Thought for the month

“You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure, what you do not understand.” Leonardo da Vinci, Italian Renaissance polymath (1452 – 1519).

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Latvian growth

Latvia moves from 28th to 1st in a ranking for people born from 1896 to 1996

Monday, 2 July 2018

Four legged friend

Boston Dynamics will start selling its dog-like SpotMini robot in 2019

Friday, 29 June 2018

Feynman’s thoughts

In honour of his centennial, the Top 10 Feynman quotations.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Time for lutetium

Neglected atom has top properties for atomic clocks.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Will the tea bag survive?

Scientists have used a powerful X-ray laser to heat water from room temperature to 100,000 degrees Celsius in less than a tenth of a picosecond.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Flipping panic

Earth’s magnetic field is NOT about to reverse

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Si wafer shipment

Reaching their highest recorded quarterly level ever, worldwide silicon wafer area shipments were 3,084 million square inches during the first quarter of 2018.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Weak proton charge

A team at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has measured the weak charge of the proton by scattering a beam of spin-polarized electrons from stationary protons in a liquid hydrogen target. The value is 0.0719 ± 0.0045.

Friday, 8 June 2018

In good company

On the 15th of June, Professor Stephen Hawking’s ashes will be interred in Westminster Abbey along side Darwin and Newton. A ballot was held to enable one thousand members of the general public to attend the service. Applications were accepted from anyone born before 31/12/2038. Will the time travellers have a special seat? The Professor’s last paper is now available on line. Utterly unremarkable is one assessment - I doubt if he’s bothered.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

73 or 67?

The European Space Agency’s Gaia mission has produced the richest star catalogue to date, with measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars. Analysis of the data from the pulse rates of Cepheid stars, has suggested that the universe is expanding faster than previously thought. The new data puts the Hubble constant at 73, which translates into galaxies moving away from us 73km per second faster for each additional megaparsec of distance between us and them. Estimates based on the cosmic microwave background have a value of 67.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in all its forms does and will increasingly impact society worldwide. The global robot population is predicted to outnumber humans by 2048. However my recent miserable attempts to navigate a ‘smart’ automated repayment system from a railway company made me paraphrase the words of Gandhi. What do I think of Artificial Intelligence? I think that it would be a good idea. Fortunately, the same day a real, friendly human being managed to rescue me from the voice recognition, Kafkaesque, income tax assessment telephonic black hole that I had descended into.

As King Canute knew, you cannot obstruct irresistible forces and the Luddites are not good role models, but should not AI be augmented intelligence, the antidote to natural stupidity?

Friday, 1 June 2018

Special or general ravens?

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Monday, 28 May 2018

Friday, 25 May 2018

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

AI therefore I am?

Monday, 21 May 2018

Friday, 18 May 2018

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Big US R&D spending increase

The US government will spend $176.8bn on R&D in the current financial year, an increase of 12.8% over last year. Funding for basic and applied research gains an extra 10.7% , its largest annual increase since 2009.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Astrophysical gap

A study based on the authorship of scientific papers has examined the STEMM gender gap. It suggests, for example, that it will take about 131 years to close the gender gap in male dominated astrophysics.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Strain enhancement

A group at Warwick University are examining strain induced bulk photovoltaic effects as a route to enhanced efficiencies in solar cells.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Age matters

A recent study shows that the highest success rates in entrepreneurship come from people aged in their forties. The theory being that key entrepreneurial resources, such as human capital, financial capital, and social capital, accumulate with age. Mechanisms by which young people are proposed to have advantages, such as energy or originality, may still be operating, but if so they seem to be overwhelmed by other forces.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Rare mud

Mud, mud glorious mud are words from a song popular in my childhood. It may now be a Karaoke hit with a group of Japanese researchers. Deep sea mud near Minami-Tori-shima an atoll 800 miles off the coast of Japan appears to be a massive store of rare earth metals. The most promising 100 sq. km area is estimated to hold  1.2 million tons of rare-earth oxides which accounts for 62, 47, 32, and 56 years of annual global demand for Y, Eu, Tb, and Dy, respectively. The entire research area might be able to supply Y, Eu, Tb, and Dy for 780, 620, 420, and 730 years, respectively.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Password Day

Today (3rd May, 2018) is ... Password Day. Get tips to fortify your password habits on the official World Password Day website.