Saturday, December 2, 2023

BIG Wrap

Tokyo Olympics bans spectators from other countries

The Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics will not be open to spectators from outside Japan, CNET reported today. Those from other countries who bought tickets from the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee will be reimbursed, organizers said.

Mice study shows damaged brain tissue can be ‘retrained’

Scientists at Ohio State University have developed technology to "retrain" cells to help repair damaged brain tissue, reports Medical Xpress. "We can rewrite the genetic code of skin cells so that they can become blood vessel cells," says study leader Daniel Gallego-Perez. "When they're deployed into the brain, they're able to grow new, healthy vascular tissue to restore normal blood supply and aid in the repair of damaged brain tissue."

Successful test for NASA on part of Earth’s most powerful rocket

NASA successfully completed a test on the Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket in existence, the BBC reports. Engines on the rocket's "core stage" were kept running for more than eight minutes, simulating the time it would take the SLS to go from the ground to space. NASA intends to use the SLS to send humans to the moon's surface for the first time since 1972.

IBM’s Project Debater makes convincing argument for AI

IBM has developed an artificial intelligence-based system designed to engage in debates with humans, Tech Xplore reports. In their paper published in the journal Nature, IBM team members describe their system and how well it performed against human opponents. It listens to moderators and opponents and responds in a female voice. Having already impressed a human audience, you can expect to see Project Debater applying for the job of government lobbyist to push for loose...

Scientist says Jupiter’s wind jets could present ‘unique meteorological beast’

Jupiter has long been known for the massive storm in its Great Red Spot, but astronomers claim that winds near the gas giant's poles make that storm look like a stiff breeze, CNET reports. The winds, found in the stratosphere under the bright auroras observed near the poles, have been measured at speeds of 1,450 kilometers per hour. That's roughly twice as fast as the speeds seen in the Great Red Spot and three times the power...

Teen mastermind pleads guilty to hacking celebrity accounts

A U.S. teenager will spend three years in prison after pleading guilty to hacking high-profile Twitter accounts in a large-scale Bitcoin scam, the BBC reports. Graham Ivan Clark was 17 when he co-ordinated the scam, which hijacked the profiles of celebrities including Kim Kardashian West, Kanye West, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Barack Obama. Clark will be banned from using computers without permission and supervision from law enforcement. BIG Media predicts that once he gets out of...

Discovery of scroll fragments ‘magnificent and rare’ 

Dozens of newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls fragments were found in a Judean Desert cave occupied by Jewish refugees 1,900 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced. The exploration team also recovered rare coins, a large basket estimated to be about 10,500 years old, and the skeleton of a mummified child dating back about 6,000 years, CNET reports.

Lightning strikes a chord as origin-of-life debate gets superheated

Researchers said today that lightning strikes billions of years ago may have freed up phosphorus required for the formation of biomolecules essential to life. A bolt of lightning can create glassy rocks called fulgurites by superheating and sometimes vaporizing surface rock, freeing phosphorus locked inside, Reuters reports.

One small step for robot … then a larger step

Dyret, a four-legged robot, has the ability to adjust the length of its legs in adapting to varying terrain, reports Tech Xplore. "The robot uses a camera to see how rough the terrain is, and it uses sensors in the legs to feel how hard the walking surface is," says researcher and senior lecturer Tonnes Nygaard. "The robot continuously learns about the environment it's walking on and, combined with the knowledge it gained indoors...

SpaceX rocket completes ninth flight with same booster

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket made a record ninth successful launch and landing as part of a mission to carry 60 satellites into orbit, PCMag reports. Early Sunday morning, the capsule took off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. About nine minutes later, its first stage landed on SpaceX's drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.