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Dreams On-demand

from The Daily Star

Real-life Inception as scientists figure out how to plant ideas in dreams

Researchers at MIT have been testing a fascinating new technique called targeted dream incubation, which allows them to insert certain topics into someone else’s dreams

By Sophie Bateman

It may sound like the plot of Inception, but scientists have figured out how to plant ideas into other people’s dreams.

Researchers at MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces have been testing a new technique called targeted dream incubation (TDI), which allows them to insert certain topics into someone’s dreams.

Past studies have shown that when sleepers enter a rare dream state known as lucid dreaming, they gain awareness that they’re dreaming and can thus have some control over what happens in their mind.

TDI achieves a similar result by targeting people during hypnagogia, a semi-lucid dream state that occurs as someone is falling asleep.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Posted on September 26, 2020 by Editor

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Covid Era Begats Drone Era

from Forbes

From Sci-Fi To Everyday Business: Welcome To The Age Of The Robot

Ambulance Drone flying in the sky
GETTY

While drones and robots may have once evoked a sense of fantasy and science fiction, these devices may be starting to prove their potential as major contributors to business and everyday life. And today, the widespread effort to limit human contact due to the Covid-19 pandemic could perhaps accelerate those trends, as robots are deployed for a variety of public safety uses—from assisting doctors and delivering supplies to sterilizing public spaces.

Delivery drones and small robotic delivery trucks could play an increasingly important role as the e-commerce industry grows. In fact, industry analyst Technavio forecasts a growth in the autonomous delivery robot market of almost $17 billion between 2020 and 2024. And with steady online sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, robot and drone deliveries could offer a safer alternative to human couriers while also potentially reducing costs.

In the early days of the pandemic, for example, robots were drafted in China to conduct contactless grocery drops. Plans are also underway to combine walking robots and self-driving cars in order to conduct the final step of delivering packages from cars to customers’ doorsteps.

[ click to continue reading at Forbes ]

Posted on September 24, 2020 by Editor

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Our New Mini-moon

from The Daily Star

Mystery object entering Earth’s orbit ‘to become planet’s mini-moon until May’

An object known as 2020 SO is heading towards Earth, and could stay in orbit of the planet from October until May next year – although some think it could just be space junk

By Joshua Smith

Earth could be about to get a new moon – but experts have been left baffled at what the mystery object actually is.

An object known as 2020 SO is heading towards Earth and from October it will be a “mini-moon”, which could stay in orbit of the planet until May next year.

Another object, named 3753 Cruithne, has already been dubbed Earth’s “second moon” – meaning 2020 SO would be our third.

Cruithne is in a normal elliptic orbit around the Sun. 

Its period of revolution around the Sun, approximately 364 days at present, is almost equal to that of Earth.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Posted on September 23, 2020 by Editor

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Tesla Slumber Mode

from Futurism

TESLA DRIVER PULLED OVER GOING 93 MPH WHILE COMPLETELY ASLEEP

by JON CHRISTIAN

RCMP ALBERTA/TWITTER

Canadian cops say they pulled over a Tesla that was traveling at 93 miles per hour — while the driver was completely asleep, with the seat pulled down like a bed.

“The officer was able to obtain radar readings on the vehicle, confirming that it had automatically accelerated up to exactly 150 km/h [93 mph],” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement to Global News.

[ click to continue reading at Futurism ]

Posted on September 20, 2020 by Editor

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Non-smoker Held At Gunpoint

from The New York Post

Oregon woman holds suspected arsonist at gunpoint as wildfires rage

By Natalie O’Neill

An Oregon woman forced a suspected arsonist to the ground at gunpoint after she found him on her property with matches, dramatic video footage shows.

“What are you doing on my property? Did you light anything on fire?” Kat Cast shouts as she clutches a firearm, according to footage she posted on Facebook.

When the unidentified man responds that he was “just passing through,” she demands to know why he’s holding matches.

“I smoke,” he replies — to which Cast asks to see his cigarettes. The man then admits that he has none, and she holds him there until police arrive and haul him away in handcuffs.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on September 19, 2020 by Editor

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Eaten By Mycelium

from VICE

This ‘Living’ Coffin Uses Mushrooms to Compost Dead Bodies

The ‘Living Cocoon’ has already been used in one burial, at the Hague

By Becky Ferreira

HENDRIKX WITH THE ‘LIVING COCOON’ COFFINS.
IMAGE: BOB HENDRIKX — LOOP BIOTECH

For tens of thousands of years, humans have developed funeral rites and burial practices that reflected the attitudes of their particular time and place. These traditions of honoring the dead continue to evolve into the 21st century, as people seek “green burials” that are more environmentally friendly than standard coffins. 

One of the newest examples comes from Loop, a Dutch biotech company that recently unveiled a biodegradable coffin made of fungus, microbes and plant roots. Called the “Living Cocoon,” the coffin is designed to hasten bodily decomposition while also enriching soil around the plot.

“Normally, what we do as humans is we take something out of nature, we kill it, and we use it,” said Bob Hendrikx, founder of Loop, in a call. “So I thought: what if we humans start moving from working with dead materials toward a world in which we work with living materials?”

