Saturday, May 26, 2018

Paleolithic Papers #20

Genus Homo:

Were movable eye brows a significant force in human evolution?

Hominins were not present where megafauna were common, but may have still contributed to the mass extinction.

Where did the Neandertal introgression hypothesis originate?

Just what butchered a rhino in the Philippines 709,000 years ago?

A cave in Kenya gives insight into technological innovation over millennia during the Pleistocene.

The onset of the Achuelean in East Africa is examined.

H. sapiens:

A modern human finger bone has been found in Saudi Arabia dating from over 85,000 years ago.

John Hawks looks back at the idea the Clovis Culture was the first one in the Americas.

The origin of fluted point technology in the ice free corridor in North America.

Long distance pigment trade and use in Mesolithic Africa.

The environmental conditions at the onset of the Mesolithic in Africa.

Variation in the temporal labyrinth as evidence of out of Africa.

Stone artifacts where recovered from Sulawesi, Indonesia dating from 65,000 years ago, suggesting modern humans arrived much earlier than previously thought.

Genomic research linked North African, subsaharan and Middle Eastern populations during the Late Pleistocene.

A recent paper argues a 5 meter long wooden sculpture from Siberia is from the twilight of the Pleistocene and the oldest known monumental art.

Symbolic emblems from the Middle East hint that the Levantine Aurignacian had a distinct, regional culture.

Modern Humans started making certain types of stone tools over ten thousand years earlier than previously thought.

The ability to focus on details led to a revolution in cave paintings.

Evidence of waves of immigrants into the Southeast Asia come from genetics.

How humans survived the Toba event.

H. neanderthalensis:

Neandertals actually had a rather unique nasal system and breathed primarily through their nose, even when breathing heavily.  Could that have been a cold weather adaptation?  After all, our noses help warm and moisten the air as it comes in.

Scientists are hoping to grow brain organoids using Neandertal DNA and observe differences between Neandertals and modern humans.

Neandertals might have have had Mediterranean maritime odysseys since their tools were found on the island of Crete.

How much insight do artifacts from Crimea give into Neandertal symbolism?

Differences between Neandertal and modern human mandibular ramus are considered.

The 'endocostal ossifications' of the K 2 Neandertal get reconsidered.

H. floresiensis:

The experiences of one of the discoverers of the Hobbit and John Hawks' amplification of that.

H. erectus:

KNM-WT 1500's weight has had important implications for understanding H. erectus growth.

KNM-ER 42700:

KNM-ER 42700 is NOT Homo erectus, but rather a different, unknown hominin species.

H. naledi:

Enamel growth on H. naledi's teeth gets considered.

The complexity of H. naledi's brain is examined.

Genus Australopithecus:

Modern human gait predates the genus Homo.

Human hip joint loading was present in A. africanus and P. robustus.

META:

Our understanding of hominin evolution is shaped by sampling bias.

Developed Olduwan A should be abandoned as a term since there is no difference between it and Olduwan.

A new hominin has been found circa 2 million years ago from Ethiopia. 

What we inherited from our insectivorous ancestors.

Friday, May 25, 2018

2015 BZ509: A Retrograde Asteroid From Another Solar System




A new study has discovered the first known permanent immigrant to our Solar System. The asteroid, currently nestling in Jupiter's orbit, is the first known asteroid to have been captured from another star system. The work is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters.

The object known as 'Oumuamua was the last interstellar interloper to hit the headlines in 2017. However it was just a tourist passing through, whereas this former exo-asteroid - given the catchy name (514107) 2015 BZ509 - is a long-term resident.

All of the planets in our Solar System, and the vast majority of other objects as well, travel around the Sun in the same direction. However 2015 BZ509 is different - it moves in the opposite direction in what is known as a 'retrograde' orbit.

"How the asteroid came to move in this way while sharing Jupiter's orbit has until now been a mystery," explains Dr Fathi Namouni, lead author of the study. "If 2015 BZ509 were a native of our system, it should have had the same original direction as all of the other planets and asteroids, inherited from the cloud of gas and dust that formed them."



