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33rd Square: MIT's Robot Cheetah Making Strides

33rd Square: MIT's Robot Cheetah Making Strides | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
At last week's International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), the MIT team designing a fast cheetah-inspired robot presented their findings. MIT's Cheetah is already energy efficient to the point it can run with just on-board batteries.
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The Search for Missing Frogs Brings Some Species Back From the Dead

The Search for Missing Frogs Brings Some Species Back From the Dead | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
A six-month search for frogs that hadn't been seen in decades brings some species back from the dead.
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Experiment makes Schrödinger's cat choose—things can be real, or certain, but not both

Experiment makes Schrödinger's cat choose—things can be real, or certain, but not both | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Experimenting within quantum theory is an extremely complex process, where common intuitions are regularly inverted within shifting reality. Over the years several quantum features and methods of their study have been identified. Now scientists have investigated a new set of assumptions and proposed a novel experiment, to test the consequences of making quantum theory more intuitive.

 

"While quantum theory is the science behind almost all of our technology, its disconnect with our everyday intuitions is still worrisome and actively researched," says lead author Associate Professor Daniel Terno.

 

"How do you find your way in a reality which is shifting, where the opposites are allowed to coexist? Moreover, how do you conduct experiments in it? These are the questions that must be answered when dealing with the floating world of quantum mechanics."

 

Throughout the development of quantum theory, a set of reasonable ideas has led to strange paradoxes, such as the famous Schrodinger's cat, which is neither dead nor alive.

 

Using this wave-particle duality as their starting point, the research team investigated a new and more comprehensible set of assumptions:

 

Every object at any time is really a particle or a wave, but not both (objectivity)If you know enough you can predict everything (determinism)Speed of light is the ultimate limit (locality) 

 

In taking these assumptions and applying them to an experiment, where the measuring device is controlled by a Schrodinger's cat-like state, the research team reached some perplexing paradoxes.

 

"Only after the cat was found to be dead or alive were we able to tell if what we did was to look for a particle or for a wave," says Associate Professor Terno. "Then these three innocent-looking ideas result in predictions that would contradict an experiment. The universe simply does not work like that: you can see things to be real, or certain, but not both."

 

Then the researchers tweaked their initial assumptions, replacing the third assumption with the requirement that how you set your detectors does not affect the system you study before they interact. This tweak lead to another strange result: it is not only that our quantum world is not like that, but such a combination cannot be realized in any universe.

 

"We can just repeat after Alice: things get stranger and stranger"


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Phys.Org Mobile: Scientists uncover clues to ATP mystery and how cells work

Phys.Org Mobile: Scientists uncover clues to ATP mystery and how cells work | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
"I think this work provides a fundamental molecular understanding of how actin filaments catalyze ATP hydrolysis, which in turn is critical to their behavior," Voth told Phys.org. "ATP hydrolysis modulates many actin properties, which in turn is very important to the behavior of the cellular cytoskeleton. Some of these properties are relevant to, e.g., the binding of anti-cancer drugs in targeting cancer cells."
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Quick-change materials break the silicon speed limit for computers

Quick-change materials break the silicon speed limit for computers | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
An alternative for increasing processing speed without increasing the number of logic devices is to increase the number of calculations which each device can perform, which is not possible using silicon, but the researchers have demonstrated that multiple calculations are possible for PCM logic/memory devices.
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excerpt: "The intrinsic switching, or crystallization, speed of existing PCMs is about ten nanoseconds, making them suitable for replacing flash memory. By increasing speeds even further, to less than one nanosecond (as demonstrated by the Cambridge and Singapore researchers in 2012), they could one day replace computer dynamic random-access memory (DRAM), which needs to be continually refreshed, by a non-volatile PCM replacement."

 



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-quick-change-materials-silicon-limit.html#jCp

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Dark Matter as the "OS" of the Universe --"It's a Quantum Fluid Governing the Formation of the Structure of the Cosmos"

Dark Matter as the "OS" of the Universe --"It's a Quantum Fluid Governing the Formation of the Structure of the Cosmos" | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The results are very promising as they open up the possibility that dark matter could be regarded as a very cold quantum fluid that governs the formation of the structure across the whole Universe.
Sharrock's insight:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_foam

 

 

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Rise of the machines

Rise of the machines | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Flying robots can help people out in dangerous situations. Unmanned vehicles with dexterous arms can pick up and carry objects, or build simple structures. Futuris travelled to Seville where…
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A Soft Exoskeleton Uses Far Less Energy | MIT Technology Review

A Soft Exoskeleton Uses Far Less Energy | MIT Technology Review | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
A soft, lightweight exoskeleton developed at Harvard applies assistive force without interfering with a person’s normal gait.
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exerpt: "The Harvard exoskeleton is highly efficient because it applies force in a way that closely aligns with the natural movements of muscles and tendons. Sensors monitor the wearer’s motion, and battery-powered motors move cables to pull up on the heel, or on part of the leg near the hip—adding a propelling tug at just the right moment as the wearer steps forward. “It’s quite lightweight, flexible, and conformal,” says Conor Walsh, a professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering at Harvard. “It doesn’t disrupt normal walking and movement.”

