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Developing reliable quantum computers

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:50am
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can't manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to ensure it is working reliably? Depending on the algorithmic task, this could be an easy or a very difficult certification problem. An international team of researchers has taken an important step towards solving a difficult variation of this problem, using a statistical approach.
Categories: Science

Developing reliable quantum computers

Computers and Math from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:50am
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can't manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to ensure it is working reliably? Depending on the algorithmic task, this could be an easy or a very difficult certification problem. An international team of researchers has taken an important step towards solving a difficult variation of this problem, using a statistical approach.
Categories: Science

Quantum recurrence: Everything goes back to the way it was

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:50am
When a complex system is left alone, it will return to its initial state with almost perfect precision. Gas particles in a container, for example, will return almost exactly to their starting positions after some time. For decades, scientists have investigated how this 'Poincaré Recurrence Theorem' can be applied to the world of quantum physics. Now, researchers have successfully demonstrated a kind of 'Poincaré recurrence' in a multi-particle quantum system.
Categories: Science

Quantum recurrence: Everything goes back to the way it was

Computers and Math from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:50am
When a complex system is left alone, it will return to its initial state with almost perfect precision. Gas particles in a container, for example, will return almost exactly to their starting positions after some time. For decades, scientists have investigated how this 'Poincaré Recurrence Theorem' can be applied to the world of quantum physics. Now, researchers have successfully demonstrated a kind of 'Poincaré recurrence' in a multi-particle quantum system.
Categories: Science

Engineers advance capability of wearable tech

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:50am
Creating the perfect wearable device to monitor muscle movement, heart rate and other tiny bio-signals without breaking the bank has inspired scientists to look for a simpler and more affordable tool. Now, researchers have developed a practical way to monitor and interpret human motion, in what may be the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to wearable technology.
Categories: Science

Artificial intelligence quickly and accurately diagnoses eye diseases and pneumonia

Computers and Math from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:49am
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, researchers have developed a new computational tool to screen patients with common but blinding retinal diseases, potentially speeding diagnoses and treatment.
Categories: Science

Age and gender matter behind the wheel -- but not how you might expect

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:43am
A new study explored the relationship between new drivers' skills and age, gender, organized sports and video gaming. The results suggest that mandatory training should be required for all novice drivers, not just teenagers.
Categories: Science

Age and gender matter behind the wheel -- but not how you might expect

Computers and Math from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:43am
A new study explored the relationship between new drivers' skills and age, gender, organized sports and video gaming. The results suggest that mandatory training should be required for all novice drivers, not just teenagers.
Categories: Science

The Perpetually Offended, east and west: Dresses, saris, diapers and square-root signs

Why Evolution is True Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:15am

When I woke up this morning there was one notice of how the Perpetually Offended were acting, and then it multiplied through today, so now I have four instances and no time to write about them. I’ll just give brief notices about these four episodes, which combine to show that people are looking for any reason to call other people out. It’s sad that forgiveness can’t obtain in innocuous cases like these.

First up, actress Jennifer Lawrence, who wore a revealing dress at a photoshoot in the cold.  Apparently she was publicizing her new movie, “The Red Sparrow” Here it is:

It’s a lovely dress on a lovely woman. So what’s the beef? The beef is that it was cold and she had her picture taken with men who wore coats against the cold. That has to be sexist, either on her part (objectifying herself), theirs (refusal to give her a coat), or the moviemakers (forcing her to show skin in the cold):

Jennifer Lawrence poses with her bundled-up colleagues, from left: director Francis Lawrence and actors Matthias Schoenaerts, Joel Edgerton and Jeremy Irons. (John Phillips/Getty Images)

More reporting:

An article in Jezebel had the headline, Please Give Jennifer Lawrence a Dang Coat, showing the actor’s co-stars, Joel Edgerton and Jeremy Irons among them, wearing large coats and scarves.

Similarly, Metro wrote that the men in the image are “nicely wrapped up bracing themselves against the chill of a bracing London winter, while Jennifer Lawrence is wearing a plunging thigh-split gown”. One tweet that called it “quietly depressing and revealing” received over 12,000 likes.

Other likes were accrued by intersectional tweets, like these from Helen Lewis, deputy editor of The New Statesman:

True equality means either Jennifer Lawrence getting a coat, or Jeremy Irons having to pose for a photocall in assless chaps.