Sunday, May 20, 2018

China's 2nd Aircraft Carrier is Undergoing Sea Trials


China launched its first domestically produced aircraft carrier earlier for sea trials this week at the northeastern port of Dalian, in the south of Liaoning Province, China. The new ship has not been named yet and carries the temporary designation “Type 001A”.

The new Type 001A is a slightly larger vessel than China’s previous aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, that was purchased from Ukraine in 1999 and originally built in 1985 in the then-Soviet Union as a Kuznetsov-class aircraft cruiser. Liaoning has had three names: first christened as the Riga under Soviet use, then renamed the Varyag and finally the Liaoning after the Chinese purchase in 1999. Analysts report the primary role of the Liaoning has been a training vessel for the development of Chinese carrier doctrine and operations.

The new Type 001A is 315 meters long and 75 meters wide as compared to the slightly smaller Liaoning that is 304 meters long and 70 meters wide. Both ships displace roughly 50,000 tons, significantly less than the Nimitz-class carriers with a loaded displacement of between 100,000–104,000 tons. The U.S. Nimitz-class carriers are also longer at 333 meters.

China’s first domestically developed aircraft carrier left its northeastern port to begin sea trials on [May 13th], state media said, the latest milestone in the country’s efforts to modernize its military.


China’s first homebuilt aircraft carrier has left for its first set of sea trials on Sunday, according to state-controlled media.

The yet-unnamed Type 001A carrier was unmoored and moved by tugs from its berth at the Dalian shipyard and headed out to sea, according to photos released by the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency said on Sunday.

“The sea trials will mainly test the reliability and stability of the carrier’s power system and other equipment,” the state-controlled agency said.

“Construction on the carrier has been carried out as planned since it was launched in April last year, and equipment debugging, outfitting and mooring tests have been completed to make it ready for the trial mission at sea.”

The length of the trials was not announced but a local notice to mariners restricted a portion of the Yellow Sea near the shipyard from Sunday to Friday.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Robopocalypse Report #103

Drones:

A nano drone has been created: a robotic 'fly' powered by a laser has taken a very short flight.

A US program plans on opening more airspace to testing drones.

Apple is joining a drone program to improve its maps.

Criminals used drones to thwart an FBI rescue.

DJI has partnered with Microsoft to make apps for its drones.

Drones are being tested for medical supply delivery in North Carolina.

Drone startups are getting squashed by big businesses.

Can self flying drones be taught without crashes using VR?

Ehang's drones did break the record for the largest swarm, but many didn't follow instructions.

Uber will be testing food delivery by drone in San Diego.

There is a wind tunnel just for drones.

The drone racing league expands into France.

The ACLU is worried about facial recognition coupled with drones.

A drone near the Saudi royal residence caused a stir.

Microdrones might be able to return home based on the visual record of the route it came in by.

A drone in NM saved lost hikers' lives.

Self Driving Cars/Vehicles:

Some are questioning self driving car terminology.

Where did this self driving car thing come from anyways?  (Really?!)

75% of Americans are skeptical of self driving cars.

When will you get to start using self driving cars?  This year.

8 million self driving cars are expected to ship in 2025.

Apple now has more than 50 self driving cars on the road in California.

Audi has its own self driving software that is not available in the US.

BMW's self driving ride sharing plans are glimpsed.

BMW is working with a company to bring solid state lidars to self driving cars.

Britain and the state of Michigan are teaming up on self driving car rules.

Didi, the Chinese Uber rival, now has permission to test self driving cars in California.

Drive.ai will start a pilot program for giving rides in Frisco, Texas.

Governor Kasich wants Ohio to be a testing ground for self driving vehicles.

LG bought ZKW to develop tech for self driving cars.

Lyft has deployed self driving cars in Las Vegas for testing.

MIT has developed tech to allow self driving cars to navigate without a map.

Mobileye is conducting self driving car tests in Jerusalem.

Mobileye's self driving cars are coming to California.

Roborace's self driving race car isn't faster than people. Yet.

