super-science breakthrough compendium thread

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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Iamwhomiam » Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:56 pm

You're welcome, Smoky.

Drew, it's kind of like, "It sounds like a good thing, but does it do what it promises?" If the carbon this "new"technology sequesters is to be later used as a fuel, the process actually increases the technology's carbon footprint beyond that which it would were the carbon simply burned initially. This is due to the intense energy demanded in order to develop the new technology, build it and operate it. Then the carbon sequestered is burned.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby smoking since 1879 » Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:03 pm

Automated Inference on Criminality using Face Images

We study, for the first time, automated inference on criminality based solely on still face images. Via supervised machine learning, we build four classifiers (logistic regression, KNN, SVM, CNN) using facial images of 1856 real persons controlled for race, gender, age and facial expressions, nearly half of whom were convicted criminals, for discriminating between criminals and non-criminals. All four classifiers perform consistently well and produce evidence for the validity of automated face-induced inference on criminality, despite the historical controversy surrounding the topic. Also, we find some discriminating structural features for predicting criminality, such as lip curvature, eye inner corner distance, and the so-called nose-mouth angle. Above all, the most important discovery of this research is that criminal and non-criminal face images populate two quite distinctive manifolds. The variation among criminal faces is significantly greater than that of the non-criminal faces. The two manifolds consisting of criminal and non-criminal faces appear to be concentric, with the non-criminal manifold lying in the kernel with a smaller span, exhibiting a law of normality for faces of non-criminals. In other words, the faces of general law-biding public have a greater degree of resemblance compared with the faces of criminals, or criminals have a higher degree of dissimilarity in facial appearance than normal people.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby identity » Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:29 pm

In other words, the faces of general law-biding public have a greater degree of resemblance compared with the faces of criminals, or criminals have a higher degree of dissimilarity in facial appearance than normal people.

Are they suggesting that there is a "hard-wired" predisposition to criminality/antisocial behaviour that manifests as "a higher degree of dissimilarity in facial appearance than normal people" and that it is not the facial difference/otherness itself that results in social exclusion/alienation and the associated denial of opportunities in every sphere of life (naturally leading some to a grasping of "opportunity" in whatever way they can, for example, through crime)? What about highly corrupt individuals such as most politicians and CEOs who, because they look "normal," are very clever, and are socially adept and belong to the "right" social networks, never got caught or charged for their criminality? We need software that will identify these most dangerous of criminal entities (not that we don't already know who they are...)!
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby norton ash » Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:06 am

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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Harvey » Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:56 am

They have a point. Look at George W Bush or Tony Blair.

Even more serious point, what is their definition of criminal? Is it a convicted criminal or a successful criminal? The ones who get caught and are prosecuted or those who re-write and are above the law? Even more serious point, which laws? Which crimes? What percentage of those crimes would not be crimes in a sane and just society? How many of the convictions are contested?

Accepting any part of the researchers argument 'at face value' is problematic. What they are trying to achieve is a model with predictive power, and clearly, the definition of 'normal' is as much a part of the selection for 'non normal' as class is a selection for likelihood of conviction. "..controlled for race, gender, age and facial expressions," but perhaps not class.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Luther Blissett » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:08 pm

I really can't wrap my mind around this, but blame the Independent.

Time crystals: New form of matter once thought to break laws of physics created by scientists
Strange material repeats a crystal-like structure in the fourth dimension, time, rather than just in space

A new kind of matter – dubbed a “time crystal” – has been created by two teams of scientists in a feat once considered theoretically impossible.

Normal crystals, anything from diamonds to snowflakes, have atoms arranged in a repeating three-dimensional lattice.

However the atoms in time crystals – the existence of which was first suggested in 2012 – repeat a pattern across the fourth dimension, time.

This essentially means they should oscillate forever without any external influence.

Before their apparent creation, some researchers had expressed doubt that time crystals could be made as perpetual motion contradicts the laws of physics.

But it is thought to be possible partly because of the strange way matter behaves at the quantum level.

A time crystal seems to be a closed system, so no energy is lost to the outside world. And it also appears to have properties similar to superconductors so electrons can move without any resistance.

