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Google is building a massive fact database

© forbes
The search giant is automatically building Knowledge Vault, a massive database that could give us unprecedented access to the world's facts

Google is building the largest store of knowledge in human history - and it's doing so without any human help.

Instead, Knowledge Vault autonomously gathers and merges information from across the web into a single base of facts about the world, and the people and objects in it.

The breadth and accuracy of this gathered knowledge is already becoming the foundation of systems that allow robots and smartphones to understand what people ask them. It promises to let Google answer questions like an oracle rather than a search engine, and even to turn a new lens on human history.

Knowledge Vault is a type of "knowledge base" - a system that stores information so that machines as well as people can read it. Where a database deals with numbers, a knowledge base deals with facts. When you type "Where was Madonna born" into Google, for example, the place given is pulled from Google's existing knowledge base.

Comment: Related...

Stephen Hawking warns of possible dire threat to mankind from artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence system diagnoses illnesses better than doctors

Evil Rays

Research proves you can smuggle weapons past naked body scanners

© AFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla
Remember to 'Opt out' at the airports!
Weapons are easily smuggled through so-called naked body scanners, according to new research released Thursday. The devices are no longer used at airports in the United States but remain in other government facilities worldwide.

The Rapiscan Secure 1000 Single Post "backscatter" scanner - called the "naked scanner" by critics because of the images it produced of those inside - cannot detect a weapon hidden on the side of one's body, according to the team of researchers from the University of California-San Diego, University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University.

"We performed several trials to test different placement and attachment strategies. In the end, we achieved excellent results with two approaches: carefully affixing the pistol to the outside of the leg just above the knee using tape, and sewing it inside the pant leg near the same location. ... In each case, the pistol is invisible against the dark background, and the attachment method leaves no other indication of the weapon's presence."

In 2012 a Florida man, Jonathan Corbett, filmed himself successfully passing through the backscatters with metal at two different US airports using the same method. At the time, the TSA responded to Corbett's efforts saying the "machines are safe."


Comment: Evidence suggests the machines are not safe, the levels of radiation they emit are well above background.



Corbett, who is now suing the TSA over the backscatters, has encouraged those who did not believe him to "try it."

Comment: Opt out! Opt your kids out and encourage others to do the same.

Satellite

Behold the space debris "Liquidator": Russia joins the international efforts to develop means to collect "space junk"

© NASA
Most orbital debris is in low Earth orbit, where the space station flies.
The Russian space agency is allocating around $297 million to design and construct a spacecraft that would clean circumterrestrial space of disabled communication satellites and upper-stage rockets currently cluttering up the geostationary orbit.

Roscosmos is ready to allocate 10.8 billion rubles (about $297 million) from 2016-2025 for the new mission: development of a space scavenger relieving terrestrial space of non-operating satellites and space exploration waste, Izvestia daily reported on Friday.

The announced tech specs of the future unmanned spacecraft, codenamed 'Liquidator', imply a weight of about four tons and the capability to get rid of at least 10 disabled satellites and rocket stages during a single mission that could last up to 6 months.

The 'space cleaner' will be able to run no less than 20 'cleaning missions' during its 10-year lifespan, which means the elimination of up to 200 space objects, which obstruct new space vehicles and communication satellites.

Comment: What should be more "troubling" is the recent huge increase of cometary activity! Is all the sudden hype about '"space junk" a convenient, plausible explanation to cover up the inconvenient fact that our planet is being subjected to cometary fragment bombardment?

Our immediate cosmic environment IS probably littered with junk left there by certain governments who live by the maxim that the ends justify the means. But it is the height of denial to buy into the notion that all these reports of fireballs we've been collecting are man-made objects. This 'space junk' theme is starting to smell strangely like 'anthropogenic global warming', which provides a plausible - but 'not even wrong' - cover story for Earth changes.

Read Pierre Lescaudron and Laura Knight-Jadczyk's new book, Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection, and also the following article to learn more about the "space junk" cover story:

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Viable microbial ecosystems 800 meters beneath Antarctic ice sheet

LSU's Brent Christner and colleagues document the existence of microbial life below the surface of the West Antarctic ice sheet in Nature publication
© Reed Scherer, Northern Illinois University
LSU’s Brent C. Christner (right) and Alex Michaud retrieve the first water sample from Lake Whillans.
In a finding that has implications for life in other extreme environments, both on Earth and planets elsewhere in the solar system, LSU (Lousiana State University) Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Brent Christner and fellow researchers funded by the National Science Foundation, or NSF, this week published a paper confirming that the waters and sediments of a lake that lies 800 meters (2600 feet) beneath the surface of the West Antarctic ice sheet support "viable microbial ecosystems."

Given that more than 400 subglacial lakes and numerous rivers and streams are thought to exist beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, such ecosystems may be widespread and may influence the chemical and biological composition of the Southern Ocean, the vast and biologically productive sea that encircles the continent.

According to Christner, the paper's lead author and a researcher with the NSF-funded Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling, or WISSARD, project, "hidden beneath a half-mile of ice in Antarctica is an unexplored part of our biosphere. WISSARD has provided a glimpse of the nature of microbial life that may lurk under more than five million square miles of ice sheet."

Analysis of the samples taken from subglacial Lake Whillans, the researchers indicate, show that the water contains a diverse microbial community, many members of which can mine rocks for energy and use carbon dioxide as their source of carbon.
Moon

Electrical sparking may alter evolution of lunar soil

© Credit: Image not to scale. Courtesy of Andrew Jordan.
This illustration shows a permanently shadowed region of the moon undergoing subsurface sparking (the "lightning bolts"), which ejects vaporized material (the "clouds") from the surface. Subsurface sparking occurs at a depth of about one millimeter.
The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but modeling done by University of New Hampshire and NASA scientists suggests that, over the eons, periodic storms of solar energetic particles may have significantly altered the properties of the soil in the moon's coldest craters through the process of sparking -- a finding that could change our understanding of the evolution of planetary surfaces in the solar system.

The study, published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets, proposes that high-energy particles from uncommon, large solar storms penetrate the moon's frigid, polar regions and electrically charge the soil. The charging may create sparking, or electrostatic breakdown, and this "breakdown weathering" process has possibly changed the very nature of the moon's polar soil, suggesting that permanently shadowed regions, which hold clues to our solar system's past, may be more active than previously thought.

Comment: The Electric Universe theory and much more are discussed in Pierre Lescaudron and Laura Knight-Jadczyk's new book, Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection.

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Traces of marine plankton discovered attached to ISS outer hull

© AFP Photo / NASA / Handout
International Space Station
Russian scientists say they made a "unique" discovery while analyzing samples from the exterior of the International Space Station - traces of tiny sea creatures on the station's windows and walls. It remains unclear how marine plankton ended up in space.The results of the recent experiments prove that that some organisms are capable of living on the outer surface of the International Space Station (ISS), Vladimir Solovyev, head of the Russian segment of the ISS, has revealed.

Some studies suggest that these organisms may even develop in the hostile conditions of spaceflight, which include vacuum, low temperatures, radiation and others, he added.
Cloud Lightning

Illuminatus! Soviet-era Tesla Tower restarted with spectacular lightning bolts

A massive Soviet-built generator - once used for testing the resistance of aircraft to lightning, but now largely mothballed due to prohibitive costs - has staged a striking demonstration test at the behest of RT.

Still from Ruptly video
The 6-Megavolt device, one of the most powerful in the world, is capable of generating 200 meter-long lightning bolts, and was constructed in the 1970s at a closed facility outside Moscow, but fell into disuse after the collapse of the USSR.


The futuristic complex of entangled metal coils hidden in a secured virgin forest made it a cult object for urban explorers. Teams of camera-equipped youths navigated their way and documented the rusting coils and huge locks on their blogs.
Comet 2

Australian amateur Terry Lovejoy discovers new comet

C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy)
© Alain Maury and Joaquin Fabrega
The fuzzy object at center is new comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) discovered by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy.
It's confirmed! Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy just discovered his fifth comet, C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy). He found it August 17th using a Celestron C8 fitted with a CCD camera at his roll-off roof observatory in Brisbane, Australia.
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Jellyfish sting captured by microscope for the first time

You've heard of a jellyfish sting, maybe you've even experienced one. But have you ever seen one?

When a jellyfish actually stings someone or something, the action is often too small and too fast to see with the naked eye. This video, however, captures a real-life sting in slow motion!

Destin from SmarterEveryDay visited toxinologist Dr. Jamie Seymour, one of the team members present when Steve Irwin, "The Crocodile Hunter," was fatally stung by a stingray in 2006.

At James Cook University in Australia, researchers used a microscope and high-speed camera to discover what exactly happens when a jellyfish, or in this specific case, an anemone, stings you. They have wanted to capture the process on camera for years, but only now has the technology been able to do so.

Nuke

New solar power plant is scorching birds out of the sky

© Ethan Miller / Getty Images / AFP
A solar receiver and boiler on top of a tower is seen between the backs of heliostats reflecting sunlight towards it at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert in California near Primm, Nevada.
Next generation solar plants are generating more clean energy than ever before, but one in California is torching birds as they fly through the facility's powerful rays, raising concern over a new plant that could prove four times more dangerous to birds.

According to the Associated Press, workers at the BrightSource Energy plant in the Mojave Desert even have a nickname for the singed birds, which burn up into smoke when they fly into heavily concentrated sun rays: "Streamers." When US Fish and Wildlife officials observed the situation in 2013, they witnessed an average of one "streamer" every couple of minutes.

With estimates ranging from 1,000 dead birds a year to 28,000, the agency is seeking an official death toll for one year of operation at the plant. BrightSource is responsible for delivering the lower number, while the higher one was projected by the Center for Biological Diversity. For now, the agency is also calling on the committee in charge of approving new projects to delay BrightSource's latest application.

Opened in February, the plant has been powering 140,000 homes with the electricity it generates. The facility is composed of three 40-story towers, which produce steam and rotate turbines after the water contained inside is boiled by the solar rays reflected onto it by some 300,000 mirrors.

Speaking with the AP, Garry George of the California chapter of the Audubon Society called the bird deaths "alarming."
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