Science & technology

The future of travel? A glass tube called Hyperloop

For a select few the way we'll move ourselves across the world tomorrow is in a glass tube at speeds of almost 800mph. This was originally the brainchild of billionaire U.S. entrepreneur Elon Musk, who envisioned being able to whisk passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in under half an hour. Two years after unveiling plans for a futuristic, high-speed Hyperloop transportation system, Musk has now announced plans for building a test track in southern California and a competition for prototype pods.

It's showtime for Pluto; prepare to be amazed by NASA flyby

On Tuesday, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will sweep past Pluto and present the previously unexplored world in all its icy glory. It promises to be the biggest planetary unveiling in a quarter-century. The curtain hasn't been pulled back like this since NASA's Voyager 2 shed light on Neptune in 1989.

These are the first 500 companies allowed to fly drones over the US

A precision agriculture firm in Charles City, Iowa. A builder performing roof inspection from Carlisle, Kentucky. A company monitoring explosive charges based in Ijamesville, Maryland. A security firm conducting surveillance over private property in Cottage Grove, Oregon. These are just a handful of the businesses now allowed to fly drones over US soil.

What Shapes America's Views on Science?

Disagreements span across science disciplines, reaching into climate change, evolution, food safety, space, animal research, biomedical engineering and government funding on science programs. American opinion on science issues is often influenced by political party affiliation, age, education, gender, race or religion. On issues related to climate change, party affiliation and age were the greatest predictors. In contrast, on animal testing, gender was one of the largest factors predicting opinion.

Major drug company to market implantable microchips that deliver drugs inside the body

MIT spinoff Microchips Biotech has partnered with Teva Pharmaceutical, the world’s largest producer of generic drugs, to commercialize its wirelessly controlled, implantable, microchip-based devices that store and release drugs inside the body over a period of years.

Elon Musk Wants To Explore Risks Associated With Artificial Intelligence

It's not just the sci-fi community envisioning a world where machines take over. It's a concern among some prominent visionaries, including a group that just shelled out nearly $7 million for research into potential ill effects of artificial intelligence.

Blimps are back: Giant airship goes on sale

In a revival of a technology that fell spectacularly from grace after the explosion of the Hindenburg in 1937, US aerospace firm Lockheed Martin is now taking orders for a giant airship that can carry heavy loads to remote areas. Major building projects in places lacking road or rail could benefit from the modern-day Zeppelin, which the company says offers a cleaner, quieter and cheaper way of transporting large payloads.

Robot apocalypse unlikely, but researchers need to understand AI risks

Recent concerns from tech luminaries about a robot apocalypse may be overblown, but artificial intelligence researchers need to start thinking about security measures as they build ever more intelligent machines, according to a group of AI experts. While human-like intelligence in machines should still be a long time away, it’s not too early to start thinking about policies and regulations to prepare for that future, Arkin and other AI researchers said.

US military's hypersonic jet could fly 5 times the speed of sound

The U.S. military is reportedly developing a hypersonic jet plane that could soar at up to five times the speed of sound — faster than a bullet, which generally travels at Mach 2, or twice the speed of sound. The new hypersonic vehicle, which could take flight by 2023, builds upon research from a 2013 test flight of an experimental hypersonic vehicle, the X-51A Waverider, according to Military.com.

U.S. should spurn Russia rocket engines despite SpaceX failure - McCain

The failure of a SpaceX rocket over Florida on Sunday should not lead U.S. officials back to Russia to look for a rocket engine that can get military equipment into space, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain said on Monday. This mishap in no way diminishes the urgency of ridding ourselves of the Russian RD-180 rocket engine," McCain said in a statement.

NASA prototypes a drone aircraft destined for Mars

NASA has revealed that it's building a prototype for Prandtl-m (Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars), a glider drone that would launch from a descending rover and survey landing sites for the eventual manned mission. The two-foot-long vehicle will weigh about 2.6 pounds on Earth, but Mars' gravity will reduce that to 1 pound -- light enough that the craft could travel up to 20 miles after starting at 2,000 feet above the surface.

What I Learned By Asking 100 School Kids About The Future Of Work

I really didn’t have any expectations, save for feedback like ‘flying cars’, ‘moon based offices’, like a cross between the Jetsons and Star Trek. What I got back was so grounded and well thought out its made me challenge just how we seem to approach our own thinking about the future.

Ghost Fleet Depicts War Between China, U.S.

Tech like virtual reality, robotics and increasingly fast Internet is changing the way we live, but how will it evolve a generation from now, or even change the way we fight a global war? The new science fiction thriller “Ghost Fleet” takes on questions like that by drawing inspiration from real-life prototypes and emerging sectors of technology to depict how both war and everyday life look in the future just a few decades from now.

From hip-hop to computers, Smithsonian museum honors US innovation

The National Museum of American History opened a $63 million wing on Wednesday celebrating the rich U.S. history of innovation and invention, from 19th century revolvers to hip-hop music and Silicon Valley computers. The 45,000-square-foot (4,180-square-meter) Innovation Wing is designed to show how for more than 200 years the United States has provided a fertile environment for turning new ideas into reality.

F-35 fighter jet nails Olympic-worthy 'ski jump' takeoff

When a fighter jet takes off from a runway the same way that a skier launches gracefully off a jump, the result can be surprisingly beautiful. Earlier this month, an F-35B Lightning II fighter jet performed one of these Olympic-worthy launches at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. The unconventional liftoff, which was a first for this kind of aircraft, was part of a series of trials designed to test the plane's "short takeoff" abilities.

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