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Jul 5, 2019

Decline in Insect Populations

Posted by in category: futurism

Insects are disappearing at an incredibly fast rate!

Jul 5, 2019

Common cold virus ‘helps destroy’ bladder cancer

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

HOT OFF THE PRESS! The cohort size (15 patients) is small, but this approach of successfully using viruses against cancer is worth celebrating!

A small UK study found promising signs of a kinder, less invasive treatment for the disease.

Jul 5, 2019

Gene Editing Startups Fabricate Industrial-Grade CRISPR Tools

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

The old DIY CRISPR tickles some, but it underwhelms others, namely, the developers of commercial applications. They prefer the new CRISPR—scalable, reliable, and deliverable.

Jul 5, 2019

DJ MacLennan on his Cryonics book “Frozen to Life”

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cryonics, life extension, neuroscience, time travel, transhumanism

To me cryonics just makes sense. It may not be pretty but, just like open heart surgery, it is one of those things that, without any guarantees, can possibly extend your life [very] substantially. Thus, especially given the alternative, I just can’t quite make sense of the slow rate of adoption evident not only in North America but also across the world. And so I am always happy to discover new books that lay out the scientific argument for cryonics while making it easily digestible and giving it a very personal, human perspective. Since the most recent book, I thoroughly enjoyed on this topic was Frozen to Life: A Personal Mortality Experiment I thought that D.J. MacLennan will make an excellent guest on my podcast. I was not wrong about that.

During our 1 hour conversation with D.j. MacLennan we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: why he decided to write Frozen to Life and who is it for; cryonics as a glass-state time travel; why he chose neuro- rather than full-body preservation; the costs and rate of adoption of cryonics; the culture, conservatism and geography of his home on the Isle of Skye; transhumanism and transcending limitations; the differences between Max More and James Hughes; his fear of death; the promise of chemical brain preservation; mindfulness and meditation; writing a transhumanist take on The Wizard of Oz and potentially on Grim’s Fairy Tales…

As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full. To show your support you can write a review on iTunes, make a direct donation or become a patron on Patreon.

Jul 5, 2019

The Born Rule Has Been Derived From Simple Physical Principles

Posted by in categories: mathematics, quantum physics

The Born rule, which connects the math of quantum theory to the outcomes of experiments, has been derived from simpler physical principles. The new work promises to give researchers a better grip on the core mystery of quantum mechanics.

Jul 5, 2019

These superbug-fighting viruses are making a comeback

Posted by in category: futurism

A broad-spectrum look at the future of phages.

Jul 5, 2019

Immune-boosting compound makes immunotherapy effective against pancreatic cancer

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Pancreatic cancer is especially challenging to treat—only eight percent of patients are still alive five years after diagnosis. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are of limited benefit, and even immunotherapy—which revolutionized treatment for other kinds of cancer by activating the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells—has been largely ineffective because pancreatic tumors have ways to dampen the immune assault.

Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Rush University in Chicago have found a that promotes a vigorous immune assault against the deadly . Alone, the compound reduces pancreatic growth and metastases in mice. But when combined with immunotherapy, the compound significantly shrank tumors and dramatically improved survival in the animals.

The findings, published July 3 in Science Translational Medicine, suggest that the immune-boosting compound could potentially make resistant pancreatic cancers susceptible to immunotherapy and improve treatment options for people with the devastating disease.

Jul 5, 2019

Deep-CEE: The AI deep learning tool helping astronomers explore deep space

Posted by in categories: cosmology, robotics/AI

Galaxy clusters are some of the most massive structures in the cosmos, but despite being millions of lightyears across, they can still be hard to spot. Researchers at Lancaster University have turned to artificial intelligence for assistance, developing “Deep-CEE” (Deep Learning for Galaxy Cluster Extraction and Evaluation), a novel deep learning technique to speed up the process of finding them. Matthew Chan, a Ph.D. student at Lancaster University, is presenting this work at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy meeting on 4 July at 3:45pm in the Machine Learning in Astrophysics session.

Most galaxies in the universe live in low-density environments known as “the field”, or in small groups, like the one that contains our Milky Way and Andromeda. Galaxy clusters are rarer, but they represent the most extreme environments that galaxies can live in and studying them can help us better understand and dark energy.

During 1950s the pioneer of galaxy -finding, astronomer George Abell, spent many years searching for galaxy clusters by eye, using a magnifying lens and photographic plates to locate them. Abell manually analysed around 2,000 photographic plates, looking for visual signatures the of galaxy clusters, and detailing the astronomical coordinates of the dense regions of . His work resulted in the ‘Abell catalogue’ of galaxy clusters found in the .

Jul 5, 2019

Digital health ‘sherpas’ guiding the journey to AI

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, robotics/AI

Partners HealthCare Pivot Labs is enabling collaboration between hospitals, health systems and other stakeholders such as big tech and pharma, says digital health scientist Dr. Sujay Kakarmath.

Jul 5, 2019

Using epigenetics to explain how Captain America and the Incredible Hulk gained their superpowers

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

When I was kid I used to watch the Incredible Hulk on TV and wait for Bruce Banner to fly into a rage, his muscles inflating like balloons, pants torn to shreds while his entire body turns green as he transforms into the Hulk. As I grew up, and learned more about the advances in genetics, it never occurred to me that cutting-edge genome-editing techniques could explain the scientific principles behind the Hulk’s metamorphosis or his fellow Marvel Comics star-spangled hero Captain America. In a recent Stanford Report story, Sebastian Alvarado Opens in a new window, a postdoctoral research fellow in biology, creatively applies the concepts of epigenetics to illuminate the process by which average Joes become superheroes.

As Alvarado notes in the piece Opens in a new window and above video, over the past 70 years scientists have developed tools for selectively activating and deactivating individual genes through chemical reactions, a