Jan 30, 2013

Surprised scientists find lifeforms six miles above Earth’s surface

posted by Laura Domela

or the first time, scientists have found lifeforms where nobody thought it was possible: floating in the troposphere, the slice of the atmosphere approximately four to six miles (eight to 15 kilometers) above Earth's surface. And not just a tiny few, but lot: 20% of every particle in that atmospheric layer are living organisms.
via Gizmodo

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Jan 30, 2013

Hollywood lobbies FAA to allow use of drones to shoot movies

posted by Laura Domela

Hollywood blockbusters have benefited from the rise of high-end digital cameras and improvements in CGI effects technology, reducing costs while delivering scenes that have never before been possible. A new initiative reportedly being spearheaded by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) hopes to give filmmakers yet another tech tool: aerial drones.

....

If you've never watched a scene shot with a drone before, you can check out an example of exactly what it's capable of in the video below.
via DVICE

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Jan 30, 2013

Graphene and human brain research to get around one billion euro in funding – each

posted by Laura Domela

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The European Commission has announced two Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships that could each receive funding of a staggering one billion euro (US$1.3 billion) over a period of ten years. The “Graphene Flagship” and the “Human Brain Project” are large-scale, science-driven research initiatives designed to “fuel revolutionary discoveries” and provide major benefits for European society – hopefully creating new jobs and providing economic growth along the way.

The Graphene Flagship and Human Brain Project were selected in a process that started with 21 eligible proposals that were received in response to a call published on July 20, 2010. From these 21, a shortlist of six was then selected in January 2011. These six then submitted their complete research proposals, which were evaluated by a panel of 25 experts in November and December 2012, with the two winning proposals announced this week.
via Gizmag

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Jan 30, 2013

This group of 40-something men have been playing a game of "tag" for over 20 years

posted by Laura Domela

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Earlier this month, Brian Dennehy started a new job as chief marketing officer of Nordstrom Inc. In his first week, he pulled aside a colleague to ask a question: How hard it is for a nonemployee to enter the building?

Mr. Dennehy doesn't have a particular interest in corporate security. He just doesn't want to be "It."

Mr. Dennehy and nine of his friends have spent the past 23 years locked in a game of "Tag."

It started in high school when they spent their morning break darting around the campus of Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Wash. Then they moved on—to college, careers, families and new cities. But because of a reunion, a contract and someone's unusual idea to stay in touch, tag keeps pulling them closer. Much closer.

The game they play is fundamentally the same as the schoolyard version: One player is "It" until he tags someone else. But men in their 40s can't easily chase each other around the playground, at least not without making people nervous, so this tag has a twist. There are no geographic restrictions and the game is live for the entire month of February. The last guy tagged stays "It" for the year.
via Wall Street Journal

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Image: Sean Raftis

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Jan 30, 2013

U.S. researchers map emotional intelligence of the brain

posted by Laura Domela

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We tend to think of reason and emotion as being two different things, but it turns out that there may not be a choice between the heart and the head. A University of Illinois team, led by neuroscience professor Aron Barbey, has made the first detailed 3D map of emotional and general intelligence in the brain, that shows a strong overlap of general and emotional intelligence.
via Gizmag

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Jan 29, 2013

The Art of Betrayal: The Secret History of MI6

posted by Laura Domela

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The Art of Betrayal: The Secret History of MI6: Life and Death in the British Secret Service tells the story of MI6's transformation since the end of WWII, using stories and anecdotes from actual, real-life agents who worked through and helped shape the course of world events over the last 70-or-so-years. 
via Uncrate

Check it out here 

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Jan 29, 2013

iRobot's telepresence robot first approved for hospital use

posted by Laura Domela

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Remember iRobot's RP-VITA telepresence robot? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared it for operation in hospitals, making it the first of its kind.

The RP-VITA is a telepresence robot controlled by an iPad interface and allows a doctor to "visit" patients and hospital staff remotely. Its navigation is sophisticated to the point where it can be told to go to a specified location without crashing into things at a busy hospital.
via DVICE

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Jan 29, 2013

Voice-controlled quadcopter follows you around, films everything

posted by Laura Domela

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Quadcopters come in all different shapes and sizes, with most of them skewing on the large side. The MeCam goes small — tiny enough to fit in the palm of your hand — and brings a few neat tricks with it.

The MeCam (not to be confused with this other product with the same name) is as barebones as a quadcopter gets. Its four tiny propellers carry a module with a 1GHz or 1.5GHz ARM processor, 1GB of RAM, SD card, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a camera. MeCam also has 14 real-time sensors to keep it from collisions, two auto-pilot algorithms and a video stabilizer by Morpho to create "perfect" panoramas.
via DVICE

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Jan 29, 2013

DARPA's 1.8-gigapixel cam touts surveillance from 20,000 feet

posted by Laura Domela

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It's been three years since we first heard about DARPA's ARGUS-IS, but thanks to a PBS Nova special entitled "Rise of the Drones," we finally have more information about the 1.8-gigapixel camera that is supposedly the highest-resolution surveillance system in the world. The documentary showed video footage of the imaging system in action, though the camera itself remains shrouded in mystery for security reasons. Designed to be used with UAVs like the Predator, the ARGUS-IS (which stands for Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance - Imaging System) can spot a six-inch object within a ten square mile radius from 20,000 feet in the air. As shown in the clip after the break, the high-res cam doesn't quite reveal facial features, but you can spot details like a bird flying around a building and the color of someone's clothes.
via Engadget

Continue reading and check out the video here 

Jan 29, 2013

A conversation with Nick Goldman: using DNA to store digital information

posted by Laura Domela

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Last Wednesday, a group of researchers at the European Bioinformatics Institute reported in the journal Nature that they had managed to store digital information in synthetic DNA molecules, then recreated the original digital files without error.

The amount of data, 739 kilobytes all told, is hardly prodigious by today’s microelectronic storage standards: all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets, a scientific paper, a color digital photo of the researchers’ laboratory, a 26-second excerpt from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech and a software algorithm. Nor is this the first time digital information has been stored in DNA.

But the researchers said their new technique, which includes error-correction software, was a step toward a digital archival storage medium of immense scale. Their goal is a system that will safely store the equivalent of one million CDs in a gram of DNA for 10,000 years.

If the new technology proves workable, it will have arrived just in time. The lead author, the British molecular biologist Nick Goldman, said he had conceived the idea with a colleague, Ewan Birney, while the two sat in a pub pondering the digital fire hose of genetic information their institute is now receiving — and the likelihood that it would soon outpace even today’s chips and disk drives, whose capacity continues to double roughly every two years, as predicted by Moore’s law.
via The New York Times

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