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Internet activists on red alert ahead of United Nations conference

How the ITU could put the Internet behind closed doors
November 16, 2012

R.I.P._Internet

Internet activists are warning that next month’s meeting of the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations body charged with overseeing global communications, may have significant and potentially disastrous consequences for everyday Internet users, Mashable reports.

Called the World Conference on International Telecommunications, the meeting is intended to update some of the aging international law that governs the flow of information online. The meeting is mostly closed to… read more

Nanotech yarn behaves like super-strong muscle

Could one day power robots, micromotors, intelligent textiles
November 16, 2012

ut_nanotube_muscles

New artificial muscles made from nanotech yarns and infused with paraffin wax can lift more than 100,000 times their own weight and generate 85 times more mechanical power than the same size natural muscle, according to scientists at The University of Texas at Dallas and their international team from Australia, China, South Korea, Canada and Brazil.

The… read more

New injectable gels toughen up after entering the body

November 16, 2012

mit_injectable_gel

MIT chemical engineers have designed an injectable gel that responds to the body’s high temperature by forming a reinforcing network that makes the gel much more durable, allowing it to function over a longer period of time.

Gels that can be injected into the body, carrying drugs or cells that regenerate damaged tissue, hold promise for treating… 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

Roaming robot may explore mysterious Moon caverns

November 19, 2012

cave_robot_whittaker

William ‘Red’ Whittaker often spends his Sundays lowering a robot into a recently blown up coal mine pit near his cattle ranch in Pennsylvania (see video below). By 2015, he hopes that his robot, or something like it, will be rappelling down a much deeper hole, on the Moon, Nature News reports.

“This is authentic exploration, this is the real deal,”read more

Inside Ingress, Google’s new augmented-reality game

Google reveals a strange new game from its Niantic Labs project
November 19, 2012

ingress_on_android

“What is the Niantic Project?” asked a teaser video. Now we know the answer: the Niantic Project is a game called Ingress, CNET reports.

Ingress is a world in which two shadowy sides are vying for dominance: the Enlightened, who are trying to establish portals around the world that will let them control people’s… read more

Google Fiber installations kick off

November 19, 2012

google_fiber_installation

After months of building a brand new Fiber infrastructure, Google is starting to connect homes in Kansas City, Google Fiber Blog reports, offering some tips on what to expect.

 

These bots were made for walking: cells power biological machines

November 19, 2012

Fabricating bio-bots (credit: Vincent Chan et al./Scientific Reports)

They’re soft, biocompatible, about 7 millimeters long — and, incredibly, able to walk by themselves. Miniature “bio-bots” developed at the University of Illinois are making tracks in synthetic biology.

Designing non-electronic biological machines has been a riddle that scientists at the interface of biology and engineering have struggled to solve. The walking bio-bots demonstrate the Illinois team’s ability to forward-engineer functional machines using only hydrogel,… read more

This is your brain on freestyle rap

November 19, 2012

Open Mike Eagle (credit: Mush Records)

Researchers in the voice, speech, and language branch of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the brain activity of rappers when they are “freestyling” — spontaneously improvising lyrics in real time.

Published online in the November 15 issue of the journal Scientific Reports (open access), the findings… read more

The library of Utopia

November 19, 2012

The_Reading_Room_at_the_British_Museum

Google’s ambitious book-scanning program is foundering in the courts. Now a Harvard-led group is launching its own sweeping effort to put our literary heritage online, MIT Technology Review reports.

Robert ­Darnton. A distinguished historian, prize-winning author, and director of Harvard’s library system, has an ardent desire to see a universal library established online, a library that would, as he puts it, “make all knowledge availableread more

Stanford physicists take first step toward quantum cryptography

November 19, 2012

To achieve the desired result, the group sends the laser through a series of lenses and other instruments (credit: Kristiaan De Greve et al./Stanford University)

Quantum mechanics promises the potential to create absolutely secure telecommunications networks by harnessing a fundamental phenomenon of quantum particles.

Now, a team of Stanford physicists has demonstrated a crucial first step in creating a quantum telecommunications device that could be built and implemented using existing infrastructure.

The work doneread more

The Last Pictures launches with EchoStar XVI satellite

November 19, 2012

lastpictures_publication_cover

On November 20, Creative Time will launch an archival disc created by artist Trevor Paglen called The Last Pictures into outer space from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Made of ultra-archival materials, the disc is expected to orbit the earth for billions of years affixed to the exterior of the communications satellite EchoStar XVI.

To create the artifact, Paglen micro-etched one hundred photographs selected to… read more

A warning system for the planet

November 20, 2012

599px-The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17

There is no centralized system to monitor and report changes in the Earth’s life-support systems. So scientists in 77 nations have established the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Group on Earth Observation Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON), which integrates existing data streams into one platform to provide a  global warning system for Earth’sread more

How to create an animated character from your facial expressions in real time

An avatar reproduces your facial expressions in real time. You move, it moves. You smile, it smiles.
November 20, 2012

faceshift

Faceshift, announced Monday, is software that uses Kinect and similar cameras to read your face and create a moving avatar from it. It could enhance the future of video games and make video chats more fun, says Thibaut Weise, founder of Faceshift, a spinoff of EPFL’s Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory.

The software needs only ten minutes to recognize your face as you create basic expressions requested by the program:… read more

Breakthrough nanoparticle halts multiple sclerosis, diabetes, allergies

November 20, 2012

Microsphere image (credit: Daniel R. Getts et al./Northwestern University)

Northwestern Medicine researchers have developed a biodegradable nanoparticle  that stealthily delivers an antigen that tricks the immune system into stopping its attack on myelin and haltd a model of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice, according to new research.

The nanoparticles can also be applied to other immune-mediated diseases, including Type 1 diabetes, food allergies, and asthma.

In… read more

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