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Category Archives: Futurism

This Star Appears to Be Older Than the Universe – Futurism

Posted: October 20, 2019 at 9:45 pm

Old Boy

A fascinating new story in the magazine All About Space looks at HD 140283, a star thats been annoying astrophysicists for nearly two decades because, according to multiple observations, it appears to be older than the universe itself.

Thats obviously impossible. But All About Space delves into the history of research into the star and finds that, though scientists have made some progress toward explaining the bizarre age discrepancy, the mystery remains essentially unexplained.

Astronomers tried to date HD 140283 back in the year 2000, according to All About Spaces story,using the European Space Agencys Hipparcos satellite.

The data suggested that the star was around 16 billion years old, which posed a major problem: the universe itself, according to scientists best estimates, has only been around for about 13.8 billion years and stars only started to form hundreds of millions of years after the Big Bang.

In a nod to the apparent discrepancy, they gave the star a jokey nickname: Methuselah, a reference to the oldest character in the Bible.

Subsequent measurements, catalogued by All About Space, have de-aged Methuselah to about 14.27 billion years but that still makes the star substantially older than the universe. Adding to the drama, credible new research has recently suggested that the universe may be as young as 11.4 billion years, expanding the disparity further.

The most likely explanations for the paradox are some overlooked observational effect and/or something big missing from our understanding of the dynamics of the cosmic expansion, physicist Robert Matthews, at Aston University, told All About Space.

READ MORE: How Can a Star Be Older Than the Universe? [All About Space]

More on stars: Astronomers Just Watched a Black Hole Shred a Star

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Congress Is Preparing to Kill 2024 Moon Mission – Futurism

Posted: at 9:45 pm

The Money Pit

In May, the Trump administration asked Congress to add $1.6 billion to NASAs 2020 budget to support an ambitious 2024 crewed mission to the Moon. But Congress still isnt convinced the mission needs to happen, let alone worth the extra funds.

NASA has not provided the committee with a full cost estimate despite repeated requests, Rep. Jose Serrano, chairperson of the subcommittee tasked with approving NASAs budget, said during a hearing on Wednesday, later adding that he believes it is better to use the original NASA schedule of 2028 in order to have a successful, safe, and cost-effective mission.

During the hearing, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine claimed the reason for the accelerated timeline was to avoid political risks. However, Serrano noted that approving the budget could put funding for American social programs at risk.

This is not just about finding the money; its about where this president is known to go find moneys when he needs them, Serrano said. I dont want to go to the Moon by taking money from people who cant afford to survive in this society.

By the end of the hearing, the subcommittee still wasnt ready to approve the budget increase but it wasnt ready to completely deny it either.

All these folks are already writing on Twitter, newspaper clippings already went out while were sitting here saying that I just killed the mission, Serrano said near the end of the hearing. I dont have that kind of power. I didnt kill the mission. I just had some questions that I know you know need to be answered before we move forward, or not.

READ MORE: Lawmakers Grill NASA Chief on Moon-by-2024 Budget, Schedule [Space.com]

More on the Moon mission: NASA Budget Billions Short to Return Americans to the Moon

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Ford Patents Drone That Pops Out of a Car’s Trunk – Futurism

Posted: at 9:45 pm

Fords Focus

The spare tire stashed in your cars trunk for emergencies might soon be joined by a drone.

On Thursday, the U.S. Patent and Trademarks office published a patent application submitted by Ford Motor Company subsidiary Ford Global Technologies. It seems the American automaker is developing a system that would allow drivers to deploy and control a drone stored in their cars trunk.

According to the patent application, drivers would use a vehicles onboard computer to deploy and control a quadcopter-style drone. The idea isnt to have a drone following your car around all the time like an animal companion in a video game, though Ford envisions drivers typically deploying the drone in emergency situations.

If a vehicle runs out of fuel or gets involved in a crash, for example, the driver could deploy the drone and direct it to shine a spotlight on the car while sounding an alarm. This could make the vehicle easier for first responders to locate and other drivers to avoid. The drone could also stream real-time footage of a vehicle straight to its owners phone if theyre forced to abandon the car.

