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Mar 5, 2018

Google’s new Bristlecone processor brings it one step closer to quantum supremacy

Posted by in categories: information science, quantum physics, robotics/AI

Every major tech company is looking at quantum computers as the next big breakthrough in computing. Teams at Google, Microsoft, Intel, IBM and various startups and academic labs are racing to become the first to achieve quantum supremacy — that is, the point where a quantum computer can run certain algorithms faster than a classical computer ever could. Today, Google said that it believes that Bristlecone, its latest quantum processor, will put it on a path to reach quantum supremacy in the future.

The purpose of Bristlecone, Google says, it to provide its researchers with a testbed “for research into system error rates and scalability of our qubit technology, as well as applications in quantum simulation, optimization, and machine learning.

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Mar 5, 2018

Inside the Quest to Make Lab Grown Meat

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

Food scientists and startups are trying to make meat more ethically appealing by growing it — cell by cell — in a lab instead of on a farm. Even some vegans support so-called “clean” meat. But can lab grown meat overcome the dreaded “yuck factor?”

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Mar 5, 2018

Would You Opt for Immortality?

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

Before the 7.6 billion people alive today, demographers estimate that about 100 billion people lived and died. This is the reality of the human condition. Memento mori, as medieval Christians reflected—Remember that you have to die.

What if it didn’t have to be this way? There are, in fact, organisms whose bodies steadily and reliably replace cells with healthier cells, and whose tissues and organs self-repair and maintain their vigor. They’re called children. And there are cells in adults that divide indefinitely. They’re called cancer. What if there were a way to genetically re-engineer and chemically reprogram our cells to divide indefinitely like they do in children, and to continue this process throughout adulthood without becoming cancerous? Could we become immortal?

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work,” Woody Allen once said, “I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.” There are today well-funded groups of scientists who believe we can do just that. If these techno-dreamers succeed, would you want to live for 150 years? 300 years? Or even 500 years? I’m not talking about being brain-dead and bedridden on a morphine drip. I mean living a full, rich physical and mental life for centuries, possibly forever. Would you opt for immortality?

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Mar 4, 2018

China is recruiting a new wave of astronauts from its civilians

Posted by in categories: engineering, government, military, space

China is intensifying its push into space, and broadening its astronaut recruiting.

The Chinese government, which plans to increase the number of manned missions in its military-backed space program to around two a year, will soon begin recruiting civilian astronauts, Yang Liwei, deputy director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremonial parliament session this weekend. That’s a departure from China’s practice of drawing its astronauts from among air force pilots.

Yang—who was China’s first man in space in 2003—said the trainees could include private-sector maintenance engineers, payload specialists, pilots, scientists, and people from universities and other research institutions, according to the Associated Press. More women are also being encouraged to apply. The loosening of restrictions comes amid NASA’s announcement that it has recruited America’s most competitive class of astronauts ever, as well as other initiatives like Canada’s Hunger Games -style search for new astronauts on the internet.

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Mar 4, 2018

Starwatch: spectacular line-up of three bright planets

Posted by in category: space

Saturn, Mars and Jupiter are all in a row this week in the pre-dawn south-eastern sky.

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Mar 4, 2018

The Moon Is Getting A 4G Network

Posted by in categories: internet, space travel

For all those people wandering around our great Australian cities and spewing they can’t watch a streaming video over 4G because of network access and congestion — we’ve found a place where you can get access to a brand new 4G network that isn’t being hammered. The downside — you’ll need to travel about 384,000km to get there. Nokia and Vodafone are teaming up to put 4G on the moon.

German company PTScientists is planning the first privately-funded Moon landing in 2019, using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. Their plan is is to look at an old roving vehicle left behind back in 1972, when the last Apollo mission left the lunar surface. And, to do that, the new vehicles they’re sending up small, 1kg, base stations to transmit HD images from the moon’s surface back to earth for the first time. Audi is building the vehicles that will be used on the lunar surface.

Nokia said “The 4G network will enable the Audi lunar quattro rovers to communicate and transfer scientific data and HD video while they carefully approach and study NASA’s Apollo 17 lunar roving vehicle that was used by the last astronauts to walk on the Moon”.

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Mar 4, 2018

Elusive Higgs-Like State Created in Exotic Materials

Posted by in categories: materials, quantum physics

Two teams of physicists have figured out how to create a “mini universe,” which could help researchers understand the strange behavior of deeply quantum systems.

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Mar 4, 2018

New Algorithm Lets AI Learn From Mistakes, Become a Little More Human

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

OpenAI’s latest algorithm lets AI learn from its mistakes by re-framing past failures. This method helps AI to learn faster and do so better.

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Mar 4, 2018

Driverless cars can now be tested in California without a safety driver

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

The state of California will now allow driverless cars without safety drivers to be tested on public roads for the first time. Is a world full of driverless cars about to kick into gear?


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Mar 4, 2018

BrainQ aims to cure stroke and spinal cord injuries through mind-reader tech

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, Elon Musk, neuroscience

Israel-based BrainQ is a new neurotech startup hoping to take on brain-computer interface (BCI) companies like Braintree founder Bryan Johnson’s Kernel and Silicon Valley billionaire Elon Musk’s Neuralink.

It’s not clear yet what Musk’s startup intends to do with the computer chips it plans to put in our heads, but Johnson’s startup says it is focused on developing “technologies to understand and treat neurological diseases in new and exciting ways.”

Whatever sector each company goes for, both plan to insert chips in our brains to connect us to computers — the consequences of which could have dramatic effects on human memory, intelligence, communication and many other areas that could rocket humanity forward, should they work out.

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