• Neuromorphic Computing Is a Big Deal for A.I., But What Is It?
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    Neuromorphic Computing Is a Big Deal for A.I., But What Is It?

    We often talk about how traditional computing is reaching its limit–there’s a threshold we can’t move past without making some seriously big changes to the way we structure computers. One of those exciting ways is by making physical computers a little more like human brains. We introduced this concept in more detail here, but a quick recap: this kind of computing is called neuromorphic computing, which means designing and engineering computer chips that use the same physics of computation used by our own nervous system. This is different from an artificial neural network , which is a program run on a normal computer that mimics the logic of how a…

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    We’re Using Stem Cells to Reverse Baldness and It’s Actually Working

    Some very hairy mice are bringing us another step closer to un-LOCKing a way to regenerate a full head of hair. Did somebody say a pun?! About 50% of men and 25% of women experience at least partial hair loss by the age of 50, whether due to age, medical treatments, or disease. Current options for those looking to reverse this loss include things like medications that may slow hair loss and transplants from hair follicles elsewhere on the body. But neither have the often desired effect of restoring a thick and full volume of hair. Researchers have been optimizing techniques for culturing “hair follicle germs” in a dish for…

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    The Dark Energy Survey Revealed New Origins of Stars in Our Galaxy

    For years now, astronomers have been looking at the sky to try and find dark energy — energy that mathematically should exist, but that we’re not sure how to detect, or where to find. To detect the undetectable, scientists build increasingly sensitive telescopes and point them at the sky to do a survey. And one of those had an unexpected side-effect… The Milky Way has billions of stars, the Dark Energy Survey just uncovered a bunch of them weren’t born here. Instead, they migrated to our shores and are now living their lives as productive members of our galactic society! We know this because in the hunt for dark energy,…

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    China’s Crazy Plan to Launch an Artificial Moon

    Guess what? China has announced plans to launch an “artificial moon” into our skies by 2020. And, as crazy as that sounds, it’s not actually the first time something like this has been attempted. But first. China’s new plan. As reported in China Daily, China plans to launch an “illumination satellite” into orbit above the city of Chengdu. Well actually, four illumination satellites. The first as a proof of concept in 2020 and the next three as the real deal in 2022. There aren’t a ton of details about the satellites themselves yet, like how big they are or what they will be made of, but we DO know they’ll…

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    Your Skin Cells Could Make a Baby, Will This Be the End of Infertility?

    We all know where babies come from. An egg is fertilized by sperm and the resulting zygote needs to be implanted in a uterus so it can grow and divide. The key here is the union of the gametes: sperm and egg. This means same-sex partners, or partners who are unable to provide gametes themselves, need to rely on donors. But what if that wasn’t the case? What if we could just generate gametes from the partners? Soon, we might be able to. The method is called in-vitro gametogenesis. It involves converting adult cells into lab-made eggs and sperm cells that can combine to create a zygote. This could pave…

  • What Is the Shape of the Universe?
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    What Is the Shape of the Universe?

    It’s the kind of question that sort of breaks your brain when you even start to figure out how to think about it: what shape is the universe? No one can be sure; until we can step outside of the universe and walk around it somehow — we can’t actually do that ever — the best we can do is take what we know to model the likeliest scenario. The idea of the shape of the universe comes down to the key insight from General Relativity that says mass warps space, and that objects moving through space have their paths curved. Here’s a simple way to think about it: imagine…

  • Where next America? — with Michael Novak (1994) | THINK TANK
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    Where next America? — with Michael Novak (1994) | THINK TANK

    Ben Wattenberg: Hello. I’m Ben Wattenberg. Just 25 years ago, America planted the stars and stripes on the moon. A great nation had achieved a great feat. But soon we scaled back. Is America no longer looking for new frontiers? Joining us to sort through the conflict and the consensus are Daniel Boorstin, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, the librarian of Congress emeritus, and author of “The Discoverers”; John Logsdon, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University and author of “The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest”; Michael Novak, Jewitt chair at the American Enterprise Institute and winner of the 1994 Templeton Prize…

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    The James Webb Space Telescope Is Delayed (Again)! What Is Happening?

    The James Webb Space Telescope being developed by NASA is set to be one the most exciting space observatories ever developed!, with totally novel technologies and instruments that will give us new insights into our universe. But unfortunately, its completion and launch has been delayed. Again. What’s goin’ on? The initial completion window for the James Webb Space Telescope, or JWST, was supposed to be between 2007 and 2011. There were some pretty severe budget and schedule issues, resulting in a 2011 overhaul of the project that set a new completion date for October of 2018. That turned out to be a little too optimistic, so they pushed it back…

  • Could a Particle Accelerator Destroy Earth?
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    Could a Particle Accelerator Destroy Earth?

    Advancing particle physics demands we build bigger and badder particle accelerators, but every time the conversation about the next ultra-mega-super collider comes up some stick in the mud announces that it could kill us and the whole universe… But will it? You probably fall into one or two camps on this subject. Either you’re like me and you think that smashing some protons into each other head on at near light speed is just going to create some pretty pictures and obliterated protons, or you think it’ll create some pretty pictures and obliterate the Earth. But the quantum world is weird and unintuitive, so let’s all put our assumptions aside…

  • Learning from dirty jobs | Mike Rowe
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    Learning from dirty jobs | Mike Rowe

    The “Dirty Jobs” crew and I were called to a little town in Colorado, called Craig. It’s only a couple dozen square miles. It’s in the Rockies. And the job in question was sheep rancher. My role on the show, for those of you who haven’t seen it — it’s pretty simple. I’m an apprentice, and I work with the people who do the jobs in question. And my responsibilities are to simply try and keep up, and give an honest account of what it’s like to be these people for one day in their life. The job in question: herding sheep. Great. We go to Craig and we check…