A single self driving car can prevent traffic snakes.

Will self driving cars end car ownership?  Or is that a city centric POV?

Self driving cars' shortcomings are highlighted in a California DMV report.

A startup wants to develop autonomous flatbed train cars to help with deliveries.

A Tesla Model S crashed into the back of a firetruck while on Autopilot.  The driver has admitted to being on his phone when it happened.  

Just how safe IS Autopilot?  Some state there's no evidence Autopilot saves lives.  Tesla's Autopilot may be in a bit of a crisis.  Tesla apparently nixed more driver monitoring for cost reasons.  After the crashes, less Tesla owners are using Autopilot.  The head of Autopilot left and Tesla will now split the hardware and software portions into separate groups.

A Tesla owner is banned from driving for 18 months after setting the Autopilot and getting into the passenger seat while on the highway.

Toyota is building a self driving car test facility in Michigan.

Uber's self driving car fatality was caused by software that intentionally ignored objects on the road.

Uber will resume self driving car tests in a few months.

Uber hired a former NTSB official to help with safety.

Voyage wants to open up safety designs and source code for self driving cars.

Waymo will start accepting fares in its self driving cars this year.

Waymo has told law enforcement et al what to do in an emergency for its self driving cars.

Waymo has stolen away the head of safety from Tesla.

Waymo showed how its self driving cars navigate snow.

Waymo's most recent crash raised some questions.

Waymo & Uber are going after Levandowski for the IP theft.

3d Printing:

A German startup is selling 3d printed bicycle tires.

A new drone, the Tundra-M, is 3d printed.

Circuits can be directly printed onto the skin.

GM is planning on 3d printing parts for cars to improve them.

NASA successfully 3d printed a rocket engine's combustion chamber from copper.

Colombia's first 3d printed concrete house has been completed.

A portable 3d bioprinter prints skin.

A group is trying to 3d print prestetched fabric.

There is a startup to 3d print wheel rims.

Researchers have 3d printed human platelets.

BMW 3d printed a motorcycle frame.

A startup plans on creating 3d printed dental implants with a 24 hour turn around.

A 3d printed smart gel could produce underwater soft robots.

Improving 3d printing of plastic.

CMU has a cheap 3d printer that can print self folding objects.

Robotics:


Boston Dynamics is at it again.  


And again.

Boston Dynamics' SpotMini robot (see the second above) will go on sale next year.


Dyret the quad, but adaptable robot.

MIT has created a robotic boat that uses the wind to help it sail like a plane does.  Sorta.

Saildrones are being developed to monitor the ocean.

Spyce is a restaurant in Boston that has replaced the chefs with robots.

A new automated system has been created to grow organoids.

Robots are learning the art of gripping.

Meet Mia, the pet entertaining robot.

Meet Henry.  The sex bot that wants to know all your hopes and dreams.  Yep, you read that right.  And you thought privacy was a problem already!

Misty robotics has a personal robot.

Nemo is an underwater drone.

An Arab speaking bot enters the uncanny valley.

A motorless polymer, soft robot has been developed.

DARPA is starting a new challenge for bots going underground.

A robot taught itself how to dress people and it didn't use computer vision.

Robotic spinal surgery is a thing now.

The Smithsonian has a new tour guide, a Pepper robot.

Robot launched weather balloons have brought the robopocalypse for remote outposts in Alaska.

Amazon has big plans for home robots.

The Aquanaut is a submersible robot.

Starship's delivery robots are coming to college campuses.

An eelbot has been developed to study marine life.

There is a skull drilling bot for surgery coming.

There is a bot designed to clean up the balls on a tennis court.

There is a robot designed to explore the surf zone on beaches.

Apple's iphone disassembling robot is rather impressive.

An industrial robot was used to help build a school.

A robotics startup went under and lessons were learned.

Self learning robots may be used to inspect nuclear power stations.

Edible...robots?!

French nanorobots built a tiny house, 300 micrometers by 300 micrometers.

Why robots cannot out jump a flea.

