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Fri, 24 Feb 2017
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Cascade Range volcanoes: When, where's the next eruption?

A look at C.O., NW volcanic, earthquake activity

The Cascade Range may seem quiet, but some of those mountains have a secret: they're still alive. Central Oregon is not only a volcanic region, but also holds the potential for earthquakes.

South Sister is one of many volcanoes in the Cascade Range that's still considered to be alive with activity.

"Many volcanoes in the Cascades are considered active volcanoes, even though they aren't erupting right now," said OSU-Cascades geology instructor Daniele McKay. "They've erupted recently in the geologic past, and since South Sister only erupted 2,000 years ago, which sounds like a long time to us, that's really just yesterday, geologically."

At 50,000 years old, South Sister has been erupting on and off since its formation. It's not an "if" the volcano will erupt again, but "when". The giant stirred in 2001 when an area three miles west of the summit began to rise at a slight rate only detectable by special satellite instruments. This ground uplift is what scientists call "The Bulge".

"For 'the bulge,' it wasn't an awakening -- but it was a tangible example that these volcanoes are in fact active," said Seth Moran, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "These volcanoes have erupted every so often, and they are going to erupt again. But it's one thing to have this eruption record that paints a picture every 1,000 years, and it's another thing to have an actual event where there is magma moving up."

Comment: See also:


Brain implants becoming practical with new technology

© Med Gadget
Harvard Medical School is testing a new design of a brain implant meant to restore vision to the blind.

In labs testing how brain implants could help people with physical disabilities, tales of success can be bittersweet.

Experiments like those that let a paralyzed person swig coffee using a robotic arm, or that let blind people "see" spots of light, have proven the huge potential of computers that interface with the brain. But the implanted electrodes used in such trials eventually become useless, as scar tissue forms that degrades their electrical connection to brain cells (see "The Thought Experiment").

Next month, tests will begin in monkeys of a new implant for piping data into the brain that is designed to avoid that problem. The project is intended to lead to devices that can restore vision to blind people long-term.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School will use a new kind of implant that will go beneath the skull but can rest on the surface of an animal's brain, instead of penetrating inside the organ. An array of microscopic coils inside the hair-like device can generate powerful, highly targeted magnetic fields to induce electrical activity at particular locations in the brain tissue underneath. The implant will also be tested when placed inside brain tissue.

The device will be used to stimulate the visual cortex of the monkeys to try and re-create the activity normally triggered by signals from the eyes—creating the sensation of sight without the eyes' input. Ultimately, the goal is to use the implant to convert signals from a camera into brain activity. Unlike conventional electrodes, the coils' effectiveness shouldn't degrade over time. Magnetic fields aren't impeded by tissue forming around an implant as electric currents are.


Will evolving Artificial Intelligence replace human intelligence?

Did you know about the emerging Artificial Intelligence? Its going to shape the future of our Collective Intelligence.

Two months back I sat for the lecture of Dr. Scott Lee (Professor of Endocrinology, Linda University in the United states). He explained his crew's invention of the artificial pancreas which could achieve the target Hb1Ac of 6.9 mg/dl which is one of the greatest achievements compared to other primitive models of the artificial pancreas which could not make Hb1Ac below 7 mg/dl.

The wonder in this subject is how the artificial pancreas brings the glucose down? You might have have heard of intellectual intelligence, Emotional Intelligence (E.I.) and spiritual intelligence. Artificial intelligence is far beyond what we actually know about it.

You might have thought robots won't reach the reasoning of human beings. Participating in the polls of Telegraph UK today, I was stunned to see about 76% actually weren't worried about losing their job when the Bank of England's Chief Economist stated about half of the British jobs will be replaced by robots in the next 20 years - and that's not so far. That's an estimate of about 15 million jobs. Currently, South Korea, Japan and Germany have replaced 347, 339 - 261 jobs per 1000 jobs... There are other nations which have appointed robots to replace human beings for accurate and efficient productivity. This is indeed an insecurity to manpower.


'Discovery of the century': Search for secret King Tut chamber to take place this month

© Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuter
The tomb of King Tutankhamun has long been shrouded in mystery, but a team of Italian researchers hopes to unravel it by using advanced ground penetrating radar to uncover potential new treasures.

The search for a secret chamber in the tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings will recommence later this month, when a team from the Polytechnic University of Turin will scan the burial site and surrounding area.

Three radar systems with frequencies from 200Mhz to 2GHz will be used to scan depths of up to 32 feet (10 meters) in the hope of unearthing the hidden tomb and any potential treasures inside.

"Who knows what we might find as we scan the ground," Franco Porcelli, the project's director told Seeker, adding "it will be a rigorous scientific work and will last several days, if not weeks."

