February 16, 2005

Links for Feb 16/05

NASA Researchers Claim Evidence of Present Life on Mars

Now you can get your own brain in a jar [seen on Gravity Lens].

A three-year-old boy has become the youngest member of Mensa.

More proof that UFO culture and pseudoscience is running rampant in the United States: "Peter Jennings Reporting: UFOs — Seeing Is Believing" airs Thursday, Feb. 24 from 8-10 p.m. ET on ABC. Apparently, ABC will be making a push for more scientific research into the 'phenomenon.'

The Immortality Race (National Journal)
William Powers discusses radical life extension and the aging baby boomer population.

Augmented Reality: Another (Virtual) Brick in the Wall (Wired)
Unlike Virtual Reality, which immerses users in a new digital environment, Augmented Reality (AR) -- a broad class of user interface techniques intended to enhance a person’s perception of the world around them with computer generated information -- aims to enhance the analog world.

Mind Over Machines (The Scientist, registration)
Imagine controlling a computer with just your mind. It sounds like a frivolous and futuristic convenience, but such technology could provide disabled or "locked in" patients the ability to communicate and gain control over their environments.

A New Model Army Soldier Rolls Closer to the Battlefield (NY Times)
The Pentagon predicts that robots will be a major fighting force in the American military in less than a decade. Why does the Terminator scenario suddenly seem plausible? All I can say is that if there's ever a 'conventional' Third World War, humanity is truly doomed.

A Genius Explains (The Guardian)
Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant. He can perform mind-boggling mathematical calculations at breakneck speeds. But unlike other savants, who can perform similar feats, Tammet can describe how he does it. He speaks seven languages and is even devising his own language. Now scientists are asking whether his exceptional abilities are the key to unlock the secrets of autism.

Weight Limits Confirmed for the Biggest Black Holes (Red Nova)
The very largest black holes reach a certain point and then grow no more, according to the best survey to date of black holes made with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Scientists have also discovered many previously hidden black holes that are well below their weight limit.

Oldest Remains of Modern Humans Are Identified (NY Times)
A new analysis of bones unearthed nearly 40 years ago in Ethiopia has pushed the fossil record of modern humans back to nearly 200,000 years ago -- perhaps close to the dawn of the species.

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