Tech news stories

Researchers link robots into surveillance teams
18th April 2017 | news.cornell.edu | Tech

If you were monitoring a security camera and saw someone set down a backpack and walk away, you might pay special attention – especially if you had been alerted to watch that particular person. According to Cornell researchers, this might be a job robots could do better than humans, by communicating at the speed of light and sharing images.


Alt: U.S. Navy ploughs $1.7 million into research to create network of spy robots that can snoop on humans ‘as a single entity with many eyes’

A group of engineers just submitted this incredible proposal for Trump’s border ‘wall’ that’s actually a $15 billion hyperloop
18th April 2017 | businessinsider.com | Misc., Tech

The Trump administration is reviewing design bids for its proposed wall along the US-Mexico border. But not all plans are interpreting the word “wall” literally.


Alt: Trump Asks For “Border Wall” Designs. Engineers Create Hilarious (And Useful) Alternative

Physicists Say They’ve Created a Fluid With ‘Negative Mass’
17th April 2017 | sciencealert.com | Tech

Researchers in the US say they’ve created a fluid with negative mass in the lab… which is exactly as mind-bending as it sounds.

What it means is that, unlike pretty much every other known physical object, when you push this fluid, it accelerates backwards instead of moving forwards.

New infrared-emitting device could allow energy harvesting from waste heat
17th April 2017 phys.org | Tech

A new reconfigurable device that emits patterns of thermal infrared light in a fully controllable manner could one day make it possible to collect waste heat at infrared wavelengths and turn it into usable energy.

Device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun
17th April 2017 phys.org | Tech

Imagine a future in which every home has an appliance that pulls all the water the household needs out of the air, even in dry or desert climates, using only the power of the sun.

Fungal Pesticides Offer A Growing Alternative To Traditional Chemicals
17th April 2017 | npr.org | Earth, Tech

Pesticides based on fungi are just one example of biopesticides, a group that also includes bacteria and biochemicals derived from plants.

Biopesticides are a tiny segment of the market for now – but their use is projected to grow at a faster rate than traditional synthetic pesticides over the next few years.

Glowing bacteria offer hope for safe detection of 100m landmines
17th April 2017 | theguardian.com | Tech

A team of researchers at an Israeli university has successfully tested a technology using fluorescent bacteria and lasers that could become a safer system for detecting buried landmines.

An estimated 100m landmines are scattered in some 70 countries, a legacy of often long-past conflict, and the devices injure up to 20,000 people a year.

Sperm Are Being Turned Into Tiny Weapons to Attack Gynaecological Cancer
17th April 2017 | sciencealert.com | Tech

Getting enough toxic material to the right place in your body for it to kill tumours – while not damaging anything else – has always required thinking outside of the box.

Google’s AI has learned how to draw by looking at your doodles
17th April 2017 | theverge.com | Tech

Remember last year when Google released an AI-powered web tool that played Pictionary with your doodles? Well, surprise! Those doodles you drew have now been used to teach Google’s AI how to draw.

Muons Bring New Physics within Reach
17th April 2017 | scientificamerican.com | Space, Tech

In the search for new physics, experiments based on high-energy collisions inside massive atom smashers are coming up empty-handed. So physicists are putting their faith in more-precise methods: less crash-and-grab and more watching-ways-of-wobbling.

Many healthy women are diagnosed with cancer even though the cancer would never have made them ill
13th April 2017 sciencenordic.com | Humans, Tech

The study concludes that screening does not stop the advance of breast cancer and that nearly one third of the tumours diagnosed in women offered screening are actually overdiagnosis.

This means that healthy women who would never have become ill from breast cancer are operated on and exposed to radiotherapy and possibly chemotherapy.


Related: Benefits of PSA test to screen for prostate cancer are roughly equal to its harms, expert panel says

DNA double helix structures crystals
10th April 2017 | sciencedaily.com | Tech

Engineers have now succeeded in producing complex crystal lattices, so-called clathrates, from nanoparticles using DNA strands. The programmed synthesis of clathrates represents a template for the precision modelling of novel nanomaterials.

A Baby With 3 Genetic Parents Seems Healthy, But Questions Remain
10th April 2017 | npr.org | Tech

Last fall, the New York-based reproductive endocrinologist John Zhang made headlines when he reported the birth of the world’s first “three-parent” baby — a healthy boy carrying the blended DNA of the birth mother, her husband and an unrelated female donor.

One-third of Americans are willing to eat lab-grown meat regularly
10th April 2017 arstechnica.com | Animal Life, Tech

Are we on the cusp of the consumer biotech age, when lab-grown meat will be just as common as farmed meat? Recently, a company called Memphis Meats started selling in-vitro meat (IVM) that apparently tastes just like delicious chicken and duck. But if we want the price on an IVM burger to get below $1,000, we need consumers to buy lots of the stuff.

Laser weapons edge toward use in US military
9th April 2017 phys.org | Tech

A sci-fi staple for decades, laser weapons are finally becoming reality in the US military, albeit with capabilities a little less dramatic than at the movies.

Sock puppet accounts unmasked by the way they write and post
9th April 2017 | newscientist.com | Tech

“Sock puppets” are the scourge of online discussion . Multiple accounts controlled by the same user can dominate comment forums and spread fake news. But now there’s a way to unmask the puppeteers.

A study of nine websites that use comment service Disqus to let readers post responses to articles found that sock puppets can be identified based on their writing style, posting activity and relationship with other users.

This Robot Works 500% Faster Than Humans, and It Puts Thousands of Jobs at Risk
9th April 2017 futurism.com | Tech

Meet SAM — short for Semi-Automated Mason — created by the New York based Construction Robotics. SAM is capable of laying 3,000 bricks per day, and he is coming to the U.K. in a few months.

SAM can work about 500 percent faster than humans, and discrepancy in labor cost that causes is significant.

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