You’ve double-parked your car to pick something up when a robot rolls up and threatens to give you a ticket. You might laugh, but the thing’s talking with a human voice.
Researchers at Florida International University’s Discovery Lab are working with a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves to build telepresence robots that could patrol while being controlled by disabled police officers and military vets. In a sense, they would be hybrid man-machine cops, like RoboCop.
Lieutenant Commander Jeremy Robins has given $20,000 to the lab and borrowed two robots valued at nearly $500,000 from the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) to realize his vision of bringing some of the thousands of disabled cops and soldiers in the U.S. back to the workforce.
They would work as patrol officers, operating wheeled telepresence robots and doing everything from responding to 911 calls and writing parking tickets to ensuring the security of nuclear facilities. The cybercops would have to be rugged enough to work outdoors, but what would they look like?
While dolphins have been taught to mimic the pattern and durations of sounds in human speech, no animal has spontaneously tried such mimicry.
But researchers heard a nine-year-old whale named NOC make sounds octaves below normal, in clipped bursts.
The researchers outline in Current Biology just how NOC did it.
But the first mystery was figuring out where the sound was coming from. The whales are known as “canaries of the sea” for their high-pitched chirps, and while a number of anecdotal reports of whales making human-like speech, none had ever been recorded.
When a diver at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in California surfaced saying, “Who told me to get out?” the researchers there knew they had another example on their hands.
Once they identified NOC as the culprit, they made the first-ever recordings of the behaviour.
Guards armed with M16 assault rifles forced them to lie face-down for three hours while the FBI ran security checks.
The 12-man crew visited the infamous Area 51 in Nevada — where it is claimed bodies of aliens are held — to make a documentary about UFOs.
The Beeb team — including comic Andrew Maxwell — ignored warnings to slip past security and film inside the fence.
Moments later military cops surrounded them and confiscated their phones, wallets and IDs. UFO expert Darren Perks, 34, said one of the cops told him: “Listen, son, we could make you disappear and your body would never be found.”
Why did Earth thrive and our sister planet, Venus, died? From the fires of a sun’s birth… twin planets emerged. Then their paths diverged. Nature draped one world in the greens and blues of life. While enveloping the other in acid clouds… high heat… and volcanic flows. Why did Venus take such a disastrous turn?
Dr Eben Alexander, a Harvard-educated neurosurgeon, fell into a coma for seven days in 2008 after contracting meningitis.
During his illness Dr Alexander says that the part of his brain which controls human thought and emotion “shut down” and that he then experienced “something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.” In an essay for American magazine Newsweek, which he wrote to promote his book Proof of Heaven, Dr Alexander says he was met by a beautiful blue-eyed woman in a “place of clouds, big fluffy pink-white ones” and “shimmering beings”.
He continues: “Birds? Angels? These words registered later, when I was writing down my recollections. But neither of these words do justice to the beings themselves, which were quite simply different from anything I have known on this planet. They were more advanced. Higher forms.” The doctor adds that a “huge and booming like a glorious chant, came down from above, and I wondered if the winged beings were producing it. the sound was palpable and almost material, like a rain that you can feel on your skin but doesn’t get you wet.”
Dr Alexander says he had heard stories from patients who spoke of outer body experiences but had disregarded them as “wishful thinking” but has reconsidered his opinion following his own experience.
He added: “I know full well how extraordinary, how frankly unbelievable, all this sounds. Had someone even a doctor told me a story like this in the old days, I would have been quite certain that they were under the spell of some delusion.
A devastating Salmonella epidemic is ravaging parts of sub-Saharan Africa right now — and it appears that HIV gave this rapidly evolving form of Salmonella a major boost. According to a new study, the African HIV epidemic appears to have provided this strain of Salmonella with a large number of humans with weakened immune systems, giving it a place to evolve, and to spread rapidly.
Worse still: the new, improved strain of Salmonella doesn’t respond to the first set of antibiotics, meaning that doctors have to use more expensive drugs, instead. Just one more way that HIV is more evil than we ever knew.
