Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category: Page 17

Jan 5, 2022

A Giant Asteroid Bigger Than The Empire State Building Is About to Zip Past Earth

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

A large, rocky asteroid is going to fly by Earth next week.

At 1 kilometer (3,280 feet) long, it’s roughly two and a half times the height of the Empire State Building, and it’s been classed a “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid” due to its size and its regular close visits to our planet.

But don’t worry, this month’s visit is going to have a very safe clearance, with the asteroid zipping by at a distance of 1.93 million kilometers (~1.2 million miles) away from Earth – that’s roughly 5.15 times more distant than the Moon.

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Jan 4, 2022

China, US, UK, France and Russia pledge to avoid nuclear war

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military, nuclear energy


Five of the world’s largest nuclear powers pledged on Monday to work together toward “a world without nuclear weapons” in a rare statement of unity amid rising East-West tensions.

“A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” said the joint statement, which was issued simultaneously by the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France. “As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons — for as long as they continue to exist — should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war.”

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Jan 4, 2022

Snails Wearing World’s Tiniest Computer Solve Extinction Mystery

Posted by in categories: computing, existential risks


Using the world’s smallest computer, University of Michigan (UM) researchers were able to figure out why one species of snail was able to survive a situation that pushed more than 50 others into extinction.

“We were able to get data that nobody had been able to obtain,” researcher David Blaauw said in a press release. “And that’s because we had a tiny computing system that was small enough to stick on a snail.”

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Jan 3, 2022

NASA raises warning of 5 asteroids heading towards Earth in January, 2022

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

An asteroid as large as Big Ben will be approaching Earth in January, 2022. However, it is not the only asteroid heading towards Earth.

The year 2022 has just started and here we are with dire NASA warnings of potentially hazardous asteroids heading for Earth. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has reported that as many as five asteroids are coming towards the Earth in the first month of the year. An asteroid around the size if a bus will approach the Earth in the first week of January itself.

Asteroids, comets, and meteoroids are large rocks in space that orbit the Sun and occasionally vary their orbits due to the gravitational attraction of planets. When these space rocks do collide with any planet, it’s usually a disaster. That’s why, even when an asteroid with a diameter of more than 150 metres approaches Earth, NASA classifies it as a potentially hazardous asteroid and monitors it closely.

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Dec 31, 2021

Scientists Are Working to Bring Back Dinosaur-Like Traits with Chicken

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

We thought that all the dinosaurs went extinct when an asteroid hit the earth some 65 million years ago until recently. Now we know that some of the dinosaur species, mostly avians, survived and become birds. Scientists are trying to tweak chicken DNA to produce atavistic, dinosaur-like, traits that are embedded in the genes of birds for years.

A research team led by Yale paleontologist and developmental biologist Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar and Harvard developmental biologist Arhat Abzhanov conducted the first successful reversion of a bird’s skull features back in 2015. The team replicated ancestral molecular development to transform chicken embryos in a laboratory to turn its beak into a snout and palate configuration similar to that of small dinosaurs such as Velociraptor and Archaeopteryx.

“I wanted to know what the beak was skeletally, functionally and when this major transformation occurred from a normal vertebrate snout to the very unique structures used in birds,” Bhullar said.

Dec 29, 2021

Educating the Citizens of the Universe

Posted by in categories: existential risks, law, robotics/AI

We live in a very fast-changing world and quite an unpredictable one. In part, it is because we got lots of technological powers while our brain stays just the same as in pre-technological times. What do we teach children in this world? How can we help them to reflect on their thinking, get wiser in using the new technological powers, develop growth mindset and resilience, see the big picture and the interconnections within the complex systems (be that our body, ecological system, or the whole Universe)? We are trying to address these issues by teaching space science, AI and cognitive science, and existential risks and opportunities to pre-teens. In three years, the kids get an opportunity to talk to some of the most prominent thinkers in the field, reflect on deep questions, develop connections with specialists from multiple fields, from space law to ecology to virology, present their work at conferences. Check out our classes:

Art of Inquiry is an Online Science School for Young Explorers. We teach inquiry, thinking skills, and cutting-edge science. Our speakers and consultants are distinguished experts from academia, AI and space industry.

Dec 24, 2021

NASA’s Next-Generation Asteroid Impact Monitoring System Goes Online

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

The new system improves the capabilities of NASA JPL’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies to assess the impact risk of asteroids that can come close to our planet.

Dec 22, 2021

Scientists solved the mystery of comet’s green shade

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

But strangely, this green shade disappears before it reaches the one or two tails trailing behind the comet.

Astronomers, scientists, and chemists have been puzzled by this mystery for almost 90 years. In 1930, it was suggested that this phenomenon was due to sunlight destroying diatomic carbon. The carbon is created from the interaction between sunlight and organic matter on the comet’s head. However, due to the instability of dicarbon, this theory has been hard to test.

Scientists at UNSW Sydney have finally found a way to test this chemical reaction in a laboratory – and in doing so, has proven this 90-year-old theory correct. They solved this mystery with the help of a vacuum chamber, a lot of lasers, and one powerful cosmic reaction.

Dec 21, 2021

Russian Citizens Are Now Being Prepped for Nuclear War

Posted by in categories: electronics, existential risks

Russian state TV is increasingly hysterical in its forecasts of an upcoming war, warning domestic audiences that the conflict could even become nuclear.

Dec 21, 2021

The Role Of Blockchain In The Development Of The EV Industry

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, climatology, existential risks, sustainability

You may not see them coming, but the effects of climate change are starting to be felt in certain parts of the world. An example of this is the destruction of several coral reefs around the globe in recent years. As devastating as that sounds, it is only the prologue to a long list of potentially catastrophic events yet to arrive. In the long term, climate change threatens to eventually drive humans towards extinction. Therefore, while little steps, like planting more trees and turning out lightbulbs when not in use, are certainly useful, bigger steps are needed to fend off the devastating effects of climate change.

An internal combustion engine is one of the prime contributors to climate change-causing carbon emissions. Such engines produce large quantities of nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbons that harm the environment and cause respiratory disorders in individuals. Due to these—and many more—reasons, electric vehicles, or EVs, need to replace the ones with traditional combustion engines.

EV owners can save about US$700 a year on fuel costs alone. Also, the maintenance expenses of EVs are lower than those of standard vehicles. So, owning EVs can help them save money and reduce their extreme reliance on fossil fuel, thereby slowing down its inevitable depletion from the earth. Additionally, EVs are incredibly efficient as they only consume approximately 25–40 kWh per 100 miles. Most importantly, EVs reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 178 million kg. What’s more, despite the high fuel efficiency and smaller carbon footprint, EVs can outperform vehicles with traditional combustion engines easily.

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