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Oct 8, 2015

Fusion reactors ‘economically viable’ in a few decades, say experts

Posted by in categories: engineering, nuclear energy

An illustration of a tokamak with plasma (credit: ITER Organization)

Fusion reactors could become an economically viable means of generating electricity within a few decades, replacing conventional nuclear power stations, according to new research at Durham University and Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, U.K.

The research, published in the journal Fusion Engineering and Design, builds on earlier findings that a fusion power plant could generate electricity at a price similar to that of a fission plant and identifies new advantages in using new superconductor technology.

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Oct 8, 2015

Facebook’s Like button will soon have these emoticon alternatives, says report

Posted by in category: futurism

Facebook is preparing to test a new “reactions” feature that would allow users to reply to posts with more than a “Like,” according to a report from Engadget ES. The site on Thursday published mockups of the feature, which adds a range of emoticons to Facebook’s standard thumbs-up Like button. Citing unnamed sources, Engadget reports that the feature will be rolled out to users in Spain and Ireland as early as Friday.

The report follows a recent announcement from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who said at a public Q&A session last month that the site had begun working on new ways for users to “express empathy” beyond the “Like” button. The set of reactions published by Engadget does not include the thumbs-down “Dislike” button that many had expected at the time of Zuckerberg’s announcement, though it does feature angry and sad smiley faces. Other icons include a heart, a smiling face, a shocked face, and something that looks like a laughing face.

Facebook has recently introduced new tools to make it easier for users to personalize their profiles and posts. This month, it launched a Snapchat-like “Doodle” feature that allows users to draw on photos, and the site has started to test looped video profile pictures.

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Oct 8, 2015

Pluto Has Red Ice And Blue Skies

Posted by in category: space

Space sailors’ delight?

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Oct 8, 2015

Meet the laundry-folding washing machine of our lazy-ass future

Posted by in categories: electronics, habitats, robotics/AI

https://youtube.com/watch?v=FzZSpiqvb1Q

Socks are the hardest. For a future washing machine that washes, dries and then folds the results, it’s one of the small barriers that remains in that latter stage. But as a research project that started back in 2008, Laundroid is finally getting there. Next year, the collaboration between housing firm Daiwa House, electronics company Panasonic and Seven Dreamers will start offering preorders, the year after that ‘beta’ machines, then folding machines for big institutions, with event full retail planned the year after that — we’ll be in 2019 by then. (That said, the all-in-one model is still at the in-development stage). There’s no price and the presentation we saw added in a bunch of mosaic filtering on top as the shirt gradually got folded so you couldn’t see how the thing actually works. But that’s okay. We can wait. It’s not going to stop us waiting our chore-dodging dreams to come true.

While the video teaser above gives you pretty much nothing of substance, at the on-stage demonstration, we saw a just-washed tee take a matter of minutes for the internal tech to sort, identify and fold. The tech involved is separated into two very separate parts: image analysis and robotics. With a hypothetical bundle of clothes, each item demands different folding (we’re going to say) techniques, so the machine needs to figure what that soft lump of cloth is, then prime it for folding. The presentation here at CEATEC elaborated (if only lightly) on the stages it’s taken to get to here: it’s been a pretty long journey.

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Oct 8, 2015

Futuristic Device Fixes Holes In The Heart Without Invasive Surgery

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

New light-enabled catheter is being called revolutionary.

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Oct 8, 2015

Neat! Scientists found out how to levitate liquid droplets with sound

Posted by in category: futurism

http://voc.tv/1MhCM1L

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Oct 8, 2015

Complex living brain simulation replicates sensory rat behaviour

Posted by in categories: electronics, neuroscience, supercomputing

Blue Brain Project supercomputer recreates part of rodent’s brain with 30,000 neurons connected by 40m synapses to show patterns of behaviour triggered, for example, when whiskers are touched.

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Oct 8, 2015

Artificial intelligence systems found to have the IQ of a 4-year-old

Posted by in categories: computing, robotics/AI

A series of tests designed to challenge some of the best AI systems in the world has pitted them against the human IQ (Intelligence Quotient) test to find that their intelligence currently sits at the level of a 4-year-old child.

Conducted by a team from the University of Illinois in the US, the tests found that our most advanced AI systems match the average toddler in terms of smartness. When the age was upped to seven, the software programs found themselves well beaten.

The IQ test is just one measure of intelligence, of course, and computers are way ahead of us in some tasks (like the speed of their calculations). What the test tries to do is assess the ability of someone to rationally understand the world around them — it’s in this particular area of self-awareness where software is still some way behind.

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Oct 8, 2015

Apple has bought 2 artificial-intelligence companies in 4 days

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, robotics/AI

Apple has bought a company that makes image-recognition technology for smartphones, its second artificial-intelligence deal in four days.

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Oct 8, 2015

Scientists just got a first glimpse at the color of Pluto’s atmosphere, and it’s unlike anything they expected

Posted by in category: space

The growling list of mysteries surrounding Pluto just got longer. On Oct. 8, NASA released the first color photo of Pluto’s atmosphere, and the shade they saw was anything but expected:

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