Tag Archives | Technology

Frank Drake thinks it’s silly to send messages to ET

Raphael Perrino (CC BY 2.0)

Raphael Perrino (CC BY 2.0)

Via Kiki Sanford at BoingBoing:

Making contact with aliens: the subject of many a sci-fi story, and a variety of imagined outcomes. Though no one knows what will happen if we encounter intelligent extra-terrestrial life, scientists are dividd on how we should proceed.

SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, has been searching for signals from said ETs for many years with no positive results. Of course, there have been interesting signals, but nothing specifically indicative of intelligence.

Scientists from SETI are turning up the volume on a debate that has been raging for several years over whether we should start actively transmitting messages into outer space rather than continuing to passively scan the skies while only leaking weak radiation from our surface activities on the planet. In a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose this week, Douglas Vakoch presented the question, and stated that beginning to transmit in an active, directed fashion would be part of humanity “growing up”.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Movement To Completely Change The Way You Get High

“Cannabis is joining the coca leaf in the ranks of drugs improved by technology,” claims Cece Lederer at Kernel:

“I’ve got something special for us,” A.J. said as I cued up my recording device. “Have you ever done dabs?”

A.J. is about as close to weed royalty as you can get. If you’ve heard of Sour Diesel, you’ve heard of him. He’s cultivated some of the most potent strains of marijuana and has large-scale grow facilities clamoring for his advice.

Butane honey oil after being whipped 2

Butane honey oil with cannabis sativa exterior trimmings, by Vjiced (CC)

Careful to keep it horizontal, he unzipped a rolling suitcase and took out a blowtorch. Then came the “rig.” At first it looked like a regular water pipe, but instead of a slide, there was a ceramic “nail” that resembled a bird bath for a dollhouse.

Then came the jars. “The flavor is in the liquid,” he said as he put a jar of brown oil on my coffee table.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

In 10 Years Solar and Wind Power Will Be the Cheapest Forms of Energy in Northeast Asia

Intel Free Press (CC BY 2.0)

Intel Free Press (CC BY 2.0)

Via Lappeenranta University of Technology:

A new study demonstrates that an energy system based completely on renewable forms of energy will be economically viable in the future. Research done at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) shows that it will be worthwhile for North-East Asia, and China in particular, to switch to a completely renewable energy system within 5–10 years. According to the Neo-Carbon Energy project, which conducted the research, the price of solar electricity will drop by half by 2025−2030.

Completed at the end of last year, the study concluded that within ten years solar and wind power will be the cheapest forms of energy production for Asia’s largest energy markets. According to LUT Professor of Solar Economy Christian Breyer, this is because renewable energy is the cheapest way of producing energy in Asia.

Economic viability has been one of the challenges of making the transition to renewable energy sources and doing so on the terms of the market.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Universe is 13.77 billion years old and it contains only 4.9% ordinary matter, says Planck data

Polarisation of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) as revealed by ESA's Planck data mapsESA - collaboration, Planck/E. Hivon/CNRS

Polarisation of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) as revealed by ESA’s Planck data maps
ESA – collaboration, Planck/E. Hivon/CNRS

Jayalakshmi K. via International Business Times:

The high precision Planck data just released has placed the age of the universe at 13.77 billion years, besides showing that the first stars were born 550 million years after the Big Bang.

Data from four years of observation by ESA’s spacecraft shows 4.9% of the Universe to be made of ordinary matter, 25.9% dark matter and 69.2% dark, unknown energy.

The researchers calculate the current rate at which space is expanding to give the age of the universe.

The Planck collaboration, which includes the CNRS, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), the French National Space Agency (CNES) and several French universities and institutions, aimed to study the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the light left over from the Big Bang.

The Planck measurements, taken in nine frequency bands, were used to map not only the temperature of radiation but also its polarisation providing information about both the very early Universe (when it was 380,000 years old) and our Galaxy’s magnetic field.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The workplace of 2040: Mind control, holograms and biohacking are the future of business

Hopefully no more of this. Tom Taker (CC BY 2.0)

Hopefully no more of this.
Tom Taker (CC BY 2.0)

Frank Chung via news.com.au:

WHAT will the workplace look like in 2040? Imagine remote working via hologram, commuting by jetpack, even controlling your office with your mind.

MYOB has released its ‘Future of Business: Australia 2040’ report, which examines the possible impact of emerging technologies on business and work over the next 25 years.

While all manner of business interactions will continue to be “formalised, automated and digitised”, the biggest effect will be on what we currently call ‘the workplace’, according to MYOB chief technology officer Simon Raik-Allen.

Driven by the rising cost of energy and transport, the focus of 2040 will be the ‘suburban village’. “You will live, work, eat and learn primarily within walking distance of your house,” he writes.

