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Aug 11, 2015

How to create a genius mouse

Posted by in categories: genetics, neuroscience

The left-brain hemisphere of a normal mouse shows the normal level and cellular distribution of the Pax6 gene expression in the developing neocortex. The right-brain hemisphere shows a sustained, primate-like Pax6 expression pattern in the neocortex of a double transgenic mouse embryo. These animals have more Pax6-positive progenitor cells and a higher Pax6 expression level in the germinal layer close to the ventricle in the right hemisphere. (credit: © MPI of Molecular Cell Biology & Genetics)

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics have created a transgenic mouse in which a gene called Pax6, during embryonic development, is highly expressed in a specific group of brain cortical cells called neural progenitor stem cells (the cells that generate all cells that make up the brain).

The resulting mouse brain generated more neurons than normal and exhibited primate-like features — notably those in the top layer, a characteristic feature of an expanded neocortex.

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Aug 11, 2015

Hit TV show Humans on intelligent android servants

Posted by in categories: entertainment, robotics/AI

A reminder: HUMANS premieres in the U.S. Sunday June 28, 2015 at 9PM EDT on AMC.

This eight-part drama series takes place in a parallel present, featuring the Synth — a highly developed, artificially intelligent android servant.

Having seen the first two episodes, I’m totally hooked. I found the show surprisingly believable. It (almost) fills the void left after Almost Human and Fringe.

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Aug 11, 2015

The proposed ban on offensive autonomous weapons is unrealistic and dangerous

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI

AI-controlled armed, autonomous UAVs may take over when things start to happen faster than human thought in future wars. From Call of Duty Black Ops 2 (credit: Activision Publishing)

The open letter from the Future of Life Institute (FLI) calling for a “ban on offensive autonomous weapons” is as unrealistic as the broad relinquishment of nuclear weapons would have been at the height of the cold war.

A treaty or international agreement banning the development of artificially intelligent robotic drones for military use would not be effective. It would be impossible to completely stop nations from secretly working on these technologies out of fear that other nations and non-state entities are doing the same.

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Aug 11, 2015

3D Printing in the Vacuum of Space Now Possible from Made In Space

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, space

At the end of last year, Made In Space made what was a huge achievement for 3D printing in space by sending their Zero G 3D printer, capable of 3D printing without gravity, to the International Space Station. There, it has 3D printed numerous components, including a now famous wrench and twenty-three other prints that have since returned to Earth for lab analysis. The ability to 3D print without gravity restraints will allow those aboard the ISS to 3D print tools and parts using raw material, preventing the need for direct shipments of such objects from Earth. This ability is an exciting one, but the true goal of NASA and Made In Space has been to 3D print in vacuum of space itself. Today, Made In Space has announced that such a feat has now been proven possible through a series of tests performed here on Earth.

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Aug 11, 2015

How We Could Detect an Alien Apocalypse From Earth

Posted by in category: alien life

It’s generally assumed that we will eventually find signs of life in the galaxy. But rarely do we consider searching for advanced civilizations that have destroyed themselves. Here’s how we could do it—and what the search for dead aliens could tell us about our own future.

Typically, astrobiologists and SETI enthusiasts are in the business of searching for signs of active extraterrestrial civilizations. Proposed signatures that could be detected by astronomical instruments on Earth include radio and optical signals, megascale engineering objects (such as Dyson Spheres) radiating in the far infrared, artificial illumination, and abnormal levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide suggestive of a post-industrial age civilization.

But a new study by a research team from Cornell University’s Carl Sagan Institute suggests we should also look for signs of alien civilizations that have destroyed themselves. It would be a grim task, but the ability to detect extinct civilizations would not only tell us something about the prospect of intelligent life in the galaxy, it might also tell us something about our own fate as well.

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Aug 11, 2015

The Universe is Slowly Dying

Posted by in categories: cosmology, energy

Brace yourselves: winter is coming. And by winter I mean the slow heat-death of the Universe, and by brace yourselves I mean don’t get terribly concerned because the process will take a very, very, very long time. (But still, it’s coming.)

Based on findings from the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) project, which used seven of the world’s most powerful telescopes to observe the sky in a wide array of electromagnetic wavelengths, the energy output of the nearby Universe (currently estimated to be ~13.82 billion years old) is currently half of what it was “only” 2 billion years ago — and it’s still decreasing.

“The Universe has basically plonked itself down on the sofa, pulled up a blanket and is about to nod off for an eternal doze,” said Professor Simon Driver from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Western Australia, head of the nearly 100-member international research team.

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Aug 11, 2015

3-D Printing: Could Downloadable Medicine Be The Future?

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical

As 3-D printing gains steam and moves beyond plastics, it could be applied to many other industries, revolutionising medicine on the way.

An Ohio based pharmaceutical company Aprecia has now developed a 3-D printing technology which creates a more porous pill structure — allowing higher dose pills to dissolve quicker and making them easier to swallow for some patients. The same technology also allows precise doses to be layered in the same structure. A UCL team have also developed a technique for printing different shapes, which affects drug release.

“For the last 50 years, we have manufactured tablets in factories and shipped them to hospitals, for the first time, this process means we can produce tablets much closer to the patient.”

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Aug 11, 2015

When it comes to health and wellness tech, women are leading the way — By Lisa Roolant | The Next Web |

Posted by in category: health

Urksa_Bellabeat

Leave it to Berlin to breed the coolest of tech-related gatherings. At this interdisciplinary ‘unconference’, industry leaders and tech enthusiasts rubbed shoulders as they sipped chia seed smoothies among the sun-kissed gardens of an abandoned carpet factory.

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Aug 11, 2015

Slow death of Universe confirmed with precision

Posted by in categories: astronomy, cosmology, gravity, physics, space
  • The universe radiates only half as much energy as 2 billion years ago
  • New findings establish cosmos’ decline with unprecedented precision


From CNN
—The universe came in with the biggest bang ever. But now, with a drooping fizzle, it is in its swan song. The conclusion of a new astronomical study pulls no punches on this: “The Universe is slowly dying,” it reads.

Astronomers have believed as much for years, but the new findings establish the cosmos’ decline with unprecedented precision. An international team of 100 scientists used data from the world’s most powerful telescopes — based on land and in space — to study energy coming from more than 200,000 galaxies in a large sliver of the observable universe. [Full story below or at CNN.com]…

Based on those observations, they have confirmed the cosmos is radiating only half as much energy as it was 2 billion years ago. The astronomers published their study on Monday on the website of the European Southern Observatory.

Analysis across many wavelengths shows the universe's electromagnetic energy output is dropping.The team checked the energy across a broad spectrum of lightwaves and other electromagnetic radiation and says it is fading through all wavelengths, from ultraviolet to far infrared.

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Aug 11, 2015

The Future of Medicine has Arrived: Baidu Unveils Their Mobile AI Doctor

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

Baidu’s AskADoctor initiative is an ambitious project that recently emerged from Baidu’s deep learning division. We’ve gotta say, initial impressions seem very promising.

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