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Old 04-30-2009, 11:35 AM   #1601
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http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ef=online-news

Innovation: How your search queries can predict the future


Innovation is our new column that highlights the latest emerging technological ideas and where they may lead.

Real-time web search – which scours only the latest updates to services like Twitter – is currently generating quite a buzz because it can provide a glimpse of what people around the world are thinking or doing at any given moment. Interest in this kind of search is so great that, according to recent leaks, Google is considering buying Twitter.

The latest research from the internet search giant, though, suggests that real-time results could be even more powerful – they may reveal the future as well as the present.

Google researchers Hyunyoung Choi and Hal Varian combined data from Google Trends on the popularity of different search terms with models used by economists to predict trends in areas such as travel and home sales. The result? Better forecasts in almost every case.


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http://www.oddee.com/item_96656.aspx

10 Alien-Looking Places on Earth





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http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009...on-seven-sins/



One nation, seven sins
Geographers measure propensity for evil in states, counties


We have all heard religious leaders lament that the United States has turned sinful and ungodly. But, where exactly is this happening? Geographers from Kansas State University have used a variety of statistical data to map wickedness in counties across the nation, giving us a better idea of which specific cities and towns are ripe for smiting from above.

The prevalence of each of the Seven Deadly Sins is mapped out separately; for instance, gluttony was measured by tallying the number of fast food restaurants per capita, lust by rates of STD infection, and sloth by comparing rates of expenditures on recreation with rates of employment. When all was told, the Deep South and Bible Belt, along with California, are where people live least biblically, while the Midwest would make Moses proud.





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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8025886.stm

Invisibility cloak edges closer

Scientists have rendered objects invisible to near-infrared light.

Unlike previous such "cloaks", the new work does not employ metals, which introduce losses of light and result in imperfect cloaking.

Because the approach can be scaled down further in size, researchers say this is a major step towards a cloak that would work for visible light.

One of the research teams describes its miniature "carpet cloak" in the journal Nature Materials.

This "carpet" design was based on a theory first described by John Pendry, from Imperial College London, in 2008.

Michal Lipson and her team at Cornell University demonstrated a cloak based on the concept.


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http://www.newscientist.com/article/...rss&nsref=tech


Unknown internet 2: Could the net become self-aware?


Yes, if we play our cards right - or wrong, depending on your perspective.

In engineering terms, it is easy to see qualitative similarities between the human brain and the internet's complex network of nodes, as they both hold, process, recall and transmit information. "The internet behaves a fair bit like a mind," says Ben Goertzel, chair of the Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute, an organisation inevitably based in cyberspace. "It might already have a degree of consciousness".

Not that it will necessarily have the same kind of consciousness as humans: it is unlikely to be wondering who it is, for instance. To Francis Heylighen, who studies consciousness and artificial intelligence at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) in Belgium, consciousness is merely a system of mechanisms for making information processing more efficient by adding a level of control over which of the brain's processes get the most resources. "Adding consciousness is more a matter of fine-tuning and increasing control... than a jump to a wholly different level," Heylighen says.

How might this manifest itself? Heylighen speculates that it might turn the internet into a self-aware network that constantly strives to become better at what it does, reorganising itself and filling gaps in its own knowledge and abilities.

If it is not already semiconscious, we could do various things to help wake it up, such as requiring the net to monitor its own knowledge gaps and do something about them. It shouldn't be something to fear, says Goertzel: "The outlook for humanity is probably better in the case that an emergent, coherent and purposeful internet mind develops."

Heylighen agrees, but warns that we might find it a little disappointing. "We probably would not notice a whole lot of a difference, initially," he says.

And when might this begin? According to Heylighen, it all depends on internet fashion trends. If the effort that has gone into developing social networking sites goes into developing internet consciousness, it could happen within a decade, he says.


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Old 04-30-2009, 12:48 PM   #1602
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http://blog.ted.com/2009/04/coral_math.php

The beautiful math that links coral, crochet and hyperbolic geometry: Margaret Wertheim on TED.com

Margaret Wertheim leads a project to re-create the creatures of the coral reefs using a crochet technique invented by a mathematician -- celebrating the amazements of the reef, and deep-diving into the hyperbolic geometry underlying coral creation. (Recorded at TED2009, February 2009, in Long Beach, California. Duration: 15:34.)




