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Apr 24, 2015

A New Competitor for Bitcoin Aims to Be Faster and Safer

Posted by in category: bitcoin

By Tom Simonite — MIT Technology Review
A Stanford professor claims to have invented a Bitcoin-like system that can handle payments faster and with more security.

The total value of the digital currency Bitcoin is now approximately $3.4 billion, and many companies and investors are working to prove that the technology can make financial services cheaper and more useful.

But Stanford professor David Mazières thinks he has a faster, more flexible, and more secure alternative. If Mazières is correct, his technology could make digital payments and other transactions cheaper, safer, and easier—particularly across borders. He released the design for his system in a white paper last Wednesday. Read more

Apr 24, 2015

To be a Space Faring Civilization

Posted by in categories: astronomy, cosmology, human trajectories, innovation, science, space, space travel, transportation

Until 2006 our Solar System consisted essentially of a star, planets, moons, and very much smaller bodies known as asteroids and comets. In 2006 the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Division III Working Committee addressed scientific issues and the Planet Definition Committee address cultural and social issues with regard to planet classifications. They introduced the “pluton” for bodies similar to planets but much smaller.

The IAU set down three rules to differentiate between planets and dwarf planets. First, the object must be in orbit around a star, while not being itself a star. Second, the object must be large enough (or more technically correct, massive enough) for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape. The shape of objects with mass above 5×1020 kg and diameter greater than 800 km would normally be determined by self-gravity, but all borderline cases would have to be established by observation.

Third, plutons or dwarf planets, are distinguished from classical planets in that they reside in orbits around the Sun that take longer than 200 years to complete (i.e. they orbit beyond Neptune). Plutons typically have orbits with a large orbital inclination and a large eccentricity (noncircular orbits). A planet should dominate its zone, either gravitationally, or in its size distribution. That is, the definition of “planet” should also include the requirement that it has cleared its orbital zone. Of course this third requirement automatically implies the second. Thus, one notes that planets and plutons are differentiated by the third requirement.

As we are soon to become a space faring civilization, we should rethink these cultural and social issues, differently, by subtraction or addition. By subtraction, if one breaks the other requirements? Comets and asteroids break the second requirement that the object must be large enough. Breaking the first requirement, which the IAU chose not address at the time, would have planet sized bodies not orbiting a star. From a socio-cultural perspective, one could suggest that these be named “darktons” (from dark + plutons). “Dark” because without orbiting a star, these objects would not be easily visible; “tons” because in deep space, without much matter, these bodies could not meet the third requirement of being able to dominate its zone.

Continue reading “To be a Space Faring Civilization” »


Apr 24, 2015

Article: Harnessing “Black Holes”: The Large Hadron Collider – Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction

Posted by in categories: astronomy, big data, computing, cosmology, energy, engineering, environmental, ethics, existential risks, futurism, general relativity, governance, government, gravity, information science, innovation, internet, journalism, law, life extension, media & arts, military, nuclear, nuclear energy, open source, particle physics, philosophy, physics, policy, posthumanism, quantum physics, science, security, singularity, space, space travel, supercomputing, sustainability, time travel, transhumanism, transparency, treaties

Harnessing “Black Holes”: The Large Hadron Collider – Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction

Why the LHC must be shut down

Continue reading “Article: Harnessing ‘Black Holes’: The Large Hadron Collider – Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction” »


Apr 24, 2015

CERN-Critics: LHC restart is a sad day for science and humanity!

Posted by in categories: astronomy, big data, complex systems, computing, cosmology, energy, engineering, ethics, existential risks, futurism, general relativity, governance, government, gravity, hardware, information science, innovation, internet, journalism, law, life extension, media & arts, military, nuclear, nuclear energy, particle physics, philosophy, physics, policy, quantum physics, science, security, singularity, space, space travel, supercomputing, sustainability, time travel, transhumanism, transparency, treaties
PRESS RELEASE “LHC-KRITIK”/”LHC-CRITIQUE”  www.lhc-concern.info
CERN-Critics: LHC restart is a sad day for science and humanity!

Continue reading “CERN-Critics: LHC restart is a sad day for science and humanity!” »


Apr 24, 2015

A Tool That Lets Designers Tweak iPhone Apps Without Code

Posted by in categories: hacking, innovation, software

— Wiredhttp://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/hone-582x340.jpgJaanus Kase isn’t sure we should teach every kid to code.