The system in the patent application, filed in 2016, has the potential to make roads safer for everyone on them.

However, countless inventions never make it further than the patent stage, so only time will tell whether Fords drone system actually makes it into any of the automakers vehicles.

READ MORE: Ford Patenting a Drone You Can Deploy from Your Cars Trunk [Car and Driver]

More on drones: This Strange Solar-Powered Drone Could Save You in a Disaster

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2021 Moon Rover Will Have Legs Instead of Wheels – Futurism

Posted: at 9:45 pm

Space Legs

TheUnited Kingdom plans to send its first lunar rover to the Moon in 2021 and the robot is unlike any that came before it.

Not only will the rover created UK-based space startup SpaceBit be the smallest one in history, but it will also have legs rather than wheels a design innovation that could allow it to explore previously unreachable areas of the Moon.

SpaceBit unveiled the rover on Thursday at the science and tech festival New Scientist Live, noting that the bot will hitch a ride to the Moons surface aboard U.S. space robotics company Astrobotics 2021 mission.

The 1 kilogram (2.2 pound) robot is shaped like a cube with four legs, which it will use to gather video and other data for scientists during its 10-Earth-days-long mission.

SpaceBit and Astrobotic are hopeful that the mission will illustrate the benefits of giving rovers legs and lead to future missions in which legged rovers explore the Moons tubular caves.

The legs could be better for steep, rocky terrain, and basically any place where wheels start to struggle, Astrobotics CEO John Thornton told New Scientist.

READ MORE: Plans for UKs first moon rover announced at New Scientist Live [New Scientist]

More on Moon rovers: See the Moon Rover Toyota Is Building for Japans Space Program

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This Malware Makes ATMs Spit Out All Their Money – Futurism

Posted: at 9:45 pm

Big Money

Jackpotting attacks, which are hacks that make ATMs spew money, are becoming increasingly common around the world.

Hackers equipped with black market software are targeting cash machines with dated software and substandard security and walking away with millions over the course of a series of attacks, according to a collaborative investigation by Motherboard and German newsroom Bayerischer Rundfunk. Though law enforcement agencies are tightlipped about the trend, its a sign that banks may be surprisingly vulnerable to cybercrime.

Previous reports claimed that jackpotting attacks have decreased since some high-profile 2017 attacks in Germany, but the new investigation reveals that the opposite is true.

Globally, our 2019 survey indicates that jackpotting attacks are increasing, David Tente, of the ATM Industry Association, told Motherboard.

Othersources, granted anonymity by Motherboard, described the same trend: There are attacks happening, but a lot of the time its not publicized, said one.

The German attacks and others throughout Europe seem to be carried out with Russian software called Cutlet Maker, which Motherboard reports can be bought for $1,000. In the U.S., a program called Ploutus.D is more popular.

Both programs can be installed into ATMs through a USB or other physical access point though the hackers usually need to break into the ATMs hardware to access it.

The bad guys are selling these developments [malware] to just anybody, David Sancho, a jackpotting expert at the cybersecurity firm Trend Micro, told Motherboard. Potentially this can affect any country in the world.

READ MORE: Malware That Spits Cash Out of ATMs Has Spread Across the World [Motherboard]

More on ATMs: Who the Hell Is Using the Worlds 5,000 Crypto ATMs?

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Russias Working on a Lunar Rover With a Humanoid Torso – Futurism

Posted: at 9:45 pm

Fedors Future

In August, Russia sent its gun-toting humanoid robot Fedor to the International Space Station, where it spent a couple weeks learning how to be a cosmonaut.

Now that Fedor is back on Earth, the nations space agency has revealed that the bots next destination is the Moon but first, theyre going to chop off its legs and attach it to a lunar rover, according to a new story by state-run news service RIA Novosti.

A source in Roscosmos reportedly told RIA Novosti that the agency plans to send a lunar rover with a wheeled body pretty standard amongst rovers and the torso, head, and arms of a Fedor robot to the Moon in three to four years.

