No more glory for former Olympic cities as climate warms

A snow gun stands on the periphery of the Kandahar ski slope, which is only fragmentarily covered with snow, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany on Jan. 13, 2014. The women's alpine skiing World Cup, which was scheduled for the end of January, had to be called off because of the lack of snow. PHOTO: KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND/AP

The women’s alpine skiing World Cup, scheduled for the end of January, was cancelled due to lack of in Germany. PHOTO: KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND/AP

January 23, 2014

The planet is warming so quickly that a new report predicts Winter Olympic cities like Vancouver and Sochi will be out of luck in future.

It says only six of the previous 19 Winter Olympic sites will be cold enough to reliably host the Games by the end the century. Even under conservative climate change projections it says Olympic sites, such as Vancouver, Sochi, Chamonix in France, Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany will be too warm by 2050. Continue reading

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Canadian scientists create virtual “functioning” brain

UNDATED – Chris Eliasmith has spent years contemplating how to build a brain.

He is about to publish a book with instructions, which describes the grey matter’s architecture and how the different components interact.

“Then I thought the only way people are going to believe me is if I demonstrate it,” says the University of Waterloo neuroscientist.

So Eliasmith’s team built Spaun, which was billed Thursday as “the world’s largest simulation of a functioning brain.”

Spaun can recognize numbers, remember lists and write them down. It even passes some basic aspects of an IQ test, the team reports in the journal Science. Continue reading