Menu

Blog

Page 10712

Sep 19, 2015

This Is How Much Food It Would Take to End World Hunger

Posted by in categories: food, security

There are over 500 million hungry people in the world—but that number only tells part of the story. The other part of it is the amount of the actual food shortfall. So how much food would we need to make up the gap? There’s now an exact number.

The latest International Food Security report is out, and the good news is that global food insecurity has been falling—and it’s projected to keep on doing that over the next 10 years. The bad news? It’s not falling everywhere. Sub-Saharan Africa is especially being shut out of these gains.

But how much food would it take to close the gap for every food insecure person on the planet to have access to 2,100 calories a day? The USDA has calculated a figure: 11.8 million tons of grain.

Read more

Sep 19, 2015

British Scientists Seek Permission to Genetically Modify Human Embryos

Posted by in categories: futurism, genetics

Just five months after scientists in China made history by modifying the germline of human embryos, a research team in the U.K. is requesting permission to do the same, but strictly for research into infertility. Given recent calls for a moratorium on such research, the decision is likely to set a precedent for future requests.

Scientists working at London’s Francis Crick Institute have submitted a formal request with the U.K.’s Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HEFA) to use a gene editing technique for research into human infertility. The researchers have no intention of bringing their genetically modified embryos to term, nor will they be implanted; the scientists are reassuring HEFA and the public that all embryos will be destroyed.

Should permission be granted, it will mark the first time that scientists in the UK—or anywhere in the world for that matter (China excepted)—will have the opportunity to conduct research of this nature, which many consider controversial.

Read more

Sep 19, 2015

Hyperloop’s intro video claims the future is now

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, transportation

https://youtube.com/watch?v=WnrXBdznOe8

Hyperloop, dubbed “the fifth mode of transport,” is real. At least, that’s what the introductory video released this week on YouTube is trying to communicate.

Hyperloop is a project envisioned by engineer and inventor Elon Musk. In short, the goal is to build a high-speed transportation system using a low-pressure tube train, with a top speed of 800 miles per hour (1,300 km/h). Hyperloop Technologies and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies are both research companies looking to turn Musk’s vision into reality. The former company has undergone a seed round led by SherpaVentures, while the latter is crowdsourced.

Continue reading “Hyperloop’s intro video claims the future is now” »

Sep 19, 2015

Asteroid-Mining Plan Would Bake Water Out of Bagged-Up Space Rocks

Posted by in categories: business, space

PASADENA, Calif. — A new way to harvest asteroid resources is being eyed as a possible game changer for space exploration.

The patent-pending innovation, called “optical mining,” could allow huge amounts of asteroid water to be tapped, advocates say. This water, in turn, could provide relatively cheap and accessible propellant for voyaging spacecraft, lowering the cost of spaceflight significantly.

Development of the optical-mining idea has been funded by a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) fellowship and grant, along with a small business contract. The concept — which is also known as the Asteroid Provided In-Situ Supplies plan, or Apis — was detailed here during a special NIAC session held on Sept. 2 during the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ (AIAA) Space 2015 meeting. [How Asteroid Mining Could Work (Infographic)].

Read more

Sep 18, 2015

Apple meets California officials to discuss self-driving car — By Mark Harris | The Guardian

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, driverless cars, innovation

3313

Apple executives have discussed their plans for an “autonomous vehicle” with officials at California’s department of motor vehicles (DMV), the Guardian has learnt.”

Read more

Sep 18, 2015

Scientists Genetically Modify Human Embryos

Posted by in category: genetics

Chinese scientists used the CRISPR-Cas9 editing technique to alter the genome of a “nonviable” human embryo.

Read more

Sep 18, 2015

Ultrathin ‘Invisibility Cloak’ Can Match Any Background

Posted by in category: materials

Invisibility cloaks are designed to bend light around an object, but materials that do this are typically hard to shape and only work from narrow angles — if you walk around the cloaked object, for instance, it’s visible. But a new cloak avoids that problem, and is thin and flexible enough to be wrapped around an object of any shape, the researchers said. It can also be “tuned” to match whatever background is behind it — or can even create illusions of what’s there, they added.

Led by Xiang Zhang, director of materials science at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the group constructed a thin film consisting of a 50-nanometer-thick layer of magnesium fluoride topped by a varying pattern of tiny, brick-shaped gold antennas, each 30 nanometers thick. (For comparison, an average strand of human hair is about 100,000 nanometers wide.) The “bricks” were built in six different sizes, ranging from about 30 to 220 nanometers long and 90 to 175 nanometers wide. [Now You See It: 6 Tales of Invisibility in Pop Culture]

The scientists then wrapped up a tiny, irregularly shaped object measuring about 36 microns across, or a bit more than one-thousandth of an inch. Shining a light, with a wavelength of 730 nanometers, or near-infrared, they found that it reflected back almost perfectly. The light scattering from the cloak still bounced off the object, but without revealing where the object was — as though there were just a flat mirror in its place, the researchers said.

Read more

Sep 18, 2015

What if U.S. had raised interest rates?

Posted by in categories: economics, finance, government, policy

At the end of 2015, the US national debt will be 18.6 trillion dollars. With such a big number, it’s tempting to put it in perspective by comparing it with things more easily envisioned. 98e2c31e5c194d21be9fd3922dc45fde9207f454Alas, I can not think of anything that puts such an oppressive and unfair burden into perspective, except to this:

US debt represents a personal obligation of $60,000 for each American citizen. And it is rising quickly. Most of our GDP is used simply to pay down interest on that debt. Few pundits see a way out of this hole.

bretton_woods-aIn my opinion, that hole was facilitated in August 1971, when the US modified the Bretton Woods Agreement and unilaterally terminated convertibility of the US dollar to gold. By forcibly swapping every dollar in every pocket and bank account with the promise of transient legislators, individual wealth was suddenly based on fiat instead of something tangible or intrinsic.

Continue reading “What if U.S. had raised interest rates?” »

Sep 18, 2015

Transhumanist running for US president: Religion holding back science

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, transhumanism

BBC article on transhumanism that also tackles the issue of trying to get more women involved in the movement:


Zoltan Istvan is running for US president.

Read more

Sep 18, 2015

A better kind of health insurance company.

Posted by in category: health

Oscar — A New Kind of Health Insurance.

Read more