Archive for the ‘Awesome’ Category
Cambridge University is to open a center for “Terminator studies” where top scientists will study threats posed to humanity by robots.
The Center for the Study of Existential Risk is being co-launched by astronomer royal Lord Rees, one of the world’s leading cosmologists. It will probe the “four greatest threats” to the human species, given as: artificial intelligence, climate change, nuclear war and rogue biotechnology.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s classic “Terminator” films famously showed a world where ultra-intelligent machines fight against humanity in the form of the genocidal Skynet system.
The Cambridge center is intended to bring together academics from various disciplines including philosophy, astronomy, biology, robotics, neuroscience and economics.
Lord Rees, who has warned that humanity could wipe itself out by 2100, is launching the center alongside Cambridge philosophy professor Huw Price, and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn.
Not to get all fractal on you, or all ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny on you (I know, I know: cliché lede) – but these photographs, winners of the 38th Nikon Small World competition (basically, the best microscope photos of the year, as seen here in Wired) at first remind one of distant galaxies; then maybe of magnificent underwater mysteries; and then, as one marvels more and more at the insane beauty and symmetry and intricacy of them, one can get a little melancholy, wondering why it is that so many of us spend so much of our days living at the scale where – to quote Steven Wright – one mile equals one mile, and not on some much more beautiful, much more fascinating, much more revelatory scale.
ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) has captured this unusual view of the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), a planetary nebula located 700 light-years away. The coloured picture was created from images taken through Y, J and K infrared filters. While bringing to light a rich background of stars and galaxies, the telescope’s infrared vision also reveals strands of cold nebular gas that are mostly obscured in visible images of the Helix.
A 6-year-old piano prodigy from Hong Kong has wowed a live audience by performing ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’.
Tsung Tsung appeared on Ellen where host Ellen DeGeneres interviewed him with help from a translator.
Harry Potter fans, rejoice. A cloak of invisibility, like the one featured in the movies, is now a reality — on a much smaller scale at least.
Inventors have been working toward this for a while now, but researchers with Duke University discovered a new way to tweak existing technology, ExtremeTech.com reported. The theory is that invisibility can be achieved using metamaterials, man-made materials that bend electromagnetic waves, like visible light, around objects to create an illusion. But past methods reflect some light back, which ruins the effect. Duke’s new design uses those same metamaterials, but arranges them in a diamond pattern, which cuts back on the reflective glare.
Nasa’s Curiosity rover has only been on the surface of Mars seven weeks but it has already turned up evidence of past flowing water on the planet.
The robot has returned pictures of classic conglomerates – rocks that are made up of gravels and sand.
Scientists on the mission team say the size and rounded shape of the pebbles in the rock indicate they had been transported and eroded in water.
Researchers think the rover has found a network of ancient streams.
The rocks, which were described in a media briefing at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, were likely laid down “several billion years ago”. But the actual streams themselves may have persisted on the surface for long periods, said Curiosity science co-investigator Bill Dietrich of the University of California, Berkeley.
“We would anticipate that it could easily be thousands to millions of years,” he told reporters.
Cartoonishly Evil Rich Guy Spends $50K Crafting a “Revenge” Youth Baseball Team for his 10-Year-Old Son
Sometimes it can be fun to imagine a classic story from the villain’s point of view. To gain new perspective, hear opposing arguments – maybe even shift your sympathies.
This is a story about a man from Long Island.
Robert Sanfilippo had a son—a young boy, of about 10 or 11—who liked to play baseball or, anyway, who played baseball, and his playing of it was liked by his dad.
Robert’s son played for a team called the Long Island Infernos. He spent his weekends criss-crossing Long Island, eating Quaker Oats bars and drinking Capri Suns, and putting the base in the hoop—hole in one—or however baseball is played.
However, while the other boys strolled ‘round the diamond like golden gods—their skinny arms hurling fastballs like meteors, their hand-eye coordination the stuff of legend—Robert’s son struggled.
He had, in the vague euphemism of the New York Post “failed to flourish.”
Perhaps the boy had other talents. Writing or building or videogamery.
But Robert decided his son’s talent was baseball.