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Oct 24, 2015

When Facebook Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, privacy

Every time you log in to Facebook, every time you click on your News Feed, every time you Like a photo, every time you send anything via Messenger, you add another data point to the galaxy they already have regarding you and your behavior. That, in turn, is a tiny, insignificant dot within their vast universe of information about their billion-plus users.

It is probable that Facebook boasts the broadest, deepest, and most comprehensive dataset of human information, interests, and activity ever collected. (Only the NSA knows for sure.) Google probably has more raw data, between Android and searches–but the data they collect is (mostly) much less personal. Of all the Stacks, I think it’s fair to say, Facebook almost certainly knows you best.

They can use this data for advertising, which is contentious, I suppose; but much worse, it’s boring. What’s long been more interesting to me is the possibility of interpolating from this data, i.e. deducing from your online behavior things that you never explicitly revealed to Facebook–and extrapolating from it, i.e. predicting your reactions to new information and new situations. What’s interesting is the notion that Facebook might be able to paint an extraordinarily accurate pointillist picture of you, with all the data points you give it as the pixels.

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Oct 24, 2015

Male And Female Hearts Don’t Age In The Same Way

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

After a 10 year study of 3000 people, researchers have made the surprising discovery that hearts age differently in men and women.

We need personalised medicine

We know people age differently, both inside and outside. This is down to a complex interplay of genetics and environment, which leads to significant variation in the aging process for all of us. What we didn’t expect was that such a striking difference would emerge between the genders. So what does this mean? Could there be more we’re missing?

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Oct 24, 2015

Next-gen 5G mobile networks may use spectrum up to 71 GHz

Posted by in category: internet

5G networks are still several years off, but the Federal Communications Commission is already gearing up for their deployment by drafting rules that would allow companies to broadcast cellular signals in extremely high frequency spectrums.

The FCC has proposed new “flexible user service rules” that would permit the transmission of signals in the 28, 37, 39, and 64 to 71 GHz bands, all of which are well above the 700 to 2600 MHz bands that today’s 4G LTE networks typically use. The Commission is also seeking public comment on any other bands above 24 GHz that could be suitable for use.

There are obviously complications in getting mobile networks to work effectively using spectrum above 28 GHz, including distance limits and the ease of obstruction. However the FCC believes that these complications can be overcome, paving the way for 5G networks between 1 and 10 Gbps.

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Oct 24, 2015

Tesla’s Autopilot approved for international use

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

At the launch of its latest Autopilot features, Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted that it would roll out the new vehicle capabilities to nations outside the United States once it got regulatory approval. Today Musk tweeted that the company has gotten approval from all those countries (except Japan). Now Tesla owners around the world can enjoy the slightly unnerving feeling of letting their Model S drive itself on the highway. Musk also announced that Autopilot 1.01 would be coming soon with improved fleet learning, better lane tracking on poor roads, curved speed adoption and controller smoothness.

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Oct 24, 2015

Smart robot arm can follow your lead without coding

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, computing, mobile phones, robotics/AI

You might not be able to control the 7Bot robotic arm with your mind or your eyes, but at least it’ll only cost you around $350 — cheaper than an iPhone, its creators point out — to get one. Even better, you don’t need to know how to code to program it: just physically guide the arm or use a gesture control device like a Kinect or a Leap motion sensor to make it mimic your movements. In the video below the fold and on its Kickstarter page, you can see it doing calligraphy after a team member’s grandfather physically taught it how. The team also managed make it paint cherry blossoms and do basic mathematics, and we’ll bet you can teach it other productive things, like how to terrorize your cat.

If you prefer the more hands-off approach, you can remotely control it using its 3D visualization app on a computer. And, in case you’re more tech-savvy than the average user, you can program it using the C and C++ open source APIs the 7Bot team provides. In addition to the basic model, the team also offers packages with more features, such as a version with two arms and one that comes with a 3D printer, though they’re also understandably more expensive. According to its campaign page, rewards should start shipping out as soon as January 2016, but as always, it’s best not to treat Kickstarter and other crowdfunding websites as a store.

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Oct 24, 2015

How the Cutting Edge of Virtual Reality Is Making the Real World Seem Boring

Posted by in categories: computing, materials, virtual reality

In the television series Star Trek, virtual reality-chambers called “holodecks” take humans into computer-generated worlds where they interact with avatars — and with each other. Imagine being able to visit a distant planet or Tahiti during your lunch break. In Star Trek, holodecks come into existence in the 24th century and reproduce all sensory perceptions, including touch and smell.

Chambers that replicate the touch and feel of solid materials are still a decade or two away. But virtual reality worlds that are amazingly similar to what we saw in Star Trek are already here. Hundreds of companies are working on virtual reality hardware, software, applications and content. I expect that 2016 will be the year when we start visiting exotic lands from the comfort of our offices and living rooms.

There are several technology developments which are bringing the future to us ahead of the Star Trek schedule. For starters, there is what is called “full-immersion virtual reality.” These are systems that take us out of the real world, into an entirely different digital realm. We hear stereo sounds and see panoramic displays that are so convincing that users lose track of time and space (they also, until very recently, suffered from serious nausea and motion sickness). Facebook’s Oculus Rift is the leading immersive virtual reality (VR) system but numerous others are either on the market or in the works.

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Oct 24, 2015

Team hacks off-the-shelf 3-D printer towards rebuilding the heart

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, engineering, materials

As of this month, over 4,000 Americans are on the waiting list to receive a heart transplant. With failing hearts, these patients have no other options; heart tissue, unlike other parts of the body, is unable to heal itself once it is damaged. Fortunately, recent work by a group at Carnegie Mellon could one day lead to a world in which transplants are no longer necessary to repair damaged organs.

“We’ve been able to take MRI images of coronary arteries and 3-D images of embryonic hearts and 3-D bioprint them with unprecedented resolution and quality out of very like collagens, alginates and fibrins,” said Adam Feinberg, an associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Feinberg leads the Regenerative Biomaterials and Therapeutics Group, and the group’s study was published in the October 23 issue of the journal Science Advances. A demonstration of the technology can be seen below.

“As excellently demonstrated by Professor Feinberg’s work in bioprinting, our CMU researchers continue to develop novel solutions like this for problems that can have a transformational effect on society,” said Jim Garrett, Dean of Carnegie Mellon’s College of Engineering. “We should expect to see 3-D bioprinting continue to grow as an important tool for a large number of medical applications.”

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Oct 24, 2015

Nanotechnology offers new approach to increasing storage ability of dielectric capacitors

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, time travel

Oct. 21, 2015, was the day that Doc Brown and Marty McFly landed in the future in their DeLorean, with time travel made possible by a “flux capacitor.”

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Oct 23, 2015

U.S. and China Seek Arms Deal for Cyberspace

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, military, treaties

New cybersecurity arms treaty compared unfavourably with nuclear treaties:

“In the Cold War and still today, nuclear arms remain in the hands of states, meaning they can usually be counted and their movements observed. Cyberweapons, too, are often developed by countries … but they can also be found in the hands of criminal groups and teenagers, neither of which negotiate treaties.”


The countries are discussing what could be the first arms control accord for cyberspace, and an agreement could be announced as soon as Thursday, according to officials.

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Oct 23, 2015

In 1,000 Years Humans Will Have Red Eyes, Dark Skin And Superhuman Powers

Posted by in category: futurism

But we could still have one weakness.
Rob Waugh

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