Science & Tech

AI Researchers Sign Open Letter Calling For Boycott Of South Korean University Over “Killer Robots”

AI Researchers Sign Open Letter Calling For Boycott Of South Korean University Over “Killer Robots”

Science & Tech
On Wednesday, AI and robotics experts from across the world penned an open letter calling for a boycott of a South Korean university after it opened a lab to explore the use of lethal autonomous weapons. The university in question is the government-run Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), which announced plans to begin work at a newly built Research Center for the Convergence of National Defense and Artificial Intelligence in a since-deleted post last February. Projects, it said, would involve AI-styled military tools, such as "AI-based command and decision systems" and an unmanned submarine.  The letter was signed by over 50 researchers based in 30 countries and led by Toby Walsh, a prominent artificial i...
Scientists Figure Out Why This Woman’s Bones Mysteriously Disappeared

Scientists Figure Out Why This Woman’s Bones Mysteriously Disappeared

Science & Tech
When a 44-year-old Scottish woman visited the doctor’s office with complaints of pain and loss of movement in her left arm and shoulder, doctors were perplexed. X-ray images showed a lesion in her humerus bone that would normally would be an indication of cancer, but biopsy results didn’t show cancer. For more than a year the woman not only suffered from pain and swelling, but her arm bone would fracture from minor injuries. It wasn’t until 18 months later doctors made a surprising discovery: her bones were “vanishing”. It's an extremely rare condition called Gorham-Stout disease (GSD) – or “vanishing bone disease” – where patients progressively lose bone mass. It's also a mystery to doctors who don'...
SalesLoft soars with $50 M Series C

SalesLoft soars with $50 M Series C

Science & Tech
SalesLoft, an Atlanta-based startup that helps companies manage the contact phase of the sales process, announced a $50 million Series C today. Insight Venture Partners was lead investor with participation from LinkedIn and Emergence Capital, which also participated in the company’s A and B rounds. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $75 million, so this was a significant capital infusion. What attracted investors was that SalesLoft has concentrated on an area of the sales pipeline called ‘sales engagement.’ It provides a framework for sales people around how to contact potential customers, how often and with what language. It is significant enough that it caught the attention of Jeff Horing, co-founder and managing director at Insight Venture Partners, ...
Study Suggests Alien Life Could Exist Within The Skies Of Venus

Study Suggests Alien Life Could Exist Within The Skies Of Venus

Science & Tech
A new study, led by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has reinvigorated the debate on whether or not alien life could be found in the clouds of Venus, a planet famed for its environmental extremes. Writing in the journal Astrobiology, the team suggest that future space missions should target the lower cloud layer of our sister world for exploration, noting that its moderate temperatures (60°C/140°F) and pressures, along with the presence of sulfuric acid aerosols, make it an “exceptional target”. Comparing the spectral (light-interacting) properties of this cloud layer to materials found on Earth, the team suggest that the soup over there is sufficient “to harbor microorganisms,” so much so that any biomass there coul...
Chinas 9-ton Tiangong-1 space station will burn up tonight, but no one knows quite where

Chinas 9-ton Tiangong-1 space station will burn up tonight, but no one knows quite where

Science & Tech
What goes up must come down. That’s generally the rule, anyway, certainly for spacecraft that have fulfilled their purpose and have no way to stay in orbit. Such is the case of Tiangong-1, China’s first space station, which after nearly 7 years in space is making an uncontrolled descent and should provide a nice fiery light show in the skies over… somewhere. Because there are so many unknowns about Tiangong-1’s trajectory, observers can only give an educated guess. The only thing they’re pretty sure about is that it’s going to drop some time in the next 24 hours — probably sometime tonight, and somewhere between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south. But owing to the speeds involved and the inherently unpredictable nature of how a large body will ...
Knitting machines power up with computer-generated patterns for 3D shapes

Knitting machines power up with computer-generated patterns for 3D shapes

Science & Tech
At last, a use for that industrial knitting machine you bought at a yard sale! Carnegie Mellon researchers have created a method that generates knitting patterns for arbitrary 3D shapes, opening the possibility of “on-demand knitting.” Think 3D printing, but softer. The idea is actually quite compelling for those of us who are picky about their knitwear. How often have we picked up a knit cap, glove, or scarf only to find it too long, too short, too tight, too loose, etc? If you fed your sartorial requirements (a 3D mesh) into this system from James McCann and students at CMU’s Textiles Lab, it could quickly spit out a pattern that a knitting machine could follow easily yet is perfectly suited for your purposes.
Google begins to roll out mobile-first indexing

Google begins to roll out mobile-first indexing

Science & Tech
Google announced this morning its “mobile-first” indexing of the web is now starting to roll out, after a year and a half of testing and experimentation. Back in 2016, Google first detailed its plan to change the way its search index operates, explaining how its algorithms would eventually be shifted to use the mobile version of a website’s content to index its pages, as well as to understand its structured data and to show snippets from the site in the Google search results. In December 2017, Google said it had begun to transition a small handful of sites to mobile-first indexing, but declined to say which properties had been made the move. Google isn’t shifting all sites over to the new mobile-first indexing today – just the first wave. Specifically, Googl...
Newly Unearthed Ancient Amazonian Geoglyphs Change What We Knew About Civilization Here

