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Archive for the ‘government’ category: Page 4

Aug 25, 2019

Japan Approves Groundbreaking Experiment Bringing Human-Animal Hybrids to Term

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, government, law

Stem cell biologist Hiromitsu Nakauchi has been waiting for this moment for more than a decade.

After years of planning, the persistent researcher has at last received approval from a government willing to pursue one of the most controversial scientific studies there is: human-animal embryo experiments.

While many countries around the world have restricted, defunded or outright banned these ethically-fraught practices, Japan has now officially lifted the lid on this proverbial Pandora’s box. Earlier this year, the country made it legal to not only transplant hybrid embryos into surrogate animals, but also to bring them to term.

Aug 23, 2019

These three companies are all aiming to land the first private spacecraft on the Moon in two years

Posted by in categories: government, robotics/AI, space travel

The Moon is a hot destination right now — especially for NASA, which wants to send people back to the lunar surface, but also for the private space industry. The most ambitious private lunar exploits are still many years off, but already, three companies claim they’ll be putting small robotic landers on the Moon in the next two years, amping up a small space race.

So far, no private entity has landed something successfully on the Moon. Only three government superpowers — the United States, China, and Russia — have ever been able to gently touch down vehicles on the lunar surface, and the Indian government may become the fourth in September. An Israeli nonprofit, SpaceIL, attempted to land the first private spacecraft on the Moon in April, but an early engine shutdown caused the vehicle to crash into the lunar surface instead. That means the door is still open for one of these three companies to make the first private lunar landing.

Aug 23, 2019

Huge US government study to offer genetic counselling

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, government, health

But to generate the kind of long-term data set necessary for breakthroughs in precision medicine — which uses genomic, physiological and other data to tailor treatments to individuals — All of Us must retain these participants, ideally throughout their lives. That’s where genetic counselling comes in.


A firm hired by the National Institutes of Health will work with participants in a research programme that plans to sequence one million genomes.

Aug 22, 2019

Jair Bolsonaro claims NGOs behind Amazon forest fire surge – but provides no evidence

Posted by in categories: economics, food, government

Yes he really said this, yet he also said he wanted to use the Amazon for logging and agriculture. Personally I believe people who want to use the Amazon for commercial use are the biggest beneficiaries from such destruction, but I’m no expert.


The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has accused environmental groups of setting fires in the Amazon as he tries to deflect growing international criticism of his failure to protect the world’s biggest rainforest.

A surge of fires in several Amazonian states this month followed reports that farmers were feeling emboldened to clear land for crop fields and cattle ranches because the new Brazilian government was keen to open up the region to economic activity.

Continue reading “Jair Bolsonaro claims NGOs behind Amazon forest fire surge – but provides no evidence” »

Aug 19, 2019

MDMA-Assisted Therapy Shows Promise as Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, government

Supplementing psychotherapy with small doses of MDMA could be an effective strategy to prevent relapses of alcohol addiction in patients, an ongoing small clinical trial suggests. The research is yet another example of how scientists and doctors are finding or rediscovering therapeutic uses for recreational and illicit drugs.

MDMA-assisted therapy is actually an old idea, which enjoyed some popularity in the 1970s and 1980s. Though the exact mechanisms are unclear, the synthetic drug’s euphoric effects are thought to amplify the positive patterns of thinking taught by therapy, as well as make people feel less anxious during sessions. Of course, these same mood-boosting attributes made MDMA a popular recreational drug. This popularity led the U.S. government to ban MDMA in 1985, by classifying it as a Schedule 1 drug with no accepted medical use.

Aug 17, 2019

A Tech Expert Says Google Chrome Has Become Spy Software

Posted by in categories: government, internet, surveillance

You open your browser to look at the Web. Do you know who is looking back at you?

Over a recent week of Web surfing, I peered under the hood of Google Chrome and found it brought along a few thousand friends. Shopping, news and even government sites quietly tagged my browser to let ad and data companies ride shotgun while I clicked around the Web.

This was made possible by the Web’s biggest snoop of all: Google. Seen from the inside, its Chrome browser looks a lot like surveillance software.

Aug 14, 2019

Hackers Take on DARPA’s $10 Million Voting Machine

Posted by in categories: government, security

For the last two years, hackers have come to the Voting Village at the Defcon security conference in Las Vegas to tear down voting machines and analyze them for vulnerabilities. But this year’s village features a fancy new target: a prototype of a so-called secure voting machine, created through a $10 million project at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. You know it better as DARPA, the government’s mad science wing.

Aug 14, 2019

Giant Batteries Supercharge Wind and Solar Plans

Posted by in categories: government, solar power, sustainability

A global wave of investment in high-capacity batteries is poised to transform the market for renewable energy in coming years, making it more practical and affordable to store wind and solar power and deploy it when needed.

Government-owned utilities and companies are buying batteries that can be larger than shipping containers. Some like…

To Read the Full Story.

Aug 14, 2019

It’s 2043. We Need a New American Dream for the A.I. Revolution

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, drones, economics, employment, food, government, robotics/AI, surveillance

Nevertheless, to date, most of the wealth generated by advances in A.I. and robotics has been acquired by the executives of technology companies. It’s time for the benefits of the A.I. revolution to be broadly distributed through an expanded social safety net.

Unfortunately, members of Congress are taking the opposite path and have proposed cuts to a range of social programs. Several hundred thousand people arrived in Washington on Saturday to protest these cuts. During the demonstration, masked agitators threw rocks at the autonomous drones deployed for crowd control; in response, drones dispensed pepper spray on the protesters below, causing a stampede. More than 20 people were injured and treated at local hospitals; one protester died of his injuries on Monday. The police detained 35 people at the scene; 25 more arrests have been made since then, after authorities used facial recognition technology to identify protesters from surveillance video.

Punishing the poor who were harmed by economic disruptions has been a mistake repeated throughout American history. During the Industrial Revolution, machines displaced many artisans and agricultural workers. To deter these unemployed workers from seeking public relief, local governments set up poorhouses that required residents to perform hard labor. And between 1990 and 2020, the federal government — and some state governments — repeatedly cut social program spending even as middle-class jobs disappeared as a result of outsourcing and automation. Workers who didn’t have the skills to thrive in the knowledge economy were resigned to join the underclass of service workers.

Aug 13, 2019

Study: All major Chinese cities capable of generating solar power more cheaply than grid

Posted by in categories: government, solar power, sustainability

A team of researchers with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Mälardalen University and Tsinghua University has found that all of China’s major cities are now in a position to produce electricity from solar power more cheaply than can be had from the grid. In their paper published in the journal Nature Energy, the group describes how they estimated solar energy costs for all the major Chinese cities, and what they found when they compared them to costs associated with the grid.

In recent years, China has put a significant amount of effort into producing and installing solar technology to the extent that they are now the world’s biggest producer of , and also the world’s biggest installer of solar panels. Last year, installations in the country accounted for half of all installations worldwide. A lot of that growth has been stimulated by government subsidies, but the Chinese government has made it clear that it wants solar to fly on its own—subsidies are slowly being withdrawn. In this new effort, the researchers wanted to know if China was ready to fly on its own, at least in its major cities.

The researchers started by estimating solar energy system prices and in all of the major Chinese cities. They then compared what they found with prices from the grid. Next, they estimated solar electricity prices at the grid scale, and compared them to electricity generated strictly from coal. The calculations accounted for estimates of the lifetime of solar systems. They report that they found that all 344 of the major cities they studied were currently in a position to generate electricity at lower costs than the grid supply—without subsidies. They also found that 22 percent of those cities could also produce at a lesser cost than possible with coal.

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