Two Space Agencies Will Try to Make a Historic Landing on Mars Next Week



How things will hopefully go down for the Schiaparelli lander on October 19th. Image: ESA

A joint mission led by the European Space Agency and Roscosmos arrives at Mars next week, and its first order of business will be to make history. If all goes well, NASA is about to lose its bragging rights as the only space agency to successfully land probes on the Red Planet.

ExoMars, an astrobiology mission designed to hunt for signs of geologic and biological activity on Mars, is on track to reach orbit on October 19th. When it arrives, the mission’s two components—a Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and a Schiaparelli lander—will part ways. The TGO will insert itself into a low-altitude orbit and begin scanning the Martian atmosphere for methane, water vapor, and other trace gases. Schiaparelli, meanwhile, will attempt to reach the surface in one piece.

Landing on Mars is hard, and neither the ESA nor Roscosmos has a great track record. In the 1960s and 70s, the Soviet Union sent a slew of probes to the Red Planet, all of which crashed, died shortly after impact, or missed their target entirely. In 2003, the ESA’s Beagle 2 lander made it to the surface, but its solar panels failed to deploy, and it lost contact with Earth. In 2011, the Russians launched a space probe intended for Mars’ moon Phobos. It never made it out of low Earth orbit, eventually falling back and burning up in our atmosphere.

In other words, ExoMars is arriving at its destination with some baggage and a lot to prove. On October 16th, Schiaparelli and TGO will separate. Three days later, the lander will enter Mars’ atmosphere. The angle has to be absolutely perfect, otherwise the probe will come in too hot and burn up, or bounce back into space. If all goes well, Schiaparelli with then deploy a braking parachute, followed by three sets of hydrazine thrusters. All the while, it will be collecting data to characterize the structure of the Martian atmosphere and its intended landing site.

The entire sequence is pre-programmed, and Schiaparelli only has one shot. There are no do-overs should anything go wrong.

Lucky for the ESA and Roscosmos, Schiaparelli’s main goal is demonstrate landing technology. If there is a problem, engineers will study it carefully and incorporate whatever lessons they learn into the next phase of the ExoMars mission—a bigger and longer-lived science lander that ships off in 2020. So while everyone is hoping to stick the landing next week, failure to do so is not a catastrophe.

One way or another, this will be an exciting mission to watch.


from Gizmodo

An Israeli startup says it has taught an algorithm how to detect breast cancer


doctor nurse hospital prince william mask blue scrubs gown

William, Duke of Cambridge, in his role as President of the Royal
Marsden NHS (National Health Service) Foundation Trust, watches
as lead surgeon Pardeep Kumar, performs surgery for the removal
of a bladder tumour on a male patient during a visit to the Royal
Marsden Hospital on November 07, 2013 in Sutton, Greater

Lefteris Pitarakis – WPA
Pool/Getty Images

Zebra Medical Vision, an Israeli digital healthcare startup,
claims to have developed an algorithm that has the potential to
improve breast cancer detection.

Founded in 2014 and backed by the likes of Salesforce billionaire
Marc Benioff with $20 million (£16 million), the Tel Aviv-based
company says it has taught an algorithm to identify early signs
of breast cancer with the help of thousands of previous

That constantly improving algorithm — trained using a technique
known as machine learning, which is a type of AI that
equips computers with the ability to learn without being
explicitly programmed — is now better than radiologists
using the best Computer Aided Detection (CAD) methods for
mammography, the company claims. 

Eldad Elnekave, Zebra’s chief medical officer, told Business
Insider in Tel Aviv that the algorithm can detect half of the
breast cancer cases that are currently being missed by
radiologists. Radiologists working for the NHS fail to spot
breast cancer in thousands of mammograms every year, according to The Telegraph. The condition
affects one in eight women in their lifetime, according to UK charity Breast Cancer Care.

“The challenge here is there’s so much background noise in
breasts,” said Elnekave. “Breasts can be dense, they can be not
dense, they can be have implants, and so on. There are so many
possibilities so to find the actual breast cancer is a challenge.
This is where we could utilise the fact that we had an enormous
database of mammograms. We have 344,000 breast cancer studies
[from hospitals].”

