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The Air Traffic Control Tower of the Future Doesn't Include Humans 104

CravenRaven76 writes: Sweden is testing the future of air traffic control at Ornskoldsvik Airport. An 80 foot tall unmanned tower at the airport houses 14 high-definition cameras to help controllers survey the site with better-than-human vision. Video from the cameras is transmitted to Sunvsal Airport, where a controller guides the planes. Potential future plans include grouping every airport controller together at distant facilities in order to save costs of running multiple air traffic control towers.

Hawking Radiation Mimicked In the Lab 66

Annanag writes *Nothing* escapes a black hole, right? Except 40 years ago Stephen Hawking threw a spanner in the works by suggesting that, courtesy of quantum mechanics, some light particles can actually break free of a black hole's massive pull. Then you have the tantalizing question of whether information can also escape, encoded in that so-called 'Hawking radiation'. The only problem being that no one has ever been able to detect Hawking radiation being emitted from a black hole. BUT a physicist has now come closer than ever before to creating an imitation of a black hole event horizon in the lab, opening up a potential avenue for investigating Hawking radiation and exploring how quantum mechanics and general relativity might be brought together.

The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction 108

An anonymous reader writes On September 1, 1914, Martha, the last passenger pigeon was found dead in her aviary at the Cincinnati Zoo. When the first European settlers arrived in North America at least one of every four birds on the continent was a passenger pigeon, making them the most numerous birds in North America, and perhaps in the world. From the article: "But extinction apparently doesn't ring with the finality it used to. Researchers are working to 'de-extinct' the bird. They got their hands on some of the 1,500 or so known passenger pigeon specimens and are hoping to resurrect the species through some Jurassic Park-like genetic engineering. Instead of using frog DNA to fill out the missing parts of a dinosaur's genetic code as in Michael Crichton's story, the real-life 'bring-back-the-passenger pigeon' researchers are using the bird's closest relative, the band-tailed pigeon.

New Service Lets You Hitch a Ride With Private Planes For Cost of Tank of Gas 269

v3rgEz (125380) writes "A new service, Airpooler, matches pilots with passengers looking to head the same way. Since it's not an officially licensed charter service, prices are limited to roughly the passengers' share of the gas, giving pilots a way to share the expense of enjoying the open blue and flyers a taste of their personal pilot."

Chinese Firm Approved To Raise World's Tallest Building In 90 Days 307

kkleiner writes "The long anticipated Chinese construction project called Sky City, a 220-story building that can house 30,000 people, has finally received approval from the central government to break ground. The firm Broad Sustainable Building previously constructed a prefab 30-story building in 15 days, but for Sky City, they have an even more aggressive schedule: 90 days to build 2,750 feet into the air. Once completed, the building will be a place for people to both live and work, with recreational facilities, theaters, a school, and a hospital all within the structure."
The Almighty Buck

Geeks On a Plane Proposed To Solve Global Tech Skills Crisis 303

judgecorp writes "British Airways' Ungrounded project proposes to shut 100 Silicon Valley 'gamechangers' in a trans-Atlantic plane and ask them to solve the world's tech skills crisis during a 12-hour flight to London. On arrival, the passengers will head into a conference where they will present their ideas to, among others, the UN. From the article: 'Ungrounded, as the project is called, will bring 100 “innovators” (Silicon Valley CEOs, thinkers and venture capitalists) on a private BA flight from San Francisco to London. During the flight, they will take part in a “global hack” run by Ideo, a design firm which has made mice for Microsoft and Apple.'"

Kinect-Based AI System Watches What You're Up To 87

mikejuk writes "Researchers from Cornell have used AI to create a system based on the Kinect that can recognize what you are doing — cleaning your teeth, cooking, writing on a whiteboard etc. In a smart home it could be used to offer help: 'Would you like some help with that recipe, Dave?' Or it could monitor patients or workers to make sure they are doing what they are told. The study also reveals that there is probably enough information in how activities are performed to recognize an individual — so providing yet more biometrics. There are clearly a lot more things that we can teach the Kinect to do with machine learning than just gesture recognition."

