For the past 24 years,  Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, has been developing a complex computer model… read more

First micro-structure atlas of the human brain completed

October 23, 2012

Rendering of long white-matter fiber bundles (credit: CONNECT)

European scientists have built the first atlas of white-matter microstructure in the human brain in a project called CONNECT (Consortium of neuroimagers for the non-invasive exploration of brain connectivity and tracts).

The new atlas combines 3D images from the MRI scans of 100 brains of volunteers. To achieve this, the scientists developed advanced diffusion… read more

Human brains share a consistent genetic blueprint and possess enormous biochemical complexity

First extensive analysis of Allen Human Brain Atlas has implications for basic understanding of the human brain and for medicine
September 20, 2012

3D rendering from the Allen Human Brain Atlas

The same basic functional elements are used throughout the cortex and understanding how one area works in detail will uncover fundamentals that apply to the other areas as well, scientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Science reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

Human brains share a consistent genetic blueprint, and possess enormous biochemical complexity, they said, based on the first deep and large-scale… read more

Why 3D printing will go the way of virtual reality

January 26, 2012

A 3D-printed object. (credit: Carter West Engineering, Inc.)

The notion that 3D printing will on any reasonable time scale become a “mature” technology that can reproduce all the goods on which we rely is to engage in a complete denial of the complexities of modern manufacturing, unless you’d like everything made out of plastic, says Technology Review | Mim’s Bits blog.

Microsoft’s Cortana to battle Siri

September 13, 2013

Cortana (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is preparing a Siri-like personal voice assistant based on Bing, code-named Cortana, for Windows Phone,  eWeek reports. (Cortana is a holographic AI construct that figures prominently in the Halo video game series.)

Like its Halo counterpart, Cortana “will be able to learn and adapt, thanks to machine-learning technology and the ‘Satori’ knowledge repository powering Bing,” according to ZDNet’s Mary Jane Foley.

Satori, which… read more

An electric car that actually goes far?

July 20, 2012

electric_car_goes_far

Researchers have made the first stable lithium-air batteries, Science NOW reports. They may one day give electric cars a driving range similar to today’s gas guzzlers.

Lithium-air batteries have potential to store 10 times more energy than the best lithium-ion batteries on the market today, but have been unstable, falling apart after a few charges.

So researchers at the University of St Andrews in the United… read more

Trapwire surveillance system exposed in document leak

August 14, 2012

738px-Three_Surveillance_cameras

It sounds like something from the film Minority Report: a CCTV surveillance system that recognizes people from their face or walk and analyzes whether they might be about to commit a terrorist or criminal act, The Guardian reports.

According to documents released online by WikiLeaks last week, Trapwire is being used in a number of countries to try to monitor people and threats.

Founded by former… read more

Machines will achieve human-level intelligence in the 2028 to 2150 range: poll

April 26, 2011

Probability density of human-level AI by date -- the blue represents skew Gaussian fits, the red represents triangular fits.(credit: Anders Sandberg)

Machines will achieve human-level intelligence by 2028 (median estimate: 10% chance), by 2050 (median estimate: 50% chance), or by 2150 (median estimate: 90% chance), according to an informal poll at the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) Winter Intelligence conference on machine intelligence in January.

“Human‐level machine intelligence, whether due to a de novo AGI (artificial general intelligence) or biologically inspired/emulated systems, has a macroscopic probability to occurring… read more

Internet activist, a creator of RSS, is dead at 26, apparently a suicide

January 15, 2013

AaronSwartzPIPA

Aaron Swartz, a wizardly programmer who as a teenager helped develop code that delivered ever-changing Web content to users and who later became a steadfast crusader to make that information freely available, was found dead on Friday in his New York apartment, The New York Times reports.

At 14, Mr. Swartz helped create RSS, the nearly ubiquitous tool that allows users to subscribe to online information. He… read more

Sleep discovery could lead to therapies that improve memory

But a medical study found increased risk of death from taking sleeping pills
March 13, 2013

sleeping

A team of sleep researchers led by UC Riverside psychologist Sara C. Mednick has confirmed the mechanism that enables the brain to consolidate memory and found that a commonly prescribed sleep aid enhances the process.

Those discoveries could lead to new sleep therapies that will improve memory for aging adults and those with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and schizophrenia.

Earlier research found a correlation between sleep spindles —… read more

A simplified graphical approach to machine learning

November 14, 2013

graph_theory

An algorithm that extends an artificial-intelligence technique to new tasks could aid in analysis of flight delays and social networks.

Much artificial-intelligence research is concerned with finding statistical correlations between variables: What combinations of visible features indicate the presence of a particular object in a digital image? What speech sounds correspond with instances of what words? What medical, genetic, and environmental factors are correlated with what diseases?

As… read more

Print your own life-size robot for under $1,000

January 28, 2013

InMoov

Gael Langevin, a French sculptor and model-maker, has created a life-size, 3D-printed robot.called InMoov, CNN reports.

Langevin’s animatronic creation can be made by anyone with access to little more than a basic 3D printer, a few motors, a cheap circuit board, and about $800.

A work in progress, the robot boasts a head, arms, and hands — the torso is not far off. On… read more

Google reveals tech specs for Glass

April 18, 2013

google-glass-specs-2

Today we have more info about Glass, after Google released the tech specs of its upcoming smartglasses, Gizmag reports.

The most important part of Glass is its display. Google vividly describes the tiny high-res screen as “the equivalent of a 25-inch high definition screen from eight feet away.”

Glass shoots 5-megapixel stills and 720p videos. Google had already revealed that Glass delivers audio via bone conduction.… read more

Super-fast Google Fiber for Kansas City

July 27, 2012

google_fiber

Google has announced Google Fiber, to be installed first in Kansas City.

Google Fiber is 100 times faster than today’s average broadband.

Imagine: instantaneous sharing; truly global education; medical appointments with 3D imaging; even new industries that we haven’t even dreamed of, powered by a gig.

Google has divided Kansas City into small communities called “fiberhoods.” To get service, each fiberhood needs a critical… read more

A 360-degree view of the world

Paranoids alert
December 13, 2012

FlyViz

Have you ever dreamed of having eyes in the back of your head?

Yeah, we haven’t either, but FlyVIZ, designed by French engineers, lets you experience a real-time 360° vision of your surroundings. It combines a panoramic image acquisition system (positioned on top of the your head) with a head-mounted display (HMD) and a laptop for transforming the fly-eye images in real time into something humans can… read more

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