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Environmental News Network - Spotlight


Artificial Intelligence Is About to Conquer Poker, But Not Without Human Help

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 08:41:00 EST

As Friday night became Saturday morning, Dong Kim sounded defeated.Kim is a high-stakes poker player who specializes in no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em. The 28-year-old Korean-American typically matches wits with other top players on high-stakes internet sites or at the big Las Vegas casinos. But this month, he’s in Pittsburgh, playing poker against an artificially intelligent machine designed by two computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon. No computer has ever beaten the top players at no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em, a particularly complex game of cards that serves as the main event at the World Series of Poker. Nearly two years ago, Kim was among the players who defeated an earlier incarnation of the AI at the same casino. But this time is different. Late Friday night, just ten days into this twenty-day contest, Kim told me that he and his fellow humans have no real chance of winning.(image)

Study refutes how fruit flies developed alcohol tolerance

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 08:54:00 EST

The common fruit fly, the tiny insect drawn to your beer or wine, has evolved to have an impressive tolerance for alcohol.(image)

Dutch Trains Are World's First to Run on 100% Wind Power

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 08:36:00 EST

The Netherlands, aka Windmill Country, is now operating 100 percent of its electric trains with wind energy.As of Jan. 1, 600,000 daily train passengers have been traveling completely carbon neutral, according to an announcement from the Netherlands’ principal passenger railway operator, NS.(image)

Measuring the 'true social cost' of carbon dioxide emissions

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 08:32:00 EST

The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has proposed a new framework for US agencies to use to estimate the 'social cost of carbon dioxide' emissions. Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science at the Environmental Change Institute, helped compile the report which will strengthen the scientific basis and provide greater transparency for US climate policy. (image)

Beijing Creates Anti-Smog Police to Fight Air Pollution

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 09:26:00 EST

Authorities in Beijing are taking new actions to resolve the city’s ongoing and harmful air pollution problem with the creation of an anti-smog police force — but will it help?Beijing’s acting mayor Cai Qi reportedly announced the initiative on Saturday, January 7. The dedicated branch of regulation enforcement will patrol the streets looking specifically for violations that could harm air quality, including open air barbecues, unlicensed burning of materials and improperly maintained roads.(image)

Affordable water in the US: A burgeoning crisis

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 09:13:00 EST

If water rates continue rising at projected amounts, the number of U.S. households unable to afford water could triple in five years, to nearly 36 percent, finds new research by a Michigan State University scholar.(image)

Farthest Stars in Milky Way Might Be Ripped from Another Galaxy

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 12:14:00 EST

The 11 farthest known stars in our galaxy are located about 300,000 light-years from Earth, well outside the Milky Way's spiral disk. New research by Harvard astronomers shows that half of those stars might have been ripped from another galaxy: the Sagittarius dwarf. Moreover, they are members of a lengthy stream of stars extending one million light-years across space, or 10 times the width of our galaxy.(image)