Zebra Team

The Zebra


The mammography algorithm will be added to the company’s growing
list of clinical
, which can automatically read and
diagnose medical imaging data. Current algorithms are in the
fields of bone health, cardiovascular analysis, liver and lung
indications, and now mammography.

Dr Maya Cohen, director of the imaging Institute at Rabin Medical
Center and director of the Breast Health Center at Herzeliya
Medical Center in Israel, endorsed Zebra’s technology in a
press release published by the company. 

“Some of the most challenging cancer diagnoses are ones where the
visual cues are not distinct lesions but rather regional
asymmetry or architectural distortion in the breast tissue,” she
said in a statement, adding that Zebra’s algorithm could
help mammographers detect even the “most subtle” cancers.

from SAI

Scientists want to send a telescope to photograph Alpha Centauri


It used to be that if NASA didn’t want to do something, it didn’t get done, but we’re a long way from those days. The agency doesn’t believe that there’s currently enough value in sending a probe to seek out new life forms and new civilizations in Alpha Centauri. But a consortium of private science nonprofits disagree, and are looking to send their own space telescope to snap our nearest neighbor. They’ve united together under the name Project Blue and hope to raise enough money to circumvent NASA and do it off their own backs.

The group is backed by some heavyweight names including SETI, UMass Lowell and the BoldlyGo Institute. It’s hoped that Project Blue can construct and launch a small space telescope with a 45 to 50 centimeter aperture. This craft will then be sent into Earth orbit to take pictures of Alpha Centauri A and B in the hope that they can find Earth-like planets that could sustain life. That would, the group claims, "profoundly impact our understanding of the potential for life to exist elsewhere in our galaxy." It’s not the only initiative that has an eye on the star system: Stephen Hawking has put his weight behind the $100 million Breakthrough Starshot concept.

The New York Times asked Jon Morse, one of the project’s leaders, how much the proposed mission would cost. He feels that the whole trip could be undertaken for around $50 million, roughly a third of your average NASA mission. That money is likely to be raised through a series of private donations from rich people with an interest in science. At least, that’s the plan, although we imagine plenty of millionaires get requests like this on a regular basis. Then again, it does seem a bit screwy that our first contact with aliens could depend on how generous the folks from Shark Tank are feeling.

Via: NYT

Source: Project Blue

from Engadget

Going Huge: What it Takes to Design a Concept Bike


Huge Moto's retro-futuristic Honda CBR1000RR-based concept.
Last year, Huge Moto’s Honda CBR1000RR ‘cafe fighter’ conversion melted the EXIF servers. Bill Webb and his team focused on creating unique bolt-on parts—leaving the base motorcycle largely un-hacked.

The San Francisco-based outfit is now tackling its most ambitious project yet: a complete, ground-up concept motorcycle, called MONO RACR.

Huge Moto's retro-futuristic Honda CBR1000RR-based concept.
Even though we normally feature physical motorcycles that can be touched and ridden, this is a remarkable and unusually intriguing concept. So we squeezed Bill for a full look at it, and a glimpse into Huge Moto’s thought processes.

What’s the idea behind MONO RACR?

A retro-modern design aesthetic, combining the latest race bike tech with track-proven frame geometry, component setup and aerodynamics.

Huge Moto's retro-futuristic Honda CBR1000RR-based concept.
What did you base it on?

This virtual bike build began with one crucial component as a starting point: a Honda 1000cc inline four-cylinder motor. From there, every component was carefully considered, designing from the inside out.

Both the mainframe and swing arm are designed to be a mono-form carbon fiber construction, for added weight savings and performance. Our goal is to make this bike as real as possible—and not just another bullshit concept bike. We’re currently exploring fabrication options to make MONO real.

Huge Moto's retro-futuristic Honda CBR1000RR-based concept.
What was your frame of reference when designing the chassis?

We started with the idea of a futuristic carbon fiber frame and swingarm, which matched much of the track-proven hard point dimensions on race and sport bikes. We focused on the relationship of the frame to the motor and other significant components.

We tried as much as possible to learn from existing bikes and not re-invent the wheel on every component. Once we had a frame design we liked, we started laying out everything as efficiently and intelligently as possible—knowing we wanted to end up with a very clean, curvature continuous outer fairing design that would hug the hard bits.

