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May 24, 2018

NASA is bringing cryosleep chambers out of fiction and into science

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, space travel

You probably thought it was infinitely cool when Ripley and the crew of the Nostromo first emerged from their cryosleep chambers in Alien, but now that slice of sci-fi could become a reality in our lifetime.

NASA and SpaceWorks Enterprises are currently developing a stasis chamber (as opposed to individual pods like those in the movie) that could induce an extended state of torpor, or metabolic inactivity medically brought on by lowering body temperature to the point of mild hypothermia, that could allow astronauts to snooze for at least two weeks on end during longer missions. Also unlike Alien, in which everyone is temporarily in freeze-frame until the ship arrives at its destination, the crew would rotate cryosleep shifts so there is always someone conscious in case something goes awry where no one can here you scream.

SpaceWorks’ objective is to “place crew and passengers in a prolonged hypothermic state during space-mission transit phases (outbound and Earth-return) to significantly reduce the system mass, power, habitable volume, and medical challenges associated with long-duration space exploration,” as explained on their website.

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May 24, 2018

Vascular risk appears to accelerate cognitive decline in old age

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, neuroscience

Vascular risk and accumulation of beta-amyloids seem to accelerate the rate of cognitive decline in elderly adults.

Vascular risk appears to be a strong predictor of dementia, especially in older individuals with high levels of brain beta-amyloids, and the interaction between these two risk factors might lead to a higher rate of cognitive decline, according to a recent study at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an age-related neurological disorder whose most feared outcome is dementia, along with other symptoms, such as behavioral issues, loss of motivation, and even the inability to take care of oneself. Patients suffering from AD exhibit an accumulation of plaques in their brains; these plaques, resulting from the build-up of amyloid-beta protein, have long been thought to be the cause of the disease, though other hypotheses have been put forward as well.

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May 24, 2018

NAD+ Regulates the Creation of Fat Cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

After NAD+ is consumed, it is broken down into nicotinamides and ADP-ribose; the researchers concluded that this means that NAD+ must be resynthesized following this in order for normal cellular functions to continue. This converges with previous studies, which suggest that NAD+ decline leads to changes in metabolism and an increased risk factor for some diseases; this typically happens as the result of aging, as NAD+ levels begin to fall.

With this in mind, the research team thought that cellular metabolism and gene regulation were potentially connected to NAD+ synthesis. They discovered evidence suggesting that compartmentalized NAD+ synthesis and the subsequent consumption are integrated with glucose metabolism and adipogenic transcription as part of the adipocyte differentiation process.

NAD+ synthesis acts as a mediator of PARP-1-regulated transcription during the differentiation of adipocytes, linking cellular metabolism and the adipogenic transcription process. During adipogenesis, nuclear NAD+ levels fall, causing the induction of NMNAT-2, the cytoplasmic NAD+ synthase. This increased level of NMNAT-2 then reduces the availability of NMN and leads to a reduction of nuclear NAD+ synthesis via NMNAT-1. The drop in NAD+ levels then results in decreased PARP-1 activity, which then reduces levels of inhibitory ADP-ribosylation of the adipogenic transcription factor C/EBPβ. Reduced ADP-ribosylation of C/EBPβ means that it is able to bind its target genes, thus promoting the differentiation of preadipocytes into adipocytes. In other words, a decline of NAD+ encourages an increase of preadipocytes turning into adipocyte fat cells.

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May 24, 2018

Drawing Machine by James Nolan Gandy

Posted by in category: futurism

“Spirograph 2.0” or something…

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May 24, 2018

The ‘Teslonda’ is a Honda Accord with a Tesla motor

Posted by in category: futurism

Click on photo to start video.

Meet the ‘Teslonda’ — the Honda Accord with a Tesla motor.

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May 24, 2018

250m radius Settlement Cam 09-time-lapse (2010−2018)

Posted by in category: futurism

When starting a project, I like to set up some specific camera locations that I use to review the state of design at different stages. This allows me to look back at the progress and decisions that were made along the way. To me, this enhances the process to the point where the final design becomes secondary to how I got there. Although I usually enjoy the final product, I always love the process.

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May 24, 2018

Ignore the hype over big tech. Its products are mostly useless

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, space

Despite this, a regular ritual of hype and hysteria is now built into the news cycle. Every now and again, at some huge auditorium, a senior staff member at one of the big firms based in northern California – ordinarily a man – will take the stage dressed in box-fresh casualwear, and inform the gathered multitudes of some hitherto unimagined leap forward, supposedly destined to transform millions of lives. (There will be whoops and gasps in response, and a splurge of media coverage – before, in the wider world, a palpable feeling of anticlimax sets in.)

It’s years since Silicon Valley gave us a game-changer. Instead, from curing disease to colonies on Mars, we’re fed overblown promises, says Guardian columnist John Harris.

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May 23, 2018

What If Time Travel Was Possible?

Posted by in category: time travel


When would you travel to?

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May 23, 2018

Atomic-scale manufacturing now a reality

Posted by in categories: climatology, particle physics, robotics/AI

Scientists at the University of Alberta have applied a machine learning technique using artificial intelligence to perfect and automate atomic-scale manufacturing, something which has never been done before. The vastly greener, faster, smaller technology enabled by this development greatly reduces impact on the climate while still satisfying the insatiable demands of the information age.

“Most of us thought we’d never be able to automate atomic writing and editing, but stubborn persistence has paid off, and now Research Associate Moe Rashidi has done it,” said Robert Wolkow, professor of physics at the University of Alberta, who along with his Research Associate has just published a paper announcing their findings.

“Until now, we printed with about as efficiently as medieval monks produced books,” explained Wolkow. “For a long while, we have had the equivalent of a pen for writing with atoms, but we had to write manually. So we couldn’t mass produce atom-scale devices, and we couldn’t commercialize anything. Now that has all changed, much like the disruption following the arrival of the printing press for those medieval monks. Machine learning has automated the atom fabrication process, and an atom-scale manufacturing revolution is sure to follow.”

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May 23, 2018

The Marshall Islands replaces the US dollar with its own cryptocurrency

Posted by in categories: cryptocurrencies, finance, government, law

The Marshall Islands made its own cryptocurrency, doing away with the US dollar. The government has signed the change into law, making the “sovereign” its new official cryptocurrency, as spotted by CNBC Africa cryptocurrency trader host Ran Neuner on Twitter yesterday.

The bill was signed into effect on March 1st, but the news is making waves again this week. The Marshall Islands’ population is 53,066, so the change doesn’t affect many, but it is significant for citizens of the islands because banks and credit card companies will need to begin accepting it. With the recent change, US dollars are still likely to be accepted on the Marshall Islands — the sovereign will just be considered the nation’s official legal tender.

In February, top officials from the Marshall Islands confirmed that the Pacific republic would issue its own cryptocurrency to be circulated as legal tender. The digital coin also received approval from the country’s parliament. “As a country, we reserve the right to issue a currency in whatever form it is, whether in digital or fiat form,” said David Paul, minister-in-assistance to the president of the Marshall Islands, to Reuters at the time.

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