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May 9, 2019

Bill Nye: Killer Asteroid Will Hit Earth ‘Like Control-Alt-Delete For Everything’

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

A killer asteroid will hit the Earth, and it is not a matter of “if” but “when,” based on the discussions during last week’s 2019 International Planetary Defense Conference.

Bill Nye opened up about the threat of asteroid impacts and possible extinction, explaining that people need to be more aware of this threat. “The Earth is going to get hit with another asteroid,” Nye said during the 2019 International Planetary Defense Conference. “The problem is, we don’t know when.”

Nye, who is known as the TV “Science Guy” and is currently the CEO of the Planetary Society, continued by saying that even if an asteroid doesn’t hit Earth within the next few decades, the threat is still there.

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May 9, 2019

There’s a Power Struggle Inside Google to Control Superhuman AI

Posted by in categories: ethics, robotics/AI

The ethics review board in charge of evaluating any future AGI is controlled by DeepMind staff.

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May 9, 2019

Google’s gesture-controlled sensor has been cleared by the FCC

Posted by in categories: energy, space

Google has won approval from US regulators to create sensors that can be triggered with hand gestures, dubbed “Project Soli,” Reuters reports.

The news: Google started work on Soli in 2015 but hit a roadblock because the sensors were required to operate at lower power levels than the company planned. These restrictions are in place to stop new products from interfering with other (more important) technologies—in this case radio astronomy and a satellite service. Now the US Federal Communications Commission has granted Google a waiver to let it operate Soli sensors at higher power levels, between 57 and 64 gigahertz. The FCC said this will “serve the public interest.”

How it works: The sensors use radar to capture motion in three-dimensional space. It means users can press invisible buttons or use a virtual dial, for example. The radar signal can penetrate fabrics, meaning it could work through a pocket or backpack.

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May 9, 2019

Stem cell scientists clear another hurdle in creating transplant arteries

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, finance

Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death worldwide, and treating it isn’t easy. The disease wreaks havoc on patients’ blood vessels and can require complex bypass surgery.

Scientists at the Morgridge Institute for Research are working toward a dream of creating artery banks—similar to banks common today—with readily-available material to replace diseased arteries during surgery.

The latest work in the lab of Morgridge regenerative biologist James Thomson puts the science one step closer to that goal.

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May 9, 2019

Blue Moon

Posted by in category: space travel

Earth, in all its beauty, is just our starting place. Blue Origin is opening the promise of space to all.

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May 9, 2019

Reversible chemistry clears path for safer batteries

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, military

Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) and US Army Research Lab (ARL) have taken a critical step on the path to high energy batteries by improving their water-in-salt battery with a new type of chemical transformation of the cathode that creates a reversible solid salt layer, a phenomenon yet unknown in the field of water-based batteries.

Building on their previous discoveries of the water-in-salt electrolytes reported in Science in 2015, the researchers added a new cathode. This new cathode material, lacking , operates at an average potential of 4.2 volts with excellent cycling stability, and delivers an unprecedented comparable, or perhaps higher than, non-aqueous Li-ion batteries. The authors report their work on May 9 in the journal Nature.

“The University of Maryland and ARL research has produced the most creative new chemistry I have seen in at least 10 years,” said Prof. Jeffrey Dahn of Dalhousie University in Canada, an expert in the field not affiliated with the research. “However, it remains to be seen if a practical device with long lifetime can be created.”

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May 9, 2019

California Flips Switch on First Grid-Connected Flow Battery

Posted by in category: futurism

Flow batteries, an emerging technology, could be more durable and hardy than the most popular grid-scale batteries in use today. Now, California’s independent system operator has hooked one up.

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May 9, 2019

ET might use gravitational waves to communicate, researchers

Posted by in category: physics

A minor change to interferometer parameters might reveal the Earth is not alone. Andrew Masterson reports.

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May 9, 2019

The power of randomization: Magnetic skyrmions for novel computer technology

Posted by in categories: computing, entertainment, nanotechnology

Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have succeeded in developing a key constituent of a novel unconventional computing concept. This constituent employs the same magnetic structures that are being researched in connection with storing electronic data on shift registers known as racetracks. In this, researchers investigate so-called skyrmions, which are magnetic vortex-like structures, as potential bit units for data storage. However, the recently announced new approach has a particular relevance to probabilistic computing. This is an alternative concept for electronic data processing where information is transferred in the form of probabilities rather than in the conventional binary form of 1 and 0. The number 2/3, for instance, could be expressed as a long sequence of 1 and 0 digits, with 2/3 being ones and 1/3 being zeros. The key element lacking in this approach was a functioning bit reshuffler, i.e., a device that randomly rearranges a sequence of digits without changing the total number of 1s and 0s in the sequence. That is exactly what the skyrmions are intended to achieve. The results of this research have been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

The researchers used thin magnetic metallic films for their investigations. These were examined in Mainz under a special microscope that made the magnetic alignments in the metallic films visible. The films have the special characteristic of being magnetized in vertical alignment to the film plane, which makes stabilization of the magnetic skyrmions possible in the first place. Skyrmions can basically be imagined as small magnetic vortices, similar to hair whorls. These structures exhibit a so-called topological stabilization that protects them from collapsing too easily – as a hair whorl resists being easily straightened. It is precisely this characteristic that makes skyrmions very promising when it comes to use in technical applications such as, in this particular case, information storage. The advantage is that the increased stability reduces the probability of unintentional data loss and ensures the overall quantity of bits is maintained.

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May 9, 2019

A.I. Can Now Read Your Thoughts—And Turn Them Into Words and Images

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

That’s just the beginning: A.I. brain implants might be next.

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