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Archive for the ‘biological’ category: Page 16

Jun 29, 2019

How quantum brain biology can rescue conscious free will

Posted by in categories: biological, computing, information science, neuroscience, quantum physics

Conscious “free will” is problematic because brain mechanisms causing consciousness are unknown, measurable brain activity correlating with conscious perception apparently occurs too late for real-time conscious response, consciousness thus being considered “epiphenomenal illusion,” and determinism, i.e., our actions and the world around us seem algorithmic and inevitable. The Penrose–Hameroff theory of “orchestrated objective reduction (Orch OR)” identifies discrete conscious moments with quantum computations in microtubules inside brain neurons, e.g., 40/s in concert with gamma synchrony EEG. Microtubules organize neuronal interiors and regulate synapses. In Orch OR, microtubule quantum computations occur in integration phases in dendrites and cell bodies of integrate-and-fire brain neurons connected and synchronized by gap junctions, allowing entanglement of microtubules among many neurons. Quantum computations in entangled microtubules terminate by Penrose “objective reduction (OR),” a proposal for quantum state reduction and conscious moments linked to fundamental spacetime geometry. Each OR reduction selects microtubule states which can trigger axonal firings, and control behavior. The quantum computations are “orchestrated” by synaptic inputs and memory (thus “Orch OR”). If correct, Orch OR can account for conscious causal agency, resolving problem 1. Regarding problem 2, Orch OR can cause temporal non-locality, sending quantum information backward in classical time, enabling conscious control of behavior. Three lines of evidence for brain backward time effects are presented. Regarding problem 3, Penrose OR (and Orch OR) invokes non-computable influences from information embedded in spacetime geometry, potentially avoiding algorithmic determinism. In summary, Orch OR can account for real-time conscious causal agency, avoiding the need for consciousness to be seen as epiphenomenal illusion. Orch OR can rescue conscious free will.

Keywords: microtubules, free will, consciousness, Penrose-Hameroff Orch OR, volition, quantum computing, gap junctions, gamma synchrony.

We have the sense of conscious control of our voluntary behaviors, of free will, of our mental processes exerting causal actions in the physical world. But such control is difficult to scientifically explain for three reasons:

Jun 28, 2019

Wasp Colony Given Colored Construction Paper Builds an Amazing Rainbow Nest

Posted by in categories: biological, drones, habitats

Biology student Mattia Menchetti performed an experiment on a colony of European paper wasps which yielded some very colorful results. Paper wasps are known for their water-resistant nests constructed out of fibers of dead wood and plant stems which have been chewed into a pulp and mixed with saliva. Menchetti provided a captive colony of these wasps with colored paper and in a beautiful display of entomological artwork, the insects produced a vibrant, rainbow nest.

Menchetti began by giving the wasps bits of yellow paper, and slowly introduced more and more multicolored sheets. The colony happily made use of the material to construct a sturdy, technicolor home to house their larvae. Paper wasps are some of the most common wasp species, typically seen in backyards around North America. They tend to establish a single nest across multiple seasons and generations; for this reason, their homes must be incredibly durable. A protein found in the saliva of these wasps is actually so effective at waterproofing their nests that it has been used by scientists to construct a biodegradable drone.

Menchetti has performed a variety of scientific studies about insects, mammals, and the ecology of alien species, which he explains in further detail on his website.

Jun 27, 2019

Calico — Publications

Posted by in category: biological

Calico is a research and development company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan.

Jun 27, 2019

75-million-year Old Ocean Microbes Live Forever on Almost Zero Energy

Posted by in categories: biological, food, life extension

There is so little food in the mud at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean that individual microbes living there use just 0.00000000001 joules of energy each year.

Jun 27, 2019

250-Million-Year-Old Bacteria Revived in Lab / Spores were found deep in rock salt formation

Posted by in categories: biological, space

Scientists drilling into a New Mexico rock formation deep underground have brought to life four unknown strains of bacteria that have lain entombed in salt crystals for 250 million years.

The bacteria, like many of their kind, form into long-lasting protective spores. The scientists were able to revive the spores until the microbes reproduced.

The report, by a team of biologists and geologists, has already fueled speculation that spores of living organisms might somehow be transported from planet to planet, across the galaxy and over eons. It is a concept known as “panspermia,” which some see as a possible source for life arising on Earth.

Continue reading “250-Million-Year-Old Bacteria Revived in Lab / Spores were found deep in rock salt formation” »

Jun 27, 2019

NASA Identifies What Kind of Fungi Could Grow in a Mars Habitat

Posted by in categories: biological, habitats, space travel

Wherever there are people, the party is sure to follow. Well, a party of microbes, at least. That is what scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have found after a 30-day microbial observation of the inflatable lunar/Mars analog habitat (IMAH).

What is an “analog habitat?” For NASA, analogs are experiments and processes that are developed and tested on the ground in the confines of special laboratories on Earth. Because of the danger, distance, and expense of space flight, it makes good sense to test out conditions that space travelers will face — before they ever launch.

For NASA, there are five different space stresses evaluated in analog missions. These stresses are the subject of analog missions that often make use of a carefully designed habitat to replicate space conditions. These five challenges are:

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Jun 27, 2019

To Clean Drinking Water, Just Add Microbes

Posted by in categories: biological, sustainability

A new approach to water treatment could be cheaper, produce less waste and possibly help fix nitrate pollution in California.

  • By Meg Wilcox on June 27, 2019

Jun 26, 2019

Scientists develop unique trap for light

Posted by in categories: biological, nuclear energy

Circa 2018


Based at the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Russia), a research team led by Prof. Yuri Rakovich has developed a tunable micro-resonator for hybrid energy states between light and matter using light to control the chemical and biological properties of molecules. The results have been published in the Review of Scientific Instruments.

The micro-resonator is a two-mirror trap for the , with the mirrors facing each other within several hundred nanometers. A photon caught in the trap would form a localized state of an electromagnetic wave. By modifying the resonator’s form and size, operators can control the spatial distribution of the wave, as well as the duration of the photon’s life in the resonator.

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Jun 25, 2019

‘Extinct’ Species Discovered Alive And Well In ‘Lost City’ In Honduras Rainforest

Posted by in categories: biological, government

Around the ruins and dense rainforest of a mysterious “lost city” in Honduras, researchers have discovered a treasure trove of biodiversity, including numerous species once thought to be extinct and others previously unknown to science.

As detailed in a new report, a recent expedition by Conservation International’s Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) and the Government of Honduras headed deep into a previously unexplored corner of the forest around Ciudad Blanca, in La Mosquitia, Honduras.

Their biological assessment documented 246 species of butterflies and moths, 30 bats, 57 amphibians and reptiles, as well as numerous fish, mammals, and insects. At least 22 of these species had never been recorded in Honduras before.

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Jun 20, 2019

Systems Chemistry: Steps Towards De-Novo Life | Projects | H2020

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry

We synthesise life de-novo in the lab? This is one of the Grand Challenges of contemporary Science. Overall objective of this project is to set important steps in turning chemistry into biology by building fully synthetic chemical systems that contain and integrate some of the essential elements of life: replication, metabolism and compartmentalisation. Functional coupling of any of life’s essential elements has not been achieved, at least not without making use of biomolecules. We now aim to achieve such coupling and develop fully chemical systems to become increasingly life-like. Specific aims are:

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