Science, Technology and Innovation

The discovery of alien life may be close. How will religion survive it?

Exoplanet Kepler186f 1a T Pyle AFP Getty

Encounters with new worlds and new life will present religions with the ultimate theological conundrum. But they will adapt, as they have done… Santhosh Mathew The Guardian About two decades ago, it was quite uncertain whether stars other than our own sun even hosted their own… However, according to Nasa, the latest count of confirmed exoplanets stands at around 3,500 – and… The discovery of… Read More »

Ansip and Oettinger — the odd couple

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Facebook status: It’s complicated. When the bright and powerful gather this week at Commissioner Günther Oettinger’s “mini-Davos” for two days of skiing, schmoozing and… JOANNA PLUCINSKA Politico The yearly confab in the idyllic Austrian ski town of Lech will include lobbyists, EU heavyweights and industry… With the conference in its sixth year, invitations are more… Ansip and Oettinger… Read More »

Facebook shares brain-control ambitions

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Facebook says it is working on technology to allow us to control computers directly with our… Dave Lee  BBC It is developing “silent speech” software to allow people to type at a rate of 100 words per minute, it… The project, in its early stages, will require new technology to detect brainwaves without needing invasive… “We are not talking about decoding your random thoughts,” assured… Facebook shares brain… Read More »

US West enters ‘new era’ of unstoppable wildfires because of climate change, experts warn

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‘This is bigger than us and we’re going to have to adapt to wildfire, rather than the other way… Ian Johnston Environment Correspondent Independent The western United States has entered a “new era of wildfires” with average temperatures now two degrees Celsius higher and the… Some blazes should be allowed to burn themselves out and fires should even be set deliberately as part of a… US West enters… Read More »

Nuclear weapons the ‘biggest threat facing humans today’

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THE threat looms large with North Korea celebrating the birthday of Kim Il-sung and Donald Trump poised for a preemptive attack. Here’s how it could look. Debra Killalea News.Com.Au IF a major conflict broke out between superpowers and nuclear warheads were used, the consequences would be catastrophic. In the space of minutes, entire cities would be destroyed and between one and three billion… Nuclear weapons the… Read More »

US government ‘hacked global bank system’

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A huge range of security exploits, said to be worth over $2m if sold on the black market, have been leaked… Dave Lee  BBC The tools are said to have been created by the US National Security Agency (NSA), and accompanying documents appear to indicate a possible breach of the… Such a hack could have enabled the US to covertly monitor financial transactions, researchers… US government ‘hacked… Read More »

The army that conquered the world

DABF1B The Han Dynasty Terra-cotta Soldiers displayed at Xianyang museum in Xianyang City of Shaanxi Province China. Image shot 2012. Exact date unknown.

The martial figures buried with the first Chinese emperor were discovered in 1974. Jonathan Glancey BBC News But the tomb they guard hasn’t even been opened, writes Jonathan Glancey. In March 1974… The army that… Read More »

Dreaming ‘hot zone’ found at the back of the brain

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The stuff of dreams has bewildered science for years, but a new study has found a so-called “hot zone” near the back of the brain… Dani Cooper and Genelle Weule ABC The study also confirmed that dreaming does not just happen in the rapid eye movement (REM) phase, associated with fast rhythms of… Monitoring of this hot zone led to predictions about when a person was dreaming in non-REM sleep and even some aspects of the… Dreaming ‘hot zone… Read More »

Organ Donation: A Modern Act of Heroism

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“Live a Legacy of Life. Be an Organ Donor” Is there anything more heroic than saving a life? Marios Prikis University of Vermont Whether, it’s saving a child from drowning or pulling a driver from car wreckage, we are fascinated and profoundly moved by people who perform selfless acts on behalf of others. When it comes to donating an organ however, many consider this form of selflessness as… Organ Donation: A… Read More »

How emojis can help children learn and communicate

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For young children, emoji can aid inclusion in aspects of society previously closed to them, such as active participation in increasing knowledge of childhood well-being, and being heard in educational and care settings. Jennifer Fane ABC Emoji can also support children’s learning in areas of health, well-being, safety and diversity. These are key… How emojis can… Read More »

Make car makers, not drivers, pay for the diesel crisis, experts say

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German and French governments have already required that manufacturers fix vehicles spewing high levels of toxic pollution but UK is ‘doing… Damian Carrington Environment editor The Guardian The diesel-fuelled air pollution crisis should be solved by making motor companies recall and upgrade the dirty cars they sold, experts said on Wednesday. Make car makers… Read More »

Evidence of ancient ‘geological Brexit’ revealed

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The UK has now started the formal process of leaving the EU, but scientists say they have evidence of a much earlier… Rebecca Morelle BBC They have worked out how a thin strip of land that once connected ancient Britain to Europe was… The researchers believe a large lake overflowed 450,000 years ago, damaging the land link, then a later flood fully opened the… Evidence of ancient… Read More »

The smartphone is eventually going to die, and then things are going to get really crazy

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One day, not too soon — but still sooner than you think — the smartphone will all but vanish, the way beepers and fax machines did before it. Matt Weinberger  Business Insider Make no mistake: We’re still probably at least a decade away from any kind of meaningful shift away from the smartphone. (And if we’re all cyborgs by 2027, I’ll happily eat my words. Assuming we’re still eating at all, I… Yet, piece by piece, the… The smartphone is… Read More »

Is the American Dream killing us?

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It isn’t often that economics raises the most profound questions of human existence, but the recent work of economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton (wife and husband, both of Princeton University) comes close. Robert J. Samuelson The Washington Post You may recall that a few years ago, Case and Deaton reported the startling finding that the death rates of non-Hispanic middle-aged whites had gotten worse — they were dying younger. The results were… Is the American… Read More »

Jeb Bush warns robots taking US jobs is not science fiction

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Sunday that people “should be marching in the streets” to demand changes to “antiquated” education systems that… DANIEL CHAITIN Washington Examiner “The looming challenge of automation and artificial intelligence and the rapid advancement of technology brings great benefits but also creates huge challenges,” Bush… The threat of a… Jeb Bush warns… Read More »

50 grand challenges of the 21st Century

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We asked experts from the world of science and technology to describe the societal challenges that they think matter in 2017 and… Bryan Lufkin BBC Read the full list of responses… Over the past month, Future Now has been covering the “grand challenges” we face as a society in a series of articles, videos and… We polled a… 50 grand challenges… Read More »