Practical Quantum Computers

Advances at Google, Intel, and several research groups indicate that computers with previously unimaginable power are finally within reach. Availability: 4-5 years by Russ Juskalian One of the labs at QuTech, a Dutch research institute, is responsible for some of the world’s most advanced work on quantum computing, but it looks like an HVAC testing facility. Tucked away in a quiet corner of the applied sciences building at Delft University of Technology, the space is devoid of people. Buzzing with resonant waves as if occupied by a swarm of electric katydids,…

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Paying with Your Face

Face-detecting systems in China now authorize payments, provide access to facilities, and track down criminals. Will other countries follow? Availability: Now by Will Knight Shortly after walking through the door at Face++, a Chinese startup valued at roughly a billion dollars, I see my face, unshaven and looking a bit jet-lagged, flash up on a large screen near the entrance. Having been added to a database, my face now provides automatic access to the building. It can also be used to monitor my movements through each room inside. As I tour the…

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Self-Driving Trucks

Tractor-trailers without a human at the wheel will soon barrel onto highways near you. What will this mean for the nation’s 1.7 million truck drivers? Availability: 5 to 10 years   by David H. Freedman   Roman Mugriyev was driving his long-haul 18-wheeler down a two-lane Texas highway when he saw an oncoming car drift into his lane just a few hundred feet ahead. There was a ditch to his right and more oncoming cars to his left, so there was little for him to do but hit his horn and…

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Reversing Paralysis

Scientists are making remarkable progress at using brain implants to restore the freedom of movement that spinal cord injuries take away. Availability: 10 to 15 years by Antonio Regalado “Go, go!” was the thought racing through Grégoire Courtine’s mind. The French neuroscientist was watching a macaque monkey as it hunched aggressively at one end of a treadmill. His team had used a blade to slice halfway through the animal’s spinal cord, paralyzing its right leg. Now Courtine wanted to prove he could get the monkey walking again. To do it, he…

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#10 – The Acropolis of Athens

The Acropolis of Athens (Ancient Greek: Ἀκρόπολις, tr. Akrópolis; Modern Greek: Ακρόπολη Αθηνών, tr. Akrópoli Athenón [aˈkropoli aθiˈnon]) is an ancient citadel located on an extremely rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. The word acropolis comes from the Greek words ἄκρον (akron, “highest point, extremity”) and πόλις (polis, “city”). Although there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as “The Acropolis” without qualification. While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth…

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#9 – St. Basil’s Cathedral

We begin our list of the top 10 wonders of the world with St. Basil’s Cathedral, which is also known as the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed. It is one of the more iconic Russian landmarks of all time. This Russian Orthodox cathedral is located in Moscow, Russia, and it was built in 1555, during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. It was consecrated in 1561, when construction had completed. This architectural marvel was designed by Barma and Postnik Yakovlev, and it’s meant to be shaped like a flaming bonfire…

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#8 – Petra

Petra is the name of a historical city located in modern-day Jordan. It is probably the biggest tourist attraction in all of Jordan, and many people consider it to be one of the modern wonders of the world. Petra was originally known as Raqmu by its inhabitants, the Nabataeans. The Nabatataeans were a nomadic Arab people who used Raqmu as their capital city. Petra is truly an architectural and historical marvel, largely due to its rock-cut architecture. Many of the “buildings:” that can be found in Petra are carved directly…

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#7 – Machu Picchu

Speaking of ancient ruins, Machu Picchu is arguably one of the most well-known ancient ruins of all time. This Inca citadel is located in the Cuzco Region in modern-day Peru, and it stands 7,970 feet above sea level. Although the exact original use of Machu Picchu is unknown, most historians think that it was originally meant to be an estate for Pachacuti, the Inca emperor. It is estimated that it was built in 1450, but it was abandoned by the Incas during the Spanish Conquest. The three main components of…

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#6 – Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer, known as Cristo Redentor by locals, is the famous statue of Jesus Christ located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This symbol of Christianity is largely considered the most iconic fixture in all of Rio de Janeiro, and in all of Brazil as a whole. This is a bit newer than some of the other wonders on this list, as this Art Deco statue was officially completed in 1931. This statue was a collaborate effort by many, created by Paul Landowski, a Frenchman, and built by Heitor da…

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#5 – Taj Mahal

The next item on this list of the top 10 wonders of the world is the Taj Mahal, which translates to Crown of the Palace, which is located in Uttar Pradesh, India. The Taj Mahal is certainly an iconic Indian monument, but not everyone knows that this so-called palace is actually a mausoleum. This architectural marvel was built sometime between 1632 and 1653, comissioned by Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor. He wanted the palace built to serve as a tomb for Mumtaz Mahal, who was his favorite wife. At the…

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