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Mar 31, 2017

Random mutations play large role in cancer, study finds

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

Genomic instability (mutations) has been suggested as being one of the primary hallmarks of aging and this research might support that idea. Researchers at John Hopkins report that around 66% of mutations in cancer cells are due to random errors with environment/lifestyle contributing 29% and 5% inherited.

“That finding challenges the common wisdom that cancer is the product of heredity and the environment. “There’s a third cause and this cause of mutations is a major cause,” says cancer geneticist Bert Vogelstein.”

“Such random mutations build up over time and help explain why cancer strikes older people more often. Knowing that the enemy will strike from within even when people protect themselves against external threats indicates that early cancer detection and treatment deserve greater attention than they have previously gotten, Vogelstein says.”

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Mar 31, 2017

Solar-Powered Graphene Skin Enables Prosthetics to Feel

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, robotics/AI, sustainability

The team tested their device on a prosthetic hand. When the skin patches on the skin were enabled, the prosthetic could touch and grab soft objects like a normal hand. But when the skin was not turned on, the hand crushed the objects.

The skin requires just 20 nanowatts of power per square centimeter, according to the paper. Right now, the energy captured by the photovoltaic cells has to be used immediately, but the team has another prototype in development that includes flexible supercapacitors to store excess energy.

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Mar 31, 2017

Research Suggests Periodic Fasting Might Reverse Type 1 Diabetes

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Fasting might help T1 diabetics according to new research.


Periodic fasting has long been demonstrated to have beneficial effects on autoimmune disorders, cancer prevention and treatments, cardiovascular disease and a myriad of other ailments. This most recent paper by Cheng et al. may add the treatment of Type 1 diabetes to that list[1]. If successful in humans it has the potential to reverse some or most of the loss of insulin producing cells within the pancreas. Just as remarkable, the treatment itself is relatively straightforward, consisting of a regimented protocol of periodic fasting-like conditions.

Generally speaking, Type 1 diabetes results from an autoimmune mediated depletion of insulin secreting pancreatic beta islet cells. In contrast, Type 2 results from lower cellular sensitivity to insulin. Type 2 is primarily caused by environmental factors such as poor diet.

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Mar 31, 2017

SRI International Receives U.S. FDA Clearance for Investigational New Drug Application Evaluating Novel Oral Treatment to Combat Radiation Exposure

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Creating oral formulations of intravenous (IV) medication is a daunting challenge. Scientists at SRI Biosciences are using advanced formulation tools and experience to overcome the challenges, with the goal of developing drugs that could easily be distributed to people if needed.

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Mar 31, 2017

A.I. Versus M.D

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

What happens when diagnosis is automated?

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Mar 31, 2017

How automation and artificial intelligence could transform backup software

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

HAL-like control of data backups may be science fiction, but some of the basic concepts are not so far removed from reality. The person in charge of strategy for Commvault is intrigued by these ideas.

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Mar 31, 2017

Chinese internet giant Tencent buys 5% of Tesla

Posted by in category: internet

Tencent, Asia’s second highest valued tech firm, has bought a five percent share in Tesla. According to a filing, the Chinese firm scooped up 8,167,for around $1.7 billion to become one of Tesla’s largest shareholders.

The news itself sent Tesla’s share price up three percent in pre-market trading. The purchase was arranged on March 17, and those now-Tencent-owned shares are worth around $2.2 billion at current market value.

Tencent is a prolific investor. It holds equity in Snap, this year’s hot tech IPO, among others following an early investment. While that interest in messaging makes sense since Tencent’s operates China’s dominant chat app — WeChat — it isn’t immediately clear whether the Tesla investment has strategic undertones. An alliance with Tencent could significantly boost Tesla’s efforts in China, which is already impressive. Chinese sales accounted for 15 percent of Tesla’s $7 billion revenue last year.

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Mar 31, 2017

Are we really making progress towards human-level artificial intelligence?

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Intelligent Machines

Is artificial intelligence stuck in A rut?

The former director of Uber’s AI lab says the field is in danger of losing sight of its long-term goals.

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Mar 31, 2017

Andrew Ng is gone, but Baidu is still counting on AI to fix its business woes

Posted by in categories: business, robotics/AI

The Chinese search giant lost the star leader of its AI lab last week, but the technology remains an essential long-term focus.

  • by.

    Yiting Sun

  • March 30, 2017

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Mar 31, 2017

Google Chases General Intelligence With New AI That Has a Memory

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

For a mind to be capable of tackling anything, it has to have a memory.

Humans are exceptionally good at transferring old skills to new problems. Machines, despite all their recent wins against humans, aren’t. This is partly due to how they’re trained: artificial neural networks like Google’s DeepMind learn to master a singular task and call it quits. To learn a new task, it has to reset, wiping out previous memories and starting again from scratch.

This phenomenon, quite aptly dubbed “catastrophic forgetting,” condemns our AIs to be one-trick ponies.

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