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Feb 19, 2024

AI May Destroy Humankind in Just Two Years, Expert Says

Posted by in categories: futurism, robotics/AI

The notoriously pessimistic AI researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky is back with a new prediction about the future of humankind.

“If you put me to a wall,” he told The Guardian in a fascinating new interview, “and forced me to put probabilities on things, I have a sense that our current remaining timeline looks more like five years than 50 years. Could be two years, could be 10.”

If you’re wondering what “remaining timeline” means in this context, The Guardian’s Tom Lamont interpreted it as the “machine-wrought end of all things,” a “Terminator-like apocalypse,” or a “Matrix hellscape.”

Feb 19, 2024

New genetic therapy shows promise for motor neuron disease and frontotemporal dementia

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

Macquarie University neuroscientists have developed a single-dose genetic medicine that has been proven to halt the progression of both motor neuron disease (MND) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in mice—and may even offer the potential to reverse some of the effects of the fatal diseases.

It may also hold opportunities for treating more common forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which is the second most common cause of death in Australia after heart disease.

The new treatment, dubbed CTx1000, targets pathological build-ups of the protein TDP-43 in cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Feb 19, 2024

Risk Factors for Death After Neurologic Immune-Related Adverse Events

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Neurologic immune-related adverse events (nirAEs) following immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy for cancer are frequent and varied; a recent study identified risk factors for death after nirAEs.

Recent cohort studies have demonstrated that neurologic immune-related adverse events (nirAEs) following immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy for cancer are frequent, varied, and associated with higher overall survival (NEJM JW Neurol Sep 29 2023 and Neurology 2023; 101:e2472). Researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study of consecutive patients referred to a tertiary center during a 5-year period to characterize the clinical features of nirAEs and identify predictors of ICI response and survival.

The researchers identified 64 patients with confirmed nirAEs, 81% involving the central nervous system (CNS). The vast majority of CNS nirAE patients had encephalopathy, of which 73% were neither seropositive for well-characterized neural autoantibodies, nor had a distinctive encephalitis syndrome, nor had evidence of CNS inflammatory changes. The most common peripheral nervous system (PNS) syndrome was myasthenia and myositis (with or without myocarditis) overlap syndrome. Only 17% of PNS nirAE patients were seropositive. Steroids were given to 91% of nirAE patients after a median of 90 days of symptoms, and 48% received additional immunotherapy. At 1-month follow-up, 72% of nirAE patients showed improvement, 9% had worsened, and 17% had died. Among the 53 patients who survived the first month, median follow-up was 6 months; during follow-up, 30% died, most commonly of cancer progression or cancer-related complications. Death was associated with lung cancer (hazard ratio, 2.

Continue reading “Risk Factors for Death After Neurologic Immune-Related Adverse Events” »

Feb 19, 2024

Incorporating CRISPR QC check points to improve CRISPR designs

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Talk by Ken Dickerson, CRISPR Group Leader, CRISPR QC, at the BACE Technology Showcase event in August 2022.

Feb 19, 2024

How Surgery Can Fix CTEPH, a Rare Type of Pulmonary Hypertension

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is a rare, potentially fatal condition caused when bloodclots in the lungs block blood vessels to the heart. Yale PCCSM’s Phillip Joseph, MD, and Yale Cardiac Surgery’s Prashanth Vallabhajosyula, MD, share how Yale’s highly specialized #

Clinicians diagnose and treat CTEPH.

Feb 19, 2024

UK’s “DragonFire” laser weapon downs its first drones

Posted by in categories: drones, military

The UK’s high-powered DragonFire laser weapon just shot down its first drones — bringing it one step closer to the battlefield.

Feb 19, 2024

IM-1 mission on course for the moon after engine test

Posted by in category: space travel

Completing the commissioning maneuver that demonstrated the performance of the main engine, which will be used to place the spacecraft into lunar orbit and, later, land on the moon, was a major milestone for the mission.

“Once we get through that and we know how the engine performs in space, I think our confidence actually goes up that we will have a successful landing on the moon,” Trent Martin, vice president of space systems at Intuitive Machines, said of that engine test in a Feb. 12 interview.

The IM-1 mission is carrying six NASA payloads as part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program under a $118 million task order. It is also carrying six payloads for other customers, ranging from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to the artist Jeff Koons.

Feb 19, 2024

CRISPR ‘will provide cures for genetic diseases that were incurable before,’ says renowned biochemist Virginijus Šikšnys

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Live Science spoke with Šikšnys about what it’s been like to see CRISPR enter clinical use and how he thinks the system might be applied and improved upon in the future.

Editor’s Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Related: Gene therapy: What is it and how does it work?

Feb 19, 2024

Sun Bear Solar Farm Will Be Eight Miles Long, One Mile Wide, And Have Two Million Solar Panels

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Sun Bear, an enormous solar and battery storage installation in the Four Corners region of Colorado, will have more than two million solar panels spread across 5,500 acres of land belonging to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, part of the Weenuche Band of the Ute Nation. The primary developer is the Canigou Group, which styles itself as a global leader in renewable energy. “We are active throughout Europe, Australia and North America where we work with partners at the local level to provide a holistic solution,” it says on its website. The Sun Bear facility will cost up to $1.5 billion and produce peak power of 975 MW. There is no information currently available about the size of the battery storage system or who will supply the batteries for it.

There are several reasons why the site in southwest Colorado, which borders New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, was chosen for this large scale solar project. Carigou Group says “Sun Bear is well positioned for harnessing the sun with its large unobstructed sky, high annual solar irradiance, and low seasonal variability. The site is located close to a confluence of transmission systems which provide access to customers via both transmission and distribution interconnection.”

Continue reading “Sun Bear Solar Farm Will Be Eight Miles Long, One Mile Wide, And Have Two Million Solar Panels” »

Feb 19, 2024

NASA Reveals How It Would Warn World of Impending Asteroid Disaster

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, military

When the Chicxulub impactor, a six-mile-wide asteroid, struck Earth 66 million years ago, the dinosaurs had no warning.

If an asteroid that size hit Earth today, a shock wave two million times more powerful than a hydrogen bomb would flatten forests and trigger tsunamis. A seismic pulse equal to a magnitude 10 earthquake would crumble cities.

And long after the impact, a cloud of hot dust, ash, and steam would blot out the sun, plunging the Earth into freezing cold.

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