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Oct 15, 2015

Anti-drone rifle shoots down UAVs with radio waves

Posted by in categories: drones, energy, law enforcement, military

While the US military continues to develop new and awesome ways of blowing aerial drones to smithereens, not many of these systems can easily be adapted to use in the civilian realm. That’s why Battelle has developed the DroneDefender, a shoulder-mounted rifle that knocks UAVs offline with a barrage of radio waves.

“It can help us in numerous settings, from the White House lawn to bases and embassies overseas; from prisons and schools to historic sites,” Alex Morrow, technical director on the project, said in a statement. “It easily and reliably neutralizes the threat.” The weapon weighs roughly 10 pounds and can target drones up to 400 meters away. When the trigger is pulled, the gun emits a blast of electromagnetic energy tuned to the most common GPS and ISM frequencies, safely disabling the drone and preventing it from accepting any additional commands from its operator. This is especially helpful if the drone is equipped with an improvised explosive device.

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Oct 15, 2015

Billions in Change — Official Film

Posted by in categories: complex systems, energy, ethics, hacking, health, materials, sustainability, water

“The world is facing some huge problems. There’s a lot of talk about how to solve them. But talk doesn’t reduce pollution, or grow food, or heal the sick. That takes doing. This film is the story about a group of doers, the elegantly simple inventions they have made to change the lives of billions of people, and the unconventional billionaire spearheading the project.”

Oct 15, 2015

Researchers use engineered viruses to provide quantum-based enhancement of energy transport

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, genetics, particle physics, quantum physics, solar power, sustainability

Nature has had billions of years to perfect photosynthesis, which directly or indirectly supports virtually all life on Earth. In that time, the process has achieved almost 100 percent efficiency in transporting the energy of sunlight from receptors to reaction centers where it can be harnessed—a performance vastly better than even the best solar cells.

One way plants achieve this efficiency is by making use of the exotic effects of quantum mechanics—effects sometimes known as “quantum weirdness.” These effects, which include the ability of a particle to exist in more than one place at a time, have now been used by engineers at MIT to achieve a significant efficiency boost in a light-harvesting system.

Surprisingly, the MIT researchers achieved this new approach to solar energy not with high-tech materials or microchips—but by using genetically engineered viruses.

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Oct 15, 2015

MIT’s Crazy Shapeshifting Display Can Now Build With Blocks

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, virtual reality

MIT made a table-like robot that can build with blocks. No humans needed.

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Oct 15, 2015

Hackers Can Silently Control Siri From 16 Feet Away

Posted by in category: cybercrime/malcode

A clever attack by French researchers turns your headphone cable into an antenna to send surreptitious voice commands.

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Oct 15, 2015

The New Hendo Hoverboard Is a Warm-Up for Elon’s Hyperloop

Posted by in category: transportation

Hoverboard today, Hyperloop tomorrow.

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Oct 15, 2015

Volvo’s first fully electric car will arrive in 2019

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Volvo’s been bullish about self-driving vehicles, but it’s much more coy when it comes to electric cars. The company’s latest XC90 has a hybrid edition, and there’s an existing V60 plug-in, but nothing fully electric. Finally, the Swedish auto-maker is ready to go all in, confirming an all-electric vehicle will go on sale in 2019, plus plans to offer hybrid versions of every car in its range, alongside a new “series 40” range of smaller electrified cars. That’s still quite a wait for the full EV, and the hybrids might not show up until 2017, but as the Wall Street Journal suggests, Volvo might have been spurred on to make the announcement by the recent VW scandal around diesel engines.

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Oct 15, 2015

Evacuate Earth Death by a Neutron Star in 1080p

Posted by in category: existential risks

This is one of the most fascinating and riveting documentaries I’ve ever seen…

Watch it.

Continue reading “Evacuate Earth Death by a Neutron Star in 1080p” »

Oct 15, 2015

Efficiency Of Solar-Powered Electrolysis Doubled

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Researchers have reached an all time solar-to-hydrogen efficiency high of 24 percent.

Having reached a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of more than 24 percent, it may soon be feasible to harness the sun to split water.

| October 13, 2015 | In the Lab.

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Oct 15, 2015

First Primitive Kidneys Grown From Stem Cells

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

Scientists have managed to grow a miniature brain, and there’s a whole bunch of other so called ‘organoids’ we’re currently learning to perfect. We can now add kidneys to the tick box.

There have been a few mini-organ breakthroughs lately, and now we can grow simple kidneys in the lab too.

Regenerative medicine has incredible promise and provides hope that one day virtually any injury could be corrected. Scientists have managed to grow a miniature brain, and there’s a whole bunch of other so called ‘organoids’ we’re currently learning to perfect. We can now add kidneys to the tick box.

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