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Feb 3, 2015

Back-up brains: The era of digital immortality

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Feb 2, 2015

The Mathematical Wonders behind Bitcoin

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, business, education, encryption, finance, hacking, hardware, information science, innovation, privacy

Vires in Bitcoin
Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency has had its moments of strength and weakness. The technology behind bitcoins, however, is a different story. While skeptics don’t expect a lot from Bitcoin as an alternative currency because of its volatility, they do have high hopes for the technological innovation that powers it, believing that it can be further developed to create something much powerful than Bitcoin itself.

To those who know Bitcoin as a great way of transacting online, but don’t completely understand its dynamics, it’s time to get acquainted with the cryptocurrency’s mathematical wonders that make anonymous, faster, and cheaper transactions of moving funds on the internet possible.

Most of us know that Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hashing algorithm, but hashing serves a different function and purpose from that of digital signatures. Hashing actually provides proof that a message has not been changed because running the same hash always generates similar result.

Any message, regardless of the size can go into a hash function where the algorithm breaks it down, combines the parts, and “digests” it until it makes a fixed-length outcome called “digest”. However, a good hashing algorithm possesses some critical characteristics, in which the same message always produces the same result, as mentioned above, and it only works in one direction.

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Feb 2, 2015

Google Pledges $3 Million to Singularity University to Make Graduate Studies Program Free of Charge

Posted by in category: education

Singularity Hub

http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/singularity-university-metal-logo-1000x400.jpg

Google, a long-time supporter of Singularity University (SU), has agreed to a two-year, $3 million contribution to SU’s flagship Graduate Studies Program (GSP). Google will become the program’s title sponsor and ensure all successful direct applicants get the chance to attend free of charge.

Held every summer, the GSP’s driving goal is to positively impact the lives of a billion people in the next decade using exponential technologies. Participants spend a fast-paced ten weeks learning all they need to know for the final exam—a chance to develop and then pitch a world-changing business plan to a packed house.

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Feb 2, 2015

The next decade in tech: Three defining forces to watch

Posted by in category: human trajectories

By — TechRepublic
http://blogs-images.forbes.com/sarwantsingh/files/2014/05/Top14for14Cover_640px.jpg

Something is going to happen in the tech industry in next several years that will surprise us. It will shock us. And the whole industry will make a left turn.

It may be a product. It may be a technology. It may be a new company. We’ve seen it happen over and over again with developments from the integrated circuit to the Macintosh computer to the web browser to the Google search engine. Often, innovation comes from unexpected places.

But, there are also developments we see gathering long before they ever become an industry standard or a dominating force. Right now, there are three of these forces that are preparing to define both the tech industry and society over the next 10 years.

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Feb 1, 2015

RoboCorp — Get ready for companies that run themselves

Posted by in category: bitcoin

by — Aeon

Distributed Autonomous Corporations (DACS)  will see cloud robots manage supply chains free from direct human supervision. Photo by Gallery Stock

It is January 2014 and at least 400 people are packed into a conference hall in Miami Beach. High-profile journalists stand against the walls. Powerful venture capitalists crouch in the aisles. Banking and finance gurus crane their necks from the back of the room. They’re waiting for one of the most anticipated presentations of the 2014 North American Bitcoin Conference. A massive surge in interest from the media has just pushed the price of a single Bitcoin to around $900, up nearly 800 per cent in three months. Bitcoin Miami is the largest ever conference of its kind. In this moment, the possibilities for Bitcoin seem limitless.

What appears to be a teenage boy mounts the stage. The crowd goes quiet. In fact, Vitalik Buterin – all acne-splotched face, spidery fingers and shining eyes – is just a few days shy of 20. He surveys the audience nervously for a moment, then kicks off his presentation by lauding the benefits of the Bitcoin payment network – its speed, security, economy and autonomy.

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Feb 1, 2015

How to Understand the Super Bowl—With Physics!

Posted by in categories: entertainment, physics

By — Wired

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws a pass during a game against the Indianapolis Colts, Jan. 3, 2015.

The Super Bowl isn’t just a football game. It’s an opportunity to discuss physics. Let’s look at some of the interesting physics concepts that go with the game.

