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Jun 1, 2021

Scientists discover how stem cells trigger muscle regeneration

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

A new discovery could lead to new drugs for faster repairing muscles after injury — or rebuilding muscle mass lost during the normal aging process.

Researchers at the Salk Institute have uncovered a mechanism by which stem cells can help regenerate muscles. The discovery could provide a new drug target for repairing muscles after injury or rebuilding muscle mass lost during the normal aging process.

The breakthrough started with a set of proteins called Yamanaka factors, which have long been studied as a key part of stem cell therapy. These factors are used to convert regular cells – most commonly skin cells – into what are known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), which can then go on to differentiate into a variety of other cell types. That in turn helps regenerate tissue. But exactly how the Yamanaka factors worked their magic remained a mystery.

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Jun 1, 2021

Opinion | In warfare, the future is now

Posted by in categories: drones, military, robotics/AI

Welcome to the rapidly advancing world of autonomous weapons — the cheap, highly effective systems that are revolutionizing militaries around the world. These new unmanned platforms can make U.S. forces much safer, at far lower cost than aircraft carriers and fighter jets. But beware: They’re being deployed by our potential adversaries faster than the Pentagon can keep up, and they increase the risk of conflict by making it easier and less bloody for the attacker.

Artificial intelligence and drones are transforming the battlefield into something that looks more like a video game than hand-to-hand combat. It could save lives — but also increase the risk of combat.

Jun 1, 2021

NIH launches clinical trial of universal influenza vaccine candidate

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, health, nanotechnology

A first-in-human, Phase 1 trial assessing the safety and immunogenicity of an investigational nanoparticle influenza vaccine designed to provide long-lasting protection against multiple flu virus strains has begun at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Healthy participants 18 to 50 years old will receive either a licensed seasonal influenza vaccine or the experimental vaccine, FluMos-v1. Scientists from NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) developed FluMos-v1 to stimulate antibodies against multiple influenza virus strains by displaying part of the influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) protein on self-assembling nanoparticle scaffolds. Alicia T. Widge, M.D., of NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC), is the principal investigator of the NIAID-sponsored single-site trial.

“The health and economic burdens of influenza are substantial, and the world badly needs improved flu vaccines,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “I am encouraged by the great promise of the VRC nanoparticle vaccine candidate, which so far has performed very well in pre-clinical testing.”

Standard influenza vaccines must be reformulated and administered annually to match changes in the HA protein in the viral strains predicted to dominate in the upcoming influenza season. If the vaccine is not well matched to dominant circulating virus strains, the antibodies elicited may provide sub-optimal protection. So-called universal influenza vaccines are being developed and tested by many research groups and could one day eliminate the need for annual vaccination by generating long-lasting antibodies to protect against many existing or emergent influenza virus strains, including those not represented in the vaccine.

Jun 1, 2021

A warning to DoD: Russia advances quicker than expected on AI, battlefield tech

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

“The Russian military is more technologically advanced than the U.S. realized and is quickly developing artificial intelligence capabilities to gain battlefield information advantage, an expansive new report commissioned by the Pentagon warned.”

Need more money for AI research.

A new report written for the Pentagon warns of more technologically advanced Russian force that’s focused on winning information advantage over the United States.

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Jun 1, 2021

A Self-Driving Truck Got a Shipment Cross-Country 10 Hours Faster Than a Human Driver

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Self-driving cars are taking longer to come to market than many expected. In fact, it’s looking like they may be outpaced by pilotless planes and driverless trucks. A truck isn’t much different than a car, but self-driving technology is already coming in handy on long-haul trucking routes, as a recent cross-country trip showed.

Last month TuSimple, a transportation company focused on self-driving technology for heavy-duty trucks, shipped a truckload of watermelons from Arizona to Oklahoma using the truck’s autonomous system for over 80 percent of the journey. The starting point was Nogales, at Arizon’s southern end right on the border with Mexico. A human driver took the wheel for the first 60 miles or so, from Nogales to Tucson—but from there the truck went on auto-pilot, and not just for a little while. It drove itself all the way to Dallas, 950 miles to the east (there was a human safety driver on board the whole time, but not controlling the truck).

If you look at the most direct route, it’s pretty straightforward: there’s one fork where I-10 splits off and merges with I-20, but other than that, it’s straight on through ‘til morning. Literally, in this case; the truck drove the route in 14 hours and 6 minutes, as compared to the given estimate of the average time it takes a human to drive the same route—24 hours and 6 minutes.

Jun 1, 2021

BYD Wins Major Order For 79 Electric Buses In Sweden

Posted by in category: sustainability

BYD has received this month a new, major order for a total of 79 electric buses from Bergkvarabuss in Sweden.

Jun 1, 2021

Audi shows us its concept for luxurious charging lounges of the future

Posted by in category: futurism

Audi has eyes on new concepts for charging station ideas, and it wants to imbue the usual Audi luxury experience into them.

Jun 1, 2021

Instacart Bets on Robots to Shrink Ranks of 500,000 Gig Shoppers

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, sustainability

Instacart wants to replace army of gig shoppers with robots.

(Bloomberg) — Instacart Inc. has an audacious plan to replace its army of gig shoppers with robots—part of a long-term strategy to cut costs and put its relationship with supermarket chains on a sustainable footing.

Jun 1, 2021

Europe picks EuroQCI satellite quantum communications consortium

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, space

TAMPA, Fla. — Europe has tasked an Airbus-led group to devise its own quantum communications network as startup Arqit raises $400 million for a space-based system.

Airbus said May 31 the European Commission awarded the group a contract to study a quantum technology-powered network, called EuroQCI, to secure critical infrastructure across Europe.

The 15-month agreement is worth several millions of euros, Airbus Defence and Space spokesperson Bruno Daffix told SpaceNews.

Jun 1, 2021

‘Gene therapy is a game changer for our son’

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

A five-month-old becomes the first person in England to get a drug with a list price of £1.79m.