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Jun 3, 2016

Entrepreneur and CEO Martine Rothblatt thinks we’ll 3D print new bodies and live forever on the internet

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, education, habitats, law, life extension, media & arts, neuroscience, robotics/AI

When you think about the headliners at a music festival, it’s unlikely that the first person to pop into your head would be Martine Rothblatt—the founder of Sirius XM, the one-time highest-paid female CEO in the world who made a robot clone of her wife, and the founder of the Terasem religion, which believes we’ll live forever by uploading our consciousness to the cloud. But Moogfest, a four-day citywide festival of music and technology in Durham, North Carolina, was not the average music festival. Unlike other festivals that make cursory overtures to technology, Moogfest dedicated as much time to explaining how technology influences creativity as to the creative output itself, even listing headline ‘technologists’ alongside its top-billed musical acts.

On the festival’s second day, Friday 20 May, Rothblatt took the stage to talk to a packed house at Durham’s Carolina Theater, in an atmosphere that felt far more like a TED talk than a music fest. Rothblatt, who is transgender, discussed the contentious North Carolina HB2 law, which bans transgender people from using public bathrooms of the gender they identify with; the idea that creativity would be better encouraged by free college tuition; and how she got to a point where she and her company, United Therapeutics, can actually think about 3D printing new body parts, and leaving our bodies behind—if we want. “You want to win more than you want to live,” she told the rapt crowd. “You yell ‘Geronimo’ as you jump crazily into monopolistic opposition.”

Quartz sat down with Rothblatt after her talk to chat more about her thoughts on AI, living forever, free education, and what happens to the soul once we’ve made digital copies of ourselves.

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Jun 1, 2016

Watch radio controlled car that taught itself to DRIFT

Posted by in categories: education, information science, transportation

Georgia Institute of Technology developed a control algorithm that ‘taught’ 3-ft, 48lb rally cars how to plan and execute optimal handling decisions in real-time while on rough terrain.

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May 31, 2016

TruthSift: A Platform for Collective Rationality

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, computing, disruptive technology, education, existential risks, information science, innovation, science, scientific freedom

“So there came a time in which the ideas, although accumulated very slowly, were all accumulations not only of practical and useful things, but great accumulations of all types of prejudices, and strange and odd beliefs.
Then a way of avoiding the disease was discovered. This is to doubt that what is being passed from the past is in fact true, and to try to find out ab initio again from experience what the situation is, rather than trusting the experience of the past in the form in which it is passed down. And that is what science is: the result of the discovery that it is worthwhile rechecking by new direct experience, and not necessarily trusting the [human] race[’s] experience from the past. I see it that way. That is my best definition…Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.“
–Richard P Feynman, What is Science? (1968)[1]

TruthSift.com is a platform designed to support and guide individuals or crowds to rationality, and make them smarter collectively than any unaided individual or group. (Free) Members use TruthSift to establish what can be established, refute what can’t be, and to transparently publish the demonstrations. Anyone can browse the demonstrations and learn what is actually known and how it was established. If they have a rational objection, they can post it and have it answered.

Whether in scientific fields such as climate change or medical practice, or within the corporate world or political or government debate, or on day to day factual questions, humanity hasn’t had a good method for establishing rational truth. You can see this from consequences we often fail to perceive:
Peer reviewed surveys agree: A landslide majority of medical practice is *not* supported by science [2,3,4]. Scientists are often confused about the established facts in their own field [5]. Within fields like climate science and vaccines, that badly desire consensus, no true consensus can be reached because skeptics raise issues that the majority brush aside without an established answer (exactly what Le Bon warned of more than 100 years ago[6]). Widely consulted sources like Wikipedia are reported to be largely paid propaganda on many important subjects [7], or the most popular answer rather than an established one [8]. Quora shows you the most popular individual answer, generated with little or no collaboration, and often there is little documentation of why you should believe it. Existing systems for crowd sourced wisdom largely compound group think, rather than addressing it. Existing websites for fact checking give you someone’s point of view.

Corporate or government planning is no better. Within large organizations, where there is inevitably systemic motivation to not pass bad news up, leadership needs active measures to avoid becoming clueless as to the real problems [9]. Corporate or government plans are subject to group think, or takeover by employee or other interests competing with the mission. Individuals who perceive mistakes have no recourse capable of rationally pursuading the majority, and may anyway be discouraged from speaking up by various consequences[6].

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May 23, 2016

Richard Feynman: The Quantum Man

Posted by in categories: business, education, habitats, neuroscience, quantum physics

Inspirational bio of the “Quantum Man” Richard Feynman.


Richard Feynman was a Nobel prize-winning physicist whose contemporaries thought that he had the finest brain in physics. He was born on May 11, 1918, in Manhattan and grew up in Far Rockaway, N.Y., a section of Queens, on the Rockaway peninsula.