Called non-Typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS), the relatively new disease was generated by a new form of the bacteria Salmonella typhimurium that spread from two different focal hubs in Southern and Central Africa. It emerged in two separate waves, the first in 1960 and the second in 1977 (possibly from the Congo Basin).
iNTS is a blood-borne infection that kills 25% to 45% of Sub-Saharan Africans who contract it. In other parts of the world, NTS is fatal in less than 1% of people infected. The disease appears to be more severe in Africa, on account of such factors as malnutrition, co-infection with malaria or HIV — and possibly also, the new mutated version of the Salmonella bacteria.
A bizarre dinosaur had vampire-like fangs, a parrot beak and porcupine bristles, researchers say.
The ancient creature, which was found 50 years ago in southern Africa but drew relatively little attention until now, may shed light on the evolution of the major group of dinosaurs that included famous giants such as Stegosaurus and Triceratops.
The 200-million-year-old dinosaur “was two-legged, probably fleet-footed, and had grasping hands,” said researcher Paul Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago.
Named Pegomastax africanus, or “thick jaw from Africa,” it was less than 2 feet (0.6 meters) long and weighed less than a house cat at 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) at most, “and was mostly tail and neck,” Sereno added.
Strangely, bristles somewhat like porcupine quills may have spread across most of the body of Pegomastax. Such bristles first appeared in a relative named Tianyulong recently discovered in China. Buried in lake sediments and covered by volcanic ash, Tianyulong was preserved with hundreds of bristles covering its body from its neck to the tip of its tail. [Paleo-Art: Stunning Illustrations of Dinosaurs]
The point of no return has been discovered at last. Fifty million light-years from Earth, in the heart of the Messier 87 galaxy, a black hole that is six billion times more massive than the Sun has provided scientists with the first measurement of what is known as an “event horizon,” the point beyond which matter is forever lost to the black hole.
“Once objects fall through the event horizon, they’re lost forever,” says Shep Doeleman, a research associate at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and lead author on the paper published in Science Express.
Black holes are the densest objects in the universe. “There’s such intense gravity there that it’s not just matter that can cross the event horizon and get sucked into the black hole but even a photon of light,” says co-author Jonathan Weintroub, also at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “There’s a bit of a paradox in claiming that we’ve measured a black hole, because black holes are black. We measure light, or in our case, radiowaves” from around the black hole, not the black hole itself.
The black hole in question is one of the two biggest in the sky, according to a September 2011 paper titled, “The size of the jet launching region in M87,” which outlined how measurements of the event horizon could be taken.
PARIS: The secret life of a mysterious creature that feeds on the decaying dead in the unlit depths of the ocean has been revealed.
The squid is so weird that it is known as a ‘phylogenetic relic’. It has the honour of occupying a taxonomic category all of its own, combining features of octopuses and squids in a unique evolutionary formula that has survived for millions of years.
Writing in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a pair of scientists in California report on 30 years of chance encounters with vampire squids by robot submarine explorers, laboratory experiments and dissections.
Vampyroteuthis infernalis – the ‘Squid from Hell’ – is the only species in the order Vampyromorpha, where it was placed in 1903.
The 13-centimetre (five-inch) cephalopod lives in temperate and tropical oceans, inhabiting waters at depths between roughly 600 and 900 metres (2,000–3,000 feet), a niche habitat where at the lowest levels there is just enough oxygen to support life.
It uses huge 2.5-centimetre (one-inch) eyes to detect the slightest gleam of movement, and deploys dark-blue bioluminescence to cloak its jelly-like body from predators below when it drifts at higher depths.
Recent discoveries have shown that the heart generates a mysterious and powerful electromagnetic field. In this video, Rollin McCraty, Ph.D, Executive VP and Director of Research for the Institute of HeartMath, explores the scientific basis for understanding the amazing ways that we are connected.