“We would not only become less of a parasite, but we could also start exploring super-cool material properties, like living lights, walls that are self-healing, and that kind of stuff,” he added.

Hendrikx was inspired to develop the Living Cocoon while presenting a living home concept at last year’s Dutch Design Week. While houses are obviously for the living, Hendrikx got to thinking about adapting the concept into a coffin powered by mushroom mycelium, which is the filamentary vegetative part of the fungus.

“Mycelium is nature’s biggest recycler,” Hendrikx said. “It is continuously looking for dead organic matter to transform into key nutrients.” 

[ continue reading at VICE ]

Posted on September 17, 2020 by Editor

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The Cosmic Brain

from Futurism

Physicist: The Entire Universe Might Be a Neural Network

“The idea is definitely crazy, but if it is crazy enough to be true? That remains to be seen.”

by VICTOR TANGERMANN

It’s not every day that we come across a paper that attempts to redefine reality.

But in a provocative preprint uploaded to arXiv this summer, a physics professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth named Vitaly Vanchurin attempts to reframe reality in a particularly eye-opening way — suggesting that we’re living inside a massive neural network that governs everything around us. In other words, he wrote in the paper, it’s a “possibility that the entire universe on its most fundamental level is a neural network.”

For years, physicists have attempted to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. The first posits that time is universal and absolute, while the latter argues that time is relative, linked to the fabric of space-time.

In his paper, Vanchurin argues that artificial neural networks can “exhibit approximate behaviors” of both universal theories. Since quantum mechanics “is a remarkably successful paradigm for modeling physical phenomena on a wide range of scales,” he writes, “it is widely believed that on the most fundamental level the entire universe is governed by the rules of quantum mechanics and even gravity should somehow emerge from it.”

[ click to continue reading at Futurism ]

Posted on September 15, 2020 by Editor

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Robinhood Insanity

from Vanity Fair

“It’s a Whole Other Level of Insanity”: How Pandemic Day Traders Are Turning Wall Street Upside Down

Sudden spikes in the value of bankrupt Hertz and joke cryptocurrency Dogecoin are upending the market as hobbyist traders on Reddit and Robinhood go rogue. “It doesn’t really matter what the underlying value of the stock is,” says one. “If there’s enough momentum behind it, you can still make money.”

BY JESSICA CAMILLE AGUIRRE

Image may contain Tie Accessories Accessory Human Person Clothing Suit Coat Overcoat Apparel and Attorney
BY KENA BETANCUR/GETTY IMAGES.

A few years ago an eight-year-old Shiba Inu dog named Kabosu became an internet meme, her furry face juxtaposed with snippets of text in the parlance of stoner philosophy (“wow. much cake.”). The meme was known as “doge,” and it blew “lolcat” out of the water. Shortly thereafter, in 2013, a cryptocurrency called Dogecoin was launched, mostly as a joke. The coin ballooned then flatlined, hewing since then with the swings of the volatile bitcoin market—until July, when its stock value skyrocketed 104%. 

What was going on? The cryptocurrency wasn’t new, and it had never been taken very seriously, even by its own investors. How could a seemingly random stock suddenly more than double in value? “It was a TikTok trend,” said David Hanlin, an e-commerce adviser and day trader who got in on the Dogecoin bump. “In terms of the actual value of Dogecoin from anything other than a meme standpoint, it’s pretty low. But it doesn’t really matter what the underlying value of the stock or the cryptocurrency is. If there’s enough momentum behind it, you can still make money.”

Such is the approach of many day traders, or retail traders—people, often hobbyists, who trade stocks on popular platforms like Robinhood. Since the start of the pandemic, new users have flooded these platforms, propelled in some cases by a conviction that crisis breeds opportunity, and in others by newfound free time. Robinhood alone reported more than 3 million new funded accounts by May, half of which were started by first-time traders. And daily average revenue trades on Robinhood more than doubled in the second quarter compared to the preceding quarter. 

Many on Wall Street are baffled by the surge and have become more circumspect about how they read trends. “I’ve spent the last year, basically since March, trying to understand what’s happening, and honestly, I couldn’t tell you exactly. I’m very good at what I do, but there are times I’m just like, I have no fucking clue what’s happening,” said one equity trader for a Manhattan firm. “We were calling it banana land, the guys I work with, because it’s just, like, crazy. And then we started calling it ayahuasca land because it’s not even bananas anymore, it’s a whole other level of insanity.”

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on September 14, 2020 by Editor

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GBS-3

from NAUTILUS

Welcome to the Next Level of Bullshit

The language algorithm GPT-3 continues our descent into a post-truth world.

BY RAPHAËL MILLIÈRE

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.” These are the opening words of the short book On Bullshit, written by the philosopher Harry Frankfurt. Fifteen years after the publication of this surprise bestseller, the rapid progress of research on artificial intelligence is forcing us to reconsider our conception of bullshit as a hallmark of human speech, with troubling implications. What do philosophical reflections on bullshit have to do with algorithms? As it turns out, quite a lot.