This allows the observed motion to continue, theoretically at least, for all time.

The practical applications are thought to be far off, but it is believed the crystals’ unique properties could help make quantum computing a reality.

Prototype quantum computers exist, but need to be heavily shielded from the slightest interference from the outside world. The crystals could help protect the stored information, overcoming one of the greatest obstacles to the widespread use of computers many millions of times faster than the ones used today.

One of the teams, led by researchers at Maryland University, created the first time crystal from electrically charged atoms of the element ytterbium.

They used an electric field to levitate 10 of these atoms above a surface, then repeatedly hit them with a pulse from a laser.

The atoms began to flip in a regular pattern by themselves, but they did so in an odd way. Rather than moving at the same rate as the laser pulses, they flipped at half the pace.

The researchers compared this to hitting a piano key twice, but just getting one note, or squeezing a sponge regularly but seeing it rebound only once every second squeeze.

This, apparently, is the tell-tale sign of a time crystal. The purported breakthrough was revealed in October last year, but the scientific world has been waiting to see the full details in a peer-reviewed journal.

The Maryland team and another led by experts at Harvard University have now published separate papers in Nature, one of the world’s leading journals.

Professor Andrew Potter, of Texas University at Austin, who was part of the Maryland-led team, said: “This opens the door to a whole new world of non-equilibrium phases.

“We’ve taken these theoretical ideas that we’ve been poking around for the last couple of years and actually built it in the laboratory.

“Hopefully, this is just the first example of these, with many more to come.”

However, in a commentary published by Nature, one leading expert in the field suggested more research was needed to prove without doubt that time crystals truly exist.

Professor Chetan Nayak, of University of California, Santa Barbara, wrote that based on our current knowledge it had been natural to see if it was possible to “spontaneously break the time-translational symmetry of the laws of physics”.

But he said it was possible that the unusual flipping motion seen in the purported time crystals might not last forever.

“Both groups present evidence of a time crystal,” Professor Nayak said, “but their combined results point to the need for experiments that truly show that the oscillations remain in phase over extended times and are not washed out by the inevitable fluctuations.”
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:21 pm

Scientists use solar power to produce hydrogen from biomass
Anmar Frangoul
Wednesday, 15 Mar 2017 | 8:07 AM ET

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have developed a technique that uses solar power to produce clean hydrogen from biomass.

In a news release on Tuesday the university said that up until now lignocellulose – the main component of plant biomass – had only been converted into hydrogen via a gasification process that uses high temperatures to "decompose it fully."

The university said that the new technique involved the addition of catalytic nanoparticles to alkaline water containing biomass.

The solution is put in front of a lab based light mimicking solar light, and was described as being "ideal" for absorbing the light and turning the biomass into gaseous hydrogen.

"There's a lot of chemical energy stored in raw biomass, but it's unrefined, so you can't expect it to work in complicated machinery, such as a car engine," David Wakerley, from the University of Cambridge's Department of Chemistry, said in a statement.

"Our system is able to convert the long, messy structures that make up biomass into hydrogen gas, which is much more useful," Wakerley added.

"We have specifically designed a combination of catalyst and solution that allows this transformation to occur using sunlight as a source of energy. With this in place we can simply add organic matter to the system and then, provided it's a sunny day, produce hydrogen fuel."

Different types of biomass, including wood and leaves, were used, and did not need to be processed prior to the experiments, the university said.

"Our sunlight-powered technology is exciting as it enables the production of clean hydrogen from unprocessed biomass under ambient conditions," Erwin Reisner, head of the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Sustainable SynGas Chemistry, where the technology was developed, said.

"We see it as a new and viable alternative to high temperature gasification and other renewable means of hydrogen production," Reisner added, before going on to say that a range of potential commercial options were being explored. ... omass.html
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Iamwhomiam » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:38 pm

While a great improvement, it is still a fossil or carbon-based fuel the needs to be burned which releases carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. No More Burning needs to be policy.

I still applaud this development while recognizing we must insist oil and gas industries capture as much natural gas (methane) as is technologically possible to burn to power civilization or to flare it off without taking it as a loss for tax purposes.
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