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The human brain is unrivaled in its capacity to process information.
Sure, we have days where our minds don’t feel as sharp. But the extraordinary 3-pound organ is still capable of things that supercomputers and robots can’t do.
The human brain evolved to form 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 a computer struggles at the task.
Advances in artificial intelligence have caused some to wonder when computers will cross the line that divides humans from technology, like the sentient computer HAL 9000 from the sci-fi novel and film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
So far, no form of AI has made such a leap toward humanity. But there may be a new game in town.
Back to the future
A new field called organoid intelligence could be the basis for computers powered by human brain cells.
Lab-grown brain organoids — nicknamed “intelligence in a dish” — are pen dot-size cell cultures that contain neurons capable of brainlike functions.
Researchers announced Tuesday their plan eventually to use brain organoids to create energy-efficient “biocomputers” that rival today’s supercomputers and may revolutionize pharmaceutical testing for diseases like Alzheimer’s.
But the biological hardware comes with a variety of ethical concerns, including whether organoids can achieve consciousness or sentience or feel pain.
A Russian rescue spacecraft intended to return cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin 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 they became stranded without a way home after their original capsule sprang a coolant leak. The crew will head back 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 lab on Friday.
Sultan Alneyadi, who will become the first Emirati astronaut to complete a long-duration stay in space, said he brought a special treat to share with his ISS crew members.
Camels reign supreme in Dubai, where they compete in beauty pageants and races.
The humped animals, long-standing cultural symbols of the Emirati way of life, are so prized that cloning camels has become a flourishing industry in the Gulf State city.
Dr. Nisar Ahmad Wani, who in 2009 created the world’s first camel clone, is the scientific director at the Reproductive Biotechnology Centre, where dozens of camel clones are produced each year.
The clones are replicated from camel “beauty queens,” known for their signature drooping lips and long necks, and elite racers. But scientists might also use technology to save a critically endangered species of wild camel.
Scientists stumbled upon an unusual hummingbird with shimmering gold throat feathers in Peru’s Cordillera Azul National Park. But what the researchers thought was a new species has a complicated family history.
It turned out the hummingbird was a hybrid produced when two pink-throated species came together. But how did two shades of pink create gold?
The unlikely chromatic evolution likely took place over millions of years — and the researchers happened to be in the right place at the right time to see it.
The night sky
More than 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 about eight months before fading from view.
The event is considered the first recorded supernova in human history. Now, a new telescope image has captured the wispy ringlike remnants of the stellar explosion against a glowing backdrop of stars.
Meanwhile, as the sun becomes more active, skygazers have been spotting an uptick in breathtaking light shows like the aurora borealis in the Northern Hemisphere and the aurora australis in the Southern Hemisphere.
Even if you don’t live in the far north or south, keep an eye out because the dancing lights are making appearances in unexpected places.
Share these highlights with a friend to flex your knowledge:
— A scientist was running errands when he spotted a giant flying bug on the side of a big-box store. His find turned out to be an incredibly rare Jurassic-era insect.
— The Hubble Space Telescope captured a movie of what happened after the DART spacecraft slammed into the asteroid Dimorphos, revealing how the space rock formed a tail after the September collision.
— Newly discovered chemicals are so deadly to fungi that researchers were inspired to name them after actor Keanu Reeves as a nod to his fierce roles in movies like “John Wick” and “The Matrix.”
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