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Feb 27, 2024

Report: Figure AI to Raise $675 Million for Human-Like Robots

Posted by in categories: finance, robotics/AI

Figure AI, a startup developing human-like robots, is reportedly in the process of raising $675 million in funding, with a pre-money valuation of roughly $2 billion.

Among the investors are Jeff Bezos’ Explore Investments, Microsoft, Nvidia and an Amazon-affiliated fund, Bloomberg reported Friday (Feb. 23), citing unnamed sources.

Other backers include Intel ’s venture capital arm, LG Innotek, Samsung ’s investment group, Parkway Venture Capital, Align Ventures, ARK Venture Fund, Aliya Capital Partners, Tamarack, Boscolo Intervest and BOLD Capital Partners, according to the report.

Feb 27, 2024

Scientists Baffled After Finding 4 Gigantic Mountains Lurking Under the Ocean

Posted by in category: futurism

A team of scientists on board an exploration vessel off the coast of South America have made a startling discovery: four previously unknown massive underwater mountains, ranging from 5,200 to 8,800 feet tall. The discovery highlights just how little we know about the oceans covering much of our planet. According to recent estimates, more than 80 percent of the ocean has never been mapped, let alone explored.

“The tallest is over one-and-a-half miles in height, and we didn’t really know it was there,” Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Jyotika Virmani — whose team has been studying “seamounts” from on board the vessel Falkor — told New Scientist.

Using sonar equipment, Virmani and team investigated gravity anomalies while sailing down from Costa Rica to Chile. These anomalies are usually the result of a hard-to-discern mass — in this case, entire mountains sticking out of the ocean floor.

Feb 27, 2024

Building Nerf Gun Blasters from DNA Bricks

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Researchers ingeniously repurposed DNA to assemble a miniaturized blaster at the molecular level.

Feb 27, 2024

Why do we sleep?

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Yang Dan aims to elucidate the mechanisms in the mammalian brain that control sleep. Find out more about Dan’s research in this feature.

Feb 27, 2024

White dwarf star has metal scar after gobbling planetary fragment

Posted by in category: cosmology

Astronomers have spotted an unusual sign that a dead star feasted on a fragment of a planet orbiting it: a metal scar on the star’s surface. The revelation sheds light on the dynamic nature of planetary systems even in the end stages of a star’s life cycle — and could foretell the eventual fate of our own solar system, according to the scientists.

Planets form from swirls of gas and dust called a protoplanetary disk that surrounds a newly formed star. But as the star ages and dies, the stellar object can consume the very planets and asteroids it helped create.

Astronomers observed a dead star, known as a white dwarf, located about 63 light-years away from Earth using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. The observation revealed a metallic feature on the star’s surface that the researchers determined was related to a change detected in the star’s magnetic field. A new study detailing the observation appeared Monday in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Feb 27, 2024

Stem Cells Model of Early Human Central Nervous System Created

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Summary: Researchers have developed the first stem cell culture method that accurately models the early stages of the human central nervous system (CNS), marking a significant breakthrough in neuroscience. This 3D human organoid system simulates the development of the brain and spinal cord, offering new possibilities for studying human brain development and diseases.

By using patient-derived stem cells, the model can potentially lead to personalized treatment strategies for neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. The innovation opens new doors for understanding the intricacies of the human CNS and its disorders, surpassing the capabilities of previous models.

Feb 27, 2024

Gravitational anomalies reveal seamount 3 times the height of world’s tallest building

Posted by in category: habitats

Researchers found and mapped four seamounts in the deep sea off the coast of Peru and Chile. The tallest of these new peaks rises around 1.5 miles above the seafloor.

Feb 27, 2024

SpaceX tests new emergency escape system to certify pad 40 at Cape Canaveral for astronaut missions

Posted by in category: space travel

The slide system differs notably from the slide wire basket system used over at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. NASA officials said pad 40 will be ready for astronaut launches thi.

Feb 27, 2024

James Webb Spots Cosmic Foundry Generating Pure Gold

Posted by in category: cosmology

As reports, the uber-powerful James Webb Space Telescope and its predecessor, the Hubble, have observed a super-long gamma-ray burst (GRB) that occurred when two dense neutron stars collided millions of years ago — and the result, as the telescopes’ instruments detected, was quite literally pure gold.

Neutron stars are the rare result of supernovas, or the explosions associated with dying stars, that don’t turn into black holes. Earlier this week, in fact, the JWST was used to detect the neutron star at the heart of a well-known supernova that scientists believed existed but couldn’t see until now.

Because these bodies are, essentially, small and dense balls of mass, it’s not surprising that something huge happens when they collide. With the power of these two magnificent telescopes, scientists from the University of Rome were able to spot the bright shine, known as a kilonova, of the heavy elements like silver and gold created in the dead stars’ turbulent merger.

Feb 27, 2024

NASA’s OSIRIS-APEX asteroid probe wakes up after surviving close pass by the sun

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

The probe “performed as predicted” during the first of seven close approaches to the sun on its way to Apophis, NASA said.

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