Science & Technology

Huge meteor explosion over Earth last year went unnoticed until now

March 19, 2019

A meteor caused a massive explosion over Earth last year, but nobody noticed until now. It is the second-largest recorded impact in the past century, after the meteor that exploded over the Russian region of Chelyabinsk in 2013. The giant fireball hit at 2350 GMT on 18 December over the Bering Sea, a part of the Pacific Ocean between Russia and Alaska.

It's Time for the U.S. to Lead on Data Privacy Law

March 18, 2019

Individuals are finally understanding just how much of their personal data has been mishandled and abused. Defeatism and angst seem to have set in following the steady stream of high-profile breaches and revelations of the vast monetization of personal data. Many even claim that privacy is dead and little can be done to stop this spigot of data leaks.

Don't Call It an 'Arms Race': US-China AI Competition Is Not Winner-Takes-All

March 18, 2019

To start with, the way some analysts--spanning government, industry, academia, journalism, think tanks--discuss an AI “arms race” makes it sound as if the development of these technologies is siloed within the United States and in China. But there are great interdependencies and interconnections between AI development in the two countries; artificial intelligence is not developed on isolated tracks.

Here's What One Tech Titan Thinks a National AI Strategy Should Be

March 18, 2019

The report urges the government to dictate specific funding commitments and resources to enable the innovation of AI systems. It calls for a study that demonstrates where the U.S. will get the most bang for its buck through research and development investments, and also encourages the administration to allocate AI funding to specific government agencies including the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Science Foundation.

New White House science director, reports: American S&T leadership increasingly through industry

March 17, 2019

In January, the U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier as director of the White House Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and since the end of the partial federal government shutdown, the director and office have produced informative reports and speeches. Two common threads through these sources are emphases on continued American leadership in key tech sectors -- and that this leadership will increasingly occur in conjunction with, or under the direction of, private industry.

South African Professor makes history, performs world's first 3D inner-ear surgery

March 17, 2019

Professor Mashudu Tshifularo and his team at the University of Pretoria performed the world’s first middle-ear surgery using 3D technology! They effectively replaced the hammer, anvil, stirrup and the ossicles that make up the middle ear. The surgery, which can be performed on everyone including newborns, has benefitted two patients already. The 3D-printing technology is used to print these bones, and is also used in surgery to reconstruct the ossicles.

Facebook's Head of Product Leaves After Privacy Pivot

March 17, 2019

Facebook is losing its product chief Chris Cox, a top-ranking executive who spent more than a decade at the company, just a week after CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a major new direction for the social network. The departure, announced Thursday, follows Zuckerberg’s announcement that Facebook FB, -2.46% will shift its emphasis to private messaging over public sharing. The change reflects Facebook’s changing audience and continued problems with serving as a conduit for misinformation and vitriol.

America's top defense officials say Google's work in China benefits Chinese military

March 14, 2019

America’s top two defense officials slammed Google’s work with China on Thursday saying it has “indirectly benefited” Beijing’s military. “We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing that there is that indirect benefit,” Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

An origami design helps this robot lift delicate and heavy cargo

March 14, 2019

A new robotic gripper is a strong “hand” with a soft touch. The bell-shaped gripper has a silicone rubber skeleton with an intricate origami design, wrapped in an airtight, latex rubber skin. When a vacuum sucks air out of the gripper, the skin constricts, forcing the origami skeleton to collapse into a narrow funnel. The bunched-up gripper’s rigged interior and rough latex skin help it keep ahold of objects.

NASA: Plan to send US back to the moon may be delayed without private rockets

March 14, 2019

A new rocket design under production by NASA won't be ready for a scheduled June 2020 launch, the agency's administrator told Congress on Wednesday. Jim Bridenstine told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that a mission to send an unmanned capsule around the moon next year, a three-week test flight for a manned mission planned for 2023, may need to be delayed unless the agency decides to go with privately owned rockets for the launch.

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