62. Shhhh...don't spread that around
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Posted 26 March 2017 - 11:41 AM
The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other. - John Rawls
Posted 28 March 2017 - 11:15 AM
March 27, 2017
(New Atlas) A team of European astronomers says it has made the first confirmed observation of stars forming in the powerful outflow of material hurled out by a galaxy's central supermassive black hole. This outflow represents an extreme environment for star formation, and the presence of stars within it could help answer a number of puzzling questions, including how our galaxy, and others like it, got their distinctive central bulge. (See Space News and Discussion thread).
(The Verge) SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is backing a brain-computer interface venture called Neuralink, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company, which is still in the earliest stages of existence and has no public presence whatsoever, is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence. (See Computers & the Internet News and Discussion thread and the Transhumanism and CyberneticsNews and Discussion thread).
(Climate Central) Erosion, rising seas, ferocious storms and other coastal perils have prompted the resettlement of more than 1 million people worldwide, with an exhaustive new analysis highlighting an emerging migration crisis that’s worsening as global warming overwhelms shorelines. (See Energy and Environment News and Discussion thread.)
(Extreme Tech) The folks at the OpenAI group (of Elon Musk fame) have made new strides in creating an AI that uses grounded, compositional language the way we do. Compositional language denotes the ability to string together multiple words to form more complex meanings. (Edit: See 1) AI & Robotics News and Discussion thread and 2) the Future of Language thread).
(Huffington Post) Scientists in Australia have announced the discovery of what’s believed to be the world’s largest dinosaur footprint, measuring 5 feet, 7 inches long ― meaning it’s practically as long as the average American man is tall. (See the History Forum)
(AP) — House intelligence chairman Devin Nunes went to the White House grounds to review intelligence reports and meet the secret source behind his claim that communications involving Trump associates were caught up in "incidental" surveillance, the Republican congressman said Monday, prompting the top Democrat on the committee to call on Nunes to recuse himself from the committee's Russia probe. (See The Future of the House of Representatives thread).
(New Atlas) Drone manufacturer DJI has suggested establishment of what amounts to an "electronic license plate." The idea is that all drones would come equipped with inexpensive radio equipment that transmits both their location and a user-specific identification code. (See Drones and other UAVs – general news and discussion thread).
(CNN Money) Just 29% of British households surveyed in March believe Brexit will be good for the U.K.'s economy over the next 10 years, according to IHS Markit. That's a major turnaround from July of 2016, when 39% of the public believed that leaving the European Union would make Britain's economy better off. (See Post-Brexit UK News and Discussion thread).
(The Telegraph) Five people died and 50 are injured following a terror attack near the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday. Khalid Masood has now been identified as the man shot dead by police after he ploughed a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing three people before storming the Parliamentary estate and stabbing Pc Keith Palmer to death. (See Breaking: Attack on Palace of Westminster, London thread).
Edit: (Electrek) Tesla’s stock recently gained in value while Ford’s took a tumble and today it resulted in Tesla’s market capitalization surpassing Ford’s for the first time. Tesla closed at $45.47 billion today while Ford is now worth $45.35 billion, according to Google Finance, despite the latter selling 30x more cars in the US alone than the former delivers globally. (See Electric Vehicles News and Discussion thread).
Edit (Christian Science Monitor) Vocal Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny is facing a 15-day jail sentence after organizing protests in Russia on Sunday that decried government corruption and led to some 1,000 arrests. (See Russia Watch thread).
Edit: (CBS) The first vote to advance the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has been delayed for a week by Senate Democrats. (See The Future of the Supreme Court in the Culture, Politics, and Economics of the Future forum)
Edit: WJ Fox has fixed the Pasttimeline homepage:
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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other. - John Rawls
Posted 29 March 2017 - 06:01 PM
March 28, 2017
(Daily Caller) ExxonMobil officials told President Donald Trump Tuesday that staying in the Paris climate agreement would reduce climate change and give a boost to natural gas production. (See Energy and Environment News and Discussion thread)
(Next Big Future) China has almost double the CO2 emissions of the USA. (See Energy and Environment News and Discussion thread).
(New York Times) WASHINGTON — President Trump, flanked by company executives and miners, signed a long-promised executive order on Tuesday to nullify President Barack Obama’s climate change efforts and revive the coal industry, effectively ceding American leadership in the international campaign to curb the dangerous heating of the planet. (See Energy and Environment News and Discussion thread and President Trump News and Discussion thread).
(New Atlas) A new technique from researchers at Michigan Technological University (MTU) could lead to glow-in-the-dark tumors that would help guide surgeons to the exact tissue that needs to be extracted. (See Biology and Medicine News and Discussion thread).
(New Atlas) Led by reproductive scientist Teresa Woodruff, a team of researchers at Illinois' Northwestern University has developed what's been described as "the female menstrual cycle in a dish." In the immediate future, plans call for the technology to be used for research on conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, cancer and infertility. This would include testing the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, without having to expose actual human test subjects to them. (See Biology and Medicine News and Discussion thread).
(Next Big Future) Unity Biotechnology targets senescent cells—cells that, as they age, start producing a colorless, odorless, noxious goo called sasp, which Unity’s researchers call “the zombie toxin,” because it makes other cells senescent and spreads chronic inflammation throughout the body. In mice, Unity’s treatments delay cancer, prevent cardiac hypertrophy, and increase median life span by thirty-five per cent. UNITY Biotechnology is presently at the head of the current crop of companies focused on treating aging and age-related disease through the clearance of senescent cells. (See Biology and Medicine News and Discussion thread).
(The Next Big Future) The drug everolimus boosts flu vaccine response by 25% in people over 65 and rejuvenates the immune system .(See Biology and Medicine News and Discussion thread).
(BBC) The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) warns that "many dams are not expected to safely withstand current predictions regarding large floods and earthquakes". Overall, says the society, $4.6tn (£3.6tn) will be needed by 2025 to bring US infrastructure to an acceptable standard. Less than half that amount has so far been allocated for the work. (See Transport and Infrastructure News and Discussion thread)
Edit: (60 Second Statistics) Automated robots building large scale renewable energy power plants are likely within the next 30 years. (See (See AI Robotics News and Discussion thread).
Edit: (Back to (our) Future) Judge Neil Gorsuch wouldn’t ...say whether, on orders from an employer, he’d have driven a tractor trailer with locked brakes, endangering the lives of other motorists, or instead allowed himself to freeze to death in sub-zero cold in an unheated truck cab while awaiting a mechanic. (See The Future of the U.S. Supreme Court thread)
Edit: (New York Post) Artificial intelligence (AI) will become the primary way banks interact with their customers within the next three years, according to three-quarters of bankers surveyed by consultancy Accenture (ACN.N) in a new report. (See Technological Unemployment News and Discussion thread).
March 29, 2017
(New Atlas) Researchers at the University of Delaware are working on extending the life of membranes in hydrogen fuel cells by equipping them with similar self-healing powers. (See Energy and Environment News and Discussion thread).
(Next Big Future) The Robo-Mate exoskeleton can reduce the effort to lift a load by ten times. In Augsburg, Germany, the technical teams are at the final stages in the development of the Robo-Mate technology. (See AI Robotics News and Discussion thread).
Brexit: The UK's letter triggering Article 50 (See Post-Brexit UK News and Discussion thread).
The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other. - John Rawls
Posted 30 March 2017 - 10:18 AM
March 29, 2017 (continued)
(CBC News) Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Britain's withdrawal from the European Union under Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty on Wednesday. The departure process is expected to last two years. No country has ever departed the EU since its early beginnings as the European Economic Community with just six member nations in 1957. (See Post-Brexit News and Discussion thread)
(Next Big Future)Though the exact value of China's spending on its space programs remains shrouded in secrecy, many analysts peg its civilian space budget at around $3 billion annually in recent years, a fraction of the $19.3 billion the United States allocated to NASA in 2016. (See Space News and Discussion thread).