Communities will pool their resources, people will trade with neighbours and list skills on local noticeboards, drones will deliver packages between communities or “even a coffee and a bagel to your current location”.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Meet the people who have volunteered to die on Mars


Walker Lamond via BoingBoing:

Thousands of people are competing to be the first humans to travel to Mars and colonize it. The only catch–they can never come back. Ever.

Mars One, an interplanetary travel nonprofit, will soon select the next round of wannabe astronauts from the nearly 700 current finalists. While making a short movie about the competition for The Guardian, we at Stateless Media had a chance to speak to a few people vying for one of the coveted seats on a Mars One Spaceship. I learned the following: they are all really smart, incredibly brave, and a little bit crazy.

Actually, they’re a lot of bit crazy. And that’s a good thing. Because it takes a certain kind of person to choose to live the rest of their lives stranded on a desert planet with no breathable air, no Netflix, no Snapchat, no Game of Thrones, no General Tso’s Chicken, and no long, romantic walks on the beach.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Experts predict faster pace of robots replacing factory workers

Via Irish Examiner:

Cheaper and better robots will replace humans in the world’s factories at a faster pace over the next decade, a report has said.

The Boston Consulting Group predicts:

* Investment in industrial robots will grow 10% a year in the world’s 25-biggest export nations up to 2025, up from 2% to 3% a year now.

* The investment will pay off in driving down labour costs by 16% and increased efficiency.

* Robots will cut labour costs by 33% in South Korea, 25% in Japan, 24% in Canada and 22% in the United States and Taiwan.

Only 10% of jobs that can be automated have already been taken by robots. By 2025, the machines will have more than 23%, Boston Consulting forecasts.

Robots are getting cheaper, the report says, with the cost of owning and operating a robotic spot welder, for instance, tumbling from US$182,000 in 2005 to $133,000 last year, and will drop to $103,000 by 2025.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning

"This is an artist's concept of the metric expansion of space, where space (including hypothetical non-observable portions of the universe) is represented at each time by the circular sections. Note on the left the dramatic expansion (not to scale) occurring in the inflationary epoch, and at the center the expansion acceleration. The scheme is decorated with WMAP images on the left and with the representation of stars at the appropriate level of development." Credit: NASA

“This is an artist’s concept of the metric expansion of space, where space (including hypothetical non-observable portions of the universe) is represented at each time by the circular sections. Note on the left the dramatic expansion (not to scale) occurring in the inflationary epoch, and at the center the expansion acceleration. The scheme is decorated with WMAP images on the left and with the representation of stars at the appropriate level of development.” Credit: NASA

Lisa Zyga via Phys.org:

(Phys.org) —The universe may have existed forever, according to a new model that applies quantum correction terms to complement Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The model may also account for dark matter and dark energy, resolving multiple problems at once.

The widely accepted age of the , as estimated by , is 13.8 billion years. In the beginning, everything in existence is thought to have occupied a single infinitely dense point, or .

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Warning: Samsung Smart TVs Are Listening To You

In a remarkably Orwellian admission, Samsung warns owners of its so-called Smart TVs not to talk in front of the TVs, because they are listening to what you say. From BBC News:

Samsung is warning customers to avoid discussing personal information in front of their smart television set.

SamsungSmartTV 

The warning applies to TV viewers who control their Samsung Smart TV using its voice activation feature.

Such TV sets ‘listen’ to every conversation held in front of them and may share any details they hear with Samsung or third parties, it said.

Privacy campaigners said the technology smacked of the telescreens, in George Orwell’s 1984, which spied on citizens.

Data sharing

The warning came to light via a story in online news magazine the Daily Beast which published an excerpt of a section of Samsung’s privacy policy for its net-connected Smart TV sets.

The policy explains that the TV set will be listening to people in the same room to try to spot when commands are issued.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Youtube Ditches Flash, and it Hardly Matters: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

html5_logo_512Cory Doctorow via EFF:

Last week, Google announced that its Youtube service would default to using HTML5 video instead of Flash. Once upon a time, this would have been cause for celebration: after all, Flash is a proprietary technology owned by one company, a frequent source of critical vulnerabilities that expose hundreds of millions of Internet users to attacks on their computers and all that they protect, and Flash objects can only be reliably accessed via closed software, and not from free/open code that anyone can inspect.

A year ago, the largest video site on the net ditching Flash would have been a blow for Internet freedom. Today, it’s a bitter reminder of how the three big commercial browser vendors—Apple, Microsoft and Google—Netflix, the BBC, and the World Wide Web Consortium sold the whole Internet out.

In spring 2013, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) abandoned its long-term role as the guardian of the open Web, and threw its support at the highest level behind EME, an attempt to standardize Flash-style locks on browsers.

Read the rest
Continue Reading