Canada’s Largest Energy Company Is Replacing 400 Truck Drivers With Self-Driving Trucks

Canada’s Largest Energy Company Is Replacing 400 Truck Drivers With Self-Driving Trucks:

Canada’s largest oil company announced last week that it will be cutting about 400 heavy-equipment operator positions over the next six years as they phase in a new fleet of self-driving trucks. Suncor Energy, based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, announced on Wednesday that it plans to deploy over 150 driver-less trucks, leading to job cuts starting as soon as 2019.

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A fossil fuel technology that doesn’t pollute

A fossil fuel technology that doesn’t pollute:

Engineers at The Ohio State University are developing technologies that have the potential to economically convert fossil fuels and biomass into useful products including electricity without emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

In the first of two papers published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, the engineers report that they’ve devised a process that transforms shale gas into products such as methanol and gasoline—all while consuming carbon dioxide. This process can also be applied to coal and biomass to produce useful products.

Under certain conditions, the consumes all the carbon dioxide it produces plus additional carbon dioxide from an outside source.

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Superpowered Chinese Lasers Could Soon Rip Open Raw Vacuum

Superpowered Chinese Lasers Could Soon Rip Open Raw Vacuum:

Physicists are getting close to building lasers powerful enough to rip matter out of a vacuum.

According to a report published Jan. 24 in the journal Science, a team of Chinese scientists is getting ready to start construction this year on a 100-petawatt laser in Shanghai known as the Station of Extreme Light, or SEL. That puts them at the front of a wide field of scientists around the world who are working to realize a prediction published in the journal Physical Review Letters in 2010 by a team of American and French physicists that a sufficiently powerful laser could cause electrons to appear out of a vacuum.

It might seem weird to imagine that electrons could appear out of empty space. But it makes a lot more sense in light of a strange claim of quantum electrodynamics: “Empty” space isn’t empty at all, but rather is made up of densely packed pairs of matter and antimatter. Those pairs tightly fill up the gaps between everything, quantum electrodynamics states — they just don’t interact in any noticeable way with the rest of the universe, because they cancel one another out. [The 18 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics]

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New fuel cell technology runs on solid carbon

New fuel cell technology runs on solid carbon:

Advancements in a fuel cell technology powered by solid carbon could make electricity generation from resources such as coal and biomass cleaner and more efficient, according to a new paper published by Idaho National Laboratory researchers.

The cell design incorporates innovations in three components: the anode, the electrolyte and the fuel. Together, these advancements allow the fuel cell to utilize about three times as much carbon as earlier direct carbon fuel cell (DCFC) designs.

The fuel also operate at lower temperatures and showed higher maximum power densities than earlier DCFCs, according to INL materials engineer Dong Ding. The results appear in this week’s edition of the journal Advanced Materials.

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Is Mach 5 Here? America’s Hypersonic SR-72 May Have Finally Been Built

Is Mach 5 Here? America’s Hypersonic SR-72 May Have Finally Been Built:

A recent presentation by a Lockheed Martin Skunk Works executive has defense observers speculating in a frenzy about the possibility that the supersonic SR-71 Blackbird spy plane’s successor has been built.

“Without the digital transformation, the aircraft you see there could not have been made,” Jack O’Banion, a vice president at Lockheed’s Skunk Works, said at an aerospace conference last week while pointing to an artist’s drawing of the SR-72 plane. “In fact, five years ago, it could not have been made,” O’Banion declared.

Journalists immediately wondered whether O’Banion had just revealed a major secret with a slip of the tongue. While stating that the “digital transformation” from computer and design tools made hypersonic development possible, O’Banion’s statement seems to imply that, because the “digital transformation” has taken place, the SR-72 has in fact been constructed, Bloomberg reports.

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Creepy: New AI can READ YOUR MIND by decoding your brain signals … kiss your personal privacy goodbye

Creepy: New AI can READ YOUR MIND by decoding your brain signals … kiss your personal privacy goodbye:

We live in a society that is obsessed with oversharing. While it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tune out the trivial bits of people’s lives that we don’t care about, we can still choose not to sign up for social media accounts to preserve our own privacy. We can also take comfort from the idea that our private thoughts will always remain our own – at least for the time being. You might want to enjoy that last bit of privacy while you still can because a creepy new AI looks set to change that very soon.

