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Feb 2, 2016

Robot-human eye contact helps conversation flow

Posted by in categories: computing, media & arts, robotics/AI

https://youtube.com/watch?v=c0HLuvmWL7g

Pop music is littered with titles that relay how romantic yearning is sparked and experienced wordlessly with one person staring at the other. Animals don’t have it so good. “Most mammals generally interpret direct gaze as threatening or as a sign of dominance,” wrote researchers in Frontiers In Human Neuroscience.

People, however, usually take gazing with positive interpretations, such as affection, love and attraction. “A preference for direct gaze seems to be present at a very early age: Farroni et al. (2002) found that infants as young as 2 days old prefer to look at faces that gazed directly at them compared to faces with averted gaze.”

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Feb 2, 2016

Top 6 Ways Technology Will Make You Immortal

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, computing, Elon Musk, geopolitics, life extension, neuroscience, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI, sustainability

Becoming immortal is one of mankind’s many quixotic notions that most people will relegate to the world of fantasy and science fiction. However, there is a subset of prominent scientists who believe that immortality is not only attainable, but it is something that will come to fruition in as little as 25 years. This idea is shared by men like Google’s Director of Engineering, Ray Kurzweil; Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk; and one of the most interesting presidential candidates outside of Donald Trump and Deez Nuts, Zoltan Istvan. All three men identify as trans-humanist, and for those who don’t know, trans-humanism is the idea that mankind will one day be able to transcend our biological limitations through the use of science and technology; not to mention, the movement has accumulated over 3 million supporters worldwide. So the question remains, with the multitude of prominent intellectuals who believe immortality is a tangible goal, just how will they go about achieving it? Well, the six answers below could possibly hold the key to everlasting life.

Number Six: Uploading Minds to Computers. Futurists believe that at some point in the near future we will be able to copy and scan all of the data that exists in our brains and upload the information into a computer. This will allow us to perpetually exist as incorporeal inhabitants of cyberspace. Of course, the idea of mind uploading is still purely science fiction, but if it ever becomes tangible, progeny could possibly live in a limitless world, that echoes notions expressed in the Matrix; minus the robot despots.

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Feb 2, 2016

NASA’s Next Great Space Telescope: The Quest Begins

Posted by in category: space

The hunt is on! NASA has begun a quest to select its next big instrument to study the cosmos.

Observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope have revolutionized humanity’s view of the cosmos. And upcoming projects, such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the WFIRST-AFTA mission — which the agency aims to launch in 2018 and the mid-2020s, respectively — promise to make big discoveries of their own.

But what will happen after that? What kind of space telescope does NASA aim to build a few decades from now? The picture is getting a little clearer: Earlier this month, the space agency announced that it is forming four working groups to investigate possible concepts for a large-scale space mission that would likely launch in the 2030s. [The Most Amazing Views of the Cosmos from Hubble].

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Feb 2, 2016

Weird Cauliflower Shapes On Mars ‘Could Have Been Made By Aliens’, Astronomers Claim

Posted by in category: alien life

Conspiracy theory fans never tire of spotting rocks which look like people, crabs or bears on Mars — but NASA’s Spirit Rover might have just spotted something really important.

The cauliflower-like minerals found inside a Martian crater may have been created by aliens, researchers from Arizona State University have said.

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Feb 2, 2016

Future | Almost Royal

Posted by in categories: space travel, transhumanism

I spoke on transhumanism for a few minutes in this BBC America show about the future that aired last night. Some of you can watch it if you have access to your cable/satellite providers.


Siblings Poppy and Georgie are on a mission to find out what the future holds for the human race, starting with a simulated trip to Mars. Next up they meet people who are hoping to survive the apocalypse before meeting a hopeful political candidate.

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Feb 2, 2016

South Pole’s next generation of discovery — By Carla Reiter | University of Chicago

Posted by in categories: astronomy, physics, science

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“Later this year, during what passes for summer in Antarctica, a group of Chicago scientists will arrive at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole research station to install a new and enhanced instrument designed to plumb the earliest history of the cosmos.”

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Feb 2, 2016

The World’s First Cultured Meatball

Posted by in category: food

Click on photo to start video.

Meet the world’s first cultured meatball.

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Feb 2, 2016

NASA’s new light-based modem will transmit data up to 100 times faster than radio signals

Posted by in categories: internet, space travel

NASA is developing a first-if-its-kind modem that incorporates light-based technology to help enable dramatically faster communications between spacecraft and ground stations.

The device, which is scheduled to be tested on board the International Space Station in 2020, is part of a broader NASA project called the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD). This laser system, which the space agency says could dramatically overhaul today’s radio frequency (RF) communications, will enable data transmissions at rates 10 to 100 times faster than what’s currently possible.

It’s not the first time NASA has experimented with laser communications in place of radio signals. In 2013, the agency achieved record-breaking download and upload speeds to and from lunar orbit – at 622 megabits per second (Mbps) and 20 Mbps respectively – with its Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE).

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Feb 2, 2016

The Big Business Future Behind Self-Driving Cars: Future of Transportation P2

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

The year is 2021. You’re driving down the highway on your daily commute. You approach a car that’s stubbornly driving at the max speed limit. You decide to pass this overly law-abiding driver, except when you do, you discover there’s no one in the front seat.

As we learned in the first part of our Future of Transportation series, self-driving cars will become publicly available in only a few short years. But due to their component parts, they will likely be far too expensive for the average consumer. Does this mark self-driving cars as an innovation that’s dead in the water? Who’s going to buy these things?

Most articles about autonomous vehicles (AVs) fail to mention that the initial target market for these vehicles won’t be the average consumer—it will be big business. Specifically, taxi and car sharing services. Why? Let’s look at the opportunity self-driving cars represent to one of the biggest taxi/rideshare services on the planet: Uber.

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Feb 2, 2016

Nanotechnology World Association

Posted by in categories: computing, electronics, nanotechnology, neuroscience, particle physics

UT RESEARCHERS DEVELOP ®EVOLUTIONARY CIRCUITS

Researchers of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology and the CTIT Institute for ICT Research at the University of Twente in The Netherlands have demonstrated working electronic circuits that have been produced in a radically new way, using methods that resemble Darwinian evolution. The size of these circuits is comparable to the size of their conventional counterparts, but they are much closer to natural networks like the human brain. The findings promise a new generation of powerful, energy-efficient electronics, and have been published in the leading British journal Nature Nanotechnology.

One of the greatest successes of the 20th century has been the development of digital computers. During the last decades these computers have become more and more powerful by integrating ever smaller components on silicon chips. However, it is becoming increasingly hard and extremely expensive to continue this miniaturisation. Current transistors consist of only a handful of atoms. It is a major challenge to produce chips in which the millions of transistors have the same characteristics, and thus to make the chips operate properly. Another drawback is that their energy consumption is reaching unacceptable levels. It is obvious that one has to look for alternative directions, and it is interesting to see what we can learn from nature. Natural evolution has led to powerful ‘computers’ like the human brain, which can solve complex problems in an energy-efficient way. Nature exploits complex networks that can execute many tasks in parallel.

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