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Dec 14, 2018

“Spy” Virus Eavesdrops on Bacteria, Then Obliterates Them

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Viruses use bacteria’s chemical language to time their destruction; this might lead to new ways to fight infections.

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Dec 14, 2018

Scientists Detect Hot Neptune Losing Atmosphere at an Extraordinary Rate

Posted by in category: space

Scientists have detected a so-called Hot Neptune losing atmosphere extremely quickly, possibly explaining why we find so few of them in the first place.

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Dec 14, 2018

China’s Social Ranking System Will Now Target Rule-Breaking Scientists

Posted by in category: government

To tackle widespread scientific misconduct, the Chinese government has expanded its controversial social credit system to include infractions made by research scientists. The plan could scare some scientists straight—but the potential for abuse is very real.

“Researchers in China who commit scientific misconduct could soon be prevented from getting a bank loan, running a company or applying for a public-service job,” reports science writer David Cyranoski at Nature News.

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Dec 14, 2018

Virgin Galactic’s Historic Space Trip Heralds a Coming Age of New US Human Spaceflight Leaps

Posted by in categories: space, transportation

Virgin Galactic just brought human spaceflight back to American soil after a seven-year hiatus, and other private companies are poised to make some giant leaps of their own.

Virgin’s VSS Unity suborbital spaceliner soared to a maximum altitude of 51.4 miles (82.7 kilometers) during a rocket-powered test flight over California’s Mojave Desert yesterday (Dec. 13).

The milestone marked the first U.S.-based crewed trip to the final frontier since NASA grounded its space shuttle fleet in July 2011. And it was the first spaceflight ever by a private vehicle designed to carry commercial passengers. (By one measure, anyway: Though many people place the boundary of outer space 62 miles, or 100 km, up at the “Karman Line,” the U.S. Air Force awards astronaut wings to personnel who reach an altitude of 50 miles, or 80 km.) [In Photos: Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity Soars to Space].

Continue reading “Virgin Galactic’s Historic Space Trip Heralds a Coming Age of New US Human Spaceflight Leaps” »

Dec 14, 2018

Scientists Discover New, Bizarre Eel-Like Creature in Florida

Posted by in category: futurism

Florida residents, you have a new neighbor — and it has the body of an eel and the spots of a leopard. It also has two small arms with gills sticking out of its body, and lives in the swamps of the Panhandle.

The creature is actually a new species of legless salamander or siren. It is being officially called Siren reticulata, or the Reticulated Siren, and its discovery was published in the journal PLOS One journal last week.

Scientists say the two-foot-long Reticulated Siren is among the largest species discovered in the United States in over 100 years.

Continue reading “Scientists Discover New, Bizarre Eel-Like Creature in Florida” »

Dec 14, 2018

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spots InSight Hardware on Mars

Posted by in category: space

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter may not have managed to spot InSight under its parachute, but it has finally spotted the lander, its parachute, and its heat shield resting on the Martian surface. The images confirm the location of InSight’s landing site, a little to the north and west of the center of the landing ellipse.

First, the fantastic hardware images:

HiRISE images of InSight hardware on Mars

Continue reading “Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spots InSight Hardware on Mars” »

Dec 14, 2018

Facebook co-founder: Give the 99% a $6,000 raise

Posted by in category: futurism

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes — a millionaire many, many times over — is behind this big idea.


Chris Hughes earned nearly half a billion dollars after co-founding Facebook. Now he’s arguing for fairer wages in the form of a $500 monthly ‘social dividend’ for low- and middle-class Americans.

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Dec 14, 2018

Biologists Engineered An Assassin Virus to Kill Bacteria on Command

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

“It’s brilliant and insidious!”


These assassins could help in the fight against antibiotic resistance.

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Dec 14, 2018

AI for Scholarship: How Machine Learning can Transform the Humanities

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Will AI transform — or replace — the Humanities?


Artificial Intelligence has the potential to revolutionize the Humanities by transforming how we analyze texts.

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Dec 14, 2018

This Could Be the Best Quantum Computer Yet

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, quantum physics

A startup based in Maryland has released and tested an impressive new quantum computer that demonstrates the power of an occasionally overlooked quantum computing architecture.

Companies like IBM, Google, and Rigetti are developing new kinds of computer processors that rely on the mathematics of subatomic particles to potentially perform calculations difficult for classical computers to do. These devices use superconductors as the basis for their qubits. A company called IonQ, however, has now announced a state-of-the-art system that relies on the quantum nature of atoms themselves, and it’s one of the best-performing quantum computers yet.

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