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Naoki Watanabe
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6TB SSD announced

I don't know the company and reliability and performance reviews are yet to come. But there is no denying a 6TB 2.5" SSD with 500MB/s transfer speeds is highly intriguing.

http://phys.org/news/2015-05-fixstars-six-terabyte-solid-state.html
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New breast cancer therapy promising

As published in the journal Cell Reports a new therapy is being tested in the fight against breast cancer which could have wide ranging applications.

In recent years the trend in cancer research has been vaccines, rather than cutting out or nuking cancerous cells if we could train the body's own immune system to destroy cancer cells the side effects would be minimal.

The reported therapy loaded a vaccine (antigens) into porous silicon microparticles which were then introduced to the cancer site.

The result was a sustained release of the vaccine as desired but the microparticles themselves kicked off an immune response. The double-whammy produced promising results;

"This is the most amazing result we have ever seen in a tumor treatment study." - Haifa Shen of the Houston Methodist Research institute. 

This method could be used for most cancer types but I must stress this is still only research in a lab using mice at this stage.

http://www.gizmag.com/silicon-microparticles-cancer-antigen/37375/
New research now suggests a vaccine for breast cancer might not be all that far away, with the discovery that loading cancer antigens into silicon microparticles serves to greatly boost the body's immune response.
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Ten rotor tilt wing hybrid electric unmanned aircraft from NASA

It can hover like a helicopter, or more accurately like a quad-rotor drone, for up to 24 hours. And cruise mode is hoped to be four times more efficient than a helicopter.

http://www.gizmag.com/ten-engine-electric-plane-takes-off/37280/
NASA has dusted off and improved on a tilt wing aircraft design. Called the Greased Lightning GL-10, the unmanned prototype made a successful vertical takeoff and transition to horizontal flight at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia, not far from NASA Langley.
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Real time MRI imaging

See inside the head of a man as he sings "If I only had a brain". Brilliant technology with many practical applications.

http://www.popsci.com/see-inside-guys-head-he-sings-if-i-only-had-brain-video?dom=fb&src=SOC
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The continued rise of the electric car

Combustion engine cars
1901: Wilhelm Maybach's first Mercedes has 35 HP
2005: Bugati Veyron 16.4 is built with 1,001 HP
2009: Koenigsegg creates the CCXR with 1,018 HP (on biofuel)
2010: Bugati makes the "Super Sport" version with 1,200 HP
2012: Hennesy built the Venom GT with 1,244 HP
2014: Koenigsegg's Agera One:1 comes with 1,341 HP (1kW)

Electric cars
1999: GM's EV1, considered the first modern electric car, had 137HP
2004: Tesla's Roadster came with 248 HP
2010: Tesla's Model S is propelled by 416 HP
2015: Tesla revised the Model S up to 691 HP
2015: eO PP03 race car has 1368 HP (1.02 kW)

Now a Latvian EV will compete in the Pike's Peak hillclimb where electric cars and motorbikes are already hounding the competition due to the wonderful advantage of losing no power as altitude rises. And at a weight of only 1200 kgs this PP03 blows away even the mighty $1.5 million dollar One:1's power to weight ratio. 

Pike's Peak master and multi-decade champion Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima set a new record and won the EV class in 2013 with his custom built E-Runner. With a sub-10 minute run he matched the 2012 unlimited class. In 2014 the unlimited class winner set a time of 9m 05s. The EV class winner had a time of 9m 08s (you can watch Greg Tracy doing his run here: http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/videos/a8311/greg-tracy-demolishes-pikes-peak-ev-record/).

I think this year we will see EVs take home the absolute win.

http://www.electricautosport.com/2015/04/worlds-first-1-megawatt-all-electric-race-car-to-compete-at-pikes-peak/
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Does welfare incentivize laziness?

We often hear from the political right about how welfare encourages people to be lazy, entitled and it stifles the economy. While if we greatly reduced or even removed welfare altogether it would encourage people to go out and get work.

This is clearly a broken argument for a number of reasons;

1. It assumes there are jobs to get (which is generally very wrong in times of high welfare assistance such as our recent recession).
2. It ignores the fact that low income groups put their money straight back into the economy much of which is then drawn up in tax revenue. It does not drag down the economy in any devastating way.
3. The social and law enforcement costs of high crime resulting from not having any safety net are huge.
4. The argument is not an economic one and is simply one of human psychology, "I didn't get any help therefore nobody else should".

So the GOP stance on welfare has been well and truly debunked for decades (at least) but what if we did analyze their claims objectively..

Well, then they are still wrong.

"Survey responses from 19,000 people in 18 European countries" taking into account the "amount the country spent on welfare benefits and employment schemes, while taking into account the population differences between states" found "the more a country paid to the unemployed or sick, and invested in employment schemes, the more its likely people were likely to agree with the statement, whether employed or not."


http://phys.org/news/2015-03-welfare-benefits-people.html
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I love that the article explicitly points out in the first line the UK was included in the 18 countries. It's as if they're tacitly acknowledging that if there was one country which would be closest to proving a counter-example (i.e. that the presence of welfare DOES in fact cause laziness) then it would be that one, and so you need to say it to stop people responding with "18 countries, but not the UK, right ?"

