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Archive for the ‘biological’ category

Sep 24, 2016

Scientists hail new era of ‘motherless babies’

Posted by in categories: biological, information science

For 200 years, our knowledge of reproduction has been clear: sperm + egg = baby. But scientists say they may have found a way to create babies with two biological dads. Should we celebrate?

Which came first: the chicken or the egg? It is a question pondered since the time of Ancient Greece, when Aristotle decided that the answer must be both.

Now, scientists say it could be possible to remove the egg from the equation all together. Dr Tony Perry and his team announced this week that they have successfully bred mice without using a normal egg cell. Instead, they used sperm to fertilise a kind of non-viable embryo called a parthenogenote, which multiplies more like a normal cell. Then they ‘tricked’ it into developing into an embryo using special chemicals, planted it into a surrogate, and a new mouse was born. It survived, and has even gone on to have offspring of its own.

Sep 24, 2016

IBM is one step closer to mimicking the human brain

Posted by in categories: biological, neuroscience

Scientists at IBM have claimed a computational breakthrough after imitating large populations of neurons for the first time.

Neurons are electrically excitable cells that process and transmit information in our brains through electrical and chemical signals. These signals are passed over synapses, specialised connections with other cells.

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Sep 23, 2016

Synthetic biology competition launched

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological

An annual competition has been launched to assist companies aiming to solve world issues with synthetic biology.

Bio-start offers the winner a combination of £100k cash as well as laboratory space, professional services and a 10 week accelerator programme with mentorship valued at approximately £100k.

Dr Stephen Chambers, CEO of SynbiCITE, one of the companies involved in the founding of the competition said: “This is a first in the UK for synthetic biology and our aim is to help as many companies and entrepreneurs as we can. Once applications have been assessed up to twenty-five businesses will go through our ten-week boot-camp and mentoring programme. Up to ten will go through to the final awards evening where they’ll have a chance to pitch their ideas to an expert panel in front of an audience of investors and industry leaders.”

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Sep 23, 2016

The Next Step for Veganism Is Ditching Our Bodies and Digitizing Our Minds

Posted by in categories: biological, cyborgs, food, life extension, transhumanism

Connecting the dots between transhumanism, veganism, and caring for animals. My new story for Vice Motherboard:


The answer is bewildering—and it probably won’t be satisfying to plant-loving people. Nonetheless, it will inevitably eliminate most human-caused animal deaths. The answer is transhumanism—the movement that aims to replace human biology with synthetic and machine parts.

You see, the most important goal of transhumanism is to try to overcome death with science and technology. Most cellular degeneration—otherwise known as aging and sickness—comes from the failing of cells. That failure is at least partially caused by the daily act of eating and drinking—of putting foreign objects into our bodies which cells have to consume or discard to try to create energy. Paraxdocially, it’s stressful and hard work for cells to endlessly do this just to live. A simple way to eliminate this Sisyphean task—all the steaks, chocolate donuts, bacon breakfasts, and even my favorite, scotch—is to get rid of human reliance on food and drink entirely.

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Sep 22, 2016

Femtotechnology: A technology that is Beyond Nanotechnology

Posted by in categories: evolution, nanotechnology, particle physics, robotics/AI

Nanotechnology has reshaped the technological discoveries in the recent times. Nanotechnology has enabled the creation and invention of numerous things with wide potentialities. Every field is subject to constant evolution, nanotechnology is no exception. Researchers and scientists who are engaged with nanotechnology have now come up with femtotechnology.

Femtotechnology is widely defined as, “Hypothetical term used in reference to structuring of matter on the scale of a femtometer, which is 10^−15m. This is a smaller scale in comparison to nanotechnology and picotechnology which refer to 10^−9m and 10^−12m respectively.”

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Sep 20, 2016

When Evolution Fights Back Against Genetic Engineering

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, evolution, genetics

“Gene drives,” a technology for controlling genetic traits, could revolutionize disease prevention. But nature has a way of thwarting scientific meddling.

Sep 19, 2016

Researchers address the importance of measurement in synthetic biology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, government, sustainability

Dr Michael Adeogun and Dr Max Ryadnov from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have written an expert view for Bio-Based World News on the importance of measurement science in synthetic biology, highlighting the vital work that NPL has already undertaken in this field.

Synthetic biology is a growing field which seeks to develop solutions to major global challenges, such as the generation of sustainable and affordable materials and chemicals, and the use of bio-engineered organisms as products. The UK aims to achieve a £10bn market in synthetic biology by 2030.

Since the publication of the government-commissioned Synthetic Biology Roadmap in 2012, the UK has become the second largest investor in synthetic biology, having developed a national network of research centres, doctoral training programmes and knowledge facilities to drive growth in the commercial sector.

Sep 17, 2016

Physicists Are Close to Producing Metallic Hydrogen, And It Could Change Everything

Posted by in categories: evolution, physics, space

The implications of the discovery of hydrogen in a metallic form make it a subject of great fervor. Teams are racing toward its use as a superconductor as well as a means of better understanding the universe.

The simplest and most common element, first in the periodic table, shouldn’t be difficult to crack, right? “What could be more simple than an assembly of electrons and protons?” asks Neil Aschcroft, a theoretical physicist at Cornell University. Yet, its supposed metallic form is quite the opposite. Apparently, the physics of hydrogen becomes more complex at high pressures. A sort of mega-evolution.

Hydrogen is naturally at a gaseous state, at room temperature and under atmospheric pressure. But hydrogen becomes solid, given enough of a forceful squeeze or at low temperatures. It also can transform into a liquid, if heat is added while squeezing. What is more confounding is the supposed ability of hydrogen, theoretically, to transform into metal if more extreme conditions are applied.

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Sep 13, 2016

Quantum Cosmology and the Evolution of Inflationary Spectra [CL]

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, information science, quantum physics

We illustrate how it is possible to calculate the quantum gravitational effects on the spectra of primordial scalar/tensor perturbations starting from the canonical, Wheeler-De Witt, approach to quantum cosmology. The composite matter-gravity system is analysed through a Born-Oppenheimer approach in which gravitation is associated with the heavy degrees of freedom and matter (here represented by a scalar field) with the light ones. Once the independent degrees of freedom are identified the system is canonically quantised. The differential equation governing the dynamics of the primordial spectra with its quantum-gravitational corrections is then obtained and is applied to diverse inflationary evolutions. Finally, the analytical results are compared to observations through a Monte Carlo Markov Chain technique and an estimate of the free parameters of our approach is finally presented and the results obtained are compared with previous ones.

Read this paper on arXiv…

A. Kamenshchik, A. Tronconi and G. Venturi Tue, 13 Sep 16 11/91.

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Sep 12, 2016

Tiangong-2: Second space lab

Posted by in categories: biological, physics, satellites

China’s 2nd spacelab launches next week. Now, I wonder how QSS will be leveraged given the note on new communication capabilities as well as other types of experiments that can be conducted.


Chinese space agency is all set to launch its second spacelab Tiangong-2 next week. Long March 2F rocket will lift up the spacelab and both the entities have been transported to the launch pad located at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, yesterday. Tiangong-2 will test life support systems and refueling technology for its 60 ton modular space station.

Tiangong-2 will be placed in an orbit of 393 kilometers above the Earth and it will help in studying fundamental physics, biology, fluid mechanics in microgravity, space science and will monitor Earth from space. In addition, it has the capability to measure the topography of the oceans with very high precision which will enable scientists to study Earth’s gravity field.

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