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Oct 12, 2017

Investors Haven’t Seen an Opportunity Like This in Decades

Posted by in categories: engineering, transportation

Hyperloop One has received a significant investment in Hyperloop One — the official figure hasn’t been revealed, but it’s enough that the Hyperloop tech startup, which aims to create networks of high-speed transportation tunnels to various locales across the globe, has changed its name. Virgin Hyperloop One is the entity’s official moniker going forward, which is quite a mouthful.

Virgin Hyperloop One’s rebrand will mean it gains from association with Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, whose high-tech transportation exploits include Virgin Galactic and other space-based ventures. The goal of the company under the rebrand remains the same, and it’ll continue to explore the best places and partners for deploying its high-speed transportation tech, which will zoom pods at high speed down extremely low-pressure tubes to reduce trip times over land from hours to minutes.

The money isn’t the only connection between Hyperloop One and Virgin; the Hyperloop company’s president of engineering, Josh Giegel, is a former Virgin employee. Branson noted in a blog post that he also visited Hyperloop One earlier this summer to view its technology first-hand, at the Hyperloop One DevLoop test track site in Nevada, outside Las Vegas.

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Oct 12, 2017

Human stem cells used to cure renal anemia in mice

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with Kyoto University and Kagawa University, both in Japan, has cured renal anemia in mice by injecting them with treated human stem cells. In their paper published in Science Translational Medicine, the group describes their approach and how well it worked.

Chronic kidney disease is a serious ailment resulting in a host of symptoms due to the body’s reduced ability to process waste and fluids—many patients eventually experience , which requires them to undergo routine dialysis or a kidney transplant. Less well known is that people with also suffer from renal anemia because the kidneys manufacture the hormone erythropoietin (EPO), which causes the body to produce without which the blood cannot carry enough oxygen to the brain and other body parts. The current treatment for renal anemia is injections of EPO every few days, which, for many people, is impractical because of the cost and side effects. In this new effort, the researchers have found a possible new treatment—injecting treated directly into the kidneys.

In their experiments, the researchers collected stem cells from human cord blood (from the umbilical cord) and then treated them with growth factors that changed them to that grew into mature cells capable of producing EPO. The team then injected the treated cells into the kidneys of mice suffering from renal anemia and monitored them for the rest of their lives.

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Oct 12, 2017

Food From Electricity project bears its first protein-rich “fruit”

Posted by in categories: biological, food

A Finnish research project has created a batch of single-cell protein using just electricity, water, carbon dioxide and microbes, in a small portable lab. While we’re hesitant to call it “food” in its current state, the stuff is edible and nutritious enough to be used for cooking or livestock feed, and the team hopes that the system can eventually be used to grow food in areas where it’s needed the most.

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Oct 12, 2017

Why the World Is (Still) Better Than You Think—New Evidence For Abundance

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, futurism

Your mindset matters — now more than ever.

We are in the midst of a drug epidemic.

The drug? Negative news. The drug pushers? The media.

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Oct 12, 2017

Contrasting Human Futures: Technotopian or Human-Centred?*

Posted by in categories: complex systems, cyborgs, education, homo sapiens, human trajectories, philosophy, posthumanism, robotics/AI, singularity, Singularity University, transhumanism

[*This article was first published in the September 2017 issue of Paradigm Explorer: The Journal of the Scientific and Medical Network (Established 1973). The article was drawn from the author’s original work in her book: The Future: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2017), especially from Chapters 4 & 5.]

We are at a critical point today in research into human futures. Two divergent streams show up in the human futures conversations. Which direction we choose will also decide the fate of earth futures in the sense of Earth’s dual role as home for humans, and habitat for life. I choose to deliberately oversimplify here to make a vital point.

The two approaches I discuss here are informed by Oliver Markley and Willis Harman’s two contrasting future images of human development: ‘evolutionary transformational’ and ‘technological extrapolationist’ in Changing Images of Man (Markley & Harman, 1982). This has historical precedents in two types of utopian human futures distinguished by Fred Polak in The Image of the Future (Polak, 1973) and C. P. Snow’s ‘Two Cultures’ (the humanities and the sciences) (Snow, 1959).

What I call ‘human-centred futures’ is humanitarian, philosophical, and ecological. It is based on a view of humans as kind, fair, consciously evolving, peaceful agents of change with a responsibility to maintain the ecological balance between humans, Earth, and cosmos. This is an active path of conscious evolution involving ongoing psychological, socio-cultural, aesthetic, and spiritual development, and a commitment to the betterment of earthly conditions for all humanity through education, cultural diversity, greater economic and resource parity, and respect for future generations.

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Oct 12, 2017

The world’s first “negative emissions” plant has opened in Iceland—turning carbon dioxide into stone

Posted by in category: climatology

There’s a colorless, odorless, and largely benign gas that humanity just can’t get enough of. We produce 40 trillion kg of carbon dioxide each year, and we’re on track to cross a crucial emissions threshold that will cause global temperature rise to pass the dangerous 2°C limit set by the Paris climate agreement.

But, in hushed tones, climate scientists are already talking about a technology that could pull us back from the brink. It’s called direct-air capture, and it consists of machines that work like a tree does, sucking carbon dioxide (CO2) out from the air, but on steroids—capturing thousands of times more carbon in the same amount of time, and, hopefully, ensuring we don’t suffer climate catastrophe.

There are at least two reasons that, to date, conversations about direct air capture have been muted. First, climate scientists have hoped global carbon emissions would come under control, and we wouldn’t need direct air capture. But most experts believe that ship has sailed. That brings up the second issue: to date, all estimates suggest direct air capture would be exorbitantly expensive to deploy.

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Oct 12, 2017

Getting in With the Big Guys: Scientists Find Kuiper Belt Object With Ring

Posted by in category: space

Offering more details on the happenings in space, astronomers have revealed an unexpected discovery surrounding a certain dwarf planet that goes by the name of Haumea.

The planet, which sits on the edge of the solar system, has a ring roughly 70 kilometers wide, with a radius of 2,287 kilometers.

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Oct 12, 2017

The tech in “Black Mirror” could be closer than you think

Posted by in category: futurism

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Oct 12, 2017

Aubrey de Grey — Our Moral Obligation to Cure Aging

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

Recorded Oct 4th, 2017

Link to the interview, goo.gl/8rQ6YS

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Oct 12, 2017

Inside the moonshot effort to finally figure out the brain

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

AI is only loosely modeled on the brain. So what if you wanted to do it right? You’d need to do what has been impossible until now: map what actually happens in neurons and nerve fibers.

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