— Helen Lewis (@helenlewis) February 20, 2018

Essentially, kneejerking to “maybe it’s her choice!” is a good way of ducking a whole discussion of how society shapes and limits our choices. Refugees *choose* to get on rickety boats across the Mediterranean. That doesn’t make it empowering.

— Helen Lewis (@helenlewis) February 21, 2018

And Lawrence’s response:  GET A GRIP, PEOPLE!

Jennifer Lawrence latest post from her Facebook page pic.twitter.com/086xw8pXn2

— Jennifer Lawrence (@JLdaily) February 21, 2018

*********

On to Canada’s beloved Prime Minister. Well, maybe Justin Trudeau overdid the Indian clothes on a trip to India, during which he and his family not only wore Bollywood style clothes, but made the “namaste hands”

Pictures from the BBC, which also dominates the reaction of people (I haven’t yet seen any claims of “cultural appropriation,” though of course they could easily be made here). Most of the reaction seems to be that these clothes are over the top, and they are. I dress in Indian clothes when I visit the country, but wouldn’t wear stuff like heavy gold-embroidered coats, which are more suited for either a Bollywood movie or an Indian wedding. But leave the poor family alone!

Still, Trudeau is wangling a Canadian-Indian trade deal, and may also be trying to get Indian movies filmed in Canada. He’s just trying a wee bit too hard; so we get stuff like this:

Is it just me or is this choreographed cuteness all just a bit much now? Also FYI we Indians don’t dress like this every day sir, not even in Bollywood. pic.twitter.com/xqAqfPnRoZ

— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 21, 2018

That’s funny, but some of the commentary was more offended than funny. You can find it with a bit of Googling. Let’s move on.

*********

This isn’t quite as funny. As several venues report (e.g., here, here, here, and here, and yes, one of them is The Daily Fail, but other sources substantiate it), a smiley-faced cat adorning a package of diapers from Pampers (“nappies” to Brits) has enraged Muslims in India because the cat’s nose and whiskers look like they’re spelling out “Allah” in Arabic:

Vector of arabic calligraphy name of Prophet – Salawat supplication phrase translated as God bless Muhammad; Shutterstock Purchase Order: –

You have to be a Pecksniff looking for offense to even see a resemblance!

As News.com.au reports:

The lines of the whiskers, nose, mouth and left eye of the smiley cat, which appears on each nappy and on the brand’s packaging, allegedly bear close resemblance to the Islamic prophet’s name when written in Arabic or Urdu.

Members of the Darsgah Jihad-o-Shahadat group lodged a formal complaint with police in the Indian city of Hyderabad on Tuesday over the alleged “insult” to Islam, as video footage emerged of activists burning packets of Pampers Baby Dry Pants in the streets.

In a formal letter to police, the group claimed that “name of Prophet (PBUH) can be seen printed” on the packet in Arabic “even with the bare eye”, adding that it had “hurt the feelings of the entire Muslim community”.

“Therefore we request your goodself to kindly immediately intervene into the matter forthwith and stop the sale and distribution of Baby Dry Pants of Pampers Company and take action against its manufactures [sic], arrest them and punish them,” the letter said.

One of the complainants, Shahnoor Khan, told Indian newspaper the Deccan Chronicle the group believed the company had “deliberately printed” the word on each nappy to “hurt the Muslim community” and spark community unrest.

Muslims in Hyderabad burned the diapers. Don’t they know that Muhammad loved cats, had a favorite moggie (Muezza); and that cats are especially revered in Islam?

Proctor and Gamble responded:

“We are aware of the issue that some people are seeing the name of the Prophet on Pampers diapers, leading to unsettlement for some members of the Islamic community.

“We would like to clarify that this claim is not true. Our intent was never to hurt any individual or group’s religious sentiments or beliefs and sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.

“We would like to clarify that the diaper shows an innocent animated representation of a cat. It shows a cat’s mouth and whiskers like it is commonly portrayed in drawings and cartoons across the world, especially by little children.”

*********

Finally, I’ll drop this here and move on. It’s from KATC.com in Louisiana (click screenshot to go there):

The world is going mad, I tell you!

h/t: Brian, John (whose comment was, “Is anybody left who isn’t nuts?”

