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Oct 12, 2019

Researchers Turn CRISPR Into a Virus-Killing Machine

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

On the surface, Ebola and the flu might not seem all that similar — one can cause organ failure or death, while the other usually just makes you feel really crummy — but they actually have the same underlying cause: an RNA-based virus.

That’s the type of virus behind some of the most common — and deadly — illnesses in the world, and researchers have just discovered a way to use the powerful gene-editing technology CRISPR in the fight against them.

On Thursday, a team lead by researchers from Harvard and MIT’s Broad Institute published a study in the journal Molecular Cell detailing their creation of CARVER (Cas13-Assisted Restriction of Viral Expression and Readout), a system that utilizes the CRISPR enzyme Cas13, which “naturally targets viral RNA in bacteria,” according to a Broad Institute press release.

Oct 12, 2019

These new soft actuators could make soft robots less bulky

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a way to build soft robots that are compact, portable and multifunctional. The advance was made possible by creating soft, tubular actuators whose movements are electrically controlled, making them easy to integrate with small electronic components.

As a proof of concept, engineers used these new actuators to build a soft, battery-powered robot that can walk untethered on flat surfaces and move objects. They also built a soft gripper that can grasp and pick up small objects.

The team, led by UC San Diego mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Shengqiang Cai, published the work Oct. 11 in Science Advances.

Oct 12, 2019

NASA shows interest in SpaceX’s Starship orbital refueling ambitions

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel

If SpaceX wants its massive next-generation spacecraft to reach the moon and planets beyond, CEO Elon Musk says it’ll need to be refueled in orbit around Earth – and NASA wants to know more.

Now in the prototype and early test flight phase, Starship is a stainless steel crewed craft that will launch atop a Super Heavy booster. But because of its size and potentially heavy payloads – like dozens or hundreds of astronauts – in the future, it will need to be refueled in orbit around Earth before it begins longer voyages.

SpaceX, Musk said, is developing the technologies necessary to dock two Starships together in orbit – one without much in the way of crew or payloads – and transfer fuel to the one venturing beyond low-Earth orbit.

Oct 12, 2019

Rough Science 1 Mediterranean Mystery

Posted by in categories: education, law enforcement, science

Time for my yearly proselytizing for PBS UK’s Rough Science. Awesome educational show where a bunch of scientists are dumped on an island and have to work together to make something crazy out of local scavenged materials.

The group is taken to a disused prison on the island where they have to determine the longitude and latitude of the island, create a radio from a saucepan and create an insect repellent.

Oct 12, 2019

Can time travel survive a theory of everything?

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, time travel

It’s not yet clear whether a theory that unites general relativity and quantum mechanics would permit time travel.

Oct 12, 2019

Peter Norvig: Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Lex Fridman, a postdoctoral associate at the MIT AgeLab, had a great conversation with Peter Norvig, an American computer scientist, teacher and author.

Oct 12, 2019

Forever Young | Alphaville | funk cover ft. Madison Cunningham!

Posted by in category: media & arts

Do you really want to be forever young?

Help us make more music by signing up on Patreon! Ask us questions, vote on what songs we do, and download stems and karaoke versions of our songs!

Continue reading “Forever Young | Alphaville | funk cover ft. Madison Cunningham!” »

Oct 12, 2019

David Pearce — Unitary Subjects of Experience & the Binding Problem of Consciousness

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, neuroscience

How is a Unitary Subject of Experience Possible? ~ Philosopher David Pearce.

Is Australia conscious? How would 86 billion classical neurons (mind dust) come together to form a unitary subject of experience?
The answer is related to the binding problem of consciousness.

Continue reading “David Pearce — Unitary Subjects of Experience & the Binding Problem of Consciousness” »

Oct 12, 2019

A Month Before Stroke, Your Body Will Warn You With These 10 Signals

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

A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is suddenly cut off. The brain cells get deprived of oxygen and begin to die quickly. Having a stroke is a scary thought, but you can be mindful of your health to reduce the chances of having one.

Oct 12, 2019

Watch an AI robot program itself to, er, pick things up and push them around

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Vid Robots normally need to be programmed in order to get them to perform a particular task, but they can be coaxed into writing the instructions themselves with the help of machine learning, according to research published in Science.

Engineers at Vicarious AI, a robotics startup based in California, USA, have built what they call a “visual cognitive computer” (VCC), a software platform connected to a camera system and a robot gripper. Given a set of visual clues, the VCC writes a short program of instructions to be followed by the robot so it knows how to move its gripper to do simple tasks.

“Humans are good at inferring the concepts conveyed in a pair of images and then applying them in a completely different setting,” the paper states.