Month: January, 2019

The Condition That Makes People’s Faces Disappear

Prosopagnosia is a rare condition, usually brought on by some kind of damage to the brain that causes people to lose the ability to recognize faces.

This is a type of visual agnosia, which prevents people from recognizing objects or shapes.

People with these conditions are functional in every other way, with normal intelligence and mental aptitude, but must adjust their way of perceiving through the world by relying on other senses, much like blind people.

With a little extra planning and care, these people can go on to live relatively normal lives.

China Are Using Facial Recognition AI That Can Scan The Country’s Entire Population In A Second

Across China, facial-recognition technology that can scan the country’s entire population is being put to use. In some cases, the technology can perform the task in just one second.

Sixteen cities, municipalities, and provinces are using a frighteningly fast surveillance system that has an accuracy rate of 99.8%, Global Times reported over the weekend.

The system is fast enough to scan China’s population in just one second, and it takes two seconds to scan the world’s population,” the Times reported, citing local Chinese newspaper Worker’s Daily.

The system is part of Skynet, a nationwide monitoring program launched in 2005 to increase the use and capabilities of surveillance cameras.




According to developers, this particular system works regardless of angle or lighting condition and over the last two years has led to the arrest of more than 2,000 people.

The use of facial-recognition technology is soaring in China where it is being used to increase efficiencies and improve policing.

Cameras are used to catch jaywalkers, find fugitives, track people’s regular hangouts, and even predict crime before it happens.

Currently, there are 170 million surveillance cameras in China and, by 2020, the country hopes to have 570 million — that’s nearly one camera for every two citizens.

Facial recognition technology is just a small part of the artificial intelligence industry that China wants to pioneer.

According to a report by CB Insights, five times as many AI patents were applied for in China than the US in 2017.

And, for the first time, China’s AI scene gained more investment than that of the US last year. Of every available dollar going to AI startups around the world, nearly half went to companies in China.

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Conspiracy Theory That Rudolf Hess Was Switched for Doppelganger, Debunked By DNA

The British launched four inquires to get to the truth about the doppelganger theory. Credit: AP

Second World War conspiracy theory which suggested Nazi deputy fuhrer Rudolf Hess had escaped justice after being replaced with a doppelganger, has finally been debunked after new DNA evidence came to light.

Hess was arrested in 1941 after parachuting in to Scotland to broker peace with Britain, later tried at Nuremberg and incarcerated in Spandau prison Berlin until his death in 1987.

But British doctor Hugh Thomas who worked at Spandau insisted the prisoner purporting to be Hess did not have the correct scars, prompting four inconclusive investigations by the British government.

Now the mystery has finally been solved after a retired military doctor from the US Army and a forensic scientist from Austria tracked down a blood sample from Hess and compared it to relatives still living in Germany.

The results show there is just a one per cent chance that the blood did not belong to the eminent Nazi.




Dr Sherman McCall was working in Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington when he first learned that colleague Rick Wahl had once worked at Spandau and had brought back a smear of Hess’s blood to use as a teaching aid.

Yet it was not until years later that McCall discovered there was doubt over Hess’s identity and asked to use the sample to learn the truth.

Jan Cemper-Kiesslich, a molecular biologist in the DNA Unit at the department of legal medicine, University of Salzburg, Austria, extracted DNA from the dried blood and the pair then hunted down a relative to see if it was a match.

Slides containing Hess’s blood Credit: Heidelberg MEDDAC

Statistical analysis of the results suggests a 99.99 per cent likelihood that the blood sample on the slide comes from a close family member of the living relative of Hess.

The research, published in the journal Forensic Science International Genetics concludes that it is virtually certain “that prisoner ‘Spandau #7’ was indeed was Rudolf Hess, the Deputy Führer of the Third Reich”.

The conspiracy theory claiming that prisoner ‘Spandau #7’ was an impostor is extremely unlikely and therefore disproved,” the authors added.

