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MacKinnon Extradition Blocked By UK Home Secretary

the_newsbeagle Why he hacked: Looking for alien conspiracies (258 comments)

"McKinnon claimed that UFOs were the reason for his hack. Convinced that the government was hiding alien antigravity devices and advanced energy technologies, he planned to find and release the information for the benefit of humanity. He said his intrusion was detected just as he was downloading a photo from NASA's Johnson Space Center of what he believed to be a UFO." http://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/internet/the-autistic-hacker/0

about 2 years ago

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Wave Power Fails to Live Up to Promise

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about two weeks ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "One of the leading companies developing wave power devices, Ocean Power Technologies, has dramatically scaled down its ambitions. The company had planned to install the world's first commercial-scale wave farms off the coast of Australia and Oregon, but has now announced that it's ending those projects. Instead it will focus on developing next-gen devices. Apparently the economics of wave power just don't make sense yet."
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How a Super-Intelligent AI Could Wipe Out Humanity

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about a month ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "Oxford University futurist Nick Bostrom thinks we're doomed. It's his job to contemplate existential threats to the human species, and he predicts that a super-smart artificial intelligence program will be the end of us.

His new book, Superintelligence, outlines AI takeover scenarios, discusses what might motivate a superintelligent AI, and lays out reasons why the AI’s pursuit of its goals would likely lead to our extinction. This excerpt from the book imagines a situation in which a developing AI lulls humans into complacency before making a "treacherous turn.""

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A Better Way to Make Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Limbs

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about a month ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "To make a brain-machine interface, you need a way to capture neurons' electric signals. The most precise and most invasive way uses implants that are stuck in the gray matter. The least precise and least invasive way uses EEG sensors stuck to the scalp. But researchers at Johns Hopkins University say there's a third way that gets the best of both worlds, which is not too invasive and fairly precise. They use ECoG systems, in which a mesh of electrodes is placed under the skull, draped over the surface of the cortex.

They're testing their systems on epilepsy patients, who have these ECoG systems inserted anyway while they're waiting for surgery (the electrodes record the source of their seizures). The researchers are capturing these patients' movement commands from their brains, and using them to control robotic limbs. Someday such a system could be used by amputees to control their prosthetic limbs."

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Open-Source Gear for Making Mind-Controlled Gadgets

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about a month and a half ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "If you've been hankering to control a robotic battle spider with your mind but haven't known how to begin, you're in luck. A startup called OpenBCI is now selling an Arduino-compatible board that any reasonably competent DIYer can use to build a brain-computer interface. The board takes in data from up to 8 EEG scalp electrodes, and hackers are already using it to pull of some good tricks. There's the guy with the battle spiders, for one. And there's a crew in L.A. building a paint-by-brain system for a paralyzed graffiti artist."
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Can Computers Beat the Game of Go?

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about 3 months ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "Artificial intelligence programs seem to eventually beat humans at every game we've taught them to play: checkers, chess, Jeopardy, etc. But the ancient game of Go remains a challenge, and lately there's been a lot of attention paid to the AI researchers trying to master it. Wired recently described the tense man vs machine Go matches, and IEEE Spectrum explains the statistics-based algorithm that may soon allow Go programs to triumph over human grandmasters."
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Smartphones to Monitor Schizophrenics -- All the Time

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about 3 months ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "Is this creepy or a breakthrough in mental health? Psychiatrists have realized that they can collect vast amounts of data about their patients using smartphone apps that passively monitor the patients as they go about their daily business. A prototype for schizophrenia patients is being tested out now on Long Island. The Crosscheck trial will look at behavior patterns (tracking movement, sleep, and conversations) and correlate them with the patient's reports of symptoms and moods; researchers hope the data will reveal the "signature" of a patient who is about relapse and therefore needs help."
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Open-Source Hardware for Neuroscience

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about 4 months ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "The equipment that neuroscientists use to record brain signals is plenty expensive, with a single system costing upward of $60,000. But it turns out that it's not too complicated to build your own, for the cost of about $3000. Two MIT grad students figured out how to do just that, and are distributing both manufactured systems and their designs through their website, Open Ephys. Their goal is to launch an open-source hardware movement in neuroscience, so researchers can spend less time worrying about the gear they need and more time doing experiments."
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A Brain-Reading Bike Helmet

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about 4 months ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "Put together an EEG sensor and a GPS sensor and what do you get? A helmet that maps your "psychogeography." The helmet registers some simple metrics of brain activity and overlays the information on a map, letting wearers see how they're responding to their environments. According to the Kickstarter campaign, the designers developed the MindRider helmet with bicyclists and skateboarders in mind, but they've also received inquiries from skiers, paragliders, and climbers."
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Can Cyborg Tech End Human Disability by 2064?

