Lifeboat News: The Blog Safeguarding Humanity Sat, 26 Sep 2020 13:00:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Kelvin Ogba Dafiaghor Sat, 26 Sep 2020 11:23:01 +0000

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Kitty see, kitty do: cat imitates human, in first scientific demonstration of behavior Sat, 26 Sep 2020 07:22:55 +0000

In 16 subsequent trials, Ebisu accurately copied her owner more than 81% of the time, the team reports this month in (see video, above). The fact that the cat used her paw and face to touch the box when her owner used her hand and face, respectively, indicates she was able to “map” her owner’s body parts onto her own anatomy, the team says.

Fugazza says only dolphins, parrots, apes, and killer whales have so far been shown to imitate people. Cats having the same ability, she says, suggests it may be widespread in the animal kingdom, evolving early in animal evolution. And even though the study was conducted on a single cat, Fugazza thinks it’s likely that most cats can imitate people. “I don’t think Ebisu was a genius.”

But Claudio Tennie, an ethologist at the University of Tübingen who has studied cognition in dogs and primates, is not impressed. He says it’s impossible to tell from the study whether cats have an innate ability to imitate humans, or whether the intensive “Do as I do” training gave them the skill. “We can train bears to ride motorcycles,” he says. “That doesn’t mean bears ride motorcycles.”

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Watch a Robot Dog Herd Sheep on a New Zealand Farm Sat, 26 Sep 2020 05:24:34 +0000

Robot Babe.

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The exotic ‘atom’ positronium surprises scientists Sat, 26 Sep 2020 05:24:26 +0000


New measurements of a weird but simple atom, one without a nucleus, suggest it may have unexpected properties. Scientists find this troubling.

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NASA’s new $23 million space toilet is ready for launch Sat, 26 Sep 2020 05:24:19 +0000

The upgraded toilet could be used on moon flights one day.

The bathroom on the International Space System is getting a major upgrade with a new, high-tech, compact space toilet to be delivered next week.

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Hydrogen from Sunlight Sat, 26 Sep 2020 05:24:06 +0000

Researchers demonstrate efficient generation of hydrogen using sunlight.

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Physicists develop a method to improve gravitational wave detector sensitivity Sat, 26 Sep 2020 05:23:13 +0000

Gravitational wave detectors have opened a new window to the universe by measuring the ripples in spacetime produced by colliding black holes and neutron stars, but they are ultimately limited by quantum fluctuations induced by light reflecting off of mirrors. LSU Ph.D. physics alumnus Jonathan Cripe and his team of LSU researchers have conducted a new experiment with scientists from Caltech and Thorlabs to explore a way to cancel this quantum backaction and improve detector sensitivity.

In a new paper in Physical Review X, the investigators present a method for removing quantum backaction in a simplified system using a mirror the size of a human hair and show the motion of the mirror is reduced in agreement with theoretical predictions. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation.

Despite using 40-kilogram mirrors for detecting passing , of light disturb the position of the mirrors when the light is reflected. As continue to grow more sensitive with incremental upgrades, this quantum backaction will become a fundamental limit to the detectors’ sensitivity, hampering their ability to extract astrophysical information from gravitational waves.

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How China Is Closing In on Its Own Digital Currency Sat, 26 Sep 2020 05:22:54 +0000

While there’s no launch date yet, the People’s Bank of China is likely to be the first major central bank to issue a digital version of its currency, the yuan, seeking to keep up with — and control of — a rapidly digitizing economy. Trials have been held this year in a handful of cities and tests have started with some e-wallets and online apps, with the Covid-19 pandemic and need for social distancing providing a new sense of urgency. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, dealing in the digital yuan won’t have any presumption of anonymity, and its value will be as stable as the physical yuan, which will be sticking around too. Behind China’s rush is a desire to manage technological change on its own terms. As one PBOC official put it, currency isn’t only an economic issue, it’s also about sovereignty.

Not all the details are out, but according to new patents registered by the PBOC and official speeches, it could work something like this: Consumers and businesses would download a digital wallet onto their mobile phone and fill it with money from their account at a commercial bank — similar to going to an ATM. They then use that money — dubbed Digital Currency Electronic Payment, or DCEP — like cash to make and receive payments directly with anyone else who also has a digital wallet. Some questions remain, including the impact on Big Tech companies such as Ant Group Co. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. that already offer payment services.

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A Student Just Proved Paradox-Free Time Travel Is Possible Sat, 26 Sep 2020 01:26:16 +0000

Now we can all go back to 2019.

In a new peer-reviewed paper, a senior honors undergraduate says he has mathematically proven the physical feasibility of a specific kind of time travel. The paper appears in Classical and Quantum Gravity.

🤯 You love time travel. So do we. Let’s nerd out over it together.

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World’s smallest fine particle air pollution sensor fits inside a phone Sat, 26 Sep 2020 01:26:09 +0000

Air pollution involving very fine dust, such as PM2.5 particles, poses a serious threat to human health. Scientists in Austria have developed what they call the smallest particle sensor in the world, designed specifically to detect these harmful pollutants and offer a highly localized picture of air quality by being integrated into wearables and mobile devices.

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution contributes to more than four million premature deaths each year. While PM10 particles with a diameter of 10 microns or less can also make their way into their lungs, the finer PM2.5 particles are even more dangerous, as they can penetrate the lung barrier, slip into the blood stream and, through chronic exposure, cause severe forms of cardiovascular and respiratory disease, along with other health problems.

Concentrations of PM2.5 particles can be gauged through monitoring stations positioned around cities and regions, in fact the US Environmental Protection Agency uses a nationwide network of these stations to track air quality trends. But scientists from Austria’s Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) have been working on a more cost-effective, compact and versatile solution that can alert individual users of dangerous conditions in real time.

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