The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (6/14)

Lofar-nl World's biggest radiotelescope launched in Netherlands

Scientists in the Netherlands unveiled the largest radiotelescope in the world on Saturday, saying it was capable of detecting faint signals from almost as far back as the Big Bang. The LOFAR (LOw Frequency ARray) consists of 25,000 small antennas measuring between 50 centimetres and two metres across, instead of a traditional large dish, said Femke Boekhorst of the Netherlands Radioastronomy Institute. It is based near the northeastern Dutch town of Assen, but the antennas are spread out across the rest of the Netherlands and also in Germany, Sweden, France and Britain. The observations that we will be able to make will allow the teams to learn more about the origin of the universe, back to the moment right after the Big Bang.

Singularity Merely Human? That's So Yesterday

"Some of Silicon Valley's smartest and wealthiest people have embraced the Singularity…a time, possibly just a couple decades from now, when a superior intelligence will dominate and life will take on an altered form that we can't predict or comprehend in our current, limited state," says New York Times reporter Ashlee Vance. "They believe that technology may be the only way to solve the world's ills, while also allowing people to seize control of the evolutionary process."

Screen-shot-2010-06-10-at-8.41.13-AM Classic Old Media: NYTimes Bans The Word Tweet "Outside Of Ornithological Contexts"

Phil Corbett, the latest standards editor at the Times (maybe the greatest job in the world?), has issued a proclamation! Yesterday, the following memo went out, asking writers to abstain from the invented past-tense and other weird iterations of the magical noun-verb "Twitter." His case isn't terrible, actually—and he offers this terrifying vision: "Someday, 'tweet' may be as common as 'e-mail.'" Oh dear. Well, read for yourself and decide.

China_shanghai_stock_market_crash_recession AI That Picks Stocks Better Than the Pros

The Arizona Financial Text system (AZFinText) ingests large quantities of financial news stories (in initial tests, from Yahoo Finance) along with minute-by-minute stock price data, and then uses the former to figure out how to predict the latter. Then it buys, or shorts, every stock it believes will move more than 1% of its current price in the next 20 minutes — and it never holds a stock for longer. The system concentrates on proper nouns — people and companies — and combines information about their frequency with stock prices at the moment a news article is released. Using a machine learning algorithm on historical data, the creators look for correlations that can be used to predict future stock prices.

Baron_fort-660x487 Here We Go Again: The U.S. Didn’t Just ‘Discover’ a $1Trillion Afghan Motherlode

Remember when we heard that "Iraq's oil will pay for the war"? Well, we're hearing the same deceptions again in Afghanistan. Despite what you may read in the New York Times, the U.S. military did not just suddenly  “discover” a trillion dollars’ worth of precious mineral resources. The New York Times reported today that Afghanistan is poised to become “the Saudi Arabia of lithium” — a metal used to produce gadgets like iPods and laptops according to our friiends at wired.com. The discovery will also, according to Pentagon documents quoted by the Times, fundamentally transform the country’s opium-reliant economy. Don't hold your breath.But the military (and observers of the military) have known about Afghanistan’s mineral riches for years. In a 2007 report, the Geological Survey and the Navy concluded that “Afghanistan has significant amounts of undiscovered non-fuel mineral resources,” including ”large quantities of accessible iron and copper [and] abundant deposits of colored stones and gemstones, including emerald, ruby [and] sapphire.” Not to mention that the $1 trillion figure is — at best — a guesstimate. None of the earlier U.S military reports on Afghan’s mineral riches cite that amount. And it might be prudent to be wary of any data coming out of Afghanistan’s own Mines Minestry, which “has long been considered one of the country’s most corrupt government departments,” the Wall Street Journal reports.And the timing of the “discovery” seems just a little too convenient. As Blake Hounshell at Foreign Policy notes, the Obama administration is struggling to combat the perception that the Afghan campaign has “made little discernible progress,” despite thousands of additional troops and billions of extra dollars.

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