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.
Plans to send an interplanetary pedalo to Saturn’s largest moon Titan have been unveiled by scientists.
The robot craft would land in one of the moon’s lakes and sail around propelled by paddles.
Other versions of the probe are fitted with screws or wheels.
Titan is the nearest thing the Solar System has to Pandora, the Earth-like moon featured in the film Avatar.
Like Earth it has a thick atmosphere and large bodies of liquid on its surface – only Titan’s chilly seas consist of lighter fluid chemicals instead of water.
The hydrocarbon lakes, seas and rivers cover much of the moon’s northern hemisphere.
Their existence was confirmed by the European Space Agency’s Huygens lander which visited Titan as part of the Cassini mission in 2005.
Huygens landed on solid ground but was designed to float for short periods.
The new plans, presented at the European Planetary Science Congress in Madrid, envisage dropping a boat-like probe in the middle of Ligeia Mare, the largest lake near Titan’s north pole.
The craft would then set sail for the coast, taking scientific measurements on the way.
Amateur beekeeper Mark Hohn first noticed the dead bees in front of his shop after returning from vacation in early September.
“When I first saw it, I just assumed it was natural,” he said. “I found them right in the flight path of my hives.”
Because Hohn keeps nearly 300,000 bees and only a couple dozen had died, he didn’t think anything unusual was going. But then he saw bees acting strange, as if they were drunk. He shot some video of the bees, bagged some of the dead ones and contacted the experts.
Soon, biologists at Washington State University and San Francisco State University found out that he had the first recorded case of Zombie bees in Washington. The bees aren’t a threat to humans, but they do pose a threat to the honey bee population, which has already been hit hard by various environmental factors and other sicknesses.
Via: Huffington Post
“I’m firmly convinced there’s an agency, and there is an effort to suppress,” Halt told an audience of 200 people Saturday night at the Smithsonian-affiliated National Atomic Testing Museum.
Two former Air Force officers who were part of the infamous Project Blue Book — the military’s official UFO investigation in the 1950s and ’60s — and a former investigator with Britain’s Ministry of Defense were among the panel of speakers for a program entitled “Military UFOs: Secrets Revealed.”
Halt, pictured below, was the deputy base commander of the RAF Bentwaters military base in England and one of numerous eyewitnesses to several UFO-related events at Rendlesham Forest in December 1980. He believes the observed UFOs were either extraterrestrial or extradimensional in origin.
“I’ve heard many people say that it’s time for the government to appoint an agency to investigate,” Halt said.
“Folks, there is an agency, a very close-held, compartmentalized agency that’s been investigating this for years, and there’s a very active role played by many of our intelligence agencies that probably don’t even know the details of what happens once they collect the data and forward it. It’s kind of scary, isn’t it?
Astrophysicist Adam Frank’s new book mixes cosmology with humanity. How does our understanding of the universe and cosmic time inform our daily lives? Especially if time is an illusion?
The “rebels” who fight the Big Bang theory are mostly attempting to grapple with the concept of time. They are philosophers as much as cosmologists, unsatisfied with the Big Bang, unimpressed with string theory and unconvinced of the multiverse. Julian Barbour, British physicist, author, and major proponent of the idea of timeless physics, is one of those rebels–so thoroughly a rebel that he has spurned the world of academics.
Julian Barbour’s solution to the problem of time in physics and cosmology is as simply stated as it is radical: there is no such thing as time.
“If you try to get your hands on time, it’s always slipping through your fingers,” says Barbour. “People are sure time is there, but they can’t get hold of it. My feeling is that they can’t get hold of it because it isn’t there at all.” Barbour speaks with a disarming English charm that belies an iron resolve and confidence in his science. His extreme perspective comes from years of looking into the heart of both classical and quantum physics. Isaac Newton thought of time as a river flowing at the same rate everywhere. Einstein changed this picture by unifying space and time into a single 4-D entity. But even Einstein failed to challenge the concept of time as a measure of change. In Barbour’s view, the question must be turned on its head. It is change that provides the illusion of time. Channeling the ghost of Parmenides, Barbour sees each individual moment as a whole, complete and existing in its own right. He calls these moments “Nows.”
“As we live, we seem to move through a succession of Nows,” says Barbour, “and the question is, what are they?” For Barbour each Now is an arrangement of everything in the universe. “We have the strong impression that things have definite positions relative to each other. I aim to abstract away everything we cannot see (directly or indirectly) and simply keep this idea of many different things coexisting at once. There are simply the Nows, nothing more, nothing less.”
The Dogon people are renowned for their artistic traditions — and their spiritual traditions are no less fascinating. But why did a French anthropologist believe they may have had contact with extraterrestrials? Tune in to learn more about the Nommo.