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Apple Car, robot qui se reproduit, US satellites attacked everyday, techno la plus importante du 20ème siècle ?, & more
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Voici donc ma dernière sélection l’année ! Bonnes fêtes à tous :)
Les entrailles de la Terre ne sont pas vierges de vie : en 2013, une équipe de scientifiques a trouvé des bactéries, des champignons et des virus dans des roches récoltées à 2,5 km sous le plancher océanique. Pour survivre, elles ont adapté leur métabolisme, avec une division cellulaire tous les 10 000 ans. (BBC)
Selon plusieurs études récentes, les décapodes comme le homard et le crabe ressentent la douleur. Ainsi, plonger un homard vivant dans l'eau bouillante devrait bientôt être interdit au Royaume-Uni. Cette pratique est d'ailleurs déjà proscrite en Suisse depuis 2018. (source)
Nouvelle fonctionnalité Google : Fredonner vos chansons : Cette fonctionnalité vous permet de retrouver une musique en fredonnant quelques notes et reconnaît les sifflements.
Il suffit de se rendre sur l’application mobile Google et de cliquer sur l'icône du microphone à droite de la barre de recherche, puis sur le bouton « Rechercher une chanson ».
Vous pouvez également activer cette fonctionnalité par commande vocale via Google Assistant ; prononcez simplement « Ok Google, quelle est cette chanson ? ».
Un robot présenté comme “the world’s most advanced human shaped robot”
“Designed as a platform for AI and human robot interaction”
Voir la vidéo troublante de 40 secondes
The most important technical invention of the 20th century ? Certains disent que c'est le procédé dit "Haber-Bosch"
named after its inventors, the German chemists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, who developed it in the first decade of the 20th century
ce procédé permet de fixer l'azote de l'air (N2) pour en faire de l'ammoniac (NH3) (avec apport d'hydrogène H2 et d'énergie)
l'ammoniac est le principal composant de l'engrais, d'où : "an invention credited with making “bread from air.”"
By some estimates, this process made possible the lives of more than two billion human beings over the last 100 years.
Bonjour la vie privée : Researchers at Princeton and the University of Washington have developed a tiny camera, the size of a grain of salt, which can snap sharp, full-color images. (source)
À table !
Piqûre de rappel : Russie et Canada sont bien plus petits que ce qu'on a tendance à penser
La plupart des cartes utilisent la projection Mercator, qui transforment la surface d'une sphère en un cylindre déroulé, ce qui est très trompeur pour les hautes et basses latitudes comme on peut le voir ici (réelle taille en bleu foncé)
Un drone qui peut s'accrocher avec ses pattes d'oiseau à une branche ! (source)
Made from lightweight materials, it can carry 10 times its own weight. The bot’s “bones” are made from 3D-printed plastic, while its muscles and tendons are built from motors and fishing line.
During landing, the legs absorb the impact energy and convert it into grasping force.
A future version of that robot could perform wildlife monitoring, search and rescue, and conduct environmental research.
“Part of the underlying motivation of this work was to create tools that we can use to study the natural world,” Roderick said. “If we could have a robot that could act like a bird, that could unlock completely new ways of studying the environment.”
And in fact, it already did some of the latter, as the aerial robot measured microclimates in a remote Oregon forest using onboard temperature and humidity sensors.
Paralysed mice walk again only 4 weeks after a single injection (source)
“Our research aims to find a therapy that can prevent individuals from becoming paralysed after major trauma or disease,”
The researchers based in the USA hope to begin human trials as soon as possible.
The researchers also believe that this process can be applied to treating other conditions.
“The central nervous system tissues we have successfully regenerated in the injured spinal cord are similar to those in the brain affected by stroke and neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS [motor neuron disease], Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease,”
Apple devrait lancer la voiture électrique "autonome" en 2025 (Bloomberg)
Apple’s ideal car would have no steering wheel and pedals, and its interior would be designed around hands-off driving.
Recently, the company reached a key milestone in developing the car’s underlying self-driving system, people familiar with the situation said. Apple believes it has completed much of the core work on the processor it intends to eventually ship in the first generation of the car.
The Apple car chip is the most advanced component that Apple has developed internally and is made up primarily of neural processors that can handle the artificial intelligence needed for autonomous driving.
Apple is looking to build stronger safeguards than what’s available from Tesla and Waymo, engineers involved with the effort say.
The effort is led by Kevin Lynch who previously turned the Apple Watch into a huge success, some engineers on the car team see his appointment as a bullish sign.