Huge Moto's retro-futuristic Honda CBR1000RR-based concept.
How did you arrive at the retro-futuristic design of the bodywork?

Once we had a basic ‘virtual rolling chassis’ we focused on trying to come up with a design that could stand out from current sport bikes, for its design consistency and ‘clean’ aggression.

I think this is where the retro-modern aspect comes in… and what we found is that this was the biggest challenge to do without sacrificing function or performance. Once you account for all the same functional constraints as Ducati, Honda, Yamaha, etc., there isn’t much left. So it ends up being a difficult, or subtle, design exercise.

Huge Moto's retro-futuristic Honda CBR1000RR-based concept.
We don’t like all the crazy, over-designed elements that seem to get more pronounced year to year with the current crop of sport bikes. So we needed a bold, simple design element that could be a flexible theme that could pull the whole bike together visually.

So we came up with this idea of an angled vector line. The side view of the bike is comprised of these repeated design lines from front to back. This style of line works well with the constraints and ergonomics, and gives a ton of classic character without being too ‘mountain dew’ design.

Huge Moto's retro-futuristic Honda CBR1000RR-based concept.
How did you test everything virtually, to make sure it works in reality?

The short answer is that we haven’t done that yet. I had some engineering help with the few elements that aren’t already ‘proven’—namely the carbon fiber frame and swing arm.

The reality is that a full carbon fiber frame and swing arm is a huge challenge that the big manufacturers and MotoGP race teams are in the process of figuring out.

Huge Moto's retro-futuristic Honda CBR1000RR-based concept.
So how far is the MONO RACR from being a reality?

In terms of the industrial design process, I would say that this is at the stage of a refined concept, taken to about eighty percent real.

So that decision-makers can decide whether or not it is compelling enough to create a fully staffed team of engineers, to figure it out and tweak it into a final product. A realistic concept at an auto show to gauge interest, to put it another way.

Huge Moto's retro-futuristic Honda CBR1000RR-based concept.
A few of these renders had us doing a double-take…

People love Bike EXIF for the craftsmanship and the gritty reality of the bike builds. We didn’t want this bike to come across as some crazy neon bullshit, so we tried to present the bike and all the detail shots in a style that mimicked the garage-slash-warehouse environment of many builders.

So what happens next?

We’re hoping to drum up excitement see if there is interest in helping fabricate this. The carbon fiber frame and swing arm, for example, would be a huge challenge on its own… so maybe we could substitute aluminum and make something close.

Huge Moto's retro-futuristic Honda CBR1000RR-based concept.
Huge Moto is a side passion—our day jobs at Huge Design keep us busy. Huge Moto/Huge Design will be moving into an all new shop facility in downtown San Francisco within six months, with more machines and tools, and more capability to prototype bikes.

Huge Design | Huge Moto | Instagram

Huge Moto's retro-futuristic Honda CBR1000RR-based concept.

from Bike EXIF

7 Health Benefits of Camping You Didn’t Imagine


You might not realize that there are many benefits of camping. It can help us in many different ways: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Here are seven ways camping is good for you.

1. You will unplug from technology.

How long has it been since you had a day without technology or social media? You cannot imagine how good it feels to not be connected temporarily. Reality is the life is that happens between Wi-Fi signals; you need to disconnect from technology once in awhile and reconnect with each other and with your environment.

So come on: make some outdoor activities, plan a road trip, a camping trip, or a day at the woods. Enjoy the moment, feel happier and relaxed, and lift your mood.

2. You will reduce stress.

High stress levels negatively affect our health so much. Stress actually leads to many diseases. It is important to know and discover the right ways to manage stress and avoid sickness in your body and mind.

You need to focus on your own wellbeing, and there’s nothing better than coming into contact with nature when it comes to stress relief. Camping, outdoor exercises, and living new experiences surrounded by people can reduce our stress levels and decrease anxiety and depression. Camp America and many groups around the world support and promote those activities.

3. You will perform new activities and be more active.

We might not realize the different activities and movements our bodies make when we’re do these kind of activities (like carrying stuff, hiking to the campsite, or swimming in a water hole). These kinds of activities are actually beneficial, regardless of the pain and tiredness we feel right after them. Have you ever experience a weird new pain on your body a few days after making a new movement or doing a new exercise routine?

