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May 7, 2019

Ducati Is Working on a Futuristic Electric Motorcycle

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

“The future is electric,” Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali said during an event in Spain, according to Electrek’s translation, and that the company is “not far from starting series production.”

READ MORE: Ducati CEO confirms ‘The future is electric’, says electric Ducati is coming [Electrek]

More on the bike: BMW’s Self-Driving Motorcycle Could Help Keep Bikers Safe.

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May 7, 2019

Twisting whirlpools of electrons

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, space

In Jules Verne’s famous classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the iconic submarine Nautilus disappears into the Moskenstraumen, a massive whirlpool off the coast of Norway. In space, stars spiral around black holes; on Earth, swirling cyclones, tornadoes and dust devils rip across the land.

All these phenomena have a vortex shape, which is commonly found in nature, from galaxies to milk stirred into coffee. In the subatomic world, a stream of elementary particles or energy will spiral around a fixed axis like the tip of a corkscrew. When particles move like this, they form what we call “.” These beams imply that the particle has a well-defined orbital angular momentum, which describes the rotation of a particle around a fixed point.

Thus, vortex beams can give us new ways of interacting with matter, e.g. enhanced sensitivity to magnetic fields in sensors, or generating new absorption channels for the interaction between radiation and tissue in medical treatments (e.g. radiotherapy). But vortex beams also enable new channels in basic interactions among elementary particles, promising new insights into the inner structure of particles such as neutrons, protons or ions.

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May 7, 2019

This “Peeling” Tectonic Plate Could Cause Catastrophic Earthquakes

Posted by in category: futurism

The edge of a tectonic plate, one of the massive shelves of crust that carry the continents and ocean’s floor, is splitting right down the middle.

Scientists started to study the plate, located off the coast of Portugal, after it caused an unexpected earthquake and tsunami in 1969. They now suspect that they’re witnessing the birth of a new subduction zone, according to National Geographic, which is the point at which two plates collide and grind against each other, causing powerful earthquakes.

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May 7, 2019

Drug-resistant tuberculosis reversed in lab

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, futurism

About 1.5 million people died of tuberculosis (TB) in 2017, making it the most lethal infectious disease worldwide. A growing rise in drug-resistant TB is a major obstacle to successfully treating the illness.

Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Umea University in Sweden have found a compound that prevents and even reverses to isoniazid, the most widely used antibiotic for treating tuberculosis.

The research, published the week of May 6 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was conducted in growing in the lab, setting the stage for future studies in animals and people.

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May 7, 2019

Researchers uncover mechanism blocking retina regeneration

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

A discovery opens the possibility of one day restoring loss of vision by activating the retina’s ability to regenerate. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, the Cardiovascular Research Institute and the Texas Heart Institute reveal in the journal Cell Reports that although the mammalian retina—a layer of specialized nerve cells that mediates vision and is located on the back of the eye- does not spontaneously regenerate, it has a regenerative capacity that is kept dormant by a cellular mechanism called the Hippo pathway. The discovery opens the possibility of activating the retina’s ability to restore lost vision by manipulating this pathway.

“Damage to the can lead to irreparable loss of vision in humans and other mammals because their retinas do not regenerate,” said lead author Dr. Ross A. Poché, assistant professor of molecular physiology and biophysics and member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor. “However, other animals such as zebrafish can reverse blindness thanks to specialized cells in the retina called Müller . When the retina is damaged, Müller glial cells proliferate and differentiate into the lost , effectively replacing injured cells with fully functional ones.”

Although Müller glial cells in injured mammalian retina do not restore vision as their counterpart in zebrafish do, other researchers have shown that, when the mammalian retina is injured, a small subset of Müller glial cells takes the first steps needed to enter the proliferation cycle, such as acquiring molecular markers scientists expect to see in a proliferating cell.

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May 7, 2019

Bacterial toxin research could improve pesticides and help treat cancer

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Research into an intricate toxin delivery system found in bacteria could overcome the problem of pesticide resistance in insects, and might even lead to new cancer treatments.

An international team led by Dr. Michael Landsberg at The University of Queensland has revealed the detailed inner workings of the newest member of a family of naturally occurring insecticidal toxins.

“This , known as YenTc, is a highly effective toxin-delivering nanomachine,” Dr. Landsberg said.

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May 7, 2019

Lead contamination found in baby teeth of children living near Exide battery plant

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, law

Airborne lead from recycled car batteries at the Exide plant in Vernon ended up in the baby teeth of children living nearby, a USC study shows.

“We found the higher the level of lead in the soil, the higher the amount of lead in ,” said first author Jill Johnston, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “There’s no safe level of lead; it’s a potent neurotoxin. Our study provides insight into the legacy of the impact of industrial contamination on children.”

The Exide plant, located just southeast of downtown Los Angeles, recycled 11 million auto batteries per year and released 3,500 tons of lead until it closed in March 2015 as part of a legal settlement for hazardous waste violations.

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May 7, 2019

Microsoft’s Cortana will eventually sound more like a real assistant

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Chatting with Cortana is going to sound a lot more natural soon.

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May 7, 2019

McDonald’s Is Installing AI-Powered Kiosks to Predict Your Order

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI

In the future, your local fast food joint might know your order before you even get to the drive-thru window.

Fast food giant McDonald’s has installed AI-powered kiosks in 700 of its restaurants during an initial trial period. The menus are capable of suggesting menu items that sell best depending on the time of day, the weather, or that are currently trending — think ice cream on hot summer days — as well as add-on items depending on your current order.

It’s a glimpse of a future in which AI does substantial legwork in food service — but also one in which human cashiers could become obsolete.

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May 7, 2019

Estonia is Building a “Robot Judge” to Help Clear Legal Backlog

Posted by in categories: law, robotics/AI

The Estonian Ministry of Justice has officially asked Ott Velsberg, the country’s chief data officer, to design a “robot judge” to take care of a backlog of small claims court disputes, Wired reports.

The artificial intelligence-powered “judge” is supposed to analyze legal documents and other relevant information and come to a decision. Though a human judge will have an opportunity to revise those decisions, the project is a striking example of justice by artificial intelligence.

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