In May this year the company OpenAI, co-founded by Elon Musk in 2015, introduced a new language model called GPT-3 (for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3”). It took the tech world by storm. On the surface, GPT-3 is like a supercharged version of the autocomplete feature on your smartphone; it can generate coherent text based on an initial input. But GPT-3’s text-generating abilities go far beyond anything your phone is capable of. It can disambiguate pronouns, translate, infer, analogize, and even perform some forms of common-sense reasoning and arithmetic. It can generate fake news articles that humans can barely detect above chance. Given a definition, it can use a made-up word in a sentence. It can rewrite a paragraph in the style of a famous author. Yes, it can write creative fiction. Or generate code for a program based on a description of its function. It can even answer queries about general knowledge. The list goes on.

GPT-3 is a marvel of engineering due to its breathtaking scale. It contains 175 billion parameters (the weights in the connections between the “neurons” or units of the network) distributed over 96 layers. It produces embeddings in a vector space with 12,288 dimensions. And it was trained on hundreds of billions of words representing a significant subset of the Internet—including the entirety of English Wikipedia, countless books, and a dizzying number of web pages. Training the final model alone is estimated to have cost around $5 million. By all accounts, GPT-3 is a behemoth. Scaling up the size of its network and training data, without fundamental improvements to the years-old architecture, was sufficient to bootstrap the model into unexpectedly remarkable performance on a range of complex tasks, out of the box. Indeed GPT-3 is capable of “few-shot,” and even, in some cases, “zero-shot,” learning, or learning to perform a new task without being given any example of what success looks like.

Interacting with GPT-3 is a surreal experience. It often feels like one is talking to a human with beliefs and desires. In the 2013 movie Her, the protagonist develops a romantic relationship with a virtual assistant, and is soon disillusioned when he realizes that he was projecting human feelings and motivations onto “her” alien mind. GPT-3 is nowhere near as intelligent as the film’s AI, but it could still find its way into our hearts. Some tech startups like Replika are already working on creating AI companions molded on one’s desired characteristics. There is no doubt that many people would be prone to anthropomorphize even a simple chatbot built with GPT-3. One wonders what consequences this trend might have in a world where social-media interactions with actual humans have already been found to increase social isolation.

[ click to continue reading at NAUTILUS ]

Posted on September 9, 2020 by Editor

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“A frighteningly vast expanse of nothingness”

from BBC

The weird space that lies outside our Solar System

By Patchen Barss

Voyager 1 crossed over into interstellar space in 2012 100 Astronomical Units from the Sun but it still has the vast Oort Cloud ahead of it (Credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech)

Voyager 1 crossed over into interstellar space in 2012 100 Astronomical Units from the Sun but it still has the vast Oort Cloud ahead of it
(Credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech)

The mysterious dark vacuum of interstellar space is finally being revealed by two intrepid spacecraft that have become the first human-made objects to leave our Solar System.

Far from the protective embrace of the Sun, the edge of our Solar System would seem to be a cold, empty, and dark place. The yawning space between us and the nearest stars was for a long time thought to be a frighteningly vast expanse of nothingness.

Until recently, it was somewhere that humankind could only peer into from afar. Astronomers paid it only passing attention, preferring instead to focus their telescopes on the glowing masses of our neighbouring stars, galaxies and nebula.

But two spacecraft, built and launched in 1970s, have for the past few years been beaming back our first glimpses from this strange region we call interstellar space. As the first man-made objects to leave our Solar System, they are venturing into uncharted territory, billions of miles from home. No other spacecraft have travelled as far.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on September 8, 2020 by Editor

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The Gravity Hypothesis

from Science

One of quantum physics’ greatest paradoxes may have lost its leading explanation 

By George Musser

Gravity is unlikely to be the cause of quantum collapse, suggests an underground experiment at Italy’s Gran Sasso National Laboratory.  TOMMASO GUICCIARDINI/SCIENCE SOURCE

It’s one of the oddest tenets of quantum theory: a particle can be in two places at once—yet we only ever see it here or there. Textbooks state that the act of observing the particle “collapses” it, such that it appears at random in only one of its two locations. But physicists quarrel over why that would happen, if indeed it does. Now, one of the most plausible mechanisms for quantum collapse—gravity—has suffered a setback.

The gravity hypothesis traces its origins to Hungarian physicists Károlyházy Frigyes in the 1960s and Lajos Diósi in the 1980s. The basic idea is that the gravitational field of any object stands outside quantum theory. It resists being placed into awkward combinations, or “superpositions,” of different states. So if a particle is made to be both here and there, its gravitational field tries to do the same—but the field cannot endure the tension for long; it collapses and takes the particle with it.

Renowned University of Oxford mathematician Roger Penrose championed the hypothesis in the late 1980s because, he says, it removes the anthropocentric notion that the measurement itself somehow causes the collapse. “It takes place in the physics, and it’s not because somebody comes and looks at it.”

