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Aug 14, 2019

Breakthrough in understanding of magnetic monopoles could signal new technologies

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

A breakthrough in understanding how the quasi-particles known as magnetic monopoles behave could lead to the development of new technologies to replace electric charges.

Researchers at the University of Kent applied a combination of quantum and classic physics to investigate how magnetic atoms interact with each other to form composite objects known as ‘magnetic monopoles’.

Basing the study on materials known as Spin Ices, the team showed how the ‘hop’ of a monopole from one site in the crystal lattice of Spin Ice to the next can be achieved by flipping the direction of a single magnetic atom.

Aug 14, 2019

XCOM 2 — E3 2015 Gameplay

Posted by in category: entertainment

Check out new gameplay for XCOM 2 featured at E3 2015.

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Aug 14, 2019

Using Genetic Genealogy To Identify Unknown Crime Victims, Sometimes Decades Later

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

DNA combined with the study of family history has been used to solve high-profile cold cases such as the Golden State Killer. Now, volunteers are using the technique to identify crime victims.

Aug 14, 2019

Amazon’s facial recognition software can now spot fear

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Amazon’s controversial facial recognition technology, called Rekognition, has a new skill. It can now spot fear. The company says it recently launched updates to Rekognition’s facial analysis features, including improved age estimation and the addition of fear to its emotion detection.

“We have improved accuracy for emotion detection (for all 7 emotions: ‘Happy,’ ‘Sad,’ ‘Angry,’ ‘Surprised,’ ‘Disgusted,’ ‘Calm’ and ‘Confused’) and added a new emotion: ‘Fear,’” according to an update from Amazon on Monday. “Lastly, we have improved age range estimation accuracy; you also get narrower age ranges across most age groups.”

Aug 14, 2019

A machine-learning revolution

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, information science, robotics/AI

The groundwork for machine learning was laid down in the middle of last century. But increasingly powerful computers – harnessed to algorithms refined over the past decade – are driving an explosion of applications in everything from medical physics to materials, as Marric Stephens discovers.

Aug 14, 2019

Future Bioweapons Could Kill People With Specific DNA

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks, genetics, robotics/AI

In the future, we may have to deal with biological weapons that target specific groups of people, passing over everyone else.

That’s according to a new report out of Cambridge University’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk reviewed by The Telegraph. In it, the Cambridge researchers argue that world governments have failed to prepare for futuristic weapons based on advanced technology like artificial intelligence and genetic manipulation — or even a killer pathogen designed to kill only people of a particular race.

Aug 14, 2019

Light can scatter from light, CERN physicists confirm

Posted by in categories: innovation, physics

Physics World represents a key part of IOP Publishing’s mission to communicate world-class research and innovation to the widest possible audience. The website forms part of the Physics World portfolio, a collection of online, digital and print information services for the global scientific community.

Aug 14, 2019

Methane on Mars Isn’t Being Released

Posted by in category: space

NASA’s Curiosity rover has spotted multiple surges of methane in Mars’ air over the past few years — most recently in June, when levels of the gas inside the Red Planet’s Gale Crater spiked to 21 parts per billion per unit volume (ppbv).

Aug 14, 2019

How a one-time CRISPR shot could obliterate lower back pain

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Today [August 13] the US National Academy of Sciences is hosting the first meeting of the International Commission on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing in Washington, to discuss controversial applications of CRISPR to human eggs, sperm, or fertilized ova, in the wake of Chinese researcher He Jiankui announcing the birth of CRISPR twins after a similar meeting in 2017 (See Do China’s controversial CRISPR babies illustrate the need for an undo button?)

Although only one clinical trial is up-and-running for CRISPR to treat body cells, with an initial patient making the media rounds just last week to discuss her cells doctored to counter sickle cell disease, many other applications are in preclinical testing — animal models and human cells and organoids. And they’re not restricted to rare diseases.

Imagine a single injection that quells the inflammation behind lower back pain — perhaps forever. CRISPR may make that possible by dampening the immune system’s cytokine signals, according to a report in the July issue of Human Gene Therapy.

Aug 14, 2019

DARPA Subterranean Challenge: Tunnel Circuit Preview

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

The Tunnel Circuit of the DARPA Subterranean Challenge starts later this week at the NIOSH research mine just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From 15–22 August, 11 teams will send robots into a mine that they’ve never seen before, with the goal of making maps and locating items. All DARPA SubT events involve tunnels of one sort or another, but in this case, the “Tunnel Circuit” refers to mines as opposed to urban underground areas or natural caves. This month’s challenge is the first of three discrete events leading up to a huge final event in August of 2021.

While the Tunnel Circuit competition will be closed to the public, and media are only allowed access for a single day (which we’ll be at, of course), DARPA has provided a substantial amount of information about what teams will be able to expect. We also have details from the SubT Integration Exercise, called STIX, which was a completely closed event that took place back in April. STIX was aimed at giving some teams (and DARPA) a chance to practice in a real tunnel environment.

For more general background on SubT, here are some articles to get you all caught up: