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* At Google X, a Top-Secret Lab Dreaming Up the Future

* At Google X, a Top-Secret Lab Dreaming Up the Future
It’s a place where your refrigerator could be connected to the Internet, so it could order groceries when they ran low. Your dinner plate could post to a social network what you’re eating. Your robot could go to the office while you stay home in your pajamas. And you could, perhaps, take an elevator to outer space. These are just a few of the dreams being chased at X, the clandestine lab where Google is tackling a list of 100 shoot-for-the-stars ideas. Although most of the ideas on the list are in the conceptual stage, nowhere near reality, two people briefed on the project said one product would be released by the end of the year, although they would not say what it was. “They’re pretty far out in front right now,” said Rodney Brooks, a professor emeritus at M.I.T.’s computer science and artificial intelligence lab and founder of Heartland Robotics. At most Silicon Valley companies, innovation means developing online apps or ads, but Google sees itself as different. Mr. Related:  Big Space Engineering

Synthetic Neurobiology Leah Acker, Bara Badwan, Changyang Linghu, Zixi Liu, Christian Wentz, Nir Grossman, Fumi Yoshida, Rin Yunis New technologies for controlling neural circuit dynamics, or entering information into the nervous system, may be capable of serving in therapeutic roles for improving the health of human patients–enabling the restoration of lost senses, the control of aberrant or pathological neural dynamics, and the augmentation of neural circuit computation, through prosthetic means. We are assessing the translational possibilities opened up by our technologies, exploring the safety and efficacy of optogenetic neuromodulation in multiple animal models, and also pursuing, both in our group and in collaborations with others, proofs-of-principle of new kinds of neural control prosthetics.

Google X's Space Elevator: Why It Will Not Happen Soon Some ideas just refuse to go away: trickle-down economics, the bolo tie, couscous. Add to this the space elevator. If you're not familiar with the space elevator, perhaps you've heard it referred to by one of its other names: the bean stalk, the orbital tether, the nonsynchronous orbital skyhook. No? Well never mind, because unlike the bolo tie, it doesn't exist. And unlike the tie too, it probably never will — not in this lifetime at least. The space elevator has been back in the news lately because of tech-world buzz that Google X — the secret Skunk Works where the company that gave us great doodles, a good Web browser and so-so e-mail — has included it on its list of what-if technologies it's trying to help develop. Maybe, but here's an important hint for aspiring futurists: "within 50 years" is almost always geek-speak for "Like, um, never?" O.K., so step one is building a cable that's 22,238 miles long. Then, of course, there's the physics. Why?

Google Zeitgeist, Like TED, Focuses on Big Picture Kevin Lee | September 30, 2011 | 0 Comments inShare36 Five trends touched on at the Zeitgeist conference that will have a significant impact on SEM. This week, Google held its thought-provoking conference, Zeitgeist. In prior years, the event was strictly off the record, but with the proliferation of Twitter, there was a constant stream of observations, comments, and discussions flying around the Twittersphere throughout the conference. Cory Booker (Newark, NJ mayor) Adam Braun (founder, Pencils of Promise)Deepak Chopra (needs no introduction) Larry Page and Eric Schmidt Mark Cuban (chairman and CEO, HDNet) What do these videos have to do with paid search strategies? Also, if you don't love this stuff (PPC search, online advertising, social media, etc.), have someone else do it for you.

Private prison contracts aim for 90% guaranteed occupancy rate - for at least 20 years © M. Spencer Green / APFederal Bureau of Prisons director Harley Lappin (Washington) - At a time when states are struggling to reduce bloated prison populations and tight budgets, a private prison management company is offering to buy prisons in exchange for various considerations, including a controversial guarantee that the governments maintain a 90% occupancy rate for at least 20 years. The $250 million proposal, circulated by the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America to prison officials in 48 states, has been blasted by some state officials who suggest such a program could pressure criminal justice officials to seek harsher sentences to maintain the contractually required occupancy rates. "You don't want a prison system operating with the goal of maximizing profits," says Texas state Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat and advocate for reducing prison populations through less costly diversion programs.

Biometrie: Schau mal, wer da guckt | Fraunhofer Interessiert blickt die junge Frau auf die Videowand. Die neuen Styles gefallen ihr ausnehmend gut. Wenig später betrachtet ein älterer Mann die neue Herrenkollektion. Neu ist, die Software erkennt das Alter In der Regel überprüfen Markt- und Werbeforschungsinstitute mit der neuen Technologie, ob die jeweilige Werbebotschaft bei den richtigen Kunden angekommen ist. Entstanden ist Shore™ in den vergangenen zehn Jahren in den Laboren des IIS. »Eigentlich kamen wir aus dem Biometriebereich und haben das System zunächst für die Personenerkennung entwickelt. Seit rund einem Jahr haben die Erlanger Forscher in dem Berliner Unternehmen Visapix GmbH einen Partner für die Vermarktung des Systems gefunden.

How Space Elevators Will Work" When the Space Shuttle Columbia lifted off on April 12, 1981, from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., to begin the first space shuttle mission, the dream of a reusable spacecraft was realized. Since then, NASA has launched more than 100 missions, but the price tag of space missions has changed little. Whether it is the space shuttle or the non-reusable Russian spacecraft, the cost of a launch is approximately $10,000 per pound ($22,000 per kg). A new space transportation system being developed could make travel to Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) a daily event and transform the global economy. A space elevator made of a carbon nanotubes composite ribbon anchored to an offshore sea platform would stretch to a small counterweight approximately 62,000 miles (100,000 km) into space. In this article, we'll take a look at how the idea of a space elevator is moving out of science fiction and into reality.

