Feb 24, 2017

Watson can diagnose heart disease by looking at medical images

posted by Larra Morris

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IBM's Watson technology has helped doctors before, but usually by poring through databases before offering its advice. Now, it's ready to look at the patients themselves -- or rather, their body scans. It's following up on past promises by launching Watson Clinical Imaging Review, its first picture-based cognitive computing solution. The AI platform can sift through ultrasounds, x-rays and other medical data to both fill out health records and identify patients who might need critical care.

The imaging tech will first be used to diagnose patients with aortic stenosis, where the heart's aortic valve narrows and constricts blood flow.
via Engadget

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Feb 23, 2017

New metamaterials could improve energy absorption and harvesting

posted by Laura Domela

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Engineers and scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and the AMOLF institute in the Netherlands have invented the first mechanical metamaterials that easily transfer motion effortlessly in one direction while blocking it in the other, as described in a paper published on Feb. 13 in Nature. The material can be thought of as a mechanical one-way shield that blocks energy from coming in but easily transmits it going out the other side. The researchers developed the first nonreciprocal mechanical materials using metamaterials, which are synthetic materials with properties that cannot be found in nature.
via Energy Harvesting Journal

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Feb 23, 2017

Radiohead’s saddest song is True Love Waits, according to data analysis

posted by Larra Morris

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If you’ve ever listened to Radiohead and thought to yourself, “Oh jeez, I do wish someone could quantify just how sad this song is making me feel,” your strange desire has been granted. Data scientist Charlie Thompson recently used the programming language R to find “a data-driven determination of [Radiohead’s] most depressing song.”

First, Thompson used Spotify’s API to pull track information for each song on Radiohead’s nine studio albums. One of Spotify’s available metrics is a song’s “valence,” which the company describes as “a measure from 0.0 to 1.0 describing the musical positiveness conveyed by a track.” Radiohead’s “True Love Waits” and “We Suck Young Blood” both had the lowest valence score of 0.0378, making them the saddest songs according to Spotify.
via Engadget

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Feb 23, 2017

Astronomers discover seven potentially habitable Earth-size exoplanets around a nearby dwarf star

posted by Larra Morris

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NASA has announced the discovery of seven potentially habitable Earth-size exoplanets around the ultra-cool red dwarf TRAPPIST-1, the most ever discovered around a single star. Three of the planets fall within the star’s habitable zone but the other four could also have liquid water given the right conditions.
via Laughing Squid

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Feb 22, 2017

The rise of the image: every NY Times front page since 1852 in under a minute

posted by Laura Domela

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The New York Times published its first issue on September 18, 1851, but the first photos wouldn’t appear on the cover until the early 1900s over 60 years later. This visual timeline by self-described data artist Josh Begley captures the storied newspaper’s approach to layout and photography by incorporating every NY Times front page ever published into a single one-minute video. The timelapse captures decades text-only front pages before the newspaper began to incorporate illustrated maps and wood engravings. 
via Colossal

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Feb 22, 2017

Artificial synapse could be key to brain-like computing

posted by Larra Morris

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If you're going to craft brain-like computers, it stands to reason that you'd want to replicate brain-like behavior right down to the smallest elements, doesn't it? Sure enough, researchers have managed just that. They've developed an artificial synapse that imitates the real thing by both learning and remembering whenever electrical signals cross -- most previous attempts at this can only manage one action at a time. You only have to discharge and recharge the synapse at specific voltages to program it, and it promises to be far more power-efficient than conventional approaches to brain-like operation.
via Engadget

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Image: L.A. Cicero/Stanford University

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Feb 22, 2017

1922 house and furnishings made entirely from varnished paper

posted by Larra Morris

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Having successfully invented the paperclip-bending machine, engineer Elis F. Stenman set out to build a new summer home for himself in Rockport, Mass in 1922, entirely from paper.

He did. It is a marvel.

The Paper House is still standing, and can be toured in the company of Stenman's grandniece Edna Beaudoin, who inherited the gig from her mother. The varnished paper walls, floor and ceilings are joined by paper furnishings and decorative elements. Stenman's paper home is electrified and plumbed, and can be toured for the entirely reasonable sum of $1.50.
via Boing Boing 

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