 

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The Art of Communicating Science

The Art of Communicating Science | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
A conversation with Karl Bates,director of research communications at Duke
Sharrock's insight:

Insight treasure trove in one paragraph here…Mind blown!

 

This is a powerful insight in the article and it needs to be shared:

 

“So, in offensively broad terms, I’d say the scientist is fairly obsessive about precision, and wants to at least identify – if not absolutely control – all variables.  They strive to be comprehensive and worry about what they’ve left out.  I think some of them live in mortal fear of being seen as superficial, especially among their colleagues, so more information is almost always a better thing.  Their vocabulary is off-putting to the uninitiated, but it can be super-precise, just the way they like it.  And after many years, I started to recognize this huge difference in cognitive style between scientists and the rest of us: they are really comfortable spreading out and labeling all of the pieces of the puzzle before they get down to figuring out what it might represent.  Most folks like to study the box to know what the picture is first!”

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97 Scientists Who Agree On Climate Change Become Cute Cartoons To Deliver Hard Facts

97 Scientists Who Agree On Climate Change Become Cute Cartoons To Deliver Hard Facts | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
In a social media stunt to raise awareness of global climate change, 97 of the 97% of all scientists who agree about this unfortunate condition are appearing online in cartoon-form, for 97 hours, to talk about it.
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Artificial Intelligence: How Algorithms Make Systems Smart | Innovation Insights | WIRED

Artificial Intelligence: How Algorithms Make Systems Smart | Innovation Insights | WIRED | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
“Algorithm” is a word that one hears used much more frequently than in the past. One of the reasons is that scientists have learned that computers can learn on their own if given a few simple instructions. That’s really all that algorithms are mathematical instructions. Wikipedia states that an algorithm “is a step-by-step procedure for…
Sharrock's insight:

“Part of the problem,” writes Catherine Havasi (@havasi), CEO and co-founder of Luminoso, “Is that when we humans communicate, we rely on a vast background of unspoken assumptions. … We assume everyone we meet shares this knowledge. It forms the basis of how we interact and allows us to communicate quickly, efficiently, and with deep meaning.” ["Who's Doing Common-Sense Reasoning And Why It Matters," TechCrunch, 9 August 2014] She adds, “As advanced as technology is today, its main shortcoming as it becomes a large part of daily life in society is that it does not share these assumptions.”

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33rd Square: ATLAS Doesn't Walk Too Softly, But He Carries A Big Stick (well Truss Actually)

33rd Square: ATLAS Doesn't Walk Too Softly, But He Carries A Big Stick (well Truss Actually) | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
ATLAS, the humanoid robot built for the DARPA Robotics Challenge is cutting the cord. In new demo videos, the robot is seen walking unattached and carrying heavy loads across a warehouse floor.
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Here's What It's Like To Step Into A 3-D Body Scanner For A Custom-Made Suit

Here's What It's Like To Step Into A 3-D Body Scanner For A Custom-Made Suit | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Startups like Alton Lane are using 3-D modeling to mold clothes to their clients' bodies. Welcome to the future of bespoke design.
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“The technology is becoming more and more common,” says David Bruner, vice president of technology development at Size Stream. “When you've got the experienced tailor guy who has been doing it for 30 to 40 years, they do a great job. But there’s a lot of turnover in retail. And training people to do it consistently is a problem.”
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Advanced Biofuels Power Up Amid Resistance

Advanced Biofuels Power Up Amid Resistance | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The first of three big commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants comes online in Iowa in a bid to prove the fuel's promise as a solution to climate change
-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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In a Planet-or-Not Debate, Some Astronomers Say "Long Live Planet Plut

In a Planet-or-Not Debate, Some Astronomers Say "Long Live Planet Plut | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
A recent debate at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics highlights the ongoing uncertainty over how to define the word "planet."
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With Spinal Implant, Paralyzed Rats Can Walk Again | MIT Technology Review

With Spinal Implant, Paralyzed Rats Can Walk Again | MIT Technology Review | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
About 12,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries in the U.S. each year. Half are younger than 30.
Sharrock's insight:

About 12,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries in the U.S. each year. Half are younger than 30.

 
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Reactive programming - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Reactive programming

In computing, reactive programming is a programming paradigm oriented around data flows and the propagation of change. This means that it should be possible to express static or dynamic data flows with ease in the programming languages used, and that the underlying execution model will automatically propagate changes through the data flow.

Similarities with observer pattern[edit]
Reactive programming has principal similarities with the observer pattern commonly used in object-oriented programming. However, integrating the data flow concepts into the programming language would make it easier to express them, and could therefore increase the granularity of the data flow graph. For example, the observer pattern commonly describes data-flows between whole objects/classes, whereas object-oriented reactive programming could target the members of objects/classes.
The stack-based evaluation model of common object orientation is also not entirely suitable for data-flow propagation, as occurrences of the "repeated diamond shape" in the data structures could make the program face exponential complexities. But because of its relatively limited use and low granularity, this is rarely a problem for the observer pattern in practice.
Sharrock's insight:

wondering if "observer pattern" principles accurately or loosely describe human imagination...

