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May 27, 2018

CRISPR-edited rice plants increase grain yield

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

Scientists from Purdue University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences report the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to develop a variety of rice producing 25–31% more grain than traditional breeding methods.

crispr future technology

The team, led by Jian-Kang Zhu, a distinguished professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Purdue and director of the Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, made mutations to 13 genes associated with the plant hormone abscisic acid – known to play roles in plant stress tolerance and suppression of growth. Of several varieties created, one produced a plant that had little change in stress tolerance but produced 25% more grain in a field test in Shanghai, China, and 31% more in a field test conducted on China’s Hainan Island.

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May 27, 2018

Whether You Like It or Not, Facial Recognition is Here to Stay

Posted by in categories: privacy, robotics/AI

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past year, you’ve likely come across at least one news story talking about facial recognition technology. As a form of biometrics, facial recognition promises to enhance society’s experience with industry as a whole, from retail to travel. At the same time, there have also been fears of mismanagement at the expense of peoples’ privacy.

While the debate over “right to privacy” continues raging on, post-privacy technology is pushing forward at an international scale with no end in sight.

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May 27, 2018

NASA’s ‘Impossible’ EmDrive Engine Tested—Here Are the Results

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, space travel

“The ‘thrust’ is not coming from the EmDrive, but from some electromagnetic interaction,” the team reports in a proceeding for a recent conference on space propulsion.

The first independent tests of the EmDrive suggest there’s a mundane explanation for the wildly controversial device.

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May 27, 2018

Now there’s a ‘Roomba’ for your garden that whacks weeds

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

This “Roomba” lives in your garden and whacks weeds for you.

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May 27, 2018

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Takes One Step Closer to First US Track

Posted by in category: transportation

Hyperloop Transport Technologies (HTT) has brokered agreements with the North Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and the Illinois Department of Transportation for feasibility studies pertaining to its mass transit technology. This work will determine whether or not it’s practical to construct a route linking Cleveland with Chicago.

HTT CEO Dirk Ahlhorn described the collaboration as the “first real public-private partnership to bring Hyperloop travel to the US,” according to a report from Tech Crunch. If it comes to pass, the Hyperloop would allow passengers to travel between the two cities in just 28 minutes.

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May 27, 2018

Live forever or die trying: Meet the biohackers who fear their work could get them killed

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, life extension, transhumanism

Long story in The Independent:…/biohacking-transhumanism-aa… #transhumanism #biohacking

On the morning of 29 April, staff at the Soulex spa in Washington DC discovered the lifeless body of one of its clients lying face down in a sensory deprivation tank. The body was that of 28-year-old Aaron Traywick, who less than three months earlier had injected himself live on stage at an event in Austin, Texas, with an untested gene therapy that he claimed could cure herpes.

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May 27, 2018

Scientists Measure The Pressure Distribution Inside The Proton

Posted by in category: particle physics

Inside the proton, there is an immense amount of pressure which is equivalent to a billion, billion times the pressure at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Scientists at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility have measured the pressure inside the proton for the first time. To probe the conditions within the proton, Burkert and his colleagues used an electron beam to probe the inner conditions of a proton. In simple terms, the electrons in the electron beam have energy and this is handed over to one of the quarks. This causes the entire proton to recoil and the quark emits a high-energy photon. By using conservation of momentum and measuring the positions and energies of the photon, proton, and electron in the experiment provides insight into the inner structure of the proton.

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May 27, 2018

These drones can haul a 20-pound load for 500 miles and land on a moving target

Posted by in category: drones

A look at cargo-carrying drones from Volans-i, a start-up backed by Y Combinator and Lightspeed Ventures.

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May 27, 2018

Electrons travel faster than light in glass

Posted by in category: futurism

Nature India: All about science in India.

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May 27, 2018

Here’s Why AI Can’t Solve Everything

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, information science, robotics/AI

The hysteria about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere. There seems to be no shortage of sensationalist news about how AI could cure diseases, accelerate human innovation and improve human creativity.

Just looking at the media headlines, you might think that we are already living in a future where AI has infiltrated every aspect of society.

While it is undeniable that AI has opened up a wealth of promising opportunities, it has also led to the emergence of a mindset that can be best described as “AI solutionism”. This is the philosophy that, given enough data, machine learning algorithms can solve all of humanity’s problems.

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