Newly Unearthed Ancient Amazonian Geoglyphs Change What We Knew About Civilization Here

Science & Tech
Tucked away in the remote Amazonian rainforest away from major rivers, researchers have unearthed the remains of hundreds of fortified villages built before the arrival of Europeans. Made up of different communities speaking a variety of languages, researchers believe the area was home to as many as 10 million people before Columbus arrived. Understanding how these societies impacted their environment thousands of years ago could help inform how we handle policy and sustainability concerns today. Archaeologists from the University of Exeter discovered 81 earthworks called geoglyphs – human-made ditches with square, circular, or hexagonal shapes – along 1,800 kilometers (1,120 miles). They are believed to have been continuously occupied by &l...
The Gory Guide To What Happens To Your Brain And Body After You Die

The Gory Guide To What Happens To Your Brain And Body After You Die

Science & Tech
Forensic crime drama CSI will be celebrating its 18th birthday this year and it appears our fascination with crime TV has not quit since the show made its debut in 2000. But have you ever wondered what actually happens to the body and brain right after we die? We have enlisted the help of Professor Jens Dreier from the Center for Stroke Research at the Charité University Medicine Berlin and Dr Stuart Hamilton, Home Office pathologist, to find out. So here it is, a step-by-step breakdown of everything that happens to the brain and body once the heart stops beating and the blood stops circulating – no gory deets left out. Ready? via GIPHY The immediate aftermath… Wikimedia CommonsChemical substances called neurotransmitters flood the ...
“The Hare Psychopathy Checklist”: The Test That Will Tell You If Someone Is A Sociopath

“The Hare Psychopathy Checklist”: The Test That Will Tell You If Someone Is A Sociopath

Science & Tech
In August, Dr Kevin Dutton of Oxford University ranked US president-elect Donald Trump as "above Adolf Hitler" on a standard scale used to measure potential psychopathy in adults, according to the science news site Phys.org (Hillary Clinton scored pretty highly, too). That sounds like a cheap shot. But Trump does display some of the symptoms clinicians look for when trying to diagnose psychopaths and sociopaths. (Many psychiatrists and criminologists use the terms interchangeably, but experts disagree on whether the two are meaningfully different.) In fact, most people display some symptoms of psychopathy — superficiality, glibness, promiscuous sexual behavior, etc. — and that does not make you a psychopath. In a pol...
Study Suggests That Americans May Be Aging More Slowly Over Time

Study Suggests That Americans May Be Aging More Slowly Over Time

Science & Tech
A new study, published in the journal Demography, makes a rather curious claim: Americans appear to be biologically aging far slower than they are chronologically aging. There are a bunch of implications attached to this research, but before we go into those, you’re probably wondering what biological age actually is. Your chronological age is determined by how many times you orbit the Sun. Twenty-five orbits, 25 years old, easy peasy. As it happens, though, the concept of biological age also exists, and it’s likely mismatched with your chronological age. As you go through life, your body develops and changes. Your blood pressure, respiratory characteristics, muscle mass, cholesterol levels, immune system resilience, and so forth could a...
One In 10 People Found To Have Traces Of Cocaine On Their Fingerprints Despite Never Using It

One In 10 People Found To Have Traces Of Cocaine On Their Fingerprints Despite Never Using It

Science & Tech
A study has found that about one in 10 people may have traces of class A drugs on their fingerprints despite not taking them, but it’s possible to differentiate them from those that have. The study from the University of Surrey, published in Clinical Chemistry, tested the fingerprints of 50 volunteers who said they had not used drugs and about 25 who had taken cocaine or heroin in the past 24 hours. Of those who were drug-free, about 13 percent had traces of cocaine on their fingerprints and 1 percent had a trace of heroin, even after washing their hands. But by setting a cut-off level, the researchers could tell who had simply been exposed to the drugs in the environment and those who were active users. "Believe it or not, cocaine is a ...
Africa Is Being Split In Two – But What Does That Mean?

Africa Is Being Split In Two – But What Does That Mean?

Science & Tech
Reports are cropping up online that appear to show deep chasms, exacerbated by rainfall, in Kenya’s Narok County. One tear in the earth is reportedly 15 meters (50 feet) deep and 20 meters (66 feet) wide. Speaking to the Daily Nation, a geologist has suggested that this odd phenomenon is the manifestation of “zones of weakness” within the region. Some of these cracks are new, but some are old ones previously buried in fresh volcanic ash, and heavy rains have suddenly washed the ash out and exposed them. This has certainly brought some geological drama to the area, which has seen families evacuated tout suite. One family were having dinner at home when they were forced to flee after a new fissure opened up beneath their feet and re...
Self-Employed People Are Happier Even If They Work More Hours And Have No Job Security

Self-Employed People Are Happier Even If They Work More Hours And Have No Job Security