Fedor has already proven it can use tools, drive a car, and even shoot a gun, so by adding the humanoids top half to a rover, Russia will be creating a bot with incredible dexterity.

The United Kingdom is also rethinking lunar rover design, but its strategy is the opposite of Russias it plans to send a cube-shaped rover withspider-like legs instead of wheels to the Moon in 2021, the idea being that the bots legs might allow it to explore terrain a wheeled bot couldnt reach.

It seems both agencies are working to create rovers that are a little more inspired by human biology making them the perfect fill-in until we can put real people back on the Moon.

READ MORE: Russia wants to remove space robots legs, give it wheels, send it to the Moon [Ars Technica]

More on Fedor: Watch Russias Gun-Toting Robot Use a Power Drill on the ISS

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Pizzas of the future will be made with with insect dough and lab-grown meat, futurist says – New York Post

Posted: at 9:45 pm

Most pizzas will be made using crushed-up insects in just 20 years, an expert claims.

Your favorite Friday night treat may soon contain bug-based dough, lab-grown meats and cheese and could even be charred by lasers.

And to top it all off, the pizza wont be cooked itll be printed out by a robot chef.

Thats the bold claim by Tom Cheesewright, an applied futurist who helps paying clients predict the future.

He reckons restaurants will begin choosing more sustainable ingredients for their pizza pies.

The food we eat in 20 years may well look very similar to how it does today but its journey to your plate will have been totally transformed, he said.

Even replacing 20%-25% of the grain used for bread with a protein-packed alternative such as crickets could transform our reliance on the planets resources such as water, energy and land.

Scientists around the world are worried about the effect our high levels of consumption is having on the environment.

Thats why Cheesewright thinks that in the future, it wont just be your pizza dough that will change.

We are just around the corner from commercially available lab-grown meats and cheeses and giant vertical farms supplying city supermarkets with salad leaves, the futurist explained, speaking at the The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair.

Your future pizza might be made from ingredients that have never seen the sun or grazed in a field. And it might be 3-D-printed by a robot chef and then carefully charred around the edges by a laser grill.

But its good news for flavor fiends who want to try new types of food.

Cheesewright says that abandoning traditional pizza techniques will lead to more exotic menu options.

And as we become more and more connected to other cultures around the world, we can expect to see lots of new flavors. In 20 years, we might see pizzas inspired by some of the fastest-growing countries around the world. Maybe Yaji spice mix from Nigeria, or sweet and hot Indonesian Rujak, he said.

He added: The people who object to pineapple on pizza will really hate that. Every step we take has huge potential for change.

And Cheesewright thinks that farmers are also in for a major change.

As the world is forced to rely less on real meat, farmers will need to find new ways of producing food.

This will involve some serious science, he says.

The farmers and producers of the future are more likely to need qualifications that cover mechatronics, solar energy, energy-efficient heating, genetic modification and nutrition to find alternative proteins, than animal husbandry, Cheesewright explained.

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Quirky futurist podcast The Life Cycle starts off with the apocalypse – Boing Boing

Posted: at 9:45 pm

Beginning with the end of things, the premiere episode of The Life Cycle asks: is there going to be a future to speak of at all? Why is it that the apocalypse is no longer just the reserve of religion, but now dominates everything from our Netflix viewing to our conversations with friends and family? And what can we learn from global climate strikes? Featuring Joshua Tan, Ph.D. in Computer Science, Oxford.

Subscribe to The Life Cycle on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.Follow The Life Cycle on Twitter and Instagram.

