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Scientists Create a Mind-Reading System That Projects Your Thoughts on a Screen

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In the climate of global surveillance that surrounds our daily lives, the only safe place we can hide in is our own head. They are watching us through the surveillance cameras while everything we write, say and do online no longer belongs to the field of privacy. Only our thoughts and memories can’t be accessible to other people. Guess what? Not anymore.

Scientists from the University of Oregon have invented a mind-reading system capable of reading people’s thoughts using brain scans and then project them on a screen.

The related study, which was published in The Journal of Neuroscience, involved 23 volunteers who were shown 1,000 color photos of random faces. During this session, their brains were connected to an fMRI machine that monitored their neurological activity. So was an artificial intelligence program that was aimed to read the brain activity of the volunteers and capture a mathematical description of the shown faces.

In fact, this was the phase two of the experiment as the study had one more preceding phase that involved a training session for the mind-reading AI. Its purpose was to make the program memorize the correlation between certain patterns of brain activity and certain facial features.

In the phase two, with the help of the fMRI machine, the AI had to find what a face looked like based on the volunteers’ brain activity. Note that the faces shown to the participants were completely different in the two phases of the experiment.

The data used by the mind-reading system to reconstruct faces was based on the activity in two brain areas – the angular gyrus (ANG) and the occipitotemporal cortex (OTC). The ANG is responsible for spatial awareness, memory formation, number and language processing while the OTC’ function has to do with the processing of visual stimuli.

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Check out the results of face reconstruction:

mind reading system

Well, the AI didn’t manage to reach very accurate results, did it? But before you get disappointed with this mind-reading tech, consider this. The researchers showed these reconstructed images to a different group of participants and asked them some general questions aimed to describe the faces, such as “Is this male or female?” “Is this person happy or sad?” etc. To the large extent, the responses were correct, which means that the AI did manage to capture the basic facial features.

As you see, this technology has a potential even though at the moment, the mind-reading system cannot provide accurate images of what people are thinking. However, it’s not the first experiment attempting to ‘hack’ the human mind and other research teams were quite successful at mind-reading of this kind too.

It seems that for now, our thoughts, memories and secrets are safe in our heads. So please, use the power of your beautiful mind while it’s still possible and legal 🙂

References:

  1. Science Alert
  2. Vox

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Corruption

Turns Out Schrödinger, the Father of Quantum Physics, Was a Shameless Pedophile

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Long hailed as one of the fathers of quantum physics, celebrated physicist Erwin Schrödinger is now being reevaluated after damning evidence was published that shows that the scientist was a pedophile and serial “sexual predator.”

Schrödinger, a Nobel Prize-winning Austrian-Irish scientist remembered for his 1935 thought experiment “Schrödinger’s Cat,” was exposed as a pedophile by The Irish Times in a December report detailing his unapologetic record as a serial abuser of young girls and women.

Since the report’s publication, academics and faculties across the globe have been distancing themselves from the physicist and launching petitions to remove his name from their facilities.

The physicist made foundational contributions to quantum theory and is largely responsible for the current craze for quantum computing, but his extracurricular activities have been exposed as being fundamentally exploitative and abusive toward girls and women.

According to 2012 biography Erwin Schrödinger and the Quantum Revolution by John Gribbin, which the Irish Times cited, the physicist became preoccupied with, and groomed, a 14-year-old girl named Itha Junger after becoming her math tutor. Schrödinger, who was middle-aged at the time, impregnated her when she was 17.

That year, Junger became pregnant and resorted to a horrific abortion that left her sterile, leaving the relationship in tatters.

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The physicist also kept a record of his sexual exploits, which included being “infatuated” with a 12-year-old girl named Barbara. He only relented from pursuing the child after her family members protested. He later wrote in his diaries that the child was “among the unrequited loves of his life”.

Schrödinger, Life and Thought author Walter Moore noted that the physicist’s scummy attitude towards women “was essentially that of a male supremacist.”

Students and lecturers are now rejecting the scientist. In his adopted country, Ireland, a petition has been launched to change the title of a facility at Dublin’s Trinity University that’s named after him.

