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Archive for the ‘biological’ category

Jan 21, 2021

Discovery of new praying mantis species from the time of the dinosaurs

Posted by in categories: biological, evolution

A McGill-led research team has identified a new species of praying mantis thanks to imprints of its fossilized wings. It lived in Labrador, in the Canadian Subarctic around 100 million years ago, during the time of the dinosaurs, in the Late Cretaceous period. The researchers believe that the fossils of the new genus and species, Labradormantis guilbaulti, helps to establish evolutionary relationships between previously known species and advances the scientific understanding of the evolution of the most ‘primitive’ modern praying mantises. The unusual find, described in a recently published study in Systematic Entomology, also sheds light on wing evolution among mantises and their relatives more generally.

Digging through mountains of rubble

The research team, which included members from the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris, and the Musée de paléontologie et de l’évolution in Montreal, found the specimens during fieldwork at an abandoned iron mine located in Labrador, near Schefferville (Quebec).

Jan 20, 2021

Ten computer codes that transformed science

Posted by in categories: biological, climatology, computing, physics, science

Although no list like this can be definitive, we polled dozens of researchers over the past year to develop a diverse line-up of ten software tools that have had a big impact on the world of science. You can weigh in on our choices at the end of the story.


From Fortran to arXiv.org, these advances in programming and platforms sent biology, climate science and physics into warp speed.

Jan 18, 2021

20 Best Aging Biomarkers to Track for Longevity

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension

I’m curious what biomarkers people here currently track? I did some research and came up with these 20 but any you would add/take away? (9 of them were mostly included to be able to use Morgan Levine’s biological age calculator).


This is the first article in a two-part series on the best aging biomarkers to track for longevity. The second article will compare different tests and testing companies on the market and supply a sample testing schedule you can use.

Continue reading “20 Best Aging Biomarkers to Track for Longevity” »

Jan 16, 2021

Human Mind Control of Rat Cyborg’s Continuous Locomotion with Wireless Brain-to-Brain Interface

Posted by in categories: biological, computing, cyborgs, neuroscience

“The results showed that rat cyborgs could be smoothly and successfully navigated by the human mind to complete a navigation task in a complex maze. Our experiments indicated that the cooperation through transmitting multidimensional information between two brains by computer-assisted BBI is promising.”

(2019)


Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) provide a promising information channel between the biological brain and external devices and are applied in building brain-to-device control. Prior studies have explored the feasibility of establishing a brain-brain interface (BBI) across various brains via the combination of BMIs. However, using BBI to realize the efficient multidegree control of a living creature, such as a rat, to complete a navigation task in a complex environment has yet to be shown. In this study, we developed a BBI from the human brain to a rat implanted with microelectrodes (i.e., rat cyborg), which integrated electroencephalogram-based motor imagery and brain stimulation to realize human mind control of the rat’s continuous locomotion. Control instructions were transferred from continuous motor imagery decoding results with the proposed control models and were wirelessly sent to the rat cyborg through brain micro-electrical stimulation. The results showed that rat cyborgs could be smoothly and successfully navigated by the human mind to complete a navigation task in a complex maze. Our experiments indicated that the cooperation through transmitting multidimensional information between two brains by computer-assisted BBI is promising.

Continue reading “Human Mind Control of Rat Cyborg’s Continuous Locomotion with Wireless Brain-to-Brain Interface” »

Jan 15, 2021

Elon Musk: Are We Living in a Simulation?

Posted by in categories: biological, Elon Musk

Among popular public thinkers advocating for the simulation hypothesis is Elon Musk who stated: if you assume any rate of improvement at all, games will eventually be indistinguishable from reality “before concluding ” that its most likely we’re in a simulation.

Elon Musk is known in the philosophical community to make “outrageous” claims, whether its about the advent of digital superintelligence, or in this case, according to some skeptics of the simulation hypothesis, Elon Musk exaggerates the probability that we might be living in a simulation.

Continue reading “Elon Musk: Are We Living in a Simulation?” »

Jan 14, 2021

Inspired by kombucha tea, engineers create ‘living materials’

Posted by in categories: biological, sustainability

Engineers at MIT and Imperial College London have developed a new way to generate tough, functional materials using a mixture of bacteria and yeast similar to the “kombucha mother” used to ferment tea.

Using this mixture, also called a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), the researchers were able to produce cellulose embedded with enzymes that can perform a variety of functions, such as sensing environmental pollutants. They also showed that they could incorporate yeast directly into the material, creating “living materials” that could be used to purify water or to make “smart” packaging materials that can detect damage.

“We foresee a future where diverse materials could be grown at home or in local production facilities, using biology rather than resource-intensive centralized manufacturing,” says Timothy Lu, an MIT associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and of .

