Archive for the ‘evolution’ category

Oct 21, 2019

Why should you always assume you’re wrong? Science

Posted by in categories: evolution, neuroscience, science

Assumptions: The Case Against Reality

When it comes to scientific theory, (or your personal life) be sure to question everything.

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Oct 21, 2019

Rocket Lab To Begin Missions To The Moon In 2020 With New ‘Photon’ Spacecraft

Posted by in categories: evolution, satellites

Smallsat launcher Rocket Lab has announced its ambition to begin missions to the Moon in the near-future, using a new satellite launch platform it has developed called Photon.

Announced today at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington D.C., Rocket Lab – which current flies its Electron rocket from New Zealand and will begin launching from a U.S. site next year – said Photon would enable small spacecraft to reach lunar orbit or conduct lunar flybys.

Photon is an evolution of the company’s existing kick stage that is used to deploy satellites in orbit, including on the company’s ninth launch last week, which saw them deploy a satellite to their highest altitude yet. It fits into the existing Electron rocket and is essentially its own standalone spacecraft, containing its own instruments, propulsion, fuel tanks, and more.

Oct 18, 2019

Evolution tells us we might be the only intelligent life in the universe

Posted by in categories: alien life, evolution, existential risks

Are we alone in the universe? It comes down to whether intelligence is a probable outcome of natural selection, or an improbable fluke. By definition, probable events occur frequently, improbable events occur rarely—or once. Our evolutionary history shows that many key adaptations—not just intelligence, but complex animals, complex cells, photosynthesis, and life itself—were unique, one-off events, and therefore highly improbable. Our evolution may have been like winning the lottery … only far less likely.

The universe is astonishingly vast. The Milky Way has more than 100 billion stars, and there are over a trillion galaxies in the visible universe, the tiny fraction of the universe we can see. Even if habitable worlds are rare, their sheer number—there are as many planets as stars, maybe more—suggests lots of life is out there. So where is everyone? This is the Fermi paradox. The universe is large, and old, with time and room for intelligence to evolve, but there’s no evidence of it.

Could intelligence simply be unlikely to evolve? Unfortunately, we can’t study extraterrestrial life to answer this question. But we can study some 4.5 billion years of Earth’s history, looking at where evolution repeats itself, or doesn’t.

Oct 17, 2019

Role of Epigenetics in Human Evolution

Posted by in categories: evolution, genetics

Circa 2017

This review aims to highlight the key areas in which changes to the epigenome have played an important role in the evolution and development of our species. Firstly, there will be a brief introduction into the topic of epigenetics to outline the current understanding of the subject and inform the reader of the basic mechanisms and functions of the epigenome. This will lead on to more focussed detail on the role played by epigenetic changes in the rapid evolution of our species and emergence from our ancestor species, as well as the Human Accelerated Regions that played a role in this. The discussion highlights how epigenetics has helped and hindered our species’ development via changes to the epigenome in more modern times, discussing case examples of documented instances where it is shown that epigenetics has played a role in the evolution of humanity.

Oct 16, 2019

Changes in DNA

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

Discover how changes in DNA can lead to evolution in species over time through mutations which are evidence for evolution.

Oct 16, 2019

How evolution builds genes from scratch

Posted by in category: evolution

De novo genes are even prompting a rethink of some portions of evolutionary theory. Conventional wisdom was that new genes tended to arise when existing ones are accidentally duplicated, blended with others or broken up, but some researchers now think that de novo genes could be quite common: some studies suggest at least one-tenth of genes could be made in this way; others estimate that more genes could emerge de novo than from gene duplication. Their existence blurs the bou…

Scientists long assumed that new genes appear when evolution tinkers with old ones. It turns out that natural selection is much more creative.

Oct 10, 2019

CERN congratulates 2019 physics Nobel Prize winners

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, physics

CERN congratulates James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz on the award of the Nobel Prize in physics “for contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos”. Peebles receives the prize “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology” and Mayor and Queloz are recognised “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star”.

Cosmology studies the universe’s origin, structure and ultimate fate. Peebles’ theoretical framework of cosmology, developed since the mid-1960s, is the foundation of our knowledge of the cosmos today. Thanks to his seminal theoretical work, physicists now have a model that can describe the universe from its earliest moments to the present day, and into the distant future.

Meanwhile, Mayor and Queloz have explored our cosmic neighbourhood and announced in 1995 the first discovery of an exoplanet – a planet outside our Solar System – orbiting a solar-type star in the Milky Way. The discovery of this exoplanet, dubbed 51 Pegasi b, was a milestone in astronomy and has since led to the discovery of more than 4000 exoplanets in our galaxy.

Oct 2, 2019

Josh Mitteldorf — Cracking the Aging Code

Posted by in categories: evolution, existential risks, genetics, life extension, sustainability

New interview with author and researcher Dr. Josh Mitteldorf who runs the aging research blog Aging Matters.

Interview with author and researcher Dr. Josh Mitteldorf who runs the aging research blog ‘Aging Matters’.

Dr. Josh Mitteldorf is an evolutionary biologist and a long-time contributor to the growing field of aging science. His work in this field has focused on theories of aging. He asks the basic question: why do we age and die?

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Oct 2, 2019

The Mathematics of Cooperation

Posted by in categories: evolution, mathematics

Cooperation means that one individual pays a cost for another to receive a benefit. Cooperation can be at variance with natural selection: Why should you help a competitor? Yet cooperation is abundant in nature and is an important component of evolutionary innovation. Cooperation can be seen as the master architect of evolution and as the third fundamental principle of evolution beside mutation and selection. I will present mathematical principles of cooperation.

Sep 19, 2019

A Huge Experiment Has ‘Weighed’ the Tiny Neutrino, a Particle That Passes Right Through Matter

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, particle physics

An experiment nearly two decades in the making has finally unveiled its measurements of the mass of the universe’s most abundant matter particle: the neutrino.

The neutrino could be the weirdest subatomic particle; though abundant, it requires some of the most sensitive detectors to observe. Scientists have been working for decades to figure out whether neutrinos have mass and if so, what that mass is. The Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino (KATRIN) experiment in Germany has now revealed its first result constraining the maximum limit of that mass. The work has implications for our understanding of the entire cosmos, since these particles formed shortly after the Big Bang and helped shape the way structure formed in the early universe.

“You don’t get a lot of chances to measure a cosmological parameter that shaped the evolution of the universe in the laboratory,” Diana Parno, an assistant research professor at Carnegie Mellon University who works on the experiment, told Gizmodo.

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