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We Asked an AI to Finish Real Elon Musk Tweets

We thought it would be fun to run some Elon Musk tweets through a neural network designed by OpenAI, the company he founded and quit.

ElonBot

We’ve written previously about Talk to Transformer, a site by OpenAI that uses a sophisticated artificial intelligence to complete passages of text with surprisingly deft context.

Close news watchers will recall that Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, co-founded OpenAI, but decided to part ways with the company earlier this year, pointing to disagreements with its direction — which is why we thought it would be fun to run some of the eccentric billionaire’s most iconic tweets through Talk to Transformer.

Neural Musk

Musk announced some exciting news about the Boring Company today — but Neural Musk had different ideas for the tunnel-digging venture:

Remember when Musk suggested adding dragon wings to SpaceX’s Starship? The AI has another plan:

Musk’s riff on a dirty Tesla video was also no match for Neural Musk:

This was the tweet that led to the Boring Company — until Neural Musk put a Trumpian spin on it:

Musk recently joked about changing the Tesla horn sound. But his vision was no match for Neural Musk’s galaxy-brain concept:

Recall that beautiful render of Starship on the Moon? Neural Musk has bad news for its passengers:

More on Elon Musk: Elon Musk’s New Goal: “Reach the Moon as Fast as Possible”

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We Asked an AI to Finish Real Elon Musk Tweets

Watch a Super-Strong Robot Dog Pull a Three-Ton Airplane

Researchers at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia announced a new hydraulic, quadrupedal robot dog, and showed the bot pulling a three-ton airplane.

Go Fetch

Man’s best friend may be great at pulling a sled, but a manmade best friend can pull an entire airplane.

A little over a month has passed since we witnessed a pack of Boston Dynamics robot dogs pulling a truck. Now, researchers at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) have announced a new version of their hydraulic, quadrupedal robot, HyQReal — and what better way to show off the bot’s capabilities than by pulling a three-ton airplane.

Have a look! The new quadruped robot #HyQReal tested by pulling 3 tons airplane. Realized by Dynamic Legged Systems Lab @IITalk @Moog_Industrial @GenovAeroporto @PiaggioOfficial. #ICRA2019 #robot #robotics #technology #TechnologyNews #Engineering #futuretech #HighTech pic.twitter.com/QrF1JnlUWZ

— IIT (@IITalk) May 23, 2019

Big Boy

Though the same height as SpotMini, HyQReal is three times heavier than its nimble cousin. The former stands at 84cm and weighs 30kg (approx. 2.75ft and 66lbs) while HyQReal is 90 cm tall, and weighs 130kg (approx. 2.95ft and 286lbs.)

That’s because the beefy bot is being developed by IIT to aid in disaster scenarios like fires.

“We are not targeting the first response yet,” Claudio Semini, project leader at IIT’s Dynamic Legged Systems lab said in an email to CNET, “but support in the aftermath of a disaster. Bringing sensors into unsafe areas, manipulating and moving objects, opening doors, etc.”

Rolling Thunder

While pulling the immense weight of a three-ton plane is impressive, the capability depends more on the rolling resistance of the aircraft’s tires than its overall weight.

Still, it’s a testament to the capability of HyQReal to take on heavy-duty tasks. At the end of the day, if it takes a pack of robot dogs to pull a truck and one robot dog to pull an airplane, perhaps it’s time we started treating robots and AI more nicely before we end up regretting it.

READ MORE: The new quadruped robot HyQReal tested by pulling 3 tons airplane [EurekAlert]

More on Robot Dogs: Watch a Pack of Boston Dynamics’ Creepy Robot Dogs Pull a Truck

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Can You Tell Which of These Models Is CGI?

Imma, a CGI fashion model, just scored a make-up modeling gig for a Japanese cosmetics brand.

Imma Real

Spoiler: it’s only the one in the middle.

The model in question is Instagram influencer Imma, who has racked up over 50,000 followers.

