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Dec 9, 2016

This AI’s attempt to write a Christmas carol is absolutely bone-chilling

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Computers are getting smarter, but first they’re stuck in some sort of uncanny valley of intelligence, reassembling normal, everyday objects into increasingly creepy combinations. First came the revelations of Google’s DeepDream technology, which, in learning to “see” objects, “saw” creepy multi-eyed organisms all over the place, turning the world into a half-sentient dog-like mess.

Now, researchers in Toronto have used a technology called “neural karaoke” to teach a computer to write a song after looking at a photo, and the little carol it penned after viewing a festive Christmas tree is an absolutely horrifying display of what these things think of us.

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Dec 9, 2016

Warehouses promised lots of jobs, but robot workforce slows hiring

Posted by in categories: employment, robotics/AI

Big corporations prefer robots to human employees.

It’s a sign of things to come.

In the last five years, online shopping has produced tens of thousands of new warehouse jobs in California, many of them in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The bulk of them paid blue collar people decent wages to do menial tasks – putting things in boxes and sending them out to the world.

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Dec 9, 2016

Tesla Gigafactory Launch

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability

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Dec 9, 2016

Houston, we have power: Space-based solar power could be the final frontier in renewable energy

Posted by in categories: health, solar power, space travel, sustainability

Yes, renewable energy technologies exist. But solar power, the one with arguably the most promise for significant, scalable deployment, is intermittent. Although the sun provides more energy in one hour than humans consume in a year, we can only tap into this power when the sun is shining. At least, that’s been the predominant school of thought.

But since the 1960s, a group of researchers from NASA and the Pentagon have been thinking outside the box — or in this case, outside the atmosphere. Solar power captured in outer space would not be limited by nighttime hours or cloud cover. And — unlike 23 percent of current incoming solar energy — it wouldn’t be absorbed by water vapor, dust and ozone before reaching us. Finally, because space solar is constant, it wouldn’t need to be stored, which can lead to energy losses of up to 50 percent. In other words, taking our solar panels from the ground to the cosmos could be a great deal more efficient. It may also be key to humanity’s survival.

“In countries right now where they’re trying to deal with poverty, water scarcity, poor health, lack of education and political instability — these are all things you need energy in order to fight,” Paul Jaffe, PhD, spacecraft engineer at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, said in a recent TakeApart story. Or, as John C. Mankins, founder of Mankins Space Technology and author of “The Case for Space Based Solar,” told Salon, “In the long run, renewable large-scale energy sources such as space solar power are essential to sustaining industrial civilization, and the long and increasingly high quality of lives that we enjoy.”

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Dec 9, 2016

Artificial beta cells

Posted by in category: futurism

Pesquisadores liderados por ETH Professor Martin Fussenegger no Departamento de Ciência e Engenharia Biosystems (D-BSSE) em Basel ter produzido células beta artificiais utilizando uma abordagem de engenharia simples.

As células artificiais beta pode fazer tudo o que as naturais fazem: eles medem a concentração de glicose no sangue e produz insulina suficiente para reduzir eficazmente o nível de açúcar no sangue. Os pesquisadores ETH apresentou o seu desenvolvimento na última edição da revista Ciência.

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Dec 9, 2016

An anti-CRISPR for gene editing

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

Researchers have discovered a way to program cells to inhibit CRISPR-Cas9 activity. “Anti-CRISPR” proteins had previously been isolated from viruses that infect bacteria, but now University of Toronto and University of Massachusetts Medical School scientists report three families of proteins that turn off CRISPR systems specifically used for gene editing. The work, which appears December 15 in Cell, offers a new strategy to prevent CRISPR-Cas9 technology from making unwanted changes.

“Making CRISPR controllable allows you to have more layers of control on the system and to turn it on or off under certain conditions, such as where it works within a cell or at what point in time,” says lead author Alan Davidson, a phage biologist and bacteriologist at the University of Toronto. “The three anti-CRISPR proteins we’ve isolated seem to bind to different parts of the Cas9, and there are surely more out there.”

CRISPR inhibitors are a natural byproduct of the evolutionary arms race between viruses and bacteria. Bacteria use CRISPR-Cas complexes to target and cut up genetic material from invading viruses. In response, viruses have developed proteins that, upon infection, can quickly bind to a host bacterium’s CRISPR-Cas systems, thus nullifying their effects.

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Dec 9, 2016

Russian spacebot put through its paces on Earth before being blasted to the ISS

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel

A series of new images reveals the most detailed glimpse yet at Fyodor, the Russian spacebot bound for the International Space Station. The humanoid robot lift weights, and can drive a car.

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Dec 8, 2016

Age-Related Inflammation and its Effects on the Generation of Immune Cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

The effects or Inflammation and the effect it has on the immune system are discussed in this article at FightAging!

With age, the immune system falls into a state of ever increasing chronic inflammation, a process known as inflammaging: the immune system is overactive, but nonetheless declines in effectiveness at the same time. Researchers here consider how inflammaging can damage the bone marrow stem cell populations responsible for generating immune cells, possibly the basis for a vicious cycle in which the failures of the immune system feed upon themselves to accelerate age-related damage and dysfunction.

Hematopoiesis is an active, continuous process involving the production and consumption of mature blood cells that constitute the hemato-lymphoid system. All blood cells arise from a small population of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the bone marrow (BM) that have two unique properties: self-renewing capacity, the ability to generate themselves, and multi-lineage differentiation capacity, the ability to produce all blood cell types. Since, in the steady state, most adult HSCs are in the G0 phase of the cell cycle, i.e., they are quiescent and are estimated to turnover slowly on a monthly time scale, daily hematopoietic production is mainly sustained by highly proliferative downstream hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs).

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Dec 8, 2016

John Glenn, first American to orbit the Earth, dies at 95

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, military, space

John Glenn, who captured the nation’s attention in 1962 as the first American to orbit the Earth during a tense time when the United States sought supremacy over the Soviet Union in the space race, and who rocketed back into space 36 years later, becoming the oldest astronaut in history, died Dec. 8 at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Glenn, who in his post-NASA career served four terms as a U.S. senator from Ohio, was 95.

The death was confirmed by Hank Wilson, communications director at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State University. Mr. Glenn had a stroke after heart-valve replacement surgery in 2014, but the immediate cause was not announced.

Mr. Glenn was one of the seven original astronauts in NASA’s Mercury program, which was a conspicuous symbol of the country’s military and technological might at the height of the Cold War. He was not the first American in space — two of his fellow astronauts preceded him — but his three-orbit circumnavigation of the globe captured the imagination of his countrymen like few events before or since. Mr. Glenn was the last survivor of the Mercury Seven.

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Dec 8, 2016

Another step closer to artificial blood

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Artificial blood takes a big step forward!

(HealthDay)—Artificial blood stored as a powder could one day revolutionize emergency medicine and provide trauma victims a better chance of survival.

Researchers have created an artificial that effectively picks up in the lungs and delivers it to tissues throughout the body.

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