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May 11, 2015

Read This Before You Freak Out Over Gene-Edited Superbabies — Nick Stockton | WIRED

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, DNA


“The point being, science needs room to figure out exactly what this technology is capable of doing. Right now, researchers have a ton of potential on their hands, but not a lot of agreement about how far that potential reaches.” Read more

May 11, 2015

A question of computers and artificial intelligence — Peter Day | BBC

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Gary Kasparov playing chess with IBM computer Deep Blue in 1997

“It is a reflection of the ever-increasing ability of computers to search and do pattern recognition in an ever-increasing store of data. The concept of AI reflects this burgeoning power of the computer to cope with stuff. Each step on the way, each computerised victory over humans in checkers, or chess, or Jeopardy, looks like a material step towards the ultimate — machines that are as intelligent in every way as are we mortals.” Read more

May 10, 2015

Foxconn’s Robot Army Yet to Prove Match for Humans

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Lorraine Luk | The Wall Street Journal

“While the company has automated more manufacturing processes for components and established some lights-out, or workerless, factories, replacing dexterous human hands that pack tiny flexible parts into the tight structure of consumer electronics remains challenging” Read more

May 10, 2015

Watching This Simulated Star Die Is Mesmerizing…and Good Science Too

Posted by in categories: physics, space

By — SingularityHub

Traditionally, we’ve done science by observing nature in person or setting up experiments in the lab. Now, a relatively new scientific technique is proving a powerful tool—simulating nature on supercomputers.

A few years ago, Caltech astrophysicists released a supercomputer simulation of a supergiant star’s core collapsing just prior to going supernova. Apart from a stunning visual, simulations like this hinted that Type II supernova explosions were asymmetrical—a guess just recently backed by empirical observation.

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May 9, 2015

Secret Air Force Space Plane Gets Darth Vader-Style Engine

Posted by in categories: engineering, military, space travel

By Kelsey D. Atherton - Popular Science

6 kW laboratory Hall thruster

The Air Force’s secret robot space plane is going to try out a new engine. The X-37B has so far spent a total of 1367 days tooling around in Earth’s orbit, doing classified things. Yesterday, the Air Force Research Lab announced that on its fourth flight, the X-37B will come with a new fuel-efficient engine for maneuvering in space. Read more

May 9, 2015

Stackable Brain Specimen Coasters Reveal a 3D View of the Human Brain

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

— Colossal


The brilliant minds at ThinkGeek just launched this set of 10 glass coasters printed with sequential illustrations of the brain. When stacked in the correct order they reveal a complete three-dimensional “scan” of human brain. Available here. (via Laughing Squid)

May 8, 2015

Bitcoin’s Problem With Women

Posted by in category: bitcoin

By — Mother Jones

Nathaniel Popper’s new book, Digital Gold, is as close as you can get to being the definitive account of the history of Bitcoin. As its subtitle proclaims, the book tells the story of the “misfits” (the first generation of hacker-libertarians) and “millionaires” (the second generation of Silicon Valley venture capitalists) who were responsible for building Bitcoin, mining it, hyping it, and, in at least some cases, getting rich off it.

The tale is selective, of course: Not everybody involved with Bitcoin talked to Popper, and the identity of Bitcoin’s inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto, remains a mystery. But Popper did talk to most of the important people in the cryptocurrency crowd, and he tells me that he put real effort into trying “to find a woman who was involved in some substantive way.” Read more

May 8, 2015

Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, genetics

David Cyranosk & Sara Reardon  -

In a world first, Chinese scientists have reported editing the genomes of human embryos. The results are published1 in the online journal Protein & Cell and confirm widespread rumours that such experiments had been conducted — rumours that sparked a high-profile debate last month2, 3 about the ethical implications of such work. Read more

May 7, 2015

Drone Strikes Reveal Uncomfortable Truth: U.S. Is Often Unsure About Who Will Die

Posted by in category: drones

Barack Obama inherited two ugly, intractable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when he became president and set to work to end them. But a third, more covert war he made his own, escalating drone strikes in Pakistan and expanding them to Yemen and Somalia.

The drone’s vaunted capability for pinpoint killing appealed to a president intrigued by a new technology and determined to try to keep the United States out of new quagmires. Aides said Mr. Obama liked the idea of picking off dangerous terrorists a few at a time, without endangering American lives or risking the yearslong bloodshed of conventional war. Read more

May 7, 2015

How One Man Crashed the Stock Market

Posted by in category: business

Michael Maiello — Daily BeastOn Tuesday in the United Kingdom, United States law enforcement arrested futures trader Navinder Singh Sarao and froze more than $7 million of his assets in banks around the world. The Department of Justice says that Singh manipulated commodities markets and partially caused the May 6, 2010, “Flash Crash” that sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging 1,000 points in minutes.

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