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http://singularityhub.com/2009/04/29...tival-premier/

Transcendent Man Wows At Tribeca Film Festival Premier

“Does God exist? Well, I would say, ‘Not yet.” —Ray Kurzweil, Transcendent Man, 2009

It’s not every documentary that predicts humanity will someday create and become God. Transcendent Man says it will happen in the next twenty years. A bold statement for a movie about a bold man. Barry Ptolemy’s Transcendent Man is a biopic of famed inventor, writer, and futurist Ray Kurzweil. Kurzweil is author of The Singularity is Near, a best-selling book describing humanity’s journey to becoming non-biological life.

Singularity Hub was at the Tribeca Film Festival debut of Transcendent Man, and the revealing panel discussion that followed. Whether you are new to the concept of ‘the singularity’, or whether you are a well-known authority on the subject, you will want to see this film.


http://transcendentman.com/

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http://www.newscientist.com/article/...html?full=true


Is time an illusion?

IT IS the invisible presence that governs your world. Trailing you like an unshakeable shadow, it ticks and tocks incessantly - you can sense it in your heartbeat, in the rising and setting of the sun, and in your daily rush to make meetings, trains and deadlines. It brings order to our lives through the categories of past, present and future.

Time. There is nothing with which we are so familiar, and yet when you try to pin it down you find only a relentless torrent of questions. Why does time appear to flow? What makes it different from space? What exactly is it? It's enough to make your neurons misfire, then sizzle and smoke.

You are not alone. Physicists have long struggled to understand what time really is. In fact, they are not even sure it exists at all. In their quest for deeper theories of the universe, some researchers increasingly suspect that time is not a fundamental feature of nature, but rather an artefact of our perception. One group has recently found a way to do quantum physics without invoking time, which could help pave a path to a time-free "theory of everything". If correct, the approach suggests that time really is an illusion, and that we may need to rethink how the universe at large works.

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http://www.lifedivine.net/healing/ho...es-your-brain/


How God Changes Your Brain

"What we’re finding is that, if you engage in contemplative spiritual practice or meditation or prayer or even focusing intently on a positive thought and a positive affirmation, you can begin to make permanent changes in both the structure and the function of your brain in ways that enhance memory, cognition, awareness, consciousness, compassion, and it simultaneously suppresses the neuromechanisms in your brain that cause anxiety, depression, fear, anger and rage."

Sounds good doesn’t it, and here’s where the ‘unify our understanding of some of the aspects of religion and spirituality’ part comes in.

"what we’ve done is that we’ve distilled from all of the world’s religious traditions a set of 12 basic exercises that we have in Chapter 9, I believe, that anyone can do. And if you do these exercises for 12 minutes a day for eight weeks and we put you into a brain scan machine, we can show you that changes are being made in your brain that make all of the improvements that I just talked about."



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http://www.k2.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/members/alvaro/Khronos/

The Khronos Projector is an interactive-art installation allowing people to explore pre-recorded movie content in an entirely new way. A classic video-tape allows a simple control of the reproducing process (stop, backward, forward, and elementary control on the reproduction speed). Modern digital players add little more than the possibility to perform random temporal jumps between image frames.

The goal of the Khronos Projector is to go beyond these forms of exclusive temporal control, by giving the user an entirely new dimension to play with: by touching the projection screen, the user is able to send parts of the image forward or backwards in time. By actually touching a deformable projection screen, shaking it or curling it, separate "islands of time" as well as "temporal waves" are created within the visible frame. This is done by interactively reshaping a two-dimensional spatio-temporal surface that "cuts" the spatio-temporal volume of data generated by a movie.




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Old 05-01-2009, 06:45 AM   #1603
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amesj523 View Post
http://seedmagazine.com/content/arti..._body_politic/

The deep symbiosis between bacteria and their human hosts is forcing scientists to ask: Are we organisms or living ecosystems?
http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ef=online-news

Sponge larvae: Your unlikely ancestors
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:09 AM   #1604
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http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ef=online-news

Quack remedies spread by virtue of being useless


Contagious treatments

To understand why these quack medical treatments persist in the face of better proven remedies, Tanaka applied mathematical models used to measure evolutionary fitness to medical treatments.

His model accounted for factors including the rate of conversion to a treatment, the effectiveness of a treatment, the rate at which people abandon a treatment, the odds of recovering naturally, and the chances of dying. The model starts with a single person demonstrating a treatment – rubbish or not – and measures how many people are influenced to go on to give the treatment a try.

Under a wide range of conditions, quack treatments garnered more converts than proven hypothetical medicines that offer quicker recovery, Tanaka found. "The very fact that they don't work mean that people that use them stay sick longer" and demonstrate a treatment to more people, he says.

