Technology

Researchers have developed algorithms that enable robots to learn motor tasks through trial and error, using a process that more closely approximates the way humans learn.

They demonstrated their technique, a type of reinforcement learning, by having a robot complete various tasks -- putting a clothes hanger on a rack, assembling a toy plane, screwing a cap on a water bottle, and more -- without pre-programmed details about its surroundings. 
Though the popular imagery of farming is a small family operation on a tiny patch of land, that isn't really the case.

Over 90 percent of American farms are run by families but they are high-tech operations. Farmers want yields to go up and costs to come down and that means having data.

Ubiquitous social media giant Facebook announced has launched a mobile app called Instant Articles. The app allows news stories provided by a number of partners to be read in their entirety by iPhone users.

Those who download the app will spared the inconvenience of clicking on a link in their usual newsfeed, which may take up to ten seconds to direct to another page.

Google Maps searches for the words "Nigger House" will bring up a map pin pointing the white house and the underground railroad museum in Chicago.  Searches for racial and ethnic slurs on other groups produce MORE questionable results.   In fact the most targeted group is your generic "white" American.

Google says sorry over racist Google Maps White House search results. Searches using a racist slur return results pinpointing the White House in Washington DC (UK Guardian). 
The drive to improve performance means elite sport is inundated with data from wearable technologies such as GPS, computer vision and match statistics.

So professional clubs are constantly on the lookout for tools that can help turn these data into usable and meaningful information.

One such tool gaining popularity is machine learning. Put simply, machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence, whereby computers are able to learn without being explicitly programmed by a human operator.

Light-emitting diodes are the future, and will quickly bypass government-mandated and subsidized compact fluorescent bulbs and the prospect of wearing a Haz-Mat suit if you break one. Why be limited to bulbs, though?

Why not a light-emitting fork? 

Physicist Amir Asadpoordarvish of Umeå University in Sweden did just that, using new light-emitting electrochemical cells (LECs) sprayed onto a substrate that emit light using the current from an ordinary battery. A LEC is a solid-state thin-film device, which comprises an active material sandwiched between a cathode and an anode as its key constituent parts. To-date they have been fabricated on heavy, rigid parts.
A new paper demonstrates how XML markup using GoldenGATE can address the challenges presented by unstructured legacy data, like those presented in the widely used PDF format. 

The paper demonstrates how structured primary biodiversity data can be extracted from such legacy sources and aggregated with and jointly queried with data from other Darwin Core-compatible sources, to present a visualization of these data that can communicate key information contained in biodiversity literature.
A study of portable ultrasound in detecting the presence of minor fractures in patients showed that 85% of patients with a fracture confirmed by X-ray had injuries detected through ultrasonography.

You'd still want a radiographer to rule out fractures but emergency clinicians could rule in fractures using ultrasound images, they conclude.

Ultrasound is a high pitched sound wave generated at a frequency of more than 20,000Hz in air, though the frequency changes depending on the density of the objects through which it passes.

When certified, digital signatures - mechanisms for authenticating the validity or authorship of a certain digital message - have the same legal power as traditional signatures. Introduced by Diffie and Hellman in 1976, they are in all ways digital counterparts to real (analog) signatures. 


Imagine you are negotiating with a documentary maker to film your expensive and precious home.

You are unsure about it, but are reassured that there are fixed procedures to follow; documents to sign and insurance policies to review. The producer seems genuinely concerned that you are happy with the filming process.