Show the world we want a phone worth keeping! #phonebloks

Ant Killer now has a “swoosh”mode - you can cut ants with sword like Fruit Ninja


Cracked metal, heal thyself

Unexpected result shows that in some cases, pulling apart makes cracks in metal fuse together.

It was a result so unexpected that MIT researchers initially thought it must be a mistake: Under certain conditions, putting a cracked piece of metal under tension — that is, exerting a force that would be expected to pull it apart — has the reverse effect, causing the crack to close and its edges to fuse together.

The surprising finding could lead to self-healing materials that repair incipient damage before it has a chance to spread. The results were published in the journal Physical Review Letters in a paper by graduate student Guoqiang Xu and professor of materials science and engineering Michael Demkowicz.

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(via somuchscience)


Nanostructures Could Offer Way to Control Quantum Effect… Once a Mystery Is Solved

You might think that a pair of parallel plates hanging motionless in a vacuum just a fraction of a micrometer away from each other would be like strangers passing in the night — so close but destined never to meet. Thanks to quantum mechanics, you would be wrong.

Scientists working to engineer nanoscale machines know this only too well as they have to grapple with quantum forces and all the weirdness that comes with them. These quantum forces, most notably the Casimir effect, can play havoc if you need to keep closely spaced surfaces from coming together.

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10 Things We Learned from Peter Diamandis’s Reddit AMA

X Prize founder and PopMech’s 2013 Breakthrough Leadership Award-winner Peter Diamandis hosted a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). Here’s what we learned about Diamandis’ vision of the future.

1. Science and tech need not rely on government funding.
"I am massively excited about crowdfunding, which is growing exponentially. I’m also excited about the new generation of "techno-philanthropists" who made their billions in the tech arena and now want to have a massive impact on the world. I would love to have the government do more, but unfortunately, the most interesting work is the riskiest work, and a lot of agencies aren’t funding that risk. DARPA, of course, is one of the noted exceptions. I think we need to get to a point where 50 percent of the work being funded by NIH, NASA, etc. is for "highly risky work." That would be my hope and desire. Until that happens, I’ll depend on amazing companies like Google and SpaceX to do this stuff. Oh yeah, and X Prize and Planetary Resources, too."

2. The public will soon have direct access to X Prize.
"We are going to start inviting the public to co-fund the prize purse through crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. We are also launching a new platform soon called HeroX, which will be a social website where the public can design, fund, and operate smaller prizes that are local and needed. This will help take what X Prize does to massive scale."

3. The future of space flight is manned.
"Human participation [in space exploration] is critical. It’s about expanding humanity and civilization and culture. We humans are the carriers of culture. Also I think people want to explore—we have an "Exploration Gene phenotype," so [we need] pure desire and adventure."

4. Humans will soon leave earth.
"Over the next 30 to 40 years, humanity will establish itself in space, independent of Earth. We finally have the technology at hand to do this…and the wealth…and the will. That is huge. Millions of years from now, as people look back at these next few decades, it will be the moment in time that we broke away irreversibly and became a multiplanetary species. Not since lungfish crawled out of the oceans onto land has this happened!"

5. The Google Lunar X Prize will help foster spaceflight.
"We can have a winner of the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP). Ultimately the purpose for GLXP is to help create a space economy beyond low- and geo-earth orbit. On the moon we have access to water (H2 & O2), i.e. fuel, and very useful materials. My friend and mentor Gerard K. O’Neill taught me how useful the moon is as jumping point for humanity to become a multiplanetary species."

6. Diamandis won’t be on a future asteroid-mining mission.
"I have every expectation that we will be mining asteroids well within the next decade. And while I have every personal desire to make a trip to the moon and to the surface of Mars, heading out to an asteroid 100 million+ miles away doesn’t sound like a fun adventure. I think I’ll let the robots take care of that one."

7. If Diamandis ever leaves earth, there is one thing he wouldn’t miss.
"L.A. traffic."

8. Tech is driving humans toward becoming a collective mind.
"The human body is a collection of 10 trillion cells working together. I think we are heading toward the transformation of humanity being a collection of 9 billion human brains working together to a "meta-intelligence," where you can know the thoughts, feelings, and knowledge of anyone. That’s where tech is driving us. As such, I don’t know that I would want to live outside of this, just like any one of your human cells has a disadvantage living outside of your body."

9. Diamandis doesn’t believe environmental degradation or resource depletion will derail the future.
"I actually am an optimist about human nature. As tech continues to drive toward massive transparency, where you can’t hide, it will actually cause us to be safer in society. We will be able to take action more quickly when things are heading in a negative direction. Knowledge is the bright light we need."