(Next Big Future) Prospects for life in solar system are good as amino acids and water ice seem ubiquitous in asteroid belt and nearing a dozen subsurface liquid ocean worlds. (See Space News and Discussion thread).
(Next Big Future) Research publish in the Journal Nature indicates the subsurface ocean on Pluto under Sputnik Planitia region could be filled with ammonia, similar to what scientists have detected to one of Pluto's moon, Charon. (See Space News and Discussion thread).
(Next Big Future) A future when solar cells can be sprayed or printed onto the windows of skyscrapers or atop sports utility vehicles -- and at prices potentially far cheaper than today’s silicon-based panels could begin in 2018. (See Energy and Environmental News and Discussion thread)
(New Atlas and CNN) Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ at a New York launch event today. (See Computers and the Internet News and Discussion thread)
(The Nerve) An outbreak of Meningitis has killed over 200 people in Nigeria, according to the country’s Centre for Disease Control. Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Viral infections are the most common cause of meningitis, followed by bacterial infections. (See Biology and Medicine News and Discussion thread)
(New York Times) WASHINGTON — Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, moved late on Wednesday to reject the scientific conclusion of the agency’s own chemical safety experts who under the Obama administration recommended that one of the nation’s most widely used insecticides be permanently banned at farms nationwide because of the harm it potentially causes children and farm workers. (See Biology and Medicine News and Discussion thread)
Edit: (Scientific America) Thermodynamic laws heats up as quantum thermodynamics influences perception of physicists. (See Physics News and Discussion thread)
March 30, 2017
(Sky News) The Great Repeal Bill could see several of the best-known, and a few of the more obscure, EU rules and regulations scrapped. (See Post-Brexit UK News and Discussion thread).
(BBC) Lloyd's of London says it will establish a new European subsidiary in Brussels to avoid losing business when the UK leaves the EU. (See Business and Politics News and Discussion thread).
(NEWSER) – President Trump's crackdown on "sanctuary cities" is making cities less safe and Seattle is going to fight it, Mayor Ed Murray says. The city filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday over Trump's Jan. 25 executive order, which withholds federal grants from cities that fail to comply with immigration officials, the Seattle Times reports. (See Will the U. S. Continue to be a Nation of Immigrants thread)
Edit: (BBC) Further revelations of Trump campaign ties to Russia. (See President Trump News and Discussion thread).
Edit: (Nature World News) Jeff Bezos' space company, Blue Origin, has released images of its new space tourism vehicle, New Shepard, that's expected to take commercial space flight by 2018. (See Space News and Discussion thread).
Edit: (Moscow Times) Putin compares anti-corruption protests in Russia to 'Arab Spring'. (See Russia watch thread).
Posted 01 April 2017 - 11:10 PM
March 31, 2017
(Kit Guru) Earlier this month, we started hearing new rumours surrounding Samsung’s long-awaited standalone virtual reality headset. At the time, various anonymous sources claimed that Samsung standalone headset would have a much higher resolution than current high-end PC offerings. Since then, a Samsung’s VP of global marketing has confirmed the company’s standalone headset plans. (See Augmented/Virtual Reality News and Discussion thread).
(The Guardian) After lobbying from Spanish diplomats, the EU’s opening negotiating position for the Brexit talks presents the British government with the choice of reaching agreement with the Spaniards about Gibraltar’s future or exposing its citizens to economic peril by pushing “the rock” outside any EU-UK trade deal. (See Post Brexit UK News and Discussion thread).
(BBC) Some 40% of British gaming companies say they are considering relocating some or all of their business because of Brexit. (See Post Brexit UK News and Discussion thread).
(CNN) Thousands of former Trump University students will get most of their money back, with a judge on Friday approving a $25 million settlement. (See President Trump News and Discussion thread).
(Human Progress) The United Nations is reporting that “Rising incomes around the world have been accompanied by widening inequality … Although income inequality … has narrowed across the world as a whole because the incomes of developing and developed regions have been converging. Relative global inequality has declined steadily over the past few decades … This happened despite an increasing trend towards inequality within countries.” (See President Trump News and Discussion thread)
(New Atlas) Swiss Post revealed last year that it had teamed up with California's Matternet to trial delivery drones, at the same time noting that it didn't expect any widespread use for around five years. We're not there yet, but things are moving along just nicely, with the Swiss aviation authority giving the green light for Matternet's drones to ferry laboratory samples between two hospitals in the city of Lugano. (See Drones and UAVs News and Discussion thread)
(CBC) One of the biggest names in machine learning research has high hopes for the Vector Institute, Toronto's new artificial intelligence research hub. (See AI Robotics News and Discussion thread)
April 1, 2017
(BBC) Demonstrators in Paraguay have set fire to the country's parliament during violent protests against a bill that would lift presidential term limits. (See Paraguay congress set on fire amid presidential controversy thread).
(Net Big Future) Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Thursday salvaged half of the $6 million nosecone of its rocket, in what the space entrepreneur deemed an important feat in the drive to recover more of its launch hardware and cut the cost of space flights. This was part of the successful relaunch and landing of the first stage. (See Space News and Discussion thread).
(Next Big Future) The Planetary Society LightSail is a CubeSat. These tiny spacecraft often hitch rides to orbit aboard rockets carrying bigger payloads. CubeSats have standard unit sizes of 10 centimeters per side. They can be stacked together—LightSail is a three-unit CubeSat about the size of a loaf of bread. Once in space, LightSail’s solar arrays swing open, revealing the inside of the spacecraft. (See Space News and Discussion thread).
(Solar Quotes) The South Australian grid is in disarray and blackouts threaten to engulf other states as soon as summer rolls around again or adverse weather conditions strike. In an attempt to shore up energy security, the federal government has promised to fund a $2 billion pumped hydroelectric scheme in the Snowy Mountains, but the project will take years to complete. Meanwhile, the Weatherill government in South Australia is seeking tenders for both reserve gas generating capacity and large scale battery storage. It is even considering an offer by American billionaire and entrepreneur, Elon Musk, to provide 100 megawatt-hours of Tesla Powerpack battery storage. (See Energy and Environmental News and Discussion thread)
Posted 03 April 2017 - 10:25 AM
April 1, 2017 (Continued)
Edit: (The Guardian) Venezuela’s supreme court has reversed its decision to strip congress of its legislative powers, which sparked protests in the country and widespread international condemnation. (See Venezuela Watch thread).
April 2, 2017
(Fox News) Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a top conservative critic of House Republicans’ failed plan to replace ObamaCare, concluded his golf outing Sunday with President Trump by saying party members are “getting closer” on a compromise repeal plan and that he remains “very optimistic.” (See President Trump News and Discussion thread).
(Tech Xplore)—The JEDEC DDR5 (Double Data Rate 5) standard is under development. Announced last month by the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, this is a move to be watched on publication some time next year. JEDEC is a body developing standards for the microelectronics sector. Ars Technica referred to JEDEC as an organization in charge of defining new standards for computer memory. (See Computers and the Internet News and Discussion thread)
(Next Big Future) DARPA has announced its Molecular Informatics program, which seeks a new paradigm for data storage, retrieval, and processing. Instead of relying on the binary digital logic of computers based on the Von Neumann architecture, Molecular Informatics aims to investigate and exploit the wide range of structural characteristics and properties of molecules to encode and manipulate data. (See Computers and the Internet News and Discussion thread)
(Next Big Future) A team of engineering researchers has made a fundamental advance in controlling so-called soft robots, using magnetic fields to remotely manipulate microparticle chains embedded in soft robotic devices. The researchers have already created several devices that make use of the new technique. Using this technique, the researchers have created three kinds of soft robots. One device is a cantilever that can lift up to 50 times its own weight. The second device is an accordion-like structure that expands and contracts, mimicking the behavior of muscle. The third device is a tube that is designed to function as a peristaltic pump. (See AI & Robotics News and Discussion thread).
