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May 24, 2016

Aging Research Internships Available

Posted by in category: life extension

Are you an avid supporter of aging research and a keen longevity activist?
The Biogerontology Research Foundation is offering select summer internships for talented individuals. You’d join a passionate and supportive team in researching diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic strategies; advising a panel of investors in developing a roadmap to promote longevity science and related technologies across the globe.

The advertised positions are 3 month internships, with the possibility of continuing afterwards. Free accommodation will be provided for in London, alongside a negotiable salary.

The Biogerontology Research Foundation is a UK based think tank dedicated to aging research and accelerating its application worldwide.

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May 24, 2016

A Virtual Reality Manifesto: The Good, Bad, and the Ugly

Posted by in categories: transportation, virtual reality

Make your own universe or mouse in a box?


“I can’t wait to see the art that people make with this.”

Those were the first words from my friend Ryan after spending ten minutes in virtual reality. He’d just tried Tilt Brush, an incredible experience which allows the user to paint in three dimensions. Tilt Brush is a deeply meditative and powerful experience, allowing us to turn the space around us into glowing and shimmering works of art.

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May 24, 2016

Europe races to meet Orion deadline — By Jonathan Amos | BBC News

Posted by in categories: business, government, space

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“European industry has begun assembling the “back end” of the Orion crewship that is due to make an important 2018 demonstration flight around the Moon.”

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May 24, 2016

Scientist suggests possible link between primordial black holes and dark matter

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Dark matter is a mysterious substance composing most of the material universe, now widely thought to be some form of massive exotic particle. An intriguing alternative view is that dark matter is made of black holes formed during the first second of our universe’s existence, known as primordial black holes. Now a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, suggests that this interpretation aligns with our knowledge of cosmic infrared and X-ray background glows and may explain the unexpectedly high masses of merging black holes detected last year.

“This study is an effort to bring together a broad set of ideas and observations to test how well they fit, and the fit is surprisingly good,” said Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA Goddard. “If this is correct, then all galaxies, including our own, are embedded within a vast sphere of black holes each about 30 times the sun’s mass.”

In 2005, Kashlinsky led a team of astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to explore the background glow of infrared light in one part of the sky. The researchers reported excessive patchiness in the glow and concluded it was likely caused by the aggregate light of the first sources to illuminate the universe more than 13 billion years ago. Follow-up studies confirmed that this cosmic infrared background (CIB) showed similar unexpected structure in other parts of the sky.

May 24, 2016

New evidence could break the standard view of quantum mechanics

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Quantum mechanics is difficult to understand at the best of times, but new evidence suggests that the current standard view of how particles behave on the quantum scale could be very, very wrong.

In fact, the experiment hints that an alternative view predicted almost a century ago might have been right this whole time. And before you get too bummed about that, the good news is that, if confirmed, it would actually make quantum mechanics a whole lot simpler to understand.

So let’s step back for a second here and break this down. First thing’s first, this is just one study, and A LOT more replication and verification would be needed before the standard view comes crumbling down. So don’t go burning any text books just yet, okay? Good.

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May 24, 2016

We can begin an interstellar mission today – and we should

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space travel

Fifty-five years ago, Yuri Gagarin rocketed into orbit and began to break our bonds to our planet. To mark the occasion, the nonprofit Breakthrough Institute just announced plans to free us from an even more formidable set of bonds and send a fleet of small spacecraft beyond our solar system, off to the stars. News of the ‘Breakthrough Starshot’ plan was met with great enthusiasm, but also with more than a little skepticism. The distance between stars is vast. Our closest neighbour, the Alpha Centauri system, is 4.4 light years away – roughly 25 trillion miles. The Voyager 1 spacecraft, the fastest object ever created by humans, would take 70,000 years to travel that far. Many reporters greeted the Breakthrough Starshot as an idea grounded more in fantasy than in reality.

The reaction was understandable. All previous plans for interstellar flight relied on non-existent or impractical technologies such as antimatter, wormholes and warp drives. But now we have a concrete path forward, which I have published in detail. It is possible to begin the journey to the stars today.

Drawing on recent advances in photonics and electronics, we could use arrays of lasers to accelerate miniature probes (the size and mass of a semiconductor wafer, weighing less than one ounce) to unprecedented velocities. Particles of light, or photons, have no rest mass but they carry energy and momentum. Just as a sailboat can be propelled by the wind, light sails can ride the momentum of photons by reflecting a wind of intense laser light. We call such focused beams of light ‘directed energy’.

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May 24, 2016

Swallow This Robot: Foldable Droid Could Mend Stomachs

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

The new robot can unfold from an ingestible capsule and operate inside the stomach.

May 24, 2016

Genetic variants isolated that lead to enhanced PD-L1 protein production in cancer cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

(Medical Xpress)—A large team of researchers from a host of research facilities across Japan has found some genetic variants in some cancer cells that lead to enhanced PD-L1 protein production—which results in increased protection against attacks by the immune system. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team describes their sequencing study involving adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma cases, what they found and the possibility that such variants could be used as identifying markers in cancer patients.

Prior studies have shown that an increase in the expression of the protein PD-L1 by cancer cells confers enhanced protection against attacks by the human immune system—PD-1 receptors on T cells bind with PD-L1 causing the to become unresponsive, preventing them from attacking tumors. In this new effort, the researchers conducted a genetic analysis of a particular type of cancer cell to learn more about the genetic process involved in causing an increase in expression of PD-L1.

The team conducted whole-genome sequencing on samples given by 49 adult patients suffering from leukemia or lymphoma, looking specifically for variations that might account for an increase in expression of PD-L1. In so doing, they found that variations such as duplications, inversions or translocations in 13 of the samples, representing 27 percent of those tested, existed on a certain part of chromosome 9, which prior research had found was the part of the genome responsible for the expression of PD-L1. They report that such alterations seemed to cut off the gene’s 3’ untranslated region of the protein and in some cases led to rearranging the gene’s open reading frame, which allowed more of the protein to be expressed.

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May 24, 2016

A Guide to CRISPR Gene Activation

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

“The possibility to selectively activate genes using various engineered variants of the CRISPR-Cas9 system left many researchers questioning which of the available synthetic activating Cas9 proteins to use for their purposes. The main challenge was that all had been uniquely designed and tested in different settings; there was no side-by-side comparison of their relative potentials,” said George Church, Ph.D., who is Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, leader of its Synthetic Biology Platform, and Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. “We wanted to provide that side-by-side comparison to the biomedical research community.”

In a study published on 23 May in Nature Methods, the Wyss Institute team reports how it rigorously compared and ranked the most commonly used artificial Cas9 activators in different cell types from organisms including humans, mice and flies. The findings provide a valuable guide to researchers, allowing them to streamline their endeavors.

The team also included Wyss Core Faculty Member James Collins, Ph.D., who also is the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering & Science and Professor of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Department of Biological Engineering and Norbert Perrimon, Ph.D., a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

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May 24, 2016

New ‘fountain of youth’ gene may prevent heart attack, stroke

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Oct4, a gene, thought to be inactive in adults, may actually play a vital role in preventing heart attacks and strokes and could also delay some of the effects of ageing, scientists have found. They said the gene could also prove critical in the field of regenerative medicine.

Representative photo.Representative photo.

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