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Stephen Hawking

In a lecture at the University of Cambridge this week, Stephen Hawking made the bold claim that the creation of artificial intelligence will be "either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity".
The talk was celebrating the opening of the new Leverhulme Centre of the Future of Intelligence, where some of the best minds in science will try to answer questions about the future of robots and artificial intelligence - something Hawking says we need to do a lot more of.
“We spend a great deal of time studying history," Hawking told the lecture, "which, let’s face it, is mostly the history of stupidity."
But despite all our time spent looking back at past errors, we seem to make the same mistakes over and over again.
"So it’s a welcome change that people are studying instead the future of intelligence," he explained.
It's not the first time Hawking has been worried about artificial intelligence.
Last year, he joined Elon Musk and hundreds of other experts in writing an open letter asking the governments to ban autonomous weapons that might one day be able to turn against humans.
He's also previously said that "the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race".
In Wednesday's lecture, he admitted he was still worried about "powerful autonomous weapons" and "new ways for the few to oppress the many", which come with artificial intelligence.
But he said if we can think about and address these issues now, the technology also has the potential to do good.
"We cannot predict what we might achieve when our own minds are amplified by AI," he said.
"Perhaps with the tools of this new technological revolution, we will be able to undo some of the damage done to the natural world by the last one – industrialisation. And surely we will aim to finally eradicate disease and poverty."
The Leverhulme Centre of the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge, where Hawking is also a professor, has received more than US$12 million (£10 million) in grants to run research projects that will enhance the future potential of artificial intelligence, while carefully addressing the risks.
The centre was inspired partly by the university's Centre for Existential Risk, which already offers courses in subjects such as "Terminator Studies", in order to examine future potential problems for humanity.
While that centre focusses on a range of threats - such as climate change and war - the new Leverhulme Centre will look specifically at the issues that could arise from machines that think and learn like humans.
"Machine intelligence will be one of the defining themes of our century, and the challenges of ensuring that we make good use of its opportunities are ones we all face together," said director of the Leverhulme Centre, Huw Price.
"At present, however, we have barely begun to consider its ramifications, good or bad."
With Google already developing artificial intelligence that can learn from its own memory; Elon Musk worrying about humans become the dumb "house pets" of AI in the future; and computer systems already rivalling four-year-olds in IQ tests, it's definitely something worth thinking about sooner rather than later.

As Hawking says, it might end up being "crucial to the future of our civilisation and our species".
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black hole just broke free, and is tearing through its own galaxy
RIP everything in its path.
Supermassive black holes are thought to sit at the centre of every galaxy in the Universe. It’s not clear why they’re always in the middle, but we’re safe in the knowledge that those devastating whirlpools of nothingness stay where they’re supposed to... until they don’t.
A newly discovered black hole appears to have been knocked from its perch by another galaxy, and is now tearing - unanchored - through its own galaxy. Let’s all just take a moment to appreciate the very well-behaved black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, shall we?
Regular black holes form when a star at least five times more massive than the Sun runs out of fuel, and collapses in on itself to create a destructive void thatnot even light can escape.
There are also massive black holes - sometimes referred to as intermediate-mass black holes - which are 100 to 100,000 times more massive than our Sun.
Supermassive black holes, on the other hand, contain hundreds of millions of times the mass of our Sun. The biggest ones can even be as heavy as 10 billion Suns.
Massive and supermassive black holes are thought to be at the heart of every galaxy in the Universe.
This looming presence is intrinsic to the existence of a galaxy - they even grow in tandem with each other - but no one’s entirely sure why these black holes always end up at the centre.
One hypothesis is that the black hole existed first, and managed to pull an entire galaxy full of stuff in around it.
Another suggestion is that the dark matter halo that surrounds every galaxy concentrates new galaxy material in such a way that you end up with a massive or supermassive black hole in the centre, and stars everywhere else.
Regardless of how they got there, supermassive black holes tend to stay put in the centre of a galaxy - but physicists have hypothesised that on very rare occasions, something catastrophic can knock them free.
Now it looks like we’ve found one such 'wandering' supermassive black hole, tearing through the edges of galaxy SDSS J141711.07+522540.8, some 4.5 billion light-years from Earth.
We’ve known about this massive object, called XJ1417+52, for over a decade now, and previous estimates have placed its mass at around 100,000 times that of our Sun. But back when we first spotted it, it appeared to still be anchored to its galactic centre.
The team that spotted it, led by physicist Dacheng Lin from the University of New Hampshire, suggests that the black hole broke free when its galaxy merged or collided with a neighbouring galaxy - something that’s expected to happen to the Milky Way in 5 billion years or so.
It’s thought that when this collision happened, a sun from one galaxy wandered too close to the supermassive black hole of the other one, and the black hole got dislodged, and the sun shredded.
That explains why when the team observed the black hole for the first time between 2000 and 2002, it looked so incredibly bright. Only in the past few years did they manage to locate the source of this flash.
As George Dvorsky explains for Gizmodo, the gaseous debris produced by this encounter generated a tremendous amount of X-rays, that have since been picked up by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray observatory.
To give you an idea of how bright the encounter was, it was 10 times brighterthan the brightest X-ray source ever seen for a potential wandering black hole, and it's also about 10 times further away from us than the previous record holder.
So... should we be worried about a rogue black hole that's doing what it wants, where it wants?
Well, unless we somehow figure out how to travel to places billions of light-years away, the answer is no. But spare a thought for whatever matter it runs into in its own galaxy, because death by black hole is no fun for anyone.
The discovery has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal, but you can read it at pre-print website,