[ click to continue reading at Science ]

Posted on September 7, 2020 by Editor

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Tundra Apocalypse

from LIVE SCIENCE

Zombie wildfires are blazing through the Arctic, causing record burning

By Stephanie Pappas

“Zombie” wildfires that were smoldering beneath the Arctic ice all winter suddenly flared to life this summer when the snow and ice above it melted, new monitoring data reveals.

And this year has been the worst for Arctic wildfires on record, since reliable monitoring began 17 years ago. Arctic fires this summer released as much carbon in the first half of July than a nation the size of Cuba or Tunisia does in a year. 

That’s according to monitoring by the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, the European Union’s Earth-monitoring organization. More than 100 fires have burned across the Arctic since early June, according to Copernicus. “Obviously it’s concerning,” Copernicus senior scientist Mark Parrington told the BBC. “We really hadn’t expected to see these levels of wildfires yet.”

[ click to continue reading at LIVE SCIENCE ]

Posted on September 6, 2020 by Editor

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Le Blaine Rouge

from The U.S. Sun

David Blaine Ascension: Incredible moment magician soars 20,000ft above desert ‘holding onto just 52 BALLOONS’

by Fionnuala O’Leary

David Blaine clutched 52 balloons before parachuting towards the ground

INCREDIBLE footage shows the moment David Blaine soared above the desert holding onto a bunch of 52 helium balloons in a stunt that looked straight out of the film Up.

The illusionist parachuted towards the ground after releasing himself from the bunch of balloons on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Blaine returned to solid ground in the Arizona desert after his impressive stunt was a success. 

Blaine was strapped in with a harness as he clutched 52 helium-filled balloons and exceeded his projected altitude of 18,000 feet on Wednesday during the “Ascension” stunt.

[ click to continue reading at The U.S. Sun ]

Posted on September 4, 2020 by Editor

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“Good chance you’ll die…, but it will be pretty glorious if it works out.”

from The U.S. Sun

Elon Musk to build ‘glorious’ Martian city with 1,000-starship fleet – but warns first visitors ‘will probably die’

by Sean Keach

5Resembling a 164ft silver bullet, Starship is the latest rocket designed by SpaceX

The star-gazing billionaire has reaffirmed his vision for a Martian colony that doesn’t rely on support from Earth.

Musk has previously told of how his Starship rocket – currently in testing – will one day ferry Earthlings to Mars.

And he’s said he’ll need a fleet of 1,000 ships to create a sustainable city, as orbits mean the trip is only viable once every two years.

Now speaking at the Humans to Mars summit, Musk says the journey won’t be the hard part.

“Getting to Mars, I think, is not the fundamental issue,” said Musk, as quoted by CNBC.

“The fundamental issue is building a base, building a city on Mars that is self-sustaining.

“We’re going to build a propellant plant, an initial Mars base – Mars Base Alpha – and then get it to the point where it’s self-sustaining.”

Musk is expected to begin orbital Starship test flights next year.

The rocket is designed to be fully reusable, and will allow for long-distance journeys through space.

But the early trips to Mars will be treacherous.

“I want to emphasise that this is a very hard and dangerous difficult thing. Not for the faint of heart,” Musk explained.

“Good chance you’ll die, it’s going to be tough going, but it will be pretty glorious if it works out.”

The SpaceX Starship rocket is still very much in a testing phase.

[ click to continue reading at The U.S. Sun ]

Posted on September 3, 2020 by Editor

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Black Hole Birth

from VICE

Scientists Detected a New Kind of Black Hole Being Born in a Bizarre Event

A merger with a black hole possessing an unexplained ‘forbidden mass’ created the first conclusive example of an intermediate black hole in the most massive merger ever detected using ripples in spacetime.

By Maddie Bender

Scientists Detected a New Kind of Black Hole Being Born in a Bizarre Event
SIMULATION OF A BLACK HOLE MERGER IN GRAVITATIONAL WAVES.
IMAGE: FLICKR/NASA UNIVERSE

An international collaboration of astronomers has observed the formation of a black hole with the mass of 142 suns, the first conclusive evidence of an intermediate-mass black hole. The black hole was the result of the most massive black hole merger ever detected with gravitational waves, which are ripples in spacetime that can be detected from Earth. 

Not only did the merger produce the first example of a new kind of black hole, but one of the merging black holes possessed a “forbidden mass” that could not be explained by our usual understanding of how they form.

“I think it’s remarkable that we got such a clear observation of ‘Here’s a black hole with can’t be explained with our classic understanding of how stars collapse,'” said Christopher Berry, an astrophysics professor at Northwestern University and a LIGO Scientific Collaboration Editorial Board reviewer for the discovery paper.

The discoveries were enabled by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo interferometer, two of the world’s gravitational wave detectors. Companion papers published in the journals Physical Review Letters and Astrophysical Journal Letters on Wednesday described the signal, named GW190521.

