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Archive for the ‘transportation’ category

Apr 20, 2018

Taking the Pulse of Greenhouse Gases

Posted by in category: transportation

It can happen in a flash — airborne science, that is.

Two hundred microseconds, to be exact. With lasers shot from the belly of a King Air B200 aircraft.

That’s right, scientists are shooting lasers at atmospheric gases — not to zap them out of existence, but to measure them.

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Apr 20, 2018

The world’s largest plane with a wingspan bigger than a football pitch is preparing to take off

Posted by in category: transportation

The largest plane ever built – backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and his company Vulcan Aerospace – is set to take full flight for the first time within months.

Known as Stratolaunch, the huge aircraft is so big that it requires two cockpits and six jet engines to take off.

The aircraft also has a wingspan of 385 feet, over a hundred more than the average football pitch.

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Apr 20, 2018

Happy birthday Aubrey de Grey

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension, mathematics, transportation

Happy birthday to dr. aubrey de grey bigsmile


How many biologists does it take to make nontrivial progress on an unsolved mathematical problem for the first time in nearly 70 years? The answer is one, at least if the biologist is Dr. Aubrey de Grey, the pioneer of the repair approach to aging.

Yes, you read that right. Today, in occasion of Dr. de Grey’s birthday, we’ve decided to take a short break from biology and rejuvenation to tell our readers about the recent scientific achievement of one of the world’s most famous biogerontologists—unexpectedly, but pleasantly so, in the field of mathematics.

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Apr 19, 2018

MIT Unleashes a Hypnotic Robot Fish to Help Save the Oceans

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Like a miniaturized Moby Dick, the pure-white fish wiggles slowly over the reef, ducking under corals and ascending, then descending again, up and down and all around. Its insides, though, are not flesh, but electronics. And its flexible tail flicking back and forth is not made of muscle and scales, but elastomer.

The Soft Robotic Fish, aka SoFi, is a hypnotic machine, the likes of which the sea has never seen before. In a paper published today in Science Robotics, MIT researchers detail the evolution of the world’s strangest fish, and describe how it could be a potentially powerful tool for scientists to study ocean life.

Scientists designed SoFi to solve several problems that bedevil oceanic robotics. Problem one: communication. Underwater vehicles are typically tethered to a boat because radio waves don’t do well in water. What SoFi’s inventors have opted for instead is sound.

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Apr 15, 2018

AI chips are going to bring new brains to smart speakers, PCs, cars, and phones you can afford

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, robotics/AI, security, transportation

Processors with artificial intelligence will spread from today’s top-end phones to cars, PCs, security cameras, smart speakers and mainstream phones.

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Apr 14, 2018

China hopes to build the chips that will control millions of driverless cars

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

The nation’s insatiable desire to build its own hardware naturally extends to the world of robo-taxis.

Backstory: China has made no secret of wanting to design and produce huge numbers of its own chips. It’s already gunning to build the processors that power an impending wave of artificial-intelligence hardware.

The news: Bloomberg reports that domestic firms are also expected to build the chips that will be the brains behind the nation’s robotic cars. Startups like Horizon Robotics, founded by the former chief of Baidu’s Institute of Deep Learning, are scrambling to build low-power devices that process data from sensors dotted around cars.

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Apr 13, 2018

Does Facebook Use AI To Predict Your Future Actions For Advertisers?

Posted by in categories: ethics, robotics/AI, transportation

Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted in March, Facebook has been attempting to make a moral stand for your privacy, distancing itself from the unscrupulous practices of the U.K. political consultancy. “Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do,” wrote Paul Grewal, Facebook’s deputy general counsel, just a few weeks before founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg hit Capitol Hill to make similar reassurances, telling lawmakers, “Across the board, we have a responsibility to not just build tools, but to make sure those tools are used for good.” But in reality, a confidential Facebook document reviewed by The Intercept shows that the two companies are far more similar than the social network would like you to believe.

The recent document, described as “confidential,” outlines a new advertising service that expands how the social network sells corporations’ access to its users and their lives: Instead of merely offering advertisers the ability to target people based on demographics and consumer preferences, Facebook instead offers the ability to target them based on how they will behave, what they will buy, and what they will think. These capabilities are the fruits of a self-improving, artificial intelligence-powered prediction engine, first unveiled by Facebook in 2016 and dubbed “FBLearner Flow.”

One slide in the document touts Facebook’s ability to “predict future behavior,” allowing companies to target people on the basis of decisions they haven’t even made yet. This would, potentially, give third parties the opportunity to alter a consumer’s anticipated course. Here, Facebook explains how it can comb through its entire user base of over 2 billion individuals and produce millions of people who are “at risk” of jumping ship from one brand to a competitor. These individuals could then be targeted aggressively with advertising that could pre-empt and change their decision entirely — something Facebook calls “improved marketing efficiency.” This isn’t Facebook showing you Chevy ads because you’ve been reading about Ford all week — old hat in the online marketing world — rather Facebook using facts of your life to predict that in the near future, you’re going to get sick of your car. Facebook’s name for this service: “loyalty prediction.”

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Apr 13, 2018

12 Futuristic Technologies That Could Become Reality in 2018

Posted by in categories: business, privacy, robotics/AI, transportation

In the last year, the business and consumer markets alike have seen the release of advanced technologies that were once considered the stuff of science fiction. Smart gadgets that control every facet of your home, self-driving vehicles, facial and biometric identification systems and more have begun to emerge, giving us a glimpse of the high-tech reality we’re moving towards.

To find out which futuristic technologies are on the horizon, we asked a panel of YEC members the following question:

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Apr 12, 2018

World’s first electrified road for charging vehicles opens in Sweden

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability, transportation

Stretch of road outside Stockholm transfers energy from two tracks of rail in the road, recharging the batteries of electric cars and trucks.

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Apr 11, 2018

Why the fuss about nurdles?

Posted by in categories: computing, transportation

Nurdles. The name sounds inoffensive, cuddly even… However, nurdles are anything but. “Nurdle” is the colloquial name for “pre-production plastic pellets” (which is in itself rather a mouthful); these are the raw material of the plastic industry – the building blocks for plastic bottles, plastic bags, drinking straws, car components, computer keyboards – in fact almost anything you can think of that’s made of plastic.

However, nurdles are also covering our beaches. I found that out for myself when Fauna & Flora International (FFI) first started researching this issue in 2009. Having read about them I went looking on my local beach, and was shocked to find so many nurdles in the strandline and trapped in washed-up seaweed. I had never noticed them before, but they had clearly been accumulating for some time.

While pictures of the tide of larger plastics in the ocean are front page news, the issue of nurdle pollution has received much less attention. Recent storms, however, have resulted in higher levels of nurdles being reported from a range of sites around UK coasts, highlighting the numbers of nurdles that are in our waterways, seas and sediments – a level of pollution which we can only see when they are flushed out and onto the beach. The Great Nurdle Hunt (an initiative of our partner Fidra) has mapped nurdle finds from around the UK and Europe, which has identified a number of nurdle hotspots in key industrial estuaries. However, this problem isn’t unique to Europe; nurdles are reported worldwide, but only hit the headlines when there are significant local spills from containers lost at sea, as recently occurred in South Africa. However, such one-off events aren’t the only source of nurdle pollution.

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