‘Reprogrammed’ stem cells approved to mend human hearts for the first time
May 30, 2018 · 4 

By David Cyranoski Scientists in Japan now have permission to treat people who have heart disease with cells produced by a revolutionary reprogramming technique. The study is only the second clinical application of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. These are created by inducing the cells of body tissues such as skin and blood to revert to …

Chinese satellite launch kicks off ambitious mission to Moon’s far side
May 22, 2018

By Davide Castelvecchi China has taken its first major step in a groundbreaking lunar mission. On 21 May, a probe launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre to head beyond the Moon, where it will lie ready to act as a communications station for the Chang’e-4 lunar lander. The nation hopes that the lander will, later this …

MIT Now Has a Humanist Chaplain to Help Students With the Ethics of Tech
May 18, 2018

By Isabel Fattal Even some of the most powerful tech companies start out tiny, with a young innovator daydreaming about creating the next big thing. As today’s tech firms receive increased moral scrutiny, it raises a question about tomorrow’s: Is that young person thinking about the tremendous ethical responsibility they’d be taking on if their …

Here’s What’s Needed for Self-Flying Taxis and Delivery Drones to Really Take Off
May 15, 2018 · 2 

By Larry Greenemeier Amazon, Uber and other tech giants want to fill the skies with small autonomous aircraft ferrying packages and people from place to place. For that to happen, these robotic drones—also called unmanned aircraft systems (UASs)—need an air traffic control system to keep them from crashing into buildings, human-piloted aircraft or one another. …

AI recreates activity patterns that brain cells use in navigation
May 10, 2018

By Alison Abbott Scientists have used artificial intelligence (AI) to recreate the complex neural codes that the brain uses to navigate through space. The feat demonstrates how powerful AI algorithms can assist conventional neuroscience research to test theories about the brain’s workings — but the approach is not going to put neuroscientists out of work just …

Water filter inspired by Alan Turing passes first test
May 4, 2018

By Mark Zastrow Researchers in China have developed a filter that removes salt from water up to three times as fast as conventional filters. The membrane has a unique nanostructure of tubular strands, inspired by the mathematical-biology work of codebreaker Alan Turing. The filter is the most finely constructed example of the mathematician’s ‘Turing structures’ yet, …

As algorithms take over, YouTube’s recommendations highlight a human problem
Apr 23, 2018 · 1 

By Ben Popken YouTube is a supercomputer working to achieve a specific goal — to get you to spend as much time on YouTube as possible. But no one told its system exactly how to do that. After YouTube built the system that recommends videos to its users, former employees like Guillaume Chaslot, a software …

Artificial Chameleon Skin Is Weird and Cool
Apr 2, 2018

By Rafi Letzter A team of chemists has created a substance that can change its color and stiffness, which they’re comparing to chameleon skin. The stretchy material is made up of strands of copolymers — complex, self-assembling large molecules that in this case are shaped like long dumbbells, with spherical bulges on each end. The way those copolymers react …

NASA’s new satellite brings the search for Earthlike exoplanets closer to home
Mar 29, 2018 · 1 

By Daniel Clery Thanks to NASA’s pioneering Kepler probe, we know our galaxy is teeming with exoplanets. Now, a new generation of exoplanet hunters is set to home in on rocky worlds closer to home. Over 9 years in space, Kepler has found more than 2600 confirmed exoplanets, implying hundreds of billions in the Milky …

There’s a small chance an asteroid will smack into Earth in 2135. NASA is working on a plan.
Mar 20, 2018 · 3 

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. Here’s a tip for the planners among us: If you have dinner reservations or theater tickets for Sept. 22, 2135 (it’s a Thursday), now might be a good time to scuttle them. Sometime the day before, scientists say, there is a small chance that an asteroid the size of the Empire …

AI researchers embrace Bitcoin technology to share medical data
Mar 13, 2018

By Amy Maxmen Dexter Hadley thinks that artificial intelligence (AI) could do a far better job at detecting breast cancer than doctors do — if screening algorithms could be trained on millions of mammograms. The problem is getting access to such massive quantities of data. Because of privacy laws in many countries, sensitive medical information remains …

Spacecraft Could Nuke Dangerous Asteroid to Defend Earth
Mar 9, 2018 · 4 

By Mike Wall The next time a hazardous asteroid lines Earth up in its crosshairs, we may be ready for the threat. Scientists and engineers with the U.S. government have drawn up plans for a spacecraft that could knock big, incoming space rocks off course via blunt-force impact or blow them to bits with a nuclear warhead, BuzzFeed …