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Feeding 9 billion people by mid-century in the face of rapidly worsening climate change will be huge problem

Feeding 9 billion people by mid-century in the face of rapidly worsening climate change will be huge problem | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

“Feeding some 9 billion people by mid-century in the face of a rapidly worsening climate may well be the greatest challenge the human race has ever faced.

 

A basic prediction of climate science is that many parts of the world will experience longer and deeper droughts, thanks to the synergistic effects of drying, warming and the melting of snow and ice.

Precipitation patterns are expected to shift, expanding the dry subtropics. What precipitation there is will probably come in extreme deluges, resulting in runoff rather than drought alleviation. Warming causes greater evaporation and, once the ground is dry, the Sun’s energy goes into baking the soil, leading to a further increase in air temp- erature. That is why, for instance, so many temperature records were set for the United States in the 1930s Dust Bowl; and why, in 2011, drought-stricken Texas saw the hottest summer ever recorded for a US state. Finally, many regions are expected to see earlier snowmelt, so less water will be stored on mountain tops for the summer dry season. Added to natural climatic variation, such as the El Niño–La Niña cycle, these factors will intensify seasonal or decade-long droughts. Although the models don’t all agree on the specifics, the overall drying trends are clear.

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Artificial Cerebellum in Robotics Developed

Artificial Cerebellum in Robotics Developed | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

University of Granada researchers have developed an artificial cerebellum (a biologically-inspired adaptive microcircuit) that controls a robotic arm with human-like precision. The cerebellum is the part of the human brain that controls the locomotor system and coordinates body movements.


Via Sakis Koukouvis
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IBM Research Creates World's Smallest 3D Map - Brings Low-Cost, Ease of Use to Creation of Nanoscale Objects

IBM Research Creates World's Smallest 3D Map - Brings Low-Cost, Ease of Use to Creation of Nanoscale Objects | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

IBM scientists have created a 3D map of the earth so small that 1,000 of them could fit on one grain of salt.* The scientists accomplished this through a new, breakthrough technique that uses a tiny, silicon tip with a sharp apex — 100,000 times smaller than a sharpened pencil — to create patterns and structures as small as 15 nanometers at greatly reduced cost and complexity. This patterning technique opens new prospects for developing nanosized objects in fields such as electronics, future chip technology, medicine, life sciences, and optoelectronics.


To demonstrate the technique's unique capability, the team created several 3D and 2D patterns, using different materials for each one as reported in the scientific journals Science and Advanced Materials:


A 25-nanometer-high 3D replica of the Matterhorn, a famous Alpine mountain that soars 4,478 m (14,692 ft) high, was created in molecular glass, representing a scale of 1:5 billion.


Complete 3D map of the world measuring only 22 by 11 micrometers was written on a polymer. At this size, 1,000 world maps could fit on a grain of salt. In the relief, one thousand meters of altitude correspond to roughly eight nanometers (nm). It is composed of 500,000 pixels, each measuring 20 nm2, and was created in only 2 minutes and 23 seconds.

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Gliese 581g tops the list of 5 potentially habitable alien planets

Gliese 581g tops the list of 5 potentially habitable alien planets | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
The controversial exoplanet Gliese 581g is the best candidate to host life beyond our own solar system, according to a new ranking of potentially habitable alien worlds. Gliese 581g shot to the top of the list -- which was published Thursday (July 19) by researchers at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo's Planetary Habitability Laboratory (PHL) -- after a new study marshaled support for its long-debated existence.

 

The exoplanet was discovered in September 2010, but other astronomers began casting doubt on its existence just weeks later. Now Gliese 581g's discoverers have rebutted their critics' charges in a new paper, and have done so effectively enough to get the PHL onboard.
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Stanford Mini Med School - Video Lectures

Stanford Mini Med School - Video Lectures | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Stanford Mini Med School begins with a journey inside human biology. Starting with a close look at DNA, stem cells and microbes, this quarter moves out from the building blocks of the human body to take a more global view of human health, pandemics and the delivery of health care.

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Chris Gerdes: The future race car -- 150mph, and no driver

Autonomous cars are coming -- and they're going to drive better than you. Chris Gerdes reveals how he and his team are developing robotic race cars that can drive at 150 mph while avoiding every possible accident. And yet, in studying the brainwaves of professional racing drivers, Gerdes says he has gained a new appreciation for the instincts of professional drivers.

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Scientists see dark matter web between galaxies for the first time

Scientists see dark matter web between galaxies for the first time | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The fundamental ‘cosmic web’ of dark matter throughout the universe has finally been observed from Earth, confirming theories of how the universe was shaped.

