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Mar 21, 2015

Machine automatically assembles complex molecules at the microscopic level

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

By — Gizmag
Researchers at the University of Illinois claim to have created a machine that assembles a...
The synthesis of complex small molecules in the laboratory is specialized and intricate work that is both difficult and time-consuming. Even highly-trained chemists can take many years to determine how to build each one, let alone discover and describe its functions. In an attempt to improve this situation, a team of chemists at the University of Illinois claim to have created a machine that is able to assemble a vast range of complex molecules at the push of a button.

A specific class of structures, complex small molecules are readily found in nature and are intrinsic to research in a wide range of scientific fields. In medicine, for example, many of the latest medications have been derived from the manipulation of small molecules. In the biological sciences, small molecules are often used to help reveal the interior mechanisms of tissues and cells. Even non-organic electronic technologies such as semiconductors, including solar cells and LEDs, require the creation and use of these miniature assemblies.
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Mar 20, 2015

Can Ethereum help eliminate corruption and bureaucracy in the developing world? Could Ethereum One Day Transform Law, Finance, and Civil Society?

Posted by in categories: big data, business, complex systems, computing, disruptive technology, economics, futurism, governance, human trajectories, information science

Quoted: “Ethereum’s developers believe their project will lead to the proliferation of programs they call “smart contracts,” in which the terms of an agreement are written in code and enforced by software. These smart contracts could carry out the instructions of a complex algorithm based on data feed—such as a stock ticker. They could facilitate practically any financial transaction, such as holding money in escrow or dispersing micropayments among autonomous machines. They could be used to create a peer-to-peer gambling network, a peer-to-peer stock trading platform, a peer-to-peer social network, a prenuptial agreement, a will, a standard agreement to split a dinner check, or a public registry for keeping track of who owns what land in a city.

Gupta predicts that these smart contracts will be so cheap and versatile that they’ll do “a lot of things that today we do informally,” and take on a lot of the “donkey work of running a society.””

Read the article here > http://reason.com/blog/2015/03/19/here-comes-ethereum-an-information-techn

Mar 20, 2015

DNA Editing of Human Embryos Alarms Scientists

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, DNA

By David Cyranoski — Scientific American

Amid rumors that precision gene-editing techniques have been used to modify the DNA of human embryos, researchers have called for a moratorium on the use of the technology in reproductive cells.

In a Comment published on March 12 in Nature, Edward Lanphier, chairman of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine in Washington DC, and four co-authors call on scientists to agree not to modify human embryos — even for research.

“Such research could be exploited for non-therapeutic modifications. We are concerned that a public outcry about such an ethical breach could hinder a promising area of therapeutic development,” write Lanphier and his colleagues, who include Fyodor Urnov, a pioneer in gene-editing techniques and scientist at Sangamo BioSciences in Richmond, California. Many groups, including Urnov’s company, are already using gene-editing tools to develop therapies that correct genetic defects in people (such as by editing white blood cells). They fear that attempts to produce ‘designer babies’ by applying the methods to embryos will create a backlash against all use of the technology.Read more

Mar 20, 2015

IBM Looking at Adopting Bitcoin Technology for Major Currencies

Posted by in category: bitcoin

Reuters — Re/Code

Bitcoin

International Business Machines Corp is considering adopting the underlying technology behind bitcoin, known as the “blockchain,” to create a digital cash and payment system for major currencies, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The objective is to allow people to transfer cash or make payments instantaneously using this technology without a bank or clearing party involved, saving on transaction costs, the person said. The transactions would be in an open ledger of a specific country’s currency such as the dollar or euro, said the source, who declined to be identified because of a lack of authorization to discuss the project in public.

