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Feb 22, 2015

Lifeboat Foundation — Washington, D.C. event

Posted by in category: space

The following is short notice, but we just found out this event is open to the public.

You’re invited!

To an announcement of the formation of a new coalition of organizations focused on space development — with special guests Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Rep. Chaka Fattah.

Continue reading “Lifeboat Foundation — Washington, D.C. event” »


Feb 22, 2015

How NASA uses quantum computing for space travel and robotics

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics
— GigaOM

Quantum computing is still in its infancy, even though the idea of a quantum computer was developed some thirty years ago. But there are a whole load of pioneering organizations (like Google) that are exploring how this potentially revolutionary technology could help them solve complex problems that modern-day computers just aren’t capable of doing at any useful speed.

One such organization is NASA, whose use of D-Wave Systems quantum computing machines is helping it research better and safer methods of space travel, air traffic controls and missions involving sending robots to far-off places, explained Davide Venturelli, a science operations manager at NASA Ames Research Center, Universities Space Research Association. I’ll be speaking with Venturelli on stage at Structure Data 2015 from March 18–19 in New York City and we’ll be sure to cover how NASA envisions the future of quantum computing.

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Feb 21, 2015

The Coming Boom In Brain Medicines

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Matthew Herper Forbes


TONY COLES COULD have had any job he wanted in the drug industry. In five years at the helm of cancer drug developer Onyx Pharmaceuticals he increased its market cap eightfold by purchasing an experimental blood cancer drug for $800 million, developing it into a big seller and flipping the whole company to Amgen AMGN +1.01% for $10.4 billion in October 2013. He personally made $60 million on the deal. Biotech watchers expected him to start another cancer company or even command a drug giant like Merck or Pfizer PFE –0.29%.

Instead, Coles, 54, is using his own money to build a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup called Yumanity that is using yeast, the microbes that help make bread and beer, to study how misfolded proteins in the brain cause Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease and Parkinson’s, and to create drugs based on that knowledge. There’s already interest from Big Pharma. Coles says he chose to attack brain diseases, not tumors, because the need is so dire and the science is so fresh.

“We’ve got 50 million people around the world who have these diseases, costing $650 billion a year, and lots of families like mine that have been affected,” says Coles. “I had a grandmother who died of the complications of Alzheimer’s disease. I think about my own health as well.”

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Feb 21, 2015

The Future of Virtual Sex

Posted by in category: augmented reality

Feb 20, 2015

Why Tesla’s battery for your home should terrify utilities

Posted by in category: energy

By Josh Dzieza — The Verge
https://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/Mz-akKJPj-YIkaFoV5vg0Kw07o4=/0x82:2270x1359/1600x900/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/45685108/461496044.0.jpg
Earlier this week, during a disappointing Tesla earnings call, Elon Musk mentioned in passing that he’d be producing a stationary battery for powering the home in the next few months. It sounded like a throwaway side project from someone who’s never seen a side project he doesn’t like. But it’s a very smart move, and one that’s more central to Musk’s ambitions than it might seem.

To understand why, it helps to look not at Tesla, but at SolarCity, a company chaired by Musk and run by his cousin Lyndon Rive. SolarCity installs panels on people’s roofs, leases them for less than they’d be paying in energy bills, and sells surplus energy back to the local utility. It’s proven a tremendously successful model. Founded in 2006, the company now has 168,000 customers and controls 39 percent of the rapidly expanding residential solar market.

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Feb 20, 2015

42 Percent of Americans Are Wrong About Drones

Posted by in category: drones

By — Slate
Man operating drone.

Drones are inescapable in today’s media, whether they’re crashing on the White House lawn, soaring over bubbling Icelandic volcanoes, or being sold at the mall as a hot gift. And as a recent Reuters/Ipsos online poll found, when it comes to drones, many Americans are certifiably creeped-out. A remarkable 42 percent of respondents said that they disapprove of the ownership of drones by private citizens. It’s clear this new industry has a PR problem—and if average Americans aren’t convinced that drones can be a force for good, a promising new area of technological advancement could potentially be stopped in its tracks.

