After an extended run as #1 on the Amazon.com science, technology, and philosophy lists since its publication, Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology ends 2005 as the fourth best-selling science book in 2005, even though published late in the year (September 26).
January 12, 2011
NPR interviewed Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Microsoft Research AI researchers for Tuesday’s “All Things Considered.” (Audio)
June 16, 2010
The television show “Fringe” explores a number of Singularity-like concepts.
“There’s the idea that science will inevitably reach a point where it’s accelerating so fast that it would be out of control and mankind will either move to a higher state of consciousness or we will become destroyed,” said Joel Wyman, one of the executive producers on “Fringe.” “We don’t name this as the Singularity, but it definitely drives… read more
December 23, 2009
Crowdsourcing’s power to compartmentalize and abstract away the true meaning of tasks could potentially entice people into participating in a covert project that they otherwise wouldn’t support, using a tool such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, says Harvard University law professor Jonathan Zittrain.
June 4, 2008
University of California, San Francisco researchers have found that the neurotransmitter serotonin controls feeding rate (how much to eat) and fat storage (what is done with calories in the body) independently.
The research results, based on studies of the worm C. elegans, suggest that weight-loss drugs that increase serotonin levels could work by either suppressing the appetite or increasing metabolism.
The results may explain why two individuals with… read more
May 17, 2008
The odds that a potentially devastating space rock will hit Earth this century may be as high as one in 10. So why isn’t NASA trying harder to prevent catastrophe?
We will soon have a new president, and thus an opportunity to reassess NASA’s priorities. Whoever takes office will decide whether the nation commits to spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a motel on the moon, or invests… read more
March 19, 2007
Two potential deflection techniques for asteroids appear to work nicely together.
First we would deflect the asteroid with kinetic impact from a missile (that is, running into it); then we would use the slight pull of a “gravity tractor” — a satellite that would hover near the asteroid — to fine-tune its new trajectory to our liking.
The bad news? NASA doesn’t plan to do it.
October 8, 2012
UCLA researchers have discovered that the activity of a brain region known to be involved in learning, memory and Alzheimer’s disease behaves as if it’s remembering something during sleep, even under anesthesia — a finding that counters conventional theories about memory consolidation during sleep.
The research team simultaneously measured the activity of single neurons from multiple parts of the brain involved in memory formation. The technique allowed them to… read more
March 24, 2010
Surgeons are looking for smaller and cheaper alternates to the da Vinci robotic surgical system for simpler surgeries.
January 3, 2013
New research from the University of Glasgow suggests that lifespan is affected by the rate at which bodies grow early in life: manipulating growth rates in stickleback fish can extend their lifespan by nearly a third or reduce it by 15 percent.
A team from the University’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine altered the growth rate of 240 fish by exposing… read more
April 8, 2005
The smallest electric motor in the world, devised by physicists at UC Berkeley, is based on the shuttling of atoms between two metal droplets—one large and one small—residing on the back of a carbon nanotube.
Courtesy Zettl Research Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California at Berkeley
December 13, 2011
Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) researchers have developed a novel molecular switch that uses the position of a single proton in a porphyrin ring to set four distinct states on demand at 500 times per second.
They removed one of the two protons from the inside of the porphyrin ring. The remaining proton could now take on any one of four positions. A tiny current that… read more
May 3, 2007
Ray Kurzweil is a legendary inventor with a history of mind-blowing ideas. Now he’s onto something even bigger. If he’s right, the future will be a lot weirder and brighter than you think.
He is “an inventor whose work in artificial intelligence has dazzled technological sophisticates for four decades…. The magic that has enabled all his innovations has been the science of pattern recognition….
“By 2027, he predicts,… read more
August 22, 2008
Skin-cancer tumors give off a characteristic odor profile that could be used for fast, early detection, Monell Chemical Senses Center scientists have found.
Sensor technology like the electronic noses under development could be programmed with the levels of chemicals indicative of a tumor.