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Sep 30, 2017

Gogoro raises $300 million for its battery-swapping technology

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

Gogoro, which wants to redefine urban transportation to make it more sustainable, announced today that it has raised a whopping $300 million to further its mission. New investors Temasek, Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management, Sumitomo Corporation, and ENGIE joined existing investors Dr. Samuel Yin, founder of the Tang Prize and chairman of Ruentex Group; Panasonic; and others.

Based in Taipei, Taiwan, Gogoro developed a cloud-powered battery-swapping network called the Gogoro Energy Network. The aim, according to cofounder and CEO Horace Luke, is to build an infrastructure model to power electric mobility.

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Sep 30, 2017

This new therapy could lead to the cure for diabetes!

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

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Sep 30, 2017

Why Futurist Ray Kurzweil Isn’t Worried About Technology Stealing Your Job

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, engineering, existential risks, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI, singularity

Innovation will do more good than harm, he says.

You know a topic is trending when the likes of Tesla’s Elon Musk and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg publicly bicker about its potential risks and rewards. In this case, Musk says he fears artificial intelligence will lead to World War III because nations will compete for A.I. superiority. Zuckerberg, meanwhile, has called such doomsday scenarios “irresponsible” and says he is optimistic about A.I.

But another tech visionary sees the future as more nuanced. Ray Kurzweil, an author and director of engineering at Google, thinks, in the long run, that A.I. will do far more good than harm. Despite some potential downsides, he welcomes the day that computers surpass human intelligence—a tipping point otherwise known as “the singularity.” That’s partly why, in 2008, he cofounded the aptly named Singularity University, an institute that focuses on world-changing technologies. We caught up with the longtime futurist to get his take on the A.I. debate and, well, to ask what the future holds for us all.

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Sep 30, 2017

Microsoft and Facebook just laid a 160-terabits-per-second cable 4,100 miles across the Atlantic

Posted by in categories: climatology, computing

Microsoft, Facebook, and the telecoms infrastructure company Telxius have announced the completion of the highest capacity subsea cable to ever cross the Atlantic Ocean. The cable is capable of transmitting 160 terabits of data per second, the equivalent of streaming 71 million HD videos at the same time, and 16 million times faster than an average home internet connection, Microsoft claims. The cable will be operational by early 2018.

Called Marea, which is Spanish for “tide,” the 4,000 mile long subsea cable lies 17,000 feet below the ocean surface and extends between Virginia Beach, Virginia and the city of Bilbao in Spain. Marea also stretches a route south of most existing transatlantic cables. Because of this, Microsoft says the cable will provide resiliency for those living in the US and Europe by safeguarding against natural disasters or other major events that might cause disruptions to connections like those seen during Hurricane Sandy. More importantly to Microsoft and Facebook: both companies have large data center operations in Virginia.

“Marea comes at a critical time,” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft. “Submarine cables in the Atlantic already carry 55 percent more data than trans-Pacific routes and 40 percent more data than between the US and Latin America. There is no question that the demand for data flows across the Atlantic will continue to increase.” For most of the route, the cable — made up of eight pairs of fiber optic cables enclosed by copper — lays on the ocean floor. Some parts are buried to protect from shipping traffic, usually in areas closer to the shore.

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Sep 30, 2017

China just switched on the world’s largest floating solar farm

Posted by in categories: computing, solar power, sustainability

Science

Newly developed chip reprograms cells to regenerate damaged tissues.

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Sep 30, 2017

Illinois Is Experimenting with Blockchains to Replace Physical Birth Certificates

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, bitcoin, cryptocurrencies

The state of Illinois is testing a new way for people to prove their identities, albeit without the need to request their birth certificates and wait weeks for it to arrive in the mail. The state aims to give citizens more control of their data, as well as provide solace in knowing it’s more secure than ever.

To accomplish this task, the state is turning to the same blockchain technology that companies like Bitcoin and Ethereum utilize for their own networks. In August, the Illinois Blockchain Initiative — a collaboration launched by the state to explore blockchain and distributed ledger technology — announced it’s partnering with self-sovereign identity solutions firm Evernym to create an online ledger that’s only accessible to the owner of the ID and any other individuals they’re granted access. It’s very similar to how the technology could be used to track and share information between hospitals.

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Sep 30, 2017

Study shows how ‘love hormone’ oxytocin spurs sociability

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Why is it so much fun to hang out with our friends? Why are some people so sociable while others are loners or seemingly outright allergic to interactions with others?

A new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine begins to provide an answer, pinpointing places and processes in the that promote socialization by providing pleasurable sensations when it occurs. The findings point to potential ways of helping people, such as those with autism or schizophrenia, who can be painfully averse to socializing.

The study, which will be published Sept. 29 in Science, details the role of a substance called oxytocin in fostering and maintaining sociability. The senior author is Robert Malenka, MD, PhD, professor and associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral science. The lead author is former postdoctoral scholar Lin Hung, PhD.

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Sep 30, 2017

Let’s ban gasoline-powered cars, says California’s governor

Posted by in category: transportation

Electric vehicles would get a big boost if California bans internal combustion engines.

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Sep 30, 2017

Elon Musk Named SpaceX’s Moonbase After a Cult Sci-Fi Classic

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel

With the best theme song in TV history.

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Sep 30, 2017

Elon Musk: SpaceX Is Coming for Mars in 2022

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel

Musk said he’s “confident” the plan will be under way within five years.

“I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars,” Musk said, adding that he thinks SpaceX has figured out a way to make it affordable by using revenues from the company’s satellite launches, service missions to the International Space Station and by making smaller, more efficient rockets that are mostly reusable.

Nine years after SpaceX’s first successful launch — its fourth ever — Musk said his engineers are now perfecting propulsive landing. He believes the BFR rocket can carry out missions to the moon and back without producing propellant, enabling the establishment of a lunar space station.

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