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Submission + - Australian Scientists Just Worked Out How Zinc-Air Batteries Can Replace Lithium (

labnet writes: "Up until now, rechargeable zinc-air batteries have been made with expensive precious metal catalysts, such as platinum and iridium oxide. In contrast, our method produces a family of new high-performance and low-cost catalysts."

These new catalysts are produced through the simultaneous control of the composition, size and crystallinity of metal oxides of earth-abundant elements like iron, cobalt and nickel. They can then be applied to build rechargeable zinc-air batteries.

Researcher Dr Li Wei, also from the University's Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, said trials of zinc-air batteries developed with the new catalysts had demonstrated "excellent rechargeability" – including less than a 10 percent battery efficacy drop over 60 discharging/charging cycles of 120 hours.

Submission + - A Third of Dementia Cases Are Preventable (

walterbyrd writes: The commission’s report identifies nine risk factors in early, mid- and late life that increase the likelihood of developing dementia. About 35 percent of dementia — one in three cases — is attributable to these risk factors, the report says.

By increasing education in early life and addressing hearing loss, hypertension, and obesity in midlife, the incidence of dementia could be reduced by as much as 20 percent, combined.

In late life, stopping smoking, treating depression, increasing physical activity, increasing social contact, and managing diabetes could reduce the incidence of dementia by another 15 percent.

“The potential magnitude of the effect on dementia of reducing these risk factors is larger than we could ever imagine the effect that current, experimental medications could have,” Schneider says.

“Mitigating risk factors provides us a powerful way to reduce the global burden of dementia.”

Submission + - Mozilla Launches First Open-Source Voice Recognition Engine ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: The Mozilla Foundation, makers of the Firefox browser, have launched a new project called Common Voice, which the organization hopes to become the first open-source voice recognition engine on the market. Mozilla launched Common Voice in mid-June, and the project is currently in a training phase. The organization is asking users to help train the engine by reading small pieces of text or by verifying the accuracy of previous voice recordings. Users who want to contribute their voice to the Common Voice database can do so on the project's website. They don't need fancy microphones or sound-proof rooms to read out supplied texts. Mozilla engineers say they want to collect data from real-world environments, so it's OK if there's background noise or the user has an accent. The texts users are asked to read are in English.

The aim is to collect at least 10,000 hours of voice recordings that Mozilla engineers feel would be enough to train their voice recognition system. Mozilla said it plans to release the Common Voice database into open-source later in 2017. The organization says it embarked on this project because of a lack of an open-source voice recognition system on the market. Currently, all voice recognition engines are locked up behind proprietary code at various companies, such as Amazon (Alexa), Apple (Siri), and Microsoft (Cortana), just to name a few.

Submission + - SPAM: Turning electricity into food?

An anonymous reader writes: Did you know that it is possible to transform carbon dioxide and electricity into cattle feed and food for humans? Because it is.

Using renewable electricity and carbon dioxide extracted from air, microbes can be used to produce a single cell protein that is over 50% protein and 25% carbohydrates, with the remaining part being fatty substances and nucleic acids. The research conducted jointly by LUT and VTT Technical Research Centre has already been able to produce the first food ingredients in the laboratory.

"Yeast is no more extraordinary than our ingredient; yeast is also a microbe," says head of the research, LUT Professor Jero Ahola.

The method is based on growing microbes, i.e. micro-organisms. The invention is not a new one: the method has been previously used to manufacture products such as the Torula yeast and the Pekilo protein. The new aspect in the researched method is using renewable energy. The energy fed to the microbes is solar and wind power. In addition, the carbon used as the building material of the microbes is extracted from air with carbon dioxide recovery.

"We are developing more methods to adjust the growth process so that the microbes can grow as well as possible," says Ahola.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Dadbot: How a Son Made a Chatbot of His Dying Dad

theodp writes: In A Son’s Race to Give His Dying Father Artificial Immortality, James Vlahos recounts his efforts to turn the story of his father's life — as told by his 80-year-old Dad in his final months after being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer — into what Vlahos calls "a Dadbot — a chatbot that emulates not a children’s toy but the very real man who is my father." Given the limits of tech at the time (2016) and his own inexperience as a programmer, Vlahos recognized that the bot would never be more than a shadow of his real dad, but hoped to get the bot to communicate in his father's distinctive manner and convey at least some sense of his personality.

Of the first time he demoed the bot for his parents, Vlahos writes: Emboldened, I bring up something that has preoccupied me for months. “This is a leading question, but answer it honestly,” I say, fumbling for words. “Does it give you any comfort, or perhaps none—the idea that whenever it is that you shed this mortal coil, that there is something that can help tell your stories and knows your history?” My dad looks off. When he answers, he sounds wearier than he did moments before. “I know all of this shit,” he says, dismissing the compendium of facts stored in the Dadbot with a little wave. But he does take comfort in knowing that the Dadbot will share them with others. “My family, particularly. And the grandkids, who won’t know any of this stuff.” He’s got seven of them, including my sons, Jonah and Zeke, all of whom call him Papou, the Greek term for grandfather. “So this is great,” my dad says. “I very much appreciate it.”

