Live, Learn, and Dream

A place to hold things that inspire, amaze, inform, and/or educate

Tag Archives: Science

How Does A Gas Nozzle Know When To Shut Off?

The video should be called the science behind a gas nozzle.
As a commenter points out, the word, gas, here means gasoline or petrol. Nevertheless, it is interesting to know the mechanism and how it works behind a simple gas nozzle. :)

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Enclothed Cognition

There is no lab coat for programmers. I wonder what dress will speak to others and myself that I am a programmer. Dress like “IT Crowd”?

Infinity in the real world: Does space go on forever?

Can You Trust Your Eyes?

The quick answer is of course no. :P
Yes, our eyes or I should say our brain are very susceptive to illusion. Off to google Munker-White Illusion now.

Lucianne (Astrophysicist) Answers Your Questions

  1. If we were to add a lot of mass to the moon, for its gravity to get stronger, what would that mean to the rotation of the earth?
  2. If smaller objects are being pulled by larger objects, then why does the moon get further and further away from earth?
  3. Why are celestial bodies always spherical in shape? i.e stars, planets, moons.

A great Q/A video. However, I am unsatisfied by her answer to the third question. I think the third question is about larger planets, not asteroids. Of course, the term ‘always’ in the question could be the reason that she didn’t see the ‘real’ question. Avoid the word always in science because in science there are very, very few things that are laws without exception.

A violent young star

BBC Science Club – Physics

Giulio Tononi: 2011 Allen Institute for Brain Science Symposium

Giulio Tononi, University of Wisconsin, Madison “Sleep function and synaptic homeostasis”

We spend a third of our lives in sleep, but we have no idea why. This, according to Dr. Tononi, “is most embarrassing for neuroscience.” Slow sleep oscillations — traveling waves — propagate throughout the brain on the superhighways of the connectome, then they spread out through the rest of the brain; this happens a thousand times every night, but we have no idea why. Dr. Tononi proposed a theory for why we sleep, which basically states that “sleep is the price we pay for synaptic plasticity.” That is, sleep exists as a sort of “offline” reset, or release valve, to renormalize synaptic strength that steadily increases during wakefulness. Dubbed the Synaptic Homeostasis Hypothesis (SHY), Tononi presented supportive evidence from a variety of perspectives including molecular, electrophysiological, and anatomical.

A correlative basis for SHY is the observation that genes involved in plasticity drop during sleep and a validating piece of evidence would lie in the ability to view the increase in synaptic potentiation in the sleep cycle. If validated, Dr. Tononi pointed to functional consequences of SHY that fall in a cycle such that 1) net synaptic potentiation in wakefuleness has energy, space, supply cost, and saturates learning until 2) renormalization during sleep restores the brain and consolidates and integrates memories.

Theory: Sleep re-normalizes the brain.

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

Artificial intelligence is an ever evolving goal for researchers, and the object of endless fascination for writers, filmmakers, and the general public. But despite our best science fiction visions, creating digital intelligence is incredibly difficult. The universe is a very complicated place, and humans have had millions of years to evolve the ability to navigate and make sense of it. Contemporary attempts to create AI have us looking more at how our own brains work to see how a computer could simulate the core activities that create our intelligence. No matter how we get there, it is certain that artificial intelligence will have tremendous impact on our society and economy, and lead us down a path towards evolving our own definitions of humanity.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers and/or the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

When it comes to AI, people have ideas of human-like robot that seems to have some degrees of human intelligence and reasoning. I as a programmer think it is just another “tool”. A tool is an object that creates for certain purpose(es) to performance certain task(s) to make our lives easier. Anything that has built-in AI component is a “smart tool”; that is, a tool has sense to detect and respond when the condition is met. Programmers do that all the time (generally speaking :P) – having listeners for different events and making function calls accordingly. There is an argument against AI robots – job loss. I am not too worried about job loss. Even though we know that when the technology advances, there will be job loss, we also know that more new jobs will be created as well. Hence, there will always necessary short-term pain for the greater good. Once we pass the “initial costs of upgrade”, we will not want to look back.
I too share the same view that AI robots do NOT have to have human-like form. They can be in any different shape, size, and form based on their purposes and functions because (design speaking) the form should reflect their functions. Last, I remember the team at IBM that created the computer, Watson which won the Jeopardy game, did an experiment in which they let Watson “learned” urban dictionary. Watson had some interesting (human-like) replies to certain questions – It began to use profanity languages and sometimes replies, “This is BS.” Fortunate unlike human, Watson could easily make unlearned by deleting urban dictionary from its database, so it may not be too good to be too much human-like. Of course, there is a fear that if we create something super intelligent, and without all the human flaws it may one day wipe human off the surface of the earth.

NASA | IBEX Provides First View of the Solar System’s Tail

NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, recently mapped the boundaries of the solar system’s tail, called the heliotail. By combining observations from the first three years of IBEX imagery, scientists have mapped out a tail that shows a combination of fast and slow moving particles. The entire structure twisted, because it experiences the pushing and pulling of magnetic fields outside the solar system.

Our solar has a comet-like tail called heliotail. NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer has mapped the shape of the tail based on the relative speed of solar particles. I wonder if it is possible to observe the same phenomena from nearest stars (Alpha Centauri, Sirius, Barnard’s Star, …, etc.) in our part of galactic neighborhood.

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