A few years ago scientists managed to wire a monkey’s brain to a robotic arm. The monkey learned to manipulate the arm simply by thinking. This year, John Donoghue at Brown University has managed to do the same – with a human. Here’s how the system works: a small chip, the 2mm x 2mm BrainGate, is surgically implanted on to the surface of the brain. Extending down into the cortex are hundred thin platinum tipped electrodes – each a millimeter long and only 90 microns at the base. These pick up the brain’s electrical signals which are then transmitted to a computer via a slender gold wires connected to each individual electrode. After implantation, the computer system needs to “learn” what the brain-generated electrical impulses mean. Nagel preformed predetermined movements in his mind: move arm left, lift hand, rotate wrist. Each movement generated a unique signal that could be recorded. After that, he was hooked to a joystick via a computer. The computer registered his now remembered thought patterns and moved the joystick accordingly – without any physical intervention whatsoever.This learning process can be slow and frustrating, but Nagel quickly learned to control the cursor and use it to perform basic tasks like opening programs and reading email. He started by thinking of making movements with a mouse, but now simply “thinks” of a cursor movement and his brain translates that desire in to electrical impulses that, via the computer, move the on screen cursor. His brain has assimilated the implant and controls it as if it’s party of the body – like a hand.Complications from the implanted electrode appear to be few as it has already worked in monkeys for over 1000 days. However, long term problems may yet arise, according to John Donahue, the systems developer.Other researchers have begun demonstrating less invasive methods of tapping brain waves such as external electrodes – with limited success, but Donoghue remains convinced implants will remain the best choice: “No other method gives you the power and clarity you need to transform this noisy signal into something that a patient can use.”As futurist and scientist, it’s hard not to see the explosive implications of this exciting technology. Now scientists are reading this cortex-generated electrical information, much like your first CD player read songs. Very soon they may be able to “write” information as well – just like a CD burner.People could actually be “programmed” or fed enormous quantities of information – possibly without even engaging higher level brain activity. This would change how we communicate – think directly at your friends instead of speaking, learn – in your sleep, remember perfectly – your memories could be stored “off line” on some external device. More importantly, it will affect how we interact with our environment.If all you need to do is think about something you want and it happens – exactly what Mr. Nagel is now doing, the only thing missing are the connections to the external world – already available with current technology. No more searching for that pesky remote – or anything else for that matter. Everything may just be a thought away – much sooner than even the most optimistic couch potato dreamed of.by Chuck Rahls, Copyright 2005 PhysOrg.com Our brain-computer interfacing technology uses music to make people happy Explore further Matthew Nagel, a C4 paralytic – from the neck down – has been playing pong, drawing circles and manipulating a computer with thoughts alone via the BrainGate. This technology promises to have profound changes on the lives of millions of paralyzed and handicapped individuals, but implications run much deeper and may one day affect us all.Imagine being able to control your environment simply by thinking – forget the remote control. It’s utopia for the die hard couch potato – everything’s just a thought away. Tens years ago, this technology was thought by many scientists to be impossible because of the complexity of the human brain. At 3lbs. it packs in an incredible 100 million neurons making it the most compact supercomputer on the planet. Thoughts are created by electrical impulses that when amplified, sound a lot like static. From this static arose literary masterpieces like War and Peace and culturally dubious drivel like Bevis and Butthead.Using MRI technology, scientists began to map brain activity. Unfortunately, it looked as if millions of neurons where involved in even the simplest actions making effective mapping and recording very complex. Hundreds of tiny implants (electrodes) embedded at different locations in the brain would be needed to “read” thoughts. Unfortunately, these implants only functioned for a short period and, because of their size, endangered the surrounding neurons.Work by Duke University’s researcher Miguel Nicolelis proved this to be wrong. He found that by sampling just a few neurons you could “read” what was going on inside the brain. Equally, he found better and more sensitive electrodes that were more tolerable as implants. These could be inserted without complications and left in place without long term damage to the cortex. Citation: Look ma, no hands! (2005, November 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2005-11-ma.