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Movie audiences first heard these calmly intoned and ominous words in 1968, spoken by a spaceship's intelligent computer in the science-fiction masterpiece "2001: A Space Odyssey." With that one phrase, the computer named HAL 9000 confirmed that it could think for itself, and that it was prepared to terminate the astronauts who were planning to deactivate it. Fifty years after director Stanley Kubrick released his visionary masterpiece of space colonization, how close are humans to the future that he imagined, in which we partner with artificial intelligence (A.I.) that we ultimately may not be able to control?
Forget the flashy humanoids with their gymnastics skills: at the World Robot Summit in Tokyo, the focus was on down-to-earth robots that can deliver post, do the shopping and build a house. Introducing CarriRo, a delivery robot shaped a bit like a toy London bus with bright, friendly "eyes" on its front that can zip around the streets delivering packages at 6km/h (4 miles per hour). CarriRo "is designed to roll along the pavements and direct itself via GPS to an address within a two-kilometre radius," explained Chio Ishikawa, from Sumitomo Corp, which is promoting the robot.
Japan said Thursday it was facing a growing sea of plastic waste with limited capacity to process it after China stopped accepting foreign waste imports. The environment ministry said about a quarter of major regional and municipal governments surveyed reported seeing accumulating plastic waste, sometimes going beyond sanitary standards. The costs of processing waste plastic were rising, according to more than 100 local governments and 175 waste processing firms that responded to a ministry survey.
The last polar bear kept in South Korea has died of old age only weeks before his planned departure to better living conditions in Britain, zoo officials said Thursday. The zoo had planned to move him to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park next month to allow him to enjoy his final days in more appropriate surroundings -- the facility in northern England has a 40,000 square metre polar reserve -- and had thrown him a farewell party in June. The average life span of polar bears is around 25 years and Tongki was the equivalent of around 80 in human terms.
China has finally announced the opening ceremony for the world's longest sea bridge, which will connect Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland, but critics hit back Thursday over the secrecy surrounding the project. Construction started in 2009 on the 55-kilometre (34-mile) crossing, which includes a snaking road bridge and underwater tunnel, linking Hong Kong's Lantau island to the southern mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai and the gambling enclave of Macau, across the waters of the Pearl River Estuary. While supporters promote it as an engineering marvel, others see the multi-billion dollar project as a costly white elephant designed to further integrate Hong Kong into the mainland at a time when Beijing is tightening its grip on the semi-autonomous city.
Renowned neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart has revealed her top strategy for surviving a stressful work environment during an interview on Yahoo Finance Presents: It’s A Jungle Out There. The Jungle podcast is a new 10-part series that unpacks productivity lessons from nature, with Dr Swart explaining crab mentality in episode one. Crab mentality is the term from a pattern of behaviour that has been observed in crabs when they’re trapped in a bucket.
Hunting for fossils is a difficult business in the first place, but the challenge is multiplied the farther back in time you're searching. Finding bones from a dinosaur that lived 50 million years ago is a cake walk compared to hunting for evidence of life from billions of years back.
A new analysis of supposed 3.7 billion-year-old fossils in Greenland reveals that the researchers who first announced the discovery may have gotten it all wrong. In truth, it seems the strange deposits found in ancient ground may have just been rock all along.
The features, which were touted as potentially being the oldest evidence of life on Earth, look a lot like the pyramid-shaped remains that hinted at the presence of microbial life in other rock samples. In a new letter published in Nature, it seems there are also some very important differences that throw the conclusions of prior research into question.
The strange shapes certainly look like they may have been created by life, but as NPR reports, this new round of research points to the alleged cone-shaped features in the rock being elongated and stretched. Three-dimensional examination of the shapes hints at the features having been created by intense pressure between rocks, squeezing and twisting stone into bizarre forms.
"They're stretched-out ridges that extend deeply into the rock," Joel Hurowitz, co-author of the work, told NPR. "That shape is hard to explain as a biological structure, and much easier to explain as something that resulted from rocks being squeezed and deformed under tectonic pressures."
As for the researchers involved in the original study that claimed evidence of ancient microbial life, they are sticking with their findings. Those scientists have weighed in by saying that this new research is "disappointing" and that their original work holds up despite being challenged.
M.J. Akbar, India’s junior external affairs minister, resigned Wednesday amid accusations by 20 women of sexual harassment during his previous career as one of the country’s most prominent news editors
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