slew (2918) writes "Although the robot technically it cheats because it watches your hand and can recognize what shape you are intending to make and beat it before you even know what is happening. Apparently it takes about 60ms for you to shape your hand, but the robot can recognize the shape before it is completed, and only takes 20ms to counter your shape so the results appear to the human opponent to be virtually simultaneous.
I wonder how difficult it would be to add lizard and spock to the mix....;^)
slew (2918) writes "Apparently after looking at some recent pictures from Curiosity's Hand Lens imager, someone spotted a hole in one of Curiosity's wheels. Unfortunatly, Mars is a long way from the nearest AAA, and the waranty on most aluminum wheels don't cover you if you decide to drive w/o tires, but apparently it's gonna be okay;^)" Link to Original Source top
100% fail rate on Liberia University's admission exam
slew (2918) writes "Apparently none of the 24K+ students who sat for the 2013 Liberia University entrance exam got a passing mark, and fewer than a hundred managed to pass the either the english (pass level 70%) or math (pass level 50%) sections required to qualify to be part of the normal class of 2k-3k students admitted every year...
Historically, the pass rate has been about 20-30% and in recent years, the test has been in multiple-guess format to facilitate grading. The mathematics exam generally focuses on arithmetic, geometry, algebra, analytical geometry and elementary statistic and probability; while the English exam generally focuses on grammar, sentence completion, reading comprehension and logical reasoning.
However, as a testatment to the over-hang of a civil war, university over-crowding, corruption, social promotion, the admission criteria was apparently temporarily dropped to 40% math and 50% english to allow the provisional admission of about 1.6K students. And people are calling foul..." top
slew (2918) writes "In the shadow of Stanford and Harvard offering free on-line courses, The University of California has been attempting to offer pay-courses for credit. UC online took out a $6.9M loan from UC and spent $4.3M to market these courses. For their efforts, they've been able to quadruple their enrollment year over year.
The first year results: one person paid $1,400 for an online calculus class worth 4 credits. Now 4 people are signed up. Me thinks head will roll on this one..." Link to Original Source top
slew (2918) writes "Scientists at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany have created an actual stable system which has an inverted Boltzmann Distribution (aka, Negative Temperature) by using an intermediate bosonic Mott insulator together with a Feshbach resonance in bosonic Potassium with laser cooling.
Although Negative Temperature systems are not uncommon (a pumped laser creates them all the time), they are not usually stable as they are not in thermodynamic equilibrium (in the case of a laser, the high energy state couples to a lower energy state returning the system to a positive temperature realm).
Practical uses are of course far away (they only achieved a billionth of a Kelvin below absolute zero), but studying stable negative temperature systems may help us understand the mechanisms behind dark energy theories." Link to Original Source top
slew (2918) writes "Unlike its more famous carbon cousins: diamonds and fullerenes, you've probably never heard of M-Carbon, but this form of compressed graphite which is as hard as diamonds has baffled researcher for half a century. Over the past few years, many theoretical computations have suggested at least a dozen different crystal structures for this phase of carbon, but new experiments showed that only one crystal structure fits the data: M-carbon." Link to Original Source top
slew (2918) writes "In case you aren't in the loop, this army-reservist came up with this limited edition case for the iphone that doubles as a 650K volt stun-gun. He apparently came up with the idea after being a victim of a home invasion robbery attempt...
Bonus: the stun-gun battery pack can give an extra 20 hours of life to the iPhone if you aren't stunning anyone" Link to Original Source top
slew (2918) writes "Scientist at Griffith University have shown the first absorption image of a single atom isolated in a vacuum. A single atomic ion was confined in an RF Paul trap and the absorption imaged at near wavelength resolution with a phase Fresnel lens.
They predict this absorbption imaging technique should prove useful in quantum information processing and using the minimum amount of illumination for bio-imaging of light-sensitive samples.
