The Apocalypticon ~ Trump’s attacks, hate groups heavily-armed Americans, hackers, blood, blockchain, no Huawei threat, sickness


Relentless attacks by Trump on FBI, and staggering Russian contacts — Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe condemned what he called the “relentless attack” that President Trump has waged against the FBI even as it continues scrutinising whether Americans in Trump’s campaign may have conspired with the Russians who attacked the 2016 election.
Trump wants to cancel Californian train — The Trump administration says it intends to cancel a $929 million federal grant for California’s high-speed rail project. The administration also wants to reclaim another $2.5 billion in federal funds already spent by California on the project. [Can’t think what they want that money for …]
US hate groups continue rise — For the fourth year in a row, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organisation that tracks hate groups, reports that hate and domestic extremism are rising in an unabated trend. The centre found a 30% increase in US hate groups over the past four years and a 7% increase in hate groups in 2018 alone, according to the centre’s annual Year in Hate and Extremism report.
A US Coast Guard lieutenant spent hours on end planning a wide-scale domestic terrorist attack — He even logged in at his work computer on the job at headquarters to study the manifestos and heinous paths of mass shooters, prosecutors say. He researched how to carry out sniper attacks, they contend, and whether rifle scopes were illegal. And all the while, investigators assert, he was amassing a cache of weapons as he ruminated about attacks on politicians and journalists.
Heavily-armed US mercenaries found in Haiti — We know their names, and where they were. But no one has given a public explanation for what five former elite US service members were doing in Haiti, and why they were driving without license plates, carrying an assortment of automatic rifles, drones and other gear.
Microsoft workers protest at having to build weapons —Microsoft workers are calling on the giant tech company to cancel its nearly $480 million US Army contract, saying the deal has “crossed the line” into weapons development by Microsoft for the first time. They say the use of the company’s HoloLens augmented reality technology under the contract “is designed to help people kill.”
Iranian and Chinese hackers step up attacks on the US — Businesses and government agencies in the United States have been targeted in aggressive attacks by Iranian and Chinese hackers who security experts believe have been energized by President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal last year and his trade conflicts with China.
Rich people who want your blood —The Food and Drug Administration is officially not a fan of Elizabeth Báthory. On Tuesday, the agency sent out an advisory warning people to avoid clinics and companies that promise to rejuvenate health with infusions of blood plasma taken from young people. Among other things, they noted, there’s no proof these treatments do anything at all, let alone that they reverse the sands of time.

Huawei no threat to UK, Germany — Despite persistent US allegations of Chinese state spying, Britain said it is able to manage the security risks of using Huawei telecom equipments and has not seen any evidence of malicious activity by the company, a senior official said on Wednesday. Asked later whether Washington had presented Britain with any evidence to support its allegations, he told reporters: “I would be obliged to report if there was evidence of malevolence […] by Huawei. And we’re yet to have to do that. So I hope that covers it.” Germany has also found no evidence.
‘Unhackable Blockchain’ is getting hacked — Early last month, the security team at Coinbase noticed something strange going on in Ethereum Classic, one of the cryptocurrencies people can buy and sell using Coinbase’s popular exchange platform. Its blockchain, the history of all its transactions, was under attack. An attacker had somehow gained control of more than half of the network’s computing power and was using it to rewrite the transaction history.

Sickness — Hundreds have fallen ill in a US Salmonella outbreak tied to raw turkey, with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reporting more than 60 new cases in 24 states since its last report in December.
Philippine measles outbreak linked to anti-vexers — Thousands of people have been infected in a measles outbreak that has been linked to the deaths of 136 people, according to the Philippine health secretary. The Associated Press reported that most of those who died were young children, with roughly half between the ages of 1 and 4. The US Pacific Northwest is also facing an ongoing measles outbreak.

