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This artist's concept shows NASA's Mars orbiters lining up behind the Red Planet for their "duck and cover" maneuver to shield them from comet dust that may result from the close flyby of comet Siding Spring. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

Science Fleet Prepares for Mars Comet Encounter

October 15, 2014 3:24 pm | by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory | News | Comments

NASA's extensive fleet of science assets, particularly those orbiting and roving Mars, have front row seats to image and study a once-in-a-lifetime comet flyby on October 19, 2014. Comet C/2013 A1, also known as comet Siding Spring, will pass within about 87,000 miles (139,500 kilometers) of the Red Planet — less than half the distance between Earth and our moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of Earth.

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The University of Washington’s current fusion experiment, HIT-SI3. It is about one-tenth the size of the power-producing dynomak concept. Courtesy of U of Washington

Fusion Reactor could be Cheaper than Coal

October 15, 2014 3:19 pm | by Michelle Ma, University of Washington | News | Comments

Fusion energy almost sounds too good to be true — zero greenhouse gas emissions, no long-lived radioactive waste, a nearly unlimited fuel supply. Perhaps the biggest roadblock to adopting fusion energy is that the economics haven’t penciled out. University of Washington engineers hope to change that.

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Leonardo Sagnotti, standing, and coauthor Giancarlo Scardia collecting a sample for paleomagnetic analysis.

Earth’s Magnetic Field could Flip within a Human Lifetime

October 15, 2014 3:09 pm | by Robert Sanders, University of California, Berkeley | News | Comments

Imagine the world waking up one morning to discover that all compasses pointed south instead of north. It’s not as bizarre as it sounds. Earth’s magnetic field has flipped — though not overnight — many times throughout the planet’s history. A new study demonstrates that the last magnetic reversal 786,000 years ago actually happened very quickly, in less than 100 years — roughly a human lifetime.

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IBM is focusing its storage business on a new model for enterprise data storage that is optimized for interoperability across hardware and software solutions.

Software Defined Storage a Tipping Point in Taming Big Data Deluge

October 14, 2014 4:57 pm | by IBM | News | Comments

In a keynote speech at IBM Enterprise, Jamie Thomas, General Manager, Storage and Software Defined Systems at IBM, unveiled a bold strategy for the company’s storage business. Building upon the Software Defined Storage portfolio announced last May, IBM is focusing its storage business on a new model for enterprise data storage that is optimized for interoperability across hardware and software solutions.

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Quail Embryo -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World

Close-up: Quail Embryo

October 14, 2014 4:34 pm | News | Comments

This 0.17X photo shows a quail embryo at embryonic day 13. It received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope.

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Phylogenetic tree constructed with the BEAST software and built on a subset of both contemporary and ancient samples. Courtesy of Oxford University Press

Treasure Trove of Ancient Genomes Helps Recalibrate Human Evolutionary Clock

October 14, 2014 4:18 pm | by Molecular Biology and Evolution, Oxford University Press | News | Comments

To improve the modeling and reading of the branches on the human tree of life, researchers compiled the most comprehensive DNA set to date, a new treasure trove of 146 ancient (including Neanderthal and Denisovian) and modern human full mitochondrial genomes (amongst a set of 320 available worldwide).

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Artist impression of an electron wave function (blue), confined in a crystal of silicon-28 atoms (black), controlled by a nanofabricated metal gate (silver). Courtesy of Dr. Stephanie Simmons/UNSW

New Records: Qubits Process Quantum Data with More than 99% Accuracy

October 14, 2014 4:04 pm | by UNSW Australia | News | Comments

Two research teams have found distinct solutions to a critical challenge that has held back the realization of super powerful quantum computers. The teams, working in the same laboratories at UNSW Australia, created two types of quantum bits, or "qubits" — the building blocks for quantum computers — that each process quantum data with an accuracy above 99 percent.

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While the upper part of the world’s oceans continue to absorb heat from global warming, ocean depths have not warmed measurably in the last decade. This image shows heat radiating from the Pacific Ocean as imaged by the NASA’s Clouds and the Earth's Radia

Unsolved Mystery: Earth’s Ocean Abyss has Not Warmed

October 14, 2014 2:47 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

The cold waters of Earth’s deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005, according to a new NASA study, leaving unsolved the mystery of why global warming appears to have slowed in recent years. Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, analyzed satellite and direct ocean temperature data from 2005 to 2013 and found the ocean abyss below 1.24 miles (1,995 meters) has not warmed measurably.

