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Chinese Supercomputer Gets a Job Forecasting Smog
December 10, 2013
Scientists in China will use the country's Tianhe-1A supercomputer to forecast and analyze smog in major cities. The Tianhe-1A will be used to create a simulation that will collate data from across more than 100 Chinese cities. Theoretically, this will enable scientists to predict the density of smog, how long it will linger, and where it might go next.
MX-1 to Shoot for Moon - and $20 Million
December 07, 2013
Moon Express on Thursday unveiled the design of its MX-1 robotic spacecraft to more than 10,000 attendees at the closing session of Autodesk University in Las Vegas. Moon Express plans to deploy the unmanned MX-1 to the moon and perhaps capture Google's Lunar XPrize. The MX-1 will be able to perform a variety of scientific and commercial functions.
Wormholes Might Link Quantum-Entangled Quarks
December 05, 2013
A postulate stating that quantum-entangled black holes in our three-dimensional universe are connected by microscopic wormholes created when the black holes are pulled apart might be correct, researchers Andreas Karch and Kristan Jensen have found. The suggestion, put forth by physicists Juan Malcadena and Lenny Susskind, "is a very exciting but somewhat speculative proposal," said Karch.
The Healing Begins for Healthcare.gov
December 04, 2013
The troubled Healthcare.gov website seems to have found its sea legs at last. After a botched rollout, the White House set itself a new deadline of Nov. 30 and hunkered down to repair the many glitches afflicting the site, through which Americans in the 36 states it serves must get their health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. By and large, it appears to have succeeded.
Google Makes Robotics Its Next 'Crazy Idea'
December 04, 2013
Hard on the heels of Amazon's recent announcement that it's planning deliveries by drone, Google this week acknowledged that it has embarked on a new robotics effort under the leadership of former Android head Andy Rubin. "I am excited about Andy Rubin's next project," said Google cofounder and CEO Larry Page. "His last big bet, Android, started off as a crazy idea that ended up putting a supercomputer in hundreds of millions of pockets."
China Flies Jade Rabbit Rover to the Moon
December 02, 2013
China has launched a rover that is en route to the surface of the moon, marking the first time the Middle Kingdom has embarked on a moon-bound rover mission. The rover, called "Jade Rabbit," is affixed to a rocket that launched at 1:30 a.m. Monday morning local time. If all goes to plan, it is expected to land on the moon in mid-December. China has had two lunar orbit missions.
Jellyfish-Bot Swims Through the Air
November 25, 2013
NYU researchers have designed a flying machine that appears to use the same pulsating motions as a jellyfish. They wanted to create a small robot that could serve practical purposes such as monitoring traffic. The device has four wings arranged like flower petals, which pulsate up and down. Its tiny motor is tethered to a power cord. It can fly and hover.
Where Have All the Forests Gone?
November 23, 2013
Earlier this month, researchers published a report discussing global forest coverage, and supplementing their findings was a first-of-its-kind interactive mapping tool that was created in partnership with Google. In this TechNewsWorld podcast, we discuss the research with the study's lead author, geographer Matthew Hansen.
Water-Resistance Breakthrough Makes a Splash
November 22, 2013
Scientists may have just created the most water-resistant artificial material in the world. Many of those who study hydrophobic materials -- water-repellant surfaces in both nature and laboratories -- had found themselves at an impasse with a theoretical limit on the amount of time it takes for water to rebound from a surface. However, a team of researchers have achieved a breakthrough.
Chinese Chat App Exposes Kids to Prostitutes
November 20, 2013
China's massively popular WeChat messaging app has exposed school students to prostitutes through its "People Nearby" feature, which is sometimes used by prostitutes as a form of, shall we say, mobile advertising. A survey among students, conducted in a handful of major Chinese cities, found that the kids had indeed come across prostitutes' accounts when firing up the People Nearby function.
Technology's Artsy Side
November 20, 2013
Google Earth sometimes makes mistakes: Freeways look like they are upside down or waterfalls flow sideways. For engineers or programmers, these might seem like things to fix. For artists like Clement Valla, however, they're artistic opportunities. Valla's project Postcards from Google Earth, for instance, looks at these mistakes and asks not how to get rid of them, but what they mean.
Big Data Spurs Big Collaborations
November 20, 2013
The U.S. government's Big Data initiative is sparking more investments in data management projects, especially those involving joint efforts between business and government. Under the sponsorship of the Obama administration initiative, the White House showcased more than 30 Big Data projects Nov. 12 at an event hosted by the federal Office of Science and Technology.
MAVEN to Search Mars' Atmosphere for Evolutionary Clues
November 19, 2013
NASA's MAVEN mission is under way following Monday's successful launch from Cape Canaveral of a spacecraft that will explore Mars' upper atmosphere and seek answers to questions about the planet's evolution. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, craft is scheduled to travel for 10 months and reach Mars in September 2014. MAVEN is the first mission targeting Mars' upper atmosphere.
Cloud Efficiency: Different Paths, Same Destination
November 18, 2013
Aggressive use of cloud-computing strategies can significantly improve delivery of applications to end users. Healthcare patient-experience improvement provider Press Ganey and project and portfolio management provider Planview are both exploiting cloud efficiencies and agility. Their paths have been different, but the outcomes speak volumes for how cloud transforms businesses.
Graphene: Have Strength and Conductivity, Will Transform
November 16, 2013
A developing technology using an ultra-thin layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb structure could start revolutionizing consumer electronics and many other industries in less than five years. Known as "graphene," the material's special strength and conductivity make it an ideal component of super-fast, very sensitive and low-cost devices.
Google Reveals Skyrocketing US Data Requests
November 15, 2013
The U.S. government once again heads the list of those requesting data from Google, and lately it's been asking for a lot more. Google's Transparency Report, a twice-a-year reminder of how often governments ask for information, says that the U.S. submitted 10,918 requests for 21,683 user accounts during the first half of 2013. U.S. requests had the highest rate of compliance.
Devs Will Get to Put IBM's Watson Through Its Paces
November 14, 2013
IBM plans to open up its Watson cognitive platform, allowing developers to access it in the cloud starting next year. The technology is based on its Watson supercomputer. Participants will build apps incorporating Watson's cognitive computing intelligence. A cognitive computing system is "capable of continually learning and refining itself through human/computer interaction," said IBM's Rob High.
MakerBot Rallies Support for Classroom 3D Printers
November 13, 2013
There's a campaign afoot to put a 3D printer in every school in America. MakerBot -- along with education crowdsourcer DonorsChoose.org, America Makes and Autodesk -- on Tuesday announced MakerBot Academy. Individuals and businesses can contribute money to the initiative through DonorsChoose.org. The funds will be used to award MakerBot Academy bundles to teachers who register at the site.
Space Agency: Pay No Attention to That Plummeting Satellite
November 11, 2013
The European Space Agency has predicted that when its fuel-less, Earth-bound, 2,000-pound research satellite crashes, it will likely crash into the ocean or polar regions. The satellite was expected to crash down some time on Sunday or Monday, according to the agency, which added, "with a very high probability, a re-entry over Europe can be excluded." Good news for Europeans, bad news for polar bears.
NSA-Bashing Brazil Claims It Spied Better
November 06, 2013
Few if any countries have been more outspoken, incredulous and chest-thumping over U.S. spying revelations than Brazil. Last summer, after Edward Snowden's leaks had made the rounds, Brazilian lawmakers proposed a law that would require e-businesses to store data in Brazil -- and only Brazil. Then, after it was revealed that the U.S. had spied on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Rousseff canceled a state visit to the U.S.

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