Archive for the ‘evolution’ category

May 17, 2018

Astronomers release most complete ultraviolet-light survey of nearby galaxies

Posted by in categories: evolution, space

Capitalizing on the unparalleled sharpness and spectral range of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers is releasing the most comprehensive, high-resolution ultraviolet-light survey of nearby star-forming galaxies.

The researchers combined new Hubble observations with archival Hubble images for 50 star-forming spiral and dwarf in the local universe, offering a large and extensive resource for understanding the complexities of and . The project, called the Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), has amassed star catalogs for each of the LEGUS galaxies and cluster catalogs for 30 of the galaxies, as well as images of the galaxies themselves. The data provide detailed information on young, massive and star clusters, and how their environment affects their development.

“There has never before been a star cluster and a stellar catalog that included observations in ultraviolet light,” explained survey leader Daniela Calzetti of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “Ultraviolet light is a major tracer of the youngest and hottest star populations, which astronomers need to derive the ages of stars and get a complete stellar history. The synergy of the two catalogs combined offers an unprecedented potential for understanding star formation.”

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May 17, 2018

Selfish Ledger: Google’s mass sociology experiment

Posted by in categories: big data, complex systems, DNA, ethics, evolution, genetics, information science, internet, surveillance

Check out the internal Google film, “The Selfish Ledger”. This probably wasn’t meant to slip onto a public web server, and so I have embedded a backup copy below. Ping me if it disappears. I will locate a permanent URL.

This 8½ minute video is a lot deeper—and possibly more insipid—than it appears. Nick Foster may be the Anti-Christ, or perhaps the most brilliant sociologist of modern times. It depends on your vantage point, and your belief in the potential of user controls and cat-in-bag containment.

He talks of a species propelling itself toward “desirable goals” by cataloging, data mining, and analyzing the past behavior of peers and ancestors—and then using that data to improve the experience of each user’s future and perhaps even their future generations. But, is he referring to shared goals across cultures, sexes and incomes? Who controls the algorithms and the goal filters?! Is Google the judge, arbiter and God?

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May 7, 2018

Why does the microbiome affect behaviour?

Posted by in categories: evolution, neuroscience


The microbiota can influence host behaviour through the gut–brain axis. In this Opinion, Johnson and Foster explore the evolution of this relationship and propose that adaptations of competing gut microorganisms may affect behaviour as a by‑product, leading to host dependence.

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May 2, 2018

Why genetic IQ differences between ‘races’ are unlikely

Posted by in categories: evolution, genetics, neuroscience

The idea that intelligence can differ between populations has made headlines again, but the rules of evolution make it implausible.

Kevin Mitchell

Associate professor of genetics and neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin.

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Apr 25, 2018

ICO Whitelist Registration

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, evolution, law

3 days left to get into our Initial Community Offering (ICO) for the evolution of the blockchain which I’ve invested and advising.

Welcome to the Holo ICO whitelist registration! You will need to verify your identity and join the whitelist before you can participate in the ICO. The process requires creating an account, completing a quick identity verification, and then adding your Ethereum address to our whitelist. Once whitelisted, your address will be written into our smart contract, and you will be prepared to participate in the Holo ICO.

NOTE: If you are a resident or citizen of the United States, China, or South Korea, you cannot participate in our ICO due to legal and regulatory uncertainty in those jurisdictions. You will be unable to verify or whitelist if you are a resident or citizen of one of these countries.

To learn more about our ICO, visit

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Apr 20, 2018

27-Million-Year-Old Fossil Found In New Zealand Helps Identify World’s Oldest Known Baleen Whale

Posted by in category: evolution

Ignored for 30 years after its discovery, this archaic baleen whale finally gets a place in the spotlight.

A whale fossil unearthed three decades ago in New Zealand’s South Canterbury district has led to an unexpected find that rewrites the history of whale evolution, National Geographic reports.

The fossil dates back 27 million years ago and was identified as a previously unknown genus of baleen whale.

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Apr 11, 2018

Podcast: transhumanism — using technology to live forever

Posted by in categories: evolution, life extension, transhumanism

We talk to Mark O’Connell about transhumanism, the evolution of the human species and his Wellcome Book Prize-shortlisted book To Be A Machine.

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Apr 3, 2018

Transhumanism: advances in technology could already put evolution into hyperdrive – but should they?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, evolution, genetics, nanotechnology, transhumanism

Advocates of transhumanism face a similar choice today. One option is to take advantage of the advances in nanotechnologies, genetic engineering and other medical sciences to enhance the biological and mental functioning of human beings (never to go back). The other is to legislate to prevent these artificial changes from becoming an entrenched part of humanity, with all the implied coercive bio-medicine that would entail for the species.

We can either take advantage of advances in technology to enhance human beings (never to go back), or we can legislate to prevent this from happening.

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Mar 12, 2018

A Protein that Shows the Difference Between Cancer and Non-cancer Cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

Researchers have identified a protein that is different between healthy and cancerous cells, offering a potential target for therapeutic interventions.


Sorting nexins anchor trafficking machines to membranes by binding phospholipids. The paradigm of the superfamily is sorting nexin 3 (SNX3), which localizes to early endosomes by recognizing phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PI3P) to initiate retromer-mediated segregation of cargoes to the trans-Golgi network (TGN). Here we report the solution structure of full length human SNX3, and show that PI3P recognition is accompanied by bilayer insertion of a proximal loop in its extended Phox homology (PX) domain. Phosphoinositide (PIP) binding is completely blocked by cancer-linked phosphorylation of a conserved serine beside the stereospecific PI3P pocket. This “PIP-stop” releases endosomal SNX3 to the cytosol, and reveals how protein kinases control membrane assemblies. It constitutes a widespread regulatory element found across the PX superfamily and throughout evolution including of fungi and plants.

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Feb 23, 2018

Enzyme Designed Entirely From Scratch Opens a World of Biological Possibility

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

Ann Donnelly was utterly confused the first time she examined her protein. On all counts, it behaved like an enzyme—a protein catalyst that speeds up biological reactions in cells. One could argue that enzymes, sculpted by eons of evolution, make life possible.

There was just one problem: her protein wasn’t evolved. It wasn’t even “natural.” It was, in fact, a completely artificial construct made with random sequences of DNA—something that’s never existed in nature before.

Donnelly was looking at the first artificial enzyme. An artificial protein that, by all accounts, should not be able to play nice with the intricate web of biochemical components and reactions that support life.

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