Category Language

In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

ELECTROCHEMISTRY | MANUFACTURING

A Better Way to Adiponitrile

Adiponitrile is an important precursor for making nylon 6,6 and one of the most produced chemicals worldwide. Industry generally synthesizes it through an energy-intensive process involving acutely toxic reactants. The less-often-used route is driven by electrochemistry; it’s environmentally-friendly but inefficient. Researchers at NYU discovered that pulsing the current used to drive the reaction could increase yields and then used a machine-learning algorithm to optimize the process. The result: they increased selectivity by 325% and yields by 30%. [C&EN]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Allen Institute’s Aristo AI System Finally Passes an Eighth-Grade Science Test

It’s easy to mistake extraordinarily good (but narrow) AI performance in a single domain for human-like reasoning, yet very few machines are capable of the feat. A minor milestone was reached last month, however, by a program developed specifically for test-taking: it managed to score 90% on a multiple choice science test usually given to New York eighth-graders. But there are caveats. [GEEKWIRE]

STRATEGY | NEGOTIATION

One Negotiation Strategy That Will Make You a World-Class Negotiator


Hyperfocus is required to negotiate, but it’s also where we most often trip ourselves up in any complex negotiation. We become myopic, losing sight of the context and larger goal of the negotiation. This simple strategy can solve the problem and help you become a better negotiator by getting outside your biases and preconceptions. [INC]

LANGUAGE | INFORMATION THEORY

Listening For Extraterrestrial Blah Blah

After listening for decades, the general consensus is that we have never heard a signal from an alien civilization. But what if we have and we just didn’t recognize it? By applying information theory to the communications of socially complex animals, scientists have broadened our understanding of what signals generated by an alien intelligence might look like and are applying this understanding to an analysis of data collected by the Allen Telescope Array at the SETI Institute. [NAUTILUS]

QUANTUM COMPUTING

Quantum Radar Demonstrated For the First Time

Researchers created the world’s first quantum radar, a device that can detect objects at a distance using only a few photons and emitting little detectable electromagnetic radiation. This device could have potential for use in both non-invasive biomedical and security applications. [MIT TECH REVIEW]

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In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

MATERIALS SCIENCE

Predicting the Properties of a New Class of Glasses

Using a modeling method called ReaxFF, researchers are testing a new class of glass-forming material: zeolitic imidazolate frameworks, or ZIF. Their goal is to combine the transparency of silicate glass with the non-brittle quality of metallic glass. ZIF glasses have the potential to be more transparent and bendable than traditional glass, making them a better choice for a variety of applications. [EUREKA ALERT]

LANGUAGE | HISTORY

How Humans Invented Writing – Four Different Times

Developed circa 3,200 B.C., Mesopotamian cuneiform is the oldest known writing system in the world. But it does not stand alone. Research shows that writing was invented independently in a least three other civilizations over time. This articles gives a quick history of how those scripts were developed and how they form the basis for every other writing system that followed. [DISCOVER]

STRATEGY

Trying to Understand the Science Behind Strategy

Where do brilliant decisions come from? Business schools teach entrepreneurs and aspiring executives to be successful—training them to make brilliant decisions and hire people who do the same. But while graduates may leave with improved strategic skills, researchers have only recently begun collecting the empirical evidence to explain how lessons learned in the business-school classroom produce effective decision-making in the field. [CHICAGO BOOTH REVIEW]

SENSORS | MEDICINE

MIT’s Smart Capsule Could be Used to Release Drugs in Response to Fever

MIT researchers have developed a Bluetooth-controlled, 3D-printed capsule which, once ingested, can communicate core body temperature to your doctor and release drugs in response to symptoms that it detects. While not available yet for use in humans, researchers plan to expand the delivery system’s capabilities by adding sensors able to detect other vital signs, such as heart/breathing rate. [DIGITAL TRENDS]

ASTRONOMY | EXOPLANETS

Evaporating Planets, Disintegrating Rings [LINKS IN TEXT BELOW]

Planet GJ 3407b, a Neptune sized exoplanet, is disappearing at a rapid pace. Its upper atmosphere is being blown off by wind and stellar radiation, and it has lost about 35 percent of its mass since its birth 2 million years ago. Astronomers believe that it and other gas giants orbiting close to their stars “simply can’t take the heat . . .” [MOTHERBOARD]

New NASA research confirms that Saturn is losing its iconic rings at the maximum rate estimated from Voyager 1 & 2 observations made decades ago. The rings are being pulled into Saturn by gravity, falling into the planet as a dusty rain of ice particles. The new data indicates the rings are less than 100 million years old and have less than 100 million years left to live; given what a blink-of-the-eye 200 million years is to the solar system, we’re lucky we got to see them at all. [SCIENCE DAILY]

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