March 23, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Brain-powered computers may be the way of the future

A version of this story appeared in the CNN science newsletter Theory of Wonder. to get it in your inbox, Sign up for free here.


The human brain is unparalleled in its ability to process information.

Sure, we have days when our minds don’t feel very lively. But the extraordinary 3-pound organ is still capable of things that supercomputers and robots can’t.

The human brain has evolved to comprise billions of neurons, enabling us to learn and make complex logical decisions. We can look at two different animals, such as a cat and a dog, and tell them apart, while the computer struggles with the task.

Advances in artificial intelligence have led some to wonder when computers will cross the line separating humans from technology, like the sentient computer HAL 9000 from the science fiction novel and movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

To date, no form of artificial intelligence has made such a leap toward humanity. But there might be a new game in town.

A new field called organic intelligence could be the basis for computers powered by human brain cells.

Lab-grown brain organoids — nicknamed “intelligence in a dish” — are pen-point-sized cell cultures containing neurons capable of performing brain-like functions.

Researchers announced on Tuesday their plan to eventually use brain organoids to create energy-efficient “biocomputers” that rival today’s supercomputers and may revolutionize pharmaceutical testing for diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

But biological organs come with a variety of ethical concerns, including whether organelles can achieve consciousness, sensation, or pain.

A Russian spacecraft intended to return cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petlin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio to Earth has successfully docked outside the International Space Station.

The trio traveled to the space station in September, but were stranded without a way home after their original capsule developed a coolant leak. The crew will return to Earth later this year.

Meanwhile, Crew-6, including two NASA astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates, arrived at the orbiting laboratory on Friday.

Sultan Al Neyadi, who will become the first Emirati astronaut to complete a long stay in space, said he brought a special gift to share with the crew members of the International Space Station.

Camels equipped with robotic jockeys at Al Marmoom Heritage Village in Dubai in April 2021.

Camels reign supreme in Dubai, competing in beauty pageants and races.

Humpbacked animals, ancient cultural symbols of the Emirati way of life, are so revered that camel cloning has become a thriving industry in the Gulf city.

Dr. Nizar Ahmed Wani, who in 2009 created the world’s first cloned camel, is the scientific director of the Center for Reproductive Biotechnology, where dozens of clones are produced each year.

Clones of “beauty queens,” known for their drooping lips and long necks, are the elite contestants. But scientists may also use the technology to save an endangered species of wild camel.

Scientists found an unusual hummingbird with shimmering golden throat feathers in the Cordillera Azul National Park in Peru. But what the researchers thought was a new species with a complex family history.

It turns out that the hummingbird was a hybrid that was produced when two species of pink-throated rhinoceros came together. But how was the two-tone pink gold created?

The unlikely color evolution likely took place over millions of years — and the researchers just happened to be in the right place at the right time to see it.

The ring-like shell is all that remains of a supernova that lit up the sky more than 1,800 years ago.

Over 1,800 years ago, a bright new light appeared in the evening sky. Chinese astronomers recorded their observations of the “guest star,” which lingered for eight months before fading from view.

This event is the first recorded supernova in human history. Now, a new telescope image has captured the fragile, ring-like remnants of the starburst against a glowing background of stars.

Meanwhile, as the sun becomes more active, skywatchers notice an uptick in stunning light shows like the Northern Hemisphere’s Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere’s Australian Aurora.

Even if you don’t live in the Far North or South, keep an eye out as dancing lights appear in unexpected places.

Share these highlights with a friend to showcase your knowledge:

– A scientist was running errands when he spotted a giant flying bug on the side of a supermarket. His discovery turned out to be an incredibly rare insect from the Jurassic period.

– The Hubble Space Telescope captured a movie of what happened after the DART spacecraft collided with the asteroid Dimorphos, revealing how the space rock formed a tail after the September impact.

The newly discovered chemical is so lethal to fungi that researchers have been inspired to name it after actor Keanu Reeves as a nod to his ferocious roles in movies like “John Wick” and “The Matrix.”

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