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Sep 9, 2016

Biotech startup says it has nearly perfected making wine in a lab

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

Ava Winery’s first public taste test didn’t exactly go well. Two reporters on camera at New Scientist compared the biotech startup’s artificial wine with a glass of the Moscato D’Asti that it was based on. They complained that the fake wine had too little color, too little viscosity, and an unpleasant plastic smell.

But that was May, and this is September, and Ava is already bragging about making huge improvements in its product, to the point where it is all but indistinguishable from fermented grape juice, and looking ahead to how it’s going to change the world.

“What we have done since then is leaps and bounds beyond what they were able to taste back in May,” co-founder Alec Lee says. “Now we’re at the point where about 90% of people fail out blind taste test.”

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Sep 9, 2016

Ray Kurzweil: Accelerating Tech Is Making Old Intellectual Property Laws Obsolete

Posted by in categories: law, Ray Kurzweil, singularity

As technology and innovation move faster and faster, concerns over ownership and access continue to increase. In answer to a question at a Singularity University event, Ray Kurzweil suggested we need to rethink intellectual property laws to more realistically match today’s pace.

Intellectual property laws from the 19th century were envisioned with roughly 20-year cycles, he said, which was enough to give you a head-start on a new idea or invention and attract funding to see it through. But how relevant is a 20-year cycle today when a generation of technology can come and go in a year—and even that is set to speed up?

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Sep 9, 2016

First Cryogenically Frozen Mammal Brain Restored Successfully

Posted by in categories: life extension, neuroscience

The human ‘connectome’.

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Sep 9, 2016

Drones armed with anti-laser lasers that trick controls of enemy lasers into missing the drone

Posted by in categories: drones, energy, military

To defend against military lasers, Adsys Controls of Irvine, California, has created Helios, which can be carried on drones. To do much damage, an offensive laser needs to remain focused on its target for several seconds. Helios stops a laser from doing this by disrupting the systems controlling the beam – the Achilles’ heel for all such weapons. “Beam control is a critical function of high-energy lasers,” says Adsys CEO Brian Goldberg.

Helios can detect an incoming laser beam and identify its key characteristics, such as power, wavelength, pulse frequency and its source. Helios then interferes with the beam control – possibly by firing back a low-power laser of its own – so the attacking laser cannot fix on the target. “It provides permanent protection,” says Goldberg. “It’s not just buying time.”

He will not say exactly how the interference is done, but it may involve fooling the control system into thinking it is hitting its target despite the laser actually pointing a few metres to the side. A direct hit would have produced a big burst of reflected light, so a pulse sent back by an anti-laser laser could make it look like the original laser was on target.

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Sep 9, 2016

Apple Is Said to Be Rethinking Strategy on Self-Driving Cars — By Daisuke Wakabayashi and Brian X. Chen | The New York Times

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


“Apple started looking seriously into building an electric car about two years ago. It expanded the project quickly, poaching experts in battery technology and so-called machine vision, as well as veterans from the automobile industry.”

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Sep 9, 2016

Three Ways To Unlearn Old Habits Faster — By Liz Alexander | Fast Company

Posted by in category: hacking


“There’s something missing from the conversation about lifelong learning.”

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Sep 9, 2016

Google’s DeepMind Achieves Speech-Generation Breakthrough

Posted by in categories: computing, robotics/AI

Google’s DeepMind unit, which is working to develop super-intelligent computers, has created a system for machine-generated speech that it says outperforms existing technology by 50 percent.

U.K.-based DeepMind, which Google acquired for about 400 million pounds ($533 million) in 2014, developed an artificial intelligence called WaveNet that can mimic human speech by learning how to form the individual sound waves a human voice creates, it said in a blog post Friday. In blind tests for U.S. English and Mandarin Chinese, human listeners found WaveNet-generated speech sounded more natural than that created with any of Google’s existing text-to-speech programs, which are based on different technologies. WaveNet still underperformed recordings of actual human speech.

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Sep 9, 2016

Sci-Fi and Sci-Fact: Understanding The Star Trek and Alcubierre Warp Drives

Posted by in category: space travel

Warp drive. It is a technology that humanity has dreamed about for years; however, in reality, it is more than just a dream—a number of scientists have long speculated about how such devices would actually work. Unfortunately, the ideas are largely just thought experiments, and most experts don’t think that this technology is likely to develop anytime soon (if at all).

But before I start raining on anyone’s parade, let’s break this technology down a bit.

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Sep 9, 2016

Breaking Newton’s Third Law: Impossible Space Engine ‘The EMdrive’ Passes Peer Review

Posted by in categories: physics, space travel

The EmDrive is a new type of rocket engine first proposed by British scientist/electrical engineer Roger Shawyer in 1999. Unlike conventional space rocket engines, the EmDrive doesn’t require any kind of propellant (also known as a reaction mass) to make propulsion possible, and hence partially disobeying Newton’s Third Law: “To each action there’s an equal and opposite reaction”.

Despite the fact that this seems to violate the known laws of physics, a prototype device was submitted to NASA’s Eagleworks lab for testing which came back positive, reports Digital Trends.

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Sep 9, 2016

Whoa! What a cool way to transfer energy into electricity!

Posted by in category: energy

#Technology #WaveHarvester

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