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A Legal Tech Tool That Is Actually Very Cool - But Does It Break Ethics Rules? - My Shingle

A Legal Tech Tool That Is Actually Very Cool - But Does It Break Ethics Rules? - My Shingle | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
LegalSifter was developed to review consulting contracts for designers, so the scores assigned are most relevant to these types of engagements. Nevertheless, as an aficionado of another type of service agreement – specifically, the Legal Retainer Agreement, I couldn’t resist running a sample engagement agreement through LegalSifter.
Sharrock's insight:

I am interested in more opinions about this program "LegalSifter". I wonder about its natural language processing effectiveness and whether its tech might apply to essay assessments and grading. Are practicing lawyers using LegalSifter? If so, what has been your experience? 

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5 Key Themes Emerging From the 'New Science of Cities'

5 Key Themes Emerging From the 'New Science of Cities' | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
In the past few years, a remarkable body of scientific research has begun to shed new light on the dynamic behavior of cities, carrying important implications for city-makers. Researchers at cutting-edge hubs of urban theory like the University College London and the Santa Fe Institute have been homing in on some key properties of urban systems—and contradicting much of today's orthodoxy. Their findings have begun to feed into recent and upcoming gatherings on the future of cities—including lead-in events for the U.N.'s big 2016 Habitat III conference on sustainable development—and arming leaders in the field with new ammunition in the global battle against sprawl. In the most innovate incubators of urban research, the lessons of Jane Jacobs are more vital than ever.
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Danielle Bassett — MacArthur Foundation

Danielle Bassett — MacArthur Foundation | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Danielle Bassett is a physicist using tools from network science and complex systems theory to enhance our understanding of connectivity and organizational principles in the human brain. Combining a strong background in physics with training and collaborations in neuroscience, Bassett adapts mathematical approaches associated with the study of complex networks (such as computer or social networks) to analyze interactions among neurons in different regions of the brain while a person does certain activities (e.g., learn something new or try to remember a face), thereby unraveling how these connections give rise to the functions or jobs the brain performs.


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From whales to larvae, study finds common principles at work in swimming

From whales to larvae, study finds common principles at work in swimming | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

"The basic relationship we wanted to understand was how the input variables – namely the size of the organism, the amount an organism moves and how quickly it moves – control the output variable, which is effectively the speed at which it moves," Mahadevan explained. "What we found is that there is a specific relationship, which can be described by in terms of a simple scaling law with two limits."...

 

...Armed with those observations, Mahadevan and colleagues turned to a host of empirical observations that had been made over the past 50-plus years. When those data were plotted on a graph, the researchers found that the swimming speed of virtually every organism, from fish larvae to frogs to birds, amphibians and even whales, could be described by one of the two equations.



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-whales-larvae-common-principles.html#jCp

Sharrock's insight:

excerpt: "The first, which corresponds to creatures moving at intermediate speeds, describes situations where the bulk of the resistance is caused by skin friction, because water "sticks" to the organism's body. At faster speeds, Mahadevan said, the resistance organisms face largely comes from pressure that builds up in front of and around them, which is described by the second limit."

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Machine learning algorithm makes impossible screening of advanced materials possible

Machine learning algorithm makes impossible screening of advanced materials possible | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Researchers at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario, have used machine learning tools to develop models that can rapidly identify the best performing MOFs for CO2 capture in a fraction of the time it would take to screen the entire database. By pre-screening for the top MOFs, the model greatly reduces the number of MOFs that require more intensive screening, and could decrease the overall computing time by an order of magnitude. The study is published in a recent issue of The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-machine-algorithm-impossible-screening-advanced.html#jCp

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Robot could load up dishwasher

Robot could load up dishwasher | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Boris "sees" objects with depth sensors on its face and wrists. In 10 seconds it calculates up to a thousand possible ways to grasp a novel object with its five robotic fingers and plans a path of arm movements to reach its target, avoiding obstructions.

"It's not been programmed to pick it up - it's been programmed to learn how to pick it up," explained Professor Wyatt.

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Assessing the Future Impact of AI, Robotics on Job Creation - The CIO Report - WSJ

With smarter machines applied to activities that not long ago were viewed as the exclusive domain of humans, fears of technological unemployment are on the rise.
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Phys.Org Mobile: Gold's unexpected oxidation activity: Decoding the role of water in gold nanocatalysis

Phys.Org Mobile: Gold's unexpected oxidation activity: Decoding the role of water in gold nanocatalysis | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
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These Two Guys Studied Their Feces for a Year

These Two Guys Studied Their Feces for a Year | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
In 2009, Eric Alm, a professor of biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, hadn’t had a bowel movement at home for almost the entire year. Neither did Lawrence David, Alm’s graduate student at the time.
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