Integrating Capacitors Into Car Frames 189

necro81 writes "It has long been recognized that adding capacitors in parallel with batteries can improve the performance of hybrid and electric vehicles by accepting and supplying spikes of power, which reduces stress on the battery pack, extending range and improving cycle life. The challenge has been figuring out where to put them, when batteries already compete for space. A new research prototype from Imperial College London has integrated them into the body panels and structural frame of the vehicle itself. In their prototype, carbon fiber serves as both the structure for the vehicle and electrode for the energy storage sandwiched within."

US Nuclear Power Enters the Digital Age 291

An anonymous reader writes "South Carolina's Oconee Nuclear Station will replace its analog monitoring and operating controls with digital systems, as part of a $2 billion plant upgrade by its owner, Duke Energy. It will become the first nuke plant in the US to use digital controls, and its upgrade may be quickly followed by others. The main driver for the move is cost savings; worries about reliability and hackers have been the reason digital systems haven't been adopted sooner."

Intel's Sandy Bridge Processor Has a Kill Switch 399

An anonymous reader writes "Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors have a new feature that the chip giant is calling Anti-Theft 3.0. The processor can be disabled even if the computer has no Internet connection or isn't even turned on, over a 3G network. With Intel anti-theft technology built into Sandy Bridge, David Allen, director of distribution sales at Intel North America, said that users have the option to set up their processor so that if their computer is lost or stolen, it can be shut down remotely."

Synthetic Genome Drives Bacterial Cell 174

Dr. Eggman writes " brings us news of a synthetic genome, produced by the J. Craig Venter Institute, being used in an existing bacterial cell for the first time. Using a combination of biological hosts, the technique produces short strings of DNA by machine which are then inserted into yeast to be stitched together via DNA-repair enzymes. The medium sequences are passed into E. coli and back into yeast. After three rounds, a genome of three million base pairs was produced." (More below.)

Nanowires Inject Molecules Into Living Cells 45

TechRev_AL writes "A scientist at Harvard University has developed a clever trick for manipulating the insides of living cells. Hongkun Park grows cells on top of nanowires so that the wires poke into them like needles, which allows molecules to be delivered inside them. To use the nanowires to deliver molecules, Park's team first treats them with a chemical that would allow molecules to bind relatively weakly to the surface of the nanowires. Then they coat the wires with a molecule or combination of molecules of interest. When cells are impaled on the nanowires, the molecules are released into the cells' interior. This gallery of images shows the cells growing on top of the nanowires."

Building a Miniature Magnetic Earth 150

Doofus writes "There was an interesting story on NPR this morning about a geophysicist who has constructed a miniature earth to model the earth's dynamo effects. Dan Lathrop, a geophysicist at the University of Maryland, has constructed a 10-foot diameter stainless steel sphere. He intends to fill the sphere with molten sodium and spin the sphere to examine the propensity for the system to generate its own magnetic field. The article includes both video, in which Lathrop spins up the sphere, and audio, including the conversion of magnetic wave functions in prior experiments into audible sound: literally the music of the spheres."
Input Devices

'Mind Gaming' Could Enter Market This Year 154

An anonymous reader writes "In an adapted version of the Harry Potter video game, players lift boulders and throw lightning bolts using only their minds. Just as physical movement changed the interface of gaming with Nintendo's Wii, the power of the mind may be the next big thing in video games. And it may come soon. Emotiv, a company based in San Francisco, says its mind-control headsets will be on shelves later this year, along with a host of novel "biofeedback" games developed by its partners. Several other companies — including EmSense in Monterey, California; NeuroSky in San Jose, California; and Hitachi in Tokyo — are also developing technology to detect players brainwaves and use them in next-gen video games."

Quark! Quark! Beware the quantum duck!