Nipping at the heels of yesterday's story about the software that automatically writes news articles comes another technological innovation changing the shape of journalism: software that reads news articles. Kalev Leetaru of the University of Illinois determined that using the Nautilus SGI supercomputer to analyse news stories can help predict major world events. The analysis he used for the experiment was retrospective, feeding the computer millions of articles from which it was able to determine a deteriorating national sentiment towards Libya and Egypt before the revolutions in those countries. The system was also able to narrow down Osama Bin Laden's location to within about 200km before he was found and killed last May.
Imagine if Earth was being blasted by radiation so strong that it was disappearing at a rate of 5 million tonnes per second. Sounds pretty disastrous, right? Well spare a thought for poor old CoRoT-2b, whose companion star is bombarding it with x-rays a hundred thousand times more powerful than rays from our Sun, Science Daily reports.
We all knew it had to happen eventually, but few expected it this early: Skynet has arrived.Only, instead of launching nukes, enslaving mankind, and more or less being a total pain, this version has a much more innocent purpose - to use the power of the crowd to keep an eye on space.
Today is a day for fulfilling the dreams of PopSci's past, it would seem. Following the amphibious 70's-esque camping trailer, Jalopnik takes a whirl in the Auto-Gyro MTOsport, America's first police gyroplane, stirring up fond memories of all the fancy fliers we dreamed up in the 20s and 30s.
The New York Times took a look at start-up Narrative Science today, a company that has developed what is a pretty cool step forward for artificial intelligence, and a pretty frightening step towards human labor's eventual replacement by machines, a piece of software that takes data (sports statistics, financial reports, etc.) and turns it into news articles. They're pretty confident about their product too, with one of the founders predicting that a computer program will win a Pulitzer within five years (and that it may well be their technology).
The Sealander amphibious trailer is the camping accessory of our 1970s PopSci dreams come to life, except better than we ever imagined. This super-light trailer is tiny enough that it can be towed even by subcompact cars without a special permit, extra mirrors or gear, and serves as a kitchen, a tent and a boat.
Genetically modified glow-in-the-dark cats not only make stylish, futuristic pets, but now provide insight into feline AIDS as well. The cats were injected with an antiviral gene from a rhesus macaque monkey that helps them resist feline AIDS, along with one that produces the fluorescent protein GFP. The latter gene, which is naturally produced by jellyfish, is regularly used in genetic engineering as a way to mark cells. If the cats aren't glowing, then the AIDS-resisting gene might not have made it into the cell either.
When light from an exploding star in the Large Magellanic Cloud reached Earth in 1987, it was the closest supernova explosion astronomers had witnessed in centuries. Now Supernova 1987a is making history again, this time as the youngest supernova remnant that can be seen from Earth.
A new base-jumping robot can climb vertical walls, flip open a parachute and jump off, parasailing to the ground while capturing video of the trip. It's the first compact robot that can both climb and fly, two characteristics that will serve it well when the robots take over the world and need to penetrate humanity's defenses.
Nike just announced that it's bringing the famed self-tying, light-up sneakers from Back to the Future II to market as a limited edition, under the name Nike Air Mag. They're not tech-free, boasting some flashy LED lighting, but everyone knows the main draw of the movie's shoes was the self-tying--and these shoes could have been so much more futuristic. It may not be 2015, the year depicted in the movie, just yet, but that doesn't mean we don't deserve self-tying shoes right now, dammit. Here are some possible routes to the true self-tying shoe.
When our planet was still forming, collisions with other planetesimals - and a Mars-sized object that sheared away the moon - turned the embryonic Earth into a roiling ball of molten rock. Iron and other heavy elements sank toward the core, and other iron-loving elements did, too. As a result, there's plenty of gold at our planet's center. So why, then, is there also gold in the hills? A new study supports the theory that it was all a gift from above.
After years of playing such numbers extremely close to the vest, Google today released figures spelling out exactly how much electricity the company's massive computing resources consume. Its data centres continuously draw 260 million watts - roughly a quarter the output of a nuclear power plant, says the NYT-to keep services like Gmail, search, Google Ads, and YouTube up and running around the clock and around the globe.