 

“This result is a resounding confirmation of a key prediction of structure formation in the universe,” said Jörg Dietrich from University Observatory Munich, Germany. “Not only did we for the first time see a dark matter filament directly, we also confirmed that it’s total mass [dark matter plus normal matter] and the amount of hot gas are in agreement with predictions.” 

 

Large cosmic structures, such as galaxies, exhibit gravitational affects that cannot be justified by the amount of normal matter present in the universe. A principle exists to describe this behavior and is known as the cold-dark-matter model, and it is the foundation of modern cosmology.

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Musical Turing test: which audio clip was composed by a computer?

Musical Turing test: which audio clip was composed by a computer? | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Were you fooled by the machine? Listen to five audio clips and try to guess which piece of music was dreamed up inside the brain of a computer.


Via Mário Florido, Sakis Koukouvis
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Scientists read monkeys’ inner thoughts - even before they moved a muscle

Scientists read monkeys’ inner thoughts - even before they moved a muscle | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Anyone who has looked at the jagged recording of the electrical activity of a single neuron in the brain must have wondered how any useful information could be extracted from such a frazzled signal.

But over the past 30 years, researchers have discovered that clear information can be obtained by decoding the activity of large populations of neurons.

 

Now, scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, who were decoding brain activity while monkeys reached around an obstacle to touch a target, have come up with two remarkable results.

 

Their first result was one they had designed their experiment to achieve: they demonstrated that multiple parameters can be embedded in the firing rate of a single neuron and that certain types of parameters are encoded only if they are needed to solve the task at hand.

 

Their second result, however, was a complete surprise. They discovered that the population vectors could reveal different planning strategies, allowing the scientists, in effect, to read the monkeys’ minds.

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Printed on-chip photonic crystal mirrors will shrink on-chip lasers down in size

Printed on-chip photonic crystal mirrors will shrink on-chip lasers down in size | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Electrical engineers at The University of Texas at Arlington and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have devised a new laser for on-chip optical connections that could give computers a huge boost in speed and energy efficiency.

 

At just 2 micrometers in height — smaller than the width of a human hair — the surface-emitting laser's vastly lower profile could make it cheaper and easier for manufacturers to integrate high-speed optical data connections into the microprocessors powering the next generation of computers.

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Scientists built artificial jellyfish from silicone and muscle cells from a rat's heart

Scientists built artificial jellyfish from silicone and muscle cells from a rat's heart | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Bioengineers have made an artificial jellyfish using silicone and muscle cells from a rat’s heart. The synthetic creature, dubbed a medusoid, looks like a flower with eight petals. When placed in an electric field, it pulses and swims exactly like its living counterpart. Reverse-engineered life forms in general could be used to test drugs and avoid animal experiments in future.

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The Dolphin Boat Seabreacher can dive, jump and spin 360 degrees

The Dolphin Boat Seabreacher can dive, jump and spin 360 degrees | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Just like a real dolphin, this motorboat that can travel on the water surface as well as below water surface and can dive, jump and spin over 360 degrees. The dolphin-like Seabreacher is built by a Californian-based company -- Innespace Productions -- and its price tag ranges from US $ 65,000 to US $ 85,000. It comes with Rotax 1500 cc 4 stroke engines in 175 hp and 155 hp standard variants and 215 hp supercharge variant. This water-proof boat is 16 ft in length and 3 ft wide and weighs nearly 566 kg with 14 gallons fuel storage capacity. Additional features include the on-board communication system, snorkel mounted video cameraand dash mounted display. Maximum surface speed is 50 mph, while submerged speed an go up to 20mph. It can dive up to 5 feet for brief durations, can leap 12 feet in air while jumping and rolling 360 degrees.

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Mapping the Habitable Universe - Current Potential Habitable Worlds

Mapping the Habitable Universe - Current Potential Habitable Worlds | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog (HEC) is an online database for scientists, educators, and the general public focused on potential habitable exoplanets discoveries. The catalog uses various habitability indices and classifications to identify, rank, and compare exoplanets, including potential satellites, or exomoons. Check the NEWS section for news and updates. A full database of exoplanets is available in the DATA section. The catalog is updated as new data is available. Latest entry is Gliese 581g.

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Palaeolithic ceramics found from artistic culture of Ice Age, thousands of years before pottery was common

Palaeolithic ceramics found from artistic culture of Ice Age, thousands of years before pottery was common | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Evidence of a community of unknown prehistoric artists and craftspeople who “invented” ceramics during the last Ice Age – thousands of years before pottery became commonplace – has been found in modern-day Croatia.

 

The finds consist of 36 fragments, most of them apparently the broken-off remnants of modelled animals, and come from a site called Vela Spila on the Adriatic coast. Archaeologists believe that they were the products of an artistic culture which sprang up in the region about 17,500 years ago. Their ceramic art flourished for about 2,500 years, but then disappeared.

