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Archive for the ‘biological’ category: Page 5

Aug 18, 2020

Shining light into the dark: New discovery makes microscopic imaging possible in dark conditions

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry

Curtin University researchers have discovered a new way to more accurately analyze microscopic samples by essentially making them glow in the dark through the use of chemically luminescent molecules.

Lead researcher Dr. Yan Vogel from the School of Molecular and Life Sciences said current methods of microscopic imaging rely on fluorescence, which means a light needs to be shining on the while it is being analyzed. While this method is effective, it also has some drawbacks.

“Most biological cells and chemicals generally do not like exposure to light because it can destroy things—similar to how certain plastics lose their colors after prolonged sun exposure, or how our skin can get sunburned,” Dr. Vogel said. “The light that shines on the samples is often too damaging for the living specimens and can be too invasive, interfering with the biochemical process and potentially limiting the study and scientists’ understanding of the living organisms.”

Aug 17, 2020

Low Total Cholesterol: Biological Youth Or Increased Mortality Risk?

Posted by in category: biological

Low levels of total cholesterol (TC) are associated with an increased all-cause mortality risk in both old and younger subjects, but low TC is also found in youth, so which is it? In this video, I present data showing that subjects that had high albumin and HDL, but low TC had a similar survival to subjects that had higher TC levels.

Aug 17, 2020

NOOGENESIS: Computational Biology | Video

Posted by in categories: biological, evolution

We now know that all extant living creatures derive from a single common ancestor, called the ‘Last Universal Common Ancestor’ (LUCA). It’s hard to think of a more unifying view of life. All living things are linked to a single-celled creature, the deepest root to the complex-branching tree of life. If we could play the movie of life backward, we would find this microscopic primogenitor at the starting point of biological evolution, the sole actor in what would become a very dramatic story, lasting some 3.5 billion years leading to us.

Aug 17, 2020

Cybernetic Immortality: Why Our Cyberhuman Future is Closer Than You Think

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension, nanotechnology, robotics/AI, transhumanism

As transhumanists, we aim at the so-called continuity of subjectivity by the means of advanced technologies. Death in a common sense of the word becomes optional and cybernetic immortality is within our reach during our lifetimes. By definition, posthumanism (I choose to call it ‘cyberhumanism’) is to replace transhumanism at the center stage circa 2035. By then, mind uploading could become a reality with gradual neuronal replacement, rapid advancements in Strong AI, massively parallel computing, and nanotechnology allowing us to directly connect our brains to the Cloud-based infrastructure of the Global Brain. Via interaction with our AI assistants, the GB will know us better than we know ourselves in all respects, so mind-transfer, or rather “mind migration,” for billions of enhanced humans would be seamless, sometime by mid-century.


By 2040, mind-uploading may become a norm and a fact of life with a “critical mass” of uploads and cybernetic immortality. Any container with a sufficiently integrated network of information patterns, with a certain optimal complexity, especially complex dynamical systems with biological or artificial brains (say, the coming AGIs) could be filled with consciousness at large in order to host an individual “reality cell,” “unit,” or a “node” of consciousness. This kind of individuated unit of consciousness is always endowed with free will within the constraints of the applicable set of rules (“physical laws”), influenced by the larger consciousness system dynamics. Isn’t too naïve to presume that Universal Consciousness would instantiate phenomenality only in the form of “bio”-logical avatars?

Continue reading “Cybernetic Immortality: Why Our Cyberhuman Future is Closer Than You Think” »

Aug 15, 2020

To understand the machinery of life, this scientist breaks it on purpose

Posted by in categories: biological, genetics

“We expected that the hammer of natural selection also comes down randomly, but that is not what we found,” he said. “Rather, it does not act randomly but has a strong bias, favoring those mutations that provide the largest fitness advantage while it smashes down other less beneficial mutations, even though they also provide a benefit to the organism.”

In other words, evolution is not a multitasker when it comes to fixing problems.

“It seems that evolution is myopic,” Venkataram said. “It focuses on the most immediate problem, puts a Band-Aid on and then it moves on to the next problem, without thoroughly finishing the problem it was working on before.”

Continue reading “To understand the machinery of life, this scientist breaks it on purpose” »

Aug 14, 2020

Exponential scaling of frictional forces in cells

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry

AMOLF researchers have presented a theory that describes the friction between biological filaments that are crosslinked by proteins. Surprisingly, their theory predicts that the friction force scales highly nonlinearly with the number of crosslinkers. The authors believe that cells use this scaling not only to stabilize cellular structures, but also to control their size. The new findings are important for the understanding of the dynamics of cellular structures such as the mitotic spindle, which pulls chromosomes apart during cell division.

