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Archive for the ‘biological’ category

Sep 17, 2019

Posthuman Times

Posted by in categories: biological, physics

Humanist and technoscientific notions of progress have been (mis)used to classify human and nonhuman life forms into hierarchical categories, thereby reducing the complexities of life stories into a linear account of development and innovation. At the same time, critical reflections on key concepts of modernist, Eurocentric and industry-driven concepts of time and historicity and, more forcefully perhaps, new findings in evolutionary biology and physics, have produced alternative narratives, sometimes with a reconsideration of premodern understandings of temporality like, for example, Gilles Deleuze ’s rereading of Leibniz in The Fold.[1] The modernist conception of History (with a capital H) as both an empirical reality and a specific disciplinary and disciplining knowledge [2] has thus become just one possible manifestation within a plurality of histor ies conditioned by socio-cultural particularities that honour the experience of bodies that, voluntarily or not, live outside re/productive timelines, for example.

An increasing number of researchers as well as artists are no longer interested in the taking and making time and space as human universals but in genealogies, intersections, “multiple modernities”[3] and the coexistence of non-simultaneous phenomena in the era of globalization, asymmetrical power relations and technoculture. Moreover, post-anthropocentric thinking and creativity, fostered in posthumanist discourse (including new materialism, speculative realism, object-oriented ontology, neocybernetic systems theory, etc.), also increasingly attends to nonhuman temporalities and how these are entangled, often in conflicting ways, with human time. Such considerations include the vexing question of how emancipatory goals of progressive social trans/formation and justice can be envisaged, let alone obtained, if we can no longer ground our theories and political practices in enlightened narratives of humanist progress and liberation.

Sep 16, 2019

Meet Five Synthetic Biology Companies Using AI To Engineer Biology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, genetics, robotics/AI

TVs and radios blare that “artificial intelligence is coming,” and it will take your job and beat you at chess.

But AI is already here, and it can beat you — and the world’s best — at chess. In 2012, it was also used by Google to identify cats in YouTube videos. Today, it’s the reason Teslas have Autopilot and Netflix and Spotify seem to “read your mind.” Now, AI is changing the field of synthetic biology and how we engineer biology. It’s helping engineers design new ways to design genetic circuits — and it could leave a remarkable impact on the future of humanity through the huge investment it has been receiving ($12.3b in the last 10 years) and the markets it is disrupting.

Sep 13, 2019

Prof. Dr. Collin Ewald — ETH Zürich — Extracellular Matrix and Healthy Aging — IdeaXme Show — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, biological, biotech/medical, cryonics, DNA, genetics, health, life extension, neuroscience, science

Sep 12, 2019

An important quantum algorithm may actually be a property of nature

Posted by in categories: biological, genetics, information science, quantum physics

Evidence that quantum searches are an ordinary feature of electron behavior may explain the genetic code, one of the greatest puzzles in biology.

Sep 12, 2019

Dietary supplement may help with schizophrenia

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, neuroscience

A dietary supplement, sarcosine, may help with schizophrenia as part of a holistic approach complementing antipsychotic medication, according to a UCL researcher.

In an editorial published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, Professor David Curtis (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment and QMUL Centre for Psychiatry) suggests the readily available product could easily be incorporated into treatment plans, while calling for clinical trials to clarify the benefit and inform guidelines.

“Sarcosine represents a very logical treatment and the small number of so far do seem to show that it can be helpful. It certainly seems to be safe and some patients report feeling better on it,” he said.

Sep 10, 2019

Chicken study reveals that environmental factors, not just chance, could drive species evolution

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

In the version of evolutionary theory most of us are familiar with, randomly occurring variation in traits, caused by mutations in our DNA, can be fixed in a population through natural selection. However, writing in Epigenetics journal, a team of Swedish researchers from Linköping University suggests that mutations that can be caused by environmental changes, not just random chance, might be responsible for species diversity.

Until quite recently, it was assumed that DNA causing new gene variations occurred more or less randomly. While random mutations do occur, recent research has shown that can be altered by environmental influences too. According to a study published in Epigenetics journal, a particular type of mutation, linked to , has, over time, led to new animal breeds—and could be responsible for whole new species.

Sep 9, 2019

Warning to tourists as toxic slime that can ‘kill you in seconds’ swamps French beaches

Posted by in category: biological

FRANCE’S tourist beaches are being overrun with toxic slime which experts say can kill sunbathers and swimmers within seconds.

The green algae releases poisonous gases when trodden on causing those nearby to faint and suffer cardiac arrest, say reports.

At least three people and dozens of animals have already died, but some fear other deaths may have been mistakenly passed off as drownings.

Sep 8, 2019

The skull of humanity’s oldest known ancestor is changing our understanding of evolution

Posted by in category: evolution

The recent discovery of a 3.8m-year-old cranium (skull without the lower jaw) is the hottest topic of conversation among palaeoanthropologists right now. But fossils are found all the time, so why is the cranium of this small, old man so important? It turns out the discovery is changing our view of how early hominin species evolved – and how they led to humans. To understand how, let’s start at the beginning.

In 1995, researchers found several partial jaws, isolated teeth and limb bones in Kenya, dated between 4.2m and 3.9m years old, and assigned them to a brand new species: Australopithecus anamensis. All these fossils were found in sediments associated with an ancient lake – “anam”, which means lake in the local language. A number of additional specimens were then found in Ethiopia, thought to belong to the same species.

The primitive features of A. anamensis have led to the widespread view that this species is the ancestor of Australopithecus afarensis, a younger hominin from Tanzania, Ethiopia and perhaps Kenya, dated between 3.8m and 3m years old. The most iconic fossil of A. afarensis is probably the partial skeleton known as Lucy, which was for a long time viewed as the oldest known human ancestor.

Sep 7, 2019

Strange life-forms found deep in a mine point to vast ‘underground Galapagos’

Posted by in category: biological

Something odd is stirring in the depths of Canada’s Kidd Mine. The zinc and copper mine, 350 miles northwest of Toronto, is the deepest spot ever explored on land and the reservoir of the oldest known water. And yet 7,900 feet below the surface, in perpetual darkness and in waters that have remained undisturbed for up to two billion years, the mine is teeming with life.

Many scientists had doubted that anything could live under such extreme conditions. But in July, a team led by University of Toronto geologist Barbara Sherwood Lollar reported that the mine’s dark, deep water harbors a population of remarkable microbes.

The single-celled organisms don’t need oxygen because they breathe sulfur compounds. Nor do they need sunlight. Instead, they live off chemicals in the surrounding rock — in particular, the glittery mineral pyrite, commonly known as fool’s gold.

Sep 6, 2019

Biological age of humans reversed by years in groundbreaking study, scientists suggest

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension

Small study is ‘not rock solid’ but could have huge consequences for ageing, experts say.

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