IBM’s Watson could help veterans suffering from PTSD

IBM’s Watson could help veterans suffering from PTSD

IBM’s artificially intelligent computer system, which goes by the name of Watson, has been making waves across numerous fields since it first gained international attention by beating the odds on Jeopardy! back in 2011. The potential for this kind of technology in everything from enterprise to medicine is virtually limitless.

This potential is why the United States Department of Veterans Affairs is turning to IBM to help them address the issues that have plagued the department for the past couple of years. From underreporting veteran complaints to slow response times, things have been so bad for the VA that the head of the department, Eric Shineski, eventually resigned.

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Russia is considering building its own space station

Russian Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) was created thanks to a combined effort from the United States, Europe, and Russia. For years it has served as example of the amazing things that the nations of the world can achieve when they set aside their difference and work together. Unfortunately, growing political tensions between Russia and the West could mean that another space station could be brought into the mix, except that this one would be exclusively Russian.

Russia’s alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis has caused the country’s relations with the West to be stretched to a near breaking point, and the trade sanctions that the West has imposed on the nation haven’t exactly calmed things down. With crumbling relationships impacting all areas of government, including the departments that’re working on space technology, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) is seriously considering it’s own alternative to the ISS.

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Poisonous mushrooms could help create side effect-free drugs

Poisonous mushrooms could help create side effect-free drugs

While there are plenty of species of mushroom that are perfectly edible, there are even more that can make ill or even kill you if you eat one. In the process of studying how these fungi manage to be so poisonous, a team of researchers at Michigan State University may have discovered a way to create a new generation of pharmaceuticals with highly targeted side effects, according to Geek.

The study, which is available in the journal Chemistry and Biology, talks about a previously undiscovered enzyme that’s behind the deadliness of poisonous mushrooms. The study also reveals how the enzyme contributes to the manufacture of chemical compounds known as cyclic peptides, which is a type of molecule that many pharmaceutical companies favor.

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New calculations suggest aliens are most likely everywhere

New calculations suggest aliens are most likely everywhere

While it’s, statistically speaking, extremely unlikely that we aren’t the only intelligent life forms in the universe, the chances of us making contact with extra-terrestrials are slim. This according to the finding of the astrobiologist that provided a major update to the Drake equation, which is the key formula that scientists use to search for interstellar life, according to Motherboard.

The Drake equation was developed over six decades ago in order to give scientists a clue as to where life might exist in the universe. Up until now, however, the formulation has been limited by one major flaw, according to Engadget: its parameters aren’t constrained by any actual data.

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German police are testing out crime-predicting software

German police are testing out crime-predicting software

The spirit of Minority Report is alive and well inside the police of Berlin, who recently announced that they’re considering deploying advanced software that’s able to predict crime, according to the Daily Mail. The police have even dubbed the project “Precobs” in a nod to the term that was used in the Steven Spielberg film.

Minority Report, which was set in 2054, revolved around police officers that used a system known as the “precogs” that were able to predict crimes, and then prevented them before they ever happened. It seems like the world is a few decades ahead of schedule, as police officers in two American states and London’s Metropolitan Police are testing similar systems.

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Discarded laptop batteries could bring power to impoverished homes

Discarded laptop batteries could bring power to impoverished homes

Researchers at IBM claim that 70% of the world’s discarded laptop batteries cold be used to power lighting in locations where electricity supplies are unreliable, such as slums and other impoverished areas. Their study suggests that these batteries could make LED lighting much more affordable than either solar panels or rechargeable batteries.

The groups of scientists, who’re based in Bangalore, managed to develop some prototype devices that can be used to provide several hours of light to people who aren’t connected to an electrical grid, according to Popular Science. The prototypes are called UrJar, a combination of the Hindi words for energy (urja) and box (jar).

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IBM’s Watson AI will give health advice based on your DNA

IBM’s Watson AI will give health advice based on your DNA

Personal health has become the latest battleground for technology giants, from apps that track your eating habits to wearable gadgets that help you exercise, companies such as Apple and Google are touting the benefits of their health-centric technology. All of that seems gimmicky to IBM, however, as the company wants to use its artificially intelligent supercomputer to analyze your DNA and interpret the results, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The New York-based technology giant is joining forced with a startup called Pathway Genomics in order to create an advanced app that tracks your fitness and diet using DNA sequencing and Watson, IBM’s artificially intelligent machine, to give users custom health recommendations. While it certainly won’t be a replacement for a human doctor, the app will act as a tool for being healthy on a day-to-day basis, according to Market Watch.

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Chinese hackers breached the federal weather network

Chinese hackers breached the federal weather network

When a few weather satellites owned by the National Weather Service went offline last month, many suspected that it was simply another technical glitch. They were wrong. Mashable reports that the outage was actually due to an “an Internet-sourced attack,” according to Scott Smullen, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“NOAA staff detected the attacks and incident response began immediately. Unscheduled maintenance was performed by NOAA to mitigate the attacks,” the agency said, as quoted by CNBC. “The unscheduled maintenance impacts were temporary and all services have been fully restored. These effects did not prevent us from delivering forecasts to the public.”

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Earth’s magnetic field could completely reverse within a single lifetime

Earth’s magnetic field could completely reverse within a single lifetime

Earth’s magnetic field is constantly shifting around, and every 200,000 to 300,000 years, it flips north and south completely. Currently, we’re long overdue for a reversal, and scientists suggest that it could very well happen within the next century, potentially altering life in ways that aren’t possible to predict.

For the longest time, the scientific community believed that these reversals took as many as 7,000 years to completely switch, according to a 2004 study funded by the National Science Foundation. Over the last few years, however, many scientists have suggested that the shifts in the magnetic field have occurred at previously unimagined speeds.

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Microsoft’s Project Spark enables anyone to create their own video game

Microsoft’s Project Spark enables anyone to create their own video game

Microsoft’s sandbox video game creator Project Spark has finally left beta and been officially released for Windows 8.1 and the Xbox One. Users of these two platforms can now download the game’s free-to-play client, or can purchase the Project Spark Starter Pack when it launches on the Xbox One in disc form later this week.

The physical edition of the game will cost $29.99, but Microsoft claims that it will include around $59.99 worth of content. Included in this edition will be the Champions Quest: Void Storm adventure pack, First Contact sci-fi theme pack, Sir Haakon the Knight playable champion, Arctic Glaciers winter landscape, Massive World Builders Pack expansion, Yeti’s Rage content pack, and a one month Spark Premium membership.

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