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Today's Google event was dedicated to how its new hardware and software will blend together. Google started off with an official Pixel phone unveiling, after weeks of rumors and leaks.

That kicked off a focus on software, especially the way Google's new Assistant software will power the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones and Google Home. Google also showcased its Daydream View, a cozy-looking VR headset covered in fabric. The new 4K Chromecast Ultra made an appearance, as did Google's modular Wi-Fi router system, and Google Home, the AI-powered speaker aimed at Amazon's Echo. We've got the details below, along with full coverage of
Google's hardware event right here.

 Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Google Pixel and Pixel XL
After weeks of leaks, Google unveiled what we were all expecting: the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. Both have a similar design and are differentiated mainly by the size of their screens. Google's Pixel includes a 5-inch 1080p display, and the XL features a larger 5.5-inch Quad HD panel. Both devices are built by HTC and are powered by the latest Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB or 128GB of storage.
Google has included fingerprint sensors on the rear, and both Pixel smartphones run a specialized version of Google's Android software, which includes support for the Daydream virtual reality headsets and Google's new Assistant software. Google's new Assistant is a key part of the Pixel and of Google's keynote in general, and the search giant took a lot of time demonstrating what the Assistant can do, from answering traditional search queries to reaching into apps to make restaurant reservations or play music.
Google also focused on photography with the Pixel, boasting that DXOMark scored the Pixel camera 89, the highest ever for a smartphone. Google is providing free unlimited storage for Pixel owners so you can store full-resolution pictures and videos on Google Photos. Both Pixel devices will ship with the latest Android Nougat release, and updates will be available immediately. Pricing starts at $649 for the smaller 5-inch Pixel, available for preorder today. Google is also giving out promo codes for Daydream Views with Pixel preorders.
Daydream View headset

Daydream View headset
Google unveiled its first headset for the Daydream VR platform today: Daydream View. Compatible with any Daydream-supported phone, the new lightweight headset has been designed to be "soft and cozy," thanks to the fact it's made from the type of fabric you'd find in clothing. Google has worked with clothing designers to perfect the design, but apart from the fabric it looks like a regular VR headset. Google has crafted an area on the headset to hide the remote control away, and it slots neatly into the front of the device.
Like the Pixel unveil, Google spent a lot of time focusing on the software aspects of the Daydream View. There's Google Street View, YouTube, and Google Photos apps that are controlled from the remote. Naturally, you can watch 360 VR videos with the YouTube app, and explore around streets with a click of a button. Daydream View and the controller will go on sale in November for $79.
Chromecast Ultra

Chromecast Ultra
Chromecast got an upgrade with Ultra, a version that supports HDR, Dolby Vision, and 4K content. The basics of the Ultra are largely the same as its predecessors — a disc you plug into your TV — but it now has an Ethernet port integrated into the power adapter. It’s also more expensive, at $69. You can preorder the Ultra in November, and it ships in December. Google Play movies will also start streaming 4K content in November.
Google Wifi

Google Wifi
After last year’s foray into router partnerships with OnHub, Google is now making routers itself. The new system, called simply Google Wifi, is a multi-point network similar to Eero, letting you place modular router points throughout your house for maximum coverage. The system manages your connection as you move through the house, optimizing which router you're connected to. You can also actively manage the network through the app — including, in the demo, the ability to kick your kids of the internet by pressing "pause." A single router costs $129, while a three-pack costs $299. Preorders start in November and it ships in December.
Google Home

