Mar 22, 2017

US grand jury decides that a GIF counts as a deadly weapon in Twitter seizure case

posted by Larra Morris

 

A GIF counts as a deadly weapon, a Texas grand jury has agreed this week. The decision came as part of the case against John Rayne Rivello, who stands accused of sending a flashing GIF to journalist Kurt Eichenwald in a bid to cause an epileptic seizure. The GIF in question was classed as an assault weapon in an indictment against Rivello, issued on Monday by a Dallas grand jury and the US Department of Justice.
via The Verge

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Mar 21, 2017

Tree on a chip could lead to sugar-powered robots

posted by Larra Morris

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Now, a team of MIT researchers has gone outside the human body in its chip enthusiasm and put an entire tree on a chip, sort of. The development could lead to improved hydraulics in tiny robots and maybe even allow them to be powered by simple sugar cubes.

Modeling elements from biology on chips allows scientists to run experiments, test out treatments and make observations that wouldn't necessarily be possible in other ways. The new chip from MIT allowed researchers to mimic the natural pumps inside trees. The device was able to move fluids without any power source or mechanical parts for several days in the lab.
via New Atlas

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Mar 20, 2017

Previously classified nuclear test videos now on YouTube

posted by Larra Morris

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Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have been analyzing old films of nuclear weapons tests, using more modern equipment to get more accurate data. As they go through the thousands of old films, they've found many hadn't been properly stored for long-term preservation, so they are digitizing the collection. Physicist Greg Spriggs said that about 6500 films have been found, 750 have been declassified, and this week, 63 of them have been uploaded to YouTube.  

The goal in preserving and digitizing them, Spriggs said in a news release, was to keep the films for future study, lest they decompose and disappear forever.
via Neatorama

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Mar 20, 2017

DeepMind AI learns to 'remember' previous knowledge

posted by Larra Morris

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For all the talk of artificial intelligence becoming increasingly brain-like, there's one area where it frequently falls short: memory. Neural networks usually have to learn everything they need to know about their duties, rather than building on top of existing experiences like real brains do. Alphabet's DeepMind team hopes to fix that. They've crafted an algorithm that lets a neural network 'remember' past knowledge and learn more effectively. The approach is similar to how your own mind works, and might even provide insights into the functioning of human minds.
via Engadget

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Mar 17, 2017

Bots are learning to chat in their own language

posted by Larra Morris

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Born in Ukraine and raised in Toronto, the 31-year-old is now a visiting researcher at OpenAI, the artificial intelligence lab started by Tesla founder Elon Musk and Y combinator president Sam Altman. There, Mordatch is exploring a new path to machines that can not only converse with humans, but with each other. He’s building virtual worlds where software bots learn to create their own language out of necessity.

As detailed in a research paper published by OpenAI this week, Mordatch and his collaborators created a world where bots are charged with completing certain tasks, like moving themselves to a particular landmark. The world is simple, just a big white square—all of two dimensions—and the bots are colored shapes: a green, red, or blue circle. But the point of this universe is more complex. The world allows the bots to create their own language as a way collaborating, helping each other complete those tasks.
via Wired

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Mar 16, 2017

Could brain imaging reveal your mental state during a crime?

posted by Larra Morris

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Judges and juries often have to gauge a defendant’s state of mind at the time he or she committed a crime. They have to decide whether a defendant committed a crime "knowingly" or "recklessly." In some cases, the difference could be a matter of life or death.

Now a new study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has turned to the brain to find a basis for this distinction. The researchers were able to find distinct brain activity patterns that revealed whether participants knew they were committing a (virtual) crime or were recklessly taking a risk.
via Mental Floss

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Mar 15, 2017

Meet the automated triage nurse of the future

posted by Larra Morris

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A Belgian company called BeWell is showing off WellPoint, a self-service kiosk that's designed for patients entering hospitals or clinics. The WellPoint is a touchscreen-enabled booth that operates as a first port of call for visitors, quickly checking your basic vitals before you see a medical professional.

According to BeWell, initial contact with a nurse where your blood pressure, pulse oximetry and weight are tested takes seven minutes. Then, of course, there are an additional few minutes when that nurse takes that data and enters it into the hospital's internal IT system. WellPoint, by comparison, can do it in three minutes and instantly update your medical records.
via Engadget

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