10. Diamandis has an X Prize dream list.
"I love the idea of beam power launch—power a rocketship to orbit using RF or lasers. I love the idea of a "Transporter X Prize" to move people with an autonomous electric helicopter from point A to point B. Also I would love to live [more than] 500 years, so life extension is a must!"

Source: PopularMechanics

Related: #Peter Diamandis, #PlanetaryResources, #XPRIZE

Watch: Peter Diamandis // “Abundance Is Our Future” (TED Talk) // BigThink Interview with Peter Diamandis // Peter Diamandis: “The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It Yourself” (Singularity University) // Peter Diamandis “The World We Dream” // Solve For X: Peter Diamandis and Eric Anderson On Space Exploration

(via logicianmagician)


Psychologists Report New Insights On Human Brain, Consciousness

UCLA psychologists have used brain-imaging techniques to study what happens to the human brain when it slips into unconsciousness. Their research, published Oct. 17 in the online journal PLOS Computational Biology, is an initial step toward developing a scientific definition of consciousness.

"In terms of brain function, the difference between being conscious and unconscious is a bit like the difference between driving from Los Angeles to New York in a straight line versus having to cover the same route hopping on and off several buses that force you to take a ‘zig-zag’ route and stop in several places," said lead study author Martin Monti, an assistant professor of psychology and neurosurgery at UCLA.

Monti and his colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study how the flow of information in the brains of 12 healthy volunteers changed as they lost consciousness under anesthesia with propofol. The participants ranged in age from 18 to 31 and were evenly divided between men and women.

The psychologists analyzed the “network properties” of the subjects’ brains using a branch of mathematics known as graph theory, which is often used to study air-traffic patterns, information on the Internet and social groups, among other topics.

"It turns out that when we lose consciousness, the communication among areas of the brain becomes extremely inefficient, as if suddenly each area of the brain became very distant from every other, making it difficult for information to travel from one place to another," Monti said.

The finding shows that consciousness does not “live” in a particular place in our brain but rather "arises from the mode in which billions of neurons communicate with one another," he said.

When patients suffer severe brain damage and enter a coma or a vegetative state, Monti said, it is very possible that the sustained damage impairs their normal brain function and the emergence of consciousness in the same manner as was seen by the life scientists in the healthy volunteers under anesthesia.

"If this were indeed the case, we could imagine in the future using our technique to monitor whether interventions are helping patients recover consciousness," he said.

"It could, however, also be the case that losing consciousness because of brain injury affects brain function through different mechanisms," said Monti, whose research team is currently addressing this question in another study.

"As profoundly defining of our mind as consciousness is, without having a scientific definition of this phenomenon, it is extremely difficult to study," Monti noted. This study, he said, marks an initial step toward conducting neuroscience research on consciousness.

The research was conducted at Belgium’s University Hospital of Liege.

Monti’s expertise includes cognitive neuroscience, the relationship between language and thought, and how consciousness is lost and recovered after severe brain injury. He was part of a team of American and Israeli brain scientists who used fMRI on former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in January 2013 to assess his brain responses.
Surprisingly, Sharon, who was presumed to be in a vegetative state since suffering a brain hemorrhage in 2006, showed significant brain activity, Monti and his colleagues reported.

The former prime minister was scanned to assess the extent and quality of his brain processing, using methods recently developed by Monti and his colleagues. The scientists found subtle but encouraging signs of consciousness.

Source: MedicalXpress


Science breaks down some of the most terrifying parasites on the planet! Which do you prefer?


The Crab Pulsar

Look carefully at this animated image. What you see is the Crab pulsar, a rapidly rotating neutron star at the heart of the Crab Nebula, propelling matter and antimatter outward at near the speed of light, seen in 24 sequential images acquired over several months by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Crab pulsar is a tiny, dense remnant of a star that exploded in a supernova, observed here on Earth in the year 1054. It is very small - only about 25 km (15 miles) across, has a mass about 1.5 times our own Sun, and rotates at an amazing rate of 30 times per second. Bright wisps of energetic particles can be seen moving outward from the pulsar at half the speed of light to form an expanding ring. These wisps appear to originate from a shock wave that shows up as an inner X-ray ring. Also, a turbulent jet appears to be spewing material to the left, looking much like steam from a high-pressure boiler - except it’s a stream of matter and anti-matter electrons moving at half the speed of light.

This little neutron star, some 6,500 light-years away, has been doing this energetic pirouette for the past thousand years, and, undisturbed, will likely continue to do so for billions of years more.

Image credit: NASA/HST/ASU/J. Hester

(via thecraftychemist)




Shiro Sagisu - A Cruel Angel’s Thesis. (2009 version)

how the fuck did I not know this existed…

(via aluslaw)