Technology Tuesday: March 21

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Welcome to Technology Tuesday! Every week The Job Shop Blog will bring you our 5 top science and technology news stories from around the web.

This week: China plans to send people to the moon in the early 2020s, a new treatment that destroys breast cancer, scientists want to create a synthetic human genome, Google just sped up it’s AI’s deep learning process, and a new Li-Fi system 100 times faster than Wi-Fi.


China’s Moon Plans

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China is working to develop a new spaceship that can both fly in low-Earth orbit and land on the moon.

Their announcement comes shortly after the US announced plans to fly two private citizens around the Moon by late 2018, under private aerospace company SpaceX.

China’s spacecraft will be designed to be recoverable, with better capacity than other similar spaceships, capable of shuttling multiple crew members. Spaceship engineer Zhang Bainian, who spoke to Science and Technology Daily, compared the planned spacecraft to the NASA and the European Space Agency’s Orion—a spacecraft equipped for a moon landing operation, which they hope will be able to bring astronauts to space by 2023.

 

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New Treatment Destroys Breast Cancer in 11 Days

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A new clinical trial demonstrated positive effects caused by the drug combination lapatinib and trastuzumab against HER2 positive breast cancer in a treatment period of just 11 days.

Led by researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, the University of Manchester, and University Hospital of South Manchester, the study comprised 257 women with HER2 positive breast cancer who were split into groups and treated for 11 days prior to surgery. Women who were treated with the drug combination were compared to women who received only one the drugs or no drugs before undergoing surgery. To assess results, samples of the tumor tissue were taken from an initial biopsy and once again during surgery, to determine if there was a drop in Ki67 protein, which indicates cell proliferation.

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Scientists Want To Create Synthetic Human Genome

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In 1990, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) partnered with international agencies to sequence all 3 billion base pairs in the human genome. The result of this joint venture became what we know as the Human Genome Project (HGP). Its goal was to identify powerful research tools that might lead to better understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases. The entire effort was subject to ethical, legal, and social analysis throughout its development, and the resulting data was quickly made openly available online.

In July 2015, a group of scientists announced their plans to synthesize the yeast genome. That project is on schedule for completion by the end of 2017. At the same time, scientists recognized that the next logical extension would be HGP version 2.0: writing a human genome.

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Google Created an AI That Can Learn Almost As Fast As a Human

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Deep learning machines have been generating incredible amounts of buzz in recent months. Their extensive abilities can allow them to play video games, recognize faces, and, most importantly, learn. However, these systems learn 10 times more slowly than humans, which has allowed us to keep the creeping fears of a complete artificial intelligence (AI) takeover at bay. Now, Google has developed an AI that is capable of learning almost as quickly as a human being.

Claims of this advancement in speed come from Google’s DeepMind subsidiary in London. They say that not only can their machine assimilate and act on new experiences much more quickly than previous AI models, it will soon reach human-level speeds.

 

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Researchers Unveil New Li-Fi System 100 Times Faster Than Wi-Fi

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In 2011, the term light fidelity, or Li-Fi, was coined during a TED Talk by University of Edinburgh professor Harald Haas. It originally referred to an idea Haas had about using light bulbs as wireless routers. Li-Fi has since developed to refer to a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system for wireless communications using common household LEDs.

Now, a research team has found another way to harness the power of light for a more secure and stable wireless connection. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology, led by Joanne Oh, have developed a Li-Fi system that utilizes harmless infrared rays. It was developed as part of the BROWSE project headed by Ton Koonen.

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Know any interesting stories we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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