April 3, 2017
(Rudaw) ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – With the goal of holding a referendum on Kurdish independence this year, a joint committee from the Kurdish political parties is to be tasked with deciding on the timing and mechanism of such a vote. (See Kurdistan Independence Referendum, 2017 thread).
Edit: (Talking Point Memo) ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — At least 10 people were killed Monday in an explosion on the subway in St. Petersburg, Russian news agencies reported. (See Breaking St. Petersburg Attacks thread)
Edit: (Star Telegram) Half of the nation’s voters already think President Donald Trump has weakened the United States’ role in the world, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. (See President Trump News and Discussion thread).
Edit: (Phys Org) Graphene-oxide membranes have attracted considerable attention as promising candidates for new filtration technologies. Now the much sought-after development of making membranes capable of sieving common salts has been achieved. (See Nanotechnology and Materials Discussion thread).
Edit: (New Atlas) According to the independent web analytics company StatCounter, Google's Android has edged out Windows to become the most popular operating system in the world, in terms of total internet usage across desktop, laptop, tablet and phone use combined. (See Computers and the Internet News and Discussion forum).
Edit: (New Atlas) Scientists are now reporting a promising advance in identifying key molecules in the scent of urine that seem to reveal prostate cancer in the subject. (See Biology and Medicine News and Discussion thread).
Posted 04 April 2017 - 10:52 AM
April 3, 2017 (Continued)
(Standard Digital) According to the media source cited, scientists "have confirmed more than 20 local plant species are effective against many of the top killer cancers today." This media source, new to the family of news source usually relied upon here, goes on to report upon the findings that are claimed to have been presented at a three day conference in Kenya. (See Biology and Medicine News and Discussion thread).
Edit: (Futurism) Smartphones have revolutionized so much about the way that we do things each and every day. Still, the ubiquitous tech is not the apex of what technology will ultimately be capable of. Smartphones, as we know them, could be completely replaced within the next decade. (See Computers & the Internet News and Discussion forum).
Edit: (New Atlas) HTC has confirmed that its new Viveport subscription plan launches on April 5 – the one year anniversary of the HTC Vive's release. Viveport could represent a good value to those who want to try out new experiences for the HTC Vive without buying them outright. (See Augmented/Virtual Reality News and Discussions thread).
Edit: Discussion continues regarding the recent incident in Saint Petersburg, with doubts being expressed that the suspect who turned himself in was really guilty of the wrongdoing. (See Breaking: Saint Petersburg attacks thread).
Edit: (Truthout) Palm Beach County, Florida has worked to address the problem of rising sea levels by mapping flood risk, upgrading coastal storm protections and creating a regional climate action plan with three other counties . But if the most prominent resident of Palm Beach County has his way, the Sea Grant program involved in promoting all of this would cease to exist. (See Environmental News and Discussion thread)
Edit: (Truthout) The world knows April 4 as the day in 1968 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had come to support the city's striking sanitation workers. This year it will mark the day when the Movement for Black Lives and Fight For $15 will join in solidarity with actions across the country. (See The Future of Our Revolution thread).
April 4, 2017
Edit: (The Star) ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA—A suicide bomber was behind a blast on the St. Petersburg subway that killed 14 people, Russian investigators said Tuesday, while authorities in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan identified a suspect as a Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen. (See Breaking: Saint Petersburg attacks thread).
Edit: (The Guardian) The future of an estimated 100,000 jobs has been plunged into doubt after a close political ally of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, warned that a prized sector in the City of London must relocate to EU soil after Brexit. Manfred Weber, the leader of the largest political group in the European parliament, to which both the German chancellor and the commission president belong, told reporters that euro-denominated clearing could no longer be undertaken in the City when the UK leaves the EU. (See Post-Brexit UK News and Discussion thread).
(The Daily Mail) Now scientists have the best evidence yet of when the incredible megafloods, which created the White Cliffs of Dover, first cut Britain off from France. (See The Original Brexit: When Britain Broke Ties with Mainland Europe 450,000 years ago thread in the History forum).
Posted 06 April 2017 - 11:03 AM
April 4, 2017 (Continued)
(Reuters) Some big American coal companies have advised President Donald Trump's administration to break his promise to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement – arguing that the accord could provide their best forum for protecting their global interests. (See President Trump News and Discussion thread and Environmental and Energy News and Discussion thread).
(The Gurardian) Liam Fox’s declaration of “shared values” with Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines leader whose war on drugs has killed 7,000 people, has prompted dismay about the government’s approach to human rights as it seeks post-Brexit trade deals. (See Post-VBrexit UK News and Discussion thread).
Daimler has made some significant strides in the autonomous vehicle arena, with its Mercedes-Benz trucks already hitting the road in trials and its Mercedes E-Class vehicles the first to be approved for autonomous testing in Nevada. But even leaders of the pack can sometimes do with a helping hand, as demonstrated by Daimler's teaming up with Bosch to get self-driving cars on the road by the start of the next decade. (See Augmented/Virtual Reality Discussion Thread)
Tumor-treating fields (TTFields) are a relatively new form of cancer treatment that send mild electrical fields through the scalp in an effort to block cell division. (See Biology and Medicine News and Discussion forum)
(New Atlas) Sometimes, our immune system experiences glitches, causing it to turn against the very cells and tissues it's supposed to protect, leading to an autoimmune disorder or disease. What if, like computers, the immune system could be reprogrammed to restore our body's functions? Scientists at the University of Maryland have done just that with paralyzed mice, using an experimental treatment that might one day reverse the effects of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), in humans. (See Biology Medicine News and Discussion thread)
(New Atlas) For decades, loops of genetic material known as circular RNA were considered a kind of genetic accident. But scientists have given them new attention in recent years, and a set of papers published this month suggests some of them actually give rise to proteins, just like their more familiar, linear counterparts, messenger RNA. (See Biology Medicine News and Discussion thread)
(New Atlas) Children who were vaccinated in recent years significantly lowered their chances of dying from the flu, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (See Biology Medicine News and Discussion thread)
(Human Rights Campaign) Today, HRC hailed a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit finding that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act includes protections based on sexual orientation. This decision marks the first time a federal appellate court has ruled this way and reverses a previous decision made in July. (See Society and Demographics News and Discussion thread)
(New Atlas) Apple announced today that it is completely overhauling the Mac Pro, but the revamped machines won't be released this year. For now, the current Mac Pros are getting a small spec boost. (See Computers and the Internet News and Discussion thread).
(Next Big Future) US Air Force weapons developers expect to operate reusable hypersonic drones by the 2040s. The Air Force and DARPA plan to have an improved hypersonic air vehicle by 2023. (Military War News and Discussion thread).
April 5, 2017
Washington (CNN) A senior White House official issued a dire warning to reporters Tuesday on the state of North Korea's nuclear program, declaring "the clock has now run out and all options are on the table." See The official FT thread on North Korean events).
(Fox News) The Iraqi province of Kirkuk has voted in favor of a region-wide referendum to determine if it will join Kurdistan’s government or remain tied to Baghdad. (See Kurdistan Independence Referendum, 2017).
(Cornell University Library) With several short-period, Earth-mass planets in the habitable zone, the TRAPPIST-1 system potentially allows litho-panspermia to take place on very short timescales. Reports on a study investigating the efficiency and speed of inter-planetary material transfer resulting from impacts onto the habitable zone planets has been submitted and made public on the Cornell University Library website). (See Space News and Discussion thread)
April 6, 2017
(New Atlas) Much of the buzz around potential Hyperloop systems of late has centered on how they might first make tracks in countries outside the US, but for its latest announcement, startup Hyperloop One is looking much closer to home. The LA-based company has today outlined 11 potential routes for Hyperloop routes in the US that it says would massively reduce transport and cargo time through the nation's more heavily used passages. (See The Hyperloop and Vactrain News and Discussion thread).
