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November 13th, 2018 at 11:56 am

How Bill Gates aims to save $233 billion by reinventing the toulet

Gates Foundation spent $200 million funding toilet research

LIXIL is among companies drawn to potential $6 billion market

Bill Gates thinks toilets are a serious business, and he’s betting big that a reinvention of this most essential of conveniences can save a half million lives and deliver $200 billion-plus in savings.

The billionaire philanthropist, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spent $200 million over seven years funding sanitation research, showcased some 20 novel toilet and sludge-processing designs that eliminate harmful pathogens and convert bodily waste into clean water and fertilizer.

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November 13th, 2018 at 11:26 am

Scientists develop liquid fuel that can store the Sun’s energy for up to 18 years

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No matter how abundant or renewable, solar power has a thorn in its side. There is still no cheap and efficient long-term storage for the energy that it generates.

The solar industry has been snagged on this branch for a while, but in the past year alone, a series of four papers has ushered in an intriguing new solution.

Scientists in Sweden have developed a specialised fluid, called a solar thermal fuel, that can store energy from the sun for well over a decade.

“A solar thermal fuel is like a rechargeable battery, but instead of electricity, you put sunlight in and get heat out, triggered on demand,” Jeffrey Grossman, an engineer works with these materials at MIT explained to NBC News.

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November 12th, 2018 at 12:37 pm

A growing number of people are getting rich selling T-shirts online – with no overhead, no inventory, and no investment

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Nearly every night after dinner for eight straight months, Glen Zubia brewed a cup of coffee, turned on heavy metal music, and made T-shirts.

On Mondays he did research, scouring the Internet for funny slogans, like the one where Santa Claus asks, “Where My Ho’s At?”

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays he designed in Adobe Illustrator. On Thursdays he saved his creations in the correct image format—a process that takes longer than you’d think—and on Fridays and Saturdays he uploaded them to Amazon.

Then, sending up a prayer that they’d sell, he started all over again.

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November 12th, 2018 at 10:41 am

Artificial Intelligence is not a technology

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People have long dreamed of the idea of machines having the intelligence and capabilities of humans. From the early Greek myths of Hephaestus and his automatons to the Golem of Eastern European Jewish tradition to well over a hundred years of science fiction stories, novels and movies, our human imaginations have envisioned what it would be like to have sentient, intelligent, human-like machines co-exist with us. In 1920 Karel Čapek’s play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) first coined the word “robot” and gave us a name to give to the creations of our imaginations. In many ways, the quest for the intelligent machine lead to the development of the modern computer. Ideas by Alan Turing not only formulated the basis of programmable machines, but also the core of the concepts of artificial intelligence, with the namesake Turing Test providing a means for evaluating intelligent machines.

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November 11th, 2018 at 7:05 pm

Inside the ‘World Cup of E-sports’

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The League of Legends World Championship Finals in Incheon, South Korea, on Nov. 3.

Two squads battled it out at a 50,000-seat stadium in the South Korean city of Incheon. Photography by Jean Chung

This weekend, legends were created in South Korea, the birthplace of esports.

Watched by tens of millions of people each year, the world championship finals of League of Legends this year featured two squads battling it out at a 50,000-seat stadium in the South Korean city of Incheon.

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November 11th, 2018 at 6:40 pm

Can mushrooms be the platform we build the future on?

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Ecovative thinks it can use mycelia, the hair-like network of cells that grows in mushrooms, to help build everything from lab-grown meat to 3D-printed organs to biofabricated leather.

Can mushrooms be the platform we build the future on?

When the first bioreactor-grown “clean meat” shows up in restaurants–perhaps by the end of this year–it’s likely to come in the form of ground meat rather than a fully formed chicken wings or sirloin steak. While it’s possible to grow animal cells in a factory, it’s harder to grow full animal parts. One solution may come from fungi: Mycelia, the hair-like network of cells that grows in mushrooms, can create a scaffold to grow a realistic cut of meat.

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November 10th, 2018 at 11:02 am

China plans to launch an ‘artificial moon’ to light up the night skies

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The night skies might soon have company: Chinese scientists are planning to launch an artificial moon into orbit by 2020 to illuminate city streets after dark.

Scientists are hoping to hang the man-made moon above the city of Chengdu, the capital of China’s southwestern Sichuan province, according to a report in Chinese state media. The imitation celestial body — essentially an illuminated satellite — will bear a reflective coating to cast sunlight back to Earth, where it will supplement streetlights at night.

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November 10th, 2018 at 10:28 am

Digital immortality: How your life’s data means a version of you could live forever

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Your family and friends will be able to interact with a digital “you” that doles out advice—even when you’re gone.

Hossein Rahnama knows a CEO of a major financial company who wants to live on after he’s dead, and Rahnama thinks he can help him do it.

Rahnama is creating a digital avatar for the CEO that they both hope could serve as a virtual “consultant” when the actual CEO is gone. Some future company executive deciding whether to accept an acquisition bid might pull out her cell phone, open a chat window, and pose the question to the late CEO. The digital avatar, created by an artificial-intelligence platform that analyzes personal data and correspondence, might detect that the CEO had a bad relationship with the acquiring company’s execs. “I’m not a fan of that company’s leadership,” the avatar might say, and the screen would go red to indicate disapproval.

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November 10th, 2018 at 10:10 am

AI is already changing the agriculture landscape – starting with strawberries

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Meet Agrobot, an autonomous robotic harvester that’s poised to revolutionize the agriculture industry. Agrobot works with the world’s leading farmers to automate berry harvesting through the power of artificial intelligence.

Agrobot uses deep learning to determine when to pick fruit at its ripest. Up to 24 robotic arms grip and cut the fruit from its stem to meet the farmer’s quality standards. Agrobot uses a 3D sensing scanner with short-range integrated color and infrared depth sensors to capture the details and identify when fruit is ready for the picking.

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November 9th, 2018 at 12:11 pm

‘Human brain’ supercomputer with 1 million processors switched on for first time

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The world’s largest neuromorphic supercomputer designed and built to work in the same way a human brain does has been fitted with its landmark one-millionth processor core and is being switched on for the first time.

The newly formed million-processor-core Spiking Neural Network Architecture (SpiNNaker) machine is capable of completing more than 200 million million actions per second, with each of its chips having 100 million moving parts.

To reach this point, it has taken £15million in funding, 20 years in conception and over 10 years in construction, with the initial build starting way back in 2006. The project was initially funded by the EPSRC and is now supported by the European Human Brain Project. It is being switched on for the first time on Friday, 2 November.

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