Imma may be rendered entirely by a computer, but that hasn’t stopped her from picking up her first gig: modeling Japanese makeup brand Kate Cosmetics for the Vice owned site i-D. In the photos, she’s posing alongside real human models, adding to the effect.

Virtual Models

Surprisingly, Imma isn’t the only virtual Instagram model around. For instance, Lil Miquela has garnered a lot of attention for her posts on Instagram with 1.5 million followers, but is arguably less photorealistic and easier to spot.

Imma even took part in an advertorial interview with i-D. She had some insightful comments to offer up when asked about how beauty needs to change in the future:

“The idea that the pursuit of an ideal and something that is like one can coexist,” she said, as interpreted by Google Translate. “There is no need to choose one or the other.”

READ MORE: One of these models doesn’t exist [Engadget]

More on virtual people: Watch a Real Pastor Baptize an Anime Girl in Virtual Reality

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Scientists Set New Temperature Record for Superconductivity

Scientists discover a superconductor that works at temperatures nearly 50 Celsius degrees (84.6 Fahrenheit degrees) hotter than the previous record high.

Hot Damn

An international team of scientists has built a superconductor that functions at 250 Kelvin, or -23 degrees Celsius — or just-9 degrees Fahrenheit.

That’s a few degrees colder than the chilliest winter day in Florida history, but it’s nearly 50 Celsius degrees (84.6 Fahrenheit degrees) hotter than the previous record high for superconductivity — and it puts the “holy grail” of energy transmission almost within our reach.

Wasted Energy

First discovered in 1911, superconductors are devices that can conduct electricity with zero resistance.

Because none of the energy is lost during the transmission process, superconductors could allow us to generate electricity in one place — a solar farm in a sunny region of the U.S., for example — and send it all over the place without wasting any.

The problem is that scientists have yet to create a practical superconductor — the devices all require extreme conditions, such as freezing cold temperatures and incredibly high pressures, which limits their usefulness.

Super Discovery

That’s why scientists across the globe are on the hunt for a superconductor that works at room temperature — and this new study, published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, represents a giant leap forward in that effort.

In it, the scientists describe how they created a type of material called a lanthanum superhydride. By placing enormous pressure on a bit of the material, they were able to coax it to act as a superconductor at the record-high temperature.

“Our next goal is to reduce the pressure needed to synthesize samples, to bring the critical temperature closer to ambient, and perhaps even create samples that could be synthesized at high pressures, but still superconduct at normal pressures,” researcher Vitali Prakapenka from the University of Chicago said in a news release.

READ MORE: Scientists break record for highest-temperature superconductor [University of Chicago]

More on superconductors: US Military Files Patent for Room-Temperature Superconductor

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Scientists Set New Temperature Record for Superconductivity

United Nations: Siri and Alexa Are Encouraging Misogyny

Programmers are creating sexist AI voice assistants, which are then encouraging users to be sexist, according to a new UN report.

Two-Way Street

We already knew humans could make biased AIs — but the United Nations says the reverse is true as well.

Millions of people talk to AI voice assistants, such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. When those assistants talk back, they do so in female-sounding voices, and a new UN report argues that those voices and the words they’re programmed to say amplify gender biases and encourage users to be sexist — but it’s not too late to change course.

Gender Abuse

The report is the work of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and its title — “I’d blush if I could” — is the response Siri was programmed in 2011 to give if a user called her a “bitch.”

According to UNESCO, that programming exemplifies the problems with today’s AI assistants.

“Siri’s submissiveness in the face of gender abuse — and the servility expressed by so many other digital assistants projected as young women — provides a powerful illustration of gender biases coded into technology products,” the report’s authors wrote.

It was only after UNESCO shared a draft of its report with Apple in April 2019 that the company changed Siri’s response to “I don’t know how to respond to that.”