 “It seems in bad taste that a modern college such as Trinity – one that holds lectures to both men and women, one that (hopefully) rejects the abuse of women, of young girls or, indeed, of anyone – would honour this man with an entire building,” the petition reads.

“We can acknowledge the great mark Schrodinger has left on science through our study, and this petition does not wish to diminish the impact his lectures or ideas had in physics.”

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China’s ‘Artificial Sun’ Shatters Records, Burning Five Times Hotter Than The Real Thing

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Ready to have your mind blown? According to a report from Xinhua, China’s “artificial sun,” a nuclear fusion tokamak reactor that has the potential to produce practically endless quantities of emission-free energy, established a new record on Thursday by operating at a high-plasma temperature for 1,056 seconds.

The tokamak reactor is referred to as EAST, which is an acronym that stands for “Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak”. It is situated in Hefei, China, and it just set a new world record by running for 101 seconds at a temperature of 216 million degrees Fahrenheit (120 million degrees Celsius).

The EAST tokamak reactor.

Now THAT is HOT.

EAST is one of several global tokamak fusion experiments meant to imitate the sun and stars. Fusion occurs when two atoms collide to produce a heavier nucleus. When this happens, huge quantities of energy are released. Several high-profile fusion projects are attempting to harness this power that is released to remove the world’s dependency on fossil fuels.

According to CGTN, the EAST experiment has achieved a number of significant milestones on the path to commercially feasible nuclear fusion. These include attaining a one-million-ampere current and creating a one-hundred-million-degree temperature for a length of 1,000 seconds. Currently, the EAST engineers are tasked with meeting these two objectives at the same time.

The World is Watching The Fusion Race, But It Still Needs Work

To make fusion work, scientists must create more energy than fusion reactors use. Creating more energy than being used hasn’t been feasible yet (some Nikola Tesla theorists will debate that with you for days), but recent scientific advances are bringing the scientific community closer to this goal.

Commonwealth Fusion Systems is another example of a technology being developed to create more energy than it uses. They stated in September that they had successfully tested a magnet that could operate at 20 teslas of magnetic strength while requiring just 30 watts of electricity.

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These kinds of advancements will enable the scientific community to steadily increase the efficiency of these “artificial suns,” lowering the enormous amount of energy necessary to operate them in the first place.

Scientists may be able to soon unleash net-fusion energy on the planet soon as a result of their efforts, eventually leading to a world free from fossil fuels. Imagine that.

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NASA Releases Wild Footage of Its Solar Probe Actually ‘Touching the Sun’

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A NASA probe covered in an advanced carbon heat shell as well as ground-up animal bones has made the landmark achievement of actually“touching” the Sun’s atmosphere earlier this year, according to the space agency.

The tiny Parker Solar Probe traversed the treacherous environment of the star’s upper atmosphere known as the corona and “touched the Sun,” according to a statement by the agency, collecting important data on the solar atmosphere.

“Parker Solar Probe ‘touching the Sun’ is a monumental moment for solar science and a truly remarkable feat,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate admin of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

During the important trek, the probe also collected a trove of images that have since been compiled into a spectacular video that shows an unprecedentedly close look at the Sun:

The Solar Probe can be seen traversing the solar atmosphere known as a pseudostreamer, which are massive ribbon-like structures that can be seen during solar eclipses.

 “Passing through the pseudostreamer was like flying into the eye of a storm,” a statement reads on the NASA website. “Inside the pseudostreamer the conditions quieted, particles slowed and the number of switchbacks dropped — a dramatic change from the busy barrage of particles the spacecraft usually encounters in the solar wind.”

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As NASA explains, switchbacks are magnetic zig-zag structures in the solar wind that are plentiful within the solar atmosphere. While these were previously believed to be rare occurrences, the Parker probe found that they are rife throughout the solar wind.

 “We see evidence of being in the corona from magnetic field data, solar wind data, and visually in white-light images,” said Parker Solar Probe project scientist Nour Raouafi of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

The video’s capture is truly an amazing feat considering that it was blasting through the solar atmosphere at a withering speed of 142 kilometers per second, and scientists are optimistic that it will help us significantly advance our understanding of how the Sun works.

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