Tag: new (page 63 of 171)

Microsoft to help NASA scientists virtually explore Mars with HoloLens





Excerpt from tech.firstpost.com


The US space agency has teamed up with Microsoft to develop a new software that will enable scientists to work on Mars virtually using a wearable technology called Microsoft HoloLens.

Developed by Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, the software called OnSight will give researchers a means to plan and, along with the Mars Curiosity rover, conduct science operations on the Red Planet, the US space agency said in a statement.

“OnSight gives our rover scientists the ability to walk around and explore Mars right from their offices,” said Dave Lavery, program executive for the Mars Science Laboratory mission at Nasa Headquarters in Washington, DC.

OnSight will use real rover data and extend the Curiosity mission’s existing planning tools by creating a 3D simulation of the Martian environment where scientists around the world can meet. Program scientists will be able to examine the rover’s worksite from a first-person perspective, plan new activities and preview the results of their work firsthand.

“We believe OnSight will enhance the ways in which we explore Mars and share that journey of exploration with the world,” added Jeff Norris, JPL’s OnSight project manager.

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Google Chairman Eric Schmidt: "The Internet Will Disappear"


 


Excerpt from hollywoodreporter.com

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt on Thursday predicted the end of the Internet as we know it.

At the end of a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where his comments were webcast, he was asked for his prediction on the future of the web. “I will answer very simply that the Internet will disappear,” Schmidt said.

“There will be so many IP addresses…so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it,” he explained. “It will be part of your presence all the time. Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room.”

Concluded Schmidt: “A highly personalized, highly interactive and very, very interesting world emerges.”

The panel, entitled The Future of the Digital Economy, also featured Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and others.
Earlier in the debate, Schmidt discussed the issue of market dominance. The European Union has been looking at Google’s search market dominance in a long-running antitrust case, and the European parliament late last year even called for a breakup.
“You now see so many strong tech platforms coming, and you are seeing a reordering and a future reordering of dominance or leaders or whatever term you want to use because of the rise of the apps on the smartphone,” Schmidt said Thursday. “All bets are off at this point as to what the smartphone app infrastructure is going to look like” as a “whole new set” of players emerges to power smartphones, which are nothing but super-computers, the Google chairman argued. “I view that as a completely open market at this point.”

Asked about his recent trip to North Korea, Schmidt said the country has many Internet connections through data phones, but there is no roaming and web usage is “heavily supervised.” Schmidt said “it’s very much surveillance of use,” which he said was not good for the country and others.

Sandberg and Schmidt lauded the Internet as an important way to give more people in the world a voice. Currently, only 40 percent of people have Internet access, the Facebook COO said, adding that any growth in reach helps extend people’s voice and increase economic opportunity. “I’m a huge optimist,” she said about her outlook for the industry. “Imagine what we can do” once the world gets to 50 percent, 60 percent and more in terms of Internet penetration.
She cited women as being among the beneficiaries, saying the Internet narrows divides.

Schmidt similarly said that broadband can address governance issues, information needs, personal issues, women empowerment needs and education issues. “The Internet is the greatest empowerment of citizens … in many years,” he said. “Suddenly citizens have a voice, they can be heard.”
During another technology panel at the World Economic Forum on Thursday, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries and others answered questions on the need to regulate privacy standards on the Internet and for tech companies following the Snowden case, the Sony hack and the like.


Mayer said that the personalized Internet “is a better Internet,” emphasizing: “We don’t sell your personal data … We don’t transfer your personal data to third parties.” She said users own their data and need to have control, adding that people give up data to the government for tax assessment, social services and other purposes.
Fries said Liberty Global subscribers view billions of hours of content and generate billions of clicks, but added that “today we do nothing.” He explained: “We generate zero revenue from all of that information.” But he acknowledged that big data was big business for a lot of people.

Both executives said transparency was important to make sure users know privacy standards and the like.

Gunther Oettinger, a conservative German politician serving as the European Union’s commissioner for digital economy and society, said on the panel that “we need a convincing global understanding, we need a UN agency for data protection and security.” Asked what form that “understanding” should have, he said he was looking for “clear, pragmatic, market-based regulation.” Explained Oettinger: “It’s a public-private partnership.”

Fries said such a solution was likely not to happen in the near term, given the size of the EU. “I think it is going to take several years,” he said, adding that some countries’ parliaments would likely take a stab at it.

But he warned that a joint solution would make more sense. “We don’t want Germany to have its own Internet,” Fries said. “Some countries may build their own Internets” and “balkanize” the web, he warned.