Bad treatments don't always win out. Recurring diseases are more likely to promote effective treatments than rare diseases because repeated demonstration weeds out bad treatments, Tanaka found.
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:10 AM   #1605
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http://www.alternet.org/story/139018...oid_worldview/


Armed Revolt in the Obama Era? Right-Wing Gun Nuts Share Their Paranoid Worldview
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:12 AM   #1606
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http://www.alternet.org/healthwellne...-depressants_/

What's Behind the Epidemic of Family-Killings? Could it Be Anti-Depressants?


Economic stress is usually blamed, but a bunch of government-approved psychoactive drugs have proven homicidal and suicidal side effects.
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:12 AM   #1607
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http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ef=online-news

'Brain-juggling' lets dolphins avoid sleep deprivation


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http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ef=online-news

The smallest ever incandescent lamp, made using a single carbon nanotube, has been created by physicists in the US. At 1.4 micrometres long and just 13 nanometres wide, the filament is invisible to the naked eye until it is switched on.

Chris Regan's team at the University of California, Los Angeles attached a palladium and gold electrode to each end of the carbon nanotube, which spans a tiny hole in a silicon chip and is held in a vacuum.

When electricity runs along the nanotube it heats up and begins to glow, releasing millions of photons every second, of which a few thousand reach the eye. "That makes the light relatively easy to see," says Regan. "Your eye is nearly single-photon sensitive." But it would make a poor reading lamp, he jokes.
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:13 AM   #1608
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http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ef=online-news

First dino 'blood' extracted from ancient bone
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:57 AM   #1609
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:41 AM   #1610
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http://webecoist.com/2009/05/05/amaz...natural-caves/

10 Amazingly Beautiful Natural Caves

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Old 05-07-2009, 10:17 AM   #1611
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http://www.newscientist.com/article/...rss&nsref=tech

Sea 'snake' generates electricity with every wave

27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0">
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:33 AM   #1612
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Fifty years on, CP Snow's 'Two Cultures' are united in desperation


In a famous lecture 50 years ago, CP Snow warned that science and arts were becoming 'two cultures' - but the problem now is far, far worse
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:36 AM   #1613
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Ray Kurzweil: A singular view of the future


Quote:
Can we outrun our current environmental problems to reach 2045?

Yes. The resources are much greater than they appear. We only have to capture 1 part in 10,000 of the sunlight to get all the energy we need. Nanotechnology is being applied to solar energy collection technology and that is scaling up at an exponential rate. Such new technologies are ultimately very inexpensive because they are subject to the law of accelerating returns.

What do you mean by the law of accelerating returns?

The power of ideas to change the world is accelerating and few people grasp the implications of that fully. People don't think exponentially, yet exponential change applies to anything that involves measuring information content. Take genetic sequencing. When the human genome project was announced in 1990, sceptics said: "No way you're going to do this in 15 years." Halfway through the project the sceptics were still going strong, saying you've only finished 1 per cent of the project. But that's actually right on schedule: by the time you get to 1 per cent you're only seven doublings away.

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Old 05-07-2009, 10:46 AM   #1614
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http://www.oddee.com/item_96663.aspx

10 Most Fascinating Castles and Palaces




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Old 05-07-2009, 10:53 AM   #1615
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http://seedmagazine.com/content/arti...on_on_command/

From Jackson Pollock to John Coltrane — how creativity springs from a choreographed set of mental events.
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Old 05-07-2009, 11:04 AM   #1616
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Is nature one mean mother?

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Now University of Washington paleontologist Peter Ward has proposed an alternate theory that suggests Earth is set up to kill off life when it spreads too widely. Humans wouldn't be the first victims of this periodic biocide. The dinosaurs may have been killed off by an asteroid, he says, but during the planet's other mass extinctions, millions of species were done in by good old Mom.

"I hypothesize that life and its processes, together often referred to as 'Mother Nature,' was, is, and will be anything but a good mother to her many evolved and evolving species," Ward contends in his new book, "The Medea Hypothesis."

Gaia vs. Medea ... that sounds like the start of a philosophical catfight.