 

Most histories of the technology begin with the more settled cultures of the Neolithic era, which began about 10,000 years ago. Now it is becoming clear that the story is much more complex. Over thousands of years, ceramics were invented, lost, reinvented and lost again. The earliest producers did not make crockery, but seem to have had more artistic inclinations.

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Big Thinking: The Power of Nanoscience [VIDEO]

Berkeley Lab scientists reveal how nanoscience will bring us cleaner energy, faster computers, and improved medicine.

 

Alex Weber-Bargioni: How can we see things at the nanoscale? Alex is pioneering new methods that provide unprecedented insight into nanoscale materials and molecular interactions. The goal is to create rules for building nanoscale materials.

 

Babak Sanii: Nature is an expert at making nanoscale devices such as proteins. Babak is developing ways to see these biological widgets, which could help scientists develop synthetic devices that mimic the best that nature has to offer.

 

Ting Xu: How are we going to make nanoscale devices? A future in which materials and devices are able to assemble themselves may not be that far down the road. Ting is finding ways to induce a wide range of nanoscopic building blocks to assemble into complex structures.

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Whistling language of the island of La Gomera (Canary Islands) - the Silbo Gomero

The whistled language of La Gomera Island in the Canaries, the Silbo Gomero, replicates the islanders habitual language (Castilian Spanish) with whistling. Handed down over centuries from master to pupil, it is the only whistled language in the world that is fully developed and practised by a large community (more than 22,000 inhabitants). The whistled language replaces each vowel or consonant with a whistling sound: two distinct whistles replace the five Spanish vowels, and there are four whistles for consonants. The whistles can be distinguished according to pitch and whether they are interrupted or continuous. With practice, whistlers can convey any message. Some local variations even point to their origin. Taught in schools since 1999, the Silbo Gomero is understood by almost all islanders and practised by the vast majority, particularly the elderly and the young. It is also used during festivities and ceremonies, including religious occasions. To prevent it from disappearing like the other whistled languages of the Canary Islands, it is important to do more for its transmission and promote the Silbo Gomero as intangible cultural heritage cherished by the inhabitants of La Gomera and the Canary Islands as a whole.

 

UNESCO: Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity - 2009

 

More info: http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/RL/00172

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Quantum microphone captures extremely weak sound

Quantum microphone captures extremely weak sound | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
Scientists from Chalmers have demonstrated a new kind of detector for sound at the level of quietness of quantum mechanics. The result offers prospects of a new class of quantum hybrid circuits that mix acoustic elements with electrical ones, and may help illuminate new phenomena of quantum physics.

 

The “quantum microphone” is based on a single electron transistor, that is, a transistor where the current passes one electron at a time. The acoustic waves studied by the research team propagate over the surface of a crystalline microchip, and resemble the ripples formed on a pond when a pebble is thrown into it. The wavelength of the sound is a mere 3 micrometers, but the detector is even smaller, and capable of rapidly sensing the acoustic waves as they pass by.

 

On the chip surface, the researchers have fabricated a three-millimeter-long echo chamber, and even though the speed of sound on the crystal is ten times higher than in air, the detector shows how sound pulses reflect back and forth between the walls of the chamber, thereby verifying the acoustic nature of the wave.

 

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Vernor Vinge's talk on how we will get to a technological singularity

In outlining various paths to a technological Singularity, Vinge believes scenario based planning is incredibly important when outcomes are uncertain. It gives you a system of symptoms to watch for, so you can plan responses for different sets of symptoms. If you are doing scenario based planning, having a science fiction writer as a loose canon in your next meeting may shake up the committee in a positive way.


Vinge’s scenarios for how humanity could get to a tech singularity are as follows:

 

1. Pure Artificial Intelligence: The advent of an intelligent superhuman computer.


2. Intelligence Amplification: Take a natural mind, interface it with a computer and make it smarter (popular science fiction author David Brin calls the computer a neo-neo cortex; the machine part allows us to be smart, and the human part provides us with the component we’re good at: wanting things).


3. Computer Networks + Humanity: A phenomenon he calls “groupmind” or social networking, where we achieve superhuman intelligence (at least a functional sort – proceeding at a more robust rate than the others) through coordinated group efforts. An example of this would be Wikipedia.


4. Digital Gaia: A world with ubiquitous microprocessors able to communicate with their neighbors: if every physical object knew what it was, where it was, and could communicate with any other device, the result could be one where the world itself wakes up and becomes its own database.


5. Biomedical improvements in human intelligence lead to better memory and other changes.

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Searching a Billion Planets for Life

Searching a Billion Planets for Life | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
Scientists are writing a recipe for the perfect planet—a place not too cold, not too hot, not too toxic and chemically suitable for life as we know it—as they brace for a torrent of new discoveries about potentially habitable alien worlds.
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10 technologies shaping the future of IT

10 technologies shaping the future of IT | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
Which of today's newest shipping technologies will cast the longest shadow over business computing?

