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Jul 3, 2020

Stablecoins: The Next Gold Rush? – Article

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, finance

What money should be has been explored by more than one economist. What it is, strange as it may sound, is also up for debate. Yet amidst these disputes, practical and abstract, there is consensus.

At this time the entire crypto market is valued between 380 and 560 billion USD. The value of all the world’s stocks is around 70 trillion USD. The daily volume of the Forex is 5.1 trillion USD. Despite the excitement it periodically sparks in mass media and high finance circles, crypto is barely a drop in the bucket.

As I stated in my response to Robert Shiller’s critique of Bitcoin, tokenization is a means of dividing an asset. Tokenization, easily dividing an asset among stakeholders, is a strength of blockchain technology. Tokens can represent abstract entities issued on the blockchain, but they can also be tethered to a piece of real estate, a work of art, a trademark, or a freighter of Chilean copper.

Jul 3, 2020

Check Out the U.S. Army’s New High-Tech Joint Light Tactical Vehicle

Posted by in category: transportation

They just ordered 248 more of them.

Jul 3, 2020

U.S. says leaking nuclear waste dome is safe; Marshall Islands leaders don’t believe it

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

The DOE says that radioactive leakage from Runit Dome, a respository for U.S. atomic waste, is insignificant. Marshall Islands leaders are skeptical.

Jul 3, 2020

How the brain builds a sense of self from the people around us – new research

Posted by in category: neuroscience

How does the brain distinguish between the “self” and the “other”? A new study gives a clue.

Jul 3, 2020

Glowing bacteria could slow the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government

The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria presents an ominous threat for humankind, with these so-called superbugs projected to kill millions of people annually by midway through the century. Scientists at the University of Exeter have developed a promising technique that could help us keep these crafty foes in check, by quickly illuminating bacteria when antibiotics have had the desired effect.

Such is the seriousness of superbug dilemma that one UK government report recently found they could kill 10 million people a year by 2050 unless some new solutions are found. These are bacteria that have evolved to become resistant to our very best drugs, and they could possibly cast the world back into the dark ages of medicine if they are simply left to do their thing.

While this resistance occurs naturally as bacteria evolve, one of the major contributing factors to its acceleration is the overuse of antibiotics. Prescribing antibiotics for humans and having them take drugs either for the wrong condition or consume more than they need, creates more opportunities for the bacteria to evolve, ramping up the overall trend.

Jul 3, 2020

Toward lasers powerful enough to investigate a new kind of physics

Posted by in categories: innovation, quantum physics

In a paper that made the cover of the journal Applied Physics Letters, an international team of researchers has demonstrated an innovative technique for increasing the intensity of lasers. This approach, based on the compression of light pulses, would make it possible to reach a threshold intensity for a new type of physics that has never been explored before: quantum electrodynamics phenomena.

Researchers Jean-Claude Kieffer of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), E. A. Khazanov of the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences and in France Gérard Mourou, Professor Emeritus of the Ecole Polytechnique, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018, have chosen another direction to achieve a power of around 1023 watts (W). Rather than increasing the energy of the laser, they decrease the pulse duration to only a few femtoseconds. This would keep the system within a reasonable size and keep operating costs down.

To generate the shortest possible pulse, the researchers are exploiting the effects of non-linear optics. “A is sent through an extremely thin and perfectly homogeneous glass plate. The particular behavior of the wave inside this solid medium broadens the spectrum and allows for a shorter pulse when it is recompressed at the exit of the plate,” explains Jean-Claude Kieffer, co-author of the study published online on 15 June 2020 in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

Jul 3, 2020

Not so random acts: Science finds that being kind pays off

Posted by in category: science

Acts of kindness may not be that random after all. Science says being kind pays off.

Research shows that make us feel better and healthier. Kindness is also key to how we evolved and survived as a species, scientists say. We are hard-wired to be kind.

Kindness “is as bred in our bones as our anger or our lust or our grief or as our desire for revenge,” said University of California San Diego psychologist Michael McCullough, author of the forthcoming book “Kindness of Strangers.” It’s also, he said, “the main feature we take for granted.”

Jul 3, 2020

What is the point in having a nervous system?

Posted by in category: futurism

Can some animals really exist without a nervous system? Trichoplax, an animal that evolved about a billion years ago, might give us an answer.

Jul 3, 2020

Astronomers discovered the first exposed core of a planet

Posted by in category: space

Astronomers have discovered the surviving core of a gas giant, orbiting a distant star. The discovery provides a unique opportunity to analyse the interior of a planet first-hand.

Jul 3, 2020

Fastest-Growing Black Hole as Big as 34 Billion Suns

Posted by in category: cosmology

Scientists have estimated the mass of the fastest-growing black hole in the universe, and found it is 34 billion times the mass of the sun.