Posted 07 April 2017 - 04:33 PM
April 6, 2017 (continued)
(Medical Press) Researchers at The Rockefeller University have discovered that a variant of the gene CRY1 slows the internal biological clock—called the circadian clock—that normally dictates when you feel sleepy each night and when you're ready to wake. People with the "night owl" variant of this gene have a longer circadian cycle than most, making them stay awake later, the team reported April 6 in Cell. (See the Biology and Medicine News and Discussion thread).
(ExtremeTech) Baidu has weighed in with an artificial agent that was taught English by a “virtual teacher” and thereafter could understand written commands and apply them in a video game setting. This allowed the Baidu AI to achieve what’s called zero shot learning — the ability to solve a learning task without having received any previous examples of solving such a task, something that has remained elusive for AIs up to this point. (See AI Robotics News and Discussion thread).
(BBC) Scientists say they have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet for the first time. They have studied a world known as GJ 1132b, which is 1.4-times the size of our planet and lies 39 light years away. (Space News and Discussion thread).
(BBC) As Scotland pushes for a second referendum on independence, one man is asking the previously unthinkable - if you're going to quit the UK, why not join Canada? (See Scottish Independence thread),
April 7, 2017
(BBC) The US has carried out a missile strike against a Syrian air base in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town. (See Breaking: U.S. Launches missiles on Syrian government airport responsible for chemical attack).
Edit: (MSN) The U.S. Senate has voted 54-45 to approve Republican Trump's pick, Colorado-based federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court. (See The Future of the U.S. Supreme Court thread in the Culture, Economics, and Politics of the Future forum).
Edit: (MSN) WASHINGTON — The Republican chairman Devin Nunes is stepping aside from leading a congressional investigation of Russian interference in last year's U.S. presidential election, citing ethics complaints that he mishandled classified information. (See the Future of the U.S. House of Representatives thread)
Edit: (CNN) US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned Friday that the United States "is prepared to do more" in response to Syria's use of chemical weapons and delivered a sharp rebuke to Russia for its support of the Syrian regime. (See Syrian Civil War News and Discussion thread).
Posted 08 April 2017 - 06:53 PM
April 7, 2017 (continued)
(Telegraph) Xi Jinping told Donald Trump he understood the US response against Syria 'because of the death of children'. (See China Watch thread).
April 8, 2017
Edit: (Independent) Uruguay's three-year process of legalising recreational cannabis consumption reached its final stage on Thursday, when the government said it would authorise pharmacies to begin selling the substance as of July. (See Society & Demographics thread).
Edit: (AP) MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley will face impeachment hearings beginning Monday after the state Supreme Court gave lawmakers the greenlight to move ahead with an effort to oust the governor, who is fighting to stay in office amid fallout from an affair with a top aide. (See USA Watch Thread).
Posted 09 April 2017 - 05:51 PM
April 8, 2017 (continued)
(MSN) The first tests of Elon Musk's revolutionary high-speed transport system could begin soon after Hyperloop One, one of 12 companies competing to make the idea a reality, completed its test track. The company has finished work on its 500 metre long testing tunnel, which is situated in the Nevada desert, near Las Vegas, and has a diametre of 3.3 metres. It is expected to run initial trials on the near-supersonic speed train in the first half of this year. (See Transport & Infrastructure News and Discussion thread0
The landmark “2020” report has now been published by Mission 2020, a group of experts convened by the former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The report establishes a timeline for how we can ensure a safe and stable climate. (See Energy and Environmental News and Discussion thread)
(Talking Points Memo) California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday to declare an end to the state's drought emergency that had drained reservoirs and wells, devastated forests and farmland and forced millions of people to slash their water use. (See Energy and Environmental News and Discussion thread)
(Medical Press) Grey hair has been linked with an increased risk of heart disease in men, in research presented today at EuroPrevent 2017. The study reports that researchers found that a high hair whitening score (grade 3 or more) was associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease independent of chronological age and established cardiovascular risk factors. (See Biology and Medicine News and Discussion thread)
(Next Big Future) US Navy, air force and army should have combat lasers in the 150 kilowatt to megawatt range in the 2020s. Mark Gunzinger, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, says that within just a few years, he expects far more powerful prototypes of more than 150 kilowatts. (See Military War News and Discussion thread).
Edit: (University of Texas News) AUSTIN, Texas — A team of engineers led by 94-year-old John Goodenough, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells that could lead to safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for handheld mobile devices, electric cars and stationary energy storage. (See Energy and Environmental News and Discussion News thread).
Edit: (Interesting Engineering) Artificial intelligence is one of the most prominent technologies currently being advanced. Not only is it a hot topic for researchers, but the world’s greatest technological minds are fearful of its potential. Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, hundreds of the world’s top minds have signed papers stating their fear about the destructive potential of AI systems. (See AI & Robotics News and Discussion thread).
April 9, 2017
Edit: (Clean Technica) If the state’s proposed annual budget ends up being approved, then self-driving vehicle testing in New York State will reportedly become legal. (See Autonomous Vehicles News and Discussion thread).
Edit: (The Baltimore Sun) Huntington's disease is an inherited brain disorder that is uniformly fatal, but researchers at Johns Hopkins believe they have made a big discovery about how the disease progresses that could lead to a way to stop it. “We found these kind of traffic jams in cells, and if we can fix the traffic jams we can potentially provide a new avenue for treatment of neurodegenerative disease," (See Biology News and Discussion thread)
Edit: (Reuters) China will offer the Trump administration better market access for financial sector investments and U.S. beef exports to help avert a trade war, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing officials familiar with the matter. (See President Trump News and Discussion thread).
April 10, 2017
(Phys.org) Coral bleached for two consecutive years at Australia's Great Barrier Reef has "zero prospect" of recovery, scientists warned Monday, as they confirmed the site has again been hit by warming sea temperatures. (See Energy and Environmental News and Discussion thread).
Edit: (Telegraph) British visitors to the US may be asked for social media usernames and passwords and their phone’s address book under new border checks being considered at US airports. (See President Trump News and Discussion thread).
Edit: (U.S. Department of Energy) U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2016 totaled 5,170 million metric tons (MMmt), 1.7% below their 2015 levels, after dropping 2.7% between 2014 and 2015. These recent decreases are consistent with a decade-long trend, with energy-related CO2 emissions 14% below the 2005 level in 2016. (See Environmental and Energy News and Discussion thread).
Edit: (Back to Our Future) As of today, there is no real Trump economic policy in place. He has submitted a ridiculously extreme budget proposal. He has proposed to “study” trade. He has no real “trillion-dollar” infrastructure plan – his budget proposal actually cuts infrastructure spending – and his tax “reform” plan does nothing more than give corporations and wealthy people huge breaks. (See President Trump News and Discussion thread.)
Posted 12 April 2017 - 11:17 AM
April 10, 2017 (Continued)
(Futurism) Elon Musk’s SpaceX is currently basking in the light of its latest achievement. The company succeeded in starting a spaceflight revolution by being the first entity to launch a mission into space using recycled rockets. (Space News and Discussion thread).
(Vox) The 654 miles of walls and fences already on the US-Mexico border have made a mess out of the environment there. They’ve cut off, isolated, and reduced populations of some of the rarest and most amazing animals in North America, like the jaguar and ocelot (also known as the dwarf jaguar). They’ve led to the creation of miles of roads through pristine wilderness areas. They’ve even exacerbated flooding, becoming dams when rivers have overflowed. (Environmental News and Discussion thread).
(The Telegraph). British visitors to the US may be asked for social media usernames and passwords and their phone’s address book under new border checks being considered at US airports. (President Trump News and Discussion thread).
