Items tagged with Science

A group of physicists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has released a new study that involves lasers and a cloud of lithium atoms going dark as part of the Pauli blocking theory. This is the first observation of Pauli blocking's effect as it relates to how atoms scatter light. When one thinks of something becoming invisible, they may think back to the Cloak of Invisibility from Harry Potter. But what the team at MIT achieved is quite a bit different than what happened as Harry wrapped the cloak around himself to become undetectable so he could go unseen.  The Pauli exclusion principle, or Pauli blocking, is a fundamental property of atomic physics where an atom's electrons... Read more...
NASA's Juno probe has been beaming back some very interesting pictures as of late. The pictures have been giving scientists more insight into the atmosphere of Jupiter as well as the planet's Great Red Spot. Before NASA begins its Artemis program early next year, it is going through all the new data that is being sent back to them from the space probe Juno. Juno first entered the orbit of Jupiter back in 2016. It has utilized a specialized suite of instruments in its 37 passes to send data from scans below the planet's cloud deck to scientists back here on Earth. Some of that data has surprised even NASA. Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute... Read more...
Though it has been more than a few weeks, and we have long since passed the end of 2020, the U.K’s most powerful supercomputer is now operational. Powered by NVIDIA hardware, the Cambridge-1 is a $100 million, 400 petaflop beast of a computer that ranks “among the world’s top 50 fastest computers and is powered by 100 percent renewable energy.” Under the hood, the Cambridge-1 supercomputer is powered by 80 DGX A100 systems tied together, each featuring NVIDIA A100 GPUs, BlueField-2 DPUs, and NVIDIA HDR InfiniBand networking.  The whole system is an NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD that delivers the aforementioned 400 petaflops of AI performance and eight petaflops of Linpack performance... Read more...
Scientists and researchers are forever on the pursuit of increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence technologies, especially today, with AI playing such a big role in so many different products and services. One of the more interesting developments in AI has to do with nanowire networks being trained to solve simple problems in a chaotic state. The underlying concept is based on the scientific theory that human brains function best when they are "at the edge of chaos," otherwise known as a "critical state." This is where some neuroscientists say humans can achieve maximum brain performance. As such, an international team of scientists at the University of Sydney and Japan's National Institute... Read more...
Researchers working on a joint United States-China team are gaining a lot of attention for their most recent breakthrough. The team, which published its findings in the science journal Cell, managed to create hybrid human-monkey embryos, otherwise known as chimeras. If this sounds like something out of science-fiction, it's actually now a reality we may soon have to address.  In this study, the research team started off with macaque monkey embryos and then injected them with human stem cells. Over 130 embryos were used, each injected with 25 human cells. Ten days after the injection of human extended pluripotent stem cells, 103 embryos remained viable. However, after just 19 days, the number... Read more...
The world was a different place in the 1980s, and we're not just talking about puffy hair styles held up with Aquanet and parachute pants. Parts of our planet were physically different. For example, the Aral Sea had not yet dried up, and the foliage in Madagascar was far more lush. You can see these changes in what is being described as the "biggest update to Google Earth since 2017," as part of a vastly enhanced timelapse feature. Of course, Google did not come into existence until the late 1990s, and Google Earth debuted in 2001. So how is Google able to pull off a timelapse of the past three and a half decades? Through the use of 24 million satellite photos spanning the past 37 years, which... Read more...
Taking my dog out for a whiz can be an experience—without fail, if I'm in a hurry, she is not, and must wander and circle several different areas in search of that precise spot sufficient enough to relieve herself on. And sometimes she'll be in mid-squat and decide, 'Nah, this ain't the place'. I never considered she might actually be tapping into the Earth's magnetic field, whether it's to find a spot to pee, or wander from one place to the next. But maybe she is, according to some interesting new research. As outlined in a new report from the eLife Sciences initiative this is a real possibility. Maybe not the peeing part, but there is evidence to suggest canines have a sort of built-in... Read more...