Science & Tech
In not-so-shocking news, life is better when you’re your own boss – or if you’re the boss of other people. A study by psychologists at the Universities of Sheffield and Exeter indicates that self-employed people are more engaged and enjoy the challenges of their jobs to a larger extent than non-managers employed at organizations.   Using a voluntary online questionnaire posted on a personnel consultancy website, Professors Peter Warr and Ilke Inceoglu surveyed 4,855 employed adults in the UK, US, Australia, and New Zealand on what aspects of their jobs they valued or disliked. Participants were mainly in the sectors of retail, healthcare, finance, computer services, and education; 7 percent worked for government agencies. After an...
Male Birth Control Pill Is Effective And Safe, According To A Recent Trial

Male Birth Control Pill Is Effective And Safe, According To A Recent Trial

Science & Tech
Scientists are one step closer to achieving gender parity, at least as far as birth control is concerned. While there are currently several contraceptive options targeted at women, there are only two for men – condoms and vasectomies. The good news is that there are various reversible male birth control prototypes currently undergoing clinical trials. And the latest, a male oral contraceptive called dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU), appears to be safe and effective when taken daily for a month. The results of a recent study were presented by researchers at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago, on Sunday. "These promising results are unprecedented in the development of a prototype male pill," Stephanie Page, pr...
Here Are A Few Things That Even Einstein Got Wrong

Here Are A Few Things That Even Einstein Got Wrong

Science & Tech
Albert Einstein is revered with reason as one of the greatest physicists that ever lived and his two most famous theories, special and general relativity, have surpassed every single test we have thrown at them. If your hypothesis goes against Einstein’s idea, the odds are not in your favor, but he didn’t always get things right. It would be inhuman to be constantly correct and biases and his personal view of the world influenced the great scientist just as much as they influence us all. We are probably luckier that our work has not had the same level of scrutiny. So what have been Einstein's biggest science mistakes? A Big Mistake But Maybe Not A Terrible One Einstein and most of the scientists at the time believed that the universe was sta...
The Internet Is Losing Its Mind Over This Dog. Here’s The Scientific Reason You Can See A Human Face When You Look At It

The Internet Is Losing Its Mind Over This Dog. Here’s The Scientific Reason You Can See A Human Face When You Look At It

Science & Tech
Stop what you’re doing and look at this dog. Look at it! There is no Photoshop trickery here (apparently). It’s just a weird-looking dog with a human face. Posted on Reddit, the dog is called Yogi, and has been propelled into Internet stardom. It’s a 1-year-old Shih-poo, and it’s gone viral thanks to its unusual appearance. The dog’s owner, Chantal Desjardins, told BuzzFeed News that she “never really noticed” her dog looked like a person until she posted a picture of him on Facebook. But why does it look so human? Well, there might be a scientific explanation. - “It looks like Nicolas Cage dressed as an Ewok,” said user Neurorational on Reddit. “The more I stare at the dog the more I&rsqu...
Those Enamel Protecting and Sensitivity Reducing Toothpastes Don’t Really Work

Those Enamel Protecting and Sensitivity Reducing Toothpastes Don’t Really Work

Science & Tech
A day spent guzzling coffee and sodas, eating, and washing it all down with a glass of red wine in the evening really takes a toll on our teeth, and even the act of brushing them contributes to their continual decline. Both mechanical abrasion and the acids in our diets continually wear away at our teeth’s protective enamel coating, eventually exposing the porous dentin layer below. This, in turn, leads to pain and temperature-related sensitivity because the nerve ending-studded pulp tissue is on the other end of the dentin tunnels. And unfortunately, it seems that the specialty products that claim to either prevent further erosion and reduce sensitivity from existing enamel surface loss don’t actually work. According to a study in Scie...
Scientists Find Over 500 Genes Linked To Intelligence

Scientists Find Over 500 Genes Linked To Intelligence

Science & Tech
How much a person’s intelligence is governed by nature or nurture has been debated throughout the ages. A new piece of research has thrown some interesting evidence into the mix, identifying over 500 genes that appear to be linked to sharp intelligence. The research is the largest study looking at how genes and intelligence are linked to date. Using the heaps of data gathered by the UK Biobank, scientists at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Southampton, and Harvard University compared DNA variants in over 248,000 people from across the world. As they explain in the Nature journal Molecular Psychiatry, they managed to find 538 genes that play a role in intellectual ability, along with 187 regions in the human genome that are linked to...
Famed Archaeologist Found To Have Faked His Discoveries

Famed Archaeologist Found To Have Faked His Discoveries

Science & Tech
An archaeologist well known for ancient discoveries mainly in Europe is suspected of having faked some of his most important finds, possibly even running a forger’s workshop, it has been revealed. James Mellaart, who died in 2012, was most famous for discovering Çatalhöyük, a 9,000-year-old settlement in Turkey, in 1961. This settlement, one of the world’s oldest known towns, is not under dispute. Inhabited for around 2,000 years, it has been a goldmine for archaeologists studying the effects of the discovery of agriculture and the domestication of animals on humans. What made it truly special though was the discovery of a rich variety of Stone Age art, from figurines to murals on the walls depicting aurochs, lions, hea...