What do the chemical signatures of deadly nerve agents tell us about their origins?

From Guardian Science Weekly podcast: Ian Sample talks to two fellow Guardian reporters and a professor of environmental toxicology about the Salisbury spy poisoning. Last week, the city of Salisbury was thrust into the spotlight when two people were found in critical condition in a local park. Details began to emerge that the man, in his late sixties, was a former Russian spy. The woman found in a comatose state beside him, his daughter. Speculation mounted that they were poisoned, but by what? And by whom?

Is it possible to enhance and rewire the adult brain?

From Guardian Science Weekly podcast: Nicola Davis asks: can we increase the window of brain plasticity in the later stages of life? And what do we know about the implications of doing so? In early development, the brain is hard at work making new connections between neurons, based on the new experiences we’re having. But the science around brain plasticity – ie the mind’s ability to learn, change and reorganise itself – is advancing. Research looking at people with severe neurological or physical damage tells us a lot about the possibility of enhancing the ability for our brain to rewire.

Custom carpentry with help from robots

From mit.edu: Every year thousands of carpenters injure their hands and fingers doing dangerous tasks such as sawing. In an effort to minimize injury and let carpenters focus on design and other bigger-picture tasks, a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has created AutoSaw, a system that lets nonexperts customize different items that can then be constructed with the help of robots.

Waymo 360° experience: a fully self-driving journey

From youtube.com: Waymo began as the Google self-driving car project in 2009. Today, we have the world’s only fleet of fully self-driving cars on public roads. Step into our 360° video and take control of the camera to see through the “eyes” of our car. Then, be one of the first in the world to take a ride with Waymo. This film was built using footage and real-time data from an actual trip on city streets.

Tractor Hacking: The Farmers Breaking Big Tech's Repair Monopoly

From youtube.com: When it comes to repair, farmers have always been self reliant. But the modernization of tractors and other farm equipment over the past few decades has left most farmers in the dust thanks to diagnostic software that large manufacturers hold a monopoly over. In this episode of State of Repair, Motherboard goes to Nebraska to talk to the farmers and mechanics who are fighting large manufacturers like John Deere for the right to access the diagnostic software they need to repair their tractors.

Creative brains

From radio.seti.org: Your cat is smart, but its ability to choreograph a ballet or write computer code isn’t great. A lot of animals are industrious and clever, but humans are the only animal that is uniquely ingenious and creative. Neuroscientist David Eagleman and composer Anthony Brandt discuss how human creativity has reshaped the world. Find out what is going on in your brain when you write a novel, paint a watercolor, or build a whatchamacallit in your garage. But is Homo sapiens’ claim on creativity destined to be short-lived? Why both Eagleman and Brandt are prepared to step aside when artificial intelligence can do their jobs.

Optimal Transport Theory - New Frontiers in Mathematics - Cédric Villani

From youtube.com: New Frontiers in Mathematics: Imperial College London and CNRS international symposium Professor Villani from Université Claude Bernard (Lyon), discusses optimal transport theory, artificial intelligence and the journey and opportunities that a career in mathematics can offer.

Past, present, and future of neuroscience

From unsupervisedthinkingpodcast.blogspot.com: In this very special episode of Unsupervised Thinking, we bring together a group of neuroscientists and neuroscience enthusiasts to have a semi-structured discussion on the past, present, and future of the field of neuroscience. The group includes your three regular hosts plus Yann, Alex, and Ryan (whose voice you may recall from our Deep Learning episode) and we each give our thoughts on what got us into neuroscience, what we feel the field is lacking, and where the field will be in 20 years. This leads us on a path of discussing statistics, emergence, religion, depression, behavior, engineering, society, and more!

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