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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sep 18, 2015

A better kind of health insurance company.

Posted by in category: health

Oscar — A New Kind of Health Insurance.

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Sep 18, 2015

Tesla’s Powerwall home battery is coming to Australia in 2015

Posted by in categories: business, energy, transportation

The Powerwall, a rechargeable lithium ion home battery from the makers of the Tesla Model S car, will be on sale in Australia by the end of the year.

Powerwall will be available in Australia in late 2015 through a variety of Tesla Energy partners who are yet to be announced, Business Insider reported.

See also: All hail Apple’s new iOS 9 font, San Francisco.

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Sep 18, 2015

700 mph in a tube: The Hyperloop experience

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, transportation

It’s Elon Musk’s idea, but Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is trying to make this “pipe dream” a reality.

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Sep 18, 2015

Hacking sleep: Meet the transhumanists making sleep obsolete

Posted by in categories: health, life extension, neuroscience, transhumanism

Not everyone wants to sleep in. A growing transhumanism community wants to sleep less, and better, and they’re going to great lengths to make it happen.

For those unaware, transhumanism is an intellectual and cultural movement that aims to improve the human condition, to push beyond our biological limitations, largely through technological advancements. They’re particularly focused on extreme longevity. But with treatments for an extended healthy life still works in progress (and playing out on a very long timeline), some transhumanists have turned their attention to sleep.

The average well-rested person sleeps eight hours a day. The average American lives 79 years. That’s a little more than just 50 years being awake. Life is much shorter than you realized — at least if you agree with your typical sleep-hacker that sleeping is wasted downtime.

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Sep 18, 2015

Satya Nadella: Once you use HoloLens, there’s no going back

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, computing

Speaking at Salesforce’s Dreamforce 2015 conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared updates on the company’s HoloLens holographic headset-based computing technology.

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