Menu

Blog

Page 6289

Apr 17, 2020

About the Event 201 exercise

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, economics, finance, government, health, policy, security

Talk being ahead of the curve;


Event 201 was a 3.5-hour pandemic tabletop exercise that simulated a series of dramatic, scenario-based facilitated discussions, confronting difficult, true-to-life dilemmas associated with response to a hypothetical, but scientifically plausible, pandemic. 15 global business, government, and public health leaders were players in the simulation exercise that highlighted unresolved real-world policy and economic issues that could be solved with sufficient political will, financial investment, and attention now and in the future.

The exercise consisted of pre-recorded news broadcasts, live “staff” briefings, and moderated discussions on specific topics. These issues were carefully designed in a compelling narrative that educated the participants and the audience.

Continue reading “About the Event 201 exercise” »

Apr 17, 2020

Discovery of T cells response spectrum could new shed light on immune diseases

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The discovery that immune T cells have a spectrum of responsiveness could shed light on how our immune system responds to infections and cancer, and what goes wrong in immune diseases. Researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Open Targets, Biogen, GSK and their collaborators found that T cells responded very differently to immune signals the more ‘training’ they had been exposed to, rather than being a simple switch from naïve to experienced. This could help guide research into finding drug targets for immune diseases such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

Today’s study (14th April), published in Nature Communications, also revealed that even highly trained memory T cells are less rigidly specialized than previously thought, and are able to respond to new immune signals. This has implications for immune research, and could help understand for example how the body responds to infections.

T cells are key white blood cells that fight infection and disease, and act like police directing the immune system response. Babies are born with inexperienced — naïve — T cells, which change as they come into contact with bacteria or viruses, to create specific memory T cells that can ‘remember’ fighting against these infections. These memory T cells can then react more quickly the next time they meet the same threat, telling the immune system to remove the infection rapidly. This is how vaccination protects against disease, by delivering a safe form of an invading virus or bacterium, to train our immune system by building up specific memory T cells.

Apr 17, 2020

Landmark Computer Science Proof Cascades Through Physics and Math

Posted by in categories: computing, mathematics, quantum physics, science

Computer scientists established a new boundary on computationally verifiable knowledge. In doing so, they solved major open problems in quantum mechanics and pure mathematics.

Apr 17, 2020

Researchers reveal the mechanisms behind a natural bacteria killer

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, nanotechnology

Scientists are one step closer to adapting the bacteria-killing power of a naturally occurring nanomachine, a tiny particle that performs a mechanical action.

In a study published in Nature, a UCLA-led team of researchers describe how the nanomachine recognizes and kills bacteria, and report that they have imaged it at atomic resolution. The scientists also engineered their own versions of the nanomachine, which enabled them to produce variations that behaved differently from the naturally occurring version.

Continue reading “Researchers reveal the mechanisms behind a natural bacteria killer” »

Apr 17, 2020

NASA to launch astronauts from U.S. soil for the first time in nearly a decade with help from SpaceX

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel

NASA and SpaceX are targeting May 27 for the launch of Demo-2, the first launch of NASA astronauts from the U.S. since 2011 and the first crewed launch for Elon Musk’s space company.

As its name implies, Demo-2 will be the second time the company launches its Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station. But, unlike Demo-1 last year, this time two astronauts will be on board – a pair that will be the first NASA astronauts to launch from the U.S. since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.

Apr 17, 2020

Brain Regeneration

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Researchers all over the world are honing in on drugs that promote the regeneration of myelin — a substance in the brain critical for its normal function.

Apr 17, 2020

Humans, Like Other Animals, May Have a Magnetic Sixth Sense

Posted by in category: futurism

What was once fringe science is becoming mainstream — scientists now believe that humans may be able to detect Earth’s magnetic field.

Apr 17, 2020

Preparing for a Dark Future: Biological Warfare in the 21st Century

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, finance, government, health, military, neuroscience, policy

Of the spread of COVID-19 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and the subsequent relief of its Commanding Officer has highlighted the tension that exists between maintaining military readiness and the need to safeguard the health of members of the armed forces in the face of a pandemic.

The disease has been a feature of war for the vast majority of human history – from the plague that ravaged Athens early in the Peloponnesian War, killing the Athenian strategos Pericles; to the diseases that European settlers brought with them to the New World, devastating local populations; to the host of tropical diseases that caused appalling casualties in the China-Burma-India and Southwest Pacific theaters in World War II. The fact that we were surprised by the emergence, growth, and spread of COVID-19 reflects the false conceit of 21st century life that we have “conquered” disease.

In fact, pandemics are but one class of low-probability but high-impact contingencies that we could face in the coming years, including an earthquake or other natural disaster in a major urban area, regime change in an important state, and the collapse of financial markets leading to a global depression. When I served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning between 2006 and 2009, we explored a series of such “shocks” as well as the role the Defense Department could play in responding to them as a way of helping the Department’s leaders address such contingencies. During my time in the Pentagon, we also held a series of wargames with members of Congress and their staff, governors of several states and their cabinets, and the government of Mexico, to explore in depth the consequences of a pandemic. Much of what we found then resonates with what we are experiencing now.

Apr 17, 2020

Artificial Intelligence as a Godlike Tool for Experimentation

Posted by in categories: habitats, robotics/AI, supercomputing

When we think of the interaction between mankind and any type of artificial intelligence in mythology, literature, and pop culture, the outcomes are always negative for humanity, if not apocalyptic. In Greek mythology, the blacksmith god Hephaestus created automatons who served as his attendants, and one of them, Pandora, unleashed all the evils into the world. Mary Shelley wrote the character named the Monster in her 1818 novel Frankenstein, as the product of the delusions of grandeur of a scientist named Victor Frankenstein. In pop culture, the most notable cases of a once-benign piece of technology running amok is the supercomputer Hal in 2001 Space Odyssey and intelligent machines overthrowing mankind in The Matrix. Traditionally, our stories regarding the god-like creative impulse of man bring about something that will overthrow the creators themselves.

The artificial intelligence-powered art exhibition Forging the Gods, curated by Julia Kaganskiy currently on view at Transfer Gallery attempts to portray the interaction between humans and machines in a more nuanced manner, showcasing how this relationship already permeates our everyday lives. The exhibition also shows how this relation is, indeed, fully reflective of the human experience — meaning that machines are no more or less evil than we actually are.

Lauren McCarthy, with her works “LAUREN” (2017) and its follow-up “SOMEONE” (2019) riffs on the trends of smart homes: in the former, she installs and controls remote-controlled networked devices in the homes of some volunteers and plays a human version of Alexa, reasoning that she will be better than Amazon’s virtual assistant because, being a human, she can anticipate people’s needs. The follow-up SOMEONE was originally a live media performance consisting of a four-channel video installation (made to look like a booth one can find at The Wing) where gallery-goers would play human versions of Alexa themselves in the homes of some volunteers, who would have to call for “SOMEONE” in case they needed something from their smart-controlled devices. Unfortunately, what we see at Forging The Gods is the recorded footage of the original run of the performance, so we have to forgo playing God by, say, making someone’s lighting system annoyingly flicker on and off.

Apr 17, 2020

Quantum Optics Goes Meta

Posted by in category: quantum physics

Two research groups demonstrate the potential of dielectric metasurfaces for applications in quantum measurement and information.