Computational creativity and the future of AI

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A section of a 2.3 billion-year-old rock bearing fossils (the dark areas) that are essenti...

Claimed to be the greatest lack of evolution ever discovered, a deep-sea microorganism – sulfur bacteria – recently uncovered by an international group of scientists is reported not to have evolved for more than 2 billion years. Despite it appearing to be an aberration in nature, researchers say that the microscopic creature’s unchanging nature actually supports Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.  Read More

Nitrogen gas promises a quicker, cheaper, cleaner way to increase production in bioethanol...

Zymomonas mobilis bacterium might be tricky to say, but this bioethanol-producing microbe could become a household name if Indiana University biologists have their way. The biologists claim have found a quicker, cheaper, cleaner way to increase bioethanol production in this microorganism by using the most abundant element in the Earth’s atmosphere: nitrogen gas (N2). By replacing chemical fertilizers with N2, production costs could be slashed and cellulose ethanol derived from wood pulp made much more economically viable – so much so that the researchers believe it may compete with corn ethanol and gasoline on price.  Read More

Underside of the Millennium Bridge, which swayed due to the cadence of those walking acros...

Just two days after opening, The London Millennium Footbridge was closed to eliminate its sway. Turns out staying with the sway would have had its benefits, as researchers have found that it reduces the amount of energy expended when walking across the bridge.  Read More

Scientists have mapped a cluster of neurons that aid our understanding of what keeps us fr...

Keeping ourselves upright is something most of us shouldn't need to think a whole lot about, given we've been doing it almost our entire lives. But when it comes to dealing with more precarious terrain, like walking on ice or some sort of tight rope, you might think some pretty significant concentration is required. But researchers have found that even in our moments of great instability, our subconsciousness is largely responsible for keeping us from landing on our backsides. This is due to what scientists are describing as a mini-brain, a newly mapped bunch of neurons in the spinal cord which processes sensory information and could lead to new treatment for ailing motor skills and balance.  Read More

Scientists have proposed a new form of particle in dark matter theory (Photo: Abell 1689, ...

In spite of substantial scientific investigation and convincing indirect evidence, dark matter still eludes direct detection and its existence essentially remains a tantalizing, but unproven, hypothesis. Notwithstanding this, nearly 85 percent of the predicted mass of the universe remains unaccounted for, and dark matter theory is still the prime contender to explain where it may be. Researchers at the University of Southampton have theorized the existence of a new "lighter" dark matter particle in an effort to help unravel the mystery.  Read More

Each tag is about the length of two grains of rice (Photo: PNNL)

In order to study how young fish such as salmon are affected by swimming through hydroelectric dams, scientists have traditionally equipped them with surgically-implanted acoustic tracking tags. Unfortunately, the implantation procedure can harm the fish, plus the weight of the device can affect their behavior. Now, however, a team at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Washington state has developed a much lighter acoustic tag, that can be injected into fish using a needle.  Read More

The Spire team, with one of the CubeSats

Weather forecasting is a notoriously inexact science. According to San Francisco-based tech startup Spire, this is partially because there are currently less than 20 satellites responsible for gathering all of the world's weather data – what's more, some of the older ones are using outdated technology. Spire's solution? Establish a linked network of over 100 shoebox-sized CubeSats, that will use GPS technology to gather 100 times the amount of weather data than is currently possible. The first 20 of those satellites are scheduled to launch later this year.  Read More

Scientists have devised a method of lengthening telomeres, allowing cells to divide more t...

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a new procedure to increase the length of human telomeres. This increases the number of times cells are able to divide, essentially making the cells many years younger. This not only has useful applications for laboratory work, but may point the way to treating various age-related disorders – or even muscular dystrophy.  Read More

A sheet of the Kevlar nanofiber membrane (Photo: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering, Communic...

While lithium-ion batteries may outperform their older, lower-tech counterparts, they do have one drawback – occasionally, they catch fire. This can happen when fern-like metal structures known as dendrites form between the battery's two electrodes, causing a short circuit. Now, however, researchers at the University of Michigan have used Kevlar nanofibers to create a barrier between the electrodes, which is impervious to those nasty dendrites.  Read More

A new micro-ring resonator produces a stream of entangled photons on a microchip (Image: U...

The quantum entanglement of particles, such as photons, is a prerequisite for the new and future technologies of quantum computing, telecommunications, and cyber security. Real-world applications that take advantage of this technology, however, will not be fully realized until devices that produce such quantum states leave the realms of the laboratory and are made both small and energy efficient enough to be embedded in electronic equipment. In this vein, European scientists have created and installed a tiny "ring-resonator" on a microchip that is claimed to produce copious numbers of entangled photons while using very little power to do so.  Read More

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