[ click to continue reading at VICE ]

Posted on September 2, 2020 by Editor

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A Timely Failure

from Forbes

The First Clock In America Failed, And It Helped Revolutionize Physics

by Ethan Siegel, Senior Contributor

The schematic of a simple, oscillating pendulum acting under gravity's influence.
A pendulum, so long as the weight is all in the bob at the bottom while air resistance, temperature… KRISHNAVEDALA / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

For nearly three full centuries, the most accurate way that humanity kept track of time was through the pendulum clock. From its initial development in the 17th century until the invention of quartz timepieces in the 1920s, pendulum clocks became staples of household life, enabling people to organize their schedules according to a universally agreed upon standard. Initially invented in the Netherlands by Christian Huygens all the way back in 1656, their early designs were quickly refined to greatly increase their precision.

But when the first pendulum clock was brought to the Americas, something bizarre happened. The clock, which had worked perfectly well at keeping accurate time in Europe, could be synchronized with known astronomical phenomena, like sunset/sunrise and moonset/moonrise. But after only a week or two in the Americas, it was clear that the clock wasn’t keeping time properly. The first clock in America was a complete failure, but that’s only the beginning of a story that would revolutionize our understanding of the physics of planet Earth.

[ click to continue reading at Forbes ]

Posted on August 26, 2020 by Editor

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Teslaplane

from OBSERVER

A Tesla Electric Plane? Elon Musk Hints It’s Not Far Away

By Sissi Cao

Elon Musk first floated the idea of an electric jet two years ago. Saul Martinez/Getty Images

Elon Musk once said that one day, “all transportation will be electric, except for rockets.” Yes, that even includes airplanes, which have long been on his list of things to electrify.

The Tesla CEO first floated the idea in an interview in September 2018. The plane he envisioned was a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle capable of flying at supersonic speeds at high altitudes.

The idea has largely remained a far-fetched dream because in order for Musk’s design to work, the plane would require a battery with an energy density higher than 400 Wh/kg. Tesla’s newest batteries, Panasonic’s “2170” batteries used in Model 3 cars, can only achieve an energy density of around 260Wh/kg.

But Tesla is working to increase that capacity at unprecedented speed right now. In a new exchange with ARK Investment analyst Sam Korus on Twitter, Musk said Tesla may be able to achieve volume production of 400wh/kg batteries in just three to four years.

[ click to continue reading at OBSERVER ]

Posted on August 25, 2020 by Editor

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Neuralink

from Teslarati

Elon Musk to unveil Neuralink progress with real-time neuron demonstration this week

by Dacia J. Ferris

Neuralink’s surgical robot and an example of a wearable device for transmitting neuron information. (Photo: Neuralink)

Elon Musk’s brain-machine interface company, Neuralink, has an event scheduled for later this week to update the public on its progress since last year’s presentation. While the agenda is speculative for the most part, one expectation is a live demonstration of neuron activity.

“Will show neurons firing in real-time on August 28th. The matrix in the matrix,” Musk tweeted at the end of July.

He also revealed a few other clues about the early fall announcement at the beginning of the year. “Wait until you see the next version vs what was presented last year. It’s *awesome*,” he wrote in February. “The profound impact of high bandwidth, high precision neural interfaces is underappreciated. Neuralink may have this in a human as soon as this year. Just needs to be unequivocally better than Utah Array, which is already in some humans & has severe drawbacks.”

As its name implies, the roles of neuron activities are very important to Neuralink’s technology. The venture’s long-term goal of obtaining human symbiosis with artificial intelligence (AI) begins by connecting electrodes throughout the brain and reading its neuron signals en masse. Gathering huge amounts of data from the signals gradually teaches Neuralink’s software how they are used by the brain to communicate with the rest of the body, ultimately leading to a certain amount of replication and direction. The possibilities of such a capability seem endless.

[ click to continue reading at Teslarati ]

Posted on August 24, 2020 by Editor

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I Heart UFOs

from Rolling Stone

How UFO culture took over America

by Stephen Rodrick

Aliens tom delonge ufo area 51
Illustration by Sean McCabe for Rolling Stone. Images in illustration by Getty Images

Aliens are calling me, but first I have to buy Lunchables. Soon, I’ll be heading into the Nevada desert. I will not be alone. It is pre-pandemic September, and tens of thousands of seekers are reported to be descending on Hiko and Rachel, two no-stoplight towns 150 miles north of Las Vegas. The two map specks are the closest civilian outposts to Area 51, a highly guarded military installation where, legend says, a hangar holds a gravity-propelled craft that travels between galaxies and through wormholes based on technology acquired from aliens and, according to one rock star, Nazi scientists who escaped to Argentina.

[ click to continue reading at RS ]

Posted on August 22, 2020 by Editor

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Hotels On The Moon

from Daily Star

Tourists will be able to visit hotels in space within a few years, expert claims

A scientific author says wealthy tourists will be able to visit space hotels by the end of the decade – before humans return to the moon. Commercial space hotels are likely to be the “next big step”

ByJames Bickerton & Unzela Khan

Space hotels will be available before humans return to the moon, it has been claimed (Image: Getty Images)

Tourists will be able to enjoy a holiday in space in hotels in just a few years according to an expert.

Author Christopher Wanjek made the claim and said humans will be able to visit within this decade.