Submission + - AMD Reveals First Benchmarks Of 64 Core / 128 Thread EPYC Server Systems (

dryriver writes: AMD's new EPYC server CPU appears to be a designed for a 2 socket configuration where 2 EPYC CPUs pack a total of 64 Cores / 128 Threads, 4TB of Memory and 128 PCIe lanes into a single box. Each processor provides 128 lanes for a total of 256 lanes, but 128 are used for the Infinity Fabric connection between the two processors. AMD claims this setup provides 45% more cores, 122% more memory bandwidth and 60% more I/O capabilities than competing two-socket Intel servers. AMD's benchmarks compared a dual-socket EPYC server to dual Intel Xeon E5-2650A v4 (two 24C/48T processors) and E5-2699A v4 (22C/44T) platforms. The results show the company beating Intel by 2.5X in a memory-bound 3D Leplace computation, which simulates a seismic analysis workload (991.232 million cells), on Ubuntu 16.10. According to AMD, the EPYC processors also beat the Intel servers in a compute-bound virtualization workload by 50% and 10%, respectively. The workloads consisted of gcc compiles of a bare-bones Linux kernel on a 2P test platform with 8 VMs per server.

Submission + - Intel Releasing the Last and Final Itanium Chips

WheezyJoe writes: Four new 9700-series Itanium CPUs will be the last and final Itaniums Intel will ship. For those who might have forgotten, Itanium and its IA-64 architecture was intended to be Intel's successor to 32-bit i386 architecture back in the early 2000's. Developed in conjunction with HP, IA-64 used a new architecture developed at HP that, while capable as a server platform, was not backward-compatible with i386 and required emulation to run i386-compiled software. With the release of AMD's Opteron in 2003 featuring their alternative, fully backward-compatible X86-64 architecture, interest in Itanium fell, and Intel eventually adopted AMD's technology for its own chips and X86-64 is now dominant today. In spite of this, Itanium continued to be made and sold for the server market, supported in part by an agreement with HP. With that deal expiring this year, these new Itaniums will be Intel's last.

Submission + - Oculus revealed 30 VR Games to launch With Rift Headset on March 28 (

An anonymous reader writes: Ahead of the launch of the Oculus Rift on March 28, the Facebook-owned company has announced a list of 30 games it will be launching for its virtual reality platform on launch day. The company on the sidelines also announced Oculus Home for its Rift VR headset.

The Facebook-owned company announced 30 titles for the Rift VR. Oculus insists that it will be adding more games soon.

The titles that are coming are as follows: ADR1FT, Adventure Time, AirMech: Command, Albino Lullaby, Audio Arena, Project CARS, Chronos, Darknet, Dead Secret, Defense Grid 2, Dreadhalls, Elite Dangerous, Esper 2, EVE Valkyrie Founder's Pack, Fly to Kuma, EVE Gunjack, Herobound SC, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Lucky's Tale, Omega Agent, Redial G, Rooms, Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe VR, Smashing the Batle, Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Vektron Revenge, VR Tennis Online, Pinball FX2 VR, BlazeRush, and Windlands.

"These games take you to the outer reaches of space, mysterious labyrinths of wonder, and fantastic worlds of adventure. And they're just the beginning," Oculus VR wrote in a blog post. "We're working with thousands of developers on entirely new VR experiences. There are over a hundred more games coming to Oculus this year."

The company also announced the Oculus Home for the Rift VR headset. The company says that Home will allow users to explore content on their library, discover new content, and also connect with friends. Oculus says that users will also be able to explore the platform using the Oculus desktop app.

To recall, the Oculus Rift VR is priced at $599 and will begin shipping on March 28.

Submission + - France agrees bailout for EDF to proceed with Hinkley Point C (

mdsolar writes: The French government has promised a financial bailout for cash-strapped energy group EDF so that it can proceed with the £18bn plan to build the first nuclear reactors in Britain for 20 years.

France’s economics minister, Emmanuel Macron, said it would be a mistake for the 85% state-owned company not to build a new Hinkley Point C power plant in Somerset and he would ensure it happened.

“If there is a need to recapitalise (EDF), we will,” he said during a visit to a nuclear power station at Civaux in midwestern France. “If there needs to be a further waiver of dividends (from EDF to government), we will.”

Flanked by Jean-Bernard Lévy, the EDF chief executive under fire from French unions and his own former finance director, Macron added: “If you believe in nuclear, you cannot say that you will not participate in the biggest nuclear project in the world. Not doing Hinkley Point would be a mistake.”

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