 

Everyone is a trend watcher. But taking a hard look at the technologies that gave life to the latest buzz phrases is the only way to determine which trends will actually weave their way into the fabric of business computing.

 

Here at InfoWorld, we're every bit as excited about big changes in the direction of enterprise IT, from the consumerization of IT to infrastructure convergence. But what vapor-free technologies have actually emerged to enable these IT strategies to take shape, and more importantly, which will cement these changes in your IT department in the years to come?

 

Among the technologies shipping but not yet widely adopted, we see the following 10 having the greatest impact over the long haul. Get to know them.

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Radiation damage bigger problem than previously thought as size of electronic components continue to shrink

Radiation damage bigger problem than previously thought as size of electronic components continue to shrink | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

When an individual transistor contains millions of atoms, it can absorb quite a bit of damage before it fails. But when a transistor contains a few thousand atoms, a single defect can cause it to stop working.

 

The amount of damage that radiation causes in electronic materials may be at least 10 times greater than previously thought. That is the surprising result of a new characterization method that uses a combination of lasers and acoustic waves to provide scientists with a capability tantamount to X-ray vision: It allows them to peer through solid materials to pinpoint the size and location of defects buried deep inside with unprecedented precision. 

 

Previous methods used to study damage in electronic materials have been limited to looking at defects and deformations in the atomic lattice. The new method is the first that is capable of detecting disruption in the positions of the electrons that are attached to the atoms. This is particularly important because it is the behavior of the electrons that determine a material’s electrical and optical properties.

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Longevity and Aging in Humans

Thomas Rando and Anne Brunet provide a general overview on the process and potential prevention of aging. The topics they cover vary from symptoms of aging to unusual characteristics that seem to prolong longevity.

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Research Study shows that ancient asteroids delivered water to Earth which is a dry rocky planet

Research Study shows that ancient asteroids delivered water to Earth which is a dry rocky planet | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
How did the Earth get its oceans? The primordial Earth was a seething ball of magma, so the water that it began with would have evaporated into space. As a result, planetary scientists have long debated which of two types of objects, comets or asteroids, were more responsible for delivering Earth’s water.

 

A new study says that asteroids were the source. The authors analyzed the isotopic abundances of nitrogen and hydrogen in 86 primitive meteorites, and found that they coordinate with Earth’s. Asteroids had already been the favored source. Studies of solar system dynamics suggest that there was a period of time around 3.9 billion years ago, called the Late Heavy Bombardment, during which the Earth would have been barraged, mostly by asteroids.

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Nikko Persia's comment, July 23, 2012 11:22 AM
Was this study already validated?
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Breast cancer cells can turn off Irf7 - a key immune response gene

Breast cancer cells can turn off Irf7 - a key immune response gene | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
Breast cancer cells can destroy a powerful immune response in the body and allow the disease to spread to the patient's bones, researchers in Australia reported on Monday.


They also experimented with two ways to reinstate this immune response to help patients fight breast cancer, but it will take more tests and several more years for these therapies to become routine treatments, they said.

 

In 2010, 1.5 million people were diagnosed with breast cancer, the top cancer in women around the world. Although it kills many women in developing countries, 89 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer in western countries are still alive five years after diagnosis thanks to detection tests and treatment.

 

Using tissue samples from breast cancer patients and experiments with mice, Parker and colleagues found that a gene called IRF7 is switched off in patients whose cancer spreads to other parts of the body. IRF7 controls the production of interferon, an important type of immune protein that fights viruses and bacteria apart from tumor cells. Usually when breast cancer cells leave the breast and travel in the bloodstream and into bone marrow, the release of interferons by IRF7 will cause the immune system to recognize those cells and eliminate them. But by losing IRF7, it prevents the stimulation of immune responses and allows those cells to hide from being recognized.

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Humans and Machines - Information and Immortality

Information and immortality have always been related by the idea that we are survived by the stories told about us. The Information Age provides increasingly sophisticated tools to create and tell these stories, but of course the relationship between information and immortality encompasses more: robotic elder care, uploading oneself to the Web, and the likelihood that in future, one will have biological and computational parts and entirely computational friends. All of which raises the question, what do we want informatics to do for us as we age? Where is the line between assisting and supplanting? This is not a new question: Anyone who sits for a portrait knows that the likeness might survive, and eventually become, the sitter. Informatics will eventually merge one's self and one's likeness into bio-robotic complexes of parts and information, maintained by corporations and governments. Then the relationship between information and immortality will be more complicated than ever.

 

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