Mayer said on the issue of regulation: “I like Tim’s idea better of the beneficent marketplace.” She spoke of fellow panelist and computer specialist Tim Berners-Lee, known as the inventor of the World Wide Web.

Asked how Yahoo stores and handles client records, she said the online giant “changed the way we store and communicate data” after Snowden and also changed encryptions between data centers. And the company protects users through encryption methods, she added. Mayer said that trust and confidence of Yahoo users has rebounded since.

Mayer was also asked what happens if a government asks for a user’s data, a question that has new significance after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, which have led some to call for increased surveillance powers of the Internet for governments. Mayer said Yahoo always assesses if such a request is reasonable. “We have a very good track record for standing up to what’s not reasonable,” she said.

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft releases new images of dwarf planet Ceres

ceres-012015.jpg
This processed image, taken Jan. 13, 2015, shows the dwarf planet Ceres as seen from the Dawn spacecraft. The image hints at craters on the surface of Ceres. Dawn's framing camera took this image at 238,000 miles from Ceres. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)


Excerpt from foxnews.com

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is approaching the dwarf planet Ceres and new images released Monday show a closer view of the planet’s surface.
"We know so much about the solar system and yet so little about dwarf planet Ceres. Now, Dawn is ready to change that," said Marc Rayman, Dawn's chief engineer and mission director, according to a news release from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The NASA spacecraft is scheduled to conduct a 16-month study of Ceres and will send increasingly better and better images as it gets closer to the planet. It is the first time a spacecraft has ever visited a dwarf planet.
"Already, the [latest] images hint at first surface structures such as craters," said Andreas Nathues, lead investigator for the framing camera team at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gottingen, Germany.
The images, taken by Dawn 238,000 miles from Ceres on January 13, are at about 80 percent the resolution of Hubble Space Telescope images taken in 2003 and 2004. The next set of images to be released by Dawn – at the end of January – will be the clearest yet, NASA says.
Ceres, which lies between Mars and Jupiter, has an average diameter of 590 miles and is the largest body in the main asteroid belt. It is believed to contain a large amount of ice and scientists say the surface of the planet could be concealing an ocean.
"The team is very excited to examine the surface of Ceres in never-before-seen detail," said Chris Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission. "We look forward to the surprises this mysterious world may bring."
The Dawn spacecraft has already delivered more than 30,000 images of Vesta – the second largest body in the main asteroid belt – during an orbit in 2011 and 2012.

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Meteorite is ‘hard drive’ from space ~ Researchers decode ancient recordings from asteroid ~ BBC


Pallasite meteorite
The Esquel meteorite consists of gem-quality crystals embedded in metal.



Excert from bbc.com

Researchers have decoded ancient recordings from fragments of an asteroid dating back billions of years to the start of the Solar System. 

They found tiny "space magnets" in meteorites which retain a memory of the birth and death of the asteroid's core.
Like the data recorded on the surface of a computer hard drive, the magnetic signals written in the space rock reveal how Earth's own metallic core and magnetic field may one day die.

The work appears in Nature journal.

Using a giant X-ray microscope, called a synchrotron, the team was able to read the signals that formed more than four-and-a-half billion years ago, soon after the birth of the Solar System.

Start Quote

It's like a cosmic archaeological mission”
Dr James Bryson University of Cambridge
The meteorites are pieces of a parent asteroid that originally came from asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter.
They represents the left-over fragments of a planet that failed to form. The magnetic recording within it traps a signal of the precise moments when an iron-rich core formed in the asteroid as well as when it froze, killing its magnetic field.
The new picture of metallic core solidification in the asteroid provide clues about the magnetic field and iron-rich core of Earth.
Core values "Ideas about how the Earth's core evolved through [our planet's] history are really changing at the moment," lead researcher Dr Richard Harrison, from the University of Cambridge, told BBC News.
"We believe that Earth's magnetic field is linked to core solidification. Earth's solid inner core may have started to form at very interesting time in terms of the evolution of life on Earth.
"By studying an asteroid we get to see this in fast forward. We can see the start of core solidification in the magnetic records as well as its end, and start to think about how these processes work on Earth."

Magnetic fieldThe Earth's magnetic field will likely die off when the core completely freezes
The meteorites studied by the team originally fell to Earth in Argentina, and are composed of gem-quality crystals enclosed in a metallic matrix of iron and nickel. 

Tiny particles, smaller than one thousandth the width of a human hair, trapped within the metal have retained the magnetic signature of the parent asteroid from its birth in the early Solar System.

"We're taking ancient magnetic field measurements in nano-scale materials to the highest ever resolution in order to piece together the magnetic history of asteroids - it's like a cosmic archaeological mission," said Dr James Bryson, the paper's lead author. 

"Since asteroids are much smaller than Earth, they cooled much more quickly, so these processes occur on a shorter timescales, enabling us to study the whole process of core solidification."

Prof Wyn William, from the University of Edinburgh, who was not involved in the study, commented: "To be able to get a time stamp on these recordings, to get a cooling rate and the time of solidification, is fantastic. It's a very nice piece of work."

The key to the long-lived stability of the recording is the atomic-scale structure of the iron-nickel particles that grew slowly in the asteroid core and survived in the meteorites. 

Making a final comment on the results, Dr Harrison said: "In our meteorites we've been able to capture both the beginning and end of core freezing, which will help us understand how these processes affected the Earth in the past and provide a possible glimpse of what might happen in the future." 

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Banned TED Talk: The Science Delusion ~ Is science way off about the nature of our reality?



The following statement has been posted by Tedstaff at blog.ted.com: "After due diligence, including a survey of published scientific research and recommendations from our Science Board and our community, we have decided that Graham Hancock’s and Rupert Sheldrake’s talks from TEDxWhitechapel should be removed from distribution on the TEDx YouTube channel... All talks on the TEDxTalks channel represent the opinion of the speaker, not of TED or TEDx, but we feel a responsibility not to provide a platform for talks which appear to have crossed the line into pseudoscience.

Response to the TED Scientific Board’s Statement
Rupert Sheldrake
March 18, 2013

I would like to respond to TED’s claims that my TEDx talk “crossed the line into pseudoscience”, contains ”serious factual errors” and makes “many misleading statements.”
This discussion is taking place because the militant atheist bloggers Jerry Coyne and P.Z. Myers denounced me, and attacked TED for giving my talk a platform. I was invited to give my talk as part of a TEDx event in Whitechapel, London, called “Challenging Existing Paradigms.” That’s where the problem lies: my talk explicitly challenges the materialist belief system. It summarized some of the main themes of my recent book Science Set Free (in the UK called The Science Delusion). Unfortunately, the TED administrators have publically aligned themselves with the old paradigm of materialism, which has dominated science since the late nineteenth century.
TED say they removed my talk from their website on the advice of their Scientific Board, who also condemned Graham Hancock’s talk. Hancock and I are now facing anonymous accusations made by a body on whose authority TED relies, on whose advice they act, and behind whom they shelter, but whose names they have not revealed.
TED’s anonymous Scientific Board made three specific accusations:
Accusation 1:“he suggests that scientists reject the notion that animals have consciousness, despite the fact that it’s generally accepted that animals have some form of consciousness, and there’s much research and literature exploring the idea.”
I characterized the materialist dogma as follows: “Matter is unconscious: the whole universe is made up of unconscious matter. There’s no consciousness in stars in galaxies, in planets, in animals, in plants and there ought not to be any in us either, if this theory’s true. So a lot of the philosophy of mind over the last 100 years has been trying to prove that we are not really conscious at all.” Certainly some biologists, including myself, accept that animals are conscious. In August, 2012, a group of scientists came out with an endorsement of animal consciousness in “The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness”. As Discovery News reported, “While it might not sound like much for scientists to declare that many nonhuman animals possess conscious states, it’s the open acknowledgement that’s the big news here.” (http://news.discovery.com/human/genetics/animals-consciousness-mammals-birds-octopus-120824.htm)
But materialist philosophers and scientists are still in the majority, and they argue that consciousness does nothing – it is either an illusion or an ”epiphenomenon” of brain activity. It might as well not exist in animals – or even in humans. That is why in the philosophy of mind, the very existence of consciousness is often called “the hard problem”.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_problem_of_consciousness
Accusation 2:“He also argues that scientists have ignored variations in the measurements of natural constants, using as his primary example the dogmatic assumption that a constant must be constant and uses the speed of light as example.… Physicist Sean Carroll wrote a careful rebuttal of this point.”
TED’s Scientific Board refers to a Scientific American article that makes my point very clearly: “Physicists routinely assume that quantities such as the speed of light are constant.”
In my talk I said that the published values of the speed of light dropped by about 20 km/sec between 1928 and 1945. Carroll’s “careful rebuttal” consisted of a table copied from Wikipedia showing the speed of light at different dates, with a gap between 1926 and 1950, omitting the very period I referred to. His other reference (http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/lightandcolor/speedoflight.html) does indeed give two values for the speed of light in this period, in 1928 and 1932-35, and sure enough, they were 20 and 24km/sec lower than the previous value, and 14 and 18 km/sec lower than the value from 1947 onwards.
1926: 299,798
1928: 299,778
1932-5: 299,774
1947: 299,792

