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Do we live in a computer simulation? How to test the idea

December 13, 2012

Wilson fermion

The concept that we could possibly be living in a computer simulation has been suggested by science writers and others, and was formalized in a 2003 paper published in Philosophical Quarterly by Nick Bostrom, a philosophy professor at the University of Oxford.

With current limitations and trends in computing, it will be decades before researchers will be able to run even primitive simulations of the universe. But… read more

Scientists claim discovery of life coming to Earth from space [UPDATED]

September 20, 2013

SEM_of_a_diatom_frustule

Scientists from the University of Sheffield believe they have found life arriving to Earth from space after sending a balloon 27km into the stratosphere.

After it landed, they discovered that they had captured a diatom fragment and some unusual biological entities from the stratosphere, all of which are too large to have come from Earth, the scientists suggest.

The team was led by Professor… read more

China is building a 100-petaflops supercomputer

November 1, 2012

tianhe-1a-supercomputer

As the U.S. launched what’s expected to be the world’s fastest supercomputer at 20 petaflops (peak performance), China announced it is building a machine intended to be five times faster when it is deployed in 2015, IT World reports.

China’s Tianhe-2 supercomputer will run at 100 petaflops (quadrillion floating-point calculations per second) peak performance, designed by China’s National University of Defense Technology, according to the Guangzhou… read more

Do billionaires crave eternal life?

July 19, 2012

avatar2045

Dmitry Itskov, a Russian entrepreneur, wants the world’s billionaires to fund a project called the 2045 Initiative to find the key to immortality, IEEE Spectrum notes.

Itskov expects the first fruits in about a dozen years, when a human brain is to be transplanted into a robot body. The resulting “avatar,” as he calls it, will “save people whose body is completely worn out or irreversibly damaged.”

The… read more

IBM simulates 530 billion neurons, 100 trillion synapses on supercomputer

November 19, 2012

A Network of Neurosynaptic Cores Derived from Long-distance Wiring in the Monkey Brain: Neuro-synaptic cores are locally clustered into brain-inspired regions, and each core is represented as an individual point along the ring. Arcs are drawn from a source core to a destination core with an edge color defined by the color assigned to the source core. (Credit: IBM)

IBM Research – Almaden presented at Supercomputing 2012 last week the next milestone toward fulfilling the ultimate vision of the DARPA’s cognitive computing program, called Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE), according to Dr. Dharmendra S. Modha, Manager, Cognitive Computing, IBM Research – Almaden.

Announced in 2008, DARPA’s SyNAPSE program calls for developing electronic neuromorphic (brain-simulation) machine technology that scales… read more

The strange neuroscience of immortality

July 30, 2012

ken-hayworth

Neuroscientist Kenneth Hayworth believes that he can live forever, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. But first he has to die.

“The human race is on a beeline to mind uploading: We will preserve a brain, slice it up, simulate it on a computer, and hook it up to a robot body,” he says.

He wants that brain to be his brain. He wants his 100 billion… read more

How much is an asteroid worth?

As much as $20 trillion, says one expert; others skeptical
February 15, 2013

Asteroid fuel mining concept (credit: Deep Space Industries)

When asteroid 2012 DA14 flies by Earth today, we could be watching a fortune fly over our heads and disappear into the void.

DA14 could be worth up to $195 billion in metals and propellant, Deep Space Industries (DSI) said in a statement —  if it were in a different orbit … and  if we had a space-based asteroid mining operation.

Which we don’t. Problem is, explains… read more

American schools go on utterly insane hiring spree since 1950. Kids shrug, continue to do poorly on tests

October 25, 2012

2011-03-01-studentspendvsachievement

A new study from the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice finds that America’s public schools saw a 96 percent increase in students but increased administrators and other non-teaching staff a staggering 702 percent since 1950. Teaching staff, in comparison, increased 252 percent, Reason reports.

If non-teaching personnel had grown at the same rate as student population, American public schools would have an additional $24.3… read more

The world’s first 3D-printed gun is a terrifying thing

July 26, 2012

worlds-first-3d-printed-gun-520x363

Gun enthusiast “HaveBlue” has documented in a blog post (via the AR15 forums) the process of what appears to be the first test firing of a firearm made with a 3D printer, The Next Web reports.

Actually,. the only printed part of the gun was the lower receiver. But, according to the American Gun Control Act, the receiver is what counts as the firearm.

HaveBlue reportedly… read more

Preventing an autonomous-systems arms race

April 21, 2014

The Switchblade is a self-guided cruise missile designed to fit into a soldiers rucksack (credit: AeroVironment)

A study by AI researcher Steve Omohundro just published in the Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence (open access) suggests that humans should be very careful to prevent future autonomous technology-based systems from developing anti-social and potentially harmful behavior.

Modern military and economic pressures require autonomous systems that can react quickly — and without human input. These systems will be required to make rational decisions for themselves.… read more

A Bitcoin backlash?

October 15, 2013

bitcoin

Governments and established financial institutions are likely to launch a campaign to quash the decentralized digital currency Bitcoin, according to a leading economist and academic. Simon Johnson, a professor of entrepreneurship at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, expects Bitcoin to face political pressure and aggressive lobbying from big banks because of its disruptive nature, MIT Technology Review reports.

The code that supports and… read more

A chance to finish life: UPDATE

August 31, 2012

kim_suozzi

UPDATE 8/31/2012 10:15 a.m. EDT:

This just in from Shannon Vyff: “We have raised $27,000.00 in just a week, we were at $17,000.00 Thursday when a generous $10,000.00 donation from Life Extension Foundation come in. Our minimum goal is $35,000.00 to cover transportation and cryopreservation costs — if additional funds are raised Kim is hoping to be able to cover standby as well. I’m very thankful to our… read more

Can you design the ultimate augmented-reality system for warfighters?

November 6, 2012

PIXNET

Imagine a single camera that can fuse (integrate) images across a wide spectrum on light, from visible light to near-infrared and far-infrared (thermal) images (for night vision), replacing multiple cameras.

It would be part of a head-up display (HUD) that is helmet-mounted. It would be lightweight, low-cost, easy to use, and draw minimal power. And it would interface wirelessly with an Android-based smart phone for fusing images and networking… read more

‘Stop watching us’ rally protests surveillance

October 25, 2013

stop_watching_us

On October 26th, the 12th anniversary of the signing of the USA Patriot Act, StopWatching.us — a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the political spectrum — is holding the largest rally yet against NSA surveillance.

According to StopWatching.us:
The revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance apparatus, if true, represent a stunning abuse of our basic rights. We demand the… read more

MIT inventor unleashes hundreds of self-assembling cube swarmbots

October 4, 2013

M-Blocks

The experts said it couldn’t be done. But research scientist John Romanishin of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has created M-Blocks — cube robots with no external moving parts.

Despite that, they can magically climb over and around one another, leap through the air, roll across the ground, snap together into different shapes, and even move while suspended upside down from metallic surfaces.… read more

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