- Creationism ~ What Scientists Have To Say
- Life After Death, Creationism & Scientific Evidence of Geological Time ~ Michio Kaku
- 4 Psychological Terms That You're Using Incorrectly
- Venus may have once had oceans of carbon dioxide
- Did drought doom the Mayan Empire? New evidence from Belize's 'Blue Hole'
- Is AI a threat to humanity?
- Alien Sounds
- Is Our Universe a Dodecahedron?
- Is There Another Earth Out There?
- Brain Test: Are You Color Blind? ~ Quick test with answers
Posted: 30 Dec 2014 04:27 PM PST
Click to zoom
Posted: 30 Dec 2014 04:23 PM PST
Posted: 30 Dec 2014 04:17 PM PST
Click to zoom
Posted: 30 Dec 2014 04:13 PM PST
Excerpt from theweek.com
By Kimberly Alters
Scientists conducting research this summer found that Venus may have had enough water in its atmosphere at one point to cover the entire planet in an ocean about 80 feet deep, according to Discovery News. But because the extremely warm surface of Venus likely made it impossible for such an ocean to form, scientists concluded that instead of massive oceans of water, the planet may have once been home to oceans of carbon dioxide fluid.
The planet's atmosphere is 96.5 percent carbon dioxide by volume, said lead study author Dima Bolmatov, and the extreme atmospheric pressure on the surface of Venus could have caused the gas to enter a "supercritical state." A supercritical fluid "can have properties of both liquids and gases," which Bolmatov said could have paved the way for oceans of liquid-like carbon dioxide on Venus. You can read the full study at The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.
Posted: 30 Dec 2014 04:10 PM PST
Minerals taken from lagoons reveal a century-long drought occurred between A.D. 800 and A.D. 900, right when the Mayan civilization disintegrated.
Excerpt from Livescience.com
By Tia Ghose
Minerals taken from Belize's famous underwater cave, known as the Blue Hole, as well as lagoons nearby, show that an extreme, century-long drought occurred between A.D. 800 and A.D. 900, right when the Mayan civilization disintegrated. After the rains returned, the Mayans moved north — but they disappeared again a few centuries later, and that disappearance occurred at the same time as another dry spell, the sediments reveal.
Rise and decline
From A.D. 300 to A.D. 700, the Mayan civilization flourished in the Yucatan peninsula. These ancient Mesoamericans built stunning pyramids, mastered astronomy, and developed both a hieroglyphic writing system and a calendar system, which is famous for allegedly predicting that the world would end in 2012.
But in the centuries after A.D. 700, the civilization's building activities slowed and the culture descended into warfare and anarchy. Historians have speculatively linked that decline with everything from the ancient society's fear of malevolent spirits to deforestation completed to make way for cropland to the loss of favored foods, such as the Tikal deer.
The evidence for a drought has been growing in recent years: Since at least 1995, scientists have been looking more closely at the effects of drought. A 2012 study in the journal Science analyzed a 2,000-year-old stalagmite from a cave in southern Belize and found that sharp decreases in rainfall coincided with periods of decline in the culture. But that data came from just one cave, which meant it was difficult to make predictions for the area as a whole, Droxler said.
The main driver of this drought is thought to have been a shift in the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), a weather system that generally dumps water on tropical regions of the world while drying out the subtropics. During summers, the ITCZ pelts the Yucatan peninsula with rain, but the system travels farther south in the winter. Many scientists have suggested that during the Mayan decline, this monsoon system may have missed the Yucatan peninsula altogether.
The team found that during the period between A.D. 800 and A.D. 1000, when the Mayan civilization collapsed, there were just one or two tropical cyclones every two decades, as opposed to the usual five or six. After that, the Maya moved north, building at sites such as Chichen Itza, in what is now Mexico.
But the new results also found that between A.D. 1000 and A.D. 1100, during the height of the Little Ice Age, another major drought struck. This period coincides with the fall of Chichen Itza.
The findings strengthen the case that drought helped usher in the long decline of the Mayan culture.
