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Oct 20, 2017

The World’s Newest Massive Radio Telescope Has Made Its First Discovery

Posted by in category: space

China’s FAST radio telescope has spotted a pair of pulsars thousands of light years away. The find heralds a new era in radio telescopes.

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Oct 20, 2017

NASA’s New Ion Thruster Engine Is Breaking Some Important Records

Posted by in categories: military, space travel

NASA’s new X3 thruster, which is being developed by researchers at the University of Michigan in collaboration with the agency and the US Air Force, has broken records in recent test. It’s hoped that the technology could be used to ferry humans to Mars.

The X3 is a type of Hall thruster, a design that uses a stream of ions to propel a spacecraft. Plasma is expelled to generate thrust, producing far greater speeds than are possible with chemical propulsion rockets, according to NASA.

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Oct 20, 2017

Synthetic Biology and Evolution

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, evolution

Darwinian evolution is old-fashioned. Bioengineering raises new principles for the creation of life but, to what extent can we dispense with the past of our biology.

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Oct 20, 2017

Are We Ready for Intimacy with Robots?

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Love in the time of robots

Hiroshi Ishi­guro builds androids. Beautiful, realistic, uncannily convincing human replicas. Academically, he is using them to understand the mechanics of person-to-person interaction. But his true quest is to untangle the ineffable nature of connection itself.

By Alex Mar 10.17.17

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Oct 20, 2017

NASA Improves Search for Habitable Worlds

Posted by in category: alien life

New NASA research is helping to refine our understanding of candidate planets beyond our solar system that might support life.

“Using a model that more realistically simulates atmospheric conditions, we discovered a new process that controls the habitability of exoplanets and will guide us in identifying candidates for further study,” said Yuka Fujii of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), New York, New York and the Earth-Life Science Institute at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, lead author of a paper on the research published in the Astrophysical Journal Oct. 17.

Conceptual image of an exoplanet

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Oct 20, 2017

It Still Doesn’t Really Matter What A.I. Can Score on IQ Tests

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

This has a look at where the intelligence of AI is at right now:

“the researchers came up with a means of testing intelligence that can be translated onto a 100-point scale. They purportedly administered their tests to actual human adults in 2014, and the average score for those 18 years or older was just around 97 points. A 6-year-old human averaged out to a score of 55.5.

In the 2016 A.I. testing rounds, no machine was able to crack the 50-point threshold, but Google Assistant got close. Based on testing in 2016, Google Assistant racked up a 47.28. The Chinese personal assistant Duer, created by Baidu, scored 37.20. Bing came out to 31.98. Apple’s Siri rounded out the top 10 with a score of 23.94.”

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Oct 20, 2017

The snowplow is the next vehicle to get the driverless treatment

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Daimler is creating a driverless snowplow for use in places like airports and is already testing a design in Germany.

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Oct 20, 2017

PBS’s Documentary ‘The Gene Doctors’ Arrives Amid A Gene Therapy Boom

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education

A new PBS film educates viewers about gene therapy at a time when the once controversial field of research is starting to bear fruit.

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Oct 20, 2017

China breaking all solar power records, aiming for 50GW in 2017

Posted by in categories: climatology, solar power, sustainability

China is leading the world in solar power installations by a long run. ASECEA is predicting that 50GW of solar power is well within reach of being installed this year. In June and July of 2017, China installed 25GW of solar power – and they’ll push the globe past 100GW total for the year.

At China’s ‘State of the Union address’ equivalent, just yesterday, president Xi Jinping said, “Any harm we inflict on nature will eventually return to haunt us… this is a reality we have to face.”

“Taking a driving seat in international cooperation to respond to climate change, China has become an important participant, contributor, and torchbearer in the global endeavor for ecological civilization,” said President Xi Jinping, and that China must “develop a new model of modernization with humans developing in harmony with nature.”

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Oct 20, 2017

Deep Learning & Robotics

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Recorded, October 11, 2017

Pieter Abbeel is a professor at UC Berkeley.

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