“Me Too” Moment

The fact that Apple was willing to make the change is encouraging, but that’s just one phrase uttered by one assistant. According to UNESCO’s report, to truly make a difference, the tech industry will need to enact much more comprehensive changes.

A good starting place, according to the authors, would be for tech companies to hire more female programmers and stop making their assistants female by default, instead opting for gender-neutral voices.

“It is a ‘Me Too’ moment,” Saniye Gülser Corat, Director of UNESCO’s Division for Gender Equality, told CBS News. “We have to make sure that the AI we produce and that we use does pay attention to gender equality.”

READ MORE: Is it time for Alexa and Siri to have a “MeToo moment”? [CBS News]

More on biased AI: A New Algorithm Trains AI to Erase Its Biases

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New Law Could End Robocalling Once and For All

The Senate just voted in favor of a bipartisan bill that could put an end to spam and unsolicited marketing calls once and for all.

Robocall Bill

In response to the almost 50 billion robocalls that were made last year in the U.S., the Senate just voted in favor of a bipartisan bill that could put an end to unsolicited marketing calls once and for all.

The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act overwhelmingly passed with just one vote against and 97 in favor — clearly an issue that both sides can agree on.

Bullseye

The bill will increase fines and criminalize illegal unsolicited robocalls — and, more importantly, require providers to come up with a way to authenticate calls going forward.

“This bipartisan, common-sense bill puts a bullseye on the scam artists and criminals who are making it difficult for many Americans to answer the phone with any bit of confidence about who’s on the other end of the line,” said John Thune (R-SD), who co-introduced the bill.

Shaken, Stirred

The technology to authenticate calls already exists and has been lauded by the Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai as a “a significant step towards ending the scourge of spoofed robocalls.” In short, the STIR/SHAKEN framework ensures that both sides of a call would have their caller ID “signed” and validated by carriers.

“I commend the US Senate for passing the TRACED Act… [It] would help strengthen the FCC’s ability to combat illegal robocalls,” said Pai in a statement today. “And we would welcome these additional tools to fight this scourge.”

READ MORE: Senate passes bill to curb robocalls [CNET]

More on robocalls: Rise of the Robocallers: Here’s How We’ll Avoid a Future of Scammers

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Watch a Tesla in an Underground Tunnel Race One on the Street

Two Tesla Model 3s race in a new Boring Company video, with one taking the surface streets and the other opting for the company's underground tunnel.

A Tale of Two Teslas

On Friday, the Boring Company tweeted a video of two Tesla Model 3s racing — and though they had the same destination, they took two very different routes.

While one of the cars used surface streets, the other opted for the Boring Company’s underground test tunnel. Taking the low road allowed it to absolutely destroy the time of its opponent, making the trek in just 1 minute and 36 seconds as opposed to the other car’s 4 minutes and 44 seconds — but it wasn’t exactly a fair fight.

Auto Advantage

The Tesla in the tunnel had so many advantages going into the race, it’s hard to even imagine what kind of odds a bookie would’ve given. The car didn’t have to deal with other vehicles, traffic lights, or speed limits — at one point, it was zipping along at 127 miles per hour.

Still, the cheeky video does hammer home a point Elon Musk has been trying to make ever since he first proposed starting the Boring Company way back in 2016: traffic sucks.

Once they’re filled with commuters, though, will tunnels suck any less?

READ MORE: Elon Musk’s Boring Company staged a race between a Tesla in a tunnel and on the road — and the winner was clear [Business Insider]

More on the Boring Company: Las Vegas Approves $48.6 Million Boring Company Tunnel

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SpaceX Just Unleashed 60 Starlink Satellites Into Orbit

Starlink Express

SpaceX just successfully let loose 60 of its tiny Starlink satellites, intended to bring internet broadband connectivity to people across the globe. While it’s a good start, the Elon Musk-led space company still has its work cut out to truly bring internet to all.

“In a year and a half, maybe two years, if things go well, SpaceX will probably have more satellites in orbit than all other satellites combined — a majority of the satellites in orbit will be SpaceX,” Musk said during a conference call last week, as quoted by Space.com.

