In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.
Nasa plans to send Google's 3D smartphones into space to function as the "eyes and brains" of free-flying robots inside the Space Station.
The robots, known as Spheres (Synchronised Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental satellites), currently have limited capabilities.
It is hoped the smartphones, powered by Google's Project Tango, will equip the robots with more functionality.
The robots have been described by experts as "incredibly clever".
When Nasa's robots first arrived at the International Space Station in 2006, they were only capable of precise movements using small jets of CO2, which propelled the devices forwards at around an inch per second.
"We wanted to add communication, a camera, increase the processing capability, accelerometers and other sensors," Spheres project manager Chris Provencher told Reuters.
"As we were scratching our heads thinking about what to do, we realised the answer was in our hands. Let's just use smartphones."
In an attempt to make the robots smarter and of more use to astronauts, engineers at Nasa's Ames Research Centre sent cheap smartphones to the space station, which they had purchased from Best Buy, an American electronics shop.
Astronauts then attached the phones to the Spheres, giving them more visual and sensing capabilities.
My children live in the digital world as much as they live in the real one.
Whether they are chatting to their friends on Xbox Live or FaceTime or viewing their profiles on Instagram, these days it seems that there is always a virtual guest in our house.
Their expectations of life are fundamentally different to mine at their ages - eight and 10. They were among the first generation to swipe a dumb screen and wonder why nothing happened; the first to say when a toy was broken: "Don't worry, we can just download a new one"; and the first to be aware that the real world runs seamlessly into the digital one.
These digital natives understand the etiquette of the digital world - how to text, how to email, how to get wi-fi and how to watch whatever they want, whenever they want. And homework is a whole lot easier now that they have the virtual font of all knowledge at the their fingertips - Google.
As the author of the book Growing Up Digital, Don Tapscott has spent a lot of time looking at how the generation born in the age of computing will differ from those before.
"Generation M [mobile] are growing up bathed in bits," he says. "Their brains are actually different."
For him, the way the brain is wired is dictated by how you spend your time.
"My generation grew up watching TV - we were passive recipients. Today children come home and turn on their mobile devices, they are listening to MP3s, chatting to their friends, playing video games - managing all these things at the same time."
In a new study published in Nature Physics, a team of researchers from Spain has shown that emergence in neuronal networks can be explained as a noise-driven phenomenon that is controlled by the interplay between network topology and intrinsic neuronal dynamics.
The first brain-machine interface system capable of learning commands has been developed in Japan.
The system, designed to help people with severe motion or speaking disabilities, is the first of its kind addressing the excessive mental load existing systems place on a user. Every time the user wants to perform even a simple action, he or she has to focus their mental energy to deliver the message, which could be very tiring.
“We give learning capabilities to the system by implementing intelligent algorithms, which gradually learn user preferences,” said Christian Isaac Peñaloza Sanchez, a PhD candidate at the University of Osaka, Japan.
“At one point it can take control of the devices without the person having to concentrate much to achieve this goal," he said.
For the past three years, Peñaloza Sanchez has been developing the system which uses electrodes attached to the person’s scalp to measure brain activity in the form of EEG signals. The signals show patterns related to various thoughts and the general mental state of the user as well as the level of concentration.
Currently, the system can learn up to 90 per cent of common instructions such as controlling a wheel chair and navigating it around a room.
After the system learns the command from the user, the action could be triggered either by pressing a button or by a quick thought. While performing the automated action, the system looks for the so-called error-related negativity signal – a reaction in a human brain when an incorrect response is initiated – for example if the system opens a window instead of turning on the TV.
"We've had pretty good results in various experiments with multiple people who have participated as volunteers in our in vivo trials,” said Peñaloza Sanchez.
“We found that user mental fatigue decreases significantly and the level of learning by the system increases substantially."
Monash UniversityDepartment of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering (ECSE) engineers have modeled the world’s first “spaser” (surface plasmon amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) to be made completely out of carbon.