Soldiers and policemen in Eaglesham inspect the wreckage of the Messerschmitt ME-110 in which Nazi leader Rudolf Hess made his solo flight to Scotland Credit: Hulton Archive

“Due to the lucky event of the presence of a biological trace sample originating from prisoner ‘Spandau #7’ the authors got the unique chance to shed new light on one of the most persistent historical memes of World War II history.”

Dr Turi King, the geneticist at the University of Leicester, UK, who led the forensic examination of the body of Richard III said: “They’ve got a perfect match with the Y chromosome and a living male Hess relative.

“If this person was a doppelgänger, you wouldn’t get that match, so from that point of view it’s a good sign.”

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Apollo 14 Astronauts May Have Found the Oldest Earth Rock Lying On the Moon

A moon rock brought back by Apollo 14 astronauts in 1971 may contain a tiny piece of the ancient Earth (the “felsite clast” identified by the arrow).

One of Earth’s oldest rocks may have been dug up on the moon.

A chunk of material brought back from the lunar surface by Apollo astronauts in 1971 harbors a tiny piece of Earth, a new study suggests.

The Earth fragment was likely blasted off our planet by a powerful impact about 4 billion years ago, according to the new research.

It is an extraordinary find that helps paint a better picture of early Earth and the bombardment that modified our planet during the dawn of life,” study co-author David Kring, a Universities Space Research Association (USRA) scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, said in a statement.

The research team — led by Jeremy Bellucci, of the Swedish Museum of Natural History, and Alexander Nemchin, of the Swedish Museum and Curtin University in Australia analyzed lunar samples collected by members of the Apollo 14 mission, which explored the lunar surface for a few days in early February 1971.




The scientists found that one rock contained a 0.08-ounce (2 grams) fragment composed of quartz, feldspar and zircon, all of which are rare on the moon but common here on Earth.

Chemical analyses indicated that the fragment crystallized in an oxidized environment, at temperatures consistent with those found in the near subsurface of the early Earth, study team members said.

An artist’s illustration of the Hadean Earth, when the rock fragment was formed. Impact craters, some flooded by shallow seas, cover large swaths of the Earth’s surface. The excavation of those craters ejected rocky debris, some of which hit the moon.

The available evidence suggests that the fragment crystallized 4.1 billion to 4 billion years ago about 12 miles (20 kilometers) beneath Earth’s surface, then was launched into space by a powerful impact shortly thereafter.

The voyaging Earth rock soon made its way to the moon, which was then about three times closer to our planet than it is today.

The fragment endured further trauma on the lunar surface. It was partially melted, and probably buried, by an impact about 3.9 billion years ago, then excavated by yet another impact 26 million years ago, the researchers said.

This photo by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter shows the Apollo 14 landing site and nearby Cone Crater. The trail followed by the Apollo 14 astronauts can be seen. Image width is 1 mile (1.6 kilometers).

This latest collision created the 1,115-foot-wide (340 meters) Cone Crater, whose environs Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell explored and sampled 47 years ago.

An Earth origin for the ancient fragment isn’t a slam dunk, study team members stressed.

However, it is the simplest explanation; a lunar birth would require a rethink of the conditions present in the moon’s interior long ago, the researchers said.

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The Fringe Theory That Could Disprove Dark Matter

Quantized Inertia is a type of modified relativity theory that explains inertia as a fundamental force of the universe that could do everything from explain the rotation of galaxies without using Dark Matter, to the expansion of the universe without Dark energy, and may even allow anti-gravity propulsion. If it’s true, that is.

Holy Crap! The Moon Was Struck By A Meteorite During The ‘Super Wolf Blood Moon’ Eclipse

A close-up of the impact flash.

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Such is the philosophy of Jose Maria Madiedo, an astronomer at the University of Huelva in Spain, who, for over 10 years, has tried to capture a meteorite hitting the Moon during a lunar eclipse.

Last Monday, during the so-called “Super Blood Wolf Blood Moon,” it finally happened.

