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Sep 1, 2020

Genetic Engineering, No Virus Required

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

Nature has spent millennia honing the virus into a ruthlessly efficient delivery vehicle for nucleic acids. Viruses have even been harnessed for our own delivery purposes. But some applications have had only mixed success. For example, commercial applications of genetic engineering, which require high scalability, low cost, and impeccable safety, remain a challenge.

Although they can easily enter the body and inject their payload into cells, viruses may stimulate a dangerous immune reaction and cause long-term medical complications. In addition, viruses can be expensive and time consuming to cultivate.

Safer and more practical alternatives to viruses are being sought by innovative companies. For example, these companies are developing nonviral gene delivery systems that incorporate nanoparticle formulations, ultrasound, and electric fields. These systems can slip bits of genetic material into cells efficiently and cost-effectively in a range of applications.

Sep 1, 2020

Bodybuilding supplement promotes healthy aging and extends life span, at least in mice

Posted by in category: life extension

Alpha-ketoglutarate could be safer than other potential anti-aging treatments.

Sep 1, 2020

This homemade Tesla Cyberquad does 102 mph

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

Tesla may be pretty far from releasing the Cyberquad to the world, but that hasn’t stopped this YouTuber from taking matters into his own hands.

Sep 1, 2020

SpaceX plans to conduct ‘hundreds’ of Starship missions before launching humans

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, satellites

Featured Image Source: SpaceX

SpaceX is building Starship in South Texas at Boca Chica Beach. The aerospace company’s founder Chief Engineer Elon Musk envisions developing a fully reusable Starship capable of transporting one hundred passengers to Mars. During the Humans To Mars conference on Monday, he shared SpaceX will have to conduct ‘hundreds of missions’ before launching astronauts aboard. – “We’ve got to first make the thing work. […] Do hundreds of missions with satellites before we put people on board,” he said.

Multiple stainless-steel Starship prototypes are under assembly and undergoing testing at a small village where Musk envisions building the ‘Gateway to Mars’ spaceport. Last month, SpaceX successfully conducted a low-altitude test flight of a scaled-down Starship prototype. The vehicle soared 150-meters off the ground powered by a single Raptor engine. The company aims to make flying stainless-steel vehicles routine in Texas before attempting to launch a Starship prototype to orbit. “We’re making good progress. The thing that we’re really making progress on with Starship is the production system,” Musk told the conference’s host. “The thing that really impedes progress on Starship is the production system … A year ago, there was almost nothing there and now we’ve got quite a lot of production capability. So, we’re rapidly making more and more ships.”

Sep 1, 2020

“Dark Energy Originates from a Vast Sea of Objects Spread Throughout Cosmic Voids”

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics, singularity

Scientists suggest that a counter-intuitive, hypothetical species of black holes may negate the standard model of cosmology, where dark energy is an inherent and constant property of spacetime that will result in an eventual cold death of the universe. “It’s the big elephant in the room,” says Claudia de Rham, a theoretical physicist at Imperial College London about dark energy, the mysterious, elusive phenomena that pushes the cosmos to expand so rapidly and which is estimated to account for 70% of the contents of the universe. “It’s very frustrating.”

Generic Objects of Dark Energy

Astronomers have known for two decades that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, but the physics of this expansion remains a mystery. In 1966, Erast Gliner, a young physicist at the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute in Leningrad, proposed an alternative hypothesis that very large stars should collapse into what could be called Generic Objects of Dark Energy (GEODEs). These appear to be black holes when viewed from the outside but, unlike black holes, they contain dark energy instead of a singularity.

Sep 1, 2020

Gene-editing, Moderna, and transhumanism

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, genetics, neuroscience, transhumanism

But U.S. is not the only country engaged in human enhancement and transhumanism, as Russia and China are also in hot pursuit with exoskeletons, vaccines and brain implants. As this competition gains traction, one wonders what the future of their militaries may look like as human beings are steadily integrated with machines to become armies of iron man.

From the blog of Christina Lin at The Times of Israel.

Sep 1, 2020

Neurons protect themselves from degeneration

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

A recent study in Science Advances by researchers at Karolinska Institutet and Max Planck Institute, shows that neurons can counteract degeneration and promote survival by adapting their metabolism. It challenges the long-standing view that neurons cannot adjust their metabolism and therefore irreversibly degenerate. These findings may contribute to developing therapeutic approaches for patients with mitochondrial diseases and other types of neurodegeneration, such as Parkinson’s Disease.

Mitochondria are the power plants of our and play an important role in providing energy for normal function of the tissues in our body. Nerve cells are particularly dependent on mitochondria for their activity. A growing body of evidence has linked mitochondrial dysfunction to some of the most devastating forms of , such as Parkinson’s , different ataxias and several peripheral neuropathies.

However, despite the urge to find strategies to prevent or arrest neurodegeneration, our understanding of the precise events underlying neuronal death caused by mitochondrial dysfunction is very limited.

Sep 1, 2020

Mevion and Proton International to Partner on Two Proton Therapy Centers

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business

We look forward to collaborating closely with Proton International on these new centers and providing greater access to this lifesaving technology to patients in Texas and the Southeast.”

The new centers will feature the MEVION S250i Proton Therapy System® with HYPERSCAN® Pencil Beam Scanning (PBS). HYPERSCAN enables faster and sharper delivery of therapeutic radiation to tumors. The system’s leading-edge clinical capabilities, combined with its compact, affordable design, and industry-leading ramp-up time, has changed the landscape of proton therapy. Today, more cancer centers are considering providing compact proton therapy to their patients because of the technology Mevion has advanced.

One key difference between X-ray or photon radiation therapy and proton therapy is already known. It goes to the very core of why proton therapy is beneficial. It’s not that it kills cancer better; it’s that it damages normal cells less.

Continue reading “Mevion and Proton International to Partner on Two Proton Therapy Centers” »

Sep 1, 2020

The covid-19 pandemic will be over by the end of 2021, says Bill Gates

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, health

MILLIONS MORE are going to die before the covid-19 pandemic is over. That is the stark message of Bill Gates, a co-founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s largest philanthropists via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in an interview with Zanny Minton Beddoes, The Economist’s editor-in-chief, in early August. Most of these deaths, he said, would be caused not by the disease itself, but by the further strain on health-care systems and economies that were already struggling.

But he offered reasons for hope in the medium term, predicting that by the end of 2021 a reasonably effective vaccine would be in mass production, and a large enough share of the world’s population would be immunised to halt the pandemic in its tracks.

Continue reading “The covid-19 pandemic will be over by the end of 2021, says Bill Gates” »

Sep 1, 2020

A Strange Form of Life Could Flourish Deep Inside of Stars, Physicists Say

Posted by in categories: alien life, physics

When searching for signs of life in the Universe, we tend to look for very specific things, based on what we know: a planet like Earth, in orbit around a star, and at a distance that allows liquid surface water. But there could, conceivably, be other forms of life out there that look like nothing that we have ever imagined before.

Just as we have extremophiles here on Earth — organisms that live in the most extreme and seemingly inhospitable environments the planet has to offer — so too could there be extremophiles out there in the wider Universe.

For instance, species that can form, evolve, and thrive in the interiors of stars. According to new research by physicists Luis Anchordoqui and Eugene Chudnovsky of The City University of New York, such a thing is indeed — hypothetically, at least — possible.