Australian children to be sterilized without parental consent under new eugenics law If you have ever seen the famous 1975 movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, you likely recall several disturbing scenes in which mental health patients are given frontal-lobe lobotomies, or the iconic scene where actor Jack Nicholson's character undergoes electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Today, these horrific forms of so-called mental health treatment are considered to be cruel relics of the past, but a new bill in Australia proposes that young children be given these treatments without parental consent, and even be permitted to undergo sterilization procedures without parental consent. It almost sounds like the plot of a sick movie, but it is all true and fully documented right in the WAMHC Mental Health Bill 2011, which you can access here: Eugenicists want to sterilize Australian children without ever telling the kids' parents Mental Health Commission is only accepting comments on the bill until March 9, 2012 California Gov.

European Robotics Technology Platform EUROP, the European Robotics Technology Platform, is an industry-driven framework for the main stakeholders in robotics to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness in robotic R&D, as well as global markets, and to improve quality of life. To this aim EUROP has developed a joint European Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), which would help focus research initiatives and innovative activities towards maximum impact. The SRA was published in July 2009. EUROP is one of several European Technology Platforms (ETPs) supported by the EU. EUROP's roots go back to October 2004, when leading European robotics organisations started to formulate the need for a consolidated approach to European robotics, which led to the constitution of EUROP as an ETP in October 2005. The SRA was first launched in 2005. The newly established organisation euRobotics AISBL (Association Internationale Sans But Lucratif) is currently working on updating the European robotics roadmap. Please note:

The 2011 Strong Tether Competition - The Space Elevator Blog August 13th, 2011 The 2011 Space Elevator Games - Strong Tether Challenge was held yesterday, August 12th, at the 2011 Space Elevator Conference. This competition is part of the NASA Centennial Challenges program, a program funded by Congress and run by NASA, with the purpose of fostering new technologies. Successful competitors are awarded prize money. For the Strong Tether Challenge, there is a prize pool of $2Million for any entry that meets all the benchmarks. NASA doesn’t run the competitions themselves. When the competitions are held, NASA sends a representative to judge the results and to make the final determination as to whether or not a prize will be awarded. This year’s strong Tether competition was held, as mentioned earlier, at the annual Space Elevator Conference. To actually test the tethers, you need a machine that stretches the tether to failure and records the value at which the tether broke. Two teams competed this year. Flint brought three tethers to the competition.

Report claims ASIO spying on coal protesters - ABC Melbourne - Australian Broadcasting Corporation Posted Thu 12 Apr 2012, 3:55pm AEST Greens leader Bob Brown is outraged at reports that ASIO is spying on mining protesters and says such action is a misuse of the spy agency's resources. The revelations were reported in Fairfax newspapers this morning and are based on a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism that was reportedly rejected because it involved "an intelligence agency document". Senator Brown says Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson should release the documents in question. "So the public can see just how much he is complicit in having ASIO spy instead of on people threatening this country, on people who have a right to democratically express their opinion," he said. Senator Brown says spying on protesters is not on. The Fairfax report raises concerns from security officials that anti-coal activists pose a greater threat to energy security than terrorists. "If they are classed as a terrorist risk, then it is justified.

* Professional service robots - Continued Increase Professional service robots - Continued Increase World Robotics 2012 - Service Robots published Taipei, 30 August 2012 - About 16,400 service robots for professional use were sold in 2011, 9% more than in 2010, reports the IFR Statistical Department in the new study "World Robotics 2012 - Service Robots", which was published on Thursday in Taipei. The sales value increased by 6% to US$ 3.6 billion. Main applications: Defence and milking robots With about 6,600, service robots in defence applications accounted for 40% of the total number of service robots for professional use sold in 2011. The total number of field robots - mainly milking robots - sold in 2011 was about 5,000 units, accounting for a share of 31% of the total unit supply of professional service robots. Considerable growth potential of logistic systems and medical robots Sales of medical robots increased by 13% compared to 2010 to 1,051 units in 2011. A strong growing sector will be the mobile platforms in general use.

How to Measure the Power of Alien Civilizations Using the Kardashev Scale I believe that one of the criticisms of Dyson Spheres is that any civilization that could build one would never do it because they would have already developed even more advanced technologies to make them unnecessary or obsolete. I've never seen the real point, of any civilization moving past an extremely refined post type 1, pre-type II civilization. After a civilization discovered sustainable fusion, and the use of easily accessable materials to maintain such energy consumption, they could in theory terraform any planetary body into a new home, simply if the raw materials were available. Even cobble together new ones given the time, materials and will. Those materials are available. If the have that ability, then every individual conceivably could live in scarcity free opulence with ease, and doing so would be quite sustainable. The point of having a dyson sphere in that setting is slim. I don't think individuals fully apprehend and contemplate just how much "stuff" is in the universe.

Amazon: the world's greatest rainforest or internet giant? When you see the word "Amazon", what's the first thing that springs to mind—the world's biggest forest, the longest river or the largest internet retailer—and which do you consider most important? These questions have risen to the fore in an arcane, but hugely important, debate about how to redraw the boundaries of the internet. Brazil and Peru have lodged objections to a bid made by the US e-commerce giant for a prime new piece of cyberspace: ".amazon". The Seattle-based company has applied for its brand to be a top-level domain name (currently .com), but the South American governments argue this would prevent the use of this internet address for environmental protection, the promotion of indigenous rights and other public interest uses. Along with dozens of other disputed claims to names including ".patagonia" and ".shangrila", the issue cuts to the heart of debates about the purpose and governance of the internet. Scarlet macaw in the Peruvian Amazon. Related articles