Monday’s much anticipated Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse, though badly named, did not disappoint.

Millions of people gazed into the night sky or onto video feeds to see a stunning coppery-red hue envelop our planet’s natural satellite.

As the January 21 eclipse unfolded, however, some observers noticed a tiny flash while watching the online broadcasts, said in a report.

Some suspected the flash was caused by a meteorite strike—and it turns out they were right. Jose Madiedo confirmed these suspicions, tweeting that a lunar impact occurred at 5:41am Spanish Peninsular Time.

A photograph released by Madiedo clearly showed a yellowish-white dot appearing in the darkened top left quadrant of the Moon during the totality phase of the eclipse.

 




Astronomers have filmed impact flashes on the Moon before, but this marks the first time a lunar impact was captured during a lunar eclipse—an achievement more than 20 years in the making.

Astronomers first started to systematically monitor impact flashes in 1997, an effort that evolved into the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System, or MIDAS, a survey conducted by the University of Huelva and the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalucia.

Madiedo joined the project in 2008. Using astronomical data from multiple observatories, MIDAS uses software to identify the moment a meteorite hits the darkened portions of the lunar surface.

The telescopes used by MIDAS are equipped with high-sensitivity video cameras and record video continuously during the observing session.

These videos are then analyzed by software, which automatically identifies lunar impact flashes and calculates their position on the Moon.

Madiedo said the system can detect the moment of an impact flash to an accuracy of about 0.001 seconds.

Since 2015, the team has applied photometric filters to some of their telescopes, allowing them to determine the temperature of these flashes.

As noted, MIDAS had (prior to yesterday) never captured a meteorite strike during a total lunar eclipse—but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Madiedo said he doesn’t know the exact number of eclipses MIDAS has monitored to date, but, weather permitting, he said every lunar eclipse has been monitored since the survey started.

Other groups have also tried to detect lunar flashes during an eclipse, said Madiedo, but none succeeded—until now.

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Strange Jellyfish-Like ‘Blobs’ Found In 600 Million Year Old Rocks In China Are Earliest Animals Ever Found

Strange “blobs” found in China could be evidence of the first animals that ever existed, experts say. Fossil evidence of the ancient creatures, which resemble jelly fish, was discovered in 600 million-year-old rocks.

The previously unknown animal doesn’t have a name yet but microscopic analysis showed similar features to comb jellies – including tentacles and mucous layers.

The carnivorous comb jelly species still exist today, feeding on small marine organisms.

The oldest animal to have ever lived was previously thought to be the Dickinsonia, an organism called an ediacaran, which lived 541 million years ago.

The origin and earliest evolution of animals is a fascinating question that has puzzled scientists for many decades,” said Dr Zhenbing She at the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, who led the team behind the discovery.

Dr She’s team found fossils measuring around 0.7 millimetres across in a drill core taken from the Doushantuo Formation in China.

The discovery of the jellyfish – revealed in a report by Graham Lawton in New Scientist – existed more than 40 million years earlier than the Dickinsonia, researchers claim.

If the fossil is an ancient relative of a comb jelly, this would suggest that it was part of of a larger food web and a complex ecosystem.

Microscopic analysis of the rocks revealed what appear to be tentacles, muscle tissue, nerve cells, gonads, mucous layers and clusters of hairlike-structures.




Fossils dating as far back as 631 million years ago have already been found in these beds, but scientists have not been able to determine exactly what they are.

They are only visible through microscopes and may just be cells from algae or developing animal embryos.

Dr She said that the fossils’ features are similar to the comb jelly Ctenophora because the fossil’s hair clusters look like structures called ctenes that comb jellies use to swim.

The fossils most closely resemble the living genus of comb jellies called Pleurobrachia, or sea gooseberries.

If the new fossils are comb jellies, then it opens the door for more discoveries as the majority of comb jellies today feed on small marine species.

If the fossil was also a carnivore, it must have fed on other species which are yet to be revealed.

