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An edited collection of advanced computing news from Communications of the ACM, ACM TechNews, other ACM resources, and news sites around the Web.


Vibrant Pluto Stuns Scientists
From ACM News

Vibrant Pluto Stuns Scientists

They are 5 billion kilometres from the Sun in the dim, far-flung outskirts of the Solar System, but Pluto and its large moon Charon turn out to be astonishingly...

Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Gets a $100-Million Boost
From ACM News

Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Gets a $100-Million Boost

You could say that the silence has been deafening.

Pluto Spacecraft Temporarily Loses Contact with Earth
From ACM News

Pluto Spacecraft Temporarily Loses Contact with Earth

Ten days before its historic flyby of Pluto, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft lost contact with mission control, for unknown reasons, for an hour and 21 minutes on...

Machine Ethics: The Robot's Dilemma
From ACM News

Machine Ethics: The Robot's Dilemma

In his 1942 short story 'Runaround', science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov introduced the Three Laws of Robotics—engineering safeguards and built-in ethical principles...

Computers Read the Fossil Record
From ACM News

Computers Read the Fossil Record

For a field whose raison d'être is to chronicle the deep past, palaeontology is remarkably forward-looking when it comes to organizing its data.

Pluto-Bound Probe Faces Its Toughest Task: Finding Pluto
From ACM News

Pluto-Bound Probe Faces Its Toughest Task: Finding Pluto

Some 4.7 billion kilometres from Earth, the New Horizons spacecraft is heading for a historic rendezvous with Pluto. To achieve this, it will need to hit a very...

Intriguing Geology of Ceres Revealed in New Pictures
From ACM News

Intriguing Geology of Ceres Revealed in New Pictures

Ceres, the largest asteroid in the Solar System, is finally getting its close-up. NASA's Dawn spacecraft arrived in March, and is now taking photographs from as...

Europe's First Humans: What Scientists Do and Don't Know
From ACM News

Europe's First Humans: What Scientists Do and Don't Know

Over the past two years, breakthroughs in ancient genomics and archaeology have revolutionized the story of the first humans in Europe—who are thought to have appeared ...

Ancient American Genome Rekindles Legal Row
From ACM News

Ancient American Genome Rekindles Legal Row

The genome of a famous 8,500-year-old North American skeleton, known as Kennewick Man, shows that he is closely related to Native American tribes that have for...

U.s. 'export Rules' Threaten Research
From ACM Careers

U.s. 'export Rules' Threaten Research

The U.S. government is considering policy changes that could dramatically affect how researchers handle equipment and information that have national-security implications...

The Pentagon's Gamble on Brain Implants, Bionic Limbs and Combat Exoskeletons
From ACM News

The Pentagon's Gamble on Brain Implants, Bionic Limbs and Combat Exoskeletons

When Geoffrey Ling talks about the future of technology, his ideas go flying around the room like a whirlwind.

Image Software Spots Links in Tattoo Ink
From ACM News

Image Software Spots Links in Tattoo Ink

In an unusual twist on biometrics research, US computer scientists have joined with law-enforcement officials to find new ways to automatically detect tattoos on...

Crispr, the Disruptor
From ACM Careers

Crispr, the Disruptor

Three years ago, Bruce Conklin came across a method that made him change the course of his lab.

Mystery of Black Hole Fireworks Solved
From ACM News

Mystery of Black Hole Fireworks Solved

Gigantic jets of gas that leap out of galaxies at nearly the speed of light occur only after two galaxies merge, a survey of the distant Universe shows.

Military Technology: Laser Weapons Get Real
From ACM News

Military Technology: Laser Weapons Get Real

Silently, the drone aircraft glides above the arid terrain of New Mexico—until it suddenly pivots out of control and plummets to the ground.

'instinctive' Robot Recovers From Injury Fast
From ACM News

'instinctive' Robot Recovers From Injury Fast

Computer scientists have endowed a six-legged robot with the ability to rapidly modify its motion to cope with damage, such as the loss of a foot.

Quantum Physics: What Is Really Real?
From ACM News

Quantum Physics: What Is Really Real?

Owen Maroney worries that physicists have spent the better part of a century engaging in fraud.

­.s. Science Academies Take On Human-Genome Editing
From ACM News

­.s. Science Academies Take On Human-Genome Editing

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) will launch a major initiative to develop guidelines for editing human genomes...

Five Factors That Will Decide If Philae Wakes
From ACM News

Five Factors That Will Decide If Philae Wakes

Ever since the European Space Agency's Philae lander ran out of batteries on 15 November, just three days after it bounced on to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko...

Pluto-Bound Craft Hunts For Hazardous Moons
From ACM News

Pluto-Bound Craft Hunts For Hazardous Moons

On 11 May, a telescope aboard a NASA craft will turn and stare at Pluto—like a space-robot equivalent of a sailor watching for shoals that could take out his vessel...
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