Successful deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed! pic.twitter.com/eYrLocCiws

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 24, 2019

The satellites launched on top of a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida last night, but they aren’t the last SpaceX intends to launch. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved SpaceX’s request in November to launch an additional 7,518, bringing up the total of approved satellites to almost 12,000.

In a May 11 tweet, Musk admitted that “much will likely go wrong on first mission,” adding that at least six more launches of 60 satellites (360 in total) are “needed for minor coverage, 12 for moderate.”

Starlink's flat-panel design allows for a dense launch stack to take full advantage of Falcon 9’s launch capabilities pic.twitter.com/ntnJInEfno

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 24, 2019

Satellite Clutter

The satellites aren’t orbiting at the altitude of most other satellites currently in orbit.

They are cruising at an operational altitude of just 340 miles (550 km) to avoid adding to the growing space debris problem. Worst case, according to Musk: they de-orbit themselves and burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

READ MORE: SpaceX’s 60-Satellite Launch Is Just the Beginning for Ambitious Starlink Project [Space.com]

More on SpaceX: SpaceX Component Engineer Charged With Faking Inspection Reports

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Asteroid Flying by Earth Is so Big It Has Its Own Moon

Saturday night, a mile-wide asteroid called 1999 KW4 will fly by the Earth, and when it does, it'll bring with it its very own moon.

Buddy System

Earth will be getting not one but two visitors from space this weekend.

Astronomers expect an asteroid known as 1999 KW4 to swing by the Earth at around 7:05 p.m. ET on Saturday — and when it does, it’ll bring along its very own moon.

“It’s one of the closest binary flybys probably in recent history,” planetary scientist Vishnu Reddy told NBC News. “That’s what makes it a very interesting target.”

Dynamic Duo

Asteroid 1999 KW4 is 1.5 kilometers (.93 miles) wide. That’s about three times the size of its moon, which clocks in at a width of about 0.5 kilometers (.3 miles).

Even at their closest, the space rocks will still be more than 3 million miles away, so don’t worry about them smashing into the Earth. In fact, they won’t even come close enough to see with the naked eye.

Still, the pair won’t be this close to Earth again until 2036, so if you want to catch a glimpse of the dynamic duo, be sure to have your telescope ready Saturday night.

READ MORE: Mile-wide asteroid and its tiny moon to zoom past Earth this weekend [NBC News]

More on asteroids: NASA Asks SpaceX to Help It Save Earth From Incoming Asteroids

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Asteroid Flying by Earth Is so Big It Has Its Own Moon

NASA’s Moon Mission Leader Just Quit After Only Six Weeks

A NASA executive who was appointed only six weeks ago to lead the strategy for future missions to the Moon has resigned.

Restructuring

A NASA executive who was appointed just six weeks ago to lead the strategy for future missions to the Moon has resigned, The Hill reports.

Mark Sirangelo was hired in April as special assistant to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. It’s a sudden departure that looks especially odd considering the White House’s focus on getting Americans back to the Moon — but Congress’s refusal to grant extra funds is forcing NASA to re-evaluate the ambitious plans.

Moon 2024?

The news comes after lawmakers rejected NASA’s proposal to establish a team dedicated to devising a sustainable lunar mission and future Mars missions — a rejection, according to Bridenstine, that was partly responsible for Sirangelo’s departure.

“We are exploring what organizational changes within HEO [Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate] are necessary to ensure we maximize efficiencies and achieve the end state of landing the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024,” Bridenstine said in a statement. “Given NASA is no longer pursuing the new mission directorate, Mark has opted to pursue other opportunities.”

READ MORE: NASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment [The Hill]

More on NASA’s budget troublesCongress Denies NASA Request for More Moon Mission Money

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Here’s How NASA Prepares Its Spacecraft for Mars

NASA's Mars 2020 spacecraft just underwent a series of extreme tests to prepare it for the intense conditions on the Red Planet's surface. 