Google Home
Google Home goes on sale next month for $129. Google announced its smart home assistant at I/O in May, but today Google Home finally got a price and a release date. Home will ship on November 4th and cost $129, with a three-pack for $299. That's a very deliberate shot at the Amazon Echo (currently going for $179), and given Google's new smart assistant features, it will be interesting to see how the two products stack up. Home is also designed to work with multiple units in a single house, although the team is still working on support for multiple Google accounts. It also comes with a free six-month trial of YouTube Red.
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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND—The Manchester Evening News reports that an excavation ahead of a construction project in the city center has uncovered the remains of a 200-year-old pub and several houses. Artifacts from the site include unopened bottles of brandy and crockery personalized with the name of Thomas Evans, owner of the Astley Arms pub in 1821. “It’s brilliant because you can suddenly connect it to the local people in the area,” said senior archaeologist Aidan Turner. “We looked online about his family history and one of his descendants now lives in Texas.” The team also recovered keys, pots for quills, and pipes. The pub was renamed the Paganini Tavern in 1840, when it was owned by Thomas Inglesent, but the property reverted to the Astley Arms by the 1850s. The pub remained open until 1928. To read more about urban archaeology in England, go to "Haunt of the Resurrection Men."
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A couple of years ago, researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre discovered a thruster system which actually generates thrust, despite requiring absolutely no propellant. The implications of this discovery are far-reaching; applications for space flight and other technologies which require propulsion could one day become far cheaper, allowing space exploration to expand exponentially. The existence of this technology also further validates the fact that energy can be derived from tapping into the quantum vacuum, also known as “zero-point.”

Bottom line is that space is not empty, and the energy which lies within it can be used. This was experimentally confirmed when  the Casimir Effectillustrated zero point or vacuum state energy, which predicts that two metal plates close together attract each other due to an imbalance in the quantum fluctuations(source)(source).
The propellant-less thruster is called the Cannae Drive, invented by Guido Fetta, and was tested by NASA over an eight day testing campaign that took place in August of 2013. It’s also known as the EM drive.  It showed that a small amount of thrust was achieved inside a container, again, without the use of any fuel. The results were then presented at the 50th Joint Propulsion Conference in Cleveland, Ohio in July the next year.
You can access the paper (titled “Numerical and Experimental Results for a Novel Propulsion Technology Requiring no On-Board Propellant”) that was presented at the conference here and inventor Guido Fetta’s paper here.
Now, it’s about to be launched into spacee, and, according to many, like,  the EM “is as controversial as it gets, because while certain experiments have suggested that such an engine could work, it also goes against one of the most fundamental laws of physics we have.
It’s a law that Issac Newton derived, called the law of conservation of momentum, which states that an equal and opposite reaction must stem from an action.  In order for something to gain momentum it must expel some kind of propellent in the opposite direction, but not the EM drive, this invention taps into the ‘zero-point’ field of energy/electromagnetic waves, creating thrust by microwave photons bouncing around inside a cone shaped metal cavity. The cone shaped mental cavity is what accelerates it into the opposite direction.

This is exciting, because it basically proves that we have a limitless resource of energy to tap into and utilize for space travel.  This is currently the biggest barrier for modern day space travel and exploration.

It’s Time For The Laws Of Physics To Be Changed

We knew the Earth was flat, we knew that we were the centre of the universe, we knew that a man made heavier than air peace of machinery could not take flight. Through out human history, intellectual authorities have pronounced their supremacy by ridiculing or surpressing elements of reality that simply didn’t fit within the framework of accepted knowledge  – Terje Toftenes (taken from the film, The Day Before Disclosure)
Science needs to be careful and stray for from getting  caught up in the grip of scientific dogma. History has constantly shown us, especially within the realms of science, that what we accept as real always changes at another point in time. Our understanding and knowledge regarding the nature of our reality is constantly changing.
“There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” This statement (worldview statement) was made by Lord Kelvin in 1900, which was shattered five years later when Einstein published his paper on special relativity. This one great, out of many.
Today, engineers are inventing power generators that utilize these concepts, like Paramahamsa Tewari .
These laws need to be refined to account for the fact that space is not empty,
What we currently accept as fact is going to have to change, and developments like the EM drive, or electrical generators that used these concepts, are going to have to be acknowledged soon. Throughout history, new developments in fields such as energy have always taken their time to find it into the market place. In today’s world, there’s always a lot of Red Tape you’re going to have to go through, unfortunately.
Below is a short clip of former NASA astronaut and Princeton Physics Professor Dr. Brian O’leary speaking about these energy concepts:

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