Ward, however, says he's not just trying to pick a fight with the 90-year-old Lovelock. "Most every scientist is trying to 'pick a fight' with another scientist," he told me today. "We try to do it in a collegial fashion. ... I'm trying to do science, but I'm also trying to point out that there has never been opposition in a formal sense - it's been Gaia, Gaia, nothing but Gaia."
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:27 PM   #1617
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http://www.wunderkabinett.co.uk/damn...s-spreads.html

Monday, May 4. 2009
"Crazy sickness" spreads

Back in late March we looked at the outbreak of "crazy sickness" in Nicaragua. Since then it appears it has not only spread but taken on aspects that we've seen elsewhere (infecting schools and in particular targeting young woman) and has acquired strange new claims.
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:27 PM   #1618
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http://www.scientificblogging.com/da...upiter_ignites

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Old 05-08-2009, 07:47 AM   #1619
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http://www.thememoryhole.org/2009/03...-transparency/

Bailout transparency

By Russ Kick at 6 March, 2009, 1:34 pm

OpenTheGovernment.org has a fantastic section tracking what we know and don’t know about the financial bailout. You’ll find news, documents, links to sites, and more. The Treasury Dept & Federal Reserve are currently fighting court battles in order to keep details of the bailout secret.

See also: ProPublica’s Show Me the TARP Money and Subsidyscope’s Financial Bailout Project.

{EDIT: Added Subsidyscope link at 5:30 PM}
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Old 05-08-2009, 07:53 AM   #1620
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http://www.thememoryhole.org/2009/03...en-chipped-or/

New Yorker: Obama & Biden chipped or wearing tracking devices?

While profiling White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza saw something interesting in Emanuel’s office. It’s mentioned only in passing:

Next to his computer monitor is a smaller screen that looks like a handheld G.P.S. device and tells Emanuel where the President and senior White House officials are at all times.
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Old 05-08-2009, 07:57 AM   #1621
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http://www.thememoryhole.org/2009/02...releases-6780/


Wikileaks Releases 6,780 Semi-secret CRS reports

By Russ Kick at 10 February, 2009, 3:07 pm

From Wikileaks:

Wikileaks has released nearly a billion dollars worth of quasi-secret reports commissioned by the United States Congress.

The 6,780 reports, current as of this month, comprise over 127,000 pages of material on some of the most contentious issues in the nation, from the U.S. relationship with Israel to the financial collapse. Nearly 2,300 of the reports were updated in the last 12 months, while the oldest report goes back to 1990. The release represents the total output of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) electronically available to Congressional offices. The CRS is Congress’s analytical agency and has a budget in excess of $100M per year.

Although all CRS reports are legally in the public domain, they are quasi-secret because the CRS, as a matter of policy, makes the reports available only to members of Congress, Congressional committees and select sister agencies such as the GAO.
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Old 05-08-2009, 07:58 AM   #1622
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http://www.thememoryhole.org/2009/01...lets-for-iraq/

Psyops: Proposed Leaflets for Iraq


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Old 05-08-2009, 09:52 AM   #1623
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Bacteria take fantastic voyage through bloodstream

Canadian engineers have sent swimming magnetic bacteria through the bloodstreams of rats. The work is a step towards the team's goal of harnessing them as drug mules steered through human bodies using magnetic fields.



27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0">
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:56 AM   #1624
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Farmers' crops keeping US cool

While cities create a warm bubble known as the urban heat island, most farms have an opposite chilling effect. This "cool farms factor" has lessened the effects of global warming across the entire continental US, and could continue to do so, suggests new research.

It also suggests projects that plant trees to cool the planet need to be approached with caution.

Fields can lower temperatures in two ways: by using solar energy to evaporate water – in a similar way to a person cooling down by sweating – and by reflecting more solar energy out into space than darker vegetation such as forests – a phenomenon known as the albedo effect.

In 2007, CÚline Bonfils and David Lobell of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California found that for much of the 20th century, temperatures in irrigated parts of California's Central Valley were up to 1.6 ░C cooler than modestly irrigated regions. This suggested that increased evaporation in the well-watered areas was responsible for the cooling.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:03 AM   #1625
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THEMIS: 'Singing' electrons help create and destroy 'killer' electrons

Killer electrons are born within Earth's natural radiation belts, called the Van Allen belts after their discoverer, James Van Allen. Killer electrons are mostly found in the outer belt, which over the equator begins approximately 8,000 miles above Earth and tapers off about 28,000 miles high.

The high-speed electrons pose a threat to satellites in or near the outer belt -- those in medium-level and higher (geosynchronous) orbits -- like the Global Positioning System and most communications satellites. They are known as "killer" electrons because they can penetrate a spacecraft's sensitive electronics and cause short circuits.

"This discovery is important to understand the physical processes that shape the radiation belts, so that one day we will be able to predict the moment-by-moment evolution of the radiation belts and be in a position to safeguard satellites in these regions, or astronauts passing through them on the way to the moon or other destinations in the solar system," said Dr. Jacob Bortnik of the University of California, Los Angeles, lead author of a paper on this research appearing May 8 in Science.
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