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Archive for the ‘evolution’ category

Jan 15, 2018

Why Do We Age? The Disposable Soma Theory Answers the Riddle

Posted by in categories: evolution, life extension

Summary: Why Do We Age? Scientists answer the question with the latest evolutionary theory of aging, the disposable soma theory, which supports the longevity benefits of calorie restriction. With commentary by leading geroscientist, Tom Kirkwood. [This article first appeared on the website LongevityFacts.com. Author: Brady Hartman. ]

The process of aging, or growing old, presents an apparent contradiction to people who believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution. Aging increases the vulnerability of an organism, which ultimately leads to its death. How could evolution favor a process that gradually increases mortality and decreases the ability to reproduce?

Leading scientists have found an answer to this puzzling contradiction and offer us new theories to explain why we age and die using evolutionary theory – the idea that aging confers an evolutionary advantage.

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Jan 9, 2018

How bacteria turbocharged their motors

Posted by in categories: evolution, habitats, nanotechnology

Using detailed 3D images, researchers have shown how bacteria have evolved molecular motors of different powers to optimize their swimming.

The discovery, by a team from Imperial College London, provides insights into evolution at the molecular scale.

Bacteria use molecular motors just tens of nanometres wide to spin a tail (or ‘flagellum’) that pushes them through their habitat. Like human-made motors, the structure of these nanoscale machines determines their power and the bacteria’s swimming ability.

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Dec 30, 2017

The Quest for Immortality, Rebooted

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, life extension, neuroscience, singularity, transhumanism, virtual reality

Shermer’s journey into the present-day search for human domination over death and society’s ills introduces readers to all forms of what he calls “techno-optimism,” meaning the belief that technological progress means an end to death — or, at the very least, to aging and social decay. There are the cryonicists who want to freeze us, and those who want simply to freeze our brains, with all their neural connections and associated memories (the connectome). The transhumanists want to enhance us so thoroughly — through means both natural and artificial — that we become godlike, “taking control of evolution and transforming the species into something stronger, faster, sexier, healthier and with vastly superior cognitive abilities the likes of which we mere mortals cannot conceive”; the Omega Point theorists think we will all one day be brought back to life in a virtual reality. Believers in “the singularity” contend that it is possible to upload the human brain to a server without losing the essence of what makes you you. And, of course, there are those who try to cure us of aging, so that our bodies and minds will cease to deteriorate and our life spans will increase ad infinitum. Shermer visits each of these and other utopian theories with detail and considered analysis, drawing readers along increasingly unrealistic (or are they?) possibilities for our future evolution. It’s a journey as boggling as it is engrossing.


In “Heavens on Earth,” Michael Shermer explores the lengths to which mankind will go to ensure our souls’ survival beyond existence on this mortal coil.

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Dec 27, 2017

What’s Love got to do with Education?

Posted by in categories: complex systems, education, ethics, evolution, futurism, health, homo sapiens, human trajectories, innovation, philosophy, sustainability

[This article is drawn from Ch. 8: “Pedagogical Love: An Evolutionary Force” in Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex Futures.]

“There is nothing more important in this world than radical love” as Paolo Freire told Joe Kincheloe over dinner.

- Joe Kincheloe. Reading, Writing and Cognition. 2006.

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Dec 12, 2017

Has human evolution reached its peak?

Posted by in categories: aging, evolution, genetics, life extension

According to a French physiologist, humans have reached the peak of our height, lifespan and physical fitness.

I suspect that from our vantage point (a narrow snapshot of human evolution), we lack sufficient data to arrive this sweeping conclusion. Nevertheless, mainstream media is taking this research seriously.

http://www.newsweek.com/humans-reached-peak-height-lifespan-fitness-741816

Dec 11, 2017

The Ten Best Science Books of 2017

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

But the best science and tech writing goes one step further. With delight and mystery—and sans unnecessary jargon and technical details—this genre can help us better understand some of the world’s most complex and abstract concepts, from gravitational waves (Gravity’s Kiss) to Darwinian evolution (The Evolution of Beauty) to antibiotic resistance (Big Chicken). Each of these remarkable tomes from 2017 does just that, shining a light on the hidden connections and invisible forces that shape the world around us. In doing so, they make our experience of that world that much richer.


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Dec 4, 2017

WMAP Team Wins $3 Million Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, physics

A team of researchers who helped shape our understanding of the origin, evolution and nature of the cosmos is now $3 million richer.

Those folks worked on NASA’s WMAP space mission, which was awarded the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics today (Dec. 3) during a ceremony in Palo Alto, California.

From 2001 to 2009, WMAP mapped the cosmic microwave background (CMB) — the light left over from the Big Bang — with unprecedented precision. This work allowed scientists to nail down the age of the universe (about 13.8 billion years), its rate of accelerating expansion (roughly 70 kilometers per second per megaparsec) and its basic composition (about 5 percent “normal” matter, 24 percent dark matter and 71 percent dark energy). [Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The Mystery Explained (Infographic)].

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Dec 2, 2017

Dr. Steven Gundry says plant-based diets are the problem

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, food, life extension

Have you seen the clickbait campaign that focuses on the research of Dr. Steven Gundry. It employs a slimy, photo-tile lure that asks you to turn up your speakers and then hawks a product or service disguised as a breakthrough discovery. These scams force the viewer to stay on the page. Typically, there is no indication of how long the video is, or any way to skip forward,

But often, it is hard to tell if a photo tile is news or clickbait. Big companies like Yahoo and Outbrain intermingle genuine news with marketing scams, teasers and outright fake news into an array of little photos at the end of every feature. This particular clickbait may be a story of a dogged counter-cultural researcher with a genuinely relevant finding. It could be newsworthy…I’m just not sure. Dr. Gundry clearly believes that our health is adversely affected by many of the plant based foods that we thought was healthy, because of a defense mechanism linked to lectin.

Steven Gundry Food Pyramid

Passing judgement on Dr. Gundry’s evolutionary claims and diet recommendations begs for independent clinical studies, or at least the analysis and commentary of scholars in nutrition, gastroenterology and evolution. But, like Robert Atkins and Dean Ornish, Dr. Gundry seems earnest in his research and motives. I don’t think that he is selling anything other than his opinion.

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Nov 28, 2017

Galápagos study finds new species can emerge in just two generations

Posted by in category: evolution

Nov. 28 (UPI) — New research proves interbreeding among species can produce new species in as little as two generations.

Researchers discovered their proof, a new bird species — the product of a love affair between a foreigner and local — on the Galápagos Islands.

For decades, scientists have been studying Darwin’s finches on the Galápagos Islands off the west coast of South America. The remote islands offer an ideal setting in which to study evolution and adaptation.

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Nov 21, 2017

This Gene-Editing Tech Might Be Too Dangerous To Unleash

Posted by in categories: evolution, existential risks, genetics

With gene drives, scientists are trying to supercharge evolution to eradicate malaria and save endangered species from extinction. But is this DARPA-funded tech safe enough to test in the wild? One of its creators isn’t so sure.

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