Introducing CodeSpells (by Sarah Esper)

CodeSpells is a 3D video game designed to teach novice programmers how to program in Java. In this game, you are a wizard and your task is to learn how to read, write and cast spells (Java programs) in an interactive and fun way.

One of the latest artificial intelligence systems from MIT is as smart as a 4-year-old
When kids eat glue, they’re exhibiting a lack of common sense. Computers equipped with artificial intelligence, it turns out, suffer from a similar problem.
While computers can tell you the chemical composition of glue, most can’t tell you if it is a gross choice for a snack. They lack the common sense that is ingrained in adult humans. 
For the last decade, MIT researchers have been building a system called ConceptNet that can equip computers with common-sense associations. It can process that a person may desire a dessert such as cake, which has the quality of being sweet. The system is structured as a graph, with connections between related concepts and terms.
The University of Illinois-Chicago announced today that its researchers put ConceptNet to the test with an IQ assessment developed for young children. ConceptNet 4, the second-most recent iteration from MIT, earned a score equivalent to the average 4-year-old. It did well at vocabulary and recognizing similarities, but did poorly at answering “why” questions. Children would normally get similar scores in each of the categories.

One of the latest artificial intelligence systems from MIT is as smart as a 4-year-old

When kids eat glue, they’re exhibiting a lack of common sense. Computers equipped with artificial intelligence, it turns out, suffer from a similar problem.

While computers can tell you the chemical composition of glue, most can’t tell you if it is a gross choice for a snack. They lack the common sense that is ingrained in adult humans. 

For the last decade, MIT researchers have been building a system called ConceptNet that can equip computers with common-sense associations. It can process that a person may desire a dessert such as cake, which has the quality of being sweet. The system is structured as a graph, with connections between related concepts and terms.

The University of Illinois-Chicago announced today that its researchers put ConceptNet to the test with an IQ assessment developed for young children. ConceptNet 4, the second-most recent iteration from MIT, earned a score equivalent to the average 4-year-old. It did well at vocabulary and recognizing similarities, but did poorly at answering “why” questions. Children would normally get similar scores in each of the categories.

New Plasma Device Considered The ‘Holy Grail’ Of Energy Generation And Storage
Scientists at the University of Missouri have devised a new way to create and control plasma that could transform American energy generation and storage.
Randy Curry, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering, and his team developed a device that launches a ring of plasma at distances of up to two feet. Although the plasma reaches a temperature hotter than the surface of the sun, it doesn’t emit radiation and is completely safe in proximity to humans.
While most of us are familiar with three states of matter – liquid, gas and solid – there is also a fourth state known as plasma, which includes things such as fire and lightning. Life on Earth depends on the energy emitted by plasma produced during fusion reactions within the sun.
The secret to Curry’s success was developing a way to make plasma form its own self-magnetic field, which holds it together as it travels through the air.
“Launching plasma in open air is the ‘Holy Grail’ in the field of physics,” said Curry.
more

New Plasma Device Considered The ‘Holy Grail’ Of Energy Generation And Storage

Scientists at the University of Missouri have devised a new way to create and control plasma that could transform American energy generation and storage.

Randy Curry, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering, and his team developed a device that launches a ring of plasma at distances of up to two feet. Although the plasma reaches a temperature hotter than the surface of the sun, it doesn’t emit radiation and is completely safe in proximity to humans.

While most of us are familiar with three states of matter – liquid, gas and solid – there is also a fourth state known as plasma, which includes things such as fire and lightning. Life on Earth depends on the energy emitted by plasma produced during fusion reactions within the sun.

The secret to Curry’s success was developing a way to make plasma form its own self-magnetic field, which holds it together as it travels through the air.

“Launching plasma in open air is the ‘Holy Grail’ in the field of physics,” said Curry.

more

(via republicofideas)

BBC - Future - Technology - Tomorrow’s world: A guide to the next 150 years
As we begin a new year, BBC Future has compiled 40 intriguing predictions made by scientists, politicians, journalists, bloggers and other assorted pundits in recent years about the shape of the world from 2013 to 2150.

BBC - Future - Technology - Tomorrow’s world: A guide to the next 150 years

As we begin a new year, BBC Future has compiled 40 intriguing predictions made by scientists, politicians, journalists, bloggers and other assorted pundits in recent years about the shape of the world from 2013 to 2150.

Patent grants hit all-time high in 2011; IBM leads the way | CNET News
Historically, IBM has led the pack in total patents granted,  and this year is no exception. According to IFI, the company was  granted 6,180 utility patents, up nearly 5 percent from 2010. Samsung  took the second spot with 4,894 patents, followed by Canon at 2,821  patents. Panasonic and Toshiba rounded out the top five with 2,559 and  2,483 utility patents, respectively.

Patent grants hit all-time high in 2011; IBM leads the way | CNET News

Historically, IBM has led the pack in total patents granted, and this year is no exception. According to IFI, the company was granted 6,180 utility patents, up nearly 5 percent from 2010. Samsung took the second spot with 4,894 patents, followed by Canon at 2,821 patents. Panasonic and Toshiba rounded out the top five with 2,559 and 2,483 utility patents, respectively.