(Monetary Watch) According to CBS News, an astounding three-fourths of all Americans have to “scramble to cover their living costs” each month. (Syrian Civil War New and Discussion thread).
(Amazon) More than 100 gay men have been detained in concentration camp-style prisons in the Russian region of Chechnya, according to reports by local newspapers and human rights organisations. (Russia Watch thread).
April 11, 2017
(UPI) -- The Republican Party on Tuesday narrowly survived the United States' first real electoral response to President Donald Trump's election when Ron Estes won a close race for a House seat in traditionally Republican Kansas vacated by the new CIA director. (The Future of the U.S. House of Representatives thread)
(New Atlas) It's official: Jupiter is big enough to be home to not just one, but two great spots. University of Leicester astronomers report that they have discovered what they call the "Great Cold Spot" that is almost as big as the gas giant's famed "Great Red Spot." (Space News and Discussion thread)
(New Atlas) NASA has released a composite image created from observations made by the Voyager 2 probe and the Hubble Space Telescope, displaying intense auroras glowing in the atmosphere of the icy planet Uranus. (Space News and Discussion thread).
(Phys.org) Mars has electrically charged metal atoms (ions) high in its atmosphere, according to new results from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft. (Space News and Discussion thread).
(Futurism) Elon Musk’s SpaceX is currently basking in the light of its latest achievement. The company succeeded in starting a spaceflight revolution by being the first entity to launch a mission into space using recycled rockets. (Space News and Discussion thread).
(New Atlas) Slovakian flying car company AeroMobil is ready for liftoff, with the announcement that it's going to launch a production-ready, road-registrable aircraft in a week's time. (Transport and Infrastructure News and Discussion thread)
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with members from institutions in the U.S., Italy and Switzerland has found evidence that suggests people have dreams during both REM and non-REM sleep cycles. In their paper published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the team describes experiments the conducted with volunteers wearing EEG caps and what was revealed. (See Health and Medicine Discussion thread).
(New Atlas) Digital technology is increasingly taking the paper out of paperwork, but there's always something nice about handwriting notes. A few years ago, Sony tried to bridge the gap with its business-focused e-paper tablet, and now the company has updated the device with higher resolution, bigger memory, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity, a new pen-friendly screen and a few bonus workflow features. (See Computers and the Internet News and Discussion thread).
(Radio Free Europe) Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had information that there is a plan to release chemical weapons in Syria and blame it on the Syrian authorities. Moscow has previously rejected claims by Washington and its allies that Syria launched a chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, saying Syrian jets hit a rebel arms dump where poison gas was being stored. (Syrian Civil War New and Discussion thread).
Edit: (Fox News Politics) China has sent a flotilla of North Korean freighters loaded with coking coal back to their home ports, according to an exclusive Reuters report. Meanwhile, China has placed massive orders for the steel-making commodity from U.S. producers. (See The official FT thread on North Korea Events in the Culture, Economics, and Politics of the Future forum).
April 12, 2017
(Next Big News) Researchers have labelled memory cells in mice during a fear-conditioning event — that is, a mild electric shock delivered when the mouse is in a particular chamber. (See Health and Medicine Discussion thread).
The US army is developing the Kinetic Energy Projectile. The projectile will move at mach 3 to mach 6. (See Military News and Discussion thread).
(Next Big News) Russia in considering upgrading future T-14 main battle tnks to use the 2A83 152 mm gun instead of its current 2A82 125 mm gun. The 2A83 gun has a high-speed APFSDS shell with a 1,980 m/s muzzle velocity, only dropping to 1,900 m/s at 2 km. (See Military New and Discussion thread).
Edit: (Next Big Future) John Brophy at NASA Jet propulsion laboratory combines a near term 100 megawatt laser beamed power system to enable an ion drive with 70 megawatts of power and 58000 ISP. They propose a new power/propulsion architecture to enable missions such as a 12-yr flight time to 500 AU—the distance at which solar gravity lensing can be used to image exoplanets—with a conventional (i.e., New Horizons sized) spacecraft. (Space News and Discussion thread).
Edit: (MIT Technology Review) Last year, a strange self-driving car was released onto the quiet roads of Monmouth County, New Jersey. The experimental vehicle... relied entirely on an algorithm that had taught itself to drive by watching a human do it. (See AI & Robotics News and Discussion thread).
Edit: (Think Progress) Solar employs more U.S. workers than Apple, Google, and Facebook combined. The global solar market has soared 30-fold in just nine years. (Energy & Environmental News & Discussion thread).
Edit: (Clean Technica) India is set to overtake Japan as the world’s third-largest solar power market this year, a Taiwanese research firm has predicted. (Energy & Environmental News & Discussion thread).
Edit: (Clean Technica) The 15.5 megawatt solar project that powers the Cochin International Airport in southern India will soon see an expansion, thus adding to the airport’s distinction as the world’s first to be powered solely by solar power. (Energy & Environmental News & Discussion thread).
Edit: (The Guardian) A dramatic seven-point surge by the wildcard leftwing veteran Jean-Luc Mélenchon appears to be holding, unexpectedly turning France’s roller-coaster presidential race into a possible four-way contest. (See 2017 French Presidential Elections thread)
Edit: (The Express Tribune) KARACHI: China has approved additional financing for infrastructure projects in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), taking the investment volume to $62 billion from $55 billion, announced Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair on Wednesday. (China Watch thread)
Posted 14 April 2017 - 10:14 AM
April 12, 2017 (Continued)
(Bloomberg) Trump Drops Campaign Promise to Label China a Currency Manipulator. (President Trump news and Discussion thread).
(Bloomberg) Amazon.com Inc. is embracing artificial intelligence to deliver goods more quickly, enhance its voice-activated Alexa assistant and create new tools sold to others through its cloud-computing division, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos said in his annual shareholder letter.( AI & Robotics News and Discussion).
(New Atlas) While some aerospace companies are building prototype combat drones, others are converting retired fighters to act as unmanned testbeds. Now Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the US Air Force Test Pilot School, and Calspan Corporation have collaborated to demonstrate how an autonomous F-16 can team up with manned aircraft during air-to-ground strike missions. (Military War News and Discussion)
(New Atlas) Honda's Miimo robotic lawn mower has been trimming lawns in Europe for a couple of years, and now it's setting its autonomous mowing sights on yards in the US (with the exception of California). Honda will offer two Miimo models, the HRM 310 that can handle lawns up to 0.5 acres (0.2 ha), and the HRM 520 that tackles lawns up to 0.75 acres (0.3 ha). (Home & Leisure News and Discussion).
April 13, 2017
(New Atlas) For the past decade, Toyota has been working on a robotic rehabilitation system to help those with lower-limb paralysis regain the use of their legs and has now begun to rent the system under the name, Welwalk WW-1000.( AI & Robotics News and Discussion).
(The Telegraph) It might look like a frozen wasteland, but beneath the inhospitable surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, life could be thriving in warm underground seas, scientists believe. (Space News and Discussion)
( Phys.Org)For the first time, researchers have been able to deposit an ultra-thin oxide ferroelectric film onto a flexible polymer substrate. The research team used the flexible ferroelectric thin films to make non-volatile memory devices that are wearable and resilient. (Computers and the Internet)
(Tass) According to the Syrian army command hundreds of people died from poisoning after an air strike by the US-led coalition on the headquarters and the depots of the Islamic State terrorist organization (outlawed in Russia) near Deir ez-Zor. The claim was made by the Syrian army command in a statement circulated by SANA news agency. (Syrian Civil War News and Discussion).
Edit: (Channel News Asia) PYONGYANG: After much secrecy over a “big and important event” which foreign journalists were invited to cover, North Korea on Thursday (Apr 13) opened a new skyscraper-lined street in the capital Pyongyang. The event was presided by leader Kim Jong Un and witnessed by thousands, including around 200 foreign journalists who were invited by the regime. (The official FT thread on North Korea in the Culture, Economics, and Politics of the Future forum).
