The Register Columnists

Katyanna Quach

Contact Mail Follow Twitter RSS feed

Got any ecsta-sea? Boffins get octopuses high on MDMA – for science, duh

Humans and octopuses may have drastically different brains, but both react in a surprisingly similar way when under the effects of the drug MDMA, more commonly known as ecstasy. Octopuses are solitary creatures, preferring to slink around cracks and crevices in rocks on the seabed rather than bothering to socialise with their …
Katyanna Quach, 21 Sep 2018

Bouncing robots land on asteroid 180m miles away amid mission to fetch sample for Earth

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has landed a pair of tiny drum-like hopping robots on the surface of asteroid Ryugu. The cylindrical bots are about 18cm wide and 7cm tall (7 x 2.8in), and were traveling onboard the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, which left Earth in December 2014. When the probe reached the right spot …
Katyanna Quach, 21 Sep 2018
Astronaut on mars . Photo by shutterstock

Flying to Mars will be so rad, dude: Year-long trip may dump 60% lifetime dose of radiation on you

A year-long round trip to Mars could give you more than half the maximum radiation dose recommended for an astronaut's entire career, according to data collected by the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. The spacecraft, weighing in at over 4,000 kilograms (8,801lb), was launched by the European Space Agency and its Russian counterpart …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Sep 2018

Garbage collection – in SPAAACE: Net snaffles junk in first step to clean up Earth's orbiting litter

Video Scientists have managed to capture a small floating human-made satellite using a net deployed from a spacecraft orbiting the Earth for the first time. The plan is to develop this technology to collect space clutter, and clean up our home world's orbit. Space junk circling our planet is a growing problem as more spacecraft are …
Katyanna Quach, 19 Sep 2018

Holy macaroni! After months of number-crunching, behold the strongest material in the universe: Nuclear pasta

Good luck sinking your teeth into nuclear pasta. For one it’ll be tricky to get a hold of since it’s the stuff lodged inside neutron stars. Additionally, it may also be the universe’s strongest material. Neutron stars are the cores leftover from dead stars that have already shed their gaseous layers in a supernova explosion. …
Katyanna Quach, 19 Sep 2018

Put your tin-foil hats on! Wi-Fi can be used to guesstimate number of people hidden in a room

Video Wireless network gear can be used to estimate the number of people hidden behind walls, according to fresh research out of America. Saandeep Depatla, a PhD student, and Yasamin Mostofi, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, both at the University of California, Santa Barbara, were able to figure out more or less …
Katyanna Quach, 19 Sep 2018

'Men only' job ad posts land Facebook in boiling hot water with ACLU

Facebook is under fire for allowing companies to allegedly unfairly post on the social network job ads specifically for men – and not women. The American Civil Liberties Union and Outten & Golden LLP, an employment law firm, on Tuesday dragged the tech giant and ten employers before the US Equal Employment Opportunity …
Katyanna Quach, 19 Sep 2018

Hack Google's AI for cash, DeepMind gets cancerous, new Lobe for Redmond – and more

Roundup Hello, here's a roundup tying up all the bits of AI news together for this week. Google has a new competition to challenge developers to defend or attack image classification systems with adversarial examples. DeepMind are planning to test its algorithms for head and neck radiotherapy algorithms on humans. And Microsoft have …
Katyanna Quach, 15 Sep 2018

New MeX-Files: The curious case of an evacuated US solar lab, the FBI – and bananas conspiracy theories

The mysterious shutdown and evacuation of a solar research laboratory, tucked away in a forest in New Mexico, USA, has sent the internet abuzz with a flurry of conspiracy theories. The Sunspot Solar Observatory (SSO), located in the Sacramento Mountains, was switched off earlier this month, and staff ordered to leave. The FBI …
Katyanna Quach, 14 Sep 2018

Berkeley bio-boffins' butt-blasting belly-bothering batt-teria generates electricity

Scientists have discovered that a type of stomach bug contracted from unpasteurized dairy or raw meat can produce electricity. Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogenic bacteria that causes listeriosis, a particularly nasty infection that can be fatal. Milder symptoms include diarrhea, but it can also lead to more serious …
Katyanna Quach, 14 Sep 2018

World's oldest URL – fragments 73,000 years old – discovered in cave

Pics Scientists have discovered, tucked inside a cave in South Africa, the oldest drawing yet, made around 73,000 years ago. And it looks suspiciously like a worldwide web address. The drawing consists of from red scraggly lines arranged in a cross-hatch pattern on a slab of rock, some marks are horizontal, others are at angles …
Katyanna Quach, 13 Sep 2018

Wow, great invention: Now AI eggheads teach machines how to be sarcastic using Reddit

Dealing with chatbots and virtual assistants can be so frustrating that it’s normal for humans to start getting snarky. Such run-ins would be a little more entertaining if the machines could give some of that sass back. Unfortunately, it’ll be awhile before that can happen since computers don’t really understand sarcasm at all …
Katyanna Quach, 12 Sep 2018
Girls with bubbles photo via Shutterstock