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Citation: PaperTab goes on show as flexible paper-thin tablet (w/ video) (2013, January 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-01-revolutionary-paper-tablet-revealed-thin.html (Phys.org)—Call it the paper tablet. Or flexible e-paper touchscreen. Or an all in one computing experience made up of a cluster of papery, tablet screens, each behaving like an app. However you look at the PaperTab, it is difficult to avoid the word “revolutionary,” and the prototype was Tuesday’s talk at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. PaperTab is,a 10.7 inch, e-ink, flexible touchscreen display powered by an Intel Core i5 processor. The tablet looks and feels like a sheet of paper. Its “bendiness” delivers durability and also interactions, as by bending the sides, one can flip through pages. School of Computing professor Roel Vertegaal is working with Intel and Plastic Logic to develop a paper-thin, flexible computer tablet. The user can send a photo by tapping one PaperTab showing a draft e-mail with the other PaperTab showing the photo. The photo is then automatically attached to the draft e-mail. The email is sent either by placing the PaperTab in an out tray or by bending the top corner of the display, according to a PaperTab release.The concept extends to having numerous PaperTabs on a table with each tablet representing a single app—browser, e-mail, calculator—and in turn becoming one’s computer. The collaborative thinkers behind the PaperTab are a team at Canada’s Queen’s University who worked on it in collaboration with Intel Labs and Plastic Logic . The latter is a plastic electronics company founded by researchers at Cambridge University. Plastic Logic developed the plastic transistor technology in PaperTab. “Using several PaperTabs makes it much easier to work with multiple documents,” said Roel Vertegaal, Director of Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab.This is a prototype, nonetheless, with no word on when it might be brought to commercialization. Whether this might materialize in the form of a flexible tablet screen or a full-blown new computing paradigm is not certain. An Intel researcher, though, is fully optimistic: “Within five to ten years, most computers, from ultra-notebooks to tablets, will look and feel just like these sheets of printed color paper,” said Ryan Brotman, Research Scientist at Intel. Explore further © 2013 Phys.org Revolutionary new paper computer shows flexible future for smartphones, tablets (w/ video) When a PaperTab is placed outside of reaching distance it reverts to a thumbnail overview of a document, as one would see icons on a PC. Then, when picked up or touched, the PaperTab returns to a full screen page view. The concept of a PaperTab as not just a bendable screen but a device that promises a full computer experience becomes clear in the device’s position awareness of other PaperTabs. Multiple PaperTabs work with each other. Pushing two PaperTabs together results in an extended app across the two screens. A user can move pictures between screens. Tapping one tablet with content can send it to a waiting document in another. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Explore further © 2013 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Russians to deploy floating nuclear power plant (2013, July 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-07-russians-deploy-nuclear-power.html Lomonosov said that plans are underway to build a fleet of the floating platforms to provide cities and towns across Russia with electricity for general use and more specifically for heating homes and businesses. The Akademik Lomonosov will be capable of generating 70 MW of electricity—enough to power a city of 200,000 people. He noted also that such vessels could also be used to power desalination plants, providing 240,000 cubic meters of fresh water daily. Japan to replace nuclear plant with world’s largest wind farm Several countries, including the United States and China have considered building floating nuclear power plants but until now, no other known vessels have reached the construction phase. The advantages of a floating nuclear power station are obvious—electrical power could be brought to areas that are not currently being served by other means. Russia in particular has many far-flung outposts in its eastern region that have had difficulty flourishing due to the financial constraints of building power plants so far away from everything else.The Akademik Lomonosov will have two KLT-40 naval propulsion reactors modified to serve as power providers for an external location—with a displacement of 21,500 tons. Lomonosov noted that nuclear powered marine vessels have a proven safety record going back 50 years. Many nations now routinely deploy nuclear powered ships, submarines and even ice-breakers. He also stressed that the design of the vessel will be such that the platform will be capable of withstanding a tsunami or even a collision with land or a ship. The Akademik Lomonosov will not be able to power itself however, which means it will be towed to wherever it’s needed. The vessel will be operated by a crew of 69 people and will also conform to regulations set by the International Atomic Energy Agency. (Phys.org) —The general director of one of Russia’s largest shipbuilders, Aleksandr Voznesensky, has announced to reporters that a floating nuclear power plant is currently under construction at one of Russia’s ship yards. He added that it will likely be ready for use by 2016. The Russians are calling it a “floating power” station, abbreviated to PEB. The vessel has been given the name Akademik Lomonosov.