Posted: 30 Dec 2014 04:01 PM PST
Excerpt from cnn.com
Imagine you're the kind of person who worries about a future when robots become smart enough to threaten the very existence of the human race. For years, you've been dismissed as a crackpot, consigned to the same category of people who see Elvis lurking in their waffles.
In 2014, you found yourself in good company.
This year, arguably the world's greatest living scientific mind, Stephen Hawking, and its leading techno-industrialist, Elon Musk, voiced their fears about the potentially lethal rise of artificial intelligence. They were joined by philosophers, physicists and computer scientists, all of whom spoke out about the serious risks posed by the development of greater-than-human machine intelligence.
In a widely cited op-ed co-written with MIT physicist Max Tegmark, Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek and computer scientist Stuart Russell, Hawking sounded the AI alarm. "One can imagine (AI) outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand. Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all."
Musk was reportedly more emphatic, expanding on his tweeted warnings by calling AI humanity's biggest "existential risk" and likening it to "summoning the demon."
The debate over AI was given a big boost this year by the publication of philosopher Nick Bostrom's "Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies," which makes a close study of just why and how AI may be so catastrophically dangerous (2013's "Our Final Invention" by documentarian James Barrat makes a similar case).
Bostrom: When machines outsmart humans
Bostrom is the director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford, one of several new institutions devoted to studying existential threats to the human race, of which AI figures centrally. In May, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology christened its own Future of Life Institute. In the academic community at least, AI anxiety is booming.
They're right to be worried.
The first and most immediate issue is the potential for AI to put large numbers of humans out of work. A study by Carl Frey and Michael Osborne of Oxford's Program on the Impacts of Future Technology put the matter starkly. In their analysis of over 700 jobs, almost half could be done by a computer in the future. This wave of computerization could destroy not simply low-wage, low-skill jobs (though those are in acute danger) but some white-collar and service sector jobs previously thought to be immune as well. Technology is marching on both our manual and mental labor.
As serious a threat as widespread job loss is, we've seen this movie before. During past technological upheavals, humans have cleverly created jobs and industries from the ashes of obsolete ones. We may be able to keep our collective heads above water even if AI encroaches on more creative and intellectual industries (heck, we may even start working less).
What we should be more concerned about is humanity losing its perch as the Earth's foremost intelligence.
For those anxious about AI, current efforts to develop self-correcting algorithms ("machine learning"), coupled with the relentless growth in computer power and the increasing ubiquity of sensors collecting all manner of intelligence and information around the world, will push AI to human and ultimately superhuman intelligence. It's an event that's been dubbed "the intelligence explosion," a term invoked in 1965 by computer scientist Irving John Good in a paper outlining the development path for artificial intelligence.
What makes an intelligence explosion so worrisome is that intelligence is not a tool or a technology. We may think of AI as something that we use, like a hammer or corkscrew, but that's fundamentally the wrong way to think about it. Sufficiently advanced intelligence, like ours, is a creative force. The more powerful it is, the more it can reshape the world around it.
Artificial intelligence does not need to be malevolent to be catastrophically dangerous to humanity. When computer scientists talk about the possible threat to humanity from superintelligent AI, they don't mean the Terminator or Matrix.
Instead, it's typically a more prosaic end: humanity wiped out because an AI tasked with a simple goal (say, creating paper clips, an example that is often used) requisitions all the energy and raw materials on Earth to relentlessly churn out paper clips, outsmarting and out-maneuvering all human attempts to stop it. In Hollywood's telling, there are always humans left to fight back, but such an outcome is implausible if humanity is faced with a truly superior intelligence. It would be like mice attempting to outwit a human (we're the mice). In that event, AI researchers like Keefe Roedersheimer see a less inspiring finale: "All the people are dead."
Posted: 30 Dec 2014 03:52 PM PST
Click to zoom
Posted: 30 Dec 2014 03:50 PM PST
Click to zoom
Posted: 30 Dec 2014 03:44 PM PST
Click to zoom
Posted: 30 Dec 2014 03:38 PM PST
Click to zoom