The poll of 2,405 Americans demonstrated that many people harbor “not in my backyard” sentiments when it comes to drones: Seventy-one percent said drones should not be permitted to operate over the property of others, while 64 percent said they hope their neighbors won’t add drone flying to their list of weekend pursuits.

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Feb 19, 2015

Moore’s Law Is About to Get Weird

Posted by in category: computing

By Gabriel Popkin — Nautilus
http://static.nautil.us/5324_510731ac096ebcb3989fb1ed5b7075bb.png
I’ve never seen the computer you’re reading this story on, but I can tell you a lot about it. It runs on electricity. It uses binary logic to carry out programmed instructions. It shuttles information using materials known as semiconductors. Its brains are built on integrated circuit chips packed with tiny switches known as transistors.

In the nearly 70 years since the first modern digital computer was built, the above specs have become all but synonymous with computing. But they need not be. A computer is defined not by a particular set of hardware, but by being able to take information as input; to change, or “process,” the information in some controllable way; and to deliver new information as output. This information and the hardware that processes it can take an almost endless variety of physical forms. Over nearly two centuries, scientists and engineers have experimented with designs that use mechanical gears, chemical reactions, fluid flows, light, DNA, living cells, and synthetic cells.

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Feb 19, 2015

Meet Poppy, the printable robot

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, robotics/AI

Prague Post
All the parts for making Poppy. Photo: European Commission

An the open-source, 3D-printed robot is set to inspire innovation in classrooms

Meet Poppy, the first completely open-source, 3D printed, humanoid robot (@poppy_project). Poppy is a robot that anybody can build and program. That means it’s not just a tool for scientists and engineers: the team of developers aims to make it part of vocational training in schools, giving students the opportunity to experiment.

Poppy was developed in France by Inria’s Flowers team, which creates computer and robotic models as tools for understanding developmental processes in humans. Dr Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, who holds an ERC Starting Grant in Computer Science and Informatics, explains: “Very little has been done to explore the benefits of 3D printing and its interaction with computer science in classrooms. With our Poppy platform, we are now offering schools and teachers a way to cultivate the creativity of students studying in areas such as mechanics, computer science, electronics and 3D printing.”

Feb 16, 2015

Apple Has Hundreds Working On An Electric Car Design, Says WSJ

Posted by in category: transportation

by — TechCrunch

Apple is working on a car, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Mac maker kicked off a top-secret project to develop an electric car with a minivan aesthetic, per the WSJ’s sources, after CEO Tim Cook approved the project nearly a year ago. It includes “hundreds” of staffers and is led by Ford Motor vet and Apple VP Steve Zadesky. The project involves research into battery tech, robotics and metal production, according to the paper.

The report comes hot on the heels of a Financial Times story confirming Apple R&D efforts around car tech, and goes further than either that report or an earlier one from Business Insider wherein an Apple employee reportedly confirmed some kind of car-focused project. As I wrote earlier, it makes perfect logical sense that Apple would focus some effort on this area, given the direction in which the tech industry in general is headed.

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Feb 16, 2015

The new global c endows Black Holes with radically new Properties

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics

c–global means that the speed of light in the vacuum, c, can no longer be added-on to other speeds like a global expansion speed.

Hence three historical events have the same structure:

• The “phlogiston” theory of fire got superseded by Lavoisier’s discovery of oxygen
• The “miasma” theory of infection got superseded by Semmelweis’ discovery of asepsis
• The “big-bang” theory of the cosmos got superseded by the discovery of c-global

A collateral consequence of c–global is the fact that the deliberate attempt to produce black holes down on earth, scheduled to re-start at doubled energies in two months’ time, cannot be allowed without a prior disproof of c–global. Otherwise the re-start becomes a crime.

I thank Stephen Hawking for his recent public acknowledgment of the danger.

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