Sonifying data, brain-to-text system, fuzzballs and financial industry’s most wanted hacker

The ‘world’s largest IT project’ — a system with the power of one hundred million home computers — may help to unravel many of the mysteries of our universe: how it began, how it developed and whether humanity is alone in the cosmos. – See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/features/masters-of-the-universe#.dpuf


Author, essayist, and historian Stella Ghervas ― a visiting scholar at Harvard’s Center for European Studies ― was born in Moldova; studied in Russia, Romania, and Switzerland; and until recently taught in France.

Her transnational background, along with a mastery of six languages, makes Ghervas a living embodiment of one of her favorite ideas: that Europe is more expansive than most of us think. It’s a region, she said, that historically, culturally, and geographically includes not just the Western Europe of Britain, France, and Germany, but also Russia and a multitude of nations between the Baltic and the Black Sea. Of European history, she said, “We have to have this enlarged understanding.”

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/05/europes-calmer-side/


Nicky Ashwell has become the first UK user to receive what the makers call “the world’s most lifelike hand” — the Stepper bebionic small. The myoelectric device uses miniaturized components designed to provide true-to-life movements, mimicking the functions of a real hand.

http://www.kurzweilai.net/a-lifelike-bionic-hand


German and U.S. researchers have decoded natural continuously spoken speech from brain waves and transformed it into text — a step toward communication with computers or humans by thought alone.

http://www.kurzweilai.net/brain-to-text-system-converts-speech-brainwave-patterns-to-text


Everyone knows about visualizing data, but few have heard of sonifying data. Nevertheless, sound has great potential for organizing, interpreting and sharing scientific knowledge. Sound can also be a powerful tool to learn more about culture and the natural world. – See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/06/15/chicago-blues-and-science-sound#.dpuf


China’s motive for reviving Pax Mongolica is clear. Its growth model, based largely on exporting cheap manufactured goods to developed countries, is running out of steam. Secular stagnation threatens the West, accompanied by rising protectionism sentiment. And, although Chinese leaders know that they must rebalance the economy from investment and exports to consumption, doing so risks causing serious domestic political problems for the ruling Communist party. Reorienting investments and exports toward Eurasia offers an alternative.
Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/china-russia-marriage-by-robert-skidelsky-2015-06#SCY1ZHSDGWrjW5vj.99


There’s a common notion that at the edge of every black hole lies a back door to the universe — an exit from reality into a new realm where fundamental laws of nature, like time, no longer behave the way that we understand them.

What happens once you cross this threshold is a long-standing mystery that the world’s leading scientists have been pondering for decades with little headway.

Now, a recent paper presented at a conference in Paris this week has proposed a solution by looking at black holes in a completely different way.

Taking a novel approach to this age-old problem, the theory proposes that there is no back door to the universe in the first place. Instead, black holes are impenetrable bodies, called fuzzballs.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-happens-if-you-touch-a-black-hole-2015-6#ixzz3dr3pivv7


Solar power now provides roughly 1% of the world’s electricity. It took 40 years to reach that milestone. But, as they say in tech, the first 1% is the hardest.

http://rameznaam.com/2015/06/18/solar-the-first-1-was-the-hardest/


“To create a tool that may be responsible since its inception for a billion dollars in damages, and still to evade arrest despite all that up to this point, is just amazing to me,” Jackson said. “Until he’s in custody, and he’s in custody somewhere where he’ll stay in custody, I don’t think we’ll see the last of it.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-06-18/the-hunt-for-the-financial-industry-s-most-wanted-hacker?Src=longreads


Twenty years ago this summer a single advertiser spent roughly $300-million trying to sell just one product. It was possibly the most expensive and most effective campaign since advertising was invented.

http://news.nationalpost.com/arts/robert-fulford-was-1995-the-year-the-future-broke


In many ways, Stratfor thinks the world of 10 years from now will be more dangerous place, with US power waning and other prominent countries experiencing a period of chaos and decline.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/stratfor-has-11-chilling-predictions-for-what-the-world-will-look-like-a-decade-from-now-2015-6?op=1#ixzz3dr6sE6rH


The group has spent over a decade trying to convince the world that it is a for-hire, cutting-edge intel firm with tentacles everywhere. Before their marketing campaign fooled Anonymous, it fooled wealthy clients; before it fooled clients, it hooked a couple of reporters. A breathless October 15, 2001, Barron’s cover story called Stratfor “a private quasi-CIA,” the evidence for which appears to be this quote from Stratfor chief George Friedman: “The CIA has to spend thousands of dollars a month to have an agent in, say, Teheran or Peshawar to monitor local newspapers or political developments that we can find on the Internet within a few hours.” In other words, they have Google. But Stratfor’s first big break had come in 1999 with a spate of glowing articles such as this January piece in Time, which reported Stratfor’s “striking” theory that the U.S. bombing of Iraq in December 1998 was “actually designed to mask a failed U.S.-backed coup.” That theory, like so much of Stratfor’s “intelligence,” was discredited long ago.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/02/stratfor-is-a-joke-and-so-is-wikileaks-for-taking-it-seriously/253681/


Scott knew that if he had a bigger operation—“a team of accomplices” was the way he put it to me—he could get cash from several tellers’ drawers and perhaps even get to the bank’s vault. The problem was that he had no criminal friends to turn to. There was no one he could trust to stay quiet about what he was doing—except for his own children. Maybe, he began to think, he should talk to Hayden and Abby about joining him.

http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/the-family-that-robs-banks-together

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