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Jun 6, 2018

Vela X-1 is plowing its way through the galaxy

Posted by in categories: energy, space

Every now and again you run into an astronomical object where everything about it is mind blowing. And I get to share it with you! Let me introduce you to a binary star that will crush your imagination and make you realize the Universe is way cooler than you knew.

A few million years ago, and 6,000 light years from Earth, two stars were born out of the gas and dust in the galaxy in a cluster with many other stars. These two formed together, so close their mutual and growing gravity bound them together, forcing them to orbit one another. And they grew huge: By the time they switched on and became true stars, they each had more than two dozen times the mass of the Sun.

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Jun 6, 2018

Thoughts on the world behind and the world ahead

Posted by in category: life extension

Some thoughts on rejuvenation, the world it’ll leave behind, and the world it may create.

Human beings like feeling safe. The unknown always presents a certain percentage of risk, though probably much less so today than in the past. Back in the days of our primitive ancestors, leaving an old way for a new one might more easily have led to death than it can today, so it’s no surprise that we have evolved to be suspicious of novelties coming our way; this might well be one reason why enacting change is not very easy for our species.

Sometimes, what we already have is not the best arrangement; other options might prove better, though they do come with some uncertainty. Will the new option really bring benefits? Will it be worth the cons of discarding the old way of doing things? How much work will it take to move from the old way to the new one? Will the new way only bring benefits, or will it have challenges and problems as well?

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Jun 6, 2018

Why Insulin Is a New Suspect in Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Johnson and Johnson recently announced that it was halting a clinical trial for a new Alzheimer’s drug after safety issues emerged. This latest failure adds to the dozens of large, costly clinical trials that have shown no effect in treating this devastating disease.

The growing list of failures should give us pause for thought – have we got the causes of Alzheimer’s all wrong?

In the first analysis of the disease, the German physician, Alois Alzheimer, noted odd changes in the brain of a patient who died of the condition. Alzheimer identified two kinds of protein aggregates that are not found in younger brains: plaques that are found between brain cells and tangles that are found inside brain cells.

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Jun 6, 2018

Solar Cell Breakthrough Could Make Panels Far More Efficient, Study Says

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Researchers at MIT and Israel’s Technion have a multi-layered surface material that will help solar cells turn more sunlight into energy. In addition to more efficient solar cells, the new innovation opens the door for more powerful and sophisticated semiconductors, LEDs and more.

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Jun 6, 2018

Is It Time To Work With China In Space?

Posted by in category: space

Keith’s note: China is getting ready to launch a new space station which, when complete, will be on par with Mir with many capabilities similar to those offered by the ISS. China is openly seeking governmental and commercial participation. Meanwhile they are about to land a rover on the far side of the Moon as part of a methodical plan to land humans there.

Meanwhile NASA is trying to rid itself of the ISS through various half-hearted efforts to commercialize this amazing resource that rely on smoke and mirrors and faith-based funding plans. NASA is also puffing itself up again for the third time in less than 20 years to #GoBackToTheMoon or something with budgets that do not come close to making such a thing possible. Oh by the way #JourneyToMars is still on the books.

One would think that the prudent thing would be to leverage our interests with those of China as we have done with Russia and many other nations around the world. But short-sighted legislation and targeted xenophobia currently prevents this.

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Jun 6, 2018

The LHC Has Detected The Higgs Boson Again, This Time With a Massive Twist

Posted by in category: particle physics

What would it say about the fundamental structure of the universe?

Physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider have made a major new detection of the famous Higgs boson, this time catching details on a rare interaction with one of the heaviest fundamental particles known to physics — the top quark.

The brief mingling of these incredibly rare encounters has provided physicists with important information on the nature of mass, and whether there is more to physics than the existing model predicts.

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Jun 6, 2018

Now that everything can be tokenized, banks are taking notice

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, economics, finance

From the figures above, the past year has highlighted how pretty much anything can be put on the blockchain as a way of raising capital. But as it provides access to greater liquidity to investors rather than a conventional equity investment, it’s also demonstrating how a tokenized world is steadily being seen as the norm.

As Krauwer states, though, for an actual token economy to emerge, buyers would need insight in what they buy. “Token owners would need to know how they can keep track of the underlying asset. In addition, they would need a way to store their tokens and trade them with others.”

Not only that, but sellers would benefit from such a platform that would capture their assets in a token and connect them with possible buyers. Additionally, providing some type of quality assurance on top of the tokens would help too.

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Jun 6, 2018

Terminal breast cancer “cured”

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Researchers at the US National Cancer Institute have reported in on an experimental breast cancer therapy that achieved remarkable results, rehabilitating Judy Perkins from the brink of death (she had been given two months to live, had tumors in her liver and throughout her body) to robust health two years later.

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Jun 6, 2018

Robots Will Be Able to Feel Touch With This Artificial Nerve

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

When the disembodied cockroach leg twitched, Yeongin Kim knew he had finally made it.

A graduate student at Stanford, Kim had been working with an international team of neuroengineers on a crazy project: an artificial nerve that acts like the real thing. Like sensory neurons embedded in our skin, the device—which kind of looks like a bendy Band-Aid—detects touch, processes the information, and sends it off to other nerves.

Yup, even if that downstream nerve is inside a cockroach leg.

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Jun 6, 2018

Study finds training-induced neuroplasticity even in patients with chronic traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Very promising since “Identifying what changes are happening in the brain when interventions successfully reduce depressive symptoms could allow us to create more effective, pharmaceutical-free approaches to help alleviate depression in people who experience chronic traumatic brain injury symptoms,” said study author Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth.

Images show prefrontal connectivity patterns after cognitive training in individuals who suffered traumatic brain injury. Kihwan Han et al (2018) _____ Cognitive training reduces depression, rebuilds injured brain structure & connectivity after traumatic brain injury (UT-Dallas release): “New research from the Center.

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