A new form of misinformation is poised to spread through online communities as the 2018 midterm election campaigns heat up. Called “deepfakes” after the pseudonymous online account that popularized the technique – which may have chosen its name because the process uses a technical method called “deep learning” – these fake videos look very realistic.
Now that school is back in session, many high schoolers have new phones, new computers and new privileges for using their devices – and new responsibilities too. High schoolers today are more technology-savvy than average adults. While many people think that young people use their devices primarily for video games and social networking, the reality today is that high schoolers use technology for learning as much as for entertainment.
Australia’s first commercial installation of printed solar cells, made using specialised semiconducting inks and printed using a conventional reel-to-reel printer, has been installed on a factory roof in Newcastle. The 200 square meter array was installed in just one day by a team of five people. No other energy solution is as lightweight, as quick to manufacture, or as easy to install on this scale.
The energy-generating potential of solar panels – and a key limitation on their use – is a result of what they’re made of. Panels made of silicon are declining in price such that in some locations they can provide electricity that costs about the same as power from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. But silicon solar panels are also bulky, rigid and brittle, so they can’t be used just anywhere.
Science is like Michelangelo. The young Michelangelo demonstrated his skill as a sculptor by carving the ravishing Pietà in the Vatican; the mature Michelangelo, having acquired and demonstrated his skill, broke free of the conventions and created his extraordinary later quasi-abstractions. Science has trod a similar path.
A newly discovered processor vulnerability could potentially put secure information at risk in any Intel-based PC manufactured since 2008. It could affect users who rely on a digital lockbox feature known as Intel Software Guard Extensions, or SGX, as well as those who use common cloud-based services.
Sales of George Orwell’s utopian novel 1984 (1949) have spiked twice recently, both times in response to political events. In early 2017, the idea of ‘alternative facts’ called to mind Winston Smith, the book’s protagonist and, as a clerk in the Ministry of Truth, a professional alternator of facts.
Why do batteries die? And, why can they only be recharged so many times before they won’t hold a useful amount of charge? This same question has probably crossed the mind of every cellphone user trying to send one last text before the screen blinks off.
Millions of people will have the opportunity to see a lunar eclipse – an event popularly known in the media as a “blood moon” – on Friday July 27.
Underpants. We tend not to talk about them but they are a fact of life (unless you go commando).
Will the intelligent algorithms of the future look like general-purpose robots, as adept at idle banter and reading maps as they are handy in the kitchen? Or will our digital assistants look more like a grab-bag of specialized gadgets...
“A red sky at night is a shepherd’s delight! A red sky in the morning is a shepherd’s warning.” The “red sky” proverb has endured across cultures for centuries, and modern science can explain why this is so.
The old statistics axiom that correlation doesn’t imply causation is true, but causation can be drawn from more than one correlation.
When Sudan the white rhino was put down by his carers earlier this year, it confirmed the extinction of one of the savannah’s most iconic subspecies.
Movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner and Terminator brought rogue robots and computer systems to our cinema screens. But these days, such classic science fiction spectacles don’t seem so far removed from reality.
Thousands of people in Sweden have inserted microchips, which can function as contactless credit cards, key cards and even rail cards, into their bodies.
Researchers say they’ve solved a major fabrication challenge for perovskite cells—the intriguing potential challengers to silicon-based solar cells.
Social media are among the primary sources of news in the U.S. and across the world. Yet users are exposed to content of questionable accuracy, including conspiracy theories, clickbait, hyperpartisan content, pseudo science and even fabricated “fake news” reports.
The summer solstice marks the official start of summer. It brings the longest day and shortest night of the year for the 88 percent of Earth’s people who live in the Northern Hemisphere.
When humans’ genetic information (known as the genome) was mapped in 2003, it promised to change the world. Optimists anticipated an era in which all genetic diseases would be eradicated. Pessimists feared widespread genetic discrimination. Neither of these hopes and fears have been realised.
Paramhansa Yogananda said: We are all of us a little bit crazy, but most of us don't know it because we mix only with people with the same type of craziness as our own. It is only when differently crazy people come together that they get a chance to find out the errors in their own types of craziness!
Facebook has for the first time made available data on the scale of abusive comments posted to its site. The figures do not make for pleasurable reading.
Imagine standing in front of a wall of windows, surveying the view. “Here is the video I wanted to show you.” At the press of a button, the view vanishes and the windows transform into a high-definition TV screen.
A new water-based battery could provide a cheap way to store wind or solar energy for later, researchers say.
Currently, there are three important issues on which there is scientific consensus but controversy among laypeople: climate change, biological evolution and childhood vaccination.
We’ve heard a lot in recent months about the dark side of social media: excessive use to the point of addiction, lack of privacy, and data capture without informed consent.
Fingerprints have provided key evidence in countless cases of serious crime. But there are still some situations in which it can be difficult or impossible to recover fingerprints and this can cause a headache for forensic investigators.
The wind industry is growing quickly around the world, especially in China and the U.S., where the total amount of electricity generated by wind turbines nearly doubled between 2011 and 2017.
