Archive for the ‘biological’ category: Page 90

Apr 28, 2021

The Science of Consciousness: Towards the Cybernetic Theory of Mind

Posted by in categories: biological, information science, robotics/AI, science

Consciousness remains scientifically elusive because it constitutes layers upon layers of non-material emergence: Reverse-engineering our thinking should be done in terms of networks, modules, algorithms and second-order emergence — meta-algorithms, or groups of modules. Neuronal circuits correlate to “immaterial” cognitive modules, and these cognitive algorithms, when activated, produce meta-algorithmic conscious awareness and phenomenal experience, all in all at least two layers of emergence on top of “physical” neurons. Furthermore, consciousness represents certain transcendent aspects of projective ontology, according to the now widely accepted Holographic Principle.


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Apr 27, 2021

New method preserves viable fruit fly embryos in liquid nitrogen

Posted by in categories: biological, cryonics, food, genetics, life extension

Cryopreservation, or the long-term storage of biomaterials at ultralow temperatures, has been used across cell types and species. However, until now, the practical cryopreservation of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)—which is crucial to genetics research and critical to scientific breakthroughs benefiting human health—has not been available.

“To keep alive the ever-increasing number of with unique genotypes that aid in these breakthroughs, some 160000 different flies, laboratories and stock centers engage in the costly and frequent transfer of adults to fresh food, risking contamination and ,” said Li Zhan, a postdoctoral associate with the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering and the Center for Advanced Technologies for the Preservation of Biological Systems (ATP-Bio).

In new research published in Nature Communications, a University of Minnesota team has developed a first-of-its-kind method that cryopreserves fruit fly embryos so they can be successfully recovered and developed into adult insects. This method optimizes embryo permeabilization and age, cryoprotectant agent composition, different phases of nitrogen (liquid vs. slush), and post-cryopreservation embryo culture methods.

Apr 26, 2021

Advancing AI With a Supercomputer: A Blueprint for an Optoelectronic ‘Brain’

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, robotics/AI, supercomputing

Others think we’re still missing fundamental aspects of how intelligence works, and that the best way to fill the gaps is to borrow from nature. For many that means building “neuromorphic” hardware that more closely mimics the architecture and operation of biological brains.

The problem is that the existing computer technology we have at our disposal looks very different from biological information processing systems, and operates on completely different principles. For a start, modern computers are digital and neurons are analog. And although both rely on electrical signals, they come in very different flavors, and the brain also uses a host of chemical signals to carry out processing.

Now though, researchers at NIST think they’ve found a way to combine existing technologies in a way that could mimic the core attributes of the brain. Using their approach, they outline a blueprint for a “neuromorphic supercomputer” that could not only match, but surpass the physical limits of biological systems.

Apr 24, 2021

Making Sense Podcast Special Episode: Engineering the Apocalypse

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, biotech/medical, existential risks, finance, media & arts, robotics/AI, terrorism

In this nearly 4-hour SPECIAL EPISODE, Rob Reid delivers a 100-minute monologue (broken up into 4 segments, and interleaved with discussions with Sam) about the looming danger of a man-made pandemic, caused by an artificially-modified pathogen. The risk of this occurring is far higher and nearer-term than almost anyone realizes.

Rob explains the science and motivations that could produce such a catastrophe and explores the steps that society must start taking today to prevent it. These measures are concrete, affordable, and scientifically fascinating—and almost all of them are applicable to future, natural pandemics as well. So if we take most of them, the odds of a future Covid-like outbreak would plummet—a priceless collateral benefit.

Rob Reid is a podcaster, author, and tech investor, and was a long-time tech entrepreneur. His After On podcast features conversations with world-class thinkers, founders, and scientists on topics including synthetic biology, super-AI risk, Fermi’s paradox, robotics, archaeology, and lone-wolf terrorism. Science fiction novels that Rob has written for Random House include The New York Times bestseller Year Zero, and the AI thriller After On. As an investor, Rob is Managing Director at Resilience Reserve, a multi-phase venture capital fund. He co-founded Resilience with Chris Anderson, who runs the TED Conference and has a long track record as both an entrepreneur and an investor. In his own entrepreneurial career, Rob founded and ran, the company that created the Rhapsody music service. Earlier, Rob studied Arabic and geopolitics at both undergraduate and graduate levels at Stanford, and was a Fulbright Fellow in Cairo. You can find him at www.after-on.

Apr 22, 2021

The Fuss Over Phosphorus

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, climatology, particle physics, space

Phosphorus, the element critical for life´s origin and life on Earth, may be even Venus.

Scientists studying the origin of life in the universe often focus on a few critical elements, particularly carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. But two new papers highlight the importance of phosphorus for biology: an assessment of where things stand with a recent claim about possible life in the clouds of Venus, and a look at how reduced phosphorus compounds produced by lightning might have been critical for life early in our own planet’s history.