Futurology ~ LIGO upgrade, new Neptune moon, Mars water, Earth’s atmosphere, Malawi fish proliferation, new neural connection, macular therapy, self-healing elastic, light to clean water


LIGO to get powerful upgrade — The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) facilities, residing in Washington and Louisiana, will be upgraded via grants from the US National Science Foundation, UK Research and Innovation and the Australian Research Council to provide stronger, more frequent detections and decreasing noise. The $34 million upgrade will takeLIGO from its crusty old 2015 Advanced LIGO phase to Advanced LIGO Plus, and greatly increase the number of events LIGO will detect.
~ I’d just call it the Super Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory:” SLIGO.

New moon for Neptune —Hippocamp is a small Neptunian moon that has gone undetected until now. New research published in Nature describes a newly detected moon in orbit around Neptune. Hippocamp is the ice giant’s seventh known inner moon and fourteenth moon in total. When NASA’s Vo
yager 2 spacecraft zoomed past Neptune in 1989, it imaged six previously unknown inner moons, but the probe missed at least one during its brief visit some 30 years ago, as this new research shows.
~ ‘Moon’ might be a little generous (see the image above left).

Mars water channels — Dramatic dried-up river channels over a mile wide and 198.12m deep have been detected on Mars, showcasing how the Red Planet once hosted liquid water at its surface.
~ But where were the Mars bars?

Earth’s atmosphere extends further than thought — Contrary to general belief that Earth’s atmosphere stops a bit over 100 kms (62 miles) from the surface, a new study based on observations made over two decades ago by the joint US-European Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) satellite shows it actually extends as far as 630,000 kms (391,000 miles) or 50 times the Earth’s diameter. This makes the Moon a very high altitude aircraft.
~ It just never comes in to land, which is probably a good thing.

Malawi lake where evolution has gone crazy — Cichlid fish are found all over the world, mainly in Africa and Latin America, but they’re especially abundant in Lake Malawi, where they’ve diverged into at least 850 species. That’s more species of fish than can be found in all of the freshwater bodies of Europe combined.
~ The impetus is female-run beauty contests. No, really!

Scientists think they’ve identified a previously unknown form of neural communication — It self-propagates across brain tissue, and can leap wirelessly from neurons in one section of brain tissue to another, even if they’ve been surgically severed. The discovery offers some radical new insights about the way neurons might be talking to one another, via a mysterious process unrelated to conventionally understood mechanisms, such as synaptic transmission, axonal transport, and gap junction connections.
~ Telepathy, anyone?

Gene therapy for macular degeneration — An 80-year-old woman from the United Kingdom is the first patient to undergo gene therapy to treat age-related macular degeneration – the most common cause of sight loss in the world. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness for Americans over the age of 65.
~ Unfortunately it only halts the degeneration – there’s no regeneration.

Elastic polymers that heal themselves — Scientists in Japan have found a method to produce a self-healing material that does not require external stimuli to trigger its healing properties.
~ I wonder if the healing efficiency degrades over time, as with humans. 

Taking a morning stroll can do wonders for your blood pressure — This according to a study out Wednesday, especially if you’re not moving around much to begin with. The research found that sedentary older adults who walked in the morning for 30 minutes experienced a noticeable drop in blood pressure. And women who also took breaks from sitting throughout the day experienced an even larger drop.
~ Makes sense. Some people are incredibly resistant to doing anything, though. 

Purifying water with light — Scientists in China have developed an energy-efficient technique for purifying water using graphitic carbon nitride sheets. The researchers demonstrated that their photocatalyst killed more than 99.9999% of bacteria in contaminated water.
~ And it works in just 20 minutes.