Mars 2020

The unmanned spacecraft that NASA wants to send to Mars in the year 2020 — if things go according to plan — just underwent a series of extreme tests to prepare it for the extreme journey.

“First we blast it with sound to make sure nothing vibrates loose,” said David Gruel, launch operations manager at JPL, in a press release. “Then, after a thorough examination, we ‘put it in space’ by placing the spacecraft in this huge vacuum chamber we have here at JPL.”

Hot ‘n Cold

The spacecraft underwent acoustic and thermal vacuum testing at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Things got intense inside that vacuum chamber. After the facility’s 16-ton door closes, temperatures drop to -200 Fahrenheit (-129 Celsius). Then, powerful xenon lamps are turned on to simulate the sun’s harsh rays in outer space.

“This is the most comprehensive stress test you can put a spacecraft through here on Earth,” said Gruel. “We flew in our simulated space environment for a week and a day, checking and rechecking the performance of every onboard system and subsystem. And everything looked great — which is a good thing, because next time this spacecraft stack hits a vacuum, it will be on its way to Mars for real.”

READ MORE: Mars 2020 spacecraft subjected to brutal tests as it prepares for launch [CNET]

More on Mars 2020: You Can Now Send a Souvenir With Your Name on it to Mars

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Elevate Your Leadership and Grow Your Business at Your Clouds Can 2019

Elevate your leadership potential with Futurism + IBM at this unique, one-day-only traveling experience in New York City. Your Clouds Can 2019 is an immersive journey behind closed doors at some of NYC’s most innovative companies working with data-driven cloud technologies.

This is not your typical conference. Your Clouds Can 2019 will deliver the tools and frameworks that drives impact for leaders and decision makers. This isn’t about what you could do, but what you can do. After our full day of visits, discussions, and design thinking workshop, attendees will not only be inspired, but equipped with new tools they can utilize the very next day.

If you’re working in retail, travel, CPG, or B2C products, your takeaways from Your Clouds Can 2019 will be immediately actionable, both in business and leadership. Though every industry can benefit from this daylong conference.

At Your Couds Can 2019, attendees will be guided through experiences at four trailblazing companies actively changing the landscape in their industries. After meeting for breakfast, we’ll first visit CAMP, a new toy store operating at the intersection of commerce, media, and play. Then, we’ll move to LivePerson, and learn how their an AI-powered conversational platform is changing the way consumers and brands communicate. Following lunch, we’ll explore the culture and data-driven decision making at BuzzFeed, and then conclude the conference at Betaworks, a startup platform designing community at their new membership club for builders.

We understand that leadership schedules are hectic. This is why we’ve hand-selected these companies and built no-frills agenda, packed with discussions and real life case studies. Attendees will meet with the CEOs, CMOs, and CTOs of these frontier businesses. Together, we’ll discuss not only the future for tech in business but also how these executives are employing these technologies today, right now. And how you can too.

Attendees will also experience and participate in the IBM Garage method, a unique design-thinking, prototyping, hands-on experience. In this method, clients and participants sit side by side with IBM industry experts, designers, and developers to incorporate user feedback in real time to build solutions in days or hours—and scale them in weeks. This is where the magic happens.

The Garage is about co-creating, co-developing new processes, technologies, and organizations, in real time, with specialized experts.

This is why it’s also important that we are hand-selecting not only our innovation leaders, but also our attendees. Tickets are free but space is limited. When you’re ready, please complete the application here.

After attending Your Clouds Can 2019, you will walk away with the knowledge and real-life case studies that will directly empower your business decisions and give your leadership and edge among your organization and markets.

This is not just an inspirational experience. This is hands-on learning behind closed doors. Level-up with some of today’s most innovative leaders and decision-makers at Your Clouds Can 2019, in NYC on June 5th, 2019.