The term “evidence” has a fascinating linguistic and social history – and it’s a good reminder that even today the truth of scientific evidence depends on it being presented in a convincing way.
After years of being derided as a joke by car manufacturers and the public, interest in electric vehicles has increased sharply as governments around the world move to ban gasoline and diesel cars.
Before I started working on real-world robots, I wrote about their fictional and historical ancestors. This isn’t so far removed from what I do now. In factories, labs, and of course science fiction, imaginary robots keep fuelling our imagination about artificial humans and autonomous machines.
Appalachian attitudes about technology’s role in daily life are extremely sophisticated – and turn out to be both insightful and useful in a technology-centric society.
It was March 2017, and a winter storm named Stella promised to deliver up to a foot and a half of snow to New York City and parts of New Jersey.
Life’s intelligence, received through our inner guidance, is habitually interrupted or camouflaged by the mind’s chatter. A reflection of this same process is occurring worldwide, where we find ourselves in the midst of a highly magnified “technology takeover.” The universal use of technology, much like our addiction to thinking, has resulted in a constant current of information interrupting the “flow” of our life.
According to scholars throughout history, we actually aren’t living in the year that is printed on our calendars.
My first real awareness of our psychological attitudes to technology came from an unusual source: the British comedian Eddie Izzard.
As Facebook users around the world are coming to understand, some of their favorite technologies can be used against them.
Researchers have created a mathematical model that shows how selfies and other photos taken at close range can distort the appearance of the subject’s nose.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took to the social platform last week to announce a call-out for ideas about how to measure the health of online conversations.
The South Australian government and Tesla recently announced a large-scale solar and storage scheme that will distribute solar panels and batteries free of charge to 50,000 households.
A team of researchers in northern Australia have documented kites and falcons
We live in a world drowning in objects: households with a television in each room; kitchen cupboards stuffed with waffle makers, blenders and cappuccino whisks; drawers filled to bursting with pocket-sized devices powered by batteries – batteries which themselves take a thousand times more energy to make than they will ever provide.
Before the internet, before smart phones, teenagers and young people would seek out quizzes in comics, read problem pages in girls magazines and watch television for advice on how to be themselves.
Imagine you are about to go on vacation. You have been looking forward to it for some time. But your robotic personal assistant has other ideas.
Sitting in a bar, you start chatting to a man who issues you a challenge. He hands you five red and two black cards. After shuffling, you lay them on the bar, face down. He bets you that you cannot turn over three red cards. And to help you, he explains the odds.
The Y chromosome may be a symbol of masculinity, but it is becoming increasingly clear that it is anything but strong and enduring. On the question of whether the Y chromosome will actually disappear, the scientific community, like the UK at the moment, is currently divided into the “leavers” and the “remainers”.
With sufficient investment and strategic deployment, carbon dioxide removal and storage can play a key role in keeping global warming to a level we can live with.
When you shift your attention from one thing to another, your brain “blinks” between focusing on the two things, researchers report.
Usually, a lack of proper spiritual education and moral guidance in a society is a powerful factor that allows the dark shadows easy entrance into clouded human hearts. Many people, from all professions, are so cynical that they have given up the dream of a perfect society. These people have no true vision...
Plastics have got themselves a bad name, mainly for two reasons: most are made from petroleum and they end up as litter in the environment.
How can you live the life you want to, avoiding the distractions and manipulations of others? To do so, you need to know how you work. “Know thyself”, the Ancients urged. Sadly, we are often bad at this.
How young children use screen devices, rather than how much time they spend using the devices, may be the strongest predictor of emotional or social problems connected with screen addiction, new research suggests.
Decisions span a vast range of complexity. There are really simple ones: Do I want an apple or a piece of cake with my lunch? Then there are much more complicated ones: Which car should I buy, or which career should I choose?
What is net neutrality, this policy Ajit Pai, President Trump’s chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has spent years criticizing? Here are some highlights of The Conversation’s coverage of the controversy around the concept of keeping the internet open...
We all want to know how many jobs will be threatened by the rise of robots and technology. You might feel vulnerable if your job is one that could be affected.
Gamers won’t be surprised. We and our colleagues have discovered a link between people’s ability to play video games and their general intelligence.
A new study recommends replacing all incandescent and halogen light bulbs in your home now with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LEDs.
Sheep are surprisingly smart. New research from the University of Cambridge shows the animals can learn to recognise people from photographs, even people they’ve never seen in real life, such as celebrities.
Most of us are familiar with the genetic differences between men and women. Men have X and Y sex chromosomes, and women have two X chromosomes. But a recent paper claims that beyond just genes on X and Y, a full third of our genome is behaving very differently in men and women.
Today the sun is shining during my commute home from work. But this weekend, public service announcements will remind us to “fall back,” ending daylight saving time by setting our clocks an hour earlier on Sunday, Nov. 5. On Nov. 6, many of us will commute home in the dark.
Humans have always used simple observations of nature to try to understand our complex environment and even the wider cosmos.
Every coastal country on Earth could meet its own domestic seafood needs through aquaculture using just a small fraction of ocean territory, a new study suggests.
