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Cal Tech announces Turing Tournament

January 16, 2003

Cal Tech has announced the “Turing Tournament,” designed to “find the best computer programs to mimic human behavior … and the best computer programs to detect the difference between machine and human behavior.”

Two types of submissions will be accepted: an emulator, which generates a dataset that mimics human behavior, and a detector, which detects the difference between datasets generated by human and machine behavior.

“The… read more

Singularity Summit 2007 announced

August 7, 2007

The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence has announced Singularity Summit 2007: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity, September 8 – 9 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco ($50).

The 16 speakers include MIT AI Lab Director Rodney Brooks, Google Director of Research Peter Norvig, Paul Saffo of the Institute for the Future, and Powerset CEO Barney Pell.

Breakthrough for quantum measurement

November 23, 2005

Two teams of physicists have measured the capacitance of a Josephson junction for the first time. The methods could be used to measure the state of quantum bits in a quantum computer without disturbing the state.

Cheap, super-efficient LED lights on the horizon

January 29, 2009

University of Cambridge scientists have discovered a cheaper way to produce LED bulbs, which are three times as efficient as fluorescent lamps.

Free online library of images, videos, and animations of cells now available

December 16, 2010

Rat hippocampal neurons (The Cell image library)

The American Society for Cell Biology has launched The Cell: An Image Library.

This online resource of digital images was first made publicly available on August 9, 2010, and is now fully operational and freely available to multiple end users across research, clinical, educational and public communities internationally.

The Cell library is an easily accessible public resource database of images, videos, and animations of cells from… read more

Shuttle disaster revives debate on merits of manned flight

February 5, 2003

The Columbia crash likely will accelerate the move toward more unmanned space exploration. “Any specific mission you can identify to do in space, you can design and build an unmanned space craft to do it more effectively, more economically and more safely,” said Alex Roland, a professor of history at Duke University and for eight years a historian at NASA.

Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch

August 14, 2007

If you accept a pretty reasonable assumption of Oxford University philosophere Nick Bostrom, it is almost a mathematical certainty that we are living in someone else’s computer simulation, similar to the one in “The Matrix,” in which most humans don’t realize that their lives and their world are just illusions created in their brains.

Nanoparticle thin films that self-assemble in one minute

Could generate new families of optical coatings for solar energy, nanoelectronics, and computer memory storage
June 10, 2014

Upon solvent annealing, supramolecules made from gold nanoparticles and block copolymers will self-assemble into highly ordered thin films in one minute (credit: Berkeley Labs)

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers have devised a technique that allows  supramolecules (self-assembling nanoparticle arrays) to form a highly ordered thin film over macroscopic (large-scale) distances in one minute, instead of hours.

The supramolecules are based on block copolymers that were combined with gold nanoparticles to create nanocomposites. Under solvent annealing, these quickly self-assembled into hierarchically structured thin films spanning an area of several square… read more

‘Clang’: Science fiction author Neal Stephenson kickstarts video game career

July 11, 2012

Clang (credit: Subutai Corporation)

Science fiction author Neal Stephenson came up with a concept for a  fantasy sword-fighting game called “Clang“ and successfully funded its development by raising $500,000 via Kickstarter.

But selecting a realistic controller was his main concern. “In our minds, a game was inseparable with a hardware controller,” he said. “It had to be shaped like the handle of a controller, and you had to move… read more

Yahoo’s human touch to answers

December 9, 2005

Yahoo has launched Yahoo Answers, which allows users to get their questions answered online for free by volunteers.

Users can submit questions on any topic at and wait for others to post responses. To flag inaccuracies, individuals can rate the responses based on quality.

Singularity University to Study Accelerating Technologies, Launches at NASA Ames

February 3, 2009

With the support of NASA, Google and a broad range of technology thought leaders and entrepreneurs, a new university will launch in Silicon Valley this summer with the goal of preparing the next generation of leaders to address “humanity’s grand challenges.”

Singularity University (SU) ( will open its doors in June 2009 on the NASA Research Park campus with a nine-week graduate-level interdisciplinary curriculum designed to facilitate… read more

Seven-month-old babies can ‘read minds’

December 24, 2010

Babies as young as seven months old may be able to take into account the thoughts and beliefs of other people, according to a paper published December 23 in Science.Called “theory of mind,” this ability is central to human cooperation.

The research team made the discovery by measuring a simple behavior–how long infants stare at a scene–in experiments that did not require infants to explicitly assess others’ thoughts or predict… read more

Our Bodies, Our Fears

February 16, 2003

Americans say they’re more anxious than ever. Scientific research about how our brains and bodies process fear can teach us how to live with long-term stress.

Blueprints drawn up for quantum computer RAM

August 22, 2007

Scuola Normale Superiore researchers have proposed a method for retrieving quantum information from memory that should make total quantum recall more reliable.

NASA Seeks Innovative Ideas for Revolutionary Concepts

December 19, 2005

The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts is seeking revolutionary ideas to advance the Vision for Space Exploration. Interested parties from outside the agency are invited to submit 2006 Phase 1 proposals by February 13, 2006.

The focus for solicitations is on revolutionary, advanced concepts for architectures and systems that meet NASA mission “grand visions.” The institute’s intention is to discover ideas that may result in beneficial changes to NASA’s… read more

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