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Dec 24, 2017

A deep neural network wrote us a Christmas carol—and it’s hilariously bad

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Christmas carol songwriters should be relieved to hear that they can keep their jobs for a little while longer. It turns out that artificial intelligence hasn’t quite mastered the art of their job.

In a Dec. 21 entry on her personal AI blog, Janelle Shane, a research scientist in industry and machine-learning hobbyist in her spare time, chronicles her journey of trying to teach a neural network to generate Christmas lyrics.

I trained a neural network to write Christmas carols and it got confused. In retrospect I should have seen this coming.…al-network

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Dec 24, 2017

MIT Just Created Living Plants That Glow Like A Lamp, And Could Grow Glowing Trees To Replace Streetlights

Posted by in categories: innovation, nanotechnology

Roads of the future could be lit by glowing trees instead of streetlamps, thanks to a breakthrough in creating bioluminescent plants. Experts injected specialized nanoparticles into the leaves of a watercress plant, which caused it to give off a dim light for nearly four hours. This could solve lots of problems.

The chemical involved, which produced enough light to read a book by, is the same as is used by fireflies to create their characteristic shine. To create their glowing plants, engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) turned to an enzyme called luciferase. Luciferase acts on a molecule called luciferin, causing it to emit light.

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Dec 24, 2017

Arecibo Radio Telescope Snaps Photos Of 3200 Phaethon, Reveals New Information On Near-Earth Asteroid

Posted by in categories: climatology, government, space

Despite being battered by Hurricane Maria, and facing a decrease in funding from the U.S. government, the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico is still going strong, and is now up and running again, following a series of repairs. And with the near-Earth asteroid 3200 Phaethon having just flown by our planet, Arecibo has just sent back images that are supposed to represent the highest-resolution photos of the asteroid, which help reveal some important details about the object.

According to a press release from NASA, the radar images were taken by the Arecibo Observatory Planet Radar last Saturday, December 16, and generated the day after, as asteroid Phaethon 3200 had its close encounter with Earth. At the time of its closest approach, the object was only 1.1 million miles away from Earth, or less than five times the distance separating our planet from the moon. The images have resolutions estimated at about 250 feet per pixel, making them the best-quality photos of the asteroid that are currently available, added.

Based on Arecibo’s radar images, scientists believe that 3200 Phaethon is substantially larger than once estimated, with a diameter of approximately 3.6 miles, or 0.6 miles larger than what previous studies had suggested. That also makes Phaethon the second largest near-Earth object classified as a “potentially hazardous asteroid,” or a comparatively large asteroid that orbits much closer to Earth than most others do. The images also suggest Phaethon has a spheroidal shape, with a number of peculiar physical features that scientists are still trying to understand in full. These features include a concave area believed to be several hundred meters wide, and a dark, crater-like area located near one of its poles.

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Dec 24, 2017

Military offers $10 million prize to any researcher who can solve jets’ oxygen problems

Posted by in category: military

The Department of Defense has authorized a $10 million prize for researchers who can solve a mysterious issue involving oxygen systems in jets.

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Dec 23, 2017

Robotic device improves balance and gait in Parkinson’s disease patients

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, life extension, robotics/AI

Some 50,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) every year. The American Institute of Neurology estimates there are one million people affected with this neurodegenerative disorder, with 60 years as average age of onset. Falls and fall-related injuries are a major issue for people with Parkinson’s?up to 70 percent of advanced PD patients fall at least once a year and two-thirds suffer recurring falls. These fall rates are twice as high as those of adults of comparable age, so improving balance in patients with Parkinson’s would provide a major health advantage.

Sunil Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering and of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine at Columbia Engineering, along with Dario Martelli, a post-doctoral researcher in his group, have been working on this issue with Movement Disorders faculty from the department of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center?Stanley Fahn, a leading expert in Parkinson’s, and Un Jung Kang, division director, and Movement Disorder Fellow Lan Luo. In their latest study, published today in Scientific Reports, the team looked at whether or not Parkinson’s disease affects patients’ balance and diminishes their ability to react and adapt to walking with perturbations. The researchers found that the ability to adapt to multiple perturbations or to modify responses to changing amplitudes or directions was not affected by PD; both the Parkinson’s and the healthy subjects controlled their reactive strategies in the same way.

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Dec 23, 2017

In Human Time | The Climate Museum

Posted by in categories: environmental, media & arts

In Human Time, the first exhibition of the Climate Museum, explores intersections of polar ice, humanity, and time through installations of work by Zaria Forman and Peggy Weil.”

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Dec 23, 2017

World Inequality Report 2018 | WID.World

Posted by in category: governance

“The World Inequality Report 2018 relies on a cutting-edge methodology to measure income and wealth inequality in a systematic and transparent manner.”

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Dec 23, 2017

SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket

Posted by in category: satellites

The bright images in the sky that stopped traffic across the Southland came from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday. The rocket was carrying 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit, all which successfully deployed. (credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

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Dec 22, 2017

Groundbreaking Gene Therapy Trial Aims to Cure Hemophilia

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

A single infusion gene therapy treatment improved levels of the essential blood clotting protein Factor VIII, with 85 percent of patients achieving normal or near-normal levels of the blood clotting factor, even many months after treatment.

Summary: British doctors say they have achieved “mind-blowing” results using gene therapy to rid people of hemophilia A. [This article first appeared on LongevityFacts. Author: Brady Hartman.]

We are one step closer to a cure for hemophilia according to the results of a groundbreaking gene therapy trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Dec 22, 2017

Researchers Discover Key to Diseases in Mitochondrial DNA Mutations

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension, nuclear energy

New view on mitochondrial DNA could put the brakes on mutations that drive diseases. Scientists perform landmark sequencing of mitochondrial DNA and discover surprising facts.

Summary: New view on mitochondrial DNA could help put the brakes on mutations that drive diseases. [Author: Brady Hartman. This article first appeared on LongevityFacts.]

DNA sequences between mitochondria inside a single cell are vastly different, reported scientists in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. This discovery will help to illuminate the underlying mechanisms of diseases that start with mutations in mitochondrial DNA and provide clues about how patients might respond to specific treatments. The researchers published their findings in the journal Cell Reports this week.

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