The Sound of All Human Knowledge

Sound helps shape our perception and how we learn about the world around us. Some sounds are quite simple to identify, like the sound of a rocket launch or the sound of waves crashing against the shore. But how about the sound of all human knowledge? The Wikimedia movement is searching for a sound logo….

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Super-Earths are bigger, more common and more habitable than Earth itself – and billions of them might be out there

But research has shown that the best chance astronomers have of finding life on another planet is likely to be on a super-Earth similar to the ones found recently.Common and easy to find Most super-Earths orbit cool dwarf stars, which are lower in mass and live much longer than the Sun. There are hundreds of cool dwarf stars for every star like the Sun, and scientists have found super-Earths orbiting 40 of cool dwarfs they have looked at.


Astronomers now routinely discover planets orbiting stars outside of the solar system – they’re called exoplanets. But in summer 2022, teams working on NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite found a few particularly interesting planets orbiting in the habitable zones of their parent stars. One planet is 30% larger than Earth and orbits its star in less than three days. The other is 70% larger than the Earth and might host a deep ocean. These two exoplanets are super-Earths – more massive than the Earth but smaller than ice giants like Uranus and Neptune.


Earth is still the only place in the universe scientists know to be home to life. It would seem logical to focus the search for life on Earth clones – planets with properties close to Earth’s. But research has shown that the best chance astronomers have of finding life on another planet is likely to be on a super-Earth similar to the ones found recently.


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World set to reach 8 billion people by 15 November 2022

The global population is projected to reach 8 billion on 15 November 2022, and India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023, according to World Population Prospects 2022, released today on World Population Day.


“This year’s World Population Day falls during a milestone year, when we anticipate the birth of the Earth’s eight billionth inhabitant. This is an occasion to celebrate our diversity, recognize our common humanity, and marvel at advancements in health that have extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “At the same time, it is a reminder of our shared responsibility to care for our planet and a moment to reflect on where we still fall short of our commitments to one another,” he added.


The global population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950, having fallen under 1 per cent in 2020. The latest projections by the United Nations suggest that the world’s population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050. It is projected to reach a peak of around 10.4 billion people during the 2080s and to remain at that level until 2100.


World Population Prospects 2022 also states that fertility has fallen markedly in recent decades for many countries. Today, two-thirds of the global population lives in a country or area where lifetime fertility is below 2.1 births per woman, roughly the level required for zero growth in the long run for a population with low mortality. The populations of 61 countries or areas are projected to decrease by 1 per cent or more between 2022 and 2050, owing to sustained low levels of fertility and, in some cases, elevated rates of emigration.


More than half of the projected increase in the global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in eight countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania. Countries of sub-Saharan Africa are expected to contribute more than half of the increase anticipated through 2050.


“The relationship between population growth and sustainable development is complex and multidimensional” said Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. “Rapid population growth makes eradicating poverty, combatting hunger and malnutrition, and increasing the coverage of health and education systems more difficult. Conversely, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to health, education and gender equality, will contribute to reducing fertility levels and slowing global population growth.”

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The Google graveyard: All the products Google has shut down

Google releases a lot of products, but it shuts down a lot of them, too. Some didn’t deserve to be discontinued (we pine for the days of Reader and Inbox), and some probably weren’t long for this world from the start. (What was Google Wave supposed to be, anyway?) The company actually used to shut down products with quarterly “spring cleanings,” but now, it just does so whenever it’s time for another product to be put out to pasture.

Follow along here for all our coverage of everything Google sends to its graveyard.

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A state-of-the-art AI system generates high-quality videos from text prompts

Make-A-Video research builds on the recent progress made in text-to-image generation technology built to enable text-to-video generation. The system uses images with descriptions to learn what the world looks like and how it is often described. It also uses unlabeled videos to learn how the world moves. With this data, Make-A-Video lets you bring your imagination to life by generating whimsical, one-of-a-kind videos with just a few words or lines of text.

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Products —

Orbit Fab’s RAFTI™ Service Valve and products for on-orbit refuelling.

Orbit Fab’s Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface (RAFTI™) extends the life of your spacecraft by equipping it with on-orbit refuelling capability. Mobility is at your fingertips! Spacecraft can now make frequent orbit and altitude changes without regret. High value assets can be retasked to serve new purposes. By implementing RAFTI your spacecraft is now designed with docking and refuelling activities in mind. During ground operations, the RAFTI Service Valve doubles as a reliable, cost-effective fill/drain valve.