In my talk I suggest how a re-examination of existing data could resolve whether large continuing variations in the Universal Gravitational Constant, G, are merely errors, as usually assumed, or whether they show correlations between different labs that might have important scientific implications hitherto ignored. Jerry Coyne and TED’s Scientific Board regard this as an exercise in pseudoscience. I think their attitude reveals a remarkable lack of curiosity.
Accusation 3:“Sheldrake claims to have “evidence” of morphic resonance in crystal formation and rat behavior. The research has never appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, despite attempts by other scientists eager to replicate the work.”
I said, “There is in fact good evidence that new compounds get easier to crystallize all around the world.” For example, turanose, a kind of sugar, was considered to be a liquid for decades, until it first crystallized in the 1920s. Thereafter it formed crystals everyehere. (Woodard and McCrone Journal of Applied Crystallography (1975). 8, 342). The American chemist C. P. Saylor, remarked it was as though “the seeds of crystallization, as dust, were carried upon the winds from end to end of the earth” (quoted by Woodard and McCrone).
The research on rat behavior I referred to was carried out at Harvard and the Universities of Melbourne and Edinburgh and was published in peer-reviewed journals, including the British Journal of Psychology and the Journal of Experimental Biology. For a fuller account and detailed references see Chapter 11 of my book Morphic Resonance (in the US) / A New Science of Life (in the UK). The relevant passage is online here: http://sciencesetfree.tumblr.com/
The TED Scientific Board refers to ”attempts by other scientists eager to replicate the work” on morphic resonance. I would be happy to work with these eager scientists if the Scientific Board can reveal who they are.
This is a good opportunity to correct an oversimplification in my talk. In relation to the dogma that mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works, I said, “that’s why governments only fund mechanistic medicine and ignore complementary and alternative therapies.” This is true of most governments, but the US is a notable exception. The US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine receives about $130 million a year, about 0.4% of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) total annual budget of $31 billion.
Obviously I could not spell out all the details of my arguments in an 18-minute talk, but TED’s claims that it contains “serious factual errors,” “many misleading statements” and that it crosses the line into “pseudoscience” are defamatory and false.

Click to zoom

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Supernova Mystery Found at the Bottom of the Sea


Cassiopeia: A supernova remnant


Excerpt from news.discovery.com

One of the least likely places you might think astronomers would learn about ancient supernovae is at the bottom of the ocean, but in new research scientists have done just that.

Through the careful analysis of ocean sediment, tiny particles that originated from deep space have settled on the seabed, locking the chemical secrets to supernova processes that would have otherwise remained a mystery.

“Small amounts of debris from these distant explosions fall on the earth as it travels through the galaxy,” said lead researcher Anton Wallner, of the Australian National University. “We’ve analyzed galactic dust from the last 25 million years that has settled on the ocean and found there is much less of the heavy elements such as plutonium and uranium than we expected.”

Supernovae are powerful explosions triggered when massive stars reach the ends of their lives. During these powerful events, many elements are forged, including elements that are essential for life to thrive — such as iron, potassium and iodine.


Wallner and his team studied samples of sediment from the bottom of a stable area at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. But when measuring the quantities of plutonium-244, a radioisotope that is produced by supernovae, they found something strange in their results — there was 100 time less plutonium-244 than predicted.

Plutonium-244 has a half-life of 81 million years, making it an excellent indicator of the number of supernovae that have exploded nearby in recent galactic history. “So any plutonium-244 that we find on earth must have been created in explosive events that have occurred more recently, in the last few hundred million years,” said Wallner.

But the fact that there is less recent deposition of the heaviest of elements, despite the fact that we know supernovae have erupted nearby, suggests a different formation mechanism may be responsible for plutonium-244 and elements like it.

“It seems that these heaviest elements may not be formed in standard supernovae after all,” concludes Wallner. “It may require rarer and more explosive events such as the merging of two neutron stars to make them.”

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Liftoff! SpaceX Gets $1 Billion From Google and Fidelity

 Excerpt from  nbcnews.com SpaceX, the California-based rocket company that now has its sights set on a globe-spanning satellite constellation, says it has received a $1 billion investment from Google and Fidelity that values the c...

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Extraterrestrial Neighbors? Study Says Blast Of Unknown Radio Waves Came From Outside Our Galaxy

Excerpt from  npr.org On a graph, they look like detonations. Scientists call them "fast radio bursts," or FRBs, mysterious and strong pulses of radio waves that seemingly emanate far from the Milky Way. The bursts are rare; they normall...

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