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Mar 23, 2019

Blue Brain solves a century-old neuroscience problem

Posted by in categories: information science, mathematics, neuroscience

A team led by Lida Kanari now reports a new system for distinguishing cell types in the brain, an algorithmic classification method that the researchers say will benefit the entire field of neuroscience. Blue Brain founder Professor Henry Markram says, “For nearly 100 years, scientists have been trying to name cells. They have been describing them in the same way that Darwin described animals and trees. Now, the Blue Brain Project has developed a mathematical algorithm to objectively classify the shapes of the neurons in the brain. This will allow the development of a standardized taxonomy [classification of cells into distinct groups] of all cells in the brain, which will help researchers compare their data in a more reliable manner.”

The team developed an algorithm to distinguish the shapes of the most common type of neuron in the neocortex, the . Pyramidal are distinctively tree-like cells that make up 80 percent of the in the neocortex, and like antennas, collect information from other neurons in the . Basically, they are the redwoods of the brain forest. They are excitatory, sending waves of electrical activity through the network, as people perceive, act, and feel.

The father of modern neuroscience, Ramón y Cajal, first drew pyramidal cells over 100 years ago, observing them under a microscope. Yet up until now, scientists have not reached a consensus on the types of pyramidal neurons. Anatomists have been assigning names and debating the different types for the past century, while neuroscience has been unable to tell for sure which types of neurons are subjectively characterized. Even for visibly distinguishable neurons, there is no common ground to consistently define morphological types.

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Mar 23, 2019

First primate born using frozen testicle technique

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The new study offers hope for men who face infertility as a side effect of childhood cancer treatments.

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Mar 23, 2019

The thrilling potential for off-grid solar energy

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

There’s an energy revolution happening in villages and towns across Africa — off-grid solar energy is becoming a viable alternative to traditional electricity systems. In a bold talk about a true leapfrog moment, Amar Inamdar introduces us to proud owners of off-grid solar kits — and explains how this technology has the opportunity to meet two extraordinary goals: energy access for all and a low-carbon future. “Every household a proud producer as well as consumer of energy,” Inamdar says. “That’s the democracy of energy.” (Followed by a brief Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson)

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Mar 23, 2019

Scientists rise up against statistical significance

Posted by in category: futurism

We are not calling for a ban on P values. Nor are we saying they cannot be used as a decision criterion in certain specialized applications (such as determining whether a manufacturing process meets some quality-control standard). And we are also not advocating for an anything-goes situation, in which weak evidence suddenly becomes credible. Rather, and in line with many others over the decades, we are calling for a stop to the use of P values in the conventional, dichotomous way — to decide whether a result refutes or supports a scientific hypothesis5.


Valentin Amrhein, Sander Greenland, Blake McShane and more than 800 signatories call for an end to hyped claims and the dismissal of possibly crucial effects.

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Mar 23, 2019

Meteor no one saw coming exploded over Earth with force of 10 atomic bombs

Posted by in category: military

NASA says the blast was the second-largest meteor impact on record.

A meteor weighing about 1,500 tons exploded over the Bering Sea on Dec. 18, 2018. narvikk / Getty Images/iStockphoto.

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Mar 22, 2019

How Drones Could Be Able to Plant a Billion Trees Per Year

Posted by in category: drones

They’ll be shooting seeds into the ground starting this September.

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Mar 22, 2019

Drones: the future of ocean conservation

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI

Unmanned systems like drones significantly change the way ocean conservation scientists collect data, monitor species and protect the ocean.

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Mar 22, 2019

These drones plant trees

Posted by in categories: business, climatology, drones, engineering, habitats, robotics/AI, sustainability

Climate change is a sprawling, complex problem. But there is an astonishingly simple way to make a difference: plant more trees. Trees scrub pollution from the air, reduce erosion, improve water quality, provide homes for animals and insects, and enhance our lives in countless other ways.

It turns out that ecosystem restoration is also an emerging business opportunity. A new report from the World Resources Institute and the Nature Conservancy says governments around the world have committed to reviving nearly 400 million acres of wilderness — an area larger than South Africa. As countries push to regrow forests, startups are dreaming up new, faster ways to plant trees. For some innovators, like NASA veteran Dr. Lauren Fletcher, that means using drones.

Fletcher said his conversion from stargazer to eco-warrior was driven by his worry about climate change, which has been dramatically worsened by deforestation. To tackle the problem, he created BioCarbon Engineering, which he describes as an ecosystem restoration company. Working with colleagues, he came up with a 30-pound unmanned aerial vehicle nicknamed “Robin.” It can fly over the most rugged landscapes on earth, planting trees in precise locations at the rate of 120 per minute.

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Mar 22, 2019

Unmanned Systems Grow in European Agriculture

Posted by in categories: business, drones, food, robotics/AI, sustainability

Unmanned systems’ global inroads are including European agriculture. GNSS for precision guidance of tractors and harvesters is already in place. More recent innovations include fully driverless and smart systems, while drones remain poised to fly.

The experience of one Dutch company is instructive. Precision Makers is an up-and- coming manufacturer of automated farm systems. The company delivers two main products. One, a conversion kit called X-Pert, turns existing mowers and tractors into driverless machines. The other is a fully robotized, unmanned vehicle called Greenbot. Both systems enable automated precision operations, but while one has been successful in terms of sales, the other has not.

Precision Makers Business Development Director, Allard Martinet, told Inside Unmanned Systems, “Sales of our X-Pert conversion system have been very good. We started in 2008, first converting the Toro golf course mower, and then we expanded that into solutions for other vehicles. Today, there are more than 150 X-Pert converted vehicles running.”

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Mar 22, 2019

Everything automated – Farming in 5G

Posted by in categories: food, internet, robotics/AI

Agriculture becomes very easy when data controls the machines. 5G makes this possible because everything is connected. Explore your life in 5G! 5glife.tno.nl

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