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Feb 25, 2016

The Video Game that Made Elon Musk Question Whether Our Reality is a Simulation

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, entertainment, physics, robotics/AI, space

In June, a team of programmers will release a ground-breaking new video game called No Man’s Sky, which uses artificial intelligence and procedural generation to self-create an entire cosmos full of planets. Running off 600,000 lines of code, the game creates an artificial galaxy populated by 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 unique planets that you can travel to and explore.

Though this artificial universe is realistic down to the dimensions of a blade of grass, faster than light-speed travel is available in order for players to bridge the unfathomable distances between stars.

Chief architect Sean Murray says No Man’s Sky is different than most games because the landscapes and distances aren’t faked. While most space-based games utilize a skybox that simply rotates between different modalities, No Man’s Sky is virtually limitless and employs real physics.

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Feb 25, 2016

Upper limit found for quantum world

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

The quantum world and our world of perception obey different natural laws. Leiden physicists search for the border between both worlds. Now they suggest an upper limit in a study reported in Physical Review Letters.

The laws of the quantum domain do not apply to our everyday lives. We are used to assigning an exact location and time to objects. But fundamental particles can only be described by probability distributions—imagine receiving a traffic ticket for speeding 30 to 250 km/h somewhere between Paris and Berlin, with a probability peak for 140 km/h in Frankfurt.


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Feb 25, 2016

Prove the Multiverse or Die Trying

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics, quantum physics

Quantum mechanics is littered with different interpretations, but at the core of the entire school of thought is the question of whether there are multiple universes of not. At the core of this idea is the thought, explicated by quantum mechanics, that everything we observe is simply the collapse of all probable scenarios into one specific outcome. Reality, viewed from that perspective, has a very cluttered cutting room floor. But are the things removed from the reel scraps or alternative narratives? There’s the big question.

To answer that question, we need to dive a bit into the mechanisms of the thing. Quantum mechanics says that all particles in the universe can be represented by what are called “wave functions.” A single wave function basically illustrates all the information about a specific system (i.e. a particle), detailing everything from position to velocity. The wave function itself also outlines all the probable outcomes of that system as well.

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Feb 25, 2016

ATLASGAL Survey of Milky Way Completed

Posted by in category: space

Stunning, truly.

A spectacular new image of the Milky Way has been released to mark the completion of the APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL). The APEX telescope in Chile has mapped the full area of the Galactic Plane visible from the southern hemisphere at submillimetre wavelengths — between infrared light and radio waves. This is the sharpest such map yet made, and complements those from recent space-based surveys. The pioneering 12-metre APEX telescope allows astronomers to study the cold Universe: gas and dust only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero.

APEX, the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment telescope, is located at 5100 metres above sea level on the Chajnantor Plateau in Chile’s Atacama region. The ATLASGAL survey took advantage of the unique characteristics of the telescope to provide a detailed view of the distribution of cold dense gas along the plane of the Milky Way galaxy [1]. The new image includes most of the regions of star formation in the southern Milky Way [2].

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Feb 25, 2016

Photonic propulsion cuts Mars travel time

Posted by in categories: astronomy, energy, lifeboat, physics, space travel, transportation

Recent advances in lasers suggest that we may see rockets propelled by light earlier than we had imagined. NASA scientist Philip Lubin and his team are working on a system that would use Earth-based lasers to allow space travel to far-away places in just a fraction of the time needed with current technology.


Using earth based lasers to push along a spacecraft instead of on board hydrocarbon-based fuel could dramatically reduce travel time to Mars, within our lifetime. Currently, it takes five months for a space craft to reach Mars. But, with photonic propulsion, it is likely that small crafts filled with experiments will reach Mars in just 3 days. Large spaceships with astronauts and life support systems will take only one month, which is about 20% of the duration of a current trip.

What’s next? Lubin believes that we may be able to send small crafts with scientific experiments to exoplanets as fast as 5% light speed in, perhaps, 30 years. Eventually, he claims that the technology will carry humans at speeds up to 20% light speed.

Read about it here.

Feb 25, 2016

Google’s London AI powerhouse has set up a new healthcare division and acquired a medical app called Hark

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, robotics/AI

The artificial intelligence company has also built its own app called Streams.

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Feb 25, 2016

Zoltan: The transhumanist for President — The Feed

Posted by in categories: electronics, geopolitics, transhumanism

A new 9 minute video on transhumanism and my campaign from The Feed at SBS, one of Australia’s major tv channels. It aired today:

Meet the US Presidential candidate who not only wants to beat Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but — also — death.

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Feb 24, 2016

Beauty and the brain

Posted by in category: neuroscience

How our brains view beauty is also from heredity.

British neurobiologist Semir Zeki says human brains work alike and we have a shared inheritance in the way we perceive beauty Who do you think is beautiful? Apparently all our votes would more or less go to the same person. Wherever we are from in the world, man or woman, Indian or South American, the way we experience beauty is pretty much the same. Because our brains work similarly, and as humans, we have a shared inheritance. Listening to British neurobiologist Semir Zeki is sure to leave one mesmerised about our understanding of the way our brains work.

Zeki, a frontrunner in the fairly nascent field of neuro-aesthetics, was in Bengaluru recently for the British Council’s lecture series “Science and Beyond”. A professor of neuro-aesthetics at the University College London, Zeki specialises in studying the primate visual brain, neural correlates of the experience of love, desire, beauty, within the field of neuro-aesthetics. In his award-winning study conducted across people of various races and cultures, the question he addressed was ‘What are the neural mechanisms that are engaged when you experience beauty?’. “I have not asked anything about the concept of beauty, the nature of beauty or anything like that. All I can tell you is that when you experience beauty, regardless of the source – whether it is visual, musical or mathematical, its correlated activity is in the same part of the brain.

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Feb 24, 2016

Baltimore hackers say they reveal potentially deadly cybersecurity weaknesses at area hospitals

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cybercrime/malcode

What happens when a patient is in X-Ray and the X-Ray machine blows up like a bomb killing the patient and staff in the room? Well, a new report shows that it can happen where machines are connected to any network (including the net) because a team of hackers showed in their report how they were they hacked several D.C. and Maryland Hospitals medical devices and numerous machines including life support, X-Rays, etc.

Area hospitals are riddled with cybersecurity flaws that could allow attackers to hack into medical devices and kill patients, a team of Baltimore-based researchers has concluded after a two-year investigation.

Hackers at Independent Security Evaluators say they broke into one hospital’s systems remotely to take control of several patient monitors, which would let an attacker disable alarms or display false information.

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Feb 24, 2016

This smartphone’s display is also a solar charger

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, solar power, sustainability

You phone does all kinds of things when it’s just lying there: checking your Facebook feed, pulling down Google Now updates, receiving emails and text messages. One thing it’s not doing: giving your battery a break.

Kyocera is working to change that. How? By sandwiching a solar panel to a smartphone display. It’s something they’ve been working on in conjunction with Sunpartner Technologies. They actually showed off their progress last year at Mobile World Congress, and they returned this year to give the crowd a glimpse at their updated prototype.

It’s an Android device with a five-inch screen, and like some of Kyocera’s other phones it’s waterproof and quite rugged. Curious how the solar layer affects the phone’s display? Reports from people that have spent time with the device say that you’d be hard pressed to notice the difference. That’s because the .55mm panel that Kyocera has integrated into their latest prototype’s display is 85% transmissive.

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