Tuesday, July 31, 2012
While it's still unclear exactly what the drought will mean for the U.S. environment and economy, a few concerning consequences are already apparent. But experts predict other worrisome outcomes yet to come. (If you have stories or photos about how the drought is affecting you, share them with us here.) Here are a few consequences that could crop up due to the drought:"
Using a process called paleo-experimental evolution, Georgia Tech researchers have resurrected a 500-million-year-old gene from bacteria and inserted it into modern-day Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. This bacterium has now been growing for more than 1,000 generations, giving the scientists a front row seat to observe evolution in action.
“We think that this process will allow us to address several long standing questions in evolutionary and molecular biology,” said Betül Kacar, a NASA astrobiology postdoctoral fellow in Georgia Tech’s NASA Center for Ribosomal Origins and Evolution. “Among them, we want to know if an organism’s history limits its future and if evolution always leads to a single, defined point or whether evolution has multiple solutions to a given problem.”
Reflecting on the latest Batman movie it occurred to me that the darkness, war and suffering portrayed in such movies provides far more intensity and drama than peace-time movies such as Woody Allen’s beautiful and hilarious, but arguably less exhilarating (and surely less box office-rich), “To Rome With Love.”"
I sincerely want to believe in this techno-utopian vision of things to come, but my work as a police officer and global security strategist working in more than 70 countries around the world has taught me that there is a darker side to these emerging technologies."
Research that could set humanity back 20,000 years: Ornaments and tools show that Modern Man emerged 44,000 years ago (much earlier than we thought)
Neuroscientist Kenneth Hayworth, 41, recently of Harvard and a veteran of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, believes that he can live forever, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. "The human race is on a beeline to mind uploading: We will preserve a brain, slice it up, simulate it on a computer, and hook it up to a robot body." Hayworth wants his 100 billion neurons and more than 100 trillion synapses to be encased in a block of transparent, amber-colored resin—before he dies of natural causes. Why? Because Hayworth believes that he can live forever.
"If your body stops functioning, it starts to eat itself," Hayworth says, "so you have to shut down the enzymes that destroy the tissue." If all goes according to plan, I'll be a perfect fossil." Then one day, not too long from now, his consciousness will be revived on a computer. By 2110, Hayworth predicts, mind uploading—the transfer of a biological brain to a silicon-based operating system—will be as common as laser eye surgery is today.
The emergence of new drone technologies have captured the public’s imagination, as well as sparked controversy, especially since the arrival of the US Navy’s show-stealing X-47B drone. With its triangular shape, non-existent tail, and sleek, almost saucerian look, the aircraft succeeds in resembling classic descriptions of flying saucers dating all the way back to the 1940s.
As a journalist, one never wants to spend too much time discussing his or her own experiences, opting instead to present a fair, unbiased perspective on such subjects. However, my purpose here is hardly to dissect the controversies surrounding drone use in military operations, border patrol operations, or even surveillance in urban areas. Rather, my reason for addressing the drones on a personal note has to do with my own recent observation of some variety of small, controlled aircraft for which, at present, remains unidentified… and quite perplexing.
UFO sightings north of the border reached a near record high last year, with the group Ufology Research reporting 986 sightings across Canada, or almost three per day.
The report entitled 'The 2011 Canadian UFO Survey' does state that the majority of sightings were simply street lights or aircraft, however eight out of the 986 were considered to be 'high quality unknowns'"
Monday, July 30, 2012
Friday night's spectacular pyrotechnics display of the most watched opening ceremony in summer Olympics history attracted more than the eyes of over 40 million people. A clearly seen unidentified flying object was videotaped making its way over London's Olympic stadium. Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/29/ufo-over-olympics-opening_n_1716887.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular
I don’t dispute – at all – that the official world is sitting on a massive body of data on UFOs that still has yet to see the light of day. And, the unfortunate reality of the situation may mean that it will never see the light of day. But, that doesn’t mean the relatively small body of data that has surfaced is without any merit. Quite the opposite, in fact…"
Sunday, July 29, 2012
This is the agency responsible for GPS, the internet and stealth planes. They're the real deal."
Saturday, July 28, 2012
The conventional wisdom, of course, is that humans will be able to recognize that day and adjust things accordingly so that we’re still in charge here on Earth. (Isn’t that what the Turing Test was for?) As the line between human intelligence and machine intelligence continues to blur, though, it is no longer so obvious that we will we be able to recognize that day when our machines are smarter than us. The supercomputers will be in control and incognito."
