Science, Technology and Innovation

The secret to Germany’s scientific excellence

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With a national election this month, Germany proves that foresight and stability can power research. Alison Abbott Nature  Ask any German researcher why the country’s science base is blooming, and they are bound to mention Chancellor Angela Merkel. The world’s most powerful woman, they say, has not forgotten her roots as an East German physicist. During a decade of global financial turbulence, her government has increased annual science budgets in a stable, predictable, quintessentially German way. It has spurred competition ... Read More »

Liar, liar, pants on fire! Groups lie more than individuals, according to new research

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Key Takeaway: Something as simple as communication within groups, even if each group member has previously behaved honestly, can be the key to triggering collaborative, dishonest behavior. EurekAlert! CATONSVILLE, MD, September 6, 2017 – Do you pride yourself on being an honest person? Even individuals who have a proven track record of honest behavior are no match for the potentially negative influences present in a group dynamic, especially when money is at stake, according to a new study, published in ... Read More »

Germany has developed a set of ethical guidelines for self-driving cars

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The German federal government will adopt new guidelines for self-driving cars inside the country, which will prioritize the value and equality of human life over damage to property or animals. Dave Gershgorn  World Economic Forum These guidelines, presented on Aug. 23 by an ethics committee on automated driving, stress that self-driving cars must do the least amount of harm if put into a situation where hitting a human is unavoidable, and cannot discriminate based on age, gender, race, disability, or ... Read More »

Anti-vaccination advocate Kent Heckenlively denied entry to Australia by minister Peter Dutton

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One of the world’s most prominent anti-vaccination advocates has been denied entry to Australia due to his “dangerous” views. Henry Belot ABC Kent Heckenlively was planning to visit Australia later this year for an international tour calling on parents to stop vaccinating their children. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton made the decision to deny Mr Heckenlively entry, saying his views were not welcome in Australia. “These people who are telling kids, telling parents that their kids shouldn’t be vaccinated are dangerous ... Read More »

Artificial intelligence researchers must learn ethics

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Scientists who build artificial intelligence and autonomous systems need a strong ethical understanding of the impact their work could have. James Harland Conversation More than 100 technology pioneers recently published an open letter to the United Nations on the topic of lethal autonomous weapons, or “killer robots”. These people, including the entrepreneur Elon Musk and the founders of several robotics companies, are part of an effort that began in 2015. The original letter called for an end to an arms ... Read More »

The Quantum Internet is just a decade away. Here’s what you need to know

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In brief As China moves closer to building a working quantum communications network, the possibility of a quantum internet becomes more and more real. Dom Galeon World Economic Forum But what does having a quantum internet mean? The next level The word “quantum” sounds so advanced and complex that people tend to get hyped up about anything attached to it. While not every quantum breakthrough elicits a positive response, in the case of a so-called quantum internet, people have a ... Read More »

The Tree Of Languages Illustrated In One Gorgeous Infographic

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When linguists talk about the historical relationship between languages of the world, they oftentimes use a tree metaphor. By Amanda Froelich Truth Theory The textbook version tends to be drab and boring, however, which is why Minna Sundberg, the creator of the webcomic Stand Still. Stay Silent took the time to create a much more imaginative version.   Arika Okrent of Mental Floss writes, “An ancient source (say, Indo-European) has various branches (e.g., Romance, Germanic), which themselves have branches (West Germanic, ... Read More »

Mathematical secrets of ancient tablet unlocked after nearly a century of study

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Dating from 1,000 years before Pythagoras’s theorem, the Babylonian clay tablet is a trigonometric table more accurate than any today, say researchers Maev Kennedy The Guardian At least 1,000 years before the Greek mathematician Pythagoras looked at a right angled triangle and worked out that the square of the longest side is always equal to the sum of the squares of the other two, an unknown Babylonian genius took a clay tablet and a reed pen and marked out not ... Read More »

Elon Musk leads 116 experts calling for outright ban of killer robots

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Open letter signed by Tesla chief and Alphabet’s Mustafa Suleyman urges UN to block use of lethal autonomous weapons to prevent third age of war Samuel Gibbs The Guardian Some of the world’s leading robotics and artificial intelligence pioneers are calling on the United Nations to ban the development and use of killer robots. Tesla’s Elon Musk and Alphabet’s Mustafa Suleyman are leading a group of 116 specialists from across 26 countries who are calling for the ban on autonomous ... Read More »

Harvard study strengthens link between breast cancer risk and light exposure at night

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A new study from Harvard has found greater risk of breast cancer in women who live in neighborhoods that have higher levels of outdoor light during the night. Richard G. “Bugs” Stevens The Conversation The findings are based on the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), which has for decades been advancing our understanding of risks to women’s health. For this study, epidemiologist Peter James and colleagues followed nurses in the NHS for breast cancer occurrence from 1989 to 2013. The home ... Read More »

How HIV Became a Cancer Cure

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The immunologist behind the revolutionary new treatment set to win approval from the FDA Allysia Finley WSJ  Philadelphia When Ben Franklin proposed in 1749 what eventually became the University of Pennsylvania, he called for an academy to teach “those Things that are likely to be most useful.” Today the university lays claim to having incubated the world’s biggest cancer breakthrough. In 2011, a team of researchers led by immunologist Carl June, a Penn professor, reported stunning results after genetically altering ... Read More »

Researchers at UNH help National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map sea floor

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DURHAM – Researchers at the University of New Hampshire are working with employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to map the sea floor. So far, between 10 and 11 percent of the sea floor is mapped. Plans are to have the entire floor mapped by 2030. NH1.com Larry Mayer, who is a co-director of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping and Joint Hydrographic Center at UNH, said the primary reason for sea floor mapping is for safety ... Read More »

We’ve studied gender and STEM for 25 years. The science doesn’t support the Google memo.

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These are some issues that males simply do not have to face. The “anxiety gap” exists for a reason, and it is not about biology. A Google engineer who was fired for posting an online claim that women’s biology makes them less able than men to work in technology jobs has charged that he is being smeared and is a victim of political correctness. ROSALIND C. BARNETT AND CARYL RIVERS recode James Damore, 28, questioned the company’s diversity policies and claimed that scientific data backed up ... Read More »

Google misses the point in war over the sexes

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Silicon Valley might benefit from having a more female-friendly culture because of the differences between men and women Ross Douthat The Irish Times Men and women are different. On this, almost everyone acquainted with reality agrees. How different is the more controversial question, to which there is one particularly interesting answer: A little more different than they used to… This growing difference seems to be a striking aspect of modern Western life. In societies where both sexes have greater freedom ... Read More »

We can stop hacking and trolls, but it would ruin the internet

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A new way to run the internet would scupper ransomware and hacking, but its authoritarian backers could control everything we do online. By Sally Adee and Carl Miller New Scientist CYBERTERRORISM fears are through the roof. Ransomware is wreaking havoc on corporations, hospitals and individuals. Printers can be hacked to take down the world’s largest websites. Put simply, the internet is a mess. You’re probably familiar with all this hand-wringing. What you might not know is that a solution has ... Read More »

Watch The Exhilarating Full Trailer For A Hand-Painted Film About Van Gogh

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Get a glimpse of the gorgeous upcoming biopic exploring Vincent van Gogh’s mysterious death. Priscilla Frank HuffPost What went on in the blazing imagination of iconic post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh? A biopic seven years in the making attempts to offer a glimpse into the revolutionary artist’s beautiful mind using the medium he preferred: paint. Painter Dorota Kobiela and filmmaker Hugh Welchman are the guiding forces behind “Loving Vincent,” which is reportedly the first entirely hand-painted feature film ever made. ... Read More »