Comment: Further reading:

Eye 1

Sony files patent for a digital contact lens that is blink powered & records video

Unlike other forms of contacts and glasses that created an augmented reality or hook you up to the internet, Sony's new patent is on a simple set of contacts that can record video.

The recording is turned on and off with the user's blink and sensors can detect if it was an intentional or unintentional one. The image capture technology and data storage would be held within the lens.

Simple, piezoelectric sensors would allow the movements of the eye to charge the battery of the device.

Comment: The prototype for the digital contact lens was created back in 2008: New Contact Lenses Go Bionic
The project was led by Harvey Ho, a former graduate student of Parviz's now working at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, Calif., who presented the results this week at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' international conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems in Tucson, AZ.

It was difficult for the researchers to graft the tiny electrical circuits, built from layers of metal only a few nanometers thick (for comparison, the width of a typical human hair is about 80,000 nanometers), onto the contact lenses, which are made of organic materials that are safe for the body.

The engineers tested the finished lenses on rabbits for up to 20 minutes and the animals showed no problems.

Eventually, the technique could yield a plethora of gadgets. Perhaps drivers and pilots could see their direction and speed projected across their view, or people could surf the Web without looking at an external device's screen. Video gamers could immerse themselves in game landscapes directly in front of their eyes. Maybe the technique could even create sight aids for visually-impaired people.

"People may find all sorts of applications for it that we have not thought about," Parviz said. "Our goal is to demonstrate the basic technology and make sure it works and that it's safe."


Silicon will blow lithium batteries out of water says Adelaide firm

© David Mariuz
1414 Degrees chairman Kevin Moriarty and executive director and chief technical officer Matthew Johnson with a prototype of their silicon energy storage system.
An Adelaide company has developed a silicon storage device that it claims costs a tenth as much as a lithium ion battery to store the same energy and is eyeing a $10 million public float.

1414 Degrees had its origins in patented CSIRO research and has built a prototype molten silicon storage device which it is testing at its Tonsley Innovation Precinct site south of Adelaide.

Chairman Kevin Moriarty says 1414 Degrees' process can store 500 kilowatt hours of energy in a 70-centimetre cube of molten silicon - about 36 times as much energy as Tesla's 14KWh Powerwall 2 lithium ion home storage battery in about the same space.

Put another way, he says the company can build a 10MWh storage device for about $700,000. The 714 Tesla Powerwall 2s that would be needed to store the same amount of energy would cost $7 million before volume discounts.


Russia tests new lasers capable of 'blinding' guided missiles

© Sputnik/ Dmitriy Vinogradov
The Russian Defense Ministry is due to get a sophisticated mobile laser system capable of "blinding" aircraft optics and laser GPS-guided bombs and missiles from dozens of kilometers away, according to the Russian newspaper Izvestia.

A state-of the-art mobile laser system will enter service with the Russian Armed Forces in the near future, the Russian newspaper Izvestia reported.

The system can "blind" the optics arrays of enemy warplanes, helicopters as well as laser GPS-guided bombs and missiles that are dozens of kilometers away, according to the newspaper.

Additionally, it can counteract the optoelectronic systems of armored vehicles and tanks, as well as the hind sights of anti-tank missile systems.


Did the 2015 Nepal earthquake shrink Mount Everest?

© Unknown
In April 2015, the Himalayan nation of Nepal was struck by a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that claimed nearly 9,000 lives and injured tens of thousands more.

Based on observations through satellite data, some scientists suspect the quake, which lasted for approximately 20 seconds, may have also caused Mount Everest to shrink, according to a report from Smithsonian Magazine.

In the earthquake's wake, the ground in the region shifted to such a degree that changes in the landscape were detectable through the comparison of before and after radar images gathered by satellite.


Could this pollinating drone replace butterflies and bees?

Pollinators around the world are in trouble: A recent report puts 40% of the smallest ones—like butterflies and bees—at risk of extinction. Could miniature drones fill the gap? To find out, researchers ordered a small drone online and souped it up with a strip of fuzz made from a horsehair paintbrush covered in a sticky gel. The device is about the size of a hummingbird, and has four spinning blades to keep it soaring. With enough practice, the scientists were able to maneuver the remote-controlled bot so that only the bristles, and not the bulky body or blades, brushed gently against a flower's stamen to collect pollen—in this case, a wild lily (Lilium japonicum), they report today in Chem.

Comment: will it work?


SpaceX to deliver superbug to ISS - so we can kill it faster in future

© NASA / Reuters
On February 14, SpaceX will send a bacterium to the International Space Station (ISS) that kills more Americans every year than HIV/AIDS, emphysema, Parkinson's disease and homicide combined, all for a good cause, of course.

Two strains of the MRSA bacterium will be monitored in the microgravity environment aboard the ISS with the view to getting one step ahead of the antibiotic-resistant pathogen and potentially altering the future of medicine here on Earth.