Explore further © 2015 Phys.org Inscriptions on the walls of the ritual bath. Credit: Shai Halevy, the Israel Antiquities Authority Citation: Construction project leads to discovery of ancient Jewish ritual bath with mysterious writing (2015, August 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-08-discovery-ancient-jewish-ritual-mysterious.html More information: via Discovery, BBC Israeli family discovers ancient treasure under living room (Phys.org)—A team of researchers has descended down into what archaeologists are calling an ancient Jewish ritual bath with mysterious writing on the walls—dating back perhaps 2000 years. The bath was found by antiquity officials checking out a site designated for a new nursery building. The bath was found when a hole was discovered in a construction site and a rock fell down into it and disappeared. Investigation revealed an underground room, with a stone staircase. What was most surprising was the writing on the walls, which appeared to be written in Aramaic. Alarmingly, the words began to fade as soon as air was let into the bath, causing the researchers to remove the wall and to put it in a climate controlled room where it could be preserved.The ritual bath consisted of a tub carved into the stone, an anteroom, benches and even a winepress. Initial impressions are that the bath dates from the time of the Second Temple—530BC to 70AD. In addition to the scrawled words there were painted pictures of palm trees, boats, plants and a menorah, which was surprising because it is believed that during the Second Temple, it was considered to be taboo to create pictures of them.The research team does not yet know what the messages say, but believe the words “served” and “Cohen” are among them—they do not know their purpose either, though they suspect they might be either religious messages, or simply graffiti. In any case, the finding is rare, very few examples of Aramaic inscriptions or texts have been found—some believe it was the language that Jesus spoke. The words in the bath appeared to have been made by smearing with mud or plaster, or in some cases, by carving them into the stone walls. The team notes that together the find represents are rarity because there were so many paintings and inscriptions all at one site. Experts are already at work attempting to decipher the texts and to find an explanation for them being put there in the first place. The Israel Antiquities Authority has also announced that once an examination of the artifacts is completed, everything found will be put on display for the public to come see and admire. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
The standard theory is, of course, a model that has been developed over the past half-century by physicists to describe how the universe works, and includes such things as the electromagnetic, strong and weak interactions, and also describes what are believed to be the particles that play a role in it all. To date, the theory lists 17 fundamental particles and has stood up against rigorous testing, but it still does not include explanations for what are considered to be some fundamental things.The researchers are quick to point out that they are not proposing any new physics. Instead, they have assembled what they believe are the most promising theories regarding several problems with the standard model and their possible solutions, and have put them together as an outline of sorts for research moving forward.The five theories targeted by the research team seek to answer four major questions and to correct a problem with another: What exactly is dark matter, what caused inflation to come about, why is a neutrino so light, and why is there more matter than antimatter? The new model also seeks to correct a theoretical problem regarding asymmetry in the strong force.The team has named their new model SMASH for “Standard Model Axion See-saw Higgs portal inflation.” The proposed particles are rho (to help explain inflation), the axion (to help explain dark matter) a color triplet fermion and three heavy right-handed neutrinos.It is still far too early to predict whether the model will be accepted by the physics community, but one thing it has in its favor is that the predictions it makes are clear, which means they can be tested and either proved or disproved. It should be noted that the theory does not include such things as the hierarchy problem or deal with the cosmological constant. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Credit: APS/Alan Stonebraker Journal information: Physical Review Letters (Phys.org)—A quartet of researchers has boldly proposed the addition of six new particles to the standard model to explain five enduring problems. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, Guillermo Ballesteros with Université Paris Saclay, Javier Redondo with Universidad de Zaragoza, Andreas Ringwald with Max-Planck-Institut für Physik and Carlos Tamarit with Durham University describe the six particles they would like to add and why. Multiple copies of the Standard Model could solve the hierarchy problem Citation: Group introduces six new particles to standard model to solve five enduring problems (2017, February 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-02-group-particles-standard-problems.html © 2017 Phys.org Explore further More information: Guillermo Ballesteros et al. Unifying Inflation with the Axion, Dark Matter, Baryogenesis, and the Seesaw Mechanism, Physical Review Letters (2017). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.071802ABSTRACTA minimal extension of the Standard Model (SM) providing a complete and consistent picture of particle physics and cosmology up to the Planck scale is presented. We add to the SM three right-handed SM-singlet neutrinos, a new vector-like color triplet fermion and a complex SM singlet scalar σ whose vacuum expectation value at ∼1011 GeV breaks lepton number and a Peccei-Quinn symmetry simultaneously. Primordial inflaton is produced by a combination of σ and the SM Higgs. Baryogenesis proceeds via thermal leptogenesis. At low energies, the model reduces to the SM, augmented by seesaw-generated neutrino masses, plus the axion, which solves the strong CP problem and accounts for the dark matter in the Universe. The model can be probed decisively by the next generation of cosmic microwave background and axion dark matter experiments.