Edit: (Reuters) - A groundbreaking black jurist who became the first Muslim woman to serve as a U.S. judge was found dead in New York's Hudson River on Wednesday, police said. (USA Watch thread).
Edit: (NBC News) A U.S-led coalition airstrike against ISIS mistakenly killed 18 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting President Bashar Assad, the Pentagon admitted Thursday. (Syrian Civil War News and Discussion).
April 14, 2017
(The Guardian) Up to 36 suspected Islamic State militants were killed in Afghanistan when the US dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat, the Afghan defence ministry said on Friday. (Military War News and Discussion)
Edit: (Mother Jones) London-based cybersecurity expert Thomas Rid described in testimony before a Senate intelligence committee described how several groups became "unwitting agents" of Russian efforts to influence the American presidential election. One was WikiLeaks. A second group were Journalists who "aggressively covered the political leaks while neglecting or ignoring their provenance." And so was Twitter, Rid said, because of the "fully automated bots as well as semi-automated spam and trolling accounts [that] make up a sizeable part of Twitter's active user base." (Computers and the Internet News and Discussion).
Posted 16 April 2017 - 11:28 AM
April 14, 2017 (Continued)
(Phy.Org) An asteroid as big as the Rock of Gibraltar will streak past Earth on April 19 at a safe but uncomfortably close distance, according to astronomers. (Space News and Discussion).
(Next Big Future) A new type of low cost, high performance compound telescope, the Compound Synthetic Tracker (CST) is being envisioned. It is proposed for a series of new space missions that would take advantage of recent advances in electronics, CubeSat technology, laser communications, and off-the-shelf optics for camera zoom lenses. (Space News and Discussion).
(Reuters) Apple Inc (AAPL.O) has secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California, fueling speculation that it is working on self-driving car technology in a crowded arena of companies hoping to offer those cars to the masses. (Autonomous Vehicles News and Discussion).
(Medical Press) A team of biomedical engineering researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, has created a revolutionary 3D-bioprinted patch that can help heal scarred heart tissue after a heart attack. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussion thread).
(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences in Germany has tested the possibility of using sperm cells to deliver drugs to cancerous tumors in female patients. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussion thread).
(Science) Now, scientists have shown that computers capable of teaching themselves can perform even better than standard medical guidelines, significantly increasing prediction rates. If implemented, the new method could save thousands or even millions of lives a year. (AI Robotics News and Discussion).
(Phys.Org) Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed a proof-of-principle photoelectrochemical cell capable of capturing excess photon energy normally lost to generating heat. (Energy and Environment News and Discussion)
(Phys.Org) Material scientists have predicted and built two new magnetic materials, atom-by-atom, using high-throughput computational models. The success marks a new era for the large-scale design of new magnetic materials at unprecedented speed. (Computers and the Internet News and Discussion)
April 15, 2017
(Next Big Future) Final Frontier Medical Devices won the tricorder xprize with device that can diagnose 90% of ER situations at home. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussion thread)
(Independent) The official investigation into relations between Donald Trump and Russia now has "specific, concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion", it has been reported. New evidence proves discussions took place “between people in the Trump campaign and agents of [Russian] influence relating to the use of hacked material,” a source allegedly told the Guardian. (President Trump News and Discussion)
(Independent) UK Ministers are reportedly preparing to scrap the European Union’s green energy targets after Britain’s exit from the bloc. (Post Brexit U.K. News and Discussion)
(BBC News) Environmental groups have urged the prime minister to avoid watering down legislation on climate change and wildlife protection after Brexit. (Post Brexit U.K. News and Discussion)
(The Guardian) The EU is set to inflict a double humiliation on Theresa May, stripping Britain of its European agencies within weeks, while formally rejecting the prime minister’s calls for early trade talks. (Post Brexit U.K. News and Discussion)
(Townhall) National Rifle Association during last year's presidential campaign. The two still appear to be good friends as National Rifle Association Executive Director Chris Cox has announced Trump will be addressing the gun rights group's annual leadership forum in Atlanta, Georgia later this month. (President Trump News and Discussion forum).
April 16, 2017
(BBC News) Despite many signs to the contrary, Theresa May has spoken of a "sense of people coming together" following the UK's vote to leave the EU. (Post Brexit U.K. News and Discussion)
Edit: (ABC News) An attempted missile launch by North Korea failed when it exploded immediately after liftoff, a U.S. official says. (See The official FT thread on North Korea in the Culture, Economic and Politics of the Future forum)
Edit: (Next Big Future) Russia has made a humanoid robot which can shoot a handgun from each arm. Russia has indicated it will use the robot to fly a new unmanned spacecraft. (Military & War News and Discussion).
Edit: (Next Big Future) Russia’s new hypersonic anti-ship Zircon missile has reached eight times the speed of sound (about 6100 mph) during a test, a source with Russia’s defense sector told TASS. (Military & War News and Discussion).
Edit: (The Times of Israel) US Vice President Mike Pence will arrive in Seoul Sunday, flying into a geopolitical maelstrom amid a possible North Korean nuclear test and harsh US warnings about a military response. (President Trump News and Discussion).
Posted 18 April 2017 - 12:16 PM
April 16, 2017 (Continued)
(BBC) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has narrowly won a referendum to expand presidential powers, which could keep him in office until 2029. (Erdogan Watch Thread).
April 17, 2017
(Next Big Future) China has two quarters of increased GDP growth for the first time in seven years. (Business and Politics News and Discussion ). An article from Bloomberg News on this same topic is also posted in the Crash of 2016/2017: Why the Next Great Depression has Already Begun thread.
(Climate Central) Communities across the Western U.S. and Canada may have to adapt to living with the ever-increasing threat of catastrophic wildfires as global warming heats up and dries out forests across the West, according to a University of Colorado study published Monday. (Energy and Environmental News and Discussion).
(Computerworld) While investments in renewable energy slumped last year, a big drop in unsubsidized costs for new wind and solar power installations indicated that they remain popular energy alternatives. (Energy and Environmental News and Discussion).
Saudi Arabia will develop 30 solar and wind projects over the next 10 years as part of the kingdom’s $50 billion program to boost power generation and cut its oil consumption. (Energy and Environmental News and Discussion).
(New Atlas) Drug delivery in a nasal spray might open a direct route to the brain. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussion).
(New Atlas) Back in February, Verizon quietly unveiled a smartwatch of its own alongside the launch of Android Wear 2.0 in the LG Watch Style and Sport. Today, the carrier confirmed that the Wear24 watch will hit stores starting May 11. (Computers & the Internet News and Discussion).
(New Atlas) Scientists are working on plant-inspecting robots, that perform the inspection task autonomously. Such inspection are needed to monitor for signs of dehydration, disease or other problems. Most of those 'bots are wheeled, however, meaning that they could get stuck or fall over – plus they might get in the way of other machinery. With that in mind, scientists from Georgia Tech have created a prototype robot that swings over the plants from guy wire to guy wire like a monkey. It's called Tarzan. (AI and Robotics News and Discussion).
(Next Big Future) The US Air Force’s new B-21 long-range strike bomber under development will feature flexible technology that will allow its capabilities to be modernized over time to stave off obsolescence, a top acquisition general testified to a Senate panel. (Military & War News and Discussion).
April 18, 2017
(Engadget) Steve Ballmer unveils website concerning Government called 'USAFacts'. As profiled in the New York Times, it is an open, searchable database that tracks where almost all of your federal, state and local tax dollars are spent. (Business and Politics News and Discussion).
(Medicalxpres) Researchers have found a new group of cells in the retina that directly affect the biological clock by sending signals to a region of the brain which regulates our daily (circadian) rhythms. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussion).
Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:29 AM
April 18, 2017 (continued)
(Climate Central) A group of Harvard scientists are planning a small scale geoengineering experiment. Their test will redirect the sun’s rays back into space as part of a larger research program aimed at understanding the benefits and risks of geoengineering the planet to have a cooler climate. (Energy and Environmental News and Discussion)
(New Atlas) If data gathered by Canada's Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is anything to go by, paramedics experience more job-related injuries than workers in any other sector. According to research conducted by the University of Waterloo there's a straightforward way of bringing those injury rates down by up to 78 percent: equip paramedics with powered stretchers. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussion).
(New Republic) A growing body of scholarship aims to overturn our culture’s deepest assumptions about how work confers wealth, meaning, and care throughout society. (Business and Politics News and Discussion).
(Phys.org) A LHCb experiment finds intriguing anomalies in the way some particles decay. If confirmed, these would be a sign of new physics phenomena not predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics. (Physics News and Discussion).
(Independent) Donald Trump signs a child's hat at Easter Egg Roll, before tossing it into crowd to screams of 'no!' from the child. (President Trump News and Discussion)
(New Atlas) Last October, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at Oculus Connect 3 and demoed a seemingly far-off app where friends could speak and interact in VR. Today, the first day of the annual Facebook Developers Conference, a nearly identical app called Facebook Spaces launches in beta. (Augnmented/Virtual Reality News and Discussion).
Edit: (USA Today) A Pew Research survey shows voters increasingly feel Democrats represent their views on many key issues. (USA Watch Thread).
Edit: (Mother Jones) States lawmakers want to force Trump to reveal his tax returns if he wants to run for reelection. (President Trump News and Discussion).
April 19, 2017
(AP) A Georgia congressional election is headed to a runoff that will ratchet up the already significant national attention — and campaign cash — on a race that poses an early measure for President Donald Trump and both major parties ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. (The Future of the U.S. House of Representatives)
(Phys.org) The leopard population in a region of South Africa once thick with the big cats is crashing, and could be wiped out within a few years, scientists warned on Wednesday. Illegal killing of leopards in the Soutpansberg Mountains has reduced their numbers by two-thirds in the last decade, the researchers reported in the Royal Society Open Science journal. (Energy and Environmental News and Discussion)
(Phys.org) Research has unlocked a molecular key to animal evolution and disease. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussion).
Edit: (Nature World News) A new study revealed that aggressive combination of systemic and local therapies can potentially cure patients with metastatic prostate cancer. The study, published in the journal Urology, showed that patients treated with the combination of drug treatment, surgery and radiation showed signs of improvements, with no detectable disease and prostate-specific-androgen (PSA) and normal blood testosterone. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussion).
(Robotics Trends) The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is being audited for the second time by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT IG) for its “approval and oversight processes” for drones. (Drones and othe UAVs general news and discussion).
Posted 20 April 2017 - 11:43 AM
April 19, 2017 (continued)
(Reuters) Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced a military restructure of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to transform it into a leaner fighting force with improved joint operations capability, state media said. (China Watch Thread).
(New Atlas) The fastest land animal on Earth, the cheetah, has inspired a number of swift-footed robots. The latest has cropped up at the University of Twente, where doctoral candidate Geert Folkertsma has spent four years developing a scale robotic cheetah that is not only capable of replicating many of the real animal's movements, but in doing so uses only 15 percent more energy than the real thing. (AI Robotics News and Discussion).
(New Atlas) If the Stay Puft marshmallow man from Ghostbusters were a planet, it would probably be the newly discovered super gas giant, KELT 11b. The highly inflated planet is located some 320 light years away and is 40 percent larger than Jupiter, despite being only a fifth as massive as the largest planet in our solar system. (Space News and Discussions).
(Futurism) On Tuesday, researchers from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) released the results of a clinical study showing how cannabidol may be effective in reducing seizures in children and adult patients suffering from LGS. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussion).
(Next Big Future) NIST launched the 5G mmWave Channel Model Alliance to accelerate the development and use of accurate measurements and models for next-generation communications technology. By bringing together researchers from multiple stakeholders—including communications technology companies, academia and government—NIST is accelerating 5G innovation. (Computers and the Internet News and Discussion).
Edit: (International Business Times) There might be another Earth out there, and its name is LHS 1140b. It’s not too catchy, but it could be the best candidate for finding alien life in our galactic neighborhood in the reasonable future. (Space News and Discussion).
Edit: (arsTechnica) IBM's Watson Internet of Things (IoT) unit has teamed with audio giant Harman's Professional Solutions group to create an adaptive artificial intelligence service that can act as an "in-room cognitive concierge." In less tech-jargon, that's an AI able to respond to voice commands and questions based specifically on the context of the room its sensor is located in. The technology is currently being demonstrated as a cognitive conference room assistant, and it's already in use as a patient concierge in hospital rooms. Soon, this cognitive room capability could find its way into hotel rooms, cruise ship cabins, and other corporate spaces. (AI & Robotics News and Discussions).
Edit: (The Hill) Representative Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) edges out Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a potential 2018 Senate matchup, a new poll shows. (2018 Senate Election).
April 20, 2017
(The Korea Times) U.S. President Donald Trump’s remark that “Korea used to be part of China” is disturbing Koreans. Trump made the claim during an interview with The Wall Street Journal after meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Apr. 12. (President Trump News and Discussion).
(Bloomberg) The long goodbye for coal in Europe is accelerating as the cost of shifting to green energy plunges. (Energy & Environmental News and Discussion).
Edit: (Medical Press) A team of scientists who a few years ago identified a major pathway that leads to brain cell death in mice, have now found two drugs that block the pathway and prevent neurodegeneration. The drugs caused minimal side effects in the mice and one is already licensed for use in humans, so is ready for clinical trials. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussion).
Edit: (Phys.org)—A team of researchers from the U.S. and Taiwan has captured the first clear image of a young star surrounded by an accretion disk. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes how the image was captured and details of their find. (Space News and Discussion).
Edit: (Phys.org) A new study, published in a paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, has used a statistical model to predict that most habitable planets may be dominated by oceans spanning over 90% of their surface area. (Space News and Discussion).
Edit: (New York Times) Representative Jason Chaffetz (Republican - Utah), the powerful chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told supporters on Wednesday that he would not seek re-election to Congress — or for any office — in 2018. (The Future of the U.S. House of Representatives).
Edit: (Phys.org)—A team of researchers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany has developed a way to 3-D print objects made of pure glass. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes their technique and the ways they believe their new approach could be used. (3D printer news).
Posted 21 April 2017 - 10:51 AM
April 20, 2017 (continued)
(Climate Central) On Tuesday, the Mauna Loa Observatory recorded its first-ever carbon dioxide reading in excess of 410 parts per million (it was 410.28 ppm in case you want the full deal). Carbon dioxide hasn’t reached that height in millions of years. It’s a new atmosphere that humanity will have to contend with, one that’s trapping more heat and causing the climate to change at a quickening rate. (Energy and Environmental News and Discussions).
(Clean Technica) New figures published by the American Wind Energy Association show that the US wind energy industry added jobs at more than 9 times faster than the overall US economy in 2016, reaching 102,500 jobs in all, helping to install over 8 gigawatts of new wind power and helping investment reach more than $14 billion. (Energy and Environmental News and Discussions).
(Think Progress) After proposing to eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) in its draft budget, the Trump administration, through the Department of Energy, has started withholding money for grants already approved by the agency, Politico reported Thursday, citing two unidentified sources. During his run for the White House, President Donald Trump promised to target federal funding for agencies, like ARPA-E, that promote clean energy technologies. (Energy and Environmental News and Discussions).
(Next Big Future) A research team led by UCLA electrical engineers has developed a new technique to control the polarization state of a laser that could lead to a new class of powerful, high-quality lasers for use in medical imaging, chemical sensing and detection, or fundamental science research. (Physics News and Discussions).