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Mar 19, 2015

3D-printed Iron Man gauntlet becomes a kid’s awesome bionic arm

Posted by in category: 3D printing

— Endgadget

It looks like Iron Man’s arm, but it’s actually a fully-functioning bionic prosthetic for a seven-year-old kid. Electronically wired and capable of moving, it can, for instance, open and close its hand if the user flexes their bicep. The limb was created by Limbitless Solutions, a non-profit made up of engineering students from the University of Central Florida, using donations and money they saved by sacrificing coffee. They specialize in designing 3D-printed limbs for children, because kids will quickly outgrow more expensive bionic limbs. Sure, their creations don’t have the sense of touch and can’t be controlled by thoughts, but kids will definitely appreciate looking like their favorite robot or superhero.
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Mar 19, 2015

Intel Wants You to Forget Your Passwords (You Won’t Need Them)

Posted by in category: security

Intel — Wired
https://lifeboat.com/blog.images/intel-wants-you-to-forget-your-passwords-you-wont-need-them.jpg
Passwords, as they exist now, don’t work. They are the keys with which we lock up everything from our gaming profiles to our personal documents and financial access, and the truth is they just aren’t that secure. For starters, humans are terrible at choosing passwords. “Password” and “123456” were still the two most common passwords used in 2014—despite years of warnings against precisely that.

To force us to use more unique, less obvious keys, many of the sites we frequent make us choose passwords that combine letters and numbers, and sometimes even special characters (such as ! or @). But that raises another issue—complexity. With dozens of online accounts per person, it’s hard to keep track of all the different variations of passwords needed to access them. No wonder too many people (55 percent of adults, according to a study from the UK’s Ofcom) still reuse the same password between most, if not all, of the sites they visit.
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Mar 18, 2015

No, Really, the PC Is Dying and It’s Not Coming Back

Posted by in categories: business, computing

— Wired

A little while back, we started to hear a few voices speaking up against the drumbeat of doom. No, PCs weren’t dead. They were maybe even coming back.

Well, they’re not.

Market research outfit IDC has revised its prediction of PC shipments in 2015 downward. It’s projecting a drop of nearly 5 percent this year, worse than its earlier forecast of a 3.3 percent decline. In all, IDC expects 293.1 million PC units to ship this year.
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Mar 18, 2015

Can We Trust Robot Cars to Make Hard Choices?

Posted by in categories: driverless cars, ethics

By - SigularityHubhttp://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/robots-making-hard-choices-11-1000x400.jpg

The ethics of robot cars has been a hot topic recently. In particular, if a robot car encounters a situation where it is forced to hit one person or another—which should it choose and how does it make that choice? It’s a modern version of the trolley problem, which many have studied in introductory philosophy classes.

Imagine a robot car is driving along when two people run out onto the road, and the car cannot avoid hitting one or the other. Assume neither person can get away, and the car cannot detect them in advance. Various thinkers have suggested how to make an ethical decision about who the car should hit:

  • The robot car could run code to make a random decision.
  • The robot car could hand off control to a human passenger.
  • The robot car could make a decision based on a set of pre-programmed values by the car’s designers or a set of values programmed by the owner.

The last of these deserves a little more detail. What would these values be like?

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Mar 17, 2015

Summit Spain: We’re Going to Rewire the Way Your Brain Views the Future

Posted by in categories: futurism, singularity

By — SingulartityHubhttp://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/SU-Summit-Spain-21-1000x400.jpg

There’s a story about Napoleon that goes something like this: At a state dinner, he gave his soldiers silver utensils and his court gold. But the guest of honor, the king of Siam, was given utensils of—aluminum.

Was it a not-so-subtle slight to the king? Not at all. Despite its relative abundance, aluminum was one of the rarest elements on Earth because it was hard to extract.

Fast forward a few decades, and a new extraction process using electrolysis had made aluminum abundant and cheap. Today, we use it everywhere. We cover takeout food in foil and toss it away without a thought.

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Mar 17, 2015

This Microscope Can See Down to Individual Atoms

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

Victoria Turk — Motherboard

As our devices get ever smaller, so do the materials we use to make them. And that means you have to get really close to see them. Really close. A new electron microscope unveiled at the UK’s national SuperST​EM facility images objects at an unprecedented resolution, right down to the individual atoms.

SuperSTEM is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and has three electron microscopes that UK scientists can use. The newest was unveiled last m​onth: a £3.7 million ($5.5 million) Nion Hermes Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope that EPSRC says is one of only three in the world. It can image objects a million times smaller than a human hair.

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