The Apocalypticon ~ That wall, idiots and sticks, measles, Spanish, 3D gun, data wars, threats to life, processed food, greener China


The wall, and blocks — Under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, the president of the US can declare an emergency for just about anything. As President Trump has considered using that authority to circumvent Congress and build a wall along the Southern border, that near-unlimited presidential power has gotten a lot of attention. Lots of presidents have used emergency powers in the past for, you know, emergencies. Trump’s declaration is categorically different, since the president is using his power to fund a border wall far bigger and more expensive than Congress was willing to pay for. [This is what you get for giving a big idiot a big stick.]
More bricks in the wall — Two women who were detained and asked to show identification after speaking Spanish in a convenience store in Montana are suing US Customs and Border Protection, saying the CBP agent violated their constitutional rights when he detained them and asked to see their identification.  [This is what you get for giving a little idiot any kind of stick.]
Talking about idiots and sticks — Amid a measles outbreak in Washington state that officials have confirmed has spread to at least 51 people and suspect to have spread to over a dozen others, hundreds of people showed up to a rally on Friday to demand the right to keep exposing their kids to the possibility of contracting easily prevented, potentially fatal illnesses.
3D gun printer had a hit-list of lawmakers — A Dallas man was sentenced to eight years in prison on Wednesday after the authorities caught him with a partially 3-D-printed rifle and what federal prosecutors described as a hit list of lawmakers in his backpack.
Fox News doesn’t want anti-Nazi content on its channel — Fox News has refused to air an ad for the short documentary film A Night at the Garden.
The 7-minute movie, which was recently nominated for an Academy Award, explores the terrifying day on February 20, 1939 when thousands of American Nazis held a rally at Madison Square Garden in New York. [That sick feeling when you see your grandfather giving a Sieg Heil … no, not me, I’m not American.]
Sexual assaults still rising at US military academies — Congress is keeping watch and the military has introduced prevention programs. Yet sexual assaults at military service academies keep rising. The leaders of those academies got an earful when they testified before a House Armed Services subcommittee.

Threats to life: US teens not sleeping or exercising — That is the unhealthy lifestyle of nearly all US high school students, new research finds.
Nanoparticals cause blood vessel leaks — A research group in Singapore has found that nanoparticles can cause blood vessels to become ‘leaky,’ which could help cancer spread in the body.
Yes, processed food shortens lives — A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine tracked diet and health over eight years in more than 44,000 French men and women. Their average age was 58 at the start. About 29% of their energy intake was ultraprocessed foods including instant noodles, soups, breakfast cereals, energy bars and drinks, chicken nuggets and many other ready-made meals and packaged snacks. They discovered an increase in early death.
Post-surgery more lethal than HIVm tuberculosis and malaria combined — About 4.2 million people worldwide die every year within 30 days of surgery. That’s more than from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

Data wars — Older satnavs and such devices won’t be able to use America’s Global Positioning System properly after April 6 unless they’ve been suitably updated or designed to handle a looming epoch rollover.
Photo-sharing service 500px announced it was the victim of a hack back in July 2018 — Personal data was exposed for all the roughly 14.8 million accounts that existed at the time.
Swiss invites hackers to sort eVoting — The Swiss government is offering bug bounties of up to CHF 50,000 (around $50,000) to anyone who can expose vulnerabilities in its internet-based e-voting system in a test later this month.

In good news — India and China are actually managing to get [literally] greener. I know, surprising, right?

Futurology ~ Universal origin, Arctic crater, new magnet, important obscure car, smart sneakers, connection cutting, cow Tinder, Planetary Health Plate, new Sauropod


The Primula debuted the now nearly ubiquitous transverse front engine/front wheel drive design

Origin of the Universe — NASA has announced it will create a new telescope mission, the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer. Luckily we can call it SPHEREx for short. It’ll look at how our universe has changed, and how common the ingredients of life are in the Milky Way.
~ Maps it.

Another Arctic crater, 35kms across — NASA glaciologists used topographical maps, satellite images, and radar scans to analyse an area of the Arctic and found a flat, bowl-shaped depression in the bedrock. This was surrounded by an elevated edge and characteristic central peaks, which form on the crater floor after an impact. The crater has eroded significantly over time, causing the team to estimate it was created somewhere between a hundred thousand years and a hundred million years ago.
~ Those big white bits of Earth must be easier to aim at. 