A group of scientists has been working to create a machine able to take the activity in the human brain, feed it into a computer system, and output sentences that are recognizable. The team says that they have trained algorithms to be able to transfer brain patterns into sentences in real-time with a word error rate as low as three percent. According to the team working on the project, earlier efforts in the area were only able to decode fragments of spoken words or a small percentages of words contained in particular phrases. The project was conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, using a quartet of volunteers who read sentences aloud while electrodes recorded... Read more...
Scientists at the University of Bristol and the Technical University of Denmark have made an incredible breakthrough discovery. Researchers for the institutions have achieved quantum teleportation between two computer chips for the first time. They were able to send information from one chip to another, instantly, without the chips being physically or electronically connected. The scientists say that the breakthrough opens the door for quantum computers and the quantum internet. The teleportation is possible thanks to a phenomenon called quantum entanglement, where two particles are so entwined that they can communicate over long distances. With quantum entanglement, changing the properties of... Read more...
While the construction of new nuclear powerplants in the United States (and in other countries) seems to be falling out of favor, the same can’t be said for their use by the U.S. Military. The US Navy still relies on nuclear power for the bulk of its large warships. But while those ships are powered by nuclear fission reactors, the Navy is talking up the possibility of using much more promising fusion reactors. The problem is that [safely] harnessing nuclear fusion is incredibly more difficult than nuclear fission, and the currentspace requirements are immense. Nuclear fission occurs when isotopes of uranium or plutonium are bombarded with subatomic particles, splitting them apart... Read more...
One of a human baby’s most exciting developmental steps is learning and repeating their first word. However, we still do not fully understand what happens in the brain that helps this learning process takes place. Researchers are now a little closer to understanding speech development, however, and the methods they've employed take a cue from the science fiction movie, Inception. Scientists have actually implanted memories in birds' brains to teach them songs that the birds have previously not heard before. Scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern have been working with cute little zebra finches over the last few years to unlock the mysteries of speech development. Zebra finches... Read more...
How long will human beings be the dominant species on the planet? One scientist argues that the reign of humans is coming to an end. Dr. James Lovelock recently contended that humans will be overcome and replaced by cyborgs. Dr. James Lovelock detailed the fall of humanity and the rise of cyborgs in his most recent publication Novacene. Lovelock is not the first person to argue that cyborgs will take over the earth. Elon Musk has contended that human beings will need to embrace artificial intelligence (AI) if they want to survive. He recently unveiled plans for his "Neuralink", which would literally attach wires to a person’s skull. Lovelock’s perspective is rather unique. He defines... Read more...
Global warming, nuclear warfare, and a new plague are potential ways that the human race can come to an end, to name just a few. Or an asteroid could barrel into our home planet and leave in its wake mass destruction, causing an extinction event. It's the thing of science fiction, but also real-life. In fact, a rock estimated to be around 187 to 427 feet wide recently zoomed past Earth, and hardly anyone noticed, including scientists. It wouldn't have destroyed humankind, but it could have decimated a really large area. Traveling at nearly 54,000 miles per hour (MPH), the hunk of rock referred to as 'Asteroid 2019 OK' hurled through space and missed Earth by only 45,000 miles. That may seem like... Read more...
An amateur astronomer and satellite tracker named Ralph Vandebergh has captured a very rare image of the secret U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane in orbit. The spacecraft is very small and difficult to find in orbit, but Vandebergh says that he had been hunting for the spacecraft in orbit for months before he finally found it in May. He snapped the fuzzy image of the X-37B seen below in June. He used the same trajectory from his initial discovery of the spacecraft to predict where it should be in mid-June when he was ready to snap the images. The catch was that the spacecraft failed to meet the expected time and path because it had shifted to a different orbit. Vandebergh says that a network of... Read more...