An amateur gunsmith, operating under the handle of "HaveBlue" (incidentally, "Have Blue" is the codename that was used for the prototype stealth fighter that became the Lockheed F-117), announced recently in online forums that he had successfully printed a serviceable .22 caliber pistol."
While no fossilized bones have been found from these enigmatic people, they did leave a calling card in present-day Africans: snippets of foreign DNA."
But this giant hole of fire in the heart of the Karakum Desert is not the aftermath of an attack on Earth, launched from outer space.
It is a crater made by geologists more than 40 years ago, and the flames within have been burning ever since.
Welcome to Derweze in Turkmenistan - or, as the locals have called it, 'The Door to Hell'."
Friday, July 27, 2012
Dubbed the "Manhattan monster," its ghoulish carcass has a mutilated face, hairless flesh and five human-like fingers at the end of its limbs. The gruesome find has sparked an array of theories as to whether it is a giant water-logged rodent, a cooked pig, a swollen dog -- or something more sinister."
Thursday, July 26, 2012
A second Earth? Telescope finds solar system that mirrors ours - and offers hope that life could thrive on its worlds
Attack of the vampire sun! Astronomers spot binary system where one star sucks the life out of another
Considering such a drastic move, ole' boy can't be too happy about this: Iran's nuclear facilities have allegedly been infiltrated and hacked, causing nuclear plant workstation speakers to blast AC/DC's "Thunderstuck" at top volume."
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The very existence of this class of black hole is disputed, but a Japanese group of astronomers have found the potential locations of three intermediate black hole (IMBH) candidates inside previously unknown star clusters near the center of the Milky Way."
Beyond any shadow of doubt, the most famous of all the many mysteries of Death Valley, in California’s Mojave Desert, are its rolling stones – and, no, I’m not talking here about Mick and Keith. For decades, astounded visitors to the valley – and particularly so in the vicinity of an 850-feet high hillside of dolomite on the southern side of its Racetrack Playa – have come across large stones and rocks that appear to have moved across the desert floor of their own free will and under some perceived, but poorly understood, magical power.
Such scenarios and beliefs have gained a great deal of weight by the fact that, behind the same stones and rocks, grooves and tracks are always found – sometimes extending for hundreds of feet, and occasionally even displaying evidence of the rocks having actually flipped over during the course of their curious travels across the harsh lands of Death Valley.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
The find - a 'third kind' of bond between atoms, unknown on Earth - could also unlock the secrets of ultra-powerful new computers.
The find rewrites the rules of the universe - adding a third kind of bond after the 'ionic' and 'covalent' bonds learned by schoolchildren."
Made in space: Nasa tests 3D printers that will let Mars-bound astronauts craft their own equipment as they travel
We’re plagued with mechanization and digitization. Technology moves information, ourselves, our economy. So how can it be bad? Why not use it to enhance our capabilities?
Yeah, but where do you draw the line? What’s really going on?"
Monday, July 23, 2012
Stephen Hawking has launched the most powerful shared-memory supercomputer in Europe, the COSMOS supercomputer, manufactured by SGI and the first system of its kind. Hawking says will open up new windows on the universe.
During the launch, which is part of the Numerical Cosmology 2012 workshop at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge, Hawking said, “We have made spectacular advances in cosmology and particle physics recently.” “Cosmology is now a precision science, so we need machines like COSMOS to reach out and touch the real universe, to investigate whether our mathematical models are correct."
The COSMOS supercomputer is part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council DiRAC High Performance Computing facility, a national service for UK cosmologists, astronomers and particle physicists, as well as non-academic users.
From statins to sugar: The 'Chemputer' which can give you any drug or organic material using a 3D printer
For a professor, described as a 'one-man catalyst, has taken a commercially available 3D printer, and adapted it to inject organic-based inks into tube-like structures to create the new home-grown version of a pill."
Playing God: Scientists simulate first-ever 100% realistic sex disease bacteria - and find could pave way for artificial life
The 'complete' model of the 'Mycoplasma genitalium' bacteria behaves exactly like the real thing - based on data from 900 scientific papers.
The discovery could pave the way for scientists to design new bacteria in the same way we design cars or 3D models now.