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about 4 months ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "As part of a 50th anniversary celebration, IEEE Spectrum magazine tries to peer into the technological future 50 years out. Its biomedical article foresees the integration of electronic parts into our human bodies, making up for physical, emotional, and intellectual disabilities.

The article spotlights the visionaries Hugh Herr, an MIT professor (and double amputee) who wants to build prosthetic limbs that are wired directly into the nervous system; Helen Mayberg, who has developed brain pacemakers to cure depression; and Ted Berger, who's working on neural implants that can restore memory function."

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DIY Lab Tests for Extreme Quantified Selfers

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about 5 months ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "People who are into the quantified health trend can already measure and chart a wide variety of metrics — steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep patterns, etc can all be tracked using new gadgets. Now a new device called Cue lets people track their biochemical stats, too. Cue offers five DIY lab tests, automates the testing procedure, and sends the results to the user's smartphone. It lets guys check their testosterone levels, ladies check their fertility status, and also offers tests for the flu virus, vitamin D levels, and an inflammation-marker protein. Apparently more tests are expected down the line. The gizmo is available for pre-order now at the price of $149, but shipping doesn't start till spring 2015."
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How Japan Plans to Build Orbital Solar Power Stations

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about 5 months ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "Solar power stations in orbit aren't exactly a new idea — Asimov set one of his stories on such a space station back in 1941. Everyone thinks it's a cool idea to collect solar power 24 hours a day and beam it down to Earth. But what with the expense and difficulty of rocketing up the parts and constructing and operating the stations in orbit, nobody's built one yet. While you probably still shouldn't hold your breath, it's interesting to learn that Japan's space agency has spec'd out such a solar power station."
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Can a Mobile Game Diagnose Alzheimer's?

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about 5 months ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "Currently, the best way to check if a person has a high likelihood of developing Alzheimer's is to perform a PET scan to measure the amount of amyloid plaque in his or her brain. That's an expensive procedure. But a startup called Akili Interactive says it has developed a mobile game that can identify likely Alzheimer's patients just by their gameplay and game results. The game is based on a neuroscience study which showed that multitasking is one of the first brain functions to take a hit in Alzheimer's patients. Therefore the game requires players to perform two tasks at the same time."
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IBM Watson, Geneticist

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about 6 months ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "The AI known as IBM Watson has been a Jeopardy champion, is training to become a doctor, and will soon add geneticist to its list of titles. Yesterday IBM and the NY Genome Center announced a collaboration in which oncologists will give Watson reams of genetic data for 20 brain cancer patients. The AI will search through vast troves of medical literature for information regarding each patient's specific set of genetic mutations, then offer treatment suggestions."
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Should We Hack the Van Allen Belts Around the Earth?

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about 7 months ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "Before you give the obvious answer (no), take a moment to consider. The Van Allen radiation belts, zones of high-energy charged particles that ring the Earth, can cause all manner of trouble to satellites and spacecraft that pass through them. And shielding is so boring. So scientists are experimenting with hacking the belts; more specifically, they think they can use carefully tuned electromagnetic waves to drive these particles out of space and disperse them in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Say it with me now: What could possibly go wrong?"
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How to Take Apart Fukushima's 3 Melted-Down Reactors

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about 7 months ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "In Japan, workers have spent nearly three years on the clean-up and decommissioning of the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. They only have 37 years to go.

Taking apart the plant's three melted-down reactors is expected to take 40 years and cost $15 billion. The plant's owner, TEPCO, admits that its engineers don't yet know how they'll pull off this monumental task. An in-depth examination of the decommissioning process explains the challenges, such as working amid the radioactive rubble, stopping up the leaks that spill radioactive water throughout the site, and handling the blobs of melted nuclear fuel. Many of the tasks will be accomplished by newly invented robots that can go where humans fear to tread."

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Inside Chris Anderson's Open-Source Drone Factory

the_newsbeagle the_newsbeagle writes  |  about 7 months ago

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "The former editor of Wired is betting that the 21st century skies will be filled with drones, and not the military sort. His company, 3D Robotics, is building open-source UAVs for the civilian market, and expects its drones to catch on first in agriculture. As noted in an article about the company's grand ambitions: "Farms are far from the city’s madding crowds and so offer safe flying areas; also, the trend toward precision agriculture demands aerial monitoring of crops. Like traffic watching, it’s a job tailor-made for a robot: dull, dirty, and dangerous." Also, farmers apparently wouldn't need FAA approval for privately owned drones flying over their own property."

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