It's true though, most people are comparatively lazy here by world standards with or without jobs. Welfare has nothing to do with it, as tempting as it is to blame it on that. It comes from a culture still heavily influenced by its trade union history, and shows up as an expectation that any day longer than 9-5 is unthinkable, regardless of salary inducements.

Far be it from me to ever refer to the Daily Mail as an actual "newspaper", but this comment from Jamie Oliver made me nod and giggle, especially the bit about the hours: 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2403575/
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High resolution GPS for consumers

Fun fact; The military GPS signal isn't more accurate than the civilian signal. But the military service does broadcast on two frequencies instead of one. This allows them to factor in degradation caused by the atmosphere in a technique called ionospheric correction.

There are still tricks available with the civilian single frequency system to reach similar accuracy levels. 

http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/transportation/self-driving/cheap-centimeterprecision-gps-for-cars-and-drones
Software-based receiver corrects the inherent errors GPS measurements, providing position with two centimeters
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At home electroplating on the cheap

3D printing, additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping. Great, and now once you have your printed object you can electroplate it in copper, nickel, palladium or gold at home on your desktop for only $2USD/gram.

http://www.gizmag.com/orbit1-tabletop-electroplater/37102/
Orbit1 is an electroplating solution aimed at small businesses and hobbyists, allowing them to coat any small object in a choice of metallic finishes. The device is relatively low cost, efficient to run, and pairs with a smartphone app to provide an accessible metal-coating experience.
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Audi's new synthetic diesel - e-Diesel

Audi, the purveyor of fine automobiles, has teamed with a startup company to produce synthetic diesel. Sunfire's process first splits hydrogen from water (electrolysis) using electricity from renewable sources before pairing it with carbon from CO2 into long chain hydrocarbons. The CO2 can be sequestered from the atmosphere making it entirely carbon neutral and it doesn't contain sulfur or other pollutants like natural fossil fuels. 

Further refining creates what they call e-Diesel which can work in diesel engine cars. Like their absolutely fearsome Le Mans winning R18.

Efficiency is claimed to be in the 70% range which is pretty good and end prices are hoped to be only slightly more than standard diesel. 

http://www.gizmag.com/audi-creates-e-diesel-from-co2/37130/
Audi is making a new fuel for internal combustion engines that has the potential to make a big dent when it comes to climate change – that's because the synthetic diesel is made from just water an...
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No they didn't. They used the byproducts of a chemical cascade involving air and water, that happened because of a huge energy infusion.
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Big Tape

If you've ever seen an old movie featuring a big computer in the background chances were you saw two big open reels of tape winding back and forth. These magnetic tape systems were, amazingly, the best thing going at the time. Early IBM 360 (2401) mainframe nine-track tape systems came in a cabinet and had a staggering 140MB of storage capacity and had transfer rates of up to 1.25MB/s. Of course if you were at the end of your tape and needed to read something from the beginning you had to wait 4-5 minutes to rewind it all.

These sorts of tape systems were huge in the 70s and 80s but declined steadily over the years with the introduction of much faster floppy/hard disks until in 2002 when the last nine-track tape came off the last assembly line.

However, tape never actually died. Smaller, higher density formats were developed and they actually have a lot of use in backup systems and cold (offline) storage. 

IBM continues to research tape because it is still just so much cheaper than other methods of storing a lot of data.

Their latest announcement is a whopping 220 terabytes on a single cartridge. Top put that in other terms it's the storage capacity of 1,718.75 top end iPhone 6s.

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2403498/ibm-creates-teeny-tiny-220tb-tape-to-entrench-a-trillion-texts
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Their latest announcement is a whopping 220 terabytes on a single cartridge.

Crap, and we just bought 10 T10K-D drives that store 8T per cartridge.
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Cloning a wooly mammoth

Wooly mammoth carcases turn up frozen in permafrost and finds really started to hit the news in 2013 when talking of possibly cloning them started. Since 2013 Russian scientists have been working toward a goal of de-extinction. The process would taking DNA extracted from the carcasses and implanting it into elephant egg cells, which would then be given to an elephant surrogate mother (who could be quite surprised). The animals would finally be introduced into the Pleistocene wildlife reserve in Siberia.

Well it seems some progress has been made but using a different, more direct process. While not yet published or peer tested one Harvard team claims to have spliced (using CRISPR technique) some genes related to cold resistance, hair and ears inside a living Asian elephant. 

Exciting work! 


https://richarddawkins.net/2015/03/woolly-mammoth-dna-inserted-into-elephant-cells/
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Oh Ray Romano, what have they done to you?
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Evidently '77 was a fine year for raconteurs.
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Naoki
Pulled pork, ribs, great beer.
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