Categories: Science

Cave art suggests Neandertals were ancient humans’ mental equals

Science News Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:12am
Ancient humans’ close relatives also created rock art and shell ornaments, studies assert.
Categories: Science

The last wild horses aren’t truly wild

Science News Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:00am
The ancestor of today’s domesticated horses remains a mystery after a new analysis of ancient horse DNA.
Categories: Science

Miniature personalised tumours could help you get the best chemo

New Scientist Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:00am
Growing mini tumours in the lab from a patient’s own cells could help doctors discover the best way to treat each person, homing in on the right drugs to use
Categories: Science

Neanderthals made the oldest cave art in the world

New Scientist Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:00am
We weren’t the only ancient artists – the discovery of 66,700-year-old cave art show our Neanderthal cousins also liked to draw
Categories: Science

Homo sapiens is going to go extinct soon, aren’t we?

Pharyngula Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 10:57am

No comment.

After last night's rant about measles and vaccines, can I now ask that you DON'T PUT WEEK-OLD PISS IN YOUR EYES? Thank you. pic.twitter.com/Uwmot7GlLz

— Alistair Coleman (@alistaircoleman) February 20, 2018

Dooooomed. Dooomed, I tells you.

Categories: Science

SpaceX Launches the First of Thousands of Space Internet Satellites, but Didn’t Quite Catch the Fairing

Universe Today Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 10:47am

After multiple delays, SpaceX’s PAZ mission launched from from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenburg Air Force Base on the morning of Thursday, February 22nd. Shortly after it reached orbit, the rocket deployed its payload (the PAZ Earth Observing satellite) as well as and two Starlink demonstrations satellites that will test SpaceX’s ability to provide broadband internet service from orbit.

In addition, this launch was the first time that SpaceX would be attempting to “catch” the payload fairings from a Falcon 9 rocket using a retrieval ship. As part of their plan to make their rockets fully reusable, the rocket’s fairings were equipped with deployable chutes that would control their descent to the Pacific Ocean. Once there, the newly-commissioned “Mr. Steven” retrieval ship would be waiting to catch them in its net.

As noted, the primary mission for this launch was the deployment of the the PAZ satellite to low-Earth orbit. This  synthetic-aperture radar satellite was commisioned by Hisdesat, a Spanish commercial satellite company, for governmental and commercial use. Its purpose s to generate high-resolution images of the Earth’s surface, regardless of whether there are clouds covering the ground.

Going to try to catch the giant fairing (nosecone) of Falcon 9 as it falls back from space at about eight times the speed of sound. It has onboard thrusters and a guidance system to bring it through the atmosphere intact, then releases a parafoil and our ship, named Mr. Steven, with basically a giant catcher’s mitt welded on, tries to catch it.

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Feb 22, 2018 at 6:07am PST

The secondary payload consisted of two experimental satellites  – Microsat-2a and 2b – which are the first phase in SpaceX’s plan to deliver broadband internet service to the entire world. The plan calls for the deployment of more satellites in phases, reaching a total of 4,000 by 2024. However, it was the attempted retrieval of the rocket’s payload fairings that was of particular interest during the launch.

To be fair, this would not be the firt time that SpaceX’s attempted to retrieve payload fairings. In March of 2017, SpaceX successfully recovered the fairings for one of their Falcon 9s, which allowed them to recoup an estimated $6 million dollars from that launch. At present, SpaceX indicates that the cost of an individual Falcon 9 launch is estimated to be around $62 million.

If the payload fairings could be recovered regularly, that means that the company could stand to recoup an additional 10% from every individual Falcon 9 launch. These additional savings would not only make the company more competitive, but could allow for additional mission profiles that are currently considered too expensive.

Missed by a few hundred meters, but fairing landed intact in water. Should be able catch it with slightly bigger chutes to slow down descent.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 22, 2018

On Thursday Morning, SpaceX founder Elon Musk posted a picture of Mr. Steven taking to sea on Instagram with the following statement:

“Going to try to catch the giant fairing (nosecone) of Falcon 9 as it falls back from space at about eight times the speed of sound. It has onboard thrusters and a guidance system to bring it through the atmosphere intact, then releases a parafoil and our ship with basically a giant catcher’s mitt welded on tries to catch it.”

The launch, which was covered via webcast, went as planned. After taking off amid clear skies, the Falcon 9 reached orbit and deployed the PAZ satellite without incident, and the two Starlink satellites were deployed shortly thereafter. However, the webcast ended without providing any information about the status of the retrieval of the payload fairings.