Every chemical change inside the bacteria is simulated at the molecular level - a breakthrough that could be a a stepping-stone towards creating tailor-made life forms."
According to a Technical Report prepared by the Air Force’s flying saucer study, Project Grudge, in August 1949: “Upon eliminating several additional incidents due to vagueness and duplication, there remain 228 incidents, which are considered in this report. Thirty of these could not be explained, because there was found to be insufficient evidence on which to base a conclusion.” Arguably, however, the most important and intriguing entry in the document appears in the Recommendations section. It’s one that many UFO researchers have not appreciated the significance of. It states: “That Psychological Warfare Division and other governmental agencies interested in psychological warfare be informed of the results of this study.”
The Department of Defense’s definition of psychological warfare is: “The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives.”
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Such a mission would involve an initial boost phase followed by a coasting phase to the target star system. Next would be the deceleration and rendezvous phase, which would be followed by a period of scientific data gathering.
Finally, there would be a second boost phase, aimed at returning the spacecraft back to the solar system, and subsequent coasting and deceleration phases upon return to our solar system.
Such a mission would represent a precursor to a future manned interstellar mission; which in principle could safely return any astronauts back to Earth."
In 2004, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft — a probe that flies by Titan as it orbits Saturn — penetrated Titan’s orange haze, providing scientists with their first detailed images of the surface. Radar images revealed an icy terrain carved out over millions of years by rivers of liquid methane, similar to how rivers of water have etched into Earth’s rocky continents. The image above from the Cassini mission show river networks draining into lakes in Titan's north polar region.
While images of Titan have revealed its present landscape, very little is known about its geologic past. Now researchers at MIT and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville have analyzed images of Titan’s river networks and determined that in some regions, rivers have created surprisingly little erosion. The researchers say there are two possible explanations: either erosion on Titan is extremely slow, or some other recent phenomena may have wiped out older riverbeds and landforms.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Einstein’s theory of general relativity explains gravity as a curvature in space-time. But the theory starts from the assumption that any local patch of space-time looks flat, Temple said. But mathematicians at UC Davis "...show that space-time cannot be locally flat at a point where two shock waves collide,” said Blake Temple, professor of mathematics at UC Davis. “This is a new kind of singularity in general relativity.”
A singularity is a patch of space-time that cannot be made to look flat in any coordinate system, Temple said. One example of a singularity is inside a black hole, where the curvature of space becomes extreme.
Friday, July 20, 2012
Performance-enhancing technologies will advance to a point where they will not only extend human limits - but demand a events all of their own, similar to the Formula One version of car racing.
Professor Hugh Herr of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology said: 'For each one there will be a new sport - power running and power swimming and power climbing.
'Just like the invention of the bicycle led to the sport of cycling. What we’ll see is the emergence of all kinds of new sports.'
Mechanical prosthetics will become much more proficient than the ‘cheetah-style’ legs used by amputees including Oscar Pistorius from South Africa."
Edinburgh University’s upcoming free course, “Introduction to Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life” will open up an exciting new era in the study of extraterrestrial life. According to Jeff Haywood, vice principal of the University of Edinburgh, the number of students for the online course is potentially 100,000 or more. The course reflects the ever increasing global awareness of the possibility of extraterrestrial life and its societal implications.
Over two thousand years ago, the ancient Greeks wondered if other worlds were habitable. In the coming years this question will be experimentally tested. This course is an introduction to astrobiology. It explores the origin and evolution of life on the Earth and its potential to exist elsewhere. Astrobiology addresses compelling questions of wide interest such as: How did life originate on the Earth? Is this an inevitable process and is life common across the Universe? Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary science that bridges fields as diverse as astrophysics, biology, geosciences and chemistry.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Scientists fascinated after Nasa orbiter photographs open crater leading into underground cavern on Mars
Jaan Tallinn, in Australia at the moment, argues human-driven technological progress has largely replaced evolution as the dominant force shaping our future. Machines are becoming smarter than we are, but Tallinn warns that if we are not careful this could lead to a "sudden global ecological catastrophe"."
Not quite so scary now: Chinese exhibition of 'aliens' from top - and flop - films shows the less scary side of beasts from the stars
The 'Alien Science Exhibition' aims to explore why our visions of alien life look so much like us.