A new kind of magnet — It has been theorised for decades, and now may have been experimentally proven to exist. It could eventually lead to better data storage devices. In a normal magnet, the magnetic moments of individual grains align with each other to generate a magnetic field. In contrast, in the new “singlet-based” magnet, magnetic moments are temporary in nature, popping in and out of existence.
~ I like singlets, especially in this weather, but they singularly fail to make me more of an attractant. 

The most important car you’ve never heard of — According to Gizmodo, the Autobianchi Primula (main picture, above) is perhaps the most technically influential car ever, because the fundamental theory and design of that car dictated the template that most modern cars use today. Fiat built almost 75,000 Primulas between 1964 and 1970.
~ And now, I have heard of it. But to me it looks rather distressingly like an Austin 1100. 

Smart sneakers not dumb — The right shoe of every pair of UnderArmour HOVR shoes contains a chip that connects with the Map My Run app (also owned by Under Armour). With it, you can keep track of metrics like distance, pace, splits, cadence, and stride length.
~ You know you want ‘personal gait coaching’!

Cutting connection — Internet entrepreneur Arianna Huffington sees a bright future for a new kind of technology — the kind that helps individuals disconnect from the damage done by the internet’s first generation. And it can’t come soon enough, she says, as the next generation of technology may pose an ever greater threat to our lives and jobs.
~ So the next big thing in tech might be tech that lets us disconnect from tech …

Tinder for cows — UK farming start-up Hectare has launched its own equivalent for livestock. It’s called ‘Tudder‘. The app features data profiles of animals from 42,000 UK farms in an effort to help farmers find the perfect breeding partner for their cattle.
~ Cud-dle time.

The planetary health plate — This is a diet put together by scientists as a general guide for how to feed a projected 10 billion humans in 2050 while also keeping the planet from keeling over. It consists largely of vegetables and whole grains.
~ This has pretty much been my diet for the last 30 years. What are you doing? 

‘New’ dinosaur — Living 140 million years ago in the early Lower Cretaceous, the newly discovered herbivore Bajadasaurus pronuspinax had a thing for growing spikes. It was part of the Sauropod family, but looked a little like a small Brontosaurus crossed with a porcupine.
~ OK, then. 

The Apocalypticon ~ New Cold War, data pain, the cold, rich kids, people run-out, Earth eating, British Co2


New Cold War! It’s official: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the US will withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia, a landmark agreement first signed in 1987 that helped protect the world from nuclear war. [But hey, it’s going to make some very rich people very much richer. Yay for them.]
Russia’s defence minister has already ordered work to begin on new land-based intermediate range missiles, to be ready within two years.

NASA created a visualisation of the Polar Vortex

Talking about the cold — Rising temperatures in the Himalayas, home to most of the world’s tallest mountains, will melt at least one-third of the region’s glaciers by the end of the century (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) even if the world’s most ambitious climate change targets are met, according to a report. If those goals are not achieved, and global warming and greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rates, the Himalayas could lose two-thirds of its glaciers by 2100, according to the report.
Polar vortex — It was cold in the Continental US. Colder than Alaska, Mars (technically), and even parts of Antarctica, which isn’t so surprising because it’s presently summer in Antarctica, but sounds wild nonetheless.
A new gif by NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on the Aqua satellite offers a visual depiction of the dramatic and deadly cold snap, demonstrating temperatures plummeting to -40C.
Global warming could temporarily hit 1.5C above pre-industrial levels for the first time between now and 2023, according to a long-term forecast by the British Met Office.