Lynch is now the 5th executive to take charge of the project in roughly 7 years. That rate of turnover is rare at Apple. For instance, its virtual and augmented reality team has had one leader since that project kicked off around the same time as the car.
US Space Force General Says China and Russia Are Attacking US Satellites “Every Single Day” (Washington Post)
However, he describes these operations as “reversible attacks,” which means they rely on weapons such as lasers, radio jammers, and cyberattacks that don’t cause permanent damage. Nonetheless, his comments bolsters the ominous case that space is an ever-growing theater of war.
“The threats are really growing and expanding every single day. And it’s really an evolution of activity that’s been happening for a long time,” Thompson told WaPo. “We’re really at a point now where there’s a whole host of ways that our space systems can be threatened.”
“We’re really at a point now where there’s a whole host of ways that our space systems can be threatened.”
Meanwhile, Thompson’s remarks to WaPo illustrate that battles in space aren’t just a thing of the future — they’re here, and they’re getting heated.
“The Chinese are actually well ahead [of Russia],” Thompson said. “They're fielding operational systems at an incredible rate.”
China is also putting satellites into space at twice the rate of the United States, meaning that if nothing changes on our end, China will surpass the United States in capability in space in a few years, he estimated.
La révolution Starship, encore (source)
Enter the future Starship rocket from SpaceX. Annual capacity to LEO climbs from its current average of 500 tonnes for the whole of our civilization to perhaps 500 tonnes per week.
Eventually, it could exceed 1 million tonnes per year.
At the same time, launch costs drop as low as $50/kg, roughly 100x lower than the present.
For the same budget in launch, supply will have increased by roughly 100x.
How can the space industry saturate this increased launch supply?
Prior to Starship, heavy machinery for building a Moon base could only come from NASA, because only NASA has the expertise to build a rocket propelled titanium Moon tractor for a billion dollars per unit.
After Starship, Caterpillar or Deere can space qualify their existing commodity products with very minimal changes and operate them in space.
World's first living robots can now reproduce, scientists say (CNN)
"Most people think of robots as made of metals and ceramics but it's not so much what a robot is made from but what it does, which is act on its own on behalf of people," said Josh Bongard, a computer science professor and robotics expert at the University of Vermont and lead author of the study.
The US scientists who created the first living robots say the life forms, known as xenobots, can now reproduce -- and in a way not seen in plants and animals.
Formed from the stem cells of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) from which it takes its name, xenobots are less than a millimetre wide. The tiny blobs were first unveiled in 2020 after experiments showed that they could move, work together in groups and self-heal.
Bongard said they found that the xenobots, which were initially sphere-shaped and made from around 3,000 cells, could replicate. But it happened rarely and only in specific circumstances. The xenobots used "kinetic replication" -- a process that is known to occur at the molecular level but has never been observed before at the scale of whole cells or organisms, Bongard said.
With the help of artificial intelligence, the researchers then tested billions of body shapes to make the xenobots more effective at this type of replication. The supercomputer came up with a C-shape that resembled Pac-Man, the 1980s video game. They found it was able to find tiny stem cells in a petri dish, gather hundreds of them inside its mouth, and a few days later the bundle of cells became new xenobots.
Below a C-shaped parent xenobot collects and compresses loose stem cells together into a pile which can mature into offspring (progéniture).
The xenobots are very early technology -- think of a 1940s computer -- and don't yet have any practical applications.
However, this combination of molecular biology and artificial intelligence could potentially be used in a host of tasks in the body and the environment, according to the researchers. This may include things like collecting microplastics in the oceans, inspecting root systems and regenerative medicine.
Un nouveau concept de fusée : "Hungry Hippo"
Rocket Lab, une entreprise américano-néo zélandaise à suivre, a été fondée par l'ambitieux Peter Beck qui entend rattraper Elon Musk et SpaceX
Sa future fusée, la Neutron, devrait pouvoir concurrencer la fusée Falcon 9 de Space X (mais reste loin derrière le Starship, 10-20 tonnes en orbite pour les premières contre 150 pour le Starship)
La Neutron a notamment ceci d'original : la coiffe, en haut de la fusée, n'est pas vouée à être éjectée, elle s'ouvre comme une fleur...ou comme la gueule d'un hippopotame, à vous de voir...
Historically, fairings (la coiffe) separate and fall back to Earth and are generally considered expendable (jetable), though SpaceX retrieves them from the ocean for refurbishment and reuse.
