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Sci-Tech News [January 26th, 2020]

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    Sci-Tech News [January 26th, 2020]


    SpaceX aims to launch astronauts this spring after Crew Dragon escape test success | Space

    The first piloted flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon astronaut taxi is likely just a few months away, now that a critical safety test is in the rearview mirror.

    SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule aced an in-flight abort test Sunday morning (Jan. 19), successfully jetting away from its Falcon 9 rocket less than 90 seconds after liftoff and ultimately splashing down softly under parachutes in the Atlantic Ocean, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) off the Florida coast.

    The uncrewed test demonstrated the spacecraft's ability to keep astronauts safe in the event of a launch emergency, marking a big step on the path toward crewed flight.
    A burst of gravitational waves hit our planet. Astronomers have no clue where it's from. | Live Science

    A mysterious cosmic event might have ever-so-slightly stretched and squeezed our planet last week. On Jan. 14, astronomers detected a split-second burst of gravitational waves, distortions in space-time … but researchers don't know where this burst came from.

    The gravitational wave signal, picked up by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo interferometer, lasted only 14 milliseconds, and astronomers haven't yet been able to pinpoint the burst's cause or determine whether it was just a blip in the detectors.

    Gravitational waves can be caused by the collision of massive objects, such as two black holes or two neutron stars. Astronomers detected such gravitational waves from a neutron star collision in 2017 and from one in April of 2019, according to new findings that were presented at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society on Jan. 6.
    IBM’s debating AI just got a lot closer to being a useful tool - MIT Technology Review

    OP note: cut down on a few of the quotes for brevity and other reasons.

    We make decisions by weighing pros and cons. Artificial intelligence has the potential to help us with that by sifting through ever-increasing mounds of data. But to be truly useful, it needs to reason more like a human. “We make use of persuasive language and all sorts of background knowledge that is very difficult to model in AI,” says Jacky Visser of the Center for Argument Technology at the University of Dundee, UK. “This has been one of the holy grails since people started thinking about AI.”


    IBM has just taken a big step in that direction. The company’s Project Debater team has spent several years developing an AI that can build arguments. Last year IBM demonstrated its work-in-progress technology in a live debate against a world-champion human debater, the equivalent of Watson’s Jeopardy! showdown. Such stunts are fun, and it provided a proof of concept. Now IBM is turning its toy into a genuinely useful tool.
    Scientists recreate voice of 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy - Big Think

    Scientists have reproduced the voice of an ancient Egyptian priest by creating a 3D-printed replica of his mummified vocal tract.

    An international and interdisciplinary team, led by David Howard, a professor of electronic engineering at Royal Holloway, used computed tomography (CT) scanning technology to measure the dimensions of the vocal tract of Nesyamun, a mummy that's spent about two centuries on display at Leeds City Museum in the United Kingdom.

    The team then used those measurements to 3D-print an artificial vocal tract, through which they produced sounds using a peculiar electronic device called the Vocal Tract Organ.

    Researchers have developed an ultra-thin and ultra-flexible electronic material that could be printed and rolled out like newspaper, for the touchscreens of the future.

    The touch-responsive technology is 100 times thinner than existing touchscreen materials and so pliable it can be rolled up like a tube.

    To create the new conductive sheet, an RMIT University-led team used a thin film common in cell phone touchscreens and shrunk it from 3-D to 2-D, using liquid metal chemistry.

    The nano-thin sheets are readily compatible with existing electronic technologies and because of their incredible flexibility, could potentially be manufactured through roll-to-roll (R2R) processing just like a newspaper.
    Discovery of new T-cell raises prospect of ‘universal’ cancer therapy - News - Cardiff University

    Researchers at Cardiff University have discovered a new type of killer T-cell that offers hope of a “one-size-fits-all” cancer therapy.

    T-cell therapies for cancer - where immune cells are removed, modified and returned to the patient’s blood to seek and destroy cancer cells - are the latest paradigm in cancer treatments.

    The most widely-used therapy, known as CAR-T, is personalised to each patient but targets only a few types of cancers and has not been successful for solid tumours, which make up the vast majority of cancers.
    There is one story I will be posting separately later on as I think it would work better as its own topic. Stay tuned!
  • #2

    Oh! A lot of cool things here. I'm digging the nano-touchscreens. I could see devices using those in the future and being kind of like the pads they had in Caprica.

    Manned testing of the Crew Dragon is going to be really interesting. This is where the rubber meets the road. Unmanned tests are great, but now you'll have people's lives on the line. I hope it goes well!

    And a possible step towards curing cancer? How long have we been hoping for that? Maybe this will lead to something.

    Great set of articles, man!
    Daryn's Signature

    “Just when you think humanity has found the limits of stupid, they go and ratchet up the standard by another notch.” - Bob


    • #3

      Originally posted by Daryn View Post
      Great set of articles, man!
      Aww, thanks!