Painful data — If you’ve experienced terrible pain after negative experiences online, you’re not alone. New research from Microsoft suggests that such agony is widespread, with over a third of global internet users reporting “moderate or severe pain” from online experiences, including 5% of survey respondents who said they suffered “unbearable pain.”
Crypto-pain — Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX says it cannot repay most of US$262 million in client holdings after its founder Gerald Cotten, the only person who knew the passwords to its “cold storage,” unexpectedly died in India in December 2018. [OK, I’m aware I shouldn’t find that funny.]
House Democrats tell Ajit Pai to stop screwing over the public — The US House Commerce Committee is “reassuming its traditional role of oversight to ensure the agency is acting in the best interest of the public and consistent with its legislative authority,” Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) said.
FBI wants your DNA — There are plenty of reasons to be wary of at-home DNA testing, particularly if you’re concerned about genetic privacy.
That’s especially true now that it’s come to light that FamilyTreeDNA, one of the largest private genetic testing companies, is cooperating with the FBI to give its agents access to its genealogy database.
German curbs Facebook — Facebook has been ordered to curb its data collection practices in Germany after a landmark ruling that the world’s largest social network abused its market dominance to gather information about users without their consent.
AI hears your anger in 1.2 seconds — MIT Media Lab spinoff Affectiva’s neural network, SoundNet, can classify anger from audio data in as little as 1.2 seconds regardless of the speaker’s language — just over the time it takes for humans to perceive anger.
Aussie cop used police databases for Tinder trawls — An ex-cop in Western Australia has been gaoled for six months for using police databases to snoop on the records of dozens of women he’d encountered on dating sites such as Tinder and PlentyOfFish.
Russian government accessing corporate data — A Dutch security researcher found credentials for the Russian government’s backdoor account for accessing servers of businesses operating in Russia.
Huawei admits security issues — In a remarkable piece of honest self assessment, Huawei has produced a letter to a UK House of Commons committee member in response to security concerns raised by the UK Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) in its annual report, a body that includes Huawei, UK operators and UK government officials.

Rich kids in school cheating with their Apple Watches — There is one demographic that has embraced the Apple Watch with open arms: tech-savvy, upper middle-class teens and tweens. The Watch is a convenient workaround for classroom cell-phone bans; it can be used for everything from texting to cheating on tests. [That’s progress …]

Billions more people … or not — By 2050 there will be 9 billion carbon-burning, plastic-polluting, calorie-consuming people on the planet. By 2100, that number will balloon to 11 billion, pushing society into a Soylent Green scenario. Such dire population predictions aren’t the stuff of sci-fi; those numbers come from one of the most trusted world authorities, the United Nations. But what if they’re wrong? Not by a rounding error, either. By billions.
Eating like you’re going to save the Earth — That’s what Brian Kahn tried for Gizmodo. 
French government pays out to Holocaust survivors — Around three-quarters of a century after the Holocaust ended with the extermination of at least six million Jews, some survivors, as well as victims’ families and estates, are receiving reparations from France, in acknowledgment of the government’s role in deporting them to Nazi death camps via French trains.

Any good news? A little: the UK’s CO2 emissions peaked in the year 1973 and have declined by around 38% since 1990, faster than any other major developed country. 

Futurology ~ Galaxy hidden, Mars water wells, light-based 3D prints, online kidney stones, better weather, body heat power, ancient dino feather


A new way to harvest electricity from body heat could inspire new wearable devices that never need to be plugged in

Hidden galaxy discovered next door — While inspecting a known globular cluster, a team of astronomers began to notice that some of its stars didn’t seem to belong. Investigating further, they realised the anomalous stars were part of a nearby galaxy previously unknown to us.
~ OK, it’s a previously unknown dwarf spheroidal galaxy.

Mars could support wells — A science paper available for download [pdf] cites evidence from about two dozen deep impact craters located from the equator to 37 degrees north latitude that Mars has a ground ice table at an elevation that also corresponds to other shoreline features. This suggests a deep groundwater water table (as ice), though it would be almost entirely underground.
~ Bet that tastes just delicious. 