Exoskeletons:

Exoskeletons may not completely remove physical stress, but might move it to another part of the body.

Cyborgism:

Lightning struck a woman's home and her neural implant stopped working.

Mutual learning may be key to greatly improving brain computer interfaces.

Researchers are keeping pig brains alive outside their bodies.

A module brings a sense of touch for prosthetics.

An adhesive 'skin' acts are a controller for devices.

Animal cyborgs created by KAIST.

Software Bots:

Google conducted a demo of its Assistant calling to make an appointment with a hair salon.  The demo was, if it worked as advertised, mind blowing.  However, skepticism hit immediately and now Google is refusing to disclose details of the demo and folks are starting to believe the whole thing was, well, fake.  Google has stated the Assistant will ID itself when it does call.

Google's news app has a software bot running in the background.

The ethics of using AI in health care are being broached.

A software bot is helping diagnose patients more accurately when using brain scans.

Software bots plus wearable tech is being tested by the University of Waterloo to detect the onset of medical problems.

A software bot better IDs which patients are at risk of developing pneumonia while on a ventilator.

A software bot can detect a heart condition in LQTS.

Can a software bot detect autism in babies?

There's a software bot oncologist now.

Bots seem to be better at detecting the cause of blindness in preemies than people are.

Tech firms are claiming to be putting up ethical guard rails around the use of AI.

Human rights groups are worried about bias being built into AI and machine learning.

Can bots make art?

A Canadian startup is applying machine learning to bond issuance.

What is Alexa teaching kids?!

Alexa was hacked to be used as a spy tool by researchers.

The head of Amazon's Alexa efforts has quit.

Alexa will soon have a memory.

Big data and machine learning are the future of commercial fishing.

Software bots ought to debate and judge one another?!

A software bot developed for navigation developed some interesting features in its neural net.

CMU has launched an undergrad degree in AI.

Digital assistants can be controlled via inaudible sounds.

Facebook is using instagram photos and their hashtags improve its computer vision.

Zuckerberg has stated its easier for bots to recognize nipples than hate speech.

Software bots are being used to keep gamblers hooked and gambling.

Software bots are being used to try to understand illegible hand written items in the Vatican Archive.

Google Assistant may be smarter than Amazon's Alexa.

Europe is planning a big AI research hub to compete with the US and China.

A software bot has been successfully taught to classify galaxies based on images from Hubble.

Software bots can scour code for passwords.

Software bots are being used to, yes, really, farm billions of cockroaches.

A spam algorithm has been used to help study animals.

Our own flaws might become reflected in AI.

Microsoft is pursuing its own path to AI.

Can AI fix Facebook?

GM is using software bots to improve lightweight auto parts.

Machine learning systems are only as good as the training data sets.

Machine learning bots are looking for very young stars.

Facebook's software bot can create fake VR 'memories.'

NVidia's software bot can fix photos by recognizing what's missing.

Is Google Assistant an easy way to automate your home?

The Screen Actors Guild has declared it will fight bot created face swapping porn.

Robotic counselors?!

Software development is getting a bot.

With the deluge of data from CERN's experiments, scientists are turning to software bots to sort through all the mess.

Has AI become alchemy?

META:

Robert Downey Jr will narrate a series on AI on Youtube Red.

Wired's guide to robots.

Who will do well in the robopocalypse?  The educated in the West, supposedly.  However, 50% of jobs can be automated.

The US White House is hosting an AI summit and task force.

Gary Kasparov is sounding a bit...Singularitarian.

The creator of West World opines.

Researchers are rebelling against a new paywalled journal by nature on Machine Learning.

Sergei Brin, one of the cofounders of Google, is warning of the darkside of AI.

The robopocalypse may have been dealt a setback because factories of the near future may have a lot more humans than previously thought.

Is Universal Basic Assets (*cough*communism*cough*) to fund Universal Basic Income the answer to the unemployment from the robopocalypse?

Kurzweil, the fallen prophet of the Singularity and now Oracle for Google, is now predicting Universal Basic Income will be wide spread in the 2030s.

AI researchers are making bank.

