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Jun 4, 2018

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Makes Tracks on Magical Mystery Tour of Different Rocks

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

Update from a space robot rolling around Mars!


Sols 5073–5102

Opportunity continued exploring the south trough of Perseverance in May, still looking for evidence that explains just how this one-of-a-kind valley meandering through Endeavour Crater’s rim formed, and, along the way, helped the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission chalk up yet another first, linking with three relay orbiters in one Martian day or sol to send a pipeline of data home.

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Jun 4, 2018

With a simple and cheap rocket, Virgin Orbit aims for the extraordinary

Posted by in category: futurism

Go for launch.

With a simple and cheap rocket, Virgin Orbit aims for the extraordinary.

With a first flight months away, we take a long look at the launch company.

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Jun 4, 2018

5 futuristic Westworld technologies and when they’ll be a reality

Posted by in categories: entertainment, robotics/AI

Creators of science fiction and fantasy books, films, and TV shows present stories of possible or imaginary worlds – and their presentations can range from the realistic to the fantastical. When we watch Westworld (and viewership is growing, with the season one finale drawing 2.2 million viewers ), we look forward 30 years into a potential future envisioned by its writers. Returning to the notion of reality and fantasy (or fact and fiction), the extent to which a sci-fi film might be descriptive of the future seems to be anybody’s guess.

However, we can actually get a sense of how reasonable the picture of the future that is being presented to us is if we consider it in terms of its pieces – particularly the technologies it presents. To consider the feasibility of the fascinating tools and other inventions depicted in these currently fictitious scenarios is, in some manner, to look through a window into the future. In a more functional sense, considering the show’s technology allows us a way to understand it in a broader cultural and historical context (as well as to better understand the possible future developments of these technologies through a fictional example).

Here are five key technologies from Westworld that are not AI, along with a sense of how close we are to actually having these seemingly “space-age” technologies available.

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Jun 4, 2018

An interview with Dr. Laura Weston

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

An interview with Laura Weston, medical doctor and artist, on transhumanism and rejuvenation.


The belief that science and art run on parallel tracks is largely unsubstantiated, and Dr. Laura Weston—a scientist, an artist, and a LEAF volunteer—is a great example of this. Dr. Weston is both a molecular pathologist and a painter, and she has recently launched her own art gallery. Being a passionate life extensionist and, more generally, a transhumanist, Laura undertook this project because of her belief that art can and should take part in shaping a better future for everyone; art hosted in her gallery will certainly do this in the traditional way of conveying a message but also more directly, since part of the proceeds from sales will be destined for conservation charities, medical research, and even LEAF—which we are all most grateful for.

Artists and art enthusiasts who want to make a difference for important causes, including life extension, now have their chance to do so by contributing their own art or buying their favorite works. Pieces hosted at Katrin Brunier—Laura’s nom de plume—are examples of abstract works inspired by transhumanist themes; you can admire a sample below or visit the gallery’s Instagram page.

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Jun 4, 2018

China to build a new space station as ISS faces investment woes

Posted by in categories: futurism, space

As the International Space Station (ISS) faces future funding cutbacks, China has jumped into the fray with off-world plans of its own.

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Jun 4, 2018

Cockroach sushi? Inside a farming revolution that could cure cancer, compost waste – and shake up menus

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

There is a history of insects’ acceptability as ingredients for Chinese medicine, as pets, and even as food. Yet in selling the idea to the general public, especially those living in big cities, there is still a way to go.


Hundreds of cockroach farmers across China are unleashing the insects’ potential in the country’s war on waste, in medicine, and deep or stir-fried.

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Jun 4, 2018

Study finds the limits of putting oneself in another’s shoes (instead, ask and listen)

Posted by in category: futurism

Important — “Understanding the mind of another person is therefore enabled by getting perspective, not simply taking perspective.”


I still remem­ber the time I tried to com­fort one of my best friends when her father died. Because I’d lost my own par­ents years before, I thought I under­stood her pain. But, when I offered sym­pa­thy, she balked. Her father’s death had been tran­scen­dent, filled with love and fam­i­ly con­nec­tion. She didn’t feel pain; she felt at peace.

Try­ing to see where anoth­er per­son is com­ing from is often tout­ed as a key to empa­thy. If we imag­ine our­selves in their shoes, the think­ing goes, we’ll be able to pre­dict their feel­ings and their behav­ior, bridg­ing the gap between self and oth­er. This is con­sid­ered a skill—sometimes called “the­o­ry of mind”—that begins in child­hood and devel­ops through­out our lives, help­ing us to nav­i­gate social sit­u­a­tions gracefully.

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Jun 4, 2018

Artificial Intelligence (AI) In China: The Amazing Ways Tencent Is Driving It’s Adoption

Posted by in categories: government, robotics/AI

Chinese company Tencent is driving (AI) development in the country to help the Chinese government achieve its goal of being the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. Tencent invests in research and development, other tech companies and personnel to help it achieve its AI ambitions.

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Jun 4, 2018

Discovery of DNA Structure and Function: Watson and Crick

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Many people believe that American biologist James Watson and English physicist Francis Crick discovered DNA in the 1950s. In reality, this is not the case. Rather, DNA was first identified in the late 1860s by Swiss chemist Friedrich Miescher. Then, in the decades following Miescher’s discovery, other scientists—notably, Phoebus Levene and Erwin Chargaff—carried out a series of research efforts that revealed additional details about the DNA molecule, including its primary chemical components and the ways in which they joined with one another. Without the scientific foundation provided by these pioneers, Watson and Crick may never have reached their groundbreaking conclusion of 1953: that the DNA molecule exists in the form of a three-dimensional double helix.

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Jun 4, 2018

Advancing astronomy one laser at a time

Posted by in category: space

ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Paranal Observatory, Chile, is the world’s most advanced optical instrument. The VLT uses state-of-the-art technology to provide the sharpest possible images, including adaptive optics with the laser guide stars shown in this image. The VLT uses these lasers to measure the turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere, and responds by changing the shape of a mirror to counteract the negative effects of this turbulence.

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