Japanese researchers have now developed an AI machine that can take a look into your mind with an uncanny degree of accuracy. It studies the electrical signals within your brain to determine the images you are looking at or even just thinking about, and then it can create images of it that are startlingly reliable.

The project is being carried out at Kyoto University under the leadership of Professor Yukiyasu Kamitani. The researchers are creating the images using a neural network and information culled from fMRI scans that detect the changes in people’s blood flow in order to analyze electrical activity. This data enabled their machine to reconstruct images such as red mailboxes, stained glass windows, and owls after volunteers stared at pictures of these items. In addition, it was able to create pictures of objects the participants were simply imagining, including goldfish, bowling balls, leopards, crosses, squares and swans with varying degrees of accuracy.

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Japanese renewables firm takes on Tesla in solar panels tech, says it can replace building materials

Japanese renewables firm takes on Tesla in solar panels tech, says it can replace building materials:

A Japanese firm intends to give Tesla a run for its technology, by making solar cells in designs that can make it building material substitutes.

H/t reader kevin a.

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China launches the first hypersonic missile and is now the world leader in new weaponry

Hypervelocity missile breakthrough makes China the world leader in new weaponry:

CHINA has just taken a huge step ahead of the United States in military technology, launching the first hypersonic missile.

THE world has just entered a new phase of warfare.

It’s one where no potential target is safe.

It’s one where reaction times are miniscule.

It’s one where the United States not longer holds the technical lead.

China has just successfully conducted flight tests of the production model of what is called the DF-17 ballistic missile. What makes this weapon different to other ballistic missiles is that it is designed to carry what is known as a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV).

“Hypersonic missiles are a new class of threat because they are capable both of manoeuvring and of flying faster than 5000 kilometres per hour, which would enable such missiles to penetrate most missile defences and to further compress the timelines for response by a nation under attack,” a recent report from international affairs think-tank RAND Corporation warns.

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2017: The year AI took over (VIDEOS)

2017: The year AI took over (VIDEOS):

Tech billionaire Elon Musk and renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking led the charge, warning that robots could one day wipe out humanity. “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization,” Musk said earlier this year, while Hawking added “I fear that AI may replace humans altogether.”

Weaponized AI

Meanwhile, the campaign to ‘Stop the Killer Robots’ upped the ante this year as hundreds of experts in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics sent letters to world leaders, urging them to support a ban on autonomous weapons.

Nearly all countries accepted that some form of human control must be maintained over weapons systems during meetings of the United Nations’ Convention on Conventional Weapons in November.

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SpaceX unveils new Falcon Heavy rocket before January launch

SpaceX unveils new Falcon Heavy rocket before January launch:

SpaceX unveiled its new Falcon Heavy rocket on Wednesday, a month before its first launch.

Photos posted by SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk show the new inside its Florida hangar. Missing is the cargo for the January test flight. Musk has said the Falcon Heavy will launch his own cherry-red Tesla Roadster into space.

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Boeing Unveils New Drone Which Will “Change The Future Of Air Power”

Boeing Unveils New Drone Which Will “Change The Future Of Air Power”:

Boeing’s IR team had been working around the clock for today’s unveiling of the ‘Batmobile’ style unmanned refueling tanker drone. For days, the internet had been in suspense, trying to guess what Boeing’s big surprise would  be. To boost the suspense, the company’s twitter account released a statement last week saying the new aircraft is set to “change the future of air power.”

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AND NOW: Robots Deployed To Purge Homeless From San Francisco Sidewalks

Anti-Homeless Robot Deployed in San Francisco:

As the homeless problem continues to surge in San Francisco, an animal advocacy and pet adoption clinic has taken the novel, if dystopian, approach of hiring an autonomous security robot unit to clear out vagrants. The SPCA (the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) deployed a K5 robot manufactured by Knightscope, a Silicon Valley-based robotics company, to help discourage homeless people from erecting tents on the sidewalks and streets near the clinic. Though it has reduced the number of encampments, the robot has drawn overwhelmingly negative reactions from city residents.

Resembling a Whovian Dalek, the K5 security robot moves at around three miles per hour and is equipped with four cameras and an array of lasers, thermal sensors, and GPS. It can be rented for $6 an hour as opposed to the $16/hr a security guard costs.

Representatives for the SPCA say homeless encampments were making the area dangerous for staff members.

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