Futurism fans: To create this content, a non-editorial team worked with IBM, who sponsored this post. They help us keep the lights on. This post does not reflect the views or the endorsement of the Futurism.com editorial staff.

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Elon Musk Ridicules Jeff Bezos’ Plan For Space Colonies

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' idea for giant off-world space colonies

Space Feud

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has become increasingly vocal about the idea that humans will eventually live in “giant space colonies” — an idea that’s been widely mocked by critics who’ve pointed out that humans are doing a pretty bad job taking care of their first space habitat, the Earth.

Now, another outsize personality in the space research scene is roasting Bezos: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

Makes no sense. In order to grow the colony, you’d have to transport vast amounts of mass from planets/moons/asteroids. Would be like trying to build the USA in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean!

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2019

Mass Effect

On Thursday, Musk took to Twitter to opine that Bezos’ idea “makes no sense.” The gist of his critique is that space colonies — Bezos favors a design called an “O’Neill cylinder,” which rotates in order to produce artificial gravity — would require extraordinary quantities of materials.

In theory, the fixings for a giant space habitat could be dragged up the gravity well of a planet, like the Earth, but with today’s launch technology, that would be incredibly inefficient.

More likely is an idea Musk alluded to in his tweet: sourcing materials for a space colony from asteroids that have far less gravitational pull than planets — or even building a space station inside an asteroid.

READ MORE: Elon Musk mocks Jeff Bezos’ space colony vision in snarky tweet [Fox Business]

More on space habitats: The Benefits of Colonizing Space: Space Habitats and The O’Neill Cylinder

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Elon Musk Ridicules Jeff Bezos’ Plan For Space Colonies

See China’s Newly Unveiled Maglev Train

China has unveiled a prototype for a new high-speed maglev train that it believes could dramatically cut travel times in the nation.

Fast Track

A new high-speed transportation system is taking shape in China.

On Thursday, state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) unveiled a prototype for a new high-speed magnetic-levitation — better known as “maglev” — train that could dramatically cut travel times in the nation.

“The prototype has already achieved static levitation and is in ideal condition,” CRCC Qingdao’s deputy chief engineer Ding Sansan said at a news conference, according to a report by China Daily. “We are building an experimental center and a trial production center for high-speed maglev trains and expect to put them into operation in the second half of the year.”

Quick Trip

Instead of using wheels and a track, a maglev train floats on a magnetically powered cushion of air. This reduces friction and allows the craft to reach incredibly fast speeds, like the 430 kilometers per hour (267 miles per hour) top speed of a maglev already in operation in Shanghai.

This new design would be able to far exceed the speed of that maglev, reaching a top speed of 600 kilometers per hour (372 miles per hour). Ding used a theoretical journey between Beijing and Shanghai to show how this could dramatically decrease travel times.

“It takes about four-and-a-half hours by plane including preparation time for the journey; about five-and-a-half hours by high-speed rail, and [would] only [take] about three-and-a-half hours by maglev,” he said, according to a South China Morning Post report.

READ MORE: Prototype maglev train can reach 600 km/h [China Daily]

More on maglev: China Is Set to Start Work on the World’s Fastest Maglev Train

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This Robot Scans Preschoolers’ Faces Daily for Signs of Sickness

Thousands of preschools are using a robot named Walklake that looks for signs of illness by scanning the faces and hands of students.

Dr. Robot

Every morning, children at more than 2,000 preschools in China start their days by facing off with a robot named Walklake.

The bot looks for signs of illness and alerts a teacher or school nurse if it notices that a child might be under the weather, according to a recent New Scientist story. It’s then up to the human to decide whether or not to send the student home for the day — and experts are divided on whether Walklake is a boon for schools or a potential privacy nightmare.

Open Wide

Walklake uses an array of cameras and sensors to check each student’s face and hands for signs of common ailments, such as a fever or irritated throat. The idea is that catching an illness early could prevent it from spreading throughout a school’s population, and it only takes the robot about three seconds to check each student.

