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Feb 8, 2016

Engineers, Entrepreneurs Hoping To Re-Engineer Humans For Skill, Strength

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, transhumanism

Cool new story and video on transhumanism:


SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) –During Super Bowl 50, the world saw the Denver Broncos throttle the Carolina Panthers. The game’s MVP Von Miller dominated Cam Newton in a display of super human strength and skill.

You may not know it, but a growing number of engineers, biohackers and entrepreneurs hopes one day we’ll all be super human as well.

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Feb 8, 2016

Minimally Invasive “Stentrode” Shows Potential as Neural Interface for Brain

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, neuroscience, transhumanism

A DARPA-funded research team has created a novel neural-recording device that can be implanted into the brain through blood vessels, reducing the need for invasive surgery and the risks associated with breaching the blood-brain barrier. The technology was developed under DARPA’s Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET) program, and offers new potential for safely expanding the use of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) to treat physical disabilities and neurological disorders.

In an article published in Nature Biotechnology, researchers in the Vascular Bionics Laboratory at the University of Melbourne led by neurologist Thomas Oxley, M.D., describe proof-of-concept results from a study conducted in sheep that demonstrate high-fidelity measurements taken from the motor cortex—the region of the brain responsible for controlling voluntary movement—using a novel device the size of a small paperclip.

This new device, which Oxley’s team dubbed the “stentrode,” was adapted from off-the-shelf stent technology—a familiar therapeutic tool for clearing and repairing blood vessels—to include an array of electrodes. The researchers also addressed the dual challenge of making the device flexible enough to safely pass through curving blood vessels, yet stiff enough that the array can emerge from the delivery tube at its destination.

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Feb 8, 2016

A New AI Estimates Pollution From Crowdsourced Images

Posted by in categories: environmental, information science, mobile phones, robotics/AI

Around the world, cities are choking on smog. But a new AI system plans to analyze just how bad the situation is by aggregating data from smartphone pictures captured far and wide across cities.

The project, called AirTick, has been developed by researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, reports New Scientist. The reasoning is pretty simple: Deploying air sensors isn’t cheap and takes a long time, so why not make use of the sensors that everyone has in their pocket?

The result is an app which allows people to report smog levels by uploading an image tagged with time and location. Then, a machine learning algorithm chews through the data and compares it against official air-quality measurements where it can. Over time, the team hopes the software will slowly be able to predict air quality from smartphone images alone.

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Feb 8, 2016

Comets May Not Explain ‘Alien Megastructure’ Star’s Strange Flickering After All

Posted by in category: alien life

It’s looking less likely that a swarm of comets or an “alien megastructure” can explain a faraway star’s strange dimming.

The star (nicknamed “Tabby’s Star,” after its discoverer, Tabetha Boyajian) made major headlines last October when Jason Wright, an astronomer at Pennsylvania State University, suggested that it could be surrounded by some type of alien megastructure. A more likely idea — one that’s far less exciting — is that the star is orbited by a swarm of comets. But scientists can’t be sure either way.

Now, Bradley Schaefer, an astronomer at Louisiana State University, has probed the star’s behavior over the past century by looking at old photographic plates. Not only does the star’s random dipping date back more than a century, but it also has been gradually dimming over that period — a second constraint that makes it even harder to explain. [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Alien Life].

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Feb 8, 2016

China Close To Creating ‘Artificial Sun’ That Could End Reliance On Fossil Fuels

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, solar power, sustainability

One way or another, via government research or the countless new startups, fusion is well on it’s way.


Chinese scientists have managed to create a hydrogen gas that is three times hotter than the sun.

The artificial solar energy could eventually be used as an inexhaustible source of power, ending reliance on fossil fuels and solving the world energy crisis.

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Feb 8, 2016

An asteroid is going to swoop uncomfortably close to Earth on March 5

Posted by in category: asteroid/comet impacts

Sooner or later it IS going to happen. All we can do is prepare to defend out planet, whilst making sure we have humans living off-world, somewhere, so that all of our proverbial eggs aren’t in one proverbial basket!


But don’t worry, it won’t hit us.

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Feb 8, 2016

What Are Gravitational Waves And Why Do They Matter?

Posted by in category: physics

Physicists have been buzzing (or rather, tweeting) about the possibility that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) experiment finally discovered gravitational waves. LIGO has been searching for these cosmic ripples for over a decade. Last September, it upgraded to Advanced-LIGO, a more sensitive system that’s also better at filtering out noise. Advanced-LIGO has a much stronger chance of collecting concrete evidence of gravitational waves—if it hasn’t already.

Scientists may be excited, but talk of gravitational waves leaves most people scratching their heads. What are these cosmic vibrations, and why are they making waves in the scientific community?

Continue reading “What Are Gravitational Waves And Why Do They Matter?” »

Feb 8, 2016

China’s nuclear fusion machine just smashed Germany’s hydrogen plasma record

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, physics

Just last week, we reported that Germany’s revolutionary nuclear fusion machine managed to heat hydrogen gas to 80 million degrees Celsius, and sustain a cloud of hydrogen plasma for a quarter of a second. This was a huge milestone in the decades-long pursuit of controlled nuclear fusion, because if we can produce and hold onto hydrogen plasma for a certain period, we can harness the clean, practically limitless energy that fuels our Sun.

Now physicists in China have announced that their own nuclear fusion machine, called the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), has produced hydrogen plasma at 49.999 million degrees Celsius, and held onto it for an impressive 102 seconds.

While this is nowhere near the hottest temperature that’s been produced by an experiment — that honour goes to the Large Hadron Collider, which hit a whopping 4 trillion degrees Celsius (250,000 times hotter than the centre of the Sun) back in 2012 — the team from China’s Institute of Physical Science in Hefei managed to recreate solar conditions for well over a minute.

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Feb 8, 2016

‘Bionic spine’ could enable paralysed patients to walk using subconscious thought

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, health, neuroscience, transhumanism

Australian scientists hope that a tiny device just 3cm long and a few millimetres wide will enable paralysed patients to walk again by allowing them to control bionic limbs with the power of subconscious thought.

The new device, dubbed the “bionic spine”, is the size of a small paperclip and will be implanted in three patients at the Royal Melbourne hospital in Victoria next year. The participants will be selected from the Austin Health spinal cord unit, and will be the first humans to trial the device, which so far has only been tested in sheep.

Doctors will make a tiny cut in the neck of the patients and feed a catheter containing the bionic spine up through the blood vessels leading into the brain, until it rests on top of the motor cortex, the part of the brain where nerve impulses that initiate voluntary muscle movements come from. The catheter will then be removed, leaving the bionic spine behind.

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Feb 8, 2016

Chiral magnetic effect generates quantum current

Posted by in categories: computing, materials, quantum physics

Another step forward for Quantum — The Quantum Current. US Dept. of Energy has a new method to generate very low-resistance electric (Quantum) current which will improve our methods for energy, quantum computing, and medical imaging, and possibly even a new mechanism for inducing superconductivity—the ability of some materials (zirconium pentatelluride) to carry current with no energy loss.

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