Boffins don't want to burst your bubble – they create them with sound

Video Fluid dynamics is weird. Physicists have reverse engineered the popping of a bubble and managed to keep it levitated just by using the power of sound. Iridescent bubbles form when a film of soapy liquid is punctured. The film retracts from the hole and the molecules are pulled back and rearranged to reduce its surface area, …
Katyanna Quach, 12 Sep 2018

The eyes don't have it! AI's 'deep-fake' vids surge ahead in realism

Videos Using AI to make fake videos look as realistic as possible is all the rage at the moment. Developers aren't deterred by the controversy surrounding deepfakes – videos in which people's faces are digitally pasted onto the bodies of smut stars and other performers using machine-learning software. OK, sure, adding Nicholas Cage’ …
Katyanna Quach, 11 Sep 2018

AI beats astroboffins at sniffing out fast radio bursts amid the universe's clutter

AI is helping astronomers spot fast radio bursts, a mysterious class of signal emitted from a new type of object very rarely found in space that boffins are still trying to classify. Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are difficult to study. They don’t crop up too often - there have only been around 30 confirmed events since their …
Katyanna Quach, 11 Sep 2018

It's a mug's game: Watch AI robot grab a cuppa it hasn't seen before

Video A trio of researchers have trained a robot that can pick up new objects it hasn’t seen before. It’s a trivial task for humans yet an incredibly complex one for machines. When people reach out to grab a mug, it’s common sense to hold it by its handle - it doesn’t matter if the mug is upright, upside down, or tipped on its side …
Katyanna Quach, 11 Sep 2018
military staffer looks at monitor (drones)

US military chucks $2bn at AI, Google touts machine-learning data search, and more

Roundup Here's a quick roundup of AI announcements this week beyond what we've already covered. US Defense research unit funding billions for AI Next campaign: DARPA is dumping a whopping $2 billion to kickstart the “third wave” of AI focused on making systems more adaptable. It’s all part of the US military's ‘AI Next’ campaign, …

Pluto is more alive than Mars, huff physicists who are still not over dwarf planet's demotion

The drama surrounding Pluto’s planetary status just won’t die. A bunch of physicists are still fired up over the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) decision to demote Pluto from being a fully fledged planet to a mere dwarf world in 2006. Pluto hovers on the edge of our Solar System, mixing it up with bits of icy debris …

NASA's Kepler probe rouses from its slumber, up and running again

NASA’s planet-hunting spacecraft, Kepler, is back scanning the stars after an period of hibernation and repair. After the spacecraft downloaded a wad of data - codenamed Campaign 19 - in late August, it powered down for a snooze in sleep mode. Now, it’s back up and running after NASA has fixed up one of its thrusters. “The …
China v USA

China will overtake America as leading AI superpower, warns ex-Google Beijing bigwig

While America today is ahead of the world in artificial intelligence, China will take the lead in five years, Google China's former president Kai-Fu Lee said today. Lee – now founder and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, which invests in AI startups in both nations – argued the US and the Middle Kingdom each has its own strengths …

Neutron star crash in a galaxy far, far... far away spews 'faster than light' radio signal jets at Earth

A recently observed neutron star collision was so violent it sprayed jets of radio signals that appeared to travel faster than light, it has just emerged. The cosmic prang – logged as GW170817 after the resulting gravitational wave detected in mid-2017 – involved two neutron stars running into one another in NGC 4993, a galaxy …

Heart-stopping predictions from AI doctors could save lives

AI can predict when you’ll keel over and die clutching at your chest from a heart attack better than doctors can, apparently. A group of researchers scraped together dataset from over 80,000 patients from CALIBER, a large clinical research project studying mortality in England, and used machine learning methods to find common …

Lights, camera, AI-ction! Robo-drones turned into spies, er, filmmakers

Video Cameras on drones have helped make aerial photography more accessible – and with machine-learning software, they may be able to assist budding filmmakers in the future, too. A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in the US, and Yamaha Motors in Japan, have published a paper showing how drones can be used …

Google goes bilingual, Facebook fleshes out translation and TensorFlow is dope

Roundup Hello, here's a quick roundup of what's been happening in the world of AI. Google has a new framework to help researchers develop reinforcement learning algorithms, and Google Assistant is now bilingual. Also watch how Microsoft's Azure Machine Learning Studio is helping Japanese fish farmers. Unsupervised machine translation …
When white dwarf stars collide

Black holes can briefly bring dead white dwarf stars back to life

Black holes can bring dead stars back to life - even if it’s just for a few seconds, according to a new study. When stars teeter too close to the menacing voids, they can kickstart tidal disruption events (TDEs). Stars are yanked in towards the black hole by its strong gravitational field, and are eventually ripped apart by …
Katyanna Quach, 31 Aug 2018

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018