“It’s allowing for better health monitoring, especially in places that have large populations but not enough skilled health professionals,” Karen Panetta, an engineering professor at Tufts University, told New Scientist.

Healthy Suspicion

The boxy, brightly colored Walklake looks innocuous enough. However, Joanna Bryson, a computer science professor at the University of Bath, told New Scientist there’s always the possibility that hackers could access the data collected by the healthcare robot.

Still, even she sees the benefits of Walklake in a school environment.

“The robots can be very appealing to kids,” she told New Scientist, “and may make them willing to have their health checked every day.”

READ MORE: Robots conduct daily health inspections of schoolchildren in China [New Scientist]

More on robot healthcare: Bill Gates Funds Tiny Robot Surgeons That Operate Inside the Body

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This Robot Scans Preschoolers’ Faces Daily for Signs of Sickness

New Research: The Oceans Are Slowly Leaking Into the Earth

The Earth's oceans are gradually leaking into the interior of the Earth — though nowhere near fast enough to cancel out climate change.

Drain Plug

The Earth’s oceans are gradually leaking into the interior of the planet.

That’s according to new research by Norwegian scientists, who told New Scientist that the Earth’s water is slowly draining into the planet’s crust — though nowhere near fast enough to cancel out the sea level rises we’re currently experiencing because of climate change.

Rapid Subduction

The new research, published in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, found that the rate at which the oceans are draining into the Earth spiked about 150 million years ago — when the supercontinent Pangaea split up.

“You have much more rapid subduction when you break up a supercontinent,” University of Oslo researcher Krister Karlsen told New Scientist. “The rapid subduction is crucial for bringing water in hydrated rock deep into the mantle.”

Prognosis

At their current rate, according to New Scientist, the oceans will be completely sucked dry in about 12 billion years.

But that doesn’t mean there’s any cause for concern, the magazine points out: the Sun itself will be long gone by then.

READ MORE: The oceans are very slowly draining into the rock below Earth’s crust [New Scientist]

More on the oceans: Diver Reaches Record Ocean Depth — and Finds a Plastic Bag

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New Research: The Oceans Are Slowly Leaking Into the Earth

Studying the Sun’s Atmosphere Could Make Fusion Power a Reality

By studying the plasma in the Sun's atmosphere, we could learn how to control it here on Earth and finally make fusion energy a reality.

Solar Plasma

Scientists from Dublin, Ireland and Paris, France just reported some amazing observations from a massive ultraviolet radio telescope in central France: they managed to image radio pulses and watch plasmas become unstable in the Sun’s atmosphere.

Plasma is extremely difficult to study and observe. But by studying the plasma in the Sun’s atmosphere — its gases exist primarily in plasma form since, obviously, it’s extremely hot — the researchers say we could learn how to control the plasma here on Earth and finally make fusion energy a reality.

Fusion Control

For fusion energy to occur, you need tightly contained and extremely hot and pressurized plasma inside a reactor. But controlling that plasma is extremely difficult.

“The only problem is that nuclear fusion plasmas are highly unstable,” said Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies professor Peter Gallagher in a statement about the new work. “As soon as the plasma starts generating energy, some natural process switches off the reaction.”

But that’s where studying an abundant source of the stuff in our Solar System comes in handy.

“By studying how plasmas become unstable on the Sun, we can learn about how to control them on Earth,” Gallagher added.

READ MORE: Scientists uncover exotic matter in the sun’s atmosphere [Trinity College]

More on energy: Scientists Have a New Idea to Make a Fusion Reactor Practical

The post Studying the Sun’s Atmosphere Could Make Fusion Power a Reality appeared first on Futurism.

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Studying the Sun’s Atmosphere Could Make Fusion Power a Reality

NASA Just Hired the First Contractor to Build Lunar Space Station

NASA has awarded Maxar Technologies a contract worth a maximum of $375 million to build the lunar Gateway's power and propulsion element.