The 4th Annual Indian Comics Convention organized by Comic Con India received a stupendous response from fans from across all age groups. The 3 day fest took place at Capital’s Thyagraj Stadium (INA). Spread across 50000 Sq foot of area, this year the comics convention was divided into 3 zones – experience zone, exhibitor zone and the food court.Some of the best international authors and artists came especially for this 3 day convention. Mark Waid, an Eisner Award-winning American comic book writer, known for his work on Marvel Comics’ Captain America; Gabriel Bá, a Brazilian comic book artist best known for his work on The Umbrella Academy and Casanova; David Lloyd, a British comics artist, best known as the illustrator of the story V for Vendetta; John Steele Layman, an American comic book writer and Fábio Moon, a Brazilian comic book artist best known for his work on Casanova; were seen attending and taking special sessions at 4th Comic Con India. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘We kick started our 4th year in a big way by revamping our entire event, adding more exhibitors and content. With the introduction of nominal ticketing, we tried to provide a lot many more amenities to visitors and our participants. We are extremely happy with the kind of response we have received at the 4th Annual Indian Comics Convention from fans, artists, writers and participants all together. There was so much love for comics and pop-culture in the air!’ shared Jatin Varma, Founder, Comic Con India. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixVarma further added, ‘We saw everyone having a wonderful time taking part in the variety of interactive sessions taken by our Indian and International guests. Fans from all age groups eagerly flocked at the different Comics/Graphic Novels’ stalls. Comics Merchandise including Apparel, Toys-Action Figures, Mugs, Posters were a huge hit amongst fans.’For the first time, Comic Con India Awards took place at the convention itself. 3rd CCI Awards honoured the the work of the professionals of India’s Comics Industry, with nominations in 8 categories. The creator of Chacha Chaudhary, Pran Kumar Sharma was accorded with Lifetime Achievement Award and Tinkle Magazine was honoured with a Special Award, for its over 30 years of contribution to Indian comics and graphic arts. Increasing the presence of international content at this convention was a highlight. There were international exhibitors like 2000AD, british comics publisher best known for its Judge Dredd series; Toynk.com; Marvel & Image Comics By Diamond Book Distributors; Knockabout; Fanfare; Comixology, World’s largest digital platform for comics bringing international content from all across the globe.The three day fest saw a special session with Mohammad Faisal, The Creator of the insanely popular comic strip, Garbage Bin. There was interactive session with Campfire on How to Write Comics, where they shared some very interesting ideas with the fans and budding writers. There was also a session by Artist Harsho Mohan Chattoraj.This year’s convention saw over 10 book launches. The most awaited Aghori Issue 9 and 10 got launched by Holy Cow Entertainment and Campfire launched World War 1 and Magical Animals. Zombie Rising part 2, Blind Spot, Pulp Quarterly 2 – The Journal of Indian Comics and Stupid Guy Goes BACK To India were amongst the other interesting launches at the convention.