Spasers are analogous to lasers, but generate surface plasmons (coherent electron oscillations) instead of photons.
PhD student and lead researcher Chanaka Rupasinghe said the modeled spaser design using carbon would offer many advantages. “Other spasers designed to date are made of gold or silver nanoparticles and semiconductor quantum dots, while our device would be comprised of a graphene resonator and a carbon nanotube gain element,” he said.
These materials are more than 100 times stronger than steel, can conduct heat and electricity much better than copper, and can withstand high temperatures, he noted.
Tauriq Moosa: Sex robots, as far-fetched as they may seem, could end up being commonplace. A mature response to this would be best all round
Consenting adults’ private activities seem to get a lot of other people very cross. Almost nowhere is this more pronounced than activities involving sex: the position, placement and management of people’s genital activities seem to keep a lot of other adults awake – but in an unhealthy, conservative way.
Many people don’t like two men doing romantic things together; many dislike women doing things too; and even if it’s the “proper” combination of sexes, there are rules about monogamy and marriage and money and so forth – that must not be violated, lest you incur the wrath of judgmental columnists and incomprehensible comment sections (or, unfortunately, the law itself).
Even otherwise progressive individuals are troubled by things such as non-monogamous relationships, child-free people (mostly child-free women, because wombs must always be filled with future babies, apparently), and men using sex toys.
So when considering, for example, sex robots, we should expect hatred, antagonism, and judgement. That attitude, in particular and in general toward adult consensual sex, should change. We can use sex robots as a good case-study to demonstrate why.
Testosterone is often held up as the be all and end all of men’s fitness – and indeed, as far as bodybuilding specifically is concerned, it is. The issue with holding it in such high regard, however, is that men who strive for a fitter form are simultaneously reaching for higher testosterone generation, which can […]
“Today there’s no legislation regarding how much intelligence a machine can have, how interconnected it can be. If that continues, look at the exponential trend. We will reach the singularity in the timeframe most experts predict. From that point on you’re going to see that the top species will no longer be humans, but machines.”
A new book makes that case that the low-fat obsession has made us less healthy
It's nutrition dogma: saturated fat is bad for you. However, in 2013, a prominent cardiologist argued in BMJ that the long-held advice to reduce saturated fats has actually increased the risk of obesity and heart disease.
Nonetheless, it will take more than a few studies to sway the court of public-health opinion, but for now. Here are 6 astounding facts about saturated fat:
1. The war against fat was started by one man 2. Reducing fat has caused us to eat more carbs, which is not good 3. That’s true even of supposedly “healthy” unrefined carbs 4. Women have been particularly hurt by the demonization of fat 5. We shouldn’t be so quick to ban trans fats 6. We’ve been eating saturated fat for thousands of years
Some of Britain's most familiar species, such as the robin and starling, could end up in the firing line under new measures to allow destruction of nests and eggs if they present a danger, writes Jamie Doward
Researchers at Lancaster University, UK have taken a hint from the way the human lungs and heart constantly communicate with each other, to devise an innovative, highly flexible encryption algorithm that they claim can't be broken using the traditional methods of cyberattack.
Information can be encrypted with an array of different algorithms, but the question of which method is the most secure is far from trivial. Such algorithms need a "key" to encrypt and decrypt information; the algorithms typically generate their keys using a well-known set of rules that can only admit a very large, but nonetheless finite number of possible keys. This means that in principle, given enough time and computing power, prying eyes can always break the code eventually.
The researchers, led by Dr. Tomislav Stankovski, created an encryption mechanism that can generate a truly unlimited number of keys, which they say vastly increases the security of the communication. To do so, they took inspiration from the anatomy of the human body.
The Guardian The Raspberry Pi computer – how a bright British idea took flight The Guardian The elaborate skydive to a field in Berkshire was accomplished using credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computers which released the toy from the balloon when...