At 7:14 am, Musk tweeted an update about the attempted retrieval, indicating that the fairings had landed in the ocean a few hundred meters from where Mr. Steven was waiting to catch them. While unsuccessful, Musk was optimistic about future attempts to retrieve payload fairings, saying:

“Missed by a few hundred meters, but fairing landed intact in water. Should be able catch it with slightly bigger chutes to slow down descent.”

As always, Musks seems undeterred by a setback and the company is moving ahead with its plans for expanded reusability. If successful, future attempts at retrieval are likely to involve the second stages of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. Given all the possibilities that this will allow for, there are many who want to see Musk’s latest venture to succeed.

In the meantime, check out this webcast of the launch:

Further Reading: ArsTechnica

The post SpaceX Launches the First of Thousands of Space Internet Satellites, but Didn’t Quite Catch the Fairing appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Science

With computation, researchers identify promising solid oxide fuel cell materials

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 10:33am
Using advanced computational methods, materials scientists have discovered new materials that could bring widespread commercial use of solid oxide fuel cells closer to reality.
Categories: Science

New symmetry-breaking method opens way for bioactive compounds

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 9:57am
Chemists have developed a new catalytic method for symmetry breaking. The method can help synthesize important building blocks for bioactive compounds such as anticancer drugs.
Categories: Science

DNA origami: Imaging individual flexible DNA 'building blocks' in 3-D

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 9:57am
A team of researchers has generated 3-D images from 129 individual molecules of flexible DNA origami particles. Their work provides the first experimental verification of the theoretical model of DNA origami.
Categories: Science

Metabolic modelling becomes three-dimensional

Computers and Math from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 9:57am
Scientists have developed the first computer model to include 3-D in the representation of human metabolic processes.
Categories: Science

Brace yourself for more allegations against a prominent atheist: Lawrence Krauss

Pharyngula Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 9:39am

I knew this was coming; in fact, I was interviewed several times for this article about misconduct by Lawrence Krauss. I had to tell the journalist that at most I’d gotten some second-hand echoes from the whisper network, but that I knew nothing directly about any accusations against him. But then, I’m a guy — I wasn’t at risk for being groped, so no one was going to pull me aside and warn me. Also, as a guy who was hanging out with Krauss now and then, there was no way to trust me not to spread the word to the accused…and whoa, but a lot of women were terrified of being alone with him, and of the effect he could have on their career.

Go read their stories. I believe them.

It’s a shame, too, because in theory, he’s an ally. He just seems to fall short in practice.

But Krauss says his movement is getting more diverse, not less. He is politically liberal, decrying sexism, racism, and “the fear of people who are different,” and is a vocal critic of Donald Trump. And yet, he’s not always politically correct, whether saying that religion drives xenophobia, dismissing burka-clad Muslims as “women in bags,” announcing that a statue looks like “Jesus on the toilet,” or tweeting articles arguing that #MeToo has gone too far.

And in his private life, according to a number of women in his orbit, Krauss exhibits some of the sexist behavior that he denounces in public. Now that these accusations are coming out in the open, some women have doubts that the skeptics will acknowledge the body of evidence about his behavior, and confront their own preconceived beliefs.

Once again, skeptics are afflicted with a curious blindness. There’s a psychology study waiting to happen here.

“Skeptics and atheists like to think they are above human foibles like celebrity worship,” Rebecca Watson, a prominent feminist skeptic, told BuzzFeed News. “In a way, that makes them particularly susceptible to being abused by their heroes. I think we see that over and over again.”

Women at skeptics meetings would often warn each other to avoid Krauss, she added, but conference organizers seemed reluctant to act. “He was a popular speaker,” Watson said. “None of them were interested in doing anything about what was happening.”

Krauss hasn’t done himself any favors, either.

But Krauss’s reputation took a hit in April 2011, after he publicly defended Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy financier who was convicted of soliciting prostitution from an underage girl and spent 13 months in a Florida jail.

Epstein was one of the Origins Project’s major donors. But Krauss told the Daily Beast his support of the financier was based purely on the facts: “As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I’ve never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people.”

Oh, well, the cynic in me knows exactly how all this will turn out. Krauss will face no consequences, his popularity in the skeptic/atheist movement will be undimmed, and all the women who spoke out in that article will face an increase in the torrent of abuse they already get. It took a lot of courage for them to go on record, for which I know they will be punished.

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