Motor proteins versus frictional forces

Many consist of long filaments that are crosslinked by motor proteins and non-motor proteins (see figure). These so-called cytoskeletal structures not only give cells their mechanical stability, but also enable them to crawl over surfaces and to pull chromosome apart during . Force generation is typically attributed to motor proteins, which, using chemical fuel, can move the filaments with respect to one another. However, these motor forces are opposed by frictional forces that are generated by passive, non–. These frictional forces are a central determinant of the mechanical properties of cytoskeletal structures, and they limit the speed and efficiency with which these structures are formed. Moreover, they can even be vital for their stability, because if the motor forces are not opposed by the forces generated by the passive crosslinkers, the structures can even fall apart.

Aug 8, 2020

Omniviolence Is Coming and the World Isn’t Ready

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, cybercrime/malcode, drones, internet, law enforcement, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

The terrorist or psychopath of the future, however, will have not just the Internet or drones—called “slaughterbots” in this video from the Future of Life Institute—but also synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and advanced AI systems at their disposal. These tools make wreaking havoc across international borders trivial, which raises the question: Will emerging technologies make the state system obsolete? It’s hard to see why not. What justifies the existence of the state, English philosopher Thomas Hobbes argued, is a “social contract.” People give up certain freedoms in exchange for state-provided security, whereby the state acts as a neutral “referee” that can intervene when people get into disputes, punish people who steal and murder, and enforce contracts signed by parties with competing interests.

The trouble is that if anyone anywhere can attack anyone anywhere else, then states will become—and are becoming—unable to satisfy their primary duty as referee.

Continue reading “Omniviolence Is Coming and the World Isn’t Ready” »

Aug 7, 2020

New science behind biodegradable algae-based flip-flops

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

As the world’s most popular shoe, flip-flops account for a troubling percentage of plastic waste that ends up in landfills, on seashores and in our oceans. Scientists at the University of California San Diego have spent years working to resolve this problem, and now they have taken a step farther toward accomplishing this mission.

Sticking with their chemistry, the team of researchers formulated , made from algae oil, to meet commercial specifications for midsole shoes and the foot-bed of flip-flops. The results of their study are published in Bioresource Technology Reports and describe the team’s successful development of these sustainable, consumer-ready and .

The research was a collaboration between UC San Diego and startup company Algenesis Materials—a and technology company. The project was co-led by graduate student Natasha Gunawan from the labs of professors Michael Burkart (Division of Physical Sciences) and Stephen Mayfield (Division of Biological Sciences), and by Marissa Tessman from Algenesis. It is the latest in a series of recent research publications that collectively, according to Burkart, offer a complete solution to the plastics problem—at least for polyurethanes.

Aug 7, 2020

Oldest enzyme in cellular respiration isolated

Posted by in categories: biological, habitats

In the first billion years, there was no oxygen on Earth. Life developed in an anoxic environment. Early bacteria probably obtained their energy by breaking down various substances by means of fermentation. However, there also seems to have been a kind of “oxygen-free respiration.” This was suggested by studies on primordial microbes that are still found in anoxic habitats today.

“We already saw ten years ago that there are genes in these microbes that perhaps encode for a primordial respiration . Since then, we—as well as other groups worldwide—have attempted to prove the existence of this respiratory enzyme and to isolate it. For a long time unsuccessfully because the complex was too fragile and fell apart at each attempt to isolate it from the membrane. We found the fragments, but were unable to piece them together again,” explains Professor Volker Müller from the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Bioenergetics at Goethe University.

Through hard work and perseverance, his doctoral researchers Martin Kuhns and Dragan Trifunovic then achieved a breakthrough in two successive doctoral theses. “In our desperation, we at some point took a heat-loving bacterium, Thermotoga maritima, which grows at temperatures between 60 and 90°C,” explains Trifunovic, who will shortly complete his doctorate. “Thermotoga also contains Rnf genes, and we hoped that the Rnf enzyme in this bacterium would be a bit more stable. Over the years, we then managed to develop a method for isolating the entire Rnf enzyme from the membrane of these bacteria.”

Aug 6, 2020

Social bonds in adulthood don’t mediate early life trauma

Posted by in categories: biological, health

When baboons experience trauma in early life, they have higher levels of stress hormones in adulthood—a potential marker of poor health—than their peers who don’t experience trauma, even if they have strong social relationships as adults, according to a study led by a University of Michigan researcher.

The study examined the links between childhood adversity, adult social relationships and glucocorticoid concentrations. The goal was to determine whether one of the reasons that baboons who experience early trauma live shorter, less healthy lives was because they fail to develop strong social relationships in adulthood, which could be beneficial to health.

U-M biological anthropologist Stacy Rosenbaum and her co-authors found that while early life adversity didn’t strongly affect baboons’ ability to have social relationships, any positive effect of those relationships was much smaller than the large negative effects of early life trauma.

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