How to interact with robots and not be an idiot.

A RAND report paints a pretty grim future with the robopocalypse.

The current approach to AI misses an important point: the ability to reason why.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Terminator Times #44

Drones:

The Trump administration has relaxed the rules on exporting armed UAVs.

DARPA wants new ideas for autonomous drone swarms.

DARPA awarded Dynetics the contract for its Gremlins demo.  It appears the drones will be reeled in by a C-130.  This could greatly improve drone ops.

DARPA is training UAVs to dogfight.

The US Army is considering the prospects for UAVs.

A USAF Global Hawk has been operating in the Black Sea, observing Crimea.

The USMC wants a jack of all trades drone for their MUX, but seemingly wants EW & ISR first.

The USMC may replace all its 120mm mortars with suicide drones.

The USMC is giving every squad a quadcopter.

US Navy F/A-18s can now be landed by the deck crew.

The US Navy is emphasizing speed of development and deployment over price for the MQ-25A.  What are the strengths and weaknesses for each contractor for the US Navy's MQ-25A tanker competition?  Boeing has revealed more details of its T-1 entrant and given the first full view of the funky inlet on top.  Boeing has selected Rolls Royce for the engine for its Stingray entrant.  The Boeing MQ-25A has been giving insights on how to handle the aircraft on a carrier.  Lockheed released a video of their not quite yet existing entrant as well.  Lockheed is pitching a stealthy version of their entrant for the future.  Lockheed has stated it could have a flying prototype within a year of the contract award.  General Atomics demoed a method for controlling its proposed drone on the deck in a manner similar to a Wii.  The Navy is pushing forward with the Cat 5 drone.

The US Navy is starting IOC testing for the Fire Scout.

The FireScout needs more space on the LCS classes than is available.

The US Navy's MQ-4C is entering IOC testing and has drawn a lot of international interest.

The Triton will be deployed to Guam by year's end.

Azerbaijan showed off its Harop suicide drone and its Hermes 900.

Britian COULD send its troubled Watchkeeper drones to war.

China and Russia are jointly developing a UAV that can be launched from a BM-30 MRLS.

China is interested in carrier based UAVs.

The Czechs are developing a VTOL drone.

Meet the European MALE RPAS or EuroMALE.

Germany got approval from the US State Department to buy up to $2.5 billion worth of American drones, the MQ-4C Triton.

Germany will soon sign the lease contract for the Heron TPs.

India seems to have been cleared for purchase of American Guardian drones.

An Israeli drone crashed in southern Lebanon.

Israel says an Iranian drone it shotdown was explosively armed and intended to attack Israel.

Netherlands is buying the Black Hornet microUAV.

Poland has purchased Blackjack UAVs.

Portugal wants an ISTAR drone capability.

Russia has been jamming small American drones in Syria.

The Russian Korsar UAV will participate in the May 9th parade.

Russia is testing its VRT300 VTOL UAV.

Russia is delivering Orlan-10s to the MOD.

The Swiss Army is seeking a recon drone.



Taiwan has a quad copter with an assault rifle and grenade launcher.

A Turkish Anka drone was intercepted by a Greek F-16.

Turkey now has six Anka-S drones.

Turkey is offering the Anka UAV to Southeast Asian countries.

Ukraine has developed a loitering munition.

Ukraine has also developed a VTOL variant of its PD-1 UAV.

Houthi rebels in Yemen have increased the use of suicide drones.

AeroVironment teamed a SwitchBlade loitering munition (suicide drone) with a Puma UAV.

AeroVironment will be testing a new UAV by middle of 2018.

Aeryon has unveiled a new UAV.

Bell will demonstrate its autonomous POD cargo delivery drone for the US military..

British Aerospace unveiled its PHASA-35 solar powered UAV.

Elbit completed its acquisition of Universal Avionics.

Insitu has an ITAR free version of its ScanEagle3.

Korean Air and Deftech plan on collaborating on UAVs.

Kratos has opened an aerial target facility in Australia.

