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Feb 16, 2019

Bill Gates: Textbooks are ‘becoming obsolete’— here’s the best way to learn today

Posted by in categories: entertainment, information science

“I read more than my share of textbooks,” Gates says. “But it’s a pretty limited way to learn something. Even the best text can’t figure out which concepts you understand and which ones you need more help with.”

Software can be used to create a much more dynamic learning experience, he says.

Gates gives the example of learning algebra. “Instead of just reading a chapter on solving equations, you can look at the text online, watch a super-engaging video that shows you how it’s done, and play a game that reinforces the concepts,” he writes. “Then you solve a few problems online, and the software creates new quiz questions to zero in on the ideas you’re not quite getting.”

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Feb 16, 2019

California’s Rain Was a ‘Cat 4’ Atmospheric River. Wait, What?

Posted by in category: futurism

All that rain drenching California this week came from an atmospheric river. A new rating scale would tell you how much water is fueling the system.

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Feb 16, 2019

Researchers discover anti-laser masquerading as perfect absorber

Posted by in category: futurism

Researchers at Duke University have discovered that a perfect absorber of electromagnetic waves they described in a 2017 paper can easily be tweaked into a sort of “time-reversed laser” known as a coherent perfect absorber (CPA).

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Feb 16, 2019

Nissan unveils incredible solar-powered mobile workshop for woodworkers

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

Over the years, we’ve seen thousands of unique van conversions, but Nissan has taken the van-loving world by storm with its new NV300 concept van — a mobile workshop for woodworking professionals. The amazing design, which was a collaboration between Nissan and UK-based firm Studio Hardie, is fully-functioning mobile woodworking studio that can be taken off grid, letting wood-loving artisans find inspiration anywhere they choose. What’s more, the van runs on solar power and its tools are powered by an emissions-free, weatherproof power pack made out of recycled electric car batteries.

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Feb 16, 2019

Overdue: a US advisory board for research integrity

Posted by in category: habitats

Building a culture of quality and integrity requires conversations across the scientific enterprise. Science is a complex ecosystem of funders, journals, academic administrators, scientific societies and researchers — the latter group including principal investigators, staff scientists, postdocs and graduate students. The interests of each group conflict as often as they overlap, and interactions tend to be stratified and constrained. Institutional presidents sit on working groups with each other but not with research-integrity officers. These officers attend conferences with each other, but not with faculty advisers and bench scientists. Journal editors meet scientists and other editors, but not institutional officers, on whom they rely for investigation when concerns about manuscripts arise.


Research needs an authoritative forum to hash out collective problems, argue C. K. Gunsalus, Marcia K. McNutt and colleagues. Research needs an authoritative forum to hash out collective problems, argue C. K. Gunsalus, Marcia K. McNutt and colleagues.

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Feb 15, 2019

Researchers discover a weakness in a rare cancer that could be exploited with drugs

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Cancer cells are, in some respects, impressive: They can grow relentlessly, sidestep the aging process by becoming immortal, and evade the immune system’s persistent attacks. But in the process of acquiring such superpowers, the cells must occasionally relinquish other, more mundane skills—including the ability to produce certain nutrients.

Researchers at The Rockefeller University now announce the discovery of a rare tumor type that is unable to synthesize cholesterol, a molecule without which can’t survive.

“These cells become dependent on taking up cholesterol from their environment, and we can use this dependency to design therapies that block cholesterol uptake,” says Kivanç Birsoy, the Chapman Perelman Assistant Professor, who reports the findings in Nature.

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Feb 15, 2019

Special forces are getting a stealth motorcycle that’s silent and deadly

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

DARPA wants a stealthy, fuel-scavenging hybrid-electric motorcycle for special forces.

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Feb 15, 2019

Brain discovery may explain mysterious cell death in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

Scientists at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have identified a potential explanation for the mysterious death of specific brain cells seen in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The new research suggests that the may die because of naturally occurring in brain cells that were, until recently, assumed to be genetically identical. This variation – called “somatic mosaicism” – could explain why in the are the first to die in Alzheimer’s, for example, and why are the first to die in Parkinson’s.

“This has been a big open question in neuroscience, particularly in various neurodegenerative diseases,” said neuroscientist Michael McConnell of UVA’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia, or BIG. “What is this selective vulnerability? What underlies it? And so now, with our work, the hypotheses moving forward are that it could be that different regions of the brain actually have a different garden of these [variations] in and that sets up different regions for decline later in life.”

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Feb 15, 2019

The ‘Zombie Deer Virus’ Has Hit 24 US States

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

The so-called “zombie disease” has been reported in deer, elk, and moose across 24 US states, according to a new warning by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As of January 2019, at least 251 counties across the US, from northern Montana to southern Texas, have reported CWD in free-ranging cervids, members of the deer family. Farther afield, there are similar concerns for reindeer in Norway, Finland, and, to a lesser extent, South Korea.

Scientifically known as chronic wasting disease (CWD), the contagious neurological disease gets its sensational nickname because of its effect on the brain of cervids, including North American elk or wapiti, red deer, mule deer, black-tailed deer, white-tailed deer, sika deer, reindeer, and moose. Deer that have been struck with the disease suffer from drastic weight loss, abnormal behavior, stumbling, drooling, lack of coordination, aggression, excessive thirst, and a fear of others.

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Feb 15, 2019

NASA heading back to Moon soon, and this time to stay

Posted by in category: space travel

NASA is accelerating plans to return Americans to the Moon, and this time, the US space agency says it will be there to stay.

Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator, told reporters Thursday that the agency plans to speed up plans backed by President Donald Trump to return to the , using private companies.

“It’s important that we get back to the moon as fast as possible,” said Bridenstine in a meeting at NASA’s Washington headquarters, adding he hoped to have astronauts back there by 2028.

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