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Boundless Informant: the NSA’s secret tool to track global surveillance data

June 9, 2013

The Guardian says it has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks.

The focus of the internal NSA tool is on counting and categorizing the records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the content of an email or… read more

Bouncing data would speed up data centers

December 20, 2011

Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara and Intel’s labs in Oregon have come up with a clever solution to move information between different machines in data centers: bouncing wireless signals off the ceiling, which they say could boost data transmission speeds by 30 percent.

They used 60-gigahertz Wi-Fi, which has a bandwidth in the gigabits-per-second range.

Bouncing beads outwit Feynman

June 14, 2010

University of Twente researchers have built a machine that harnesses energy from the random motion of bouncing beads to perform work, challenging physicist Richard Feynman’s dictum that work can’t be extracted from such a system.

Newly created machine from Science News on Vimeo.

Bottlenose social-media dashboard launches

December 13, 2011

Bottlenose Sonar view


Bottlenose today announced the launch of its private beta. Bottlenose, the “smartest social media dashboard,” intelligently sorts streams, finds and visualizes trends, and provides groundbreaking social assistance capabilities that help users engage more effectively, using natural language processing, the startup claims.

Bottlenose first puts all of your streams (Twitter, Facebook, Yammer, others) in one place, providing a unified, holistic view. Then, Bottlenose automatically sorts… read more

Bottled Wind Could Be as Constant as Coal

March 11, 2010

Iowa Compressed Air Plant

The Electric Power Research Institute and the Department of Energy have identified grid-scale storage as a key need for the rapidly diversifying electricity system, and compressed-air energy storage looks like the cheapest option available.

In the last four months, four compressed-air projects have gotten new funding.

Bots on The Ground

May 9, 2007

Battle bots are teaching us how easily we identify our own creations as animate.

Bots Get Smart

December 4, 2008

The GAMES group at the University of Alberta is using AI to develop the next generation of interactive video games.

Today, many video games create only an illusion of intelligence, using a few programming tricks. But in the not-so-distant future, game bots will routinely use sophisticated AI techniques to shape their behavior, the researchers say.

With their PaSSAGE game, the computer learn players’ interests and preferences and molds… read more

Botox could stop disease in its tracks

June 8, 2009

Botox has been modified so that it could one day be used to treat asthma and possibly even cancer, by inhibiting the release of cytokines (overproduced in cancer) and mucin (oversecreted in asthma).

Botanists building ontologies to cope with information overload

August 22, 2012


Botanists are building ontologies such as the Plant Ontology (PO) to transform plant science by facilitating new ways of gathering and exploring data, Ramona Walls (New York Botanical Garden) and colleagues explain in an open-access article in the American Journal of Botany.

An ontology (in the information science meanng) is a description of the types of entities within a given domain and the relationships among them. When data… read more

Bot Battle More of a Lovefest

August 21, 2002

The International Design Contest robot competition at MIT nvolved eight teams of students from seven countries to make a remote-controlled bot that can push hockey pucks and foam rubber balls across the shuffleboard-sized playing area and onto a scale at the end of the field.

Boston Dynamics’ sand flea robot jumps 10 meters

March 30, 2012


Boston Dynamics has just posted a new video of Sand Flea in action, of the Sand Flea jumping robot, IEEE Spectrum Automation reports..

Sand Flea has no trouble clearing a 10-meter obstacle (about 30 feet), and it’s accurate enough that you can ask it to jump through a window two stories up and it’ll do it.

The piston (which fires out the back of… read more

Boston Dynamics’ new running robot: WildCat

October 6, 2013


Boston Dynamics has unleashed Cheetah as “WildCat” — a four-legged robot being developed to run fast on all types of terrain.

So far, WildCat has run at about 16 mph on flat terrain using bounding and galloping gaits — still slower than tethered Cheetah, with a top speed of 28.3 mph. Boston Dynamics is developing WildCat with funding from DARPA’s M3 program. (To… read more

Boron-treated carbon nanotubes soak up oil from water repeatedly

April 17, 2012


Researchers at Rice University and Penn State University have discovered that adding a dash of boron to carbon while creating nanotubes turns them into solid, spongy, reusable blocks that have an astounding ability to absorb oil spilled in water.

That’s one of a range of potential innovations for the material created in a single step. The team found for the first time that boron puts kinks and… read more

Boron nanotubes could outperform carbon

January 6, 2008
(Tsinghua University)

Boron nanotubes could have many of the same properties as carbon nanotubes, but should be better conductors than carbon, and be superconducting at higher temperatures, Tsinghua University researchers believe.

Boron nanotubes should also have variable electrical properties–some as conductors and some as semiconductors–making them useful for creating transistors and other nanodevices.

Boron ‘buckyball’ discovered

"Borospherene" uses unknown, but could serve as a cage for hydrogen storage
July 14, 2014

Researchers have shown that clusters of 40 boron atoms form a molecular cage similar to the carbon buckyball. This is the first experimental evidence that such a boron cage structure exists. (Credit: Wang lab / Brown University)

Researchers from Brown University, Shanxi University and Tsinghua University in China have discovered that a cluster of 40 boron atoms forms a hollow molecular cage similar to a carbon “buckyball.”

“This is the first time that a boron cage has been observed experimentally,” said Lai-Sheng Wang, a professor of chemistry at Brown who led the team that made the discovery.… read more

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