Light-based 3D printer — A research team from the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has created a printer that shines light onto specific spots in a rotating resin which solidifies when exposed to a certain light level. This forms the entire item all in one go, rather that forming items by laying down one layer of material at a time, like most 3D printers.
~ Prints take from from 30 seconds to a few minutes, compared to hours.

Hydrogel gets stronger under stress — A research group in Japan has found a method to develop stronger, longer-lasting materials using a strategy inspired by the process responsible for muscle growth. The team led by Professor Gong Jian Ping of Hokkaido University, Japan, developed what they call double-network hydrogels made from 85% water and two types of polymer networks—one rigid and brittle, the other soft and stretchable, mimicking the way muscle strengthens as it’s worked.
~ So beware when future robots start working out. 

Online service predicts kidney stones — A calculator devised by researchers called the Recurrence Of Kidney Stone (ROKS) model was originally developed and released to the public by the Mayo Clinic in 2014, as both an online tool and smartphone app. But the original version could only predict someone’s likelihood of getting a second stone following their first episode.
Now the researchers have detailed the creation of an upgraded ROKS capable of predicting later episodes that need medical care no matter how many stones someone has already had.
~ Start me up …

A modern five-day forecast is as accurate as a one-day forecast was in 1980 — Over the past few decades, scientists have gotten significantly, even staggeringly, better at predicting the weather. Modern 72-hour predictions of hurricane tracks are more accurate than 24-hour forecasts were 40 years ago.

Body heat power — Researchers from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, have developed a new method of harvesting electricity from body heat to power wearable devices. The new, wearable thermoelectric generator is sourced from non-toxic and non-allergenic substances, making it a viable candidate for wearable technology. The substrate on which the generator is built is plain old cotton fabric.
~ Well, pants to that. 

Dinosaur feather — Using advanced imaging technology, scientists have shown that a fossilised feather uncovered in the 19th century likely didn’t belong to the bird-like Archaeopteryx as conventionally believed. The 150-million-year-old fossilized feather was uncovered in 1861 within Late Jurassic limestones from the Solnhofen area of southern Germany. The diversity of bird-like Jurassic dinosaurs is likely greater than we’ve appreciated, and there are likely more fossils of unknown species still waiting to be discovered.
~ Probably will cause quite a flap, then. 

The Apocalypticon ~ Around the world in hatey ways


Your world is going to shatter — So says Eric Hinton. But then, it always has and it always will. Trump shut down the US, and now there’s ‘untold morale problems’. This is what happens when giant ego strikes general workforce. The US may have added 304,000 jobs in January, but the shutdown boosted unemployment to 4%.
And people can’t afford to buy homes as their student dept is too high.
But hey, maybe a robot will call to ask how you’re doing?

The cold doesn’t help — Medical effects of extreme cold: why it hurts and how to stay safe. Meanwhile, it’s been toasty and humid in Auckland while Australia bakes under a record-breaking heat wave. [See-saw …]
Bangkok closing schools thanks to pollution — Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok has been dealing with shitty air quality all month, but now the incessant air pollution has forced the city to close schools for the rest of the week.

How about a war then? The US and Russia are stocking up on missiles and nukes for a different kind of war. [Coz you know, when you can’t govern, you’re messing up the planet but won’t admit it and there’s terrible pollution, why not go to war?]