The writer of ‘Spacefarers: How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond’ also added wealthy tourists can visit the hotels before humans establish a permanent base on the Moon. 

A current deadline set by the Trump administration is 2024 for NASA to return humans to moon

Once this deadline is met, NASA aims to launch crewed missions to March in 2030s, reports the Express.

[ click to continue reading at Daily Star ]

Posted on August 21, 2020 by Editor

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Blinded To The Fly-by

from End Of The American Dream

If NASA Couldn’t See The Asteroid That Just Whizzed By Us, What Else Can’t They See?

by Michael Snyder

Did you know that an asteroid just flew by our planet at an extremely close distance?  The good news is that it was only about the size of a car, but the bad news is that NASA had absolutely no idea that it was coming.  In fact, NASA only discovered it about six hours after it had passed us.  If NASA could not see that asteroid coming straight at us, what else is heading toward us that they cannot see? It has been estimated that “about 17,000 big near-Earth asteroids remain undetected”, but the truth is that we don’t really know how many giant space rocks are floating around out there.  Of course scientists all around the world are doing their best to catalog new potential threats all the time, but what most people don’t realize is that this is an area where our technology is still very limited.

[ click to continue reading at End Of The American Dream ]

Posted on August 20, 2020 by Editor

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Implants Impending

from The U.S. Sun

Meet the super-rich ‘biohackers’ turning into cyborgs with in-built armour and injecting teenagers’ BLOOD to stay young

by Alison Maloney

Tech implants, like this ‘Eyeborg’ camera developed by filmmaker Rob Spence, are current biohacks Credit: The Eyeborg Project

WOULD you like to live forever?

From daily sessions in sub-zero cryo-chambers to stem cell injection and transfusions of teenagers’ BLOOD, their bizarre attempts to become superhuman have fuelled a multi-million dollar industry.

It may sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but there’s a growing band of Silicon Valley billionaires who believe they can achieve eternal life through “biohacking” – the process of making alterations to your body to keep it younger.

Netflix’s new drama Biohackers, released on Thursday, (Aug 20) seizes on the terrifying trend by imagining a secretive lab where a young student, played by Luna Wedler, discovers a sinister experiment using the techniques on an entire town.

Here we meet the real Silicon Valley biohackers – the men who want to be immortal.

[ click to continue reading at The U.S. Sun ]

Posted on August 19, 2020 by Editor

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DV 130

from AFP via Yahoo! News

Scorching temperature in US’s Death Valley could be global high

by Issam AHMED

A temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius) recorded in California’s Death Valley on Sunday by the US National Weather Service could be the hottest ever measured with modern instruments, officials say.

The reading was registered at 3:41 pm at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center in the Death Valley national park by an automated observation system — an electronic thermometer encased inside a box in the shade.

In 1913, a weather station half an hour’s walk away recorded what officially remains the world record of 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees Celsius). 

But its validity has been disputed for a number of reasons: regional weather stations at the time didn’t report an exceptional heatwave, and there were questions around the researcher’s competence.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! News ]

Posted on August 18, 2020 by Editor

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Robot Rice & Rinds

from AP

Colombian fast food chain bets on automated restaurants

By MANUEL RUEDA

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A Colombian fast food chain is planning to turn its branches into automated restaurants at a moment when the coronavirus pandemic has slammed the food service industry worldwide.

MUY has more than 30 restaurants in Bogota, and four in Mexico City. Earlier this month, it opened its first “contactless store” in a commercial district of Bogota, where many restaurants have been forced to shut down because of a ban on sit-down dining. 

The automat’s main lobby is lined with colorful touch screens on which customers order their food. Another screen tells people when their order is ready and directs them to small cubicles where they can pick up their hot meals in bags. Machines take payments in cash or credit cards.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on August 17, 2020 by Editor

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Mind-time

from aeon

The mathematics of mind-time

The special trick of consciousness is being able to project action and time into a range of possible futures

by Karl Friston
edited by Sally Davies

Photo by Steve McCurry/Magnum

have a confession. As a physicist and psychiatrist, I find it difficult to engage with conversations about consciousness. My biggest gripe is that the philosophers and cognitive scientists who tend to pose the questions often assume that the mind is a thing, whose existence can be identified by the attributes it has or the purposes it fulfils.

But in physics, it’s dangerous to assume that things ‘exist’ in any conventional sense. Instead, the deeper question is: what sorts of processes give rise to the notion (or illusion) that something exists? For example, Isaac Newton explained the physical world in terms of massive bodies that respond to forces. However, with the advent of quantum physics, the real question turned out to be the very nature and meaning of the measurements upon which the notions of mass and force depend – a question that’s still debated today.

As a consequence, I’m compelled to treat consciousness as a process to be understood, not as a thing to be defined. Simply put, my argument is that consciousness is nothing more and nothing less than a natural process such as evolution or the weather. My favourite trick to illustrate the notion of consciousness as a process is to replace the word ‘consciousness’ with ‘evolution’ – and see if the question still makes sense. For example, the question What is consciousness for? becomes What is evolution for?Scientifically speaking, of course, we know that evolution is not for anything. It doesn’t perform a function or have reasons for doing what it does – it’s an unfolding process that can be understood only on its own terms. Since we are all the product of evolution, the same would seem to hold for consciousness and the self.

