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Apr 15, 2024

Martin Rees — Why Is There Anything At All?

Posted by in category: futurism

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Why is there a world, a cosmos, something, anything instead of absolutely nothing at all? If nothing existed, there would be, well, ‘nothing’ to explain. To have anything existing demands some kind of explanation. Of all the big questions, this is the biggest. Why anything? Why not nothing? What can we learn from the absence of nothing?

Continue reading “Martin Rees — Why Is There Anything At All?” »

Apr 15, 2024

‘Cosmic Cannibals’ Expel Jets into Space at 40 percent the Speed of Light

Posted by in category: space

For the first time, astronomers have measured the speed of fast-moving jets in space, crucial to star formation and the distribution of elements needed for life.

The jets of matter, expelled by stars deemed ‘cosmic cannibals’, were measured to travel at over one-third of the speed of light — thanks to a groundbreaking new experiment published in Nature today.

The study sheds new light on these violent processes, making clever use of runaway nuclear explosions on the surface of stars.

Apr 15, 2024

Mechanism found to Determine Which Memories Last

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Neuroscientists have established in recent decades the idea that some of each day’s experiences are converted by the brain into permanent memories during sleep the same night. Now, a new study proposes a mechanism that determines which memories are tagged as Important enough to linger in the brain until sleep makes them permanent.

Led by researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the study revolves around brain cells called neurons that “fire” – or bring about swings in the balance of their positive and negative charges — to transmit electrical signals that encode memories. Large groups of neurons in the hippocampus fire together in rhythmic cycles, creating sequences of signals within milliseconds of each other that can encode complex information.

Called “sharp wave-ripples,” these “shouts” to the rest of the brain represent the near-simultaneous firing of 15 percent of hippocampal neurons, and are named for the shape they take when their activity is captured by electrodes and recorded on a graph.

Apr 15, 2024

Q&A: How to Train AI when you Don’t Have Enough Data

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI, transportation

Artificial intelligence excels at sorting through information and detecting patterns or trends. But these machine learning algorithms need to be trained with large amounts of data first.

As researchers explore potential applications for AI, they have found scenarios where AI could be really useful—such as analyzing X-ray image data to look for evidence of rare conditions or detecting a rare fish species caught on a commercial fishing boat—but there’s not enough data to accurately train the algorithms.

Jenq-Neng Hwang, University of Washington professor of electrical and computer and engineering, specializes in these issues. For example, Hwang and his team developed a method that teaches AI to monitor how many distinct poses a baby can achieve throughout the day. There are limited training datasets of babies, which meant the researchers had to create a unique pipeline to make their algorithm accurate and useful.

Apr 15, 2024

Positive Results for Intranasal Oxytocin in Adults With Autism

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Budapest, Hungary — Twice daily intranasal oxytocin has been associated with improved social functioning, quality of life, and overall symptoms in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), results of a small randomized control trial showed.

“One of the challenges for adults with autism is experiencing poor social interactions and difficulties in making friends. Insufficient social support from peers, friends, and family members can contribute to loneliness in adolescents with ASD, which in turn leads to anxiety, sadness, and social isolation,” said study investigator Saba Faraji Niri, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry, Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran.

Recent US data show is relatively common. In addition, previous research suggests intranasal oxytocin significantly increases activity in brain regions that play a role in establishing social interactions.

Apr 15, 2024

Just one pregnancy can add months to your biological age

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension

A landmark new study confirms that growing a human being in nine months takes a toll—and multiple pregnancies can have a cumulative effect.

Apr 15, 2024

Should We Send Messages to Aliens?

Posted by in category: alien life

Should We Send Messages into Space to be Received by Aliens? And would they be able to decode them? Posted on BigThink, link from my website:

Apr 15, 2024

Scientists develop innovative technique to transform plastic waste into powerful clean fuel: ‘[It] could be produced for free’

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

Battery–electric vehicles have become ubiquitous as more people have realized how much less pollution they produce than traditional gas-powered cars. But another type of planet-friendly vehicle, the hydrogen car, has yet to catch on, for a few different reasons.

Now, a new technique developed by researchers at Rice University in Texas may provide the key to making hydrogen cars — and hydrogen fuel as a whole — more viable.

Continue reading “Scientists develop innovative technique to transform plastic waste into powerful clean fuel: ‘[It] could be produced for free’” »

Apr 15, 2024

Probing the 3D Awareness of Visual Foundation Models

Posted by in category: futurism

This repository contains a re-implementation of the code for the paper Probing the 3D Awareness of Visual Foundation Models (CVPR 2024) which presents an analysis of the 3D awareness of visual foundation models.

Mohamed El Banani, Amit Raj, Kevis-Kokitsi Maninis, Abhishek Kar, Yuanzhen Li, Michael Rubinstein, Deqing Sun, Leonidas Guibas, Justin Johnson, Varun Jampani

If you find this code useful, please consider citing:

Apr 15, 2024

On World Parkinson’s Day, a New Theory Emerges on the Disease’s Origins and Spread

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, food, health, neuroscience

A new hypothesis paper appearing in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease on World Parkinson’s Day unites the brain-and body-first models with some of the likely causes of the disease–environmental toxicants that are either inhaled or ingested.

Pointing to a growing body of research linking environmental exposure to Parkinson’s disease, the authors believe the new models may enable the scientific community to connect specific exposures to specific forms of the disease. This effort will be aided by increasing public awareness of the adverse health effects of many chemicals in our environment. The authors conclude that their hypothesis “may explain many of the mysteries of Parkinson’s disease and open the door toward the ultimate goal–prevention.”

In addition to Parkinson’s, these models of environmental exposure may advance understanding of how toxicants contribute to other brain disorders, including autism in children, ALS in adults, and Alzheimer’s in seniors. Dorsey and his colleagues at the University of Rochester have organized a symposium on the Brain and the Environment in Washington, DC, on May 20 that will examine the role toxicants in our food, water, and air are playing in all these brain diseases.

Continue reading “On World Parkinson’s Day, a New Theory Emerges on the Disease’s Origins and Spread” »

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