Jan 13, 2021

Artificial Flesh

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, ethics, food, futurism, health, innovation, science, sustainability

Review: Meat Planet (2019) by Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft

In the words of the book’s author, Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft, Meat Planet: Artificial Flesh and the Future of Food (2019) is “not an attempt at prediction but rather a study of cultured meat as a special case of speculation on the future of food, and as a lens through which to view the predictions we make about how technology changes the world.” While not serving as some crystal ball to tell us the future of food, Wurgaft’s book certainly does serve as a kind of lens.

Our very appetites are questioned quite a bit in the book. Wondering about the ever-changing history of food, the author asks, “Will it be an effort to reproduce the industrial meat forms we know, albeit on a novel, and more ethical and sustainable, foundation?” Questioning why hamburgers are automatically the default goal, he points out cultured meat advocates should carefully consider “the question of which human appetite for meat, in historical terms, they wish to satisfy.”

Wurgaft’s question of “which human appetite” – past, present, or future – is an excellent one. If we use his book as a lens to observe other emerging technologies, the question extends well beyond our choices of food. It could even have direct implications for such endeavours as radical life extension. Will we, if we extend our lifetimes, be satisfactory to future people? We already know the kind of clash that persists between different generations, and the blame we often place on previous generations for current social ills, without there also being a group of people who simply refuse to die. We should be wary of basing our future on the present – of attempting to preserve present tastes as somehow immutable and deserving immortality. This may be a problem such futurists as Ray Kurzweil, author of The Singularity is Near (2005) need to respond to.

If we are to justify the singularity at which we or our appetites are immortalized, we should remember technology changes “morality’s horizon”, as Wurgaft observes. If, for example, a new technology arises that can entirely eliminate suffering, our choice to allow suffering is an immoral one. If further technologies then emerge that can eliminate not just suffering but death, it will become immoral on that day to permit someone’s natural death – at least to the extent it is like the crime of manslaughter. I argued in my own book that it will be immoral to withhold novel biotechnologies from impoverished countries, if we know such direct action will increase their economic independence or improve their health. Put simply, our inaction in a situation can become an immoral deed if we have the necessary tools to stop suffering.

Continue reading “Artificial Flesh” »

Jan 11, 2021

Entangled photons can see through translucent materials

Posted by in categories: biological, quantum physics

Quantum twist on optical coherence tomography offers million-fold improvement in imaging.


Entangled pairs of photons have been used by physicists in Germany and Austria to image structures beneath the surfaces of materials that scatter light. The research was led by Aron Vanselow and Sven Ramelow at Humboldt University of Berlin and achieved high-resolution images of the samples using “ultra-broadband” photon pairs with very different wavelengths. One photon probed the sample, while the other read out image information. Their compact, low-cost and non-destructive system could be put to work inspecting advanced ceramics and mixing in fluids.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a powerful tool for imaging structures beneath the surfaces of translucent materials and has a number of applications including the 3D scanning of biological tissues. The technique uses interferometry to reject the majority of light that has scattered many times in an object, focussing instead on the rare instances when light only scatters once from a feature of interest. This usually involves probing the material with visible or near-infrared light, which can be easily produced and detected. Yet in some materials such as ceramics, paints, and micro-porous samples, visible and near-infrared light is strongly scattered – which limits the use of OCT. Mid-infrared light, however, can penetrate deeper into these samples without scattering – but this light is far more difficult to produce and detect.

Continue reading “Entangled photons can see through translucent materials” »

Jan 9, 2021

Can science reverse the ageing process?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, life extension, science

The idea of slowing down the ageing process and living healthier, more productive lives is hugely appealing. It’s led to a growing trend for people looking to take control of their own biology, optimising their bodies and minds through ‘biohacking’. But how safe and ethical is this pursuit of longevity? And are there more natural ways of expanding your healthy lifespan? Video by Dan John Animation by Adam Proctor.

Jan 8, 2021

Scientists develop a cheaper method that might help create fuels from plants

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

Scientists have figured out a cheaper, more efficient way to conduct a chemical reaction at the heart of many biological processes, which may lead to better ways to create biofuels from plants.

Scientists around the world have been trying for years to create biofuels and other bioproducts more cheaply; this study, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that it is possible to do so.

“The process of converting sugar to alcohol has to be very efficient if you want to have the end product be competitive with ,” said Venkat Gopalan, a senior author on the paper and professor of chemistry and biochemistry at The Ohio State University. “The process of how to do that is well-established, but the cost makes it not competitive, even with significant government subsidies. This new development is likely to help lower the cost.”

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