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Google DeepMind: What is it, how it works and should you be scared?

Google DeepMind is an artificial intelligence division within Google that was created after Google bought Oxford University spinout, DeepMind, for a reported £400 million in January 2014.
The division, which employs around 140 researchers at its lab in a new building at Kings Cross, London, is on a mission to solve general intelligence and make machines capable of learning things for themselves. It plans to do this by creating a set of powerful general-purpose learning algorithms that can be combined to make an AI system or “agent”.

These trippy images show how Google's AI sees the world - ScienceAlert

Google's image recognition programs are usually trained to look for specific objects, like cars or dogs. But now, in a process Google's engineers are calling 'inceptionism', these artificial intelligence networks were fed random images of landscapes and static noise. What they get back sheds light on how AI perceive the world, and the possibility that computers can be creative too.

The AI networks churned out some insane images and took the engineers on a hallucinatory trip full of knights with dog heads, a tapestry of eyes, pig-snails, and pagodas in the sky.

Scientists make world’s thinnest transistor - at three atoms thick - ScienceAlert

The transistor is made using two-dimensional semiconductors known as transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDs). When reduced to a single layer, these TMDs are just three atoms thick, made from members of a family of elements called transition metals. One of these, molybdenum disulfide, is a type of silvery, black metal that's been touted for its superior electrical qualities over the past few years.

The team crystallised it down, and figured out how to peel ultra-thin sheets just a few atoms thick from the surface of the crystals. Amazingly, even at this thickness, the...

Ten-engine electric plane prototype takes off

A team at NASA's Langley Research Center is developing a concept of a battery-powered plane that has 10 engines and can take off like a helicopter and fly efficiently like an aircraft. The prototype, called Greased Lightning or GL-10, is currently in the design and testing phase. The initial thought was to develop a 20-foot wingspan (6.1 meters) aircraft powered by hybrid diesel/electric engines, but the team started with smaller versions for testing, built by rapid prototyping.

The Trillion-Frame-Per-Second Camera - Deep Stuff

Splitting a single light pulse into a fast barrage of rainbow-colored daughter pulses allows scientists to capture movies of complex, ultrafast physical and biological processes

When a crystal lattice is excited by a laser pulse, waves of jostling atoms can travel through the material at close to one sixth the speed of light, or approximately 28,000 miles/second. Scientists now have a new tool to take movies of such superfast movement in a single shot.

Two enormous floating solar power plants have just opened in Japan - ScienceAlert

Two massive floating solar power plants have just been completed in Japan, ready to power 1,000 homes without taking any electricity from the grid.

The ‘mega-plant’ is just one of a number of moves the country is making to increase its reliance on sustainable energy sources since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Over the past few years, Japan has managed to double its solar power capacity, and if plants like these are as efficient as they’re expected to be, there’s no reason why it can’t continue to tip the balance in favour of renewable energy sources.


Pervasive as the Internet seems, less than half of the world’s population has access to it, leaving some four billion people unconnected. This spring, engineers at Google’s Project Loon will shift to the next phase in a grand plan to bring Internet to everyone. The goal: a network of high-altitude balloons (Loon is a play off the word) that will rain 4G LTE signals down to anyone with a 4G device. With it, farmers in remote areas will be able to access weather data; rural children will be able to pursue online educations; and Google will have four billion more eyeballs on its search...

World-record electric motor for aircraft

Siemens researchers have developed a new type of electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms, delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts – five times more than comparable drive systems. The motor has been specially designed for use in aircraft. Thanks to its record-setting power-to-weight ratio, larger aircraft with takeoff weights of up to two tons will now be able to use electric drives for the first time.

Japan's maglev bullet train breaks 12-year speed record - ScienceAlert

A Japanese maglev bullet train owned by the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) made history last week by hitting a top speed of 590 k/h (366 mph) on a test run through the Yamanashi prefecture in central Japan.
The train can achieve such ridiculous speeds because rather than running directly on tracks, which causes a whole lot of friction, it’s suspended above the rails using very powerful magnetic levitation - "Maglev" is an abbreviation of "magnetic levitation".

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