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Jun 2, 2018

New blood test could be the ‘holy grail of cancer research’

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

A blood test could one day save millions by allowing doctors to screen for cancer before patients show symptoms.

The test, called a “liquid biopsy,” screens for 10 types of the disease by detecting trace amounts of DNA released into the bloodstream by cancer cells. So far, it has proven particularly capable of detecting ovarian and pancreatic cancer, both of which have significantly lower mortality rates when caught early enough to perform surgery as a means of removing the cancer. Unfortunately, most are caught after patients begin to show symptoms, which is often after the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

“This is potentially the holy grail of cancer research, to find cancers that are currently hard to cure at an earlier stage when they are easier to cure,” says Dr. Eric Klein of Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute. “We hope this test could save many lives.”

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Jun 2, 2018

Colliding Neutron Stars Likely Birthed a Baby Black Hole

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

On August 17, 2017, astronomers witnessed an extraordinary celestial event: a collision between two ultra-dense neutron stars. Scientists had never seen anything quite like it, leading to much speculation as to what happened in the wake of the monumental encounter. New research now suggests the collision produced a black hole—but if true, it would be the lightest black hole known to science.

The thought of two neutron stars smashing into each other is nothing short of astounding. Neutron stars are stellar corpses—the remnants supernovae—and they cram a huge amount of mass into a ludicrously small sphere. Typical neutron stars are only as wide as a large city, but they’re about a half million times more massive than Earth, or about two solar masses.

A collision of two neutron stars may seem unlikely, but it happened. Data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo interferometer showed that shit got completely wild in the moments leading up to the colossal smash up. For a period of about two minutes, the binary pair spiraled around each other with unimaginable speed, spewing gravitational waves into the cosmic void. Each orbit brought the pair closer together, culminating in a collision that produced a giant shockwave.

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Jun 2, 2018

Scientists Are Teaching AI to do Household Chores

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Someday, AI robot assistants might be able to make you a coffee after watching you do it.

MIT CSAIL

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Jun 2, 2018

The FDA Puts the Brakes on a Major CRISPR Trial in Humans

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The FDA has denied CRISPR Therapeutics’s application to move forward with a study intended to treat sickle cell disease with CRISPR.

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Jun 2, 2018

A Major Physics Experiment Just Detected A Particle That Shouldn’t Exist

Posted by in category: particle physics

Scientists have produced the firmest evidence yet of so-called sterile neutrinos, mysterious particles that pass through matter without interacting with it at all.

The first hints these elusive particles turned up decades ago. But after years of dedicated searches, scientists have been unable to find any other evidence for them, with many experiments contradicting those old results. These new results now leave scientists with two robust experiments that seem to demonstrate the existence of sterile neutrinos, even as other experiments continue to suggest sterile neutrinos don’t exist at all.

That means there’s something strange happening in the universe that is making humanity’s most cutting-edge physics experiments contradict one another. [The 18 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics].

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Jun 2, 2018

Hawaii volcano lava burns 2 buildings at geothermal plant

Posted by in category: futurism

The company that owns a geothermal plant near Hawaii’s erupting volcano says lava has burned down a substation and adjacent warehouse at the complex.

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Jun 2, 2018

This Smartphone Pioneer Is Fighting to Create a Transhumanist Superdemocracy

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, robotics/AI, sustainability, transhumanism

It’s a philosophy best exemplified by Wood’s book released last month, Transcending Politics: A Technoprogressive Roadmap to a Comprehensively Better Future, which starts by declaring politics “broken,” technology as something that “risks making matters worse,” and deems transhumanism the force that can fix it all “comprehensively”:


David Wood, a transhumanist who co-founded Symbian in 1998, is working to develop a transhumanist superdemocracy that uses the best parts of artificial intelligence and communication to draw on the likes of Zoltan Istvan and Peter Thiel in a new movement to create longevity and sustainable abundance for all.

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Jun 2, 2018

8 Amazing CRISPR projects that could change life as we know it

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

8 Amazing CRISPR gene editing projects that could change life as we know it.


Since it burst onto the scene a decade ago, CRISPR-Cas9 has shaken the field of genetics to its core. Offering a new genomic editing tool that’s faster, cheaper and more accurate than previous approaches, it opens up an astonishing breadth of possible applications.

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Jun 1, 2018

News: SMAP, the spacecraft I once worked on, is providing relative moisture data from the Earth’s surface

Posted by in categories: food, health, space travel

It’s interesting to note that eastern Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas are experiencing much less soil moisture during the middle of May…


Data from the first NASA satellite mission dedicated to measuring the water content of soils is now being used operationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to monitor global croplands and make commodity forecasts.

The Soil Moisture Active Passive mission, or SMAP, launched in 2015 and has helped map the amount of water in soils worldwide. Now, with tools developed by a team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, SMAP soil moisture data are being incorporated into the Crop Explorer website of the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, which reports on regional droughts, floods and crop forecasts. Crop Explorer is a clearinghouse for global agricultural growing conditions, such as soil moisture, temperature, precipitation, vegetation health and more.

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Jun 1, 2018

Evidence Found for a New Fundamental Particle

Posted by in category: particle physics

An experiment at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago has detected far more electron neutrinos than predicted — a possible harbinger of a revolutionary new elementary particle called the sterile neutrino, though many physicists remain skeptical.

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