slew (2918) writes "Although this isn't "new" research, I just saw this presentation at a GPU Technology Conference keynote. The gist of this research is that a well functioning democracy (a group that is nominally controlled by the numerical majority) seems to require a minimum number of uninfomed or weak-preference individuals to avoid manipulation by a strongly opinionated minority. If this is true, perhaps electing a certain percentage of spin-less clue-less flip-flopping people as legistative representatives instead of all partisan opinionated intransigents is the evolutionary prefered path to take? Nah!" Link to Original Source top
slew (2918) writes "Although it hasn't been tested on humans yet, stanford researchers have created a new type of retinal prosthetic that is photovoltaic powered. The gist is that external googles convert an image into infrared light and that light conveys both the image and the power for the retinal implant which means no batteries, or bulky induction coils are required for the retinal implant. This should allow for higher resolution implant (the experimental device has 176 pixels where in contrast the currently available retinal implant from SecondSight is about 60 pixels and requires a bulky inductive antenna). Might be a while till we get to a bionic eye, but this should be quite a help for the sight challenged among us." Link to Original Source top
slew (2918) writes "Transparent conducting films are a very important part of photoelectric cells and display panels like OLEDS. Unfortunatly, the currently best known material Indium Tin Oxide (aka ITO) is a rare and expensive and much better performing than it's cheaper subsitute (aluminium zinc oxide AZO). Carbon nanotubes thin-films have been considered, but are current limited by sheet resistance. A research group from University of Exeter has created a new Few-Layered graphene (FLG) w/Ferric Chloride "sandwich" which helps to limit the sheet resistance w/o affecting the transparency. If this type of material becomes practical, it could be a good replacement for ITO (which some say economical supplies will run out soon ~2017)." Link to Original Source top
slew (2918) writes "According to this recent study submitted to lancet, an alarming 80-90% of students in east Asian cities have myopia. The study speculates that the culture of educational pressure combined with reduced exposure to outdoor light have conspired to create this epidemic. This conclusion was drawn from a recent retrospective study at cambridge which correlated extra hours outdoors with reduced chance of myopia (~2% drop for each additional hour per week spent out-of-doors)." Link to Original Source top
electron's 3rd "quasi-particle (aka "orbiton") observed in insulator lattice
slew (2918) writes "Although electrons are usually thought of having 2 properties: spin and charge, bound electrons actually have a 3rd quantum property related to their so-called orbit's angular momentum. Spinon and holon quasi-particles have been observed before which represent the spin and charge quantum values of the electron. Now this experiment takes advantage of the fact that nominally bound electrons can delocalize in a lattice into energy bands and make it possible to measure the effect of the orbiton quasi-particles (which has the value of the electron's angular momentum where it was originally nominally bound, even though now delocalized). Hope that made some sense..." Link to Original Source top
bottoms up! drinking buckyballs apparently fountain of youth
slew (2918) writes "As if buckyballs weren't miraculous enough, apparently researchers at Université Paris Sud in France have discovered that rats that drink C60 (fullerene) dissolved in olive oil can live twice as long (by reducing age associated oxidative stress)" Link to Original Source top
Pockets in graphene layers allow viewing of liquids with an electron microscope
slew (2918) writes "Looking at liquids w/ a transmission electron microscope (TEM) to observe things like crystal growth has been difficult to do. This is because liquids need to be confined to a capsule to view them in a TEM (because the electrons are flying at the sample in a chamber near vaccuum pressures where liquids would evaporate or sublimate). Traditional capsules of Silicon Oxide or Silicon Nitride have been fairly opaque. This paper describes a new technique with a "pocket" created between two graphene layers which can hold liquids for observation by a TEM and the graphene is apparently much more transparent than previous materials allowing a better view of the processes (like crystalization), taking place in the liquid. Here's non-paywalled summary article..." Link to Original Source top
Third of three critical rambus patent now declared
slew (2918) writes "Ironically, today of all days, the US Supreme court decided that congress was within its authority to grant new and/or restored copyright protection to preexisting works to comply with copyright treaties. This effectively takes works mainly authored between 1923 and 1989 that had been in the public domain, out of the public domain. This is in a majority opinion written by Justice Ginsburg which can be read here
In a disenting opinion authored by Justices Breyer and Alito voices the view that this "does not serve copyright's traditional public ends, namely the creation of monetary awards that motivate the create activity of authors", but only grants its restored copyrights only to works already produced.
The original suite was that the way that congress complied with the copyright treaty was overbroad (e.g., the Berne convention allowed restricted terms for works of restored copyrights to account for the disruption it might cause, but congress gave blanket restoration for all works)
slew (2918) writes "This article talks about a study accepted to Physical Review Letters that theorizes that Iron oxide goes through an insulator/metal phase change with high temperature and pressure. Originally it was thought to be a crystalline structure change, but now apparently it is theorized to be a new type of metallic state. This discovery might offer new insight on how the earth's magnetic field operates." Link to Original Source top
slew (2918) writes "Okay, so for the owners of the new self-parking prius, this might be obsolete, but for the rest of us car-challenged geeks, someone has gone through the trouble to figure out if that parallel parking space is gonna work or not (or if we have to give one of the cars a "love-tap" to snuggle in there)" Link to Original Source top
slew (2918) writes "Apparently there's a study that if a mouse has a genetic anomoly so it doesn't make H2S (the same chemical as stinky fart gas) it tends to exhibit hypertension (precursor to high blood pressure) and have a reduced ability for vasorelaxation. So if your blood pressure is up, maybe the solution is eat a burrito and pass some gas. I know I feel better when I do....;^) Strangely the study author seem to compare their finding to the ground breaking nitric oxide findings (which lead to the discovery of viagra). I'd love to see the adverts for a blood pressure reducing drug that results from this research;^)"