Excerpts from science, technology, environment and health reports from around the web.

IBM developing computer system that thinks like a human

IBM scientists are developing a new software ecosystem that would be able to support cognitive computing systems that interact more naturally with humans.

Cognitive computing systems can be trained with artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms. The potential for this technology is elaborated in the video below. IBM Research says this sort of technology allows for the creation of "applications that mimic the brain’s abilities for perception, action, and cognition." That means computers would deal with data and "think" more the way we do as humans.

Q-glasses could be a new class of solids

There may be more kinds of stuff than we thought. A team of researchers has reported possible evidence for a new category of solids, things that are neither pure glasses, crystals nor even exotic quasicrystals. Something else.

"Very weird. Strangest material I ever saw," says materials physicist Lyle Levine of NIST.

Swimming robot tested for billion-mile trip to Saturn moon

It’s not filled with liquid methane, nor is it -182 degrees Celsius, but otherwise Laguna Negra does a passable impression of an alien sea. That’s because it’s surrounded by a barren environment with a thin atmosphere and is vulnerable to storms, avalanches, and possibly volcanoes.

Due to global warming, the glacial lake is also rapidly changing, ideal circumstances for a robot being taught to recognize shifts in a fluid environment.

Future LHC super-magnets pass muster

In the past four years, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have accomplished unprecedented feats of physics, all with their particle accelerator working at half its design capacity. The future is looking even brighter, literally. Last week the US LHC Accelerator Research Program, or LARP, successfully tested a new type of magnet required to boost the power of the LHC—or the luminosity of its particle beams—by a factor of 10.

See three asteroids in the night sky this month

Have you ever seen an asteroid? These space rocks, though small in size, are very numerous, but very few amateur astronomers have ever seen one. The next couple of weeks give stargazers an opportunity to view three asteroids in one night: Flora, Juno, and Iris.

The asteroids Juno, Flora and Iris were among the first eight space rocks ever to be discovered. Juno was the third asteroid discovered, in 1804, very soon after Ceres — the largest asteroid — in 1801 and Pallas in 1802. It was discovered by German astronomer Karl Ludwig Harding, and named after Juno, the highest of the Roman goddesses.

Making a mini Mona Lisa

The world’s most famous painting has now been created on the world’s smallest canvas. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have “painted” the Mona Lisa on a substrate surface approximately 30 micrometers in width—or one-third the width of a human hair. The team’s creation, the “Mini Lisa,” demonstrates a technique that could potentially be used to achieve nanomanufacturing of devices because the team was able to vary the surface concentration of molecules on such short-length scales.

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