Exercise is the key to improving mood and health. It liberates our mind and makes us feel alive. It is mentally and physically stimulating. That’s why burning calories, making new experiences, and taking on new challenges affects our bodies in a very positive way.

4. You will get some fresh air to soothe your lungs and brain.

Oxygen is vital. It’s essential for all living human beings, and the lack of it affects a number of systems in our body and brain. The extra oxygen and fresh air you can get outdoors makes your body release serotonin (a neurotransmitter that gives us a sense of happiness and wellbeing) and your motor skills and brain functions improve almost instantly.

So plan something different for a weekend: call your friends or your significant other, and get out of the city and the routine. There are many activities you can do, like going hiking, camping, or making a bonfire with a full moon party. It’s time to charge up your batteries! The outdoors are waiting for you!

5. You will increase your intake of vitamins and minerals.

When you are outside, your body immediately absorbs huge quantities of sunlight, and that means a lot of vitamins. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that are essential for healthy bones and teeth. You will feel the energy surging inside you, and your mood will improve.

You just need to be aware of the sun and use protection; remember that too much exposure to sunlight is harmful and can really damage the skin. Protect your body. There are many natural ways to prevent sunburn and DIY recipes for skin care.

6. You will get closer to your camping buddies, and improve your relationship skills.

Yes, camping strengthens relationships, and being in contact with others promote having better communication, trust, and it builds memories. It is a different way of interaction. It gets us out of the daily routine, and we experience a new sense of community, cooperation, and socialization.

7. You will eat more nutritious foods.

We all know that foods that require preparation can improve our digestive system, and give it a break from fast and processed food. There are many easy camping recipes you can prepare on your next trip and also save some money and calories. It is a nice way to promote healthy eating, isn’t it?

Featured photo credit: smartertravel via

The post 7 Health Benefits of Camping You Didn’t Imagine appeared first on Lifehack.

from Stepcase Lifehack

Artificial Intelligence: It’s Not Man vs. Machine. It’s Man And Machine


Artificial Intelligence: It’s Not Man vs. Machine. It’s Man And Machine

Royal Frasier



At the Gigaom Change conference in Austin, Texas, on September 21-23, 2016, Manoj Saxena (Chairman of CognitiveScale), Josh Sutton (Head of Data & Artificial Intelligence at Publicis Sapient) and Rob High (CTO for IBM Watson) talked with moderator and market strategist, Patricia Baumhart, about the next frontier in artificial intelligence and how the race to win in AI will soon reshape our world.

Artificial intelligence is a field with a long history starting as early as 1956, but today what we’re beginning to see emerge is a new convergence of 6 major technologies: AI, cloud, mobile, social, big data and blockchain. Each of the panelists agreed that as we enter into the next digital frontier, AI will be woven into each of these areas causing a “super-convergence” of capabilities.

Saxena predicts that “this age of the Internet is going to look small by comparison to what’s happening in AI.” It’s true. The proliferation of AI creates a new world of application and computation design, including embodied cognition in concierge-style robots that help when we need assistance.

Cloud will become “cognitive cloud,” a ubiquitous virtual data repository powered by a “digital brain” that understands human needs to help us engage with information seamlessly in work and life. Big data will evolve from being about understanding trends to understanding and predicting outcomes. In combination these developments will disrupt enterprise IT and other business models across the world.

But as we move from a “mobile first to an AI first” landscape, how do we differentiate the winners from the losers? And how can investors know where to place their bets?

Trust and transparency are going to be the two most critical pieces of winning applications. Imagine a hedge fund manager using AI algorithms to develop a financial strategy for their portfolio. Before placing millions of dollars at risk, that manager will need an explanation of why the AI chose a particular solution.

We’re seeing companies like Waze do this already. Beyond being a great way to navigate, Waze is a contextually aware, predictive computing platform that anticipates what information you need next based on your location and route. More applications in different industries — from healthcare, to retail, to personal finance — will soon act like Waze, using cognitive computing and context to constantly learn and anticipate what we need.