(Wait But Why) Elon Musk’s new venture - Neuralink - somehow manages to eclipse Tesla and SpaceX in both the boldness of its engineering undertaking and the grandeur of its mission. (See WBW Nueralink and the Brain’s Magical Future thread in the Science and Technology of the Future forum).
Edit: (The Hill) President Trump blasted Canada on Thursday over a trade dispute affecting dairy farmers, calling it a “disgrace” that’s the result of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). (See The Future of International Trade).
Edit: (Sky News) Citgo Petroleum, a US affiliate of Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA donated $500,000 (£391,000) to Donald Trump's inauguration fund despite the country suffering severe economic problems and food shortages. (Venezuela Watch Thread).
Edit: (MSN) General Motors said it has been forced to stop operating in Venezuela on Wednesday after one of its plants was seized by local authorities. (Venezuela Watch Thread).
Edit: (BBC) The British Parliament has voted almost unanimously in favor of an early general election proposed by UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Britain's political parties are in a race against time to get candidates in place for the snap election. They had been working on the assumption that there would not be an election until May 2020, but now have just three weeks to put names forward. (2017 UK General Election News and Discussion).
Edit: (BBC) Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage says he will not be standing in the General Election on 8 June. The MEP told the Daily Telegraph he could have had an "easy win" in the former UKIP seat of Clacton but had decided to "fight for Brexit in Europe" instead. (2017 UK General Elwection News and Discussion).
April 21, 2017
Edit: (The Guardian) The UK is set to have its first ever working day without coal power generation since the Industrial Revolution, according to the National Grid. (Energy and Environmental News and Discussions).
Edit: (CNBC) To really jump start electric vehicle use, we need to stop focusing on wired super charging at gas stations and focus more on wireless charging everywhere else. Because people aren't going to go a place to charge. They're going to charge at the places they go. (Energy and Environmental News and Discussions)
Edit: (Independent) Water is flowing across Antarctica in vast rivers, lakes and waterfalls and has been for decades, scientists have discovered. A new study of aerial photography and satellite images found “widespread drainage of meltwater” as far south as 600km (375 miles) from the South Pole and as high as 1,300m above sea level – about the same height as Ben Nevis. (General Climate Change Article Room).
Posted 22 April 2017 - 11:20 AM
April 21, 2017 (continued)
(Extreme Tech) Microsoft has dabbled with ARM support in Windows over the years, most famously (and disastrously) when it launched Windows RT. That stripped down flavor of Windows 8 was a commercial and critical flop, but Microsoft aims to make ARM-based PCs a thing in the era of Windows 10. (Computers & the Internet News and Discussion).
(LUX) Los Angeles authorities are trailing sensors placed on streetlights that are able to hear gunshots and alert first responders. (Transport & Infrastructure News and Discussions)
(FiveThirtyEightyFive) Tracking poll results are shown in the 2017 French Presidential Elections thread.
(Washington Post) Thousands of tiny satellites are about to go into space and possibly ruin it. Worst-case scenario: a massive, unstoppable, chain-reaction traffic wreck above our heads. (Space News and Discussions. This article is also referenced in The militarization of space thread located in the Culture, Economics, and Politics of the Future forum.)
Edit: (The Guardian) Space debris must be removed from orbit says the European Space Agency. (Space News and Discussion).
April 22, 2017
(New Atlas) Aerojet Rocketdyne has successfully completed hot-fire qualification tests of its MR-104J liquid-fueled rocket engine. When Boeing's Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner crew module makes its first manned flight in August 2018, 12 of these human-rated reusable engines will be installed in the capsule to provide thruster maneuverability during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. (Space News and Discussion).
Edit: (CNN) Crowds massed in the US capital and around the world Saturday to support science and evidence-based research -- a protest partly fueled by opposition to President Donald Trump's threats of budget cuts to agencies funding scientists' work. (President Trump News and Discussions).
Posted 23 April 2017 - 08:45 PM
April 22, 2017 (continued)
(Phys.Org) An upcoming launch of a government spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office will mark the first time the U.S. Department of Defense has used SpaceX for a mission. (Space News and Discussions).
(National Post) Former President Vigdis Finnbogadottir told The Associated Press that Iceland must take steps to protect its language. She is particularly concerned that programs be developed so the language can be easily used in digital technology. (Society and Demographics News and Discussions).
(Phys.org) China's first cargo spacecraft, Tianzhou-1, successfully completed docking with an orbiting space lab on Saturday, the Beijing Aerospace Control Center said. (Space News and Discussions).
(New Atlas) Scientists at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) are developing a gelatine-based model that simulates the characteristics of human skin by mimicking the way it absorbs water. By controlling the moisture content in the gelatine, the team plans to use it as an alternative to human clinical trials for testing how skin interacts with textiles, like surgical dressings. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussions).
(New Atlas) Duke University is developing a cartilage-like material based on hydrogel that may make the task of repairing knees easier. The 3D-printable hydrogel allows bioengineers to create bespoke artificial replacement parts for injured knees that are tailored to match the old part both in shape and mechanical properties. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussions).
(Next Big Future) Two drugs have been found that have a protective effect on the brain and are already safely used in people. Prof Giovanna Mallucci, from the MRC Toxicology Unit in Leicester, wants to start human clinical trials on dementia patients soon and expects to know whether the drugs work within two to three years. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussions).
April 23, 2017
(BBC) An American citizen has been detained in North Korea as he tried to leave the country, South Korean media say. (North Korea News and Discussions).
(ABC) Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has hit back at North Korea after the reclusive state warned Australia could be the target of a nuclear weapons strike if it continued to "blindly" follow the United States. (North Korea News and Discussions).
(BBC) Tony Blair has urged voters not to elect MPs who "back Brexit at any cost", whichever party they are from. He said the Tories were likely to win but a big Labour vote could constrain the PM, whose "unreasonable" policy was being driven by her party's right wing. (2017 UK General Election).
(The Guardian) A Zika outbreak feared on the Texas border. (Diseases and Outbreaks News and Discussions).
(Futurism) A new technology could make it so you never need to redo your bandages again. The tech will use real-time 5G technology that can monitor treatment and track patient activity levels. (Biology and Medicine News and Discussions).
Edit: (RT) Emmanuel Macron of the centrist En Marche! movement and Marine Le Pen of the National Front will fight for the French presidency after advancing to the second round of the country's presidential election. Macron won 23.7% of votes in the first round, while Le Pen took 21.5% - the two will run-off on May 7. (2017 French Presidential Election).
Edit: (Financial Times) The Liberal Democrats will offer British voters a second referendum on Brexit in their manifesto for June’s election. Tim Farron, the leader, said his party had a duty to offer a distinct alternative to the Tories and Labour, who both support a clean break with the EU. (2017 UK General Election).
Edit: (Politico) Trump and Congress eye shutdown showdown over border wall. The deadline to fund the government is fast approaching, and neither Democrats nor the White House is backing down. (USA Watch).
Edit: (Truthout) Supported by 170 partner organizations, thousands descended on the Capitol to declare a belief in and/or passion for science and truth in defiance of what's being called the most anti-science administration in history. (President Trump News and Discussions)
Edit: (Truthout) The far-right extremist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has entered state parliament in Germany's smallest state of Saarland. Since its formation in 2013, the AfD party has won election after election and now holds seats in 11 out of 16 German state parliaments. (Germany Watch News and Discussion).
April 24, 2017
Edit: (Reuters) North Korea said on Sunday it was ready to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier to demonstrate its military might, in the latest sign of rising tension as U.S. President Donald Trump prepared to call the leaders of China and Japan. (North Korea News and Discussions).
Edit: (BBC) The world's first vaccine against malaria will be introduced in three countries - Ghana, Kenya and Malawi - starting in 2018. Diseases & Outbreaks News and Discussions).
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