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Ethereum 2.0 upgrade about to happen and will it change crypto forever?

Eth2, Ethereum 2.0, ETH 2.0…The project has been called many things in the past, but earlier this year the Ethereum community settled on the “merge.” Most simply, the merge is a long-planned Ethereum upgrade aimed at improving the network. Such upgrades are commonplace, but this is the most important one to date, and its success will pave the way for developers to introduce a host of new features to the network. The merge will, well, merge the current Ethereum mainnet—or the main public Ethereum blockchain used by everyone—with something called the Beacon Chain. Currently, both chains exist in parallel. But only the Ethereum mainnet, which currently uses a mechanism called proof of work, is processing transactions. 


Once the merge is complete, the Ethereum mainnet will shift away from proof of work and instead adopt the Beacon Chain’s proof-of-stake mechanism.


What’s proof of stake?

Proof of stake (PoS) is a type of consensus mechanism that differs from the traditional proof-of-work (PoW) one.

A consensus, what?

A consensus mechanism describes the way Ethereum—or other blockchains—determine the legitimacy of transactions posted to its network. It is how a blockchain governs itself.


Ethereum can be seen as a distributed database of nodes—or computers that run software to verify blocks and the transaction data within them. To reach consensus on the network and make a decision, the majority of nodes must be in agreement, and the choice of consensus mechanism determines how they do that.

So, how does proof of stake work? 

Once Ethereum shifts to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism post-merge, the network will rely on trusted entities known as validators to verify transactions and add new blocks to the blockchain. A validator will be chosen at random each time a new block is to be added, which will occur every 12 seconds or so post-merge.


Anyone can apply to be a validator by depositing 32 Ethereum (about $61,000 at mid-August prices)—a sum intended to ensure that participants have a stake in the success of the network—and run up-to-date software. As the Ethereum Foundation explains, prospective validators will then be added to an “activation queue that limits the rate of new validators joining the network.” Once a validator is “activated,” it will be eligible to review and approve new blocks the Ethereum network proposes to add to its blockchain. 

In return for securing the network, validators will earn Ether as reward.


While the 32 Ether staked as collateral serves as a major incentive to behave appropriately, there are also punishments for validators that are incompetent or malicious. Namely, they can be penalized with the loss of some or all of their deposit. The merge hasn’t happened yet, but the Beacon Chain already has over 415,000 validators.

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Deepfakes of Simon Cowell and other celebrities are stealing the show on “America’s Got Talent”

Deepfakes are getting scarily good. If there were any doubt about it, this season’s America’s Got Talent should serve as a wakeup call. A startup called Metaphysic has managed to advance to the talent competition’s final round, which will air next week, by producing remarkable deepfakes of Simon Cowell and the other contest judges in real-time. The judges have been blown-away by seeing performers who have only the vaguest resemblance to them—a somewhat similar face and body shape—suddenly transform into their digital doppelgangers, right before their eyes.

Welcome to the world of live deepfakes. Two years ago, most deepfake software couldn’t create a convincing likeliness of someone without a lot of images of the deepfake target—which is why celebrities were often used for deepfakes, since plenty of photos of them from a variety of angles are readily available. What’s more, to get the details right—particularly around the mouth and eyes and jawline—so that the deepfake was really convincing, took a fair bit of post-production work. Finally, the A.I. models that created the deepfake couldn’t be run fast enough to produce the deepfake reliably in real-time over a broadcast video. Today, none of those things are true. Believable deepfakes can be deployed on a live video transmission.

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Forget the metaverse, it’s all about the intraverse

The Register has reported from Gartner’s Symposium event in Australia, where the intraverse was described as, “an interactive space that melds an intranet and a metaverse”.

Gartner reportedly encouraged attendees to not “think of a metaverse as a single thing to build”, but instead “a collection of techs such as augmented reality to be used as a training or collaboration environment, or a way to add AI avatars as a customer service option”.


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Cancer-killing virus shows promise in patients | #Research #Health 

A new type of cancer therapy that uses a common virus to infect and destroy harmful cells is showing big promise in early human trials, say UK scientists.

One patient’s cancer vanished, while others saw their tumours shrink.

The drug is a weakened form of the cold sore virus – herpes simplex – that has been modified to kill tumours.

Larger and longer studies will be needed, but experts say the injection might ultimately offer a lifeline to more people with advanced cancers.


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