First a little biochemistry: Phosphine is a reduced phosphorus compound with one phosphorus atom and three hydrogen atoms. Phosphorus is also found in its reduced form in the phosphide mineral schreibersite, in which the phosphorus atom binds to three metal atoms (either iron or nickel). In its reduced form, phosphorus is much more reactive and useful for life than is phosphate, where the phosphorus atom binds to four oxygen atoms. Phosphorus is also the element that is most enriched in biological molecules as compared to non-biological molecules, so it’s not a bad place to start when you’re hunting for life.

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Apr 21, 2021

Approaching a Singularity, When The Number of Humans Alive Will Equal The Number Who Have Ever Died

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, genetics, life extension, nuclear energy, singularity, sustainability

There are several key technologies converging on an inevitable effect, namely a dramatic, explosive increase in human population. Currently around 40% of Earth’s total land area is dedicated to agricultural production to feed seven billion people, but, interestingly, while the human population will increase, the land area required to sustain this population will decrease, approaching zero land area to sustain a trillion human lives. In this era, bulk elements such as gold will have no value, since they will be so easy to produce by fusion separation of elements from bulk rock. Instead, value will be attached to biological material and, most importantly, new technologies themselves.

The several key emerging technologies that make this state of affairs unstoppable are listed along with aspects of their impact:

1) Most important is fusion energy, an unlimited, scalable energy, with no special fuel required to sustain it. This will allow nearly all agriculture to be contained in underground “vertical farm” buildings, extending thousands of feet downwards. Cheap artificially-lighted, climate-controlled environments will allow the maximum efficiency for all food crops. Thus, agriculture will take up close to zero surface area, largely produced underground on Earth or the Moon.

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Apr 17, 2021

Possible life signs in the clouds of Venus

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, space

A new analysis of data from the 1978 Pioneer Venus mission, by researchers at Cal Poly Pomona, finds evidence not only for phosphine, but also possible chemical disequilibrium in Venus’ atmosphere, an additional possible sign of biological activity.

Apr 17, 2021

Scientists discover microbes that have not evolved for 175 million years

Posted by in category: biological

I love these videos.

Apr 16, 2021

Transcendental Cybernetics: Imagining the Technological Singularity

Posted by in categories: biological, evolution, singularity

The Syntellect Emergence seems to be a cosmic necessity, and in the long run, any voices calling to resist the cybernetic fusion of the mind will be no more influential than the voices calling, right now, to eradicate civilization and return to the jungle. Nature’s tendency to build up hierarchies of emergent patterns, the heuristic law of evolution, supersedes the human race itself. We see it time and again, Nature is constantly trying to combine seemingly opposing forces, to assemble existing parts into the new wholes through the universal process of radical emergence. We are bound to transcend our biology, our human condition, our limited dimensionality, we are bound to transcend ourselves.

#TranscendentalCybernetics #CyberneticSingularity #SyntellectEmergence

Syntellect Emergence is hypothesized to be the next meta-system transition, becoming one Global Mind — that constitutes the Cybernetic Singularity.

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Apr 16, 2021

Island Gigantism and Dwarfism: Evolutionary “Island Rule” Confirmed

Posted by in categories: biological, evolution

It is an old-standing theory in evolutionary ecology: animal species on islands have the tendency to become either giants or dwarfs in comparison to mainland relatives. Since its formulation in the 1960s, however, the ‘island rule’ has been severely debated by scientists. In a new publication in Nature Ecology and Evolution on April 15, 2021, researchers solved this debate by analyzing thousands of vertebrate species. They show that the island rule effects are widespread in mammals, birds, and reptiles, but less evident in amphibians.

Dwarf hippos and elephants in the Mediterranean islands are examples of large species that exhibited dwarfism. On the other hand, small mainland species may have evolved into giants after colonizing islands, giving rise to such oddities as the St Kilda field mouse (twice the size of its mainland ancestor), the infamous dodo of Mauritius (a giant pigeon), and the Komodo dragon.

In 1973, Leigh van Valen was the first that formulated the theory, based on the study by mammologist J. Bristol Foster in 1964, that animal species follow an evolutionary pattern when it comes to their body sizes. Species on islands have the tendency to become either giants or dwarfs in comparison to mainland relatives. “Species are limited to the environment on an island. The level of threat from predatory animals is much lower or non-existent,” says Ana Benítez-Lopez, who carried out the research at Radboud University, now researcher at Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC, Spain). “But also limited resources are available.” However, until now, many studies showed conflicting results which led to severe debate about this theory: is it really a pattern, or just an evolutionary coincidence?

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