The businesses that will win are the ones that apply AI capabilities not just to automate their processes, but that use AI to run their business in a fundamentally different way.

First, we have to understand the areas that AI can best be applied. The challenge in cognitive computing is interpreting and understanding the oftentimes imprecise language we use as humans. As High pointed out in the panel, “our true meaning is often hidden in our context.” AI needs to be able to learn from these conditions to gain meaning.

It’s not a question of who has the best technology, but who has the best understanding and appreciation of what the technology can unlock. The people who will gain the most from AI are the ones who are rethinking their business processes, not just running their existing businesses better.

As more of our lives are aided by intelligent systems in our homes, at work, and in our cars, other questions arise. Will AI get so smart that it replaces us? Sutton, High and Saxena all agree “no,” but they say that some tasks will certainly become automated. They believe the more important change will be the creation of a new class of jobs. According to Forrester, 25% of all job tasks will be offloaded to software robots, physical robots, or customer self-service automation — in other words, all of us will be impacted in some way. But while that may sound disparaging, the same study states that 13.6 million jobs will be created using AI tools over the next decade.

The nature of work will change dramatically with AI. We’ll have technology that augments our skills and abilities — perhaps something like a “JARVIS suit” that allows us to be superhuman. We’ll work alongside robotic colleagues that help us with our most challenging tasks. In terms of cognitive computing, we’re talking about amplifying human cognition, not replacing the human mind. There is so much to be gained when we uncover ideas and solutions we wouldn’t have been able to do on our own.

Today 2.5 exabytes of data are being produced every day. That number is expected to grow to 44 zettabytes a day by 2020. Like an actual brain — a super-complex network of biological components that learns and grows with experience — these interconnected data points, along with the machine learning algorithms that learn and act upon them on our behalf, are the building blocks of our AI-powered future.

By Royal Frasier, Gryphon Agency for Gigaom Change 2016

from TheAppleBlog

Infiniti just introduced a breakthrough new engine — and it doesn’t have anything to do with electric cars


Infiniti VC-Turbo



The Paris Motor Show was a showcase for sexy cars and
exciting new concepts. But while all that was going on, Infiniti
revealed a breakthrough new engine technology.

It’s called the VC-Turbo, and it’s important.

The world is busy these days thinking about an electric-car
future, but the vast majority of the vehicles on the road are
powered by internal combustion engines and will be for decades.

And before you start thinking that IC engines are yesterday’s
dirty tech, don’t forget that automakers have been continuously
innovating them for a century. They no longer belch plumes of
black smoke, and in many cases, automakers have been able to
extract impressive MPGs from them. Ironically, with all the extra
weight that modern safety and technology features are adding to
vehicles, fuel-economy from efficient IC motors has gone down.

So car companies are working hard to claw back good gas mileage,
in large part because they’re up against more stringent
government fuel-economy and environmental regulations.

The new VC-Turbo is a great example on how much innovation is
underway. In a statement, Infiniti said the 2.0-liter,
four-cylinder power plant “promises to be one of the most
advanced internal-combustion engines ever created.”

The VC stands for “variable compression,” and it means that the
new motor can modulate its compression ratio to optimize its
performance. According to Infiniti, it combines the torque of a
diesel motor with a high-performance gas engine — minus the
emissions problems that small-displacement diesels confront.

The CVT of turbosInfiniti QX Sport Inspiration ConceptThe VC-Turbo could wind up in Infiniti’s newest

The VC-Turbo is to engines what a continuously variable
transmission is to shifting gears: It can locate the ideal
compression ratio for a given driving condition. Infiniti has
been working on the technology for 20 years and thinks it will
enable the automaker to offer better performance with a
four-cylinder motor, replacing six-cylinder power plants.

CVTs are somewhat controversial — auto enthusiasts don’t much
like them. But they do serve up superior gas mileage. The
VC-Turbo isn’t likely to incur similar complaints because it
could solve a problem with turbocharged engines: the “lag”
between hitting the accelerator and the power coming on. This
issue has long been seen as a compromise that just has to be
dealt with if you want turbo advantages. But automakers have been
getting better and solving the turbo problem.

The VC-Turbo will go under the hoods of Infiniti vehicles in

from SAI