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An innovative piece of research looks into the matter of machine morality, and questions whether it is “evil” for robots to masquerade as humans.

How to Train your Robot: Can We Teach Robots Right from Wrong?

October 14, 2014 12:46 pm | by Taylor & Francis | News | Comments

From performing surgery to driving cars, today’s robots can do it all. With chatbots recently hailed as passing the Turing test, it appears robots are becoming increasingly adept at posing as humans. While machines are becoming ever more integrated into human lives, the need to imbue them with a sense of morality becomes increasingly urgent. But can we really teach robots how to be good? An innovative piece of research looks into the matter

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The Oil and Gas High Performance Computing (HPC) Workshop, hosted annually at Rice University, is the premier meeting place for discussion of challenges and opportunities around high performance computing, information technology, and computational science

2015 Rice Oil & Gas High Performance Computing Workshop

October 13, 2014 2:45 pm | by Rice University | Events

The Oil and Gas High Performance Computing (HPC) Workshop, hosted annually at Rice University, is the premier meeting place for discussion of challenges and opportunities around high performance computing, information technology, and computational science and engineering.

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Alaskan tundra is showing the effects of melting permafrost.

Shocking Results: Few Data, Urgent Need for more Arctic Carbon Measurements

October 13, 2014 12:32 pm | by Carol Rasmussen, NASA | News | Comments

As climate change grips the Arctic, how much carbon is leaving its thawing soil and adding to Earth's greenhouse effect? The question has long been debated by scientists. A new study conducted as part of NASA's Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) shows just how much work still needs to be done to reach a conclusion on this and other basic questions about the region where global warming is hitting hardest.

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Named Ds3*(2860)ˉ, the particle, a new type of meson, was discovered by analyzing data collected with the LHCb detector at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Courtesy of the Science and Technology Facilities Council

New Subatomic Particle Sheds Light on Fundamental Force of Nature

October 13, 2014 12:24 pm | by University of Warwick | News | Comments

The discovery of a new particle will “transform our understanding” of the fundamental force of nature that binds the nuclei of atoms, researchers argue. Led by scientists from the University of Warwick, the discovery of the new particle will help provide greater understanding of the strong interaction, the fundamental force of nature found within the protons of an atom’s nucleus.

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The robot was rolled out October 9, 2014, with a staffer guiding it remotely around the baggage claim area greeting travelers and looking for anyone who needed assistance. Courtesy of Indianapolis International Airport

Indianapolis Airport Debuts Customer Service Robot

October 13, 2014 12:11 pm | by AP | News | Comments

A customer service robot has started roaming around the passenger terminal of Indianapolis International Airport. The robot was rolled out October 9, 2014, with a staffer guiding it remotely around the baggage claim area greeting travelers and looking for anyone who needed assistance. The robot looks like a miniature Segway, but with a blue customer service shirt and an interactive iPod on top showing the face of the employee piloting it.

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On Tuesday, October 7, in New York City, IBM Watson Group Senior Vice President Mike Rhodin and travel entrepreneur Terry Jones attended the opening of IBM Watson's global headquarters in New York City's Silicon Alley. Terry Jones is launching a new compa

IBM Watson Fuels Next Generation of Cognitive Computing

October 13, 2014 11:32 am | by IBM | News | Comments

Next-gen leaders push themselves every day to answer this key question: How can my organization make a difference? IBM is helping to deliver the answer with new apps powered by Watson to improve the quality of life. IBM's Watson is a groundbreaking platform with the ability to interact in natural language, process vast amounts of disparate forms of big data and learn from each interaction.

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Haunting Image of Jack-O-Lantern Sun -- Courtesy of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO

NASA Captures Haunting Image of Jack-O-Lantern Sun

October 13, 2014 10:36 am | by Karen Fox (ASI), NASA | News | Comments

On October 8, 2014, active regions on the sun combined to look something like a jack-o-lantern’s face. This image is a blend of 171 and 193 angstrom light as captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The active regions appear brighter, because those are areas that emit more light and energy — markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona.

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