Why do phones, tablets and computers always slow down as they get older, to the point that they become unusable, but when I back it up and restore it onto a brand new device, it’s fast again
You’ve probably been told it’s dangerous to open unexpected attachment files in your email – just like you shouldn’t open suspicious packages in your mailbox. But have you been warned against scanning unknown QR codes or just taking a picture with your phone
China, the world’s largest car market, is working on a timetable to stop the production and sale of vehicles powered by fossil fuels. India has declared its intention to make all new vehicles electric by 2030.
As the Federal Communications Commission takes up the issue of whether to reverse the Obama-era Open Internet Order, a key question consumers and policymakers alike are asking is: What difference do these rules make?
It should come as no surprise that the first recorded use of the number zero, recently discovered to be made as early as the 3rd or 4th century, happened in India. Mathematics on the Indian subcontinent has a rich history going back over 3,000 years and thrived for centuries before similar advances were made in Europe, with its influence meanwhile spreading to China and the Middle East.
Apple recently announced the launch of its iPhone 8 and iPhone X, which come with sleek, new features. Apple also hopes to start a new community around the iPhones.
When kids believe they can achieve success in math and reading, they are more likely to achieve high test scores in those subjects, new research suggests.
In the next few years, you will probably have your first interaction with a medical artificial intelligence (AI) system.
What do you think of when you think about mathematics? Many people find mathematics daunting. If true, this piece is for you. If not, this piece is still for you.
Research into how we can keep our brains healthy as we age has gained momentum in recent years. There is now an increased focus on the changes that we can make to our health and lifestyle...
The physics and the astrology say we are going to become even more polarized. We are here, all of us, in this time, to take sides. And by the way, it’s too late to shirk your responsibility. By even...
A total eclipse of the sun will be visible across the continental United States on Monday. Your next chance to see such an event in the US won’t occur until April 8, 2024.
If you’ve been paying attention, you know that on Aug. 21, we’re in for a special cosmic treat: the Great American Eclipse of 2017.
If you you’ve never seen a solar eclipse before, you should make an effort to witness the breathtaking event on August 21
I’ve wanted to be a scientist since I was five years old. My idea of a scientist was someone in a lab, making hypotheses and testing theories.
Creating a huge global network connecting billions of individuals might be one of humanity’s greatest achievements to date, but microbes beat us to it by more than three billion years.
Genetic variation is an unavoidable feature of life. As a consequence of this – and unless you are an identical twin – you are genetically unique.
Flying warehouses, robot receptionists, smart toilets… do such innovations sound like science fiction or part of a possible reality?
It’s been 60 years since the cover of Popular Mechanics magazine gave us the promise of flying cars. But our personal mobility options remain, today and for the foreseeable future, earthbound.
American leadership in technology innovation and economic competitiveness is at risk if U.S. policymakers don’t take crucial steps to protect the country’s digital future.
A building’s primary purpose may be to keep the weather out, but most do such an effective job of this that they also inadvertently deprive us of contact with two key requirements for our well-being and effectiveness: nature and change.
We now have reached the stage of evolution where we are ready to accept the world for what it must be: a product of our united imagination. This thought is the sky above, the stars overhead, and the invisible canvas covering the world. The material science worldview is a stage in...
Researchers have developed a new kind of semiconductor alloy capable of capturing the near-infrared light located on the edge of the visible light spectrum.
Earth’s climate is changing rapidly. We know this from billions of observations, documented in thousands of journal papers and texts and summarized every few years by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Scientists have found a way to wirelessly transmit electricity to a nearby moving object.
Astronauts on the International Space Station are growing crystals that could help develop new drugs for use on Earth. Here are ten healthcare technologies that have already come from space:
Exactly what constitutes intelligence, and to what extent it is genetic, are some of the most controversial questions in science.
Science funding is intended to support the production of new knowledge and ideas that develop new technologies, improve medical treatments and strengthen the economy.
The mystery behind why your shoelaces constantly seem to untie themselves could finally have a solution.
Big Brother does “just want to help” – in Estonia, at least. In this small nation of 1.3 million people, citizens have overcome fears of an Orwellian dystopia with ubiquitous surveillance to become a highly digital society.
The development and evolution of the chemical industry is directly responsible for many of the technological advancements that have emerged since the late 19th century.
The Trump administration’s efforts to impose new immigration rules drew attention – and legal fire – for its restrictions on the ability of people born in certain majority Muslim countries
Every day countless headlines emerge from myriad sources across the globe, both warning of dire consequences and promising utopian futures – all thanks to artificial intelligence.
We live in a world that is both increasingly complex and automated.
What happens when you take your shoes and socks off and walk barefoot on the surface of the Earth? As antioxidant electrons from the Earth enter the body through the bottoms of the feet, they neutralize the free radicals widely thought to be responsible for the...
A battery made with urea, commonly found in fertilizers and mammal urine, could provide a low-cost way of storing energy produced through solar power or other forms of renewable energy for consumption during off hours.
The Volkswagen emissions scandal and past promotions of tobacco are two examples of “alternative facts” in science’s past, a researcher warns.