Rocket Lab has instead attached the four fairings to the first stage, where they will mechanically open. This is yet another design decision that has been driven by the use of composite materials, Beck said.
Voir l'animation dans cette vidéo de présentation arrêtée au bon moment.
For the first time, India’s fertility rate has fallen below replacement level (The Economist)
lower fertility means the population will peak sooner and at a lower figure: not in 40 years at more than 1.7bn, as was widely predicted, but probably a decade earlier, at perhaps 1.6bn
In the 2005-06 survey, the proportion of women aged 20-24 who had already been married at 18 stood at 47%. This has dropped by half in 15 years, to 23%, meaning that women are spending fewer child-bearing years with a partner.
Improving education has also had an impact. India’s data show a perfect correlation between years of schooling and numbers of births.
Cela va dans le sens de la théorie développée dans le livre "Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline", publié en 2019, "a provocative argument that the global population will soon begin to decline, dramatically reshaping the social, political, and economic landscape."
Face au vieillissement de la population généralisé dans le monde, et si on tarde à mettre au point des robots suffisamment habiles, et contrairement à l’humeur actuelle, les pays vont bientôt devoir redoubler d'effort pour attirer des migrants, et ceux qui y parviendront, tout en minimisant les frictions résultant des chocs culturels à en attendre, seront sans doute les grands gagnants du 21ème siècle.
Cheap Kamikze drones are revolutionising the art of war (source)
Americans have become accustomed to images of missiles raining down from Predator and Reaper drones to hit terrorist targets in Pakistan or Yemen. But that was yesterday’s drone war.
A revolution in unmanned aerial vehicles is unfolding, and the U.S. has lost its monopoly on the technology.
They can leapfrog traditional defenses to strike infantry troops anywhere on the battlefield, and they cost just $6,000 a piece, compared to $150,000 for the missile typically fired by Predator or Reaper drones.
The U.S. military couldn’t have fought the way it did in Iraq or Afghanistan if the enemy had had killer drones. The next battlefield opponent is likely to have them. And terrorists will eventually get them, too — a possibility that has homeland security officials scrambling to find a solution, given that there is no surefire defense against them.
“There are over 100 countries and nonstate groups that have drones today, and the technology is widely proliferating,”
Weighing less than 3kg, including its small warhead, the Switchblade can be taken into battle in a backpack and fly up to 11 km to hit a target. The 300 model is designed to kill individuals, while a larger version, the 600, can destroy armored vehicles.
Our enemies can't see, can't hear, can't tell it's coming, and really precisely achieve a specific mission effect,”
the Taliban and others who have been on the receiving end refer to it as an angry bird or a buzzing bee.
The Switchblade has a feature that allows the operator to adjust the blast radius, so it can kill the driver of a vehicle but not a passenger, for example. The weapon can be “waved off” up to two seconds before impact, AeroVironment says, in the event of a mistake or a risk to civilians.
launched by hand like a large model airplane and provides high-resolution color imagery of the ground. The images beamed back from the Puma’s cameras made it clear that an operator could see the expression on the face of a target in the seconds before the Switchblade struck.
“The ability to have something that's small and tube-launched that's in your backpack, that the squad leader has access to, that they don't have to get on the radio and call in close air support ... that is a real game changer from a military capability standpoint,”
It’s a game changer not just for the U.S
Drones, experts say, may usher in the largest transformation of ground war tactics since the advent of the machine gun at the turn of the 20th century, which quickly put an end to sending large formations of troops marching into gunfire.
The specter of a swarm of explosives-packed drones buzzing toward a crowded U.S. sports arena keeps homeland security officials up at night.
“This threat is significant, and it's imminent, and it's upon us.”
J'avais fait une liste exhaustive de tous les arguments pour et contre les armes autonomes dans cet article "Autonomous Weapons Debate: A list of all the arguments for and against", aussi publié en français dans le Journal du Net
à voir aussi, la vidéo dystopienne publiée début décembre par le “The Future of Life Institute (FLI), a nonprofit focused on existential risks from technology”, qui compte déjà 4 millions de vues, “a video that depicts what the future could be like if lethal autonomous weapons go unregulated.”
"The weapons we portray in the film are mainly going to be used by civilians on civilians," says Max Tegmark, co-founder of FLI and an AI researcher at MIT. "And I'm so worried about this precisely because they're so small and cheap that they can proliferate."
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C'est tout pour cette semaine !
Merci, et bon week-end !