Dec 02, 2016

Subway expansion uncovers mastodon remains at least 10,000 years old

posted by Larra Morris

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Last week, a construction project for the Los Angeles subway turned into a scientific excavation after workers uncovered fossilized skull, tooth and tusk fragments from ancient elephant relatives that have been extinct for 10,000 years.

According to L.A. transit officials, remains belonging to an adult mastodon were discovered shortly before Thanksgiving, promoting officials to bring in a paleontological monitor to survey the site near the La Brea Tar Pits.
via Gizmodo

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Dec 02, 2016

Chemists officially add new elements to the periodic table

posted by Larra Morris

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Kids have to memorize four new elements, now that the powers that be in the world of chemistry have expanded the periodic table. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry has accepted the official names for elements 113, 115, 117 and 118, which it recognized in late December 2015. Previously known by their unappealing placeholder names ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium and ununoctium, the elements have been christened Nihonium (Nh), Moscovium (Mc), Tennessine (Ts) and Oganesson (Og), respectively.
via Engadget

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Dec 01, 2016

An artificially intelligent database that learns, organizes and visualizes bird sounds ‘by ear’

posted by Larra Morris

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Coders at the Google Creative Lab are working with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to teach an experimental artificially intelligent (AI) database to learn, organize and visualize the incredibly varying sounds of different birds “by ear”, without any other information. Using data from the Cornell Guide to Bird Sounds: Essential Set for North America and a t-SNE process, the AI finds sounds that are similar to each other and maps them close together.
via Laughing Squid

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Nov 30, 2016

Solar-powered two-seater plane will soar to the edge of space

posted by Larra Morris

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Solar planes have already traversed the Alps and flown around the world, but one team has its sights set a little higher: the edge of space. SolarStratos is planning to fly a solar-powered plane to an altitude of over 80,000 ft (24,000 m), from where the curvature of the Earth as well as daytime stars will be visible.

The aim of the project is to demonstrate the potential of renewable energy and to explore the possibility of flying people to such altitudes using solar technology.
via New Atlas

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Nov 30, 2016

Google’s AI reads retinas to prevent blindness in diabetics

posted by Larra Morris

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Google researchers have worked with doctors to develop an AI that can automatically identify diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause blindness among adults. Using deep learning—the same breed of AI that identifies faces, animals, and objects in pictures uploaded to Google’s online services—the system detects the condition by examining retinal photos. In a recent study, it succeeded at about the same rate as human opthamologists, according to a paper published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
via Wired

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Nov 29, 2016

Scientists figure out why many returning astronauts need glasses

posted by Larra Morris

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The zero-G lifestyle does funny things to our bodily fluids. That’s the conclusion of one recent study, which may have found a reason for a common space travelers’ malady. The researchers presented their results at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

If we’re going to start sending humans to Mars and other distant destinations, we’re going to need to know if we can survive the trip. So astronauts are an incredible scientific resource, not only for what they do while in space, but also for what they experience. Living in orbit can shrink astronauts’ hearts and stretch their spines. It can also damage their ability to see: Numerous travelers who left Earth with 20/20 vision have returned to find they need glasses just to read or drive.
via Mental Floss

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Nov 29, 2016

Deleting fears from the brain means you might never need to face them

posted by Larra Morris

Conventional wisdom suggest that facing your fears is a good way to overcome them, indeed various forms of therapy for fear-related conditions are based on this premise. But by using a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and neuroscience, an international team of researchers have come up with a way to eliminate specific fears from the brain without the subject actually needing to confront them, an approach that could offer more comfortable ways of treating phobias and post-traumatic stress disorders.
via New Atlas

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