Wait, don’t grab your pitchfork just yet. He thinks it’s a perfectly noble idea, just that it ignores a basic fact: Programming as it exists today is tedious and a highly specialized skill—one that, frankly, not everyone is well-suited to. “Saying that everybody is a programmer, everybody must code, it’s dangerous,” he says. “It trivializes the art of programming. And it is an art—a craft.”

Rather than teach everyone to code, maybe it makes more sense to build tools that let some people side-step programming altogether? Read more

Apr 23, 2015

Tomorrowland: Our Journey From Science Fiction To Science Fact

Posted by in category: futurism

By — SingularityHubhttp://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Kotler-Tomorrowland-1000x400.jpg

For the past 25 years, my beat as a journalist has been covering those moments in time when science fiction became science fact. As a result, and on a good number of occasions—like when the first artificial vision implant was turned on or when the first private spaceship was launched—I was lucky enough to be in the room when history happened.

These moments are also the subject of my next book: Tomorrowland: Our Journey From Science Fiction to Science Factwhich hits stores in early May. As the title suggests, this book is an investigation into those transformational sci-fi to sci-fact moments and—more specifically—the incredibly disruptive impact they have on culture. Read more

Apr 23, 2015

Major advance in artificial photosynthesis poses win/win for the environment

Posted by in category: environmental

Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryMajor advance in artificial photosynthesis poses win/win for the environment

A potentially game-changing breakthrough in artificial photosynthesis has been achieved with the development of a system that can capture carbon dioxide emissions before they are vented into the atmosphere and then, powered by solar energy, convert that carbon dioxide into valuable chemical products, including biodegradable plastics, pharmaceutical drugs and even liquid fuels.

Scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)‘s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have created a hybrid system of semiconducting nanowires and bacteria that mimics the natural photosynthetic process by which plants use the energy in sunlight to synthesize carbohydrates from and water. However, this new artificial photosynthetic system synthesizes the combination of carbon dioxide and water into acetate, the most common building block today for biosynthesis.

“We believe our system is a revolutionary leap forward in the field of ,” says Peidong Yang, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and one of the leaders of this study. “Our system has the potential to fundamentally change the chemical and oil industry in that we can produce chemicals and fuels in a totally renewable way, rather than extracting them from deep below the ground. Read more

Apr 22, 2015

Amazon Drones Could Deliver A Package In Under 30 Minutes For $1

Posted by in category: drones

By Tasha Keeney, Analyst: Industrial Innovation — Seeking Alpha

In December of last year, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced Prime Air, the company’s plan to deliver future packages by drone (“UAV”). While the media and others mocked this announcement, UAV delivery is likely to disrupt traditional package delivery significantly. If the FAA gives Amazon clearance for commercial rollout of its drone delivery service, the price that a consumer would pay for the delivery of a five-pound package could be as low as $1.1 Just as impressive, delivery times could drop below thirty minutes. As shown below, FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) and United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) cost 8–13 times more for much longer delivery times for a small package.2http://static.cdn-seekingalpha.com/uploads/2015/4/17/saupload_AmazonDroneComparison2-e1429221389620_thumb1.pngRead more

Apr 22, 2015

NASA Chief Says Mars One Does Not Stand A Chance Without NASA

Posted by in category: space travel

By — Fast Company
Mars One, the Netherlands-based nonprofit that wants to send human colonists to Mars using private-industry rockets, has been widely criticized for its unrealistic goals and timeline. This week, in a U.S. House Committee hearing for NASA’s 2016 budget, NASA chief administrator Charles Bolden told the committee that “No commercial company without the support of NASA and government is going to get to Mars,” reports Engadget. Bolden’s statement, while not a direct reference to Mars One, certainly seems to support the skepticism surrounding the project. Read more

Apr 21, 2015

The 4 Steps That Transform Physics Theories Into Groundbreaking New Technologies

Posted by in categories: engineering, innovation

By — SingularityHubhttp://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/4-steps-physics-theory-to-invention-1000x400.jpg

Ever wondered how the technology we use every day came into existence? Sure, an engineer designed it, a manufacturer produced it, and some savvy marketing helped sell you the product, but where did the ideas come from? Many famous inventions and household name technologies originated from research done by physicists, either as byproducts or direct application of their ideas. How does it all happen?

“So as a physicist, what do you actually do?”

Many people outside of academic physics departments often have this question, due to a lack of communication between general public and researchers. Read more

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