Jul 25, 2016

Regenerating connections between eye and brain restores vision in mice

posted by Larra Morris

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Medical researchers have been able to restore partial vision in mice by regenerating previously severed optic-nerve cables. It's the first time researchers have succeeded in restoring important aspects of vision in mammals, and the breakthrough could lead to future work that restores sight in the blind.
via Gizmag

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Jul 25, 2016

NASA will put Rocket Raccoon and Groot on its new mission patch

posted by Larra Morris

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If there was any doubt in your heart that the people at NASA were a bunch of nerds, here’s the evidence that proves otherwise...

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) announced Friday that Groot and Rocket the Raccoon will be featured on a mission patch that will represent all payloads that will head to the national laboratory on the International Space Station.
via Gizmodo

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Jul 25, 2016

Study: Music is becoming more narcissistic

posted by Larra Morris

 

Explicit bragging and self-congratulation used to be a phenomenon of rap music. Now, according to a study conducted by University of Michigan-Dearborn psychology professors Pamela McAuslan and Marie, Waung it's pervasive in all popular genres. The Pacific Standard describes their research method:

McAuslan and Waung analyzed the lyrics of the top 100 songs from the years 1990, 2000, and 2010, as compiled by Billboard magazine. (Its ratings are based on sales, streaming, radio airplay, and “audience impressions.”) Coders looked for examples of eight categories of self-promotion, including referring to oneself by name and demanding respect.

More recent songs demonstrated increased narcissism:

“Compared with earlier years, songs in 2010 were more likely to include the singer referring to the self by name, general self-promotion, and bragging about wealth, partner’s appearance, or sexual prowess,” the researchers report. “A similar, albeit nonsignificant increase, was also seen for bragging about musical prowess and demands for respect. Overall, the most popular music from 2010 contained more self-promotion than music from 1990 or 2000.”
via Neatorama

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Jul 15, 2016

This beer was designed by artificial intelligence

posted by Larra Morris

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IntelligentX is a beer you don’t necessarily need to love on the first go. That’s because it evolves with every batch based on customer feedback, as Smithsonian reports. Billed as the “world’s first beer brewed by artificial intelligence," it uses a Facebook messenger bot to incorporate customer preferences into new batches of beer, tweaking its recipe along the way to learn how to make better brews.
via Mental Floss

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Image: 10X



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Jul 15, 2016

SwagBot to herd cattle on Australian ranches

posted by Larra Morris

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Australia, we hear, is a big place. All that space is nice to have if you’re raising cattle, except for the fact that you’ve got to keep track of them all somehow. For ranchers, this is a lot of work, and for cattle, it means that they don’t get checked on very regularly. This would be a good opportunity for robots to step in and offer some assistance, but the problem is most robots would be crazy to try getting themselves around the kind of terrain that Australia is made of.

In order to tackle the hills, dales, fields, cliffs, rivers, swamps, crocodiles, platypuses, echidnas, koalas, quolls, emus, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and dingoes (to name just a few common obstacles in Australia), researchers from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney led by Dr. Salah Sukkarieh have designed and tested an all-terrain robot called SwagBot that’s designed to be able to drive over almost anything while helping humans manage their ranchland.
via IEEE Spectrum

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Image: Australian Centre for Field Robotics


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Jul 14, 2016

Aerial snack drones could help save the black-footed ferret

posted by Larra Morris

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Today’s dispatch from the Annals of Wacky Conservation Schemes is a doozy. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) plans to use drones to scatter hundreds of thousands of peanut butter treats across the Montana prairie in order to save an adorable endangered ferret.

Similar to previous plans involving poisonous toad sausages and Styrofoam-stuffed dead turtles, this plan only seems silly until you learn the backstory. The tale in Montana is a relatively simple one. Once upon a time, black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) ate prairie dogs (genus Cynomys), and everyone prospered. Then along came the prairie dog plague (Yersinia pestis—yes, the very bacteria responsible for the Black Death), which massacred the prairie dogs and left the ferrets with nothing to eat. Their numbers dwindled, and dwindled, and dwindled. They would have died out altogether, had it not been for USFWS wildlife managers, who rescued enough ferrets to start a healthy captive population, then introduced them back into the wild.
via Mental Floss

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Image: KIMBERLY FRASER/USFWS VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS // CC BY 2.0

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Jul 14, 2016

3D-printing pen turns bottles and bags into statues and spaceships

posted by Larra Morris

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3D-printing pens change plastic filaments into a gel that hardens when it hits the air, allowing users to create sculptures freehand. A new company thinks that using all that plastic is expensive and wasteful, and is aiming to create a new kind of 3D pen that does its thing using old plastic bottles, bags and even folders. It's called the Renegade and it's seeking backers on Kickstarter now.
via Gizmag

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