Sign Here

NASA just picked its first construction partner for the lunar Gateway.

On Thursday, the agency announced it had awarded a contract worth a maximum of $375 million to Maxar Technologies. The Colorado-based spacetech company will now have the responsibility of developing and demonstrating power, propulsion, and communications capabilities for the Moon-orbiting space station — an integral piece of the lunar Gateway project.

Solar Power

According to a NASA press release, the contract begins with a 12-month base period during which Maxar will design the power and propulsion element, which NASA describes in the release as “a high-power, 50-kilowatt solar electric propulsion spacecraft.”

After that, NASA can choose to exercise a series of options totaling 64 months for the craft’s development, launch, and in-space flight demonstration.

Nearing Liftoff

This contract is just the first of many NASA will award during the creation of the lunar Gateway. However, according to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, it’s an incredibly meaningful one.

“The power and propulsion element is the foundation of Gateway and a fine example of how partnerships with U.S. companies can help expedite NASA’s return to the Moon with the first woman and next man by 2024,” Bridenstine said in a press release. “It will be the key component upon which we will build our lunar Gateway outpost, the cornerstone of NASA’s sustainable and reusable Artemis exploration architecture on and around the Moon.”

READ MORE: NASA Awards Artemis Contract for Lunar Gateway Power, Propulsion [NASA]

More on Lunar Gateway: NASA’s Plan for a Lunar Outpost Just Leaked

The post NASA Just Hired the First Contractor to Build Lunar Space Station appeared first on Futurism.

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NASA Just Hired the First Contractor to Build Lunar Space Station

Anonymous Group of 3D-Printed Gun Makers Is Spreading Online

People interested in 3D-printed guns are sharing the files needed to build the firearms anonymously online, according to a troubling Wired story.

One of Many

A global network of gun enthusiasts is using the internet to anonymously share the files needed to 3D-print firearms — and there’s seemingly nothing anyone can do to stop them, according to a newly published Wired story that includes an interview with one of the network’s members.

“If they [the government] were to come after me, they’d first have to find my identity,” a person going by the name Ivan the Troll told Wired. “I’m one of many, many like-minded individuals who’re doing this sort of work.”

Guns on Demand

Guns are, obviously, not illegal in the United States. The issue with 3D-printed guns is that they make it easy for people to circumvent existing gun laws.

Essentially, anyone with access to an adequate 3D printer can go online, download a CAD file for free, and print the parts needed to build a functioning firearm — and “anyone” includes people prohibited from owning guns for legitimate reasons.

Drawing Fire

Ivan the Troll doesn’t seem to see an issue with this, telling Wired that thousands of people across the globe are currently developing 3D-printed guns — and there’s seemingly no magic bullet that could convince them to stop.

“I believe it is inherently important that… you should be able to own a gun,” he said. “You should be able to own the same legal force that the cops are using to control you.”

READ MORE: 3D-printed guns are back, and this time they are unstoppable [Wired]

More on 3D-printed guns: A Court Just Sent a Man to Prison for 3D Printing a Gun

The post Anonymous Group of 3D-Printed Gun Makers Is Spreading Online appeared first on Futurism.

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Anonymous Group of 3D-Printed Gun Makers Is Spreading Online

Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More

Cryptocurrency News
On the whole, cryptocurrency prices are down from our previous report on cryptos, with the market slipping on news of an exchange being hacked and a report about Bitcoin manipulation.

However, there have been two bright spots: 1) an official from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that Ethereum is not a security, and 2) Coinbase is expanding its selection of tokens.

Let’s start with the good news.
SEC Says ETH Is Not a Security
Investors have some reason to cheer this week. A high-ranking SEC official told attendees of the Yahoo! All Markets Summit: Crypto that Ethereum and Bitcoin are not.

The post Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More appeared first on Profit Confidential.

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Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More


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