Deflategate and Ball Pressure

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little weary of the whole “deflategate” thing. In case you missed the controversy, it appears that some of the footballs in the playoff game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots had below-acceptable inflation pressure. Now, it’s true that if you put a balloon outside on a cold day, the balloon deflates with the colder temperature. Could something like this have happened to the deflategate balls? The answer is: probably not. If you want more details, Chad Orzel has an excellent piece that looks at the physics of pressurized football. He shows experimentally that a ball in a 50°F football game wouldn’t drop 2 PSI due solely to the temperature change.

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Jan 31, 2015

Innovation Takes the Exponential Express

Posted by in category: innovation

By Jason Bloomberg, Intellyx — Wired

innovation_wall

We’re all familiar with Moore’s Law: the observation that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every two years or so. We’re also familiar with the plethora of corollaries to the law, pertaining to everything from network speed to hard drive capacity to the number of pixels in our digital cameras. It seems that the natural behavior for technology advancement follows an exponential growth curve.

However, not all innovation follows such a curve. Organizational and process improvements, in particular, seem to proceed at a glacial pace. Management fads come and go, and they don’t even seem to be getting much better, let alone better at a faster rate.

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Jan 30, 2015

Robber barons and silicon sultans

Posted by in categories: business, economics

The Economist

IN THE 50 years between the end of the American civil war in 1865 and the outbreak of the first world war in 1914, a group of entrepreneurs spearheaded America’s transformation from an agricultural into an industrial society, built gigantic business empires and amassed huge fortunes. In 1848 John J. Astor, a merchant trader, was America’s richest man with $20m (now $545m). By the time the United States entered the first world war, John D. Rockefeller had become its first billionaire.

In the 50 years since Data General introduced the first mini-computers in the late 1960s, a group of entrepreneurs have spearheaded the transformation of an industrial age into an information society, built gigantic business empires and acquired huge fortunes. When he died in 1992, Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, was probably America’s richest man with $8 billion. Today Bill Gates occupies that position with $82.3 billion.

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Jan 29, 2015

Dr. Ken Hayworth, Part 3: If we can build a brain, what is the future of I?

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, biotech/medical, entertainment, existential risks, futurism, neuroscience, particle physics, philosophy, physics, quantum physics, science, singularity

The study of consciousness and what makes us individuals is a topic filled with complexities. From a neuroscience perspective, consciousness is derived from a self-model as a unitary structure that shapes our perceptions, decisions and feelings. There is a tendency to jump to the conclusion with this model that mankind is being defined as self-absorbed and only being in it for ourselves in this life. Although that may be partially true, this definition of consciousness doesn’t necessarily address the role of morals and how that is shaped into our being. In the latest addition to The Galactic Public Archives, Dr. Ken Hayworth tackles the philosophical impact that technologies have on our lives.

Our previous two films feature Dr. Hayworth extrapolating about what radical new technologies in neuroscience could eventually produce. In a hypothetical world where mind upload is possible and we could create a perfect replica of ourselves, how would one personally identify? If this copy has the same memories and biological components, our method of understanding consciousness would inevitably shift. But when it comes down it, if we were put in a situation where it would be either you or the replica – it’s natural evolutionary instinct to want to save ourselves even if the other is an exact copy. This notion challenges the idea that our essence is defined by our life experiences because many different people can have identical experiences yet react differently.

Hayworth explains, that although there is an instinct for self-survival, humanity for the most part, has a basic understanding not to cause harm upon others. This is because morals are not being developed in the “hard drive” of your life experiences; instead our morals are tied to the very idea of someone just being a conscious and connected member of this world. Hayworth rationalizes that once we accept our flawed intuition of self, humanity will come to a spiritual understanding that the respect we give to others for simply possessing a reflection of the same kind of consciousness will be the key to us identifying our ultimate interconnectedness.

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Jan 29, 2015

Black Phosphorus: The Birth of a New Wonder Material

Posted by in category: materials

Emerging Technology From the arXiv — MIT Technology Review

Materials scientists have discovered how to make black phosphorus nanosheets in large amounts, heralding a new era of nanoelectronic devices.

In the last few years, two-dimensional crystals have emerged as some of the most exciting new materials to play with. Consequently, materials scientists have been falling over themselves to discover the extraordinary properties of graphene, boron nitride, molybdenum disulphide, and so on.

A late-comer to this group is black phosphorus, in which phosphorus atoms join together to form a two-dimensional puckered sheet. Last year, researchers built a field-effect transistor out of black phosphorus and showed that it performed remarkably well. This research suggested that black phosphorous could have a bright future in nanoelectronic devices.

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