There are many other creatures in the deposit, but we are not sure what they are,” Dr. She added.

The 558-million-year-old Dickinsonia, which was discovered last year, was described as a combination of a jellyfish, a worm, a fungus and a lichen.

The oval-shaped lifeform existed at least 20 million years before the “Cambrian explosion” of animal life, according to the research.

The Cambrian explosion took place about 540 million years ago and saw the emergence of modern-looking animals such as snails, bivalves and arthropods.

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4 Most Compelling Videos Of UFOs

Videos of UFO phenomena are all over YouTube. Here are 4 of the most compelling I’ve found.

From the Taipei 101 Tower on New Year’s Eve to newly declassified footage from the US Navy and Homeland Security Department, here are four videos of UFO phenomena that defy explanation.

The Truth About Empty Space

We often think of outer space as a never-ending vacuum filled with the occasional galaxy. What we don’t realize is that away from our eyes, this vacuum comes alive.

In order to understand what truly happens behind our backs in the vacuum, we must start by examining space itself.

So what is space? Quantum Field Theory tells us that space is composed of fundamental quantum fields, with a separate field for every particle that makes up our universe.

Electrons, quarks, neutrinos, and other fundamental particles are just the oscillations of the field with different energies. In specific, they have quantum energy, which exists as multiples of a baseline energy.

You can think of this as a ladder with energy levels. Each rung of the ladder represents the existence of one additional particle in that quantum state.

So the bottom of the ladder would be where there is no energy, meaning there are no particles. This is known as the vacuum state.




But as we will see, we cannot actually have zero-energy. Instead, the quantum field gently vibrates randomly. Sometimes this produces enough energy to form particles out of seemingly nothing!

The particles arising out of the fluctuation of quantum fields are called virtual particles.

Empty space is teeming with these virtual particles or “wiggles in the field”.

But there is a catch; these particles are created in particle and anti-particle pairs. They live only for a short instance of time until they destroy each other, popping in and out of existence.

The higher the energy of the particle, the lesser time it can exist. Wait a minute. Virtual Particles? That sounds sketchy. Let me show you the proof.

By definition, these elusive particles only exist when we aren’t watching, but their presence can be felt throughout the universe. In 1948, Hendrick Casimir came up with an ingenious idea to observe these virtual particles.

The Implications of Virtual Particles

Well, these seemingly insignificant particles have made quite an impact on the universe we know today. Not only do they explain “particle-particle interaction“, but they can be traced back to the origin of the universe itself!

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The World’s First CRISPR Gene-Edited Babies Have Been Declared Illegal By China

Chinese authorities have declared the work of He Jiankui, who shocked the scientific community by claiming he successfully created the world’s first gene-edited babies, an illegal decision in pursuit of “personal fame and gain.

Investigators have completed preliminary steps in a probe that began in November following He’s claims and say they will “seriously” punish the researcher for violations of the law, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported on Monday.

He, who taught at Shenzhen’s Southern University of Science and Technology, had led a team to research the gene-editing technique CRISPR since mid-2016 in attempts to treat cancers and other diseases.

The incident drew significant attention to the professor’s own biotech startups that are backed by local and overseas investors.

The official probe shows that He fabricated ethics approvals which he used to recruit eight couples to participate in clinical procedures between March 2017 and November 2018.




The attempt led to two pregnancies, including one that resulted in the birth of twins and the other embryo yet to be born. Five couples failed to achieve fertilization and one pair dropped out of the experiment.

He’s project has sparked a wave of criticism among scientists across the world. CRISPR is still dangerously unethical at this point for it may cause serious genetic damage.

He Jiankui at the Human Genome Editing Conference in Hong Kong

Some researchers have proposed a moratorium on CRISPR until more guidelines become clear while others call for developing safer and more ethical methods to propel the technology forward.

Many countries, including the United States and China, prohibit gene-editing of human embryos for reproductive purposes.

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