Treat yourself, internet: Weve rounded up some deals from the past week that were too good not to bring back for an encore. Take your pick from home goods, massagers and other tech, all at serious discounts. TREBLAB Z2 Bluetooth 5.0 Noise-Cancelling Headphones Get in the groove and stay that way with these headphones and []

Researchers at Telecom Paris have developed an artificial skin that responds to stroking, pinching, tapping, and tickling. To demonstrate it, they covered a mobile phone with the skin and showed how it could work as a back-of-the-device interface. The video also shows how the material can be used to give robots a skin that feels []

Scotlands Shooglenifty was one of the first acts that I had the opportunity to interview for the music magazine I still occasionally write for, over two decades ago. That it was one of my first paying assignments, well before Id finished J-school, and that Id been a fan of the band for years has made []

Treat yourself, internet: Weve rounded up some deals from the past week that were too good not to bring back for an encore. Take your pick from home goods, massagers and other tech, all at serious discounts. TREBLAB Z2 Bluetooth 5.0 Noise-Cancelling Headphones Get in the groove and stay that way with these headphones and []

As cool as your smartphone is, it cant do everything. When a job requires a little elbow grease, a multitool is a great thing to have around and might just save your life in the right situation. Heres a roundup of some of the latest multitool designs, which have come a long way since []

Whether you own or rent your place, insurance on that home is a necessary hassle but a new tech-driven company called Lemonade is starting to show that while it might indeed be a necessity, it doesnt have to be a hassle. Heres the way insurance typically works: You pay premiums and hope an accident []

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‘I don’t care.’ Trump dismisses GOP concern over protecting whistleblower – USA TODAY

Posted: October 3, 2019 at 10:46 am

President Trump said "a whistleblower should be protected if the whistleblower's legitimate." USA TODAY

WASHINGTON PresidentDonald Trump dismissed concernsWednesday including from some GOP lawmakers about the need to shielda whistleblower at the center of allegations that he pressured officials in Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.

Asked about those concerns, Trump responded:"I don't care."

"He either got it totally wrong, made it up, or the person giving the information to the whistleblower was dishonest," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. "And this country has to find out who that person was, because that person is a spy, in my opinion."

Speaking alongside the president of Finland, Trump added that "a whistleblower should be protected if the whistleblower's legitimate."

Trumphas repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the unnamed whistleblower in the intelligence community who filed an Aug. 12 complaintabout the president'sphone call with Ukraine's president.

'Did you hear me?': Furious Trump blasts reporters amid Ukraine impeachment inquiry

Mike Pence: Pence aide monitored Donald Trump's call with Ukraine president, Washington Post reports

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who launched an impeachment inquiry of Trump last week, has said she was alarmed at the whistleblowers report and a summary of a July 25 phone call between Trump andUkrainian PresidentVolodymyr Zelensky that has been made public.

On the call,Trump repeatedlypressed Zelensky to investigate Biden, the 2020 Democratic presidential frontrunner, and his son, Hunter, who once had business interests in Ukraine. During the time of the conversation, the White House was holding up a military aid package Congress had approved for Ukraine.

President Donald Trump rails against journalists asking questions about an impeachment inquiry during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in the East Room of the White House October 02, 2019.(Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)

Trump returned to the whistleblower during a combative press conference in the East Room of the White House later Wednesday, saying he had respect for people calling attention to government abuses but only when those claims are "real."

"You look at the whistleblower statement, and it's vicious.Vicious," Trump repeated. "And that whistleblower, there's no question in my mind that some bad things have gone on, and I think we'll get to the bottom of it."

The whistleblowerhas accused Trump of abusing the power of his office to try to discredit a political rival. Trump has said there was nothing improper about the phone call and has insisted there was no "quid pro quo" over the military aid.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, a co-founder of the Senate Whistleblower Caucus, said on Tuesday that the whistleblower deservesto be heard and protected.We should always work to respect whistleblowers requests for confidentiality, Grassley said.

Trump said that the whistleblower's characterization of his call with the Ukrainianpresident was "erroneous."

"In other words, he either got it totally wrong, made it up, or the person giving the information to the whistleblower was dishonest," the president said.

Whistleblowers have been at time essential and detrimental to a country's democracy, but what makes them different than a leaker? We explain. Just the FAQs, USA TODAY

Trump also renewedhis attacks on House Democrats, including Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. whochairsthe House Intelligence Committee. Trump said Schiff couldn't carry Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's "blank strap," an apparentreference to a "jockstrap."

Earlier, Trump used a series of tweets to condemn the impeachment inquiry as damaging to the country. He challenged Pelosi's stated desire to work on trade and drug prices, saying Democrats are instead obsessed with impeachment.