When considering the consequences of peak oil, no everyday experiences and only few historical parallels are at hand. It is therefore difficult to imagine how significant the effects of being gradually deprived of one of our civilization’s most important energy sources will be. Psychological barriers cause indisputable facts to be blanked out and lead to almost instinctively refusing to look into this difficult subject in detail. Peak oil, however, is unavoidable.

~ A quote from the recently translated Peak Oil analysis written by the German Military (via ASPO)

(Image credit: Johns Hopkins Public Health)


I’ve always been a big fan of the Internet of Things, especially after Kevin Kelly’s TED lecture a few years back. After seeing this nice infographic done by Intel, I can only acknowledge we’re still in a very early stage of this idea.
Most types of devices you see (check the top right corner) are display devices, meaning they’ll present online content on a display, either “raw” as in a browser, or translated to an application like a game or a navigation system.
The real power of the Internet of Things will come when less obvious objects are connected to the internet. For example shoes, fridges, coffee machines, wardrobes, tooth brushes, doors, light switches… I’m sure there are shoes that go online already (Nike+ for example), coffee machines that make coffee based on the weather found online, tooth brushes that share your amount of turns and light switches that you can switch on and off from your smartphone. Yet these are hardly mainstream nor have they unveiled the true potential of the Internet Of Things.
If you think about all new technologies that are coming up in the coming months: 4G networks, RFID or NFC particularly, better face, object and voice recognition, … Combining that with faster processors, high resolution displays, longer battery life, … And putting that all into more objects we use every day, I think you can agree we’ve got some very exciting times ahead of us! The Internet of Things has only just started…

castemelijn:

I’ve always been a big fan of the Internet of Things, especially after Kevin Kelly’s TED lecture a few years back. After seeing this nice infographic done by Intel, I can only acknowledge we’re still in a very early stage of this idea.

Most types of devices you see (check the top right corner) are display devices, meaning they’ll present online content on a display, either “raw” as in a browser, or translated to an application like a game or a navigation system.

The real power of the Internet of Things will come when less obvious objects are connected to the internet. For example shoes, fridges, coffee machines, wardrobes, tooth brushes, doors, light switches… I’m sure there are shoes that go online already (Nike+ for example), coffee machines that make coffee based on the weather found online, tooth brushes that share your amount of turns and light switches that you can switch on and off from your smartphone. Yet these are hardly mainstream nor have they unveiled the true potential of the Internet Of Things.

If you think about all new technologies that are coming up in the coming months: 4G networks, RFID or NFC particularly, better face, object and voice recognition, … Combining that with faster processors, high resolution displays, longer battery life, … And putting that all into more objects we use every day, I think you can agree we’ve got some very exciting times ahead of us! The Internet of Things has only just started…

castemelijn:


Augmented reality app illustrates damage to smokers’ lungs
For smokers, it’s one thing to be told that cigarettes are damaging to the lungs; it’s quite another, however, to see a visual depiction of that destruction. Enter London marketing firm SapientNitro, which recently created “AR Lungs,” an augmented reality app that displays the harm that can be done by smoking. READ MORE…

springwise:

Augmented reality app illustrates damage to smokers’ lungs

For smokers, it’s one thing to be told that cigarettes are damaging to the lungs; it’s quite another, however, to see a visual depiction of that destruction. Enter London marketing firm SapientNitro, which recently created “AR Lungs,” an augmented reality app that displays the harm that can be done by smoking. READ MORE…

springwise:


VIRTUAL LAB RATS TO ASSIST IN DISEASE STUDY

Despite all their rage, lab rats are still just rats in a cage, right? Well, not any more. Thanks to computational biologist, Daniel Beard, the cage door will be somewhat opened, as he and his team has found a new breed to study — virtual rats.
Full Story: Discovery News

via emergentfutures:

VIRTUAL LAB RATS TO ASSIST IN DISEASE STUDY


Despite all their rage, lab rats are still just rats in a cage, right? Well, not any more. Thanks to computational biologist, Daniel Beard, the cage door will be somewhat opened, as he and his team has found a new breed to study — virtual rats.

Full Story: Discovery News

via emergentfutures:

Chinese team develop fuel cell that can clean water as it generates electricity | Physorg.com
Yanbiao Liu and his colleagues from Shanghai Jiao Tong  University, have succeeded in building a device capable of both cleaning  wastewater and producing electricity from it. Using light as an energy  source the team created a photo-catalytic fuel cell that used a titanium  dioxide nanotube-array anode and a cathode based on platinum. The light  energy degrades the organic material found in the wastewater and in the  process generates electrons which pass through the cathode converting  it into electricity. The team has published its results on Water Science & Technology.

Chinese team develop fuel cell that can clean water as it generates electricity | Physorg.com

Yanbiao Liu and his colleagues from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, have succeeded in building a device capable of both cleaning wastewater and producing electricity from it. Using light as an energy source the team created a photo-catalytic fuel cell that used a titanium dioxide nanotube-array anode and a cathode based on platinum. The light energy degrades the organic material found in the wastewater and in the process generates electrons which pass through the cathode converting it into electricity. The team has published its results on Water Science & Technology.