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Sep 22, 2015

Humanity makes first ever withdrawal from the doomsday seed vault

Posted by in categories: existential risks, food

When humanity needs to make use of a facility known lovingly as the “doomsday seed vault,” you know things have gone off the rails. After four years of civil war in Syria, the region’s main source of important seeds in the region has been damaged, and researchers from the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) is asking to make a withdrawal from the seed bank. This will be the first time humanity has had to draw on this resource.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was officially opened in 2008 and contains more than 860,000 samples of seeds from nearly every country on Earth. Its goal is to preserve important agricultural crops like beans, wheat, and rice so they will be available in the event of war or natural disaster.

To do this, the vault is built into the side of a mountain in the remote northern reaches of Norway on the Svalbard archipelago. It’s only 800 miles (1300 km) from the north pole, which allows researchers to keep the seeds at a frosty 0 degrees fahrenheit. Even if all the people left Svalbard and the power went offline, the vault would remain frozen and intact for at least a few centuries.

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Sep 22, 2015

Minority Report, Limitless TV shows launch Monday, Tuesday

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, biotech/medical, computing, neuroscience, virtual reality

A sequel to Steven Spielberg’s epic movie, MINORITY REPORT is set in Washington, D.C., 10 years after the demise of Precrime, a law enforcement agency tasked with identifying and eliminating criminals … before their crimes were committed. Now, in 2065, crime-solving is different, and justice leans more on sophisticated and trusted technology than on the instincts of the precogs. Sept. 21 series premiere Mondays 9/8:00c

LIMITLESS, based on the feature film, is a fast-paced drama about Brian Finch, who discovers the brain-boosting power of the mysterious drug NZT and is coerced by the FBI into using his extraordinary cognitive abilities to solve complex cases for them. Sept. 22 series premiere Tuesdays 10/9c

Topics: Cognitive Science/Neuroscience | Entertainment/New Media | Human Enhancement | VR/Augmented Reality/Computer Graphics.

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Sep 22, 2015

First application to pursue genome editing research in human embryos

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, ethics

Human embryos are at the center of a debate over the ethics of gene editing (credit: Dr. Yorgos Nikas/SPL)

The first application to pursue CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing research in viable human embryos has been submitted to the UK’s fertility regulator by a team of researchers affiliated with the Francis Crick Institute in London.

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Sep 22, 2015

Samsung’s 950 Pro SSD achieves 2,500MB/s read speeds

Posted by in categories: computing, electronics

Solid state drives are now the clear storage solution choice inside laptops and desktop PCs if you value speed. But as the NAND flash memory inside SSDs has improved, the drives have come up against some limitations, the main one being a SATA connection. We typically see SATA-connected SSDs top out at 550MB/s read and write speeds.

Storage companies have attempted to overcome that limitation with a move to PCI Express. Samsung made the move to PCIe with the 850 Pro SSD, which connected through an M.2 interface. However, that SSD was still limited to read and write speeds in the 500MB/s range. But today, Samsung has unveiled the 950 Pro SSD, and it blows everything that has come before out the water.

950pro_sec02

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Sep 22, 2015

Physicists Discovered New State of Matter

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics, quantum physics

I remember the time when states of matter were pretty simple: Solid, liquid and gas. Then came plasma state, supercritical fluid, Bose –Einstein condensate and more. Now this list of states of matter has grown by one more, with the surprising discovery of a new state dubbed “dropletons” that shows some similarity to liquids but occur under very unlike circumstances.

The discovery of new state of matter occurred when a team of scientists at the University of Colorado Joint Institute for Lab Astrophysics were concentrating laser light on gallium arsenide (GaAs) to generate excitons.

Excitons are made when a photon strikes a material, mostly a semiconductor. If an electron is knocked loose, or excited, it leaves what is labelled as “electron hole” behind. If the forces of other charges at very close distance keep the electron close enough to the hole in order to feel an attraction, a certain state forms called as an Exciton. Excitons are also called quasiparticles because the holes and electrons act together as if they were like a single particle.

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Sep 22, 2015

‘Star Trek’ virtual tour will recreate every deck of the Enterprise

Posted by in categories: entertainment, materials, space

https://youtube.com/watch?v=uK9ijZeHWjI

You’ve probably seen a few attempts at recreating worlds in game engines, but never at this level of detail. Artist Jason B is working on the Enterprise-D Construction Project, an Unreal Engine-based virtual tour that aims to reproduce all 42 decks in the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation. While it’s not quite photorealistic, the attention to detail in this digital starship is already uncanny — the bridge, shuttle bay and other areas feel like lived-in spaces, just waiting for the crew to return. Jason is drawing on as much official material as he can to get things pixel-perfect, and he’s only taking creative liberties in those areas where there’s no canonical content.

The project is currently just a hobby, but there might be more in the cards if everything goes smoothly. Jason is considering populating the ship, offering a chance to explore the outsides of other locations (such as Deep Space Nine) and even introducing game mechanics. Whether or not those happen will depend on many things falling into place, however. The creator is thinking about crowdfunding campaigns to help with his work, and there’s the looming question of licensing: he’ll likely need CBS’ approval to release anything, especially if he wants to charge for it. Even if it amounts to little more than some screenshots and video, though, it’s an impressive feat.

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Sep 22, 2015

Apple is building an electric car for launch in 2019, claims report

Posted by in category: transportation

The company is tripling the number of engineers on the project, code-named Titan, and has set a ‘ship date’ for within four years, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

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Sep 22, 2015

5 MB harddrive being shipped

Posted by in category: computing

by IBM — 1956 smile

[http://bit.ly/1OC5ZVI]

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Sep 22, 2015

Shades of ‘Star Trek’? Quantum Teleportation Sets Distance Record

Posted by in categories: encryption, internet, quantum physics

You’ve gotta love Star Trek, but there is absolutely NO WAY I’d ever set foot in a real teleportation device! (if one ever really got made, of course) Call me crazy, but I’m kinda partial to keeping my molecular cohesion as intact as possible, which kinda rules out having it ripped apart and remade on the other side.


A record-breaking distance has been achieved in the bizarre world of quantum teleportation, scientists say.

The scientists teleported photons (packets of light) across a spool of fiber optics 63 miles (102 kilometers) long, four times farther than the previous record. This research could one day lead to a “quantum Internet” that offers next-generation encryption, the scientists said.

Continue reading “Shades of ‘Star Trek’? Quantum Teleportation Sets Distance Record” »

Sep 22, 2015

New smartphone prototype can be charged by sound

Posted by in categories: media & arts, mobile phones

Just by being exposed to ambient sound like traffic noise, people talking, or music playing, this new phone can charge itself. It’s being developed by researchers in the UK, and Nokia.

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