[ click to continue reading at aeon ]

Posted on August 13, 2020 by Editor

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The Ceres Ocean

from c|net

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft discovers a hidden ocean under Ceres’ icy shell

Bright spots on Ceres, a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt, point to an underground ocean that remains active today.

by Jackson Ryan

A mosaic of Cerealia Facula highlighting the differences in composition. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI

In the asteroid belt, an immense region of space between Mars and Jupiter, millions of rocky bodies serenely move around the sun in a timeless cosmic dance. Queen among the dancers is Ceres, the belt’s largest object and a “fossil” from the early days of the solar system. In 2007, NASA launched the Dawn spacecraft to the belt to study Ceres up close. After surveying the dwarf planet, tracing its blemishes and examining its sullen features, scientists reasoned it was once home to a global ocean that had frozen over. 

On Monday, a suite of seven studies in the journal Nature scrutinize extended mission data from Dawn, peering at Ceres’ dull, lifeless shell and finding definitive evidence that it is an ocean world.

“The new results confirm the presence of liquid inside Ceres,” says Julie Castillo-Rogez, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion laboratory (JPL) and co-author across six new studies. The discovery of liquids hints that Ceres, the closest dwarf planet to Earth, may have been a habitable world and raises the possibility that these types of worlds may harbor life. 

[ click to continue reading at c|net ]

Posted on August 10, 2020 by Editor

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Temporary Death

from National Geographic

These People Believe Death Is Only Temporary

Transhumanists believe in a future of human immortality. A community in Russia is working to make it happen.

BY DANIEL STONE

Transhumanist and neurobiologist Olga Levitskaya is photographed following an event at the Cosmonaut Museum in Moscow to raise funds for the CyberSuit. Levitskaya is wearing a… PHOTOGRAPH BY GIUSEPPE NUCCI

In a small, white warehouse two hours north of Moscow are 56 dead people who hope to live again. Their bodies are upside down, their blood fully drained from their arteries, as they wait, immersed in negative 196-degree Celsius liquid nitrogen for the next 100 years.

What they’re waiting for is a new life, or a continuation of the one they already lived. Many of the bodies belong to people who reached the end of their life naturally, usually at an advanced age. They made the decision to be cryopreserved before they died, or in some cases, their family signed the paperwork post-mortem and paid the $36,000 to freeze their loved one’s body (or $18,000 for just their head) for the standard term of a century—which can perhaps be extended, to be determined, based on where science leaves us in the 22nd century.

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on August 4, 2020 by Editor

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There Are No Wrong Questions

from The New York Times

Do We Believe in U.F.O.s? That’s the Wrong Question

Reporting on the Pentagon program that’s investigating unidentified flying objects is not about belief. It’s about a vigilant search for facts.

By Ralph Blumenthal and Leslie Kean

The Pentagon’s U.F.O. Program has been using unclassified slides like this to brief government officials on threats from Advanced Aerospace Vehicles — “including off-world” — and materials retrieved from crashes of unidentified phenomena.
The Pentagon’s U.F.O. Program has been using unclassified slides like this to brief government officials on threats from Advanced Aerospace Vehicles — “including off-world” — and materials retrieved from crashes of unidentified phenomena. Credit… Leslie Kean

We were part of The New York Times’s team (with the Washington correspondent Helene Cooper) that broke the story of the Pentagon’s long-secret unit investigating unidentified flying objects, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, in December 2017.

Since then, we have reported on Navy pilots’ close encounters with U.F.O.s, and last week, on the current revamped program, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force and its official briefings — ongoing for more than a decade — for intelligence officials, aerospace executives and Congressional staff on reported U.F.O. crashes and retrieved materials.

We’re often asked by well-meaning associates and readers, “Do you believe in U.F.O.s?” The question sets us aback as being inappropriately personal. Times reporters are particularly averse to revealing opinions that could imply possible reporting bias.

But in this case we have no problem responding, “No, we don’tbelieve in U.F.O.s.”

As we see it, their existence, or nonexistence, is not a matter of belief.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on July 31, 2020 by Editor

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Squid Teeth

from Army Times

Are squid teeth the secret to building ‘self-healing’ robots? The Army thinks so

by Todd South

Researchers have teamed with Army initiatives to look at how a protein in squid “ring teeth” might be used to create self-healing materials for clothing, gear and robot parts. Melik Demirel, professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Penn State, is pictured here with a squid from early testing. (Army Research Office)

Scientists working with the Army are employing a natural self-healing process using squid teeth in ways that could allow future engineers to manufacture self-fixing parts in soldier clothing, prosthetic legs, personal protective equipment and even robot parts.

The polymer they’ve been able to reproduce is based on a natural protein in the ring teeth of a squid that repairs itself when damaged.