Pelosiis "incapable" of working on other issues, the president wrote."It is just camouflage for trying to win an election through impeachment. The Do Nothing Democrats are stuck in mud!"

Unleashing an unusual show of anger, President Donald Trump railed against former Vice President Joe Biden, his son, the media and the World Trade Organization at a joint press conference in the White House East Room with Finland's president. (Oct. 2) AP, AP

In a tweet that preceded his meeting with the president of Finland, Trump used a barnyard epithet in condemning the impeachment drive. The president described Democrats as wasting their time on "bullshit" despite his election in 2016.

He added:"Get a better candidate this time, youll need it!"

House Democrats have questioned the presidents past attacks on the whistleblower.

President Donald Trump speaks to the press after arriving on Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, September 26, 2019.(Photo: SAUL LOEB, AFP/Getty Images)

I hope that you understand, and I suspect that you do, the seriousness of the president of the United States saying he wants to interview that person, Pelosi said.

The president probably doesnt realize how dangerous his statements are when he says he wants to expose who the whistleblower is and those who may have given the whistleblower that information, she added.

Contributing: Bart Jansen, Maureen Groppe

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Shoot them is the real Donald Trump | Editorial – NJ.com

Posted: at 10:46 am

The president once privately suggested to White House advisors that we shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down, among other venomous ideas.

His comments, reported this week by the New York Times, fit a pattern of inhumanity at the border, now spelled out in black and white. Its an insight into the mind of Trump and his policy man with a perma-smirk, Stephen Miller.

Its a clarifying moment: The underlying principle is that they hate these people.

Of course, you can be for tighter controls on immigration without being for cruelty. But this is no longer about how many immigrants we want, or how many deserve asylum here because their lives are in danger.

What weve seen under Trump is consistent, needless cruelty: Deliberately separating babies from their parents; congratulating the use of tear gas at the border on women and children in flip-flops.

Now White House advisors say Trump told them we should just shoot these people, many of whom are crossing our border to legally apply for asylum.

He also threw out other caricaturish villainries: a moat filled with snakes and alligators to keep them out; an electrified wall with spikes on top to inflict wounds.

Trump actually asked his advisors to seek a cost estimate for this stuff, they said which they apparently did, instead of telling him that he was nuts.

On Wednesday, the president dismissed the moat and the wall with spikes in his usual manner, with a tweet calling it fake news although Trump himself once tweeted out a drawing of a border fence with sharp spikes on top.

Noticeably, he didnt deny suggesting that we shoot migrants. Indeed, hes said much the same in public. We should fire bullets across the border if a migrant throws a rock, Trump once declared.

He joked about shooting immigrants at Florida appearance, too. Then a deranged admirer actually did so in El Paso, with a manifesto that quoted the presidents rhetoric about a border invasion.

Our immigration system is broken, and both Republican and Democratic presidents have tried to address this. But Trump and his misanthropic wonk are different. Both are steeped in the fear-mongering world of right wing talk radio, and are against immigration, period unless its from places like Norway.

Trump has complained about immigrants trying to infest America, and made it clear hes talking about the shithole countries populated by people who are not white. When it comes to stopping their immigration, he is willing to leave any moral, humanitarian or legal implications aside.

Even Kirstjen Nielsen, who carried out and defended Trumps singularly harsh family separation policy, was forced out as Homeland Security chief because she did so only reluctantly. She didnt delight in it, the way Miller did.

Nor does every Trump voter, based on reports from Trump country. When a pillar of the Grander, Indiana community a business owner who lived here nearly 20 years was snatched from his U.S. citizen wife and children and deported to Mexico, his neighbors who backed Trump spoke out against it.

I voted for him because he said he was going to get rid of the bad hombres, local resident Dave Keck told 60 Minutes. Roberto is a good hombre.

Cruel policies and chants like go back where you came from are easier to adopt in the abstract. The closer you get, the better you see the neighbor torn from his family; the mother whose wailing toddler was taken from her.

This is the real Donald Trump, and he is the bad hombre.

Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.

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