NASA has had an exciting month; it announced early in June that it intended to open the ISS to private astronauts tours for $35,000 per night. In addition, NASA has now announced that on June 14 a robot called Bumble became the first Astrobee robot to fly under its own power in space. Astrobee robots are free-flying systems meant to help researchers test new tech in zero gravity. Robots like Bumble can also perform routine work along with the astronauts living and working on the ISS. NASA sees a future where robots like Astrobee can be caretakers for the NASA lunar gateway and play a part in NASA's future missions exploring the Moon and Mars. Testing Bumble out on the ISS wasn't as simple... Read more...
It's not quite Skynet, but scientists have created "lifelike" machines seem like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. Researchers from Cornell University has crafted what they call artificial machines using synthetic DNA that can move on their own, grow, evolve, consume resources and eventually die.  Now before you start putting on your judgmental hats and questioning the ethics of the researchers, they are quick to point out that their creations are not true "living" organisms. "We are introducing a brand-new, lifelike material concept powered by its very own artificial metabolism," writes Dan Luo, who serves as a professor of biological and environmental engineer at Cornell. "We are... Read more...
SpaceX has performing admirably in its efforts to move the U.S. one step closer to being able to put its own astronauts into orbit again. The company was able to successfully launch its Crew Dragon capsule early this month, and the capsule later splashed down safely on return from the ISS. SpaceX and its CEO, Elon Musk, have a future that sees SpaceX doing more than putting astronauts into low Earth orbit; and that future includes interplanetary missions. Before those missions can be considered, the spacecraft that will be used has to be built and tested; SpaceX is into that testing process with Musk offering up a video of the critical heat shield tiles in testing. Heat shield tiles are the difference... Read more...
Elon Musk and SpaceX have been doing some very cool things over the past decade with rockets. While the rockets SpaceX has been sending into space aren’t the sort capable of flying to the moon or Mars, they are capable of ferrying cargo safely to the ISS in Earth orbit and mostly returning to Earth in one piece. The big news this week was the unveiling of the SpaceX BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) spacecraft that can fly to the moon and beyond. During the unveiling of the rocket, Musk said that the BFR already has its first passenger booked, but during the event, no names were offered. When Musk was asked if he was going to be the first passenger to fly around the moon, he simply tweeted a Japanese... Read more...
Engineers and researchers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to find problems inside the human body that allow doctors to determine what's going on internally without having to resort to cutting. A team from the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) led by Professor Dina Katabi is working on a new wireless system that the team likens to an in-body GPS system called ReMix. The system is designed specifically to locate ingestible implants inside the body using a low-power wireless signal from outside the body. MIT Prof. Dina Katabi The idea is that the ReMix wireless system could allow medical personnel to determine the exact location of ingestible implants... Read more...
A group of researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a new battery breakthrough that could have a big impact on runtimes for the gadgets. The researchers have developed new material that can address the two chief complaints of batteries used in electronic devices now: relatively runtimes life and unwanted heat production. The team has applied for a patent for a magnetic material that has a unique honeycomb lattice structure that offers distinct electronical properties. “Semiconductor diodes and amplifiers, which often are made of silicon or germanium, are key elements in modern electronic devices,” said Deepak K. Singh, head researcher on the project, who also serves... Read more...
Researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) have announced that they have created a new material that is a key step in creating the next generation of supercomputers. These next-generation quantum computers will be far faster than current supercomputers while consuming much less energy. The scientists on the project work in the OSU College of Science and the compound they have developed is an inorganic material that adopts a crystal structure. The material is capable of sustaining a new state of matter that is known as quantum spin liquid. That new compound is lithium osmium oxide and it has osmium atoms that form a honeycomb-like lattice, and can enforce a phenomenon called "magnetic... Read more...
MIT is poised to make a massive investment into the future of nuclear fusion power. This move is significant because fusion power is potentially inexhaustible and produces zero carbon emissions. Fusion power could quite literally change the world as we know it today. MIT has announced a new collaboration with a private company called Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) that will see $50 million poured into the creation of a working fusion power plant. MIT and CFS want to perform rapid, staged research that will lead to a new generation of fusion experiments and ultimately power plants based on advancement in high-temperature superconductors. The work will be built on decades of federal government... Read more...
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