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Fri, 16 Nov 2018
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Science & Technology


Leonardo da Vinci may have had an artistic edge due to suspected eye disorder

da vinci exotropia
© Coldcreation/Wikimedia Commons
It's believed that Leonardo da Vinci used his own likeness in his Salvator Mundi painting (shown).
If Leonardo da Vinci had a good eye doctor, he might not have become such a great artist. At least that's what an analysis of paintings and sculptures believed to be modeled after da Vinci suggests.

Visual neuroscientist Christopher Tyler of the City University of London examined six pieces of art, including Salvator Mundi and Vitruvian Man. Five of the pieces depict an eye misalignment consistent with a disorder called exotropia that can interfere with three-dimensional vision, Tyler reports online October 18 in JAMA Ophthalmology.


Researchers find that multitasking with multimedia is dulling our brains

© Reuters / Paul Hanna
Whether it's for work or leisure switching between the vast number of media platforms in today's communication saturated world may be dulling your brain, according to a new research review.

In modern society, it's perhaps more difficult to escape multimedia 'noise' than it has ever been. Moving adverts adorn public transport, social media occupies people's spare time and smartphone notifications can invade almost every waking moment of our lives.

There are positives as people receive information from almost every angle. But what are the risks? According to a new review by Anthony Wagner, Director of the Stanford Memory Laboratory, there is evidence to suggest that jumping between multiple media platforms on a consistent basis is dulling the brain.

In the 'Minds and brains of media multitaskers' paper, published in the PNAS scientific journal, Wagner and Melina Uncapher of the University of California go through a decade of cognitive research.

Eye 1

Amazon pitched facial recognition tech to ICE, watchdog reports

facial recognition
© Reuters / Thomas Peter
Amazon wants to sell facial recognition technology to the US' immigration enforcement agency, a watchdog group reported, raising concerns about the online retail giant's surveillance capabilities.

Emails obtained by the Project on Government Oversight claim that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) met with Amazon in June to discuss adding the powerful, privacy-invasive tool to its arsenal.

The government watchdog group, commonly known as POGO, wrote in a piece published by the Daily Beast that the deal would arm ICE with "real-time facial recognition surveillance technology" that "could supercharge the agency's enforcement power, and make undocumented immigrants afraid to seek out vital services in places where cameras could be located."


The postmodern 'church of equality' has turned even the hard sciences into a new dark age

science dark age
It's not a shock that Postmodernism has taken hold of subjects such as Literature or Social Anthropology. The more subjective the subject is, the easier it is for ideology to infiltrate it. But surely quantitative science-like genetics and physics-will survive as a fortress of logic? Wrong. An article this week in The New York Times interviewed "woke" geneticists, whose findings manifestly show that race and psychological racial differences are biological, revealing them clutching at the most desperate reasons why their research doesn't prove what it clearly does. [Why White Supremacists Are Chugging Milk (and Why Geneticists Are Alarmed), By Amy Harmon, The New York Times, October 17, 2018] Hard science has fallen to the latter-day Communists.

If someone excels in math, they excel in logical reasoning so, in general, you can expect them to possess an almost robotic ability to see through the emotion and dogma that props up Postmodernism. This may well be one of the reasons why SJWs had to make an example of CERN physicist Professor Alessandro Strumia earlier this month. [Cern physicist suspended over 'highly offensive' presentation on sexism in science, by Tom Embury-Dennis, Independent, October 2, 2018]


AI algorithm being developed to identify people in CCTV footage without using facial recognition

CCTV footage
© Reuters / Denis Balibouse
In the latest ominous AI news, a team of researchers has created a tool that can find people in CCTV footage by searching for their clothing, height and gender.

Indian researchers have built an algorithm that would allow surveillance footage to be searched and filtered for the purpose of "person retrieval."

At the moment, surveillance footage must be searched manually to find a person based on common descriptors like clothing and gender. These identifying factors are known as soft biometrics.

Comment: The NSA and other intel agencies surely already have tech far beyond this.


NASA is hiding something: Mars 'explosion' intrigues conspiracy theorists

Mars anomoly
© ESA - European Space Agency
Conspiracy theorists went into overdrive after spotting a 'mysterious plume of smoke' near a dormant Martian volcano, with many claiming this as proof that alien life exists on the red planet and we're being lied to here on Earth.

Allegations of a NASA-led cover up spread like wildfire online, with popular conspiracy theory YouTube channel secureteam10 producing an eight-minute long exposé entitled, 'Something MAJOR Happened On Mars.. Are They Hiding It?'

"There was an explosion - I don't know whether it was a volcano or something detonated," Tyler Glockner of secureteam10 told his audience, during a video which has amassed almost 390,000 views since publication on October 20.


Study finds Mars' salty water likely to have enough oxygen to support life

salty water mars oxygen
The new research was made possible by the discovery by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover of manganese oxides
Salty water just below the surface of Mars could hold enough oxygen to support the kind of microbial life that emerged and flourished on Earth billions of years ago, researchers reported Monday.

In some locations, the amount of oxygen available could even keep alive a primitive, multicellular animal such as a sponge, they reported in the journal Nature Geosciences.

"We discovered that brines"-water with high concentrations of salt-"on Mars can contain enough oxygen for microbes to breathe," said lead author Vlada Stamenkovic, a theoretical physicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.



UK MoD report warns future International space station nukes may hit Earth

Space Station
© CC0
The warning comes as part of the so-called Doomsday predictions, that more nations will possess nuclear weapons, chemical weapon bans will not work and terrorists will obtain sophisticated missiles.

A UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) think tank has warned of "space-based weapons systems" with nuclear capabilities that could be deployed to space stations orbiting Earth by 2050, according to The Sun.

In the Future Starts Today report, the Development Concepts and Doctrine Centre also suggested that in the next thirty years, the space outposts will be equipped with nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons capable of detonating in the air rather than on the ground.

"Electromagnetic pulses can shut down anything running on electrical power, meaning lights, communications and heating systems would all stop working in an instant," the survey said.


'Kilonovae' explosions could be flinging gold and platinum across the universe

kilo nova precious metals gold
© NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab
This illustration shows the hot, dense, expanding cloud of debris stripped from two neutron stars just before they collided. Within this neutron-rich debris, large quantities of some of the universe's heaviest elements were forged, including hundreds of Earth masses of gold and platinum
Such kilonovae could shed light on some of the most spectacular parts of space

Vast explosions, throwing out gold, platinum and many of the world's most precious elements, could be happening throughout the universe.

Nasa scientists have spotted what they think are immense explosions caused by neutron stars colliding into each other in distant space.

When that catastrophic event happened, it sent an intense jet of of high-energy particles through space that made their way past the scientists who spotted them using Nasa's array of space telescopes.


Southern Ocean's 'headless chicken monster' captured on video for the first time

headless chicken monster
© The Australian Antarctic Division
Australian scientists, using specialist equipment, have reported disturbing findings made three kilometers below the surface of the Antarctic's Southern Ocean: the discovery of a 'headless chicken monster.'

"Some of the footage we are getting back from the cameras is breathtaking, including species we have never seen in this part of the world," Australian Antarctic Division Program Leader Dirk Welsford said.

The monster, alternatively known as the 'Spanish Dancer', or Enypniastes eximia, is a deep-sea swimming sea cucumber typically found bottom-feeding in certain parts of the world. The creature has previously only been filmed much farther north in the Gulf of Mexico.