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In a move that would shock most Americans, the Republican-controlled Congress has coughed up $19.3 billion for NASA throughout 2016 as part of its 2016 omnibus spending bill.
The Obama administration had requested $18.5 billion, so an additional $800 million is not too bad at all for NASA - and this is up $1.23 billion on the funds NASA received last year. NASA is now on point to reach its 2017 launch goal, and once this happens, the US space agency won't require Russia in order to launch its rockets - something that it has been obliged to since 2011.
We all know the benefits of solar power, but it looks like the town council of Woodland, North Carolina doesn't. They rejected a rezoning proposal that would've seen the installation of a new solar farm. But the reason is going to kick you in the teeth.
The council has previously approved three other solar farms which are all currently under construction, but this proposal was rejected after down residents "expressed distruct and fear of the solar panels", reports The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. One of the residents, who just so happens to be a retired science teacher, Jane Mann, complained that many of the plants directly undernearth the panels were not receiving enough sunlight. Mann continued that the panels also cause cancer... adding that "I want to know what's going to happen. I want information. Enough is enough. I don't see the profit for the town. People come with hidden agendas. Until we can find if anything is going to damage this community, we shouldn't sign any paper".
But it gets better. Mann's husband, Bobby, warned the council that the solar farms "would suck up all the energy from the sun". A representative of the Strata Solar Company, which wants to build the farm just off Highway 258, said: "the panels don't draw additional sunlight. There are no toxic materials on site. This is a tried and true technology". But, even with mountains of evidence and countless other cities and countries adopting solar power, the town council stamped down a moratorium on solar panel installations. Officials want to wait until they "get a handle on how to do background checks" on the technology.
If you were wondering exactly how some Star Wars technologies may become feasible things in the real-world, Michigan State University has published another episode of its 'Chillin' with Chewie' series, aiming to explain Star Wars technological advancements to the public with the help of real life scientists.
While some technology in Star Wars may never come to light (pun intended), this series aims to cover many technologies ranging from real to fictional and from Carbonite to light sabers. With this educational tool further explaining a possible time frame for some of these cool technologies to become reality, it's a must watch for any Star Wars fan.
An article by Gizmodo pointed out that that this series explains that "TIE fighters' thrusters are a million times more powerful than anything we've ever developed," giving you an insight into some things you may learn by watching this series for yourself.
Google and NASA revealed on Wednesday that they've found a critical piece to the enigmatic puzzle of quantum computing that could usher in a new generation of ultra-efficient computers.
For the past two years, Google and NASA have combined their scientific might via the Quantum AI team to study the mechanics and possible advantages of quantum computing. It's taken quite a while, but the team has finally tapped the power of its D-Wave X2 system to demonstrate just how powerful quantum computing really is.
Using a processing called quantum annealing, the Quantum AI team was able to prove that the quantum computer not only works but represents tremendous gains over traditional problem-solving systems. The scientists discovered a new quantum annealing algorithm that processed and solved complex binary workloads over 100 million times faster (10^8) than methods simulated on single-core non-quantum computers. Essentially this means that Google's D-Wave X2 system can serve as a major tool to understand, define and experiment with the realm of nanoscale quantum computing.
We all know that Elon Musk has some doubts about artificial intelligence, with the SpaceX and Tesla founder saying that AI could be "more dangerous than nukes" back in April 2014. In October 2014, Musk warned the world about AI once again, saying that it's like "summoning the demon". It was only earlier this year that Musk said that AI would treat us "pet Labradors", a future that I don't want to live in.
These are some strong warnings from Musk, who has joined forces with some of the world's brightest minds, creating OpenAI. OpenAI, as explained on Medium, is a nonprofit that was funded by people like Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, Jessica Livingston, Peter Thiel and Amazon Web Services - just to name a few. These people are collectively pledging more than $1 billion to counteract large companies, or even governments that might gain too much power in the world of artificial intelligence.
As it stands, companies like Google are pretty open with their research into AI, but Y Combinator CEO and OpenAI founder Sam Altman says that as we get closer to the level where AI surpasses human intelligence, there's a large concern over how much these companies will share. OpenAI promises to make its results public, offering its patents royalty-free.
An impressive new temperature sensor chip has been unveiled by researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands. They have created the world's smallest temperature sensor chip, which has a damn impressive trick up its incredibly small sleeve.
The new temperature sensor chip draws its power from radio waves being broadcasted by the same Wi-Fi network it is communicating with, which means the chip won't require a battery, nor will it ever have to be charged. For the Internet of Things (IoT) market, and electronics in general, this is going to be quite the breakthrough.
Project PREMISS is the current name of it, with research Dr. Hao Gao leading the project. Project PREMISS is a new type of sensor that is as light as a grain of sand and is only 2mm square, which makes it the world's smallest temperature sensor. The chip draws the required power from radio waves, but it also communicates data over the same waves, so it doesn't need a physical connection to send temperature data to another device.
To help pilots and other personnel integrate the F-35 Lighting II fleet into operation, Full Mission Simulators at the Hill Air Force Base are using virtual reality and other high-tech tools to improve training and logistics.
The FMS system features a 360-degree visual display system and replicates all F-35 sensors and characteristics that are in a real cockpit. Military officials aim to give pilots a more realistic approach to learn controls before being sent into combat missions.
"The F-35 is going to be an incredible advancement in our capability as an air force, and the Full Mission Simulators present an environment to adequately challenge our pilots as they prepare for combat," said Lt. Col. George Watkins, Commander of the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base.
Engineers at the Oregon State University have devised a new method of integrating nanoparticles that could pave the way to ultra-flexible and efficient quantum circuitry.
Using a process called photonic "sintering", scientists are able to fuse ultra-tiny nanoparticles together into a functional 2-D film, which can then be fabricated into working nanocircuits. To understand sintering and the physics of quantum-scale mechanical effects, engineers have experimented with different substrate materials and thermal sources. As sintering is powered by heated light, some materials like plastic and paper were previously off-limits--until now.
During their experiments, the OSU team reported that xenon light was able to trigger the photonic sintering process twice as fast and was over ten times more efficient than other light sources. With such tremendous efficiency, scientists now have precise control over temperatures, meaning that thermal-sensitive substrates such as super-thin plastic wrap and paper could potentially be used.
Electronic car racing organization Formula E is planning a driverless championship starting in 2016.
Named Roborace, it's touted as offering a "competitive platform for the autonomous driving solutions being developed" which they hope will encourage innovation. Partner Kinetik, meanwhile, has faith it will progress the road toward AI assistance in all vehicles.
Technology buffs at the University of California have created this technical simulation of a shrapnel-induced wound on someone's leg, aiming to bring Saving Private Ryan gore to real life, this time for education and training purposes.
Developed by Jeff Eldredge and his colleagues, this training simulator is designed for use by combat medics to prepare for, understand and know to to deal with what is a grim possibility when out in the field.
In an interview with New Scientist, Eldredge stated that "We're genuinely hopeful that our simulations will enhance the educational experience for medical trainees." In true father fashion, he added "But I'm really pleased just to get visceral reactions from my kids. That probably makes me a horrible father."