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Feb 27, 2024

New measurement of cosmic distances in the dark energy survey gives clues about the nature of dark energy

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, particle physics

We now have a standard model of cosmology, the current version of the Big Bang theory. Although it has proved very successful, its consequences are staggering. We know only 5% of the content of the universe, which is normal matter. The remaining 95% is made up of two exotic entities that have never been produced in the laboratory and whose physical nature is still unknown.

These are , which accounts for 25% of the content of the cosmos, and dark energy, which contributes 70%. In the standard model of cosmology, dark energy is the energy of empty space, and its density remains constant throughout the .

According to this theory, propagated in the very early universe. In those early stages, the universe had an enormous temperature and density. The pressure in this initial gas tried to push the particles that formed it apart, while gravity tried to pull them together, and the competition between the two forces created sound waves that propagated from the beginning of the universe until about 400,000 years after the Big Bang.

Feb 27, 2024

Quantum gravity in the can: The holographic principle

Posted by in categories: holograms, quantum physics

It might sound like something from science fiction, but the holographic principle might help us answer the biggest problem in modern physics.

Feb 27, 2024

Can We Upload Our Minds to a Computer?

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience

Unless we solve the problem of consciousness, the endeavour remains a dead end.

Feb 27, 2024

Revisiting the Self-Refilling Bowl of Soup

Posted by in category: futurism

Replication Crisis.

Revisiting the self-refilling bowl of soup.

A replication of a study is called into question by scientific misconduct.

Feb 27, 2024

‘Entropy Bagels’ and Other Complex Structures Emerge From Simple Rules

Posted by in category: mathematics

Simple rules in simple settings continue to puzzle mathematicians, even as they devise intricate tools to analyze them.

Feb 27, 2024

Enhancer selectivity in space and time: from enhancer–promoter interactions to promoter activation

Posted by in category: futurism

Gene regulation in animals depends chiefly on enhancers, yet the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. This Review discusses enhancer–promoter interactions and transcription activation, focusing on how enhancer–promoter selectivity is achieved and on recent technical advances that may provide new insights into transcription activation.

Feb 27, 2024

Single-pixel p-graded-n junction spectrometers

Posted by in category: electronics

The miniaturization of spectrometers to a submillimeter-scale footprint opens opportunities for applications in hyperspectral imaging and lab-on-a-chip systems. Here, the authors report a high-performance single-pixel photodetector spectrometer based on the III-V semiconductor p-graded-n junction, featuring a voltage-tunable optical response.

Feb 27, 2024

Gassendi’s second thought. From a materialistic picture of cognition to the defence of dualism: the lasting influence of the polemic with Descartes

Posted by in category: materials

Whether matter could engender cogitation was a very divisive topic of early modern reflection. In his polemic with Descartes, Gassendi appeared to endorse a ‘materialistic’ understanding of cognition. Two objections by Gassendi were particularly relevant to this claim: he challenged the distinction between imagination and intellect, and argued that animal and human cognition only differed quantitatively. Since the intellect was traditionally seen as immaterial, while the imagination was understood as a bodily faculty, these claims appeared to entail a naturalized image of the human soul, and the potential that matter could generate cogitation. Here, I argue that Gassendi’s claims were not only a result of his polemical vein against Descartes; rather, they were part of an intellectual agenda that Gassendi had been pursuing since the early 1620s. I then analyse Gassendi’s change of perspective in Animadversiones (1649) and Syntagma philosophicum (1658), where Gassendi presented arguments for the immateriality of the intellect and its true distinction from the imagination. I argue that Gassendi’s early objections against Descartes provided him with material to revise his own position on these subjects. I then show some of the implications of such a change of heart. Lastly, I address some hypotheses of its cause.

Whether matter in general, and vital matter in particular, could engender cogitation was a much-discussed and divisive topic of early modern reflection. Crucial to this debate was the issue of the distinction between animal and human thinking faculties. Generally, both men and animals were believed to possess imagination or phantasy—a faculty that was seen as depending on the body. Conversely, only men could perform higher thinking by virtue of their possession of the intellect; in turn, this was commonly identified with an operation of the immaterial soul. However, early modern authors sometimes downplayed these distinctions, for instance by presenting a purely materialistic explanation of the soul and of its functions. In doing so, they brought attention, whether explicitly or implicitly, to the ability of vital matter to generate cognition.

Feb 27, 2024

Deforestation’s Hidden Toll: Impact on Child Health

Posted by in categories: biological, climatology, economics, education, health, sustainability

Do the impacts of deforestation go beyond the environment? What about human health, specifically the health of children? This is what a recent study published in Economics & Human Biology hopes to address as Dr. Gabriel Fuentes Cordoba, who is an associate professor of economics from Sophia University in Japan, investigated how deforestation in Cambodia effects the health of children around the time of their birth. This study holds the potential to help scientists, conservationists, and the public better understand the health effects of deforestation, specifically with the increasing effects of climate change around the world.

For the study, Dr. Fuentes Cordoba analyzed data obtained from the Cambodian Demographic Health Surveys and forest loss to ascertain the health impacts for pregnant women and children under five years of age who reside in areas of deforestation. In the end, Dr. Fuentes Cordoba discover alarming results that suggest deforestation exposure to women less than one year before pregnancy could lead to development of anemia, which is a precursor to malaria. This could result in significant health impacts on children being born, specifically reductions in birth weight, along with overall height and weight as they age.

“This research shows a negative impact of deforestation on child health,” Dr. Fuentes Cordoba said in a statement. “This negative impact may persist into adulthood and affect other aspects of wellbeing such as education acquisition and even wages. My findings indicate that future research should explore this aspect further.”

Feb 27, 2024

Evo: DNA foundation modeling from molecular to genome scale

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Evo is a long-context biological foundation model that generalizes across the fundamental languages of biology: DNA, RNA, and proteins.


Introducing Evo, a biological foundation model that generalizes across the fundamental languages of biology: DNA, RNA and proteins. Evo is capable of both prediction tasks, and generative design from molecular to whole genome scale.

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