Stephanie McElhinny, program manager at the Army Research Office, told Army Times that while applications for soldiers are still a few years away, what they’ve been able to do is already showing real promise.

[ click to continue reading at Army Times ]

Posted on July 30, 2020 by Editor

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Welcome

from USA Today

In 2020, anything’s possible. New government intelligence might prove alien life is, too.

And let’s face it, if they’re coming, 2020 is the perfect year for them to arrive, since it has piled one unlikely event on top of another.

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds

“I’m not saying that it’s aliens. But it’s aliens.”

That’s the tagline of a famous internet meme based on Giorgio Tsoukalos’ History channel show, “Ancient Aliens.” But now it seems to be the official United States government line, too.

Just this past week came the latest slow-roll disclosure about UFOs and aliens in The New York Times, which, in the words of tech blog Gizmodo, “casually drops another story about how aliens are probably real.”

There are even reports that the Pentagon has obtained vehicles or parts of vehicles “not made on this Earth,” though former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was either misquoted confirming the story or walked back his comments to that effect later.

I’m old enough to remember when speculation about UFOs was limited to the fringe and when respectable figures and publications wouldn’t touch it. But a few months ago, the Navy released UFO videos, and since then more stories keep appearing, suggesting at the very least that the U.S. government is taking the possibility of aliens visiting Earth a lot more seriously than has been the case in the past.

[ click to continue reading at USAT ]

Posted on July 29, 2020 by Editor

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The Truth Down Here

from The Science Times

Pentagon’s U.F.O. Unit to Disclose Some of Its Findings to the Public

by Mark B.

Couzinet's Flying Saucer
(Photo : Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A 3/5 scale model of a proposed VTOL ‘flying saucer’ aircraft, the Couzinet Aerodyne RC-360, on display at a workshop on the Ile de la Jatte in Levallois-Perret, Paris, 1955.

Although the Pentagon has previously announced that they disbanded programs concerning unidentified flying objects (UFO), reports show that it is not the case. UFO programs apparently reside within the  Office of Naval Intelligence.

Senate committee report last month presents the country’s intelligence expenditures for this upcoming year. In the report, an Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force was mentioned. It is tasked “to standardize collection and reporting” regarding unexplained aerial vehicles. This task is about gathering intelligence that might be related to “adversarial foreign governments.” The UAPTF will assess “the threat they pose to U.S. military assets and installations.”

The Select Committee on Intelligence recognizes the sensitivity of some information obtained by the UAPTF. However, it still requires the task force to submit a report every six months. The Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of Defense, and other relevant agency heads will be overseeing the report. 

The New York Times also noted retired officials involved in the task force. Former Senate majority leader Harry Reid hopes that the program could gather proof of “vehicles from other worlds.” Although, its main focus remains on keeping an eye on any other nation that gets its hands on new aircraft that could pose a threat to US interests.

This month, Republican Senator Marco Rubio (FL) expressed interest in having naval intelligence prepare a public report. In an interview with CBS4, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s acting chairman emphasized that “we have things flying over our military bases and places where we’re conducting military exercises.” Sen. Rubio added that we don’t know what these things are and that they’re not projects of the United States, making them genuine security concerns.

[ click to continue reading at The Science Times ]

Posted on July 27, 2020 by Editor

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Nukes On Luna

from US News & World Report

US Eyes Building Nuclear Power Plants for Moon and Mars

The U.S. wants to build nuclear power plants that will work on the moon and Mars.

By Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. wants to build nuclear power plants that will work on the moon and Mars, and on Friday put out a request for ideas from the private sector on how to do that.

The U.S. Department of Energy put out the formal request to build what it calls a fission surface power system that could allow humans to live for long periods in harsh space environments.

The Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear research facility in eastern Idaho, the Energy Department and NASA will evaluate the ideas for developing the reactor.

The lab has been leading the way in the U.S. on advanced reactors, some of them micro reactors and others that can operate without water for cooling. Water-cooled nuclear reactors are the vast majority of reactors on Earth.

“Small nuclear reactors can provide the power capability necessary for space exploration missions of interest to the Federal government,” the Energy Department wrote in the notice published Friday.

[ click to continue reading at US News & World Report ]

Posted on July 25, 2020 by Editor

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Plus ça change…

from The Charlotte Observer

What did people say about wearing masks in the 1918 pandemic? It sounds familiar

BY CHARLES DUNCAN

A different pandemic swept across the world a century ago, killing about 60 million people. 

Schools and businesses closed, and many cities required people to wear face masks to slow the spread of the devastating influenza outbreak of 1918. And back then, just like today, some people balked at the idea of the government telling them what to do.

Some protested and openly defied local orders as World War I raged in Europe, J. Alexander Navarro, assistant director at the University of Michigan’s Center for the History of Medicine, wrote this month for The Conversation.

About 2,000 members of the so-called Anti-Mask League gathered in San Francisco in 1919 “for a rally denouncing the mask ordinance and proposing ways to defeat it,” Navarro wrote. 

Sound familiar?

[ click to continue reading at The Charlotte Observer ]

Posted on July 22, 2020 by Editor

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