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Nov 29, 2019

US Military scientists create plan for future ‘cyborg super soldier’

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, military

Future armies could be made up of half-human half-machine cyborgs with infrared sight, ultrasonic hearing and super strength, equipped with mind-controlled weapons.

In a US Army report, experts from Devcom — the Combat Capabilities Development Command — outlined a number of possible future technologies that could be used to enhance soldiers on the battlefield by 2050.

Nov 29, 2019

This is how Facebook’s AI looks for bad stuff

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, terrorism

The context: The vast majority of Facebook’s moderation is now done automatically by the company’s machine-learning systems, reducing the amount of harrowing content its moderators have to review. In its latest community standards enforcement report, published earlier this month, the company claimed that 98% of terrorist videos and photos are removed before anyone has the chance to see them, let alone report them.

So, what are we seeing here?: The company has been training its machine-learning systems to identify and label objects in videos—from the mundane, such as vases or people—to the dangerous, such as guns or knives. Facebook’s AI uses two main approaches to look for dangerous content. One is to employ neural networks that look for features and behaviors of known objects and label them with varying percentages of confidence (as we can see in the video, above.)

Training in progress: These neural networks are trained on a combination of pre-labelled videos from its human reviewers, reports from users, and soon, from videos taken by London’s Metropolitan Police. The neural nets are able to use this information to guess what the entire scene might be showing, and whether it contains any behavior or images that should be flagged. It gave more details on how its systems work at a press briefing this week.

Nov 29, 2019

Ecology for Insiders

Posted by in category: materials

The view from the HazeCam, which is situated just west of the Jackson Street Bridge in Newark, New Jersey, usually extends for about eight miles. To the east, the skyline of New York City rises and falls along the horizon like a bar graph, buffered by a blue haze of humidity and particulate emissions and ozone. The towers are planted into the rock of Manhattan, and the island of steel-and-concrete canyons covers 59 square kilometers and accommodates 1.5 million people. Techni…


The indoor biome covers as much as six percent of the world’s landmass—and we know almost nothing about it.

Nov 29, 2019

The tone of voice varies when cells communicate

Posted by in category: futurism

How cells communicate is the focus of a new thesis from the University of Gothenburg.

“By studying mammalian , as well as fruit fly nerve cells, we’ve improved our understanding of how cells communicate,” says thesis author Anna Larsson.

In order to survive, the cells in our body need to be able to communicate with each other. One way for them to “talk to each other” is to send a from one cell to another by secreting molecules. The recipient cell interprets the message and can adapt depending on the meaning of the signal.

Nov 29, 2019

Mysterious tectonic fault zone found off California

Posted by in category: futurism

A new method using fiber-optic cables pinpointed the previously hidden system—and it may reveal more seismic surprises around the globe.

Nov 29, 2019

Flight to Mexico has to turn back over volcanic eruption – and horse…

Posted by in category: transportation

‘Landing at another airport was not possible, because of the visa requirements of passengers and as there was a large cargo of horses onboard,’ says KLM.

Nov 29, 2019

‘Dead satellites’ pose danger to humans, warns European Space Agency

Posted by in category: satellites

Thousands of ‘dead’ satellites are floating in space and pose a ‘very big danger’ to humanity, the head of the European Space Agency (Esa) has warned.

Speaking at the agency’s ministerial council in Seville, Jan Worner said that of almost 4,500 satellites in orbit, only 1,500 are active.

Space scientists are concerned that defunct satellites could hit other satellites or the International Space Station (ISS), which would then cause more debris, setting off a catastrophic chain reaction that could wipe out telecommunications systems — a phenomenon known as Kessler Syndrome.

Nov 29, 2019

The Curious Story of the Muon-Catalyzed Fusion Reaction

Posted by in category: futurism

Upon hearing the phrase “nuclear fusion,” many of us are quick to associate the phrase with an immense explosion leaving behind a mushroom cloud or a loud, deafening blast it produces which nothing standing a chance. When it comes to anything nuclear of the sort, we already have this expectation that it must have a destructive effect, but surprisingly it turns out, there is an area of nuclear research which explores reactions that takes exception to this. After the end of World War II, a few nuclear researchers from all around the world began exploring a new process which would be known as muon-catalyzed fusion (μCF). It would take years before this nuclear fusion reaction took notice but when it did, a new field of nuclear research was born and has been the subject of much research ever since.

Nov 29, 2019

New study shows unique magnetic transitions in quasicrystal-like structures

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

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In the world of materials science, many have heard of crystals—highly ordered structures in which atoms are arranged in a tight and periodic manner (in which the atomic arrangement is repeated). But, not many people know about quasicrystals, which are unique structures with strange atomic arrangements. Like crystals, quasicrystals are also tightly arranged, but what’s different about them is the fact that they possess an unprecedented pentagonal symmetry, such that the atomic arrangement is highly ordered but not periodic.

This distinctive feature gives them , like high stability, resistance to heat, and low friction. Since their discovery only about 30 years ago, scientists globally have been trying to understand the properties of quasicrystals, in an effort to make more advancements in materials research. But, this is not easy, as quasicrystals are not prevalent in nature. Luckily, they have been able to make use of structures similar to quasicrystals, called “Tsai-type approximants.” Understanding these structures in detail could give insights into the many properties of quasicrystals. One such property is antiferromagnetism, in which are aligned in a quasiperiodic order, strikingly distinguished from conventional antiferromagnets. This property has never been observed in quasicrystals so far, but the possibility was exciting for materials scientists, as it could be a gateway to a plethora of new applications.

Continue reading “New study shows unique magnetic transitions in quasicrystal-like structures” »

Nov 29, 2019

Swiss army knife for genome research

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

It is the dream of every molecular geneticist: an easy-to-use program that compares datasets from different cellular conditions, identifies enhancer regions and then assigns them to their target genes. A research team led by Martin Vingron at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin has now developed a program that does all of this.

“DNA is pretty boring, since it is practically the same in every cell,” says Martin Vingron, director and head of the Department of Bioinformatics at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. “While the genome is like the book of life, I am most interested in the side notes.”

These “notes” are small chemical marks attached to the DNA molecule that do not alter the genetic information itself, but influence what happens to the DNA at the respective site. In other words, these marks have an epigenetic effect. They serve as regulators of genomic regions that are responsible for the activation and deactivation of , such as promoters and enhancers.