January ’23 News Roundup

“January has been a long year.”

~ Anonymous

There was a ton of ground to cover in the science and tech news sector this month, as AI burgeons forth with new offers in every field by the day it seems. I made my best attempts to keep up with the chaos as the scenes continue to roll forth. I’m considering changing up the format for next month’s newsletter, including adding embeds. What are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments what your favorite stories are and what kind of news you are looking forward to.


Ms. Pudina

Government Scientists New Kind of Quantum Entanglement in Breakthrough: “It’s like a microscope in the sense that you use a photon to look at something,” Brandenburg explained. “In this case, we’re using really, really high-energy photons, where their wavelength is short enough that we can actually look at the inside of an atom.” The new study included this polarization information, allowing Brandenburg and his colleagues to probe the nuclei from two angles, parallel and perpendicular to the photon’s motion, producing a two-dimensional view that matches theoretical predictions.

“Photonic hopfions: Light shaped as a smoke ring that behaves like a particle-in contrast to previous observations of hopfions localized in solid-state materials, this work demonstrates that, counterintuitively, an optical hopfion can propagate in free space with topological protection of the polarization distribution.”

“The abnormally strong isospin mixing [observed] in this work, which may have to do with the weakly bound (or continuum) effect or nuclear deformation, presents a direct challenge to our understanding of nuclear force.”

“Spy agencies report hundreds more UFO sightings since 2021-The 12-page report, which does not detail when each of the sightings occurred, is an unclassified summary of a secret version that was delivered to Congress and was required by last year’s National Defense Authorization Act.”

“Gravitational lensing can be used to efficiently send signals across interstellar distances, so scientists have speculated about tech-savvy aliens placing probes at the focal points of stars, effectively turning them into a gigantic point-to-point communication network…Tusay said it’s possible that alien probes placed at the sun’s gravitational focal point turn on only from time to time. And other stars have properties that make them better nodes in a gigantic space internet, so these could be additional search targets, he added.”

Scientists steer lightning bolts with lasers for the first time: “Writing in the journal Nature Photonics, Houard and colleagues in Switzerland describe how they carted a powerful laser to the top of the Säntis mountain in north-eastern Switzerland and parked it near a 124m-high telecoms tower that is struck by lightning about 100 times a year…Instruments set up to record lightning strikes showed that the laser diverted the course of four upward lightning discharges over the course of the experiments.”

“In a new study published in the journal Optic Express, Chinese scientists created the first tractor beam strong enough to manipulate macroscopic objects. That means you can watch the thing work with the naked eye.”

“Just two years from now, a project is slated to head Moonward to test whether mycotecture — the use of mushrooms and other fungal substances for architectural purposes — could play a pivotal role in helping humanity construct the first off-planet habitats on the Moon and beyond.”

“We are entering a new era of sculpture, which no longer consists of broken stones, chisels, and dusts, but of scanning, point clouds and design. An Italian startup called Robotor has invented a machine that’s nearly as good at carving marble masterpieces out of Carrara marble as its Renaissance-era predecessors.”

Boston Dynamics’ latest Atlas video demos a robot that can run, jump and now grab and throw:

A smart elastomer that can self-tune its stiffness and conductivity: “Smart materials are materials that have the ability to change their properties in response to specific external stimuli, such as temperature, humidity, light, or applied stress. One of the most well-known examples of smart materials is shape memory alloy (SMA), which is a type of metallic material that can change its shape in response to changes in temperature.”

“Cooking a delicious risotto and making plastics are actually very similar processes. In both, ingredients come together and are heated to create a product, but current recipes for synthesizing bioplastics often fall flat, producing flimsy materials. So, taking a hint from chefs, researchers now report in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering a way to “season” biodegradable plastics to make them stronger. It just takes a “pinch” of cream of tartar (tartaric acid) or citric acid.”

“There: that red-black scent of roasted meat; blood-quickening, salivatory; tempting and vaguely disagreeable at the same time as separate parts of his brain assessed the odour. The animal root smelled fuel; protein-rich food; the mid-brain trunk registered dead, incinerated cells . . . while the canopy of forebrain ignored both signals, because it knew his belly was full, and the roast meat cultivated.” —Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games

“Geoengineering rogue experiment in Baja Mexico: the US startup Making Sunsets launched an unauthorised experiment from two sites in the northern Mexican state of Baja California. The company claims it launched balloons injected with sulphur dioxide particles into the atmosphere, which were not monitored nor recovered.” https://www.climatechangenews.com/2023/01/18/mexico-plans-to-ban-solar-geoengineering-after-rogue-experiment/

Novel technique developed to produce hydrogen peroxide without emitting carbon dioxide: “Hydrogen peroxide is used to bleach fabric, pulp and paper, and to whiten teeth. It is also used as a thruster fuel for satellite attitude control, and as a disinfectant or sterilizing agent by hospitals. Some 2 million metric tons of the compound are produced annually.”

