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Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category

Dec 1, 2019

The Boötes Void: Is This Evidence Of An Alien Civilization?

Posted by in categories: alien life, existential risks, particle physics

O,.,o.


In 1981 astronomer Robert Kirshner made a shocking intergalactic discovery. 700 million light years from the Earth lies an enormous, barren sphere known as the Boötes Void. Its very existence challenges what we know about the universe and its origins. The Void is at least ten times larger than the rules of modern physics say is reasonably likely. As a structure, the Void verges on the impossible.

Yet, this disturbing formation is consistent with Nikolai Kardashev’s 1962 theory of advanced alien civilizations and their behavior. Could it be home to a hyper-intelligent extraterrestrial species? A void is a massive region of space that holds either minimal or no galaxies. They are created when mass collapses, and is followed by subatomic particle implosions. With a diameter of 330 million light years, the Boötes Void makes up 0.27% of the observable universe. But according to established scientific understanding its huge size is impossible. The Big Bang theory states that the universe is 14 billion years old, and that it has been expanding exponentially since its birth. Given the age of the universe, there has only been enough time for voids to form that are tens of millions of light years across, not hundreds. Stranger still, is just how empty the Bootes Void is.

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Nov 25, 2019

‘City-killer’: Asteroid the size of the Great Pyramid may hit Earth in 2022, says NASA

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, military

An asteroid estimated to be around the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza may hit the Earth on May 6, 2022, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Despite the one in 3,800 odds — a measly 0.026% chance — of the asteroid smashing into the Earth, the worst-case scenario will surely be of a scene akin to the climax of an apocalypse movie, or even worse, as per NASA via The Daily Express on Nov. 16.

If the “city-killer” asteroid, labeled JF1, is to hit Earth, the impact would be equivalent to the detonation of 230 kilotons of TNT. That is 15 times stronger than the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima in 1945, which destroyed the whole city with 15 kilotons of force.

Nov 20, 2019

Rejuvenation: If I could turn back time … — Longevity.Technology

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, existential risks, life extension, neuroscience

Last week, the BBC reported on the plight of axolotls in Mexico City, which are under threat of extinction. [1] The risk to these creatures is made doubly concerning when you consider their incredible ability to regenerate and apparent immunity to cancer, which is of great interest to scientists and companies working in the Longevity sector. One such company is Bioquark, a Philadelphia-based life sciences company that is working on the development of combinatorial biologics for the rejuvenation and repair of human organs and tissues. Among its clinical plans, it lists the development of therapeutic products for cancer reversion, organ repair and regeneration, and even brain death resuscitation. Nothing major then!

Bioquark has developed a novel combinatorial biologic called BQ-A, which mimics the regulatory biochemistry of the living human egg (oocyte) immediately following fertilization. While ooplasm-based reprogramming has been studied in experiments such as in-vitro fertilization and cloning, Bioquark claims it is the first company to apply it to somatic tissue in mammals.

We spoke with Bioquark’s CEO, Ira Pastor, a 30-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, to find out more about the company and where it’s headed.

Nov 19, 2019

I spent a week with a doomsday prepper in the outback. This is how it changed me

Posted by in category: existential risks

“Doomsday prepping”, or “survivalism”, is on the rise in Australia, as it is in the US and UK.

This is despite “preppers” being widely met with ridicule or fear (as the New York Times writes, prepping reality TV shows “are full of people lovingly cradling their weaponry, which in many cases is frighteningly extensive”).

Continue reading “I spent a week with a doomsday prepper in the outback. This is how it changed me” »

Nov 17, 2019

Current Time

Posted by in categories: existential risks, security

FAQ Timeline Dashboard Multimedia Exhibit A new abnormal: It is still 2 minutes to midnight 2019 Doomsday Clock Statement Science and Security Board Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Editor, John Mecklin From the President | Full Statement | Board Biographies | About the Bulletin | Clock Timeline PDF version | Print this … Continued.

Nov 14, 2019

Earth was on the other side of the galaxy when dinosaurs reigned

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Apart from the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, there aren’t many connections between space and dinosaurs outside of the imagination. But that all changed when NASA research scientist Jessie Christiansen brought the two together in an animation on social media this month.

For the past decade, Christiansen has studied planet occurrence rates, or how often and what kinds of planets occur in the galaxy, while studying data from exoplanet hunters such as NASA’s Kepler, K2 and TESS missions.

During a stargazing party at the California Institute of Technology, Christiansen was explaining how young the stars were that they observed. The skywatchers were looking at the Pleiades, a bright young cluster of stars that are some of the youngest in our sky.

Nov 14, 2019

In Case of Apocalypse, Open This Arctic Code Vault

Posted by in categories: business, existential risks

In this episode of “Hello World,” Ashlee Vance travels to Svalbard — an archipelago located at 80 degrees north — to participate in some doomsday preparation with GitHub CEO Nat Friedman.

#HelloWorldBloomberg #Svalbard

Continue reading “In Case of Apocalypse, Open This Arctic Code Vault” »

Nov 14, 2019

Museums put ancient DNA to work for wildlife

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, evolution, existential risks, genetics

Scientists who are trying to save species at the brink of extinction are finding help in an unexpected place.

Heather Farrington, curator of zoology for the Cincinnati Museum Center, is using DNA from specimens collected more than 100 years ago to help understand the evolution and stresses faced by today’s animals.

Farrington runs the museum’s new state-of-the-art genetics laboratory, which helps researchers study populations of animals over time.

Nov 13, 2019

Elon Musk says Neuralink could bring A.I. ‘superintelligence’ to the brain

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, Elon Musk, existential risks, robotics/AI, singularity

Beyond cortical and limbic systems, the company Neuralink could add a third layer of digital superintelligence to humans and avoid artificial intelligence enslavement, its founder Elon Musk claimed Tuesday. The brain-computer linkup firm is working to treat medical conditions using its implanted chip as early as next year, but during a podcast appearance, Musk reiterated his belief that the technology could avoid some of the worst consequences of advanced machines.

“It’s important that Neuralink solves this problem sooner rather than later, because the point at which we have digital superintelligence, that’s when we pass the singularity and things become just very uncertain,” Musk said during an interview with MIT professor Lex Fridman.

Continue reading “Elon Musk says Neuralink could bring A.I. ‘superintelligence’ to the brain” »

Nov 11, 2019

The Important Gut-Behavior Relationship

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks, neuroscience

Both humans and mice respond to fear in ways that are deeply etched in survival mechanisms that have evolved over millions of years. Feeling afraid is part of a response that helps us to survive; we learn to respond appropriately, based on our assessment of the danger we face. Importantly, part of this response involves extinguishing fear and modifying our behavior accordingly, once we have learned that a potential threat poses little or no imminent danger. The inability to adapt to fears or lay them aside is involved in disorders such as PTSD and anxiety.

The researchers from Weill Cornell demonstrated that changes in the microbiome can result in an impaired ability to extinguish fear. This was true of two groups of mice: one group had been treated with antibiotics; the other group was raised entirely free of germs. The ability of both groups of mice to extinguish fear was compared with that of control mice whose microbiome was not altered. The difference suggested that signals from the microbiome were necessary for optimal extinction of conditioned fear responses.

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