Textron unveiled its thrust vectoring X5-55 drone.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles:

Multiple vendors are competing for a US Army contract for the CRSi ground bot.

The US Army and Brits have been testing UGV breachers (and drones) in Germany.

RE2 is offering a drop in upgrade kit for the USAF to convert construction equipment to being unmanned.

US Army Secretary rode in a self driving truck.

The US Navy is looking at testing the walking capability of its MERLIN robot by mid year.

Russia will have its UGVs participate in the May 9th military parade for the first time.

Endeavor Robotics is offering a clean sheet design for the US Army.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles:

The British are looking into collision avoidance for USVs.

The US Navy's call for USVs has sparked a rush by contractors.

Oops!  Aquabotix's SwarmDiver is a USV, not UUV.  Needs a better, more accurate name.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles:

The Canadians are investing in development of fuel cells for UUVs.

Mecha:

A Japanese engineer built an Gundam style mecha...hm.

Spacecraft:

The US Navy Research Lab is looking at launching the first robotic satellite repair system.

3d Printing:

The AFRL & HRL are looking at 3d printing for hypersonics tech.

An Orbital ATK (Northrop) hypersonic warhead was in large part 3d printed.

US Navy's NAVAIR expects to approve something around 1,000 3d printed parts by year's end.

The US Army is 3d printing materials for soft robots.

A company is using 3d printers to print explosives...for the US Navy.

The USMC is embracing 3d printers for replacement parts.

Software Bots:

Google employees have signed a petition to the CEO to end AI work for the Pentagon.

The EFF is against Google working with the Pentagon on AI.

The Pentagon and US intel agencies have set up a joint AI office.

British Army chiefs went to Silicon Valley.

The US Army developed software bots to see faces in IR.

Some are calling for regulating AI before it becomes a cyber arms race.  oops!  too late!

The US military's "AI" Maven is already being used to hunt terrorists in the Middle East.

META:

How the US Army sees robopocalypticized warfare.

The Russian Chief of Staff talks the future of warfare.

West Point made a comic about robopocalyptic warfare between the US and Russia.

AI researchers are calling for a boycott of KAIST, a Korean university, for creating a center for studying and creating autonomous weapons.

Should AI researchers kill people?

Legal scholars and software developers are revolting against automated weapons.

If the UN outlaws automated weapons, will anyone actually pay attention?

The US military sees AI as a transformative technology for war.

The US Army sees war in the future as being fought with both physical and software bots.

The USAF sees AI being used in future wars.

What is the future of drone warfare?

The USMC & US Navy are testing unmanned systems to learn the problems with integration.

The US Army is testing its robopocalyptic toolkit.

Australia is stating American allies need to develop their own robotic fighters, not just buy American.

The US Army Battlelab is considering the robopocalypse.

Friday, May 04, 2018

China may Attempt SpaceX like Vertical Landing for 1st Stage Rocket in 2020

China is developing a Long March launch vehicle with a reusable first stage that could have its trial launch as early as 2020, according to a senior Chinese rocket designer.

Long Lehao of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), on April 24 revealed the new plans for the Long March 8 medium-lift launcher at a space industry conference in Harbin, northeast China, an event held to mark China’s third national space day.

The Long March 8 was previously expected to be developed as an expendable rocket to fill a gap in launch capabilities, allowing China to launch up to 4.5 metric tons to a 700-kilometer altitude Sun-synchronous orbit, both for government launches and competing in the global launch market.

Huang Jun, a professor at the Beihang University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Beijing, told SpaceNews that the Long March 8 will adapt existing launcher designs for vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL), similar to the method employed by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Sea Level Rise Flooding may Have Some Marine Ecosystem Benefits

Due to climate change, sea levels are expected to rise and flood large low-lying areas in many regions of the world. The big question is how we should cope? Should we built dykes or let the sea in?

The choice is not easy, but we have to make it. If we build dykes, we can keep the land dry. But it is a costly and sometimes risky choice. According to biologists at University of Southern Denmark, it is worth considering letting the seawater take over. The results might be more beneficial than trying to keep the water out, they suggest.