Stars of the show include long-forgotten movies such as 'Alien Autopsy', which has a plastic model of an alien prepared as if to be dissected."
Rise of the Machines: Meet Bina48, the robot who can tell jokes, recite poetry and mimics mankind with startling ease
It may sound too Jetsons to be true, but the Terasem Movement Foundation in Bristol, Vermont, is betting that personal robots will be a huge part of the lives of future generations.
The robots, they say, will be able to download people's personalities, serving as avatars and assistants to busy professionals and in some cases, replacing those who have been lost.
The foundation's prized possession is Bina48, one of the most sophisticated humanoid robots ever built, capable of independent thought, emotion, and even being interviewed by the MailOnline."
Tiny eye implant could restore sight to the blind - with vision returning instantly, and recovery in just a week
The Einsteins of the deep: Dolphins can perform feats of maths that would baffle human computer systems
Russian research project offers 'immortality' to billionaires - by transplanting their brains into robot bodies
A Russian entrepreneur who heads a hi-tech research project called 'Avatar' has contacted billionaires to offer them immortality.
Itskov claims he will personally oversee their immortality process, in exchange for an undisclosed fee.
Itskov, a media entrepreneur, claims to have hired 30 scientists to reach this goal - and aims to transplant a human brain into a robot body within 10 years.
'You have the ability to finance the extension of your own life up to immortality. Our civilization has come very close to the creation of such technologies: it's not a science fiction fantasy. It is in your power to make sure that this goal will be achieved in your lifetime,' says Itskov in a letter delivered to billionaires listed in Forbes magazine.
Eternal life? Iskov, a media entrepreneur, claims to have hired 30 scientists to reach this goal - and aims to transplant a human brain into a robot body within 10 years
He has contacted a list of billionaires with a proposal for funding his quest for immortality - which Itskov refers to as 'cybernetic immortality' and the 'artificial body'.
The initiative is opening its San Francisco office this summer, and will be launching a social media project connecting scientists around the world.
'The 2045 team is working towards creating an international research center where leading scientists will be engaged in research and development in the fields of anthropomorphic robotics, living systems modeling and brain and consciousness modeling with the goal of transferring one’s individual consciousness to an artificial carrier and achieving cybernetic immortality,' says Itskov's official site.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
You heard me right—a DNA laser printer. Created by the San Francisco-based company Cambrian Genomics (Jones is one of the founders), a DNA laser printer works just like a normal laser printer—only replace the traditional ink with genetic code."
Paul Gaylord, 59, developed the symptoms after he was bitten by a stray cat his family had adopted.
The cat, named Charlie, had caught a rodent which was stuck in his throat. It is thought that the rat was infected by fleas, which carry the disease."
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
As a child, I used to love to grow Venus Flytraps and pitcher-plants, both of which have evolved various clever ways of extracting extra nutrients by capturing and digesting insects. Several varieties of carnivorous plants appeared at the exhibit, which had been themed around a Victorian set design reminiscent of the old “murder mystery” tales of yesteryear. In addition to carnivorous and poisonous offerings, one area also featured hallucinogenic plant varieties, with references to the often DMT-rich ayahuasca imbibed by different native groups in South America."
Monday, July 16, 2012
'Step towards clean energy': Biggest laser pulse fired in human history could power new kind of nuclear reactor - and solve energy crisis forever
On July 5, an array of 192 lasers filed a pulse of ultraviolet laser light that deliver generated 500 trillion watts of peak power - 1,000 times more than the whole of the U.S. uses at any given time."
It all starts with an algorithm proposed by Dr. Łukasz Kaiser of Universite Paris Diderot. The algorithm proposes that machines can learn how anything works just by watching how it works. It’s like if Google’s cat loving computer learned what a cat was and then learned how to care for a cat by watching more videos of these actions."
Aliens? We'll probably have a close encounter this century says leading physicist who warns governments to be ready
But according to one of our leading physicists, it is a matter for governments – rather than Hollywood – who should start preparing for our first extra-terrestrial encounter now.
Speaking at the Euroscience Open Forum conference in Dublin, Jocelyn Bell Burnell said: ‘I do suspect we are going to get signs of life elsewhere, maybe even intelligent life, within the next century.
How well prepared are we? Have we thought of how we approach them? Should we put them in a zoo, eat them, send in GIs to bring them democracy?’"