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Dec 2, 2016

Quantum Gravity’s Time Problem

Posted by in category: quantum physics

The effort to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity means reconciling totally different notions of time.

Dec 2, 2016

Scientists have finally figured out why astronauts lose their vision while in space

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, space

Radiologists have finally figured out why astronauts who spend a lot of time in space get impaired vision.

The problem, called visual impairment intracranial pressure (VIIP) syndrome, has been reported in two-thirds of astronauts who go up to the International Space Station.

And according to a new study from researchers at the University of Miami — reported Monday at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual conference — those changes to the eye have everything to do with changes in the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

Dec 2, 2016

How to end aging: Aubrey de Grey at TEDxOxbridge

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

The weekend is here so let’s kick it off with a great talk by Dr. Aubrey de Grey at TED in 2014.


Biotechnologist Aubrey de Grey talks about aging as a disease — and how it can be cured.

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Dec 2, 2016

Glenn Cohen: How Ethical Is It to Engineer Human-Animal Hybrids?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, cyborgs, genetics

Harvard bioethics specialist Glenn Cohen considers the complex question of whether humans should mix their genetic material with other animals to create chimeras.

Dec 2, 2016

The Neuroscientist Who’s Building a Better Memory for Humans

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, cyborgs, neuroscience

In an epidsode of the dystopian near-future series, Black Mirror, a small, implantable device behind the ear grants the ability to remember, access, and replay every moment of your life in perfect detail, like a movie right before your eyes.

Theodore Berger, a biomedical engineer at the University of Southern California, can’t promise that level of perfect recall—perhaps for the better—but he is working on a memory prosthesis. The device, surgically implanted directly into the brain, mimics the function of a structure called the hippocampus by electrically stimulating the brain in a particular way to form memories—at least in rats and monkeys. And now, he’s testing one that could work in humans.

Berger’s device hinges on a theory about how the hippocampus transforms short-term memories, like where you deposited your keys, into long-term memories—so you can find them later. In his early experiments, he played a tone and then puffed air in a rabbit’s face, causing it to blink. Eventually, just playing the tone would make the rabbit blink, just like Pavlov’s famous salivating dogs. Berger recorded the hippocampus’ activity with electrodes, and as the rabbits learned to associate the tone with the air puff, patterns in those signals changed in a predictable way.

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Dec 1, 2016

A.I. Can Teach Itself to Recognize Faces Now

Posted by in categories: biological, information science, mathematics, robotics/AI

The goal of roboticists has long been to make A.I. as efficient as the human brain, and researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology just brought them one step closer.

In a recent paper, published in the journal Biology, scientists were able to successfully train a neural network to recognize faces at different angles by feeding it a set of different orientations for several face templates. Although this only initially gave the neural network the ability to roughly reach invariance — the ability to process data regardless of form — over time, the network taught itself to achieve full “mirror symmetry. Through mathematical algorithms, the neural network was able to mimic the human brain’s ability to understand objects are the same despite orientation or rotation.

The brain requires three different layers to process image orientation.

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Dec 1, 2016

An Indian startup could be the first private entity to land on the moon

Posted by in category: space

It is literally a moonshot.

Dec 1, 2016

Sydney high school students ‘show up’ Martin Shkreli, recreating price-hiked pill for $2

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education

Last fall, the biotech executive Martin Shkreli became widely reviled for hiking the price of a life-saving drug by more than 4,000 percent overnight, to $750 per pill.

Public outrage at Shkreli has apparently reverberated all the way to a high school science lab in Australia, where a group of 11th grade students claim to have proven a point: the drug can be made for much, much cheaper.

The group of 11 high school students, ages 16 and 17, successfully recreated the drug, Daraprim, for a mere $2 a pill, according to scientists from the University of Sydney.

Continue reading “Sydney high school students ‘show up’ Martin Shkreli, recreating price-hiked pill for $2” »

Dec 1, 2016

Potential Breakthrough In Alzheimer’s Research — and What You Can Do Now

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

New research at MIT might be a game-changer for Alzheimer’s. But you don’t have to wait to strengthen your brain’s memory system.

Dec 1, 2016

Quantum computing breakthrough: UK scientists develop technique to greatly simplify trapped ions

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

University of Sussex physicists have found a new way to create quantum gates – apply voltage to microchips.

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