Tech-wars — Yes, we have them too. A Russian government agency has reportedly been ‘strong-arming’ Apple.
A new website exposes the extent to which Apple cooperates with Chinese government internet censorship, blocking access to Western news sources, information about human rights and religious freedoms, and privacy-enhancing apps that would circumvent the country’s pervasive online surveillance regime. [To me, willingly colluding with a corrupt regime for profit is the same as being a corrupt regime.]
China’s so wonderful, right? A prominent Chinese human rights lawyer has been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison for ‘subverting state power‘. [In other words, for criticising state power.]
Want to cut Microsoft out of your life? It’s probably no longer possible.
Billions of records getting passed around — When hackers breached companies like Dropbox and LinkedIn in recent years, stealing 71 and 117 million passwords, respectively, they at least had the decency to exploit those stolen credentials in secret, or sell them for thousands of dollars on the dark web. Now, it seems, someone has cobbled together those breached databases and many more into a gargantuan, unprecedented collection of 2.2 billion unique usernames and passwords, and is freely distributing them on hacker forums and torrents. [And you think governments won’t partake?]
Government hacks in Japan — The Japanese government has approved a law amendment that will allow government workers to hack into people’s Internet of Things devices as part of an unprecedented survey of insecure IoT devices. The survey will be carried out by employees of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) under the supervision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
Costly older Tinder daters —Tinder is supposed to dish out $US17.25 million ($24 million) worth of cash and in-app features to users over the age of 29 who were required to pay extra for their subscription services.

Want to eat better? It may be be better for the planet, but what will it do to you? Luckily, the simple answer is that a healthy pattern of eating is one that encompasses a broad array of foods. [Duh!]

And the good news? Give your anger a name and you may be able to tame it. And I like this story, too: researchers used a grainy photograph of a toppled train combined with an eyewitness account to analyse the deadly earthquake that struck San Francisco over 110 years ago.

Futurology ~ Earth Moon rock, brains talking, plastic replacements, stethoscope AI, thin air chargers, Neanderthal revelations, lost Homo species


Scientists have converted brain patterns into intelligible speech.

Old Earth rock brought back from the Moon — A re-analysis of lunar materials collected during the Apollo 14 mission has resulted in a rather astonishing conclusion: One of the rocks brought back appears to contain a small chunk of Earth dating back some four billion years. Incredibly, it’s now amongst the oldest terrestrial rocks known to exist.
~ Ah, that Felsite Clasp!

Neuroscientists translate brainwaves into speech — Using brain-scanning technology, artificial intelligence, and speech synthesisers, scientists have converted brain patterns into intelligible verbal speech — an advance that could eventually give voice to those without.
~ Don’t think it, don’t think it … ah, damn!

What can we use to replace plastics? The true scourge of single-use plastics is our sheer over-reliance on them. But scientists, engineers and designers are shifting their focus to ecologically friendly alternatives that create circular, low-waste ecosystems – liquid wood, algae insulation, and polymer substitutes made from fermented plant starch such as corn or potatoes, for example.
~ Mushrooms, pee , rock and slag … hoorah!

Stethoscopes boosted with artificial intelligence — The Johns Hopkins device is an electronic stethoscope that improves on digital devices currently on the market. The upgrades start with its hardware: the chest piece is packed with transducer arrays to achieve a uniform sensitivity over the entire active area.
~ So listen closely.

Super-thin sheets could charge phones — Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created super-thin, bendy materials that absorb wireless internet and other electromagnetic waves in the air and turn them into electricity. They can be made large enough to capture useful amounts of energy.
~ So your wifi might suffer coz everyone’s charging their devices? 

More Neanderthal revelations — In the past, Neanderthal humans were believed to be largely close-distance hunters. A new paper in the journal Nature, based on actual outdoor tests with multiple test subjects throwing two wooden spears closely mimicking ancient spears found in various places at a target, surmises that spear-throwing Neanderthals may in fact have been able to kill animals at distances of 18 metres (60 feet) or even greater.
~ So duck!

Denisovans and Neanderthals shared cave — A pair of new studies traces the history of archaic human occupation at the site, showing who lived there and when – including a possible era during which the two now-extinct species hung out together.
~ Well, it may have been a time-share.

Lost human ancestor found with an algorithm —  Buried deep within the DNA of Asian individuals is a genetic clue pointing to the existence of an unknown human ancestor. Remarkably, it wasn’t a human who reached this startling conjecture, but rather an artificially intelligent algorithm. Welcome to archaeology in the 21st century.
~ The mystery hominid is likely a hybrid species of Neanderthals and Denisovans: Neandersovan? Denisthal?