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Oct 17, 2015

How Tesla is ushering in the age of the learning car

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, information science, robotics/AI, sustainability, transportation

Tesla’s new autopilot system is relying on the cutting edge of machine learning, connectivity and mapping data.

While Tesla’s new hands-free driving is drawing a lot of interest this week, it’s the technology behind-the-scenes of the company’s newly-enabled autopilot service that should be getting more attention.

At an event on Wednesday Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk explained that the company’s new autopilot service is constantly learning and improving thanks to machine learning algorithms, the car’s wireless connection, and detailed mapping and sensor data that Tesla collects.

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Oct 16, 2015

Experts Warn UN Panel About the Dangers of Artificial Superintelligence

Posted by in categories: materials, robotics/AI, security

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9N_Fsbngh8

During a recent United Nations meeting about emerging global risks, political representatives from around the world were warned about the threats posed by artificial intelligence and other future technologies.

The event, organized by Georgia’s UN representatives and the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), was set up to foster discussion about the national and international security risks posed by new technologies, including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) materials.

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Oct 16, 2015

You can grow new brain cells. Here’s how

Posted by in categories: life extension, neuroscience

Can we, as adults, grow new neurons? Neuroscientist Sandrine Thuret says that we can, and she offers research and practical advice on how we can help our brains better perform neurogenesis—improving mood, increasing memory formation and preventing the decline associated with aging along the way.

Listen/View

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Oct 16, 2015

Cure for cancer might accidentally have been found, and it could be malaria

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

We shall see…


Scientists might have accidentally made a huge step forward in the search for a cure for cancer — discovering unexpectedly that a malaria protein could be an effective weapon against the disease.

Danish researchers were hunting for a way of protecting pregnant women from malaria, which can cause huge problems because it attacks the placenta. But they found at the same time that armed malaria proteins can attack cancer, too — an approach which could be a step towards curing the disease.

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Oct 16, 2015

Giant ‘Hole’ in Sun Is 50 Earths Wide

Posted by in category: space

I know that solar flares and CME’s aren’t an existential threat to humanity (as long as we’ve got our geomagnetic shield in place, of course), but having seen the movie Knowing I can’t help but feel at least a small and totally irrational bit terrified. And not by Nicolas Cage’s hair, either! (although it does come in a close second wink )


The sun has sprung a leak: A hole in the topmost layer of the sun and its magnetic field, the size of 50 Earths, is letting loose an ultrafast solar wind that has kicked off several nights of auroras down on Earth.

A new image, from NASA’s orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, reveals the enormous hole as it was Oct. 10, taken at an ultraviolet wavelength unseen by the human eye. To an ordinary observer, the gaping hole would be invisible, though you should NEVER stare at the sun because serious eye damage can result.

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Oct 16, 2015

System that replaces human intuition with algorithms outperforms human teams

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

Big-data analysis consists of searching for buried patterns that have some kind of predictive power. But choosing which “features” of the data to analyze usually requires some human intuition. In a database containing, say, the beginning and end dates of various sales promotions and weekly profits, the crucial data may not be the dates themselves but the spans between them, or not the total profits but the averages across those spans.

MIT researchers aim to take the human element out of big-data analysis, with a new system that not only searches for patterns but designs the feature set, too. To test the first prototype of their system, they enrolled it in three data science competitions, in which it competed against human teams to find predictive patterns in unfamiliar data sets. Of the 906 teams participating in the three competitions, the researchers’ “Data Science Machine” finished ahead of 615.

In two of the three competitions, the predictions made by the Data Science Machine were 94 percent and 96 percent as accurate as the winning submissions. In the third, the figure was a more modest 87 percent. But where the teams of humans typically labored over their prediction algorithms for months, the Data Science Machine took somewhere between two and 12 hours to produce each of its entries.

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Oct 16, 2015

The 5 Coolest Robots at the Biggest US Land Warfare Show

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

Autonomous systems for land, sea, and sky prowled the floor at this week’s AUSA conference in Washington.

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Oct 16, 2015

World Monuments Fund 2016 World Monuments Watch

Posted by in category: education
Country: Nepal Site: Durbar Square Caption: View of site Image Date: May 5, 2015 Photographer: René Fan/World Monuments Fund Provenance: Site Visit during earthquake Original: email from Lisa Ackerman

Country: Nepal
Site: Durbar Square
Caption: View of site
Image Date: May 5, 2015
Photographer: René Fan/World Monuments Fund
Provenance: Site Visit during earthquake
Original: email from Lisa Ackerman

“World Monuments Fund (WMF) President Bonnie Burnham has announced the 2016 World Monuments Watch, presenting a diverse group of cultural heritage sites at risk from the forces of nature and the impact of social, political, and economic change. Marking 20 years of the Watch, the 2016 list features 50 sites in 36 countries, dating from prehistory to the twentieth century.”

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Oct 15, 2015

Why An Interplanetary Fuel Stop Makes Sense For Human Missions To Mars

Posted by in categories: energy, engineering, space travel

My take on the MIT study.


Routine human missions to Mars would be much more efficient if they first swung by Earth’s Moon to pick up fuel for the trip, a new MIT strategic engineering study concludes. NASA’s 90’s-era mantra of “Back to the Moon and on to Mars” really does make sense, a new paper published in the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets notes.

The idea is that a crewed mission to Mars would greatly save on fuel and launch costs if it first made an interplanetary pit stop at a space-based depot to pick up its needed fuel. In this case, such a depot would optimally be placed at the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 2 (EML2), a point of gravitational equilibrium lying beyond the Moon’s far side.

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Oct 15, 2015

How Traveling to Deep Space In Cryogenic Sleep Could Actually Work

Posted by in categories: food, neuroscience, space travel

Our bodies aren’t meant for space. We require too much maintenance to speed through the stars. We need a steady supply of things absent from space — namely water, food and oxygen. We crave warmth but won’t find it in deep space, where the average temperature is −455 degrees Fahrenheit. Even if we could survive in an icy vacuum without sustenance, we’d probably go insane without distractions and room to move.

But aeronautic engineers believe they have found the key to solving that puzzle: put your space travelers to sleep. Long-term cryogenic and hibernative sleep may be the key to getting humans to Mars, and beyond. But it may first come to a spa near you.

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