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Sep 23, 2020

Saving Carpathia, The Vast Wilderness in the Heart of Europe

Posted by in categories: business, energy, government, policy, sustainability

Karen Potter, Director of Sustainability Hub and ideaXme sustainability ambassador interviews Christoph Promberger, M.Sc., Executive Director Foundation Conservation Carpathia (FCC). https://www.carpathia.org

Karen Potter comments:

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Sep 23, 2020

Solarpunk: Post-Industrial Design and Aesthetics

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

Introduction: In recent years a futurist aesthetic movement has emerged in response to renewed public concern for the environment and a seeming lack of reflection of that concern in much contemporary art and design. Deriving its name from similar aesthetic movements such as Cyberpunk and Steampunk, its roots lay in various eco/climate science fiction and Post-Industrial futurist literature and is considered ‘punk’ in the sense that it is reactionary, and in opposition, to both the naive corporate utopianism that dominated the 20th century and the dystopianism that emerged in its wake by the end of that century, persisting to the present. We now live in an era where pragmatism is a radical stance. Thus Solarpunk seeks to cultivate a positive, hopeful, vision of a future rooted in technologies and culture of sustainability, yet in the context of what it acknowledges will be dramatic changes in our way of life due to Global Warming and the environmental malfeasance of the past, the transition to a renewables-based infrastructure, and the collapse of Industrial Age paradigms. A culture that has weathered the dramatic disruptions coming with the end of the Industrial Age, taken its sometimes bitter lessons from that, and found a way forward.

What makes Solarpunk ‘punk’ is an underlying activist/revolutionary narrative it shares with the earlier punk movements tracing its origins to the narrative of one of Science Fiction’s earliest ‘antiheroes’; Captain Nemo of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Long mischaracterized in film, the original character of Nemo is an Indian victim of European colonialism who is radicalized by the murder of his family by colonialists. He then appropriates and improves upon the technology of the colonialist powers not just to fight against them but to create a model egalitarian society of the future in the secret haven of the underwater underworld, beyond the reach of those colonial powers. Thus he becomes the prototype tech-hero, turning the oppressors/dominators technology against them and repurposing it for the benefit of the rest of society.

Sep 23, 2020

JAXA teams with GITAI for world-first private sector space robotics demo

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space

Space robotics startup GITAI and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are teaming up to produce the world’s first robotics demonstration in space by a private company. The new agreement under the JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation (J-SPARC) initiative aims to demonstrate the potential for robots to automate of the processing of specific tasks aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Robotics is altering many aspects of our lives in many fields and one where it is particularly attractive is in the exploration and exploitation of space. Ironically, the great strides made in manned spaceflight since the first Vostok mission lifted off in 1961 have shown that not only is supporting astronauts in orbit challenging and expensive, there are also many tasks, like microgravity experiments, where the human touch isn’t the best choice.

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Sep 23, 2020

Microsoft AI boasts 97% accuracy in detecting software bugs

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

Software bugs are a tale as old as time — which, in the case of programming, means about 75 years. In 1947, programmer Grace Murray Hopper was working on a Mark II Computer at Harvard University when she noticed a moth that was stuck in the relay, preventing the computer program from running. It was the first “bug”, and countless others have followed since then.

In the history of programming, bugs have ranged from harmless to absolutely catastrophic. In 1986 and 1987, several patients were killed after a Therac-25 radiation therapy device malfunctioned due to an error by an inexperienced programmer, and a software bug might have also triggered one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, at a Soviet trans-Siberian gas pipeline.

While events such as this are rare, it’s safe to say that software bugs can do a lot of damage and waste a lot of time (and resources). According to recent analysis, the average programmer produces 70 bugs per 1,000 lines of code, with each bug demanding 30 times more time to fix than it took to write the code in the first place. In the US alone, an estimated $113 billion is spent identifying and fixing code bugs…

Sep 23, 2020

DeepCode cleans your code with the power of AI

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Zurich-based DeepCode claims that their system — essentially a tool for analyzing and improving code — is like Grammarly for programmers. The system, which uses a corpus of 250,000 rules, reads your public and private GitHub repositories and tells you how to fix problems, remain compatible and generally improve your programs.

Founded by Veselin Raychev, advisor Martin Vechev and Boris Paskalev, the team has extensive experience in machine learning and AI research. This project is a spin-off from ETH in Switzerland and is a standalone research project turned programming utility.

Sep 23, 2020

Metformin Treatment Linked to Slowed Cognitive Decline

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Summary: Metformin, a drug commonly used to treat diabetes, slows cognitive decline and reduces dementia risk in older people with diabetes.

Source: garvan institute of medical research.

Metformin is the first-line treatment for most cases of type 2 diabetes and one of the most commonly prescribed medications worldwide, with millions of individuals using it to optimise their blood glucose levels.

Sep 23, 2020

Scientists identify dozens of genes allowing cancer cells to evade the immune system

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Toronto scientists have mapped the genes allowing cancer cells to avoid getting killed by the immune system in a finding that paves the way for the development of immunotherapies that would be effective for larger patient populations and across different tumour types.

“Over the last decade, different forms of immunotherapy have emerged as really potent cancer treatments but the reality is that they only generate durable responses in a fraction of patients and not for all tumour types,” says Jason Moffat, a professor of molecular genetics in the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research at the University of Toronto who led the work.

The study also revealed the need for to take into account the genetic composition of tumours because of mutations in the cancer cells that can potentially make the disease worse in response to treatment, often referred to as cancer resistance mutations.

Sep 23, 2020

Unlocking a 140-year-old secret mystery in physics

Posted by in category: physics

Circa 2019


Unlocking the physical characteristics of semiconductors in much greater detail.

Sep 23, 2020

A Robot Beats Humans at Their Own Game—This Time on the Ice

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

The triumph of a robot named Curly is the latest example of machines besting humans, but other big wins for the robots have been in digital environments; “with every throw, the ice changes.”

Sep 23, 2020

Scientists identify new species of crystal-encrusted truffle, thanks to bonobos

Posted by in category: futurism

Mushroom-munching bonobos in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have introduced scientists to a new species of truffle.

Commonly used by Congolese communities to bait traps for , Hysterangium is also savored by bonobos, an endangered species of great ape. Scientists say the hints at vast reserves of undescribed fungal diversity in the region.

“Truffles aren’t just for gourmet chefs—they’re also for our closest relatives,” said Matthew Smith, an associate professor in the University of Florida department of plant pathology and curator of the UF fungal herbarium. “There’s so much to learn about this system, and we’re just scratching the surface.”