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Archive for the ‘biological’ category

Mar 20, 2015

DNA Editing of Human Embryos Alarms Scientists

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, DNA

By David Cyranoski — Scientific American

Amid rumors that precision gene-editing techniques have been used to modify the DNA of human embryos, researchers have called for a moratorium on the use of the technology in reproductive cells.

In a Comment published on March 12 in Nature, Edward Lanphier, chairman of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine in Washington DC, and four co-authors call on scientists to agree not to modify human embryos — even for research.

“Such research could be exploited for non-therapeutic modifications. We are concerned that a public outcry about such an ethical breach could hinder a promising area of therapeutic development,” write Lanphier and his colleagues, who include Fyodor Urnov, a pioneer in gene-editing techniques and scientist at Sangamo BioSciences in Richmond, California. Many groups, including Urnov’s company, are already using gene-editing tools to develop therapies that correct genetic defects in people (such as by editing white blood cells). They fear that attempts to produce ‘designer babies’ by applying the methods to embryos will create a backlash against all use of the technology.Read more

Mar 6, 2015

Singularity? Reality? Humanity? Are there sophisticated Barbarians in Silicon Valley? Linking the Human Brain to the Computer — Exciting, or Frightening?

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, biotech/medical, complex systems, cyborg, evolution, futurism, human trajectories, posthumanism, singularity, transhumanism

Quoted: “Once you really solve a problem like direct brain-computer interface … when brains and computers can interact directly, to take just one example, that’s it, that’s the end of history, that’s the end of biology as we know it. Nobody has a clue what will happen once you solve this. If life can basically break out of the organic realm into the vastness of the inorganic realm, you cannot even begin to imagine what the consequences will be, because your imagination at present is organic. So if there is a point of Singularity, as it’s often referred to, by definition, we have no way of even starting to imagine what’s happening beyond that.”

Read the article here > http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/silicon-valley-mordor/

Feb 16, 2015

The Rise of Supranational Governance

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, evolution, governance

If we were to assume that eventually, some sort of world government configuration will take the place of individual, fragmented sovereign states, what would it look like and how would it operate? Will it be a communion of our wisest political leaders under one flag and all people agreeing upon the laws which govern in a democratic vote? Will we all tune in right around suppertime to watch the ‘president of the world’ elections and root for the party with which we most closely relate to? Will we finally be among a utopian society where true democracy is the staple ideology?

More than anything, the average individual will do away with their notion of nationalism and adopt the ideology of a world citizen. A new supranational governance will take hold, one where individual rise above national boundaries. Not confided to artificial borders or boundaries, these individuals will have the opportunity to experience unprecedented wealth accumulation. Unlike any time before in history, they will be subversive to judicial taxation strategies due to the very nature of digital money which will continually offer alternatives for increased security, functionality, and anonymity – although it is quite likely these payment systems will be under surveillance to a degree previously unmatched.

Read the full post on Diginomics.

Jan 2, 2015

The Immortalists Official Trailer

Posted by in categories: aging, biological, biotech/medical, genetics, human trajectories, life extension


Dec 1, 2014

Do gut bacteria control your mind?

Posted by in category: biological

Kurzweil AI

http://blog.operationreality.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/bacteria1-e1315094637183.jpg

Bacteria within you — which outnumber your own cells about 100 times — may be affecting both your cravings and moods to get you to eat what they want, and may be driving you toward obesity.

That’s the conclusion of an article published this week in the journal BioEssays by researchers from UC San Francisco, Arizona State University and University of New Mexico from a review of the recent scientific literature.

Read more

Nov 26, 2014

Astronauts Just Found Life In Outer Space — And Scientists Aren’t Sure How It Got There

Posted by in category: biological

By Zak Cheney-Rice  — News.Mic

The news: Russian cosmonauts have discovered something remarkable clinging to the outside of the International Space Station: living organisms.

The microscopic creatures appeared during a space walk intended to clean the vessel’s surface, and were allegedly identified — incredibly — as a type of sea plankton. This is big: According to Sploid, Russian scientists are both “shocked by [the] discovery and can’t really explain how [it] is possible.”

Continue reading “Astronauts Just Found Life In Outer Space — And Scientists Aren't Sure How It Got There” »


Nov 7, 2014

Plant Engineered to Supercharge Photosynthesis with Hopes of Increasing Crop Yields

Posted by in categories: biological, environmental

Written By: — Singularity Hub

tobacco-plant

While computers scientists find new ways to supercharge computers, a team of plant scientists have demonstrated that they can supercharge a plant.

Hoping to speed up plant photosynthesis, researchers from the US and UK have successfully upgraded a carbon-fixing enzyme vital to photosynthesis in a tobacco plant with two enzymes from cyanobacteria, which function at a faster rate. If photosynthesis can be performed more efficiently, plants would grow larger and crops could have higher yields, possibly as high as 60% according to computer models.

Continue reading “Plant Engineered to Supercharge Photosynthesis with Hopes of Increasing Crop Yields” »


Nov 5, 2014

The Exponential Nature of Ebola

Posted by in categories: biological, existential risks

The Exponential Nature of Ebola

Otto E. Rossler

Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, University of Tubingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 8, 72076 Tubingen, Germany

Inscribed on the UN Building:
Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul;
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain;
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.
(Saadi, 1210–1292)

Continue reading “The Exponential Nature of Ebola” »


Nov 4, 2014

Homni: The new superorganism taking over Earth

Posted by in category: biological

Gaia Vince — BBC Future

(Nasa)

In Ancient Greek mythology, the Earth Goddess Gaia had nine titan sons, who attempted to control not just the Earth, but the entire Universe. I’d like to introduce another. It’s a new creature who emerged only in recent decades. But it’s a creature who is already as influential over life on the planet as the phytoplankton or forests that regulate global temperature, the weather and the air we breathe.

That new creature is us, or more precisely, what humanity is becoming. The entirety of our species, Homo sapiens, is evolving into a superorganism; I’ll call this new life force Homo omnis, or ‘Homni’.

Read more

Oct 31, 2014

Force of nature gave life its asymmetry

Posted by in category: biological

Elizabeth Gibney — Nature

Physicists have found hints that the asymmetry of life — the fact that most biochemical molecules are ‘left-handed’ or ‘right-handed’ — could have been caused by electrons from nuclear decay in the early days of evolution. In an experiment that took 13 years to perfect1, the researchers have found that these electrons tend to destroy certain organic molecules slightly more often than they destroy their mirror images.

Many organic molecules, including glucose and most biological amino acids, are ‘chiral’. This means that they are different than their mirror-image molecules, just like a left and a right glove are. Moreover, in such cases life tends to consistently use one of the possible versions — for example, the DNA double helix in its standard form always twists like a right-handed screw. But the reason for this preference has long remained a mystery.

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