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Dec 28, 2018

Drones Used to Find Toy-Like “Butterfly” Land Mines

Posted by in category: drones

Quadcopters with thermal imagery cameras can help detect vicious mini-mines that often kill or maim children.

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Dec 28, 2018

Bed bug infestations are only getting worse — here’s why they’re so hard to kill

Posted by in category: futurism

Humans have struggled with bed bugs for thousands of years. Despite our best efforts and technological advances, infestations are only getting worse.

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Dec 28, 2018

Maryland is turning algae into electricity AND cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay: BTN LiveBIG

Posted by in category: energy

Their pilot system absorbs excess nutrients, sequesters carbon dioxide and re-oxygenates the water, all while producing an efficient form of energy.

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Dec 28, 2018

Musk: Tesla’s Fully Autonomous Capabilities “About to Accelerate”

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

The evidence that self-driving vehicle manufacturers aren’t always upfront with the public hasn’t helped either. An excoriating October New Yorker investigation into the early years of the Google self-driving research project that eventually became Waymo found that the company had performed reckless road tests early in its work — and hadn’t always reported accidents.

Road Ahead

Musk’s promise to accelerate fully autonomous research, along with a call for more internal Tesla testers for the program, run precisely counter to that narrative. That’s not surprising: the eccentric Musk is known for imagining futures that are still years away — and using his wealth and influence to attempt to steer history toward or away from them.

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Dec 28, 2018

Super catalyst turns chemical ‘trash’ into treasure

Posted by in category: chemistry

The paper is the latest in a series demonstrating the ability to use a dirhodium catalyst to selectively functionalize C-H bonds in a streamlined manner, while also maintaining virtually full control of the three-dimensional shape of the molecules produced.

“This latest catalyst is so selective that it goes cleanly for just one C-H bond—even though there are several C-H bonds very similar to it within the molecule,” says senior author Huw Davies, professor of organic chemistry. “That was a huge surprise, even to us.”

This dirhodium catalyst works on a substrate of tert-butyl cyclohexane, a hydrocarbon—one of the simplest of organic molecules, consisting entirely of C-H bonds.

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Dec 28, 2018

Tiny Computers Could Transform Our Lives

Posted by in category: computing

And they’re getting closer to the marketplace all the time.

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Dec 28, 2018

AP-NORC Poll: Most support gene editing to protect babies

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

WASHINGTON (AP) — Most Americans say it would be OK to use gene-editing technology to create babies protected against a variety of diseases — but a new poll shows they’d draw the line at changing DNA so children are born smarter, faster or taller.

A month after startling claims of the births of the world’s first gene-edited babies in China, the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds people are torn between the medical promise of a technology powerful enough to alter human heredity and concerns over whether it will be used ethically.

Jaron Keener, a 31-year-old exhibit designer at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History, said he’s opposed to “rich people being able to create designer babies.”

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Dec 28, 2018

Start Preparing Now for the Post-Quantum Future

Posted by in categories: economics, encryption, quantum physics, robotics/AI, security

Quantum computing will break most of the encryption schemes on which we rely today. These five tips will help you get ready.

Search on the phrase “quantum computing,” and you’ll find a furious debate. On the one hand, you’ll read breathless articles predicting groundbreaking advances in artificial intelligence, genomics, economics, and pretty much every field under the sun. On the other, you’ll find the naysayers: It’s all hype. Large-scale quantum computers are still decades away — if they’re possible at all. Even if they arrive, they won’t be much faster than standard computers except for a tiny subset of problems.

There’s one area, however, where you’ll find all sides agree: Quantum computing will break most of the encryption schemes on which we rely today. If you’re responsible for your organization’s IT or security systems, and that sentence made the hair on the back of your neck stand up, good. To get ready for a post-quantum world, you should be thinking about the problem now.

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Dec 28, 2018

To Feed the World Sustainably, Repair the Soil

Posted by in category: food

A reconceived farming system can rapidly improve fertility without chemical fertilizers, and without sacrificing crop yields.

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Dec 28, 2018

Synaptic protein regulates anxiety behaviour

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Anxiety disorders are severe mental disorders in which patients suffer from intense fears and anxiety or from sudden, inexplicable panic attacks. In extreme cases, the affected individuals barely leave their homes, which can have serious consequences for their relationships with family and friends as well as for their professional lives. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine in Göttingen have now identified a synaptic protein which, when inactivated, has an anxiolytic effect in mice.

Around 10 percent of the population suffer from , and current treatment options only offer effective help for a proportion of those affected. One of the changes observed in the brains of patients with disorders is an increased neuronal activity in the amygdala, a brain region that plays a key role in processing emotions such as anxiety or fear. An overactivation of the amygdala is thought to be involved in causing exaggerated anxiety. Many anxiolytic medications such as benzodiazepines presumably normalize this overactivation by strengthening the function of inhibitory synapses.

Synapses are connections between nerve cells in the brain, at which information is transmitted from one nerve cell to another. At inhibitory synapses, this transmission results in a reduction in the activity of the neighbouring nerve cells. In the amygdala, for instance, this inhibits the transmission of stimuli that trigger fear and anxiety. Benzodiazepines strengthen this —but unfortunately they affect not only those inhibitory synapses that transmit anxiogenic stimuli but also many other inhibitory synapses in the brain. This can lead to significant side effects such as pronounced sedation and impaired concentration. Accordingly, scientists are searching for new, more specific targets for anxiolytic medications.

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