His parents were non-observant Ashkenazi Jews. His father, Melville Feynman, was a uniform salesman. Nevertheless, he tried to stimulate Richard to have an interest in science at an early age. Melville was the son of Lithuanian Jews who lived in Minsk and emigrated to the U.S. in 1895 when Melville was 5 years old. Although Melville wanted to become a doctor, the family could not afford to support his education. He tried a variety of occupations and finally settled in the uniform business.

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May 19, 2016

Point your phone at an equation and Mathpix will solve it

Posted by in categories: education, information science, internet, mathematics, mobile phones, neuroscience

Math isn’t everyone’s strong suit, especially those who haven’t stretched that part of their brain since college. Thanks to the wonders of image recognition technology, we now have Mathpix, an iOS app that lets you point your phone camera at a problem and calculates solutions in seconds.

The interface looks like any standard camera app: simply drag the on-screen reticle over the equation and the app solves it and provides graph answers where appropriate. More useful is a step-by-step guide offering multiple methods to reach a solution, making this a bona fide educational tool. It uses image recognition to process problems and pings its servers to do the mathematical heavy lifting, so it likely requires an internet connection to work.

Mathpix was envisioned by Stanford PhD student Nico Jimenez, who was advised by Stanford grad Paul Ferrell. The app’s other developers are high schoolers Michael Lee and August Trollback, which is impressive for an app that claims to be the first to visually recognize and solve handwritten math problems.

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May 19, 2016

This college student 3D printed his own plastic braces for $60 — and they actually fixed his teeth

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, education, health

Ever dream of becoming a dentist? Or, have family members needing new dentures? Or, know that one person who would look good if they only had some teeth. This 3D Printer is your answer.


An undergraduate at New Jersey Institute of Technology made his own plastic braces using a 3D printer, $60 of materials, and a healthy dose of ingenuity — and they actually worked.

Amos Dudley had braces in middle school, but he didn’t wear a retainer like he was supposed to, so his teeth slowly shifted back.

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May 16, 2016

Singularity is Near! Full Documentary Michio Kaku | Ray Kurzweil

Posted by in categories: computing, education, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI, singularity

Michio Kaku and Ray Kurzweil explains the exponential rate at which Technological Singularity is approaching and the future is far near than we can Imagine!

2029 : Singularity Year — Neil deGrasse Tyson & Ray Kurzweil — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyFYFjESkWU

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May 14, 2016

First SpaceX #Hyperloop transit pod contender unveiled [w/mini documentary video] @MITHyperloop

Posted by in categories: education, Elon Musk, transportation

Competitors are racing to answer Elon Musk’s call to create a capsule that can carry commuters at the speed of sound. MIT unveiled its entry on Friday.

By Larry Greenemeier on May 14, 2016.

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May 12, 2016

Russell Smith: What’s behind our sudden fascination with immortality?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, life extension, mobile phones, nanotechnology, particle physics, Ray Kurzweil, time travel

A documentary film just had its premiere at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto. How To Build A Time Machine, the work of filmmaker Jay Cheel, is a strange and incoherent little document of two middle-aged men with loosely related obsessions: One of them wants to build a perfect recreation of a movie prop – the machine from the 1960 movie The Time Machine, based on the H.G. Wells novel – and the other is a theoretical physicist who thinks he may have effected a kind of time travel in a lab, on a microscopic scale, using lasers that push particles around. The weak connection between the two men is that they both regret a death in their past – a best friend, a father – and are preoccupied with what they might have done to prevent the death; they both wonder if time travel to the past might have been a remedy for death itself. (Compared to the protagonist of Zero K who seeks immortality as a way of avoiding the loss of a loved one.) The 80s synthpop song Forever Young by Alphaville booms symbolically at one point.

Why this sudden ascendancy of yearning for immortality now? Is it simply because immortality of a medical sort might be imminent, a result of technological advances, such as nanobots, that will fight disease in our bloodstream? Or is it because, as Ray Kurzweil implies, digital technology is now so advanced that we have already left our bodies behind? We already live outside them, and our digital selves will outlive them. (“I mean,” says Kurzweil, “this little Android phone I’m carrying on my belt is not yet inside my physical body, but that’s an arbitrary distinction.”)

The frequently quoted axiom of Arthur C. Clarke – “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” – is pertinent to this current fascination with life without end. We are now perceiving technology as not just magic but as god-like, as life-giving, as representing an entirely new plane of being.

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May 7, 2016

Life In A Lunar Lava Tube: Nearside Tunnels As Ready-Made Moonbases

Posted by in categories: education, habitats, space

New reports that Russia is considering lava tubes as habitat; here’s one from my lava tube archives…


Nearside of Moon, by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With only a trace of an exosphere, future lunar astronauts working nights outside will likely feel as if they are walking a catwalk through space itself.

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