“Moreover, at least one antidepressant, sertraline, promoted the transfer of genes between bacterial cells, a process that can speed up the spread of resistance through a population. Such transfer can occur between different types of bacterium, allowing resistance to hop between species — including from harmless bacteria to pathogenic ones.”

“Scientists entered people’s dreams and got them ‘talking’- dreaming experiments involved real-time conversations between sleepers and scientists: the experiment is an important first step in communicating with dreamers; he likens it to the first conversation using a telephone or talking to an astronaut on another planet.”

“Finally, a Fast Algorithm for Shortest Paths on Negative Graphs: At the end of the process, the clusters at the innermost level are as closely connected as possible. Part of the reason the algorithm is so fast is that it doesn’t take many iterations to fully break down even a very large graph, just as it doesn’t take long to cut a large number down to a reasonable size if you repeatedly divide it in half.”

“The key insight that makes DALL·E 2’s images possible — as well as those of its competitors Stable Diffusion and Imagen — comes from the world of physics. The system that underpins them, known as a diffusion model, is heavily inspired by nonequilibrium thermodynamics, which governs phenomena like the spread of fluids and gases.”

“D-Wave offers what’s called a quantum annealer. The hardware is a large collection of linked superconducting devices that use quantum effects to reach energetic ground states for the system. When properly configured, this end state represents the solution to a mathematical problem. Annealers can’t solve the same full range of mathematical problems as general-purpose quantum computers, such as the ones made by Google, IBM, and others. But they can be used to solve a variety of optimization problems.”

AI models and designs gene editing proteins: “…besides posing a lower immune risk, the small size of zinc-finger tools may also provide more flexible gene therapy techniques compared with CRISPR by enabling more ways to deliver the tools to the right cells in patients.”

“First “virovore” discovered: An organism that eats viruses. John DeLong at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln wanted to find out if any microbes actively ate viruses, and whether such a diet could support the physiological growth of individuals and the population growth of a community.”

“Wi-Fi routers can be used to detect and perceive the poses and positions of humans and map their bodies clearly in 3D…With the help of AI neural networks and deep learning, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University were also able to create full-body images of subjects.”

VALL-E: “Microsoft’s new zero-shot text-to-speech model can duplicate everyone’s voice in three seconds. Additionally, the intonation, charisma, and style of the voice are all kept intact in the generated speech. This is an important step forward in making TTS systems sound more natural.”

“AI-generated music has a long history dating back decades; there are systems that have been credited with composing pop songs, copying Bach better than a human could in the 90s, and accompanying live performances. One recent version uses AI image generation engine StableDiffusion to turn text prompts into spectrograms that are then turned into music. The paper says that MusicLM can outperform other systems in terms of its “quality and adherence to the caption,” as well as the fact that it can take in audio and copy the melody.”

What is AGI-hard: “At this point, knowing what AI can’t do is more useful than knowing what it can. The late Larry Tesler is often quoted as saying that “Artificial intelligence is whatever hasn’t been done yet.”

“The intersubjectivity collapse refers to the collapse of the network of unspoken rules that holds civilization together based on the subjectivity of minds that have created it. It is likely to collapse due to a Cambrian-esque explosion of new types of minds, that are unable to easily coexist or communicate with each other due to their vastly different subjectivity and modalities, leading to not just information and power asymmetries, but inherent unpredictability among agents. The more homogenous the dominating species that built civilization, the more brittle this network is.” – Pawel Pachniewski, Mental Contractions

That’s all for now. If you enjoy this content, please consider heading over to BuyMeACoffee, which offers various ways of supporting me as a creator, and contributing either by tip or subscription by clicking below. You can also follow my social media pages or write to me. Until next month…


  1. Mind blowing! Tractor Beams, Wi-Fi routers which map our location and posture INSIDE our homes, Virus eating organisms. Pure Science Fiction not very long ago. What’s Next?

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