WaveNet- trying to make computers sound more human?

Check out the latest development from Google’s artificial intelligence team, DeepMind: Called WaveNet, this is a synthesized speech system that mimics human voice more closely than ever before. Basically, a way to get computers to sound more human. You can test it out and see for yourself!!!

Awesome @radiolab episode on CRISPR and Cas9 DNA editing!! #science

Check out this podcast episode from Radiolab focusing on CRISPR and its potential applications.

[tweet https://twitter.com/CauseScience1/status/611576799013769217]

Out drinking with a few biologists, Jad finds out about something called CRISPR. No, it’s not a robot or the latest dating app, it’s a method for genetic manipulation that is rewriting the way we change DNA. Scientists say they’ll someday be able to use CRISPR to fight cancer and maybe even bring animals back from the dead. Or, pretty much do whatever you want. Jad and Robert delve into how CRISPR does what it does, and consider whether we should be worried about a future full of flying pigs, or the simple fact that scientists have now used CRISPR to tweak the genes of human embryos.

Getting better all the “time” #NoPunIntended

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reports another big advancement in the technology of telling time through the JILA strontium atomic clock.

The latest modification of a record-setting strontium atomic clock has achieved precision and stability levels that now mean the clock would neither gain nor lose one second in some 15 billion years*—roughly the age of the universe.

Typically and historically, (from wikipedia) most accurate timekeeping devices are atomic clocks, which are accurate to seconds in many millions of years,[35] and are used to calibrate other clocks and timekeeping instruments. Atomic clocks use the spin property of atoms as their basis, and since 1967, the International System of Measurements bases its unit of time, the second, on the properties of caesium atoms. SI defines the second as 9,192,631,770 cycles of the radiation that corresponds to the transition between two electron spin energy levels of the ground state of the 133Cs atom.

Precision timekeeping has broad potential impacts on advanced communications, positioning technologies (such as GPS) and many other technologies. Besides keeping future technologies on schedule, the clock has potential applications that go well beyond simply marking time. Examples include a sensitive altimeter based on changes in gravity and experiments that explore quantum correlations between atoms.

As described in Nature Communications,** the experimental strontium lattice clock at JILA, a joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder, is now more than three times as precise as it was last year, when it set the previous world record.*** Precision refers to how closely the clock approaches the true resonant frequency at which the strontium atoms oscillate between two electronic energy levels. The clock’s stability—how closely each tick matches every other tick—also has been improved by almost 50 percent, another world record.

The JILA clock is now good enough to measure tiny changes in the passage of time and the force of gravity at slightly different heights. Einstein predicted these effects in his theories of relativity, which mean, among other things, that clocks tick faster at higher elevations. Many scientists have demonstrated this, but with less sensitive techniques.**** Continue reading

Full video of @SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket landing attempt – with explosion!! #SoClose!!!

Amazing video of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket attempting to land on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions. The rocket essentially lands on the ship correctly, but is off enough to tip over, resulting in a terrific ) explosion. Not bad for a second try!! See the close landing and explosion from the first attempt here. I bet the third time is a charm!!

CRS-6 First Stage Landing

First images of @SpaceX rocket landing attempt on drone ship from today’s Falcon launch!!

[tweet https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/588076749562318849] [tweet https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/588082574183903232] [tweet https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/588082616890449920]

New film changes color when you stretch it #CoolScience #KarmaChameleon

Summarized in in Science News, developers have just created a new plastic film that can change colors when stretched.

IMAGE COURTESY OF THE OPTICAL SOCIETY (OSA) IN CONJUNCTION WITH UC BERKELEY Twisting a thin plastic film changes the spacing between tiny embedded silicon beams, altering the color of light they reflect.

IMAGE COURTESY OF THE OPTICAL SOCIETY (OSA) IN CONJUNCTION WITH UC BERKELEY
Twisting a thin plastic film changes the spacing between tiny embedded silicon beams, altering the color of light they reflect.

Materials scientists often look to the natural world for inspiration, but usually it takes their inventions a while to catch up with biological discoveries. Not this time. Earlier this week, scientists in Switzerland revealed that chameleons change colors by expanding a lattice of tiny crystals just under their skin. Now, researchers in California are reporting that they’ve made a thin film that changes colors when they tug on it. Such films could produce color-changing sensors that give engineers a way to monitor potentially dangerous structural changes to everything from bridges to airplane wings.

This is awesome new technology that can eventually be useful for various purposes: from things like structural engineering to iPhone displays.  What is particularly fascinating to me is that the fundamental science behind developing this potential product has arisen from the scientific basis of how chameleons change color.  Essentially, BASIC RESEARCH to try and understand a biological system has once again proven to be useful for a variety of applications. Moral of the story: investing in basic research pays off.