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Sep 28, 2016

Amazon looking to abandon UPS, FedEx in favor of its own delivery service

Posted by in category: futurism

Ship and deliver —

Amazon looking to abandon UPS, FedEx in favor of its own delivery service.

The online retailer could save billions by holding onto packages through delivery.

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Sep 28, 2016

Life Without Shimon Peres? In Many Ways, His Israel Faded Long Ago — By Isabel Kershner | The New York Times

Posted by in category: government


“The world awoke on Wednesday to an actuality it had never known before: a modern state of Israel without Shimon Peres. But in many respects Mr. Peres’s Israel began to disappear long ago.”

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Sep 28, 2016

‘Uber for yoga’ app brings instructors to you | Fox News

Posted by in category: fun


“A new mobile app being dubbed as “Uber for yoga” allows users to request a yoga teacher at their whim, hailing one who will come to their home or office whenever they want to practice.”

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Sep 28, 2016

Neuroscience and psychology have rendered it basically unnecessary to have a soul — By George Paxinos | Quartz

Posted by in category: neuroscience

A double rainbow appears above Lake Weissensee in Naggl in Austria's southern Carinthia province July 10, 2013. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader  (AUSTRIA - Tags: TRAVEL ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY)  - RTX11J42

“But as a neuroscientist and psychologist, I have no use for the soul. On the contrary, all functions attributable to this kind of soul can be explained by the workings of the brain.”

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Sep 28, 2016

Soon, Tesla Cars Could Power the Grid (and Our Homes)

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, engineering, sustainability, transportation

In Brief.

Tesla and SolarCity are working on making their cars capable of powering a household, and even the entire grid. Using vehicle-to-grid technology, Tesla may be on to something here, and its more than just saving on your electric bills.

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Sep 28, 2016

We went to China’s Silicon Valley to see the front lines of the robot wars

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

The lights dimmed inside the Shenzhen Bay Sports Stadium as the countdown to the match began. “Wu, si, san, er, yi!” A chime sounded and two teams of robots sprang into action across an intricately constructed battlefield. In the stands, thousands of fans cheered, and groups of small children beat red and blue balloons together, producing a percussive roar.

Each team had four rovers, nimble infantry units that quickly spread over the terrain. The rovers were shaped like small cars, but could also slide side to side, strafing like water bugs over the surface of a lake. They fired small plastic marbles from cannons mounted on top of their frames. Lumbering alongside the nimble rovers was each team’s hero, a larger tank-like robot that could fire the small plastic marbles as well as more powerful golf balls.

The heavy favorite in this matchup of RoboMasters, an annual competition held each summer, was team 1.5S, returning champions hailing from China’s University of Electronic Science and Technology in the Sichuan province. They were taking on StarPro, from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan.

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Sep 28, 2016

First quantum photonic circuit with an electrically driven light source

Posted by in categories: computing, encryption, nanotechnology, quantum physics

Whether for use in safe data encryption, ultrafast calculation of huge data volumes or so-called quantum simulation of highly complex systems: Optical quantum computers are a source of hope for tomorrow’s computer technology. For the first time, scientists now have succeeded in placing a complete quantum optical structure on a chip, as outlined Nature Photonics. This fulfills one condition for the use of photonic circuits in optical quantum computers.

“Experiments investigating the applicability of optical quantum technology so far have often claimed whole laboratory spaces,” explains Professor Ralph Krupke of the KIT. “However, if this technology is to be employed meaningfully, it must be accommodated on a minimum of space.” Participants in the study were scientists from Germany, Poland, and Russia under the leadership of Professors Wolfram Pernice of the Westphalian Wilhelm University of Münster (WWU) and Ralph Krupke, Manfred Kappes, and Carsten Rockstuhl of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

The light source for the quantum photonic circuit used by the scientists for the first time were special nanotubes made of carbon. They have a diameter 100,000 times smaller than a human hair, and they emit single light particles when excited by laser light. Light particles (photons) are also referred to as light quanta. Hence the term “quantum photonics.”

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Sep 28, 2016

Robert Zubrin’s Nuclear Salt Water Rocket Design

Posted by in category: space travel

Robert Zubrin is best known for his advocacy of the manned exploration of Mars.

Zubrin also had a design for interplanetary propulsion called the Nuclear Salt Water Rocket.

A nuclear salt-water rocket (NSWR) is a theoretical type of nuclear thermal rocket. A conservative design for the rocket would be fueled by salts of 20 percent enriched uranium or plutonium. The solution would be contained in a bundle of pipes coated in boron carbide (for its properties of neutron absorption). Through a combination of the coating and space between the pipes, the contents would not reach critical mass until the solution is pumped into a reaction chamber, thus reaching a critical mass, and being expelled through a nozzle to generate thrust.

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Sep 28, 2016

Reaction Engines UK plans integrated hypersonic engine tests by 2020–2021 with joint strike fighter sized engine

Posted by in category: transportation

Reaction Engines of the UK has scaled back its design for the Sabre engine to bring about a demonstrator that is more affordable and better suited to early applications, including a potential X-plane.

The Oxfordshire-based firm has been developing a turbine that combines both jet and rocket technologies to achieve rates five times the speed of sound, to fly anywhere in the world in just four hours.

Rather than aiming for a demonstrator that can achieve more than 150,000 lb thrust, the firm will instead now target an engine size capable of roughly 44,000 lb thrust, according to Aviation Week Network.

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Sep 28, 2016

An AI Was Taught to Hunt and Kill Humans In Video Games: Here’s Why This Matters

Posted by in categories: governance, robotics/AI

In Brief.

  • Programmers have developed an artificial intelligence that can play the video game Doom, and do so very well.
  • Although it’s just a game, this raises questions about AI governance. How can it become more informed, integrated, effective, and anticipatory?

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