Last week, I reviewed Ben Okri’s The Age of Magic, and found myself engrossed in a verbal dreamscape both endearing and intriguing. At no point, even when I was reading the particular passage that earned Okri the 2014 Bad Sex Award – the 20th shelled out by Literary Review, one of Britain’s most prestigious publications – was I repulsed. Intrigued yes, quirked by the manner in which Mistletoe’s nipple is compared with a switch that makes her ‘come alight.’ Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’So, Literary Review’s decision to award Okri this year’s ‘Bad Sex Award’ bothered me, didn’t sting me much, but I have to admit it got me thinking. Was Okri’s a talentless scrambling for words and was the sex, or the description of it, inane and not ‘required’, ‘unnecessary’? According to Literary Review’s website, “The Bad Sex Awards were inaugurated in 1993 in order to draw attention to, and hopefully discourage, poorly written, redundant or crude passages of a sexual nature in fiction. The intention is not to humiliate.” Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixDespite the byte-sized disclaimer at the end, just enough sanctimonious smugness that hangs in the air. Given that some of my favourite contemporary writers hail from Britain – Julian Barnes, Hilary Mantel, Will Self, and Okri as well, who has been intimately associated with London’s literary miscegenation for over two decades now – this priggishness about what is and isn’t ‘bad sex’ looks not only atavistic, but, in fact, equally redundant. Moreover, the stretch of logic that brackets E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey with Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Haruki Murakami’s Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki together, is, well, for want of a better expression, slightly questionable itself! Between The Covers is a weekly column on reading up and rating down
Kolkata: The body of a youth from Behala was found in a mysterious condition beside railway tracks at Contai in East Midnapore.Police said the victim Rahul Shaw (19) was a resident of Behala.The investigating officers came to know from his family members that he had left his home in December to join a a private company in Bolpur.He always used to be in touch with his family members back in Kolkata over phone. It was on April 5 since when his family members lost contact with him. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThey received a call from one of his friends. He told his family members that the victim had somehow lost his mobile phone so they have to call on his cell phone if they had to speak to Rahul.On April 6, his family members were told that he was no more working at Bolpur and had shifted to Rampurhat. So, it was not possible to give the phone to Rahul to speak to his family members.Again on April 8, when the victim’s family members called on his friend’s mobile phone to speak to him, they were told that Rahul had left for Kolkata. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedHis family members initiated a search for Rahul as he didn’t return on the next day. They lodged a complaint with the police and also went to Rampurhat. It was on Tuesday when they received a call from the police who asked them to identify the body of Rahul from a photograph.In the photograph, the body was found lying beside the railway tracks. They came to know that the body was found beside railway tracks near Contai.Police came to know that there was a leave application found in his pocket and the police are trying to ascertain that why he had written the application. The victim’s family members alleged that he was purposely thrown off a train.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court will later on Thursday hear a West Bengal State Election Commission’s (SEC) plea challenging a Calcutta High Court order to accept nominations papers filed electronically for the May 14 Panchayat polls. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it would hear the petition at 2 p.m. The SEC had moved the top court on Wednesday challenging the high court order contending that it would cause “an irreparable loss and injury” if the order was not stayed.The high court had on May 8, directed the State Election Commission to accept e-nominations papers filed by the candidate within the stipulated time.
Japanese forecasters had warned the 6.6 magnitude earthquake could cause a tsunami as high as one metre (three feet) affecting several islands in the Okinawa chain, but lifted the alert around an hour later, with no abnormal waves recorded.No damage was reported in Japan, but a four-storey apartment building in New Taipei City caught fire after an electrical box outside the block exploded in the quake. A 65-year-old man who lived in the building “showed no signs of life” at the scene, the fire service said. Another 18-year-old resident remains in hospital with smoke inhalation, but he is not in a serious condition, the fire service said. Also Read – Pro-Govt supporters rally as Hong Kong’s divisions deepenResidents and office workers were evacuated from a building in central Taipei because of a feared gas leak and vehicles in a nearby multi-storey carpark were overturned, but no one was injured.In Japan, local authorities urged people to move away from the coast and seek higher ground, in a drill that has become fairly regular in a country prone to powerful earthquakes and occasional devastating tsunamis.“We are issuing warnings via the radio,” Satoshi Shimoji of the Miyako City government told NHK after the alert was issued. “We want residents to get as far as possible from the sea,” he said. Also Read – Pak Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesmanBoats were seen sailing out to sea — common practice when a tsunami warning is issued because away from the coast a tsunami is little different from a swell.However, an hour after the quake, the Japan Meteorological Agency cancelled the warning.The US Geological Survey said the 6.6 magnitude quake, which Japanese authorities had originally put at 6.8, struck 71 kilometres east of Hualien, Taiwan at 0143 GMT.In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters officials were still collecting information, but that the quake did not appear to have done serious damage. Japan sits at the confluence of four of the earth’s tectonic plates and records more than 20 percent of the planet’s most powerful earthquakes every year.Strict building codes and a long familiarity with the dangers mean quakes that might cause devastation in other parts of the world are frequently uneventful in Japan.However, some disasters have proven exceptionally deadly, and more than 18,000 people were killed by a huge tsunami that smashed into the northeast coast in 2011 after a huge 9.0 magnitude earthquake.