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Feb 8, 2016

Quantum Levitation

Posted by in categories: materials, quantum physics, transportation

Researchers at the school of physics and astronomy at Tel Aviv University have created a track around which a superconductor (a material that is extremely efficient at transmitting electricity) can float, thanks to the phenomenon of “quantum levitation “.

This levitation effect is explained by the Meissner effect, which describes how, when a material makes the transition from its normal to its superconducting state, it actively excludes magnetic fields from its interior, leaving only a thin layer on its surface.

When a material is in its superconducting state — which involves very low temperatures — it is strongly diamagnetic. This means that when a magnetic field is externally applied, it will create an equally opposing magnetic field, locking it in place.

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Feb 8, 2016

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Is Making Progress In Artificial Intelligence

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) AI program XiaoIce, which was being tested on Chinese social media sites has shown positive results, a positive for Microsoft.

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Feb 8, 2016

Tesla’s falling out of favor

Posted by in categories: engineering, transportation

Not good. 2 weeks ago I mentioned concerns about the competitor enticing some of Tesla’s engineering talent.


There’s increased competition in the electric car space.

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Feb 8, 2016

Engineers, Entrepreneurs Hoping To Re-Engineer Humans For Skill, Strength

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, transhumanism

Cool new story and video on transhumanism:


SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) –During Super Bowl 50, the world saw the Denver Broncos throttle the Carolina Panthers. The game’s MVP Von Miller dominated Cam Newton in a display of super human strength and skill.

You may not know it, but a growing number of engineers, biohackers and entrepreneurs hopes one day we’ll all be super human as well.

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Feb 8, 2016

Minimally Invasive “Stentrode” Shows Potential as Neural Interface for Brain

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, neuroscience, transhumanism

A DARPA-funded research team has created a novel neural-recording device that can be implanted into the brain through blood vessels, reducing the need for invasive surgery and the risks associated with breaching the blood-brain barrier. The technology was developed under DARPA’s Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET) program, and offers new potential for safely expanding the use of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) to treat physical disabilities and neurological disorders.

In an article published in Nature Biotechnology, researchers in the Vascular Bionics Laboratory at the University of Melbourne led by neurologist Thomas Oxley, M.D., describe proof-of-concept results from a study conducted in sheep that demonstrate high-fidelity measurements taken from the motor cortex—the region of the brain responsible for controlling voluntary movement—using a novel device the size of a small paperclip.

This new device, which Oxley’s team dubbed the “stentrode,” was adapted from off-the-shelf stent technology—a familiar therapeutic tool for clearing and repairing blood vessels—to include an array of electrodes. The researchers also addressed the dual challenge of making the device flexible enough to safely pass through curving blood vessels, yet stiff enough that the array can emerge from the delivery tube at its destination.

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Feb 8, 2016

A New AI Estimates Pollution From Crowdsourced Images

Posted by in categories: environmental, information science, mobile phones, robotics/AI

Around the world, cities are choking on smog. But a new AI system plans to analyze just how bad the situation is by aggregating data from smartphone pictures captured far and wide across cities.

The project, called AirTick, has been developed by researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, reports New Scientist. The reasoning is pretty simple: Deploying air sensors isn’t cheap and takes a long time, so why not make use of the sensors that everyone has in their pocket?

The result is an app which allows people to report smog levels by uploading an image tagged with time and location. Then, a machine learning algorithm chews through the data and compares it against official air-quality measurements where it can. Over time, the team hopes the software will slowly be able to predict air quality from smartphone images alone.

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Feb 8, 2016

Comets May Not Explain ‘Alien Megastructure’ Star’s Strange Flickering After All

Posted by in category: alien life

It’s looking less likely that a swarm of comets or an “alien megastructure” can explain a faraway star’s strange dimming.

The star (nicknamed “Tabby’s Star,” after its discoverer, Tabetha Boyajian) made major headlines last October when Jason Wright, an astronomer at Pennsylvania State University, suggested that it could be surrounded by some type of alien megastructure. A more likely idea — one that’s far less exciting — is that the star is orbited by a swarm of comets. But scientists can’t be sure either way.

Now, Bradley Schaefer, an astronomer at Louisiana State University, has probed the star’s behavior over the past century by looking at old photographic plates. Not only does the star’s random dipping date back more than a century, but it also has been gradually dimming over that period — a second constraint that makes it even harder to explain. [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Alien Life].

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Feb 8, 2016

China Close To Creating ‘Artificial Sun’ That Could End Reliance On Fossil Fuels

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, solar power, sustainability

One way or another, via government research or the countless new startups, fusion is well on it’s way.


Chinese scientists have managed to create a hydrogen gas that is three times hotter than the sun.

The artificial solar energy could eventually be used as an inexhaustible source of power, ending reliance on fossil fuels and solving the world energy crisis.

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Feb 8, 2016

An asteroid is going to swoop uncomfortably close to Earth on March 5

Posted by in category: asteroid/comet impacts

Sooner or later it IS going to happen. All we can do is prepare to defend out planet, whilst making sure we have humans living off-world, somewhere, so that all of our proverbial eggs aren’t in one proverbial basket!


But don’t worry, it won’t hit us.

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Feb 8, 2016

What Are Gravitational Waves And Why Do They Matter?

Posted by in category: physics

Physicists have been buzzing (or rather, tweeting) about the possibility that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) experiment finally discovered gravitational waves. LIGO has been searching for these cosmic ripples for over a decade. Last September, it upgraded to Advanced-LIGO, a more sensitive system that’s also better at filtering out noise. Advanced-LIGO has a much stronger chance of collecting concrete evidence of gravitational waves—if it hasn’t already.

Scientists may be excited, but talk of gravitational waves leaves most people scratching their heads. What are these cosmic vibrations, and why are they making waves in the scientific community?

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