Science, Technology, and Current Futurism
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Michael Habjan | markwollacott.com

Michael Habjan | markwollacott.com | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Sharrock's insight:

I'm interested in how this was done in technical detail. From the article: "Superman finds Hulk somewhere in the Mojave Desert. This is a prelude to a fight sequence in progress and will be posted some time in the future. Animation by Michael Habjan, created with Autodesk Maya 2009, composited and edited in Adobe After Effects CS3." I'm amazed at the facial expression and motion. 

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Ctenophores - some notes from an expert

Ctenophores - some notes from an expert | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Ctenophores, or comb jellies, are the common names for animals in the Phylum Ctenophora. In American English, the name is pronounced with a silent "c", as "teen-o-four" or "ten-o-four". The preliminary "c" is pronounced in most European languages (as a syllable "ka"). Ctenophores are characterized by eight rows of cilia, which are used for locomotion. The cilia in each row are arranged to form a stack of combs, also called comb plates, or ctenes; thus the name ctenophore comes from the Greek, meaning "comb bearer". [The more complete derivation, provided by H. Foundalis and T. Christopoulos, is that "ctena" means comb in ancient Greek (in Modern Greek, too: "ktena"), and "phora" is a morphological ending that comes from the Greek verb "pherein", to bear (Modern Greek: "phero").]

Ctenophores are fairly simple animals that live only in marine waters; they can be found in most marine habitats, from polar to tropical, inshore to offshore, and from near the surface to the very deep ocean. There are probably about 100-150 species of ctenophores throughout the world's ocean, although most of these are poorly known. I have compiled a list of all valid scientific names for the Phylum Ctenophora, meant to be useful for ctenophore biologists, but which has links to various images of ctenophores on the web that others may also find interesting.

The best-known ctenophores are those that occur near-shore. Such species are typically planktonic, transparent and unpigmented, and most swim by synchronous beating of the eight rows of comb plates. Ctenophores are probably common members of the plankton in most coastal areas worldwide, although they have not been studied in many regions; ctenophores may be seasonally much more abundant in the spring and early summer. Their small size (a few mm to several cm) and transparency make ctenophores relatively inconspicuous, so even though they are not uncommon, in general they are little known. Display of ctenophores in public aquariums throughout the world has been bringing them to the attention of many thousands of viewers in recent years. The simplest tool for collecting ctenophores from a boat or off a dock is a cup-on-a-stick type jellyfish catcher: several designs are illustrated.
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Art Fight! The Pinkest Pink Versus the Blackest Black

Art Fight! The Pinkest Pink Versus the Blackest Black | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

"Though, Vantablack also looked like something someone with enough talent and resources could use to make art. Artists had gotten in touch; Surrey decided to work with Kapoor. “His life’s work had revolved around light reflection and voids,” Jensen says. “Because we didn’t have the bandwidth to work with more than one—we’re an engineering company—we decided Anish would be perfect.”
They signed a contract. Kapoor got exclusive rights to use Vantablack in art.
Uh oh.

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Measuring research: what are the units of assessment?

Measuring research: what are the units of assessment? | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Numbers matter, and can be extremely valuable when managing large organisations. It makes sense for manufacturers to quantify the input of raw materials and the output of finished goods, to track productivity and profit. In the public sector, hospital managers need to have measures of bed occupancy and the usage of operating theatres to ensure value for money in the cash-strapped NHS. But numbers cannot capture every important particle of activity. There are many areas of human endeavour – and the business of university research is one of them – where the numerical measures and the desired outputs don’t always add up to give a complete picture.

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New system greatly speeds common parallel-computing algorithms

New system greatly speeds common parallel-computing algorithms | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed a new system that not only makes parallel programs run much more efficiently but also makes them easier to code.
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“DEVIATE: The Science of Seeing Differently” by Beau Lotto

“DEVIATE: The Science of Seeing Differently” by Beau Lotto | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
In DEVIATE, Beau answers the long-debated question: do humans see reality or not? Spoiler alert: we don't. In fact, our brains didn’t – couldn’t! – evolve to see the world accurately.  What we see is subjective, not objective. This fundamental revelation shows that everything we know is filtered by each individual's past experiences. It’s the reason why “dressgate” confounded the world and broke the internet in 2015. How was it possible that half the population saw the dress as blue and black and the other half saw it as white and gold? The answer is that color is simply a perception made by the brain when light hits the retina at differing wavelengths.  So, color – and the makeup of the dress itself – is not a reality but rather a perception and we see the dress differently than our neighbor because our brains interpret these wavelengths differently.

Sharrock's insight:
People have been arguing this point in LinkedIn and in college discussions for a long time: "What we see is subjective, not objective. This fundamental revelation shows that everything we know is filtered by each individual's past experiences."
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US vaccine researcher sentenced to prison for fraud

US vaccine researcher sentenced to prison for fraud | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

The case of Dong-Pyou Han illustrates the uneven nature of penalties for scientific misconduct.


"In reality, however, no one knows the aggregate fate of scientists subject to funding bans, or whether the notion of such punishment deters people from committing misconduct. Price says that he and others at ORI once tried to conduct a formal, anonymous survey of these researchers to understand how their careers had been affected. But the White House shut the project down, saying that it cost too much and people were unlikely to respond." (from the article)

Sharrock's insight:
In the secondary school science class, students can explore the consequences of scientific misconduct through impacts on business, society, on lives in general, which makes scientific misconduct a political topic. 
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Scientists create better tools to study the processes of life

Scientists create better tools to study the processes of life | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Affimer tools being made by the University of Leeds and Avacta Life Sciences teams are much smaller, more stable and simpler in chemical structure than antibodies. They are made in the laboratory rather than using animals which allows their properties to be more tightly controlled to suit a particular application. Affimer proteins have a binding surface area similar to that of an antibody and are therefore able to strongly bind the target molecule of interest so that it can be quantified or its activity studied. They can be adapted for a wide range of uses. Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-06-scientists-tools-life.html#jCp

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The Synapse #1: NEUROTRANSMITTERS

The Synapse #1: NEUROTRANSMITTERS | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The synapse is a HUGE topic. Why? Because this is where everything happens. Personality, memory, mood, it’s all encoded here, in these tiny little synapses, thousands of which stud a single dendritic tree. 
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BRAIN MYTH-BUSTING: You only use 10% of your brain

BRAIN MYTH-BUSTING: You only use 10% of your brain | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
 looking at brains under microscopes, they saw neurons. They soon figured out that neurons are important for processing information, making you conscious, allowing you to move your muscles, and all the other things neurons do. But most of the cells the scientists saw weren’t neurons, and these cells didn’t seem to do anything important. They named these cells glia, which means "glue." They looked at their slides and thought, "Wow, only 10% of the cells are neurons. The other 90% of the brain is glue. People only use 10% of their brains!"
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How did gene therapy go from experimental disasters to wondrous cures?

How did gene therapy go from experimental disasters to wondrous cures? | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Scientists have solved fundamental problems that were holding back cures for rare hereditary disorders. Next we’ll see if the same approach can take on cancer, heart disease, and other common illnesses.
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A Completely new Look at DNA Replication

A Completely new Look at DNA Replication | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Scientists have gotten a close look at a process that is fundamental to life on earth - DNA replication - and were suprised by what they saw.
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Transportation as a service (TaaS): a look ahead | The Robot Report - tracking news about the business of robotics

Chris predicts an inevitable shift to EVs, a change in the ownership concept to transportation services, and dramatic changes in manufacturing and jobs in what used to be the auto industry and will soon be the transportation services industry.

Urmson attributes the shift in thought from gradually adding more self-driving features until it becomes time to remove the pedals and steering wheel - the stated posture of most of the auto industry - to using deep learning and simulation training to be able to directly go to self-driving cars - the position taken by Google, Ford, and many of the new startups - as a particularly important contribution made by Google. Later in his lecture, when answering a question about the state of the robotics industry versus the state of the art being developed in universities and research labs such as CMU, he lauded the deep pockets that business - and especially Google - brings to research in general and self-driving cars in particular.
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What's slowing the use of robots in the ag industry? | The Robot Report - tracking news about the business of robotics

Two traditional qualifyers for farmers buying new equipment are flexibility and return on investment. Precision agriculture isn't just rhetoric; it's real-time intelligence flowing into analytics software that transforms that flow into meaningful, practical information that farm managers can react to quickly. That data -- and that process -- have costs and, for the last few years, farmers have been stretched because commodity prices are down. But changes effecting labor, water, commodity prices and politics are speeding up the need for significant automation in the already heavily automated agriculture industry while technological improvements are speeding up, particularly in the areas of vision systems, perception and grasping.

Consider these four key providers:
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Technology Is Biased Too. How Do We Fix It?

Technology Is Biased Too. How Do We Fix It? | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Algorithms were supposed to free us from our unconscious mistakes. But now there’s a new set of problems to solve.


"Although AI decision-making is often regarded as inherently objective, the data and processes that inform it can invisibly bake inequality into systems that are intended to be equitable. Avoiding that bias requires an understanding of both very complex technology and very complex social issues." (from the article)

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New technique elucidates the inner workings of neural networks trained on visual data

New technique elucidates the inner workings of neural networks trained on visual data | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Two years ago, a team of computer-vision researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) described a method for peering into the black box of a neural net trained to identify visual scenes. The method provided some interesting insights, but it required data to be sent to human reviewers recruited through Amazon's Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing service.
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