• 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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    This Is What Neutrinos Look Like When Scientists Catch Them

    Does this image look familiar? You may know it as an album cover for the famous post-punk band ‘The Strokes’, but I’ve got a surprise for you. It’s really a picture of charged subatomic particles inside a giant bubble chamber. Yeah, you heard me right. This artistic, iconic image is a visualization generated by one of the many interesting ways we’ve tried to ‘see’ the subatomic particles in our world…which is harder than it sounds. And that’s because subatomic particles can be…tricky. Take neutrinos, for example. They’re a fundamental particle of the universe, and they are quite literally everywhere around us, all the time–you have neutrinos passing through you right…

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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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    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…

  • We’ve Just Invented the World’s Fastest Camera
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    We’ve Just Invented the World’s Fastest Camera

    Our scientific world is both expanding and getting more precise every day. We’re pushing the boundaries of what we’d ever thought possible…but that means the way we measure that science has to keep getting more precise too. Are we ever going to hit the limit of what we can see…and therefore what we can discover? Well, new research has now given us the world’s fastest camera–so that’s a step in the right direction. Hashtag ‘no filter’. To give you the whole picture, back in the 1920’s a pioneering electrical engineer named Harold Edgerton made history when he was able to capture images of things that happened on the microsecond scale–that’s…

  • 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…

  • Why we say “OK”
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    Why we say “OK”

    There’s a two-letter word that we hear everywhere. OK. Okay. OK, are you OK Annie? OK OK OK, OK ladies… OK might be the most recognizable word on the planet. OK! OK. It’s essential to how we communicate with each other, and even with our technology. Alexa, turn off the living room light. OK. You probably use it every day – even if you don’t notice it. But, what does OK actually mean? And where did it come from? Hm. OK. Okay then. OK, thank you. OK actually traces back to an 1830s fad of intentionally misspelling abbreviations. Young “intellectual” types in Boston delighted those “in the know” with butchered…

  • How Close Are We to Building a Moon Base?
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    How Close Are We to Building a Moon Base?

    The moon is the closest celestial body to Earth. Humans have been gazing up at it for our entire existence, finally landing on its surface in the 1960s. We’ve walked on the moon, carried out science experiments on the moon, we’ve even driven a car, hit golf balls and briefly grew cotton on the moon. So, the obvious next question is, when are we going to start living on the moon? For decades pop culture has been teasing us with lunar colonies, military bases, space hotels and more, but in order to populate the moon, or other planets, we may need to start small. So, how close are we to…

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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…