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Fri, 28 Jul 2017
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Science & Technology


Wearable electronics - Breathable nanoscale tech worn like a second skin

© Takao Someya Group, University of Tokyo
Index finger with gold nanomesh conductor. Electric current from a battery near the knuckle flows through the conductor and powers the LED just below the fingernail.
Sci-fi and future-tech fans take note: the latest development in wearable electronics is a thin, stretchable electronic film that could monitor health through our skin, and integrate with computers and devices.

Measuring changes in the skin is useful in many physiological and health-related scenarios - for example, for monitoring a person's heart health, skeletal muscle behaviour and brain function.

Previously the technology required for skin monitoring has been bulky and impractical, restricting natural movement and changing the way skin interacts with environmental factors like air and moisture.

Now a team of researchers led by Akihito Miyamoto at the University of Tokyo have unveiled an innovative solution, straight out of a science-fiction movie.

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Exposing the booming genetic pseudoscience market

© Soccer Genomics
The premise behind Yes or No Genomics is simple: Genetic disease is typically caused by a variation in at least one of the many thousands of genes in the human genome, so knowing whether your DNA code contains variants could suggest whether your health is at risk. And for just $US199 ($254), the scientists at Yes or No Genomics can use special technology to determine that.

Except Yes or No Genomics isn't a real company. It's satire.

The mind behind this parody is Stanford geneticist Stephen Montgomery, who hopes the website he launched this week will highlight the extreme absurdity of many of the "scientific" consumer genetic tests now on the market.

Fork over hundreds to Yes or No Genomics and you will find out, inevitably, that you do have genetic variants, because everyone does. And that "specialised optical instrument" used to determine this? A kaleidoscope.

Fireball 5

What it would take to kill all life on Earth

© Zloyel/iStock
A giant asteroid crashing into our planet would instantly kill off millions of animals. But the aftermath of such an impact would be even more disastrous: Tsunamis, earthquakes, and vast clouds of dust blocking out the sun would lead to crop failure and mass extinction.

Sixty-five million years ago, just such an event killed off 75% of species on Earth. But to really wipe life off the planet, it would take an astrophysical event so powerful that Earth's oceans would literally boil away, according to a new study. The heat and cosmic radiation would make Earth inhospitable even to tardigrades, among the hardiest organisms ever discovered.

"They've taken a grand question—how resilient is life?—and turned [it] into a well-posed calculation, by focusing on the energy required to boil Earth's oceans," says Joshua Winn, an exoplanets expert at Princeton University, who was not involved in the study. "It's an awful lot of energy."


Coming soon! Facial recognition software for police body cameras

© Vocativ
An approach to machine learning inspired by the human brain is about to revolutionize street search

Even if the cop who pulls you over doesn't recognize you, the body camera on his chest just might in the future.

Device-maker Motorola announced Monday that would partner with artificial intelligence software startup Neurala to build "real-time learning for a person of interest search" on Motorola products such as the Si500 body camera for police, the AI firm announced in a press release today.

Italian-born neuroscientist and Neurala founder Massimiliano Versace is the creator of patent-pending image recognition and machine learning technology. It's similar to other machine learning methods but far more scalable, so a device carried by that cop on his shoulder can learn to recognize shapes and — potentially faces — as quickly and reliably as a much larger and more powerful computer. It works by mimicking the mammalian brain, rather than the way computers have worked traditionally.


A destroyer of worlds?: An AI researchers shares his fears

As an artificial intelligence researcher, I often come across the idea that many people are afraid of what AI might bring. It's perhaps unsurprising, given both history and the entertainment industry, that we might be afraid of a cybernetic takeover that forces us to live locked away, "Matrix"-like, as some sort of human battery.

And yet it is hard for me to look up from the evolutionary computer models I use to develop AI, to think about how the innocent virtual creatures on my screen might become the monsters of the future. Might I become "the destroyer of worlds," as Oppenheimer lamented after spearheading the construction of the first nuclear bomb?

I would take the fame, I suppose, but perhaps the critics are right. Maybe I shouldn't avoid asking: As an AI expert, what do I fear about artificial intelligence?

Comment: See also:


"Intelligent machines could destroy mankind": Elon Musk fears destructive capacity of AI without proactive regulation

© Brian Snyder / Reuters
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk (R) answers questions from Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval
Tesla founder Elon Musk believes artificial intelligence could prove to be one of the most destructive technological innovations for the human race, unless governments are "proactive" in regulation.

Speaking at the National Governors Association in Rhode Island, Musk ominously suggested we could be facing a future in which intelligent machines actually destroy mankind.

"AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization in a way that car accidents, airplane crashes, faulty drugs or bad food were not. They were harmful to a set of individuals in society of course, but they were not harmful to society as a whole," Musk told Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval on Saturday.

Comment: 'We have a problem': AI still a major concern despite scientific assurances

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Chinese scientists clone and genetically modify a dog, implications for human possibilities

Scientists have successfully enhanced the muscle density in a dog, are humans next?
We have entered an era of unprecedented mystery. Technology which allows you to manifest your will, basically over night, is beginning to take an even more wild turn. We're not only beginning to manifest realities with the delivery of technology, but we're also imposing our will upon other pre-existing manifestations - What I'm trying to say is we are using technology to manipulate the world and reality.

Scientists in China have cloned dogs from genetically modified parents.

The dogs, which are test tube babies, bred in a lab, have twice the muscle mass of their natural counterparts and are considerably stronger and faster. The genomes of the dogs have been especially difficult to engineer and replicate, but they are close to the human genome, which has long sought after by geneticists.

Success with the project have created fears that the Chinese will create or weaponize the technology by creating genetically modified Human beings.

David King, director of Human Genetics Alert (HGA), voiced his fears over what is widely viewed as the first step on a very slippery slope.

He told express.co.uk: "It's true that the more and more animals that are genetically engineered using these techniques brings us closer to the possibility of genetic engineering of humans.

"Dogs as a species, in respect of cloning are very difficult, and are even more difficult to clone than human beings. He said. "There's no medical case for it, the scientists are interested in being the first person in the world to create a genetically engineered child."


NASA celebrates anniversary of Pluto mission with stunning flyover movie

NASA has created a stunning flyover video of Pluto, two years after the New Horizons mission sent its historic images of the planet back to Earth.

The probe captured the first-ever close-up pictures after coming within 7,800 miles (12,550km) of the dwarf planet back in July 2015, providing us Earthlings with a whole new perspective of the icy rock at the edge of our solar system.

The newly-released NASA video, based on data from the New Horizons spacecraft and digital elevation models of Pluto, offers incredible insight into what it would be like to zoom over the dwarf planet.

The model shows off Pluto's icy plains and mountain ranges, showing its remarkable terrain in stunning detail.


Gravity is an electrical phenomenon?

© Malaga Bay
The Plate Tectonic model dominates mainstream geology and science.

It is based on the cosmological model of:
■ An initial state of nothingness which then exploded as the LeMaitre-Gamow Cosmic Big Bang Event when T=0, (time)

■ Some time afterwards another miracle happened and the exploding matter, exploding in all directions, started to locally slow down to gravitational attraction (How, don't ask) and forming primal clusters of matter

■ These small clusters of gravitationally accreted matter started to clump to other nearby clumps that, over time, started forming stars where gravitational accretion was so intense that nuclear reactions started and lo, there was light!

■ Other, not so bright, clumps formed planets where the accretionary force of gravity continues to operate.

■ Today we live in a gravitational universe in which observations that don't fit theory are explained by ad hoc adjustments including Dark Matter, Black Holes, Dark Energy, String Theory, Quantum Mechanics, particle duality where electrons are either particles or waves, and what other miracles will be needed to explain future observations.
Plate tectonics replaced Continental Drift theory that was itself based on the amazing coincidence of the near parallelism of the coasts of the Americas and Africa.

Because gravity is THE force, it is continually attracting and compressing matter so that the Earth is unable to expand and remains thus fixed in size and, obviously, volume.


Gravitational lens discovery: One of the brightest distant galaxies, 1000x the Milky Way

© Hubble Space Telescope (HST)
The multiple images of the discovered galaxy are indicated by white arrows (bottom right shows the scale of the image in seconds of arc).
According to Einstein's theory of General Relativity when a ray of light passes close to a very massive object, the gravity of the object attracts the photons and deviates them from their initial path. This phenomenon, known as gravitational lensing, is comparable to that produced by lenses on light rays, and acts as a sort of magnifier, changing the size and intensity of the apparent image of the original object.

Using this effect, a team of scientists from the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) led by researcher Anastasio Díaz-Sánches of the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPT) has discovered a very distant galaxy, some 10 thousand million light years away, about a thousand times brighter than the Milky Way. It is the brightest of the submillimetre galaxies, called this because of their very strong emission in the far infrared. To measure it they used the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma).
"Thanks to the gravitational lens" notes Anastasio Díaz Sánchez, a researcher at the UPCT and first author of the article "produced by a cluster of galaxies between ourselves and the source, which acts as if it was a telescope, the galaxy appears 11 times bigger and brighter than it really is, and appears as several images on an arc centered on the densest part of the cluster, which is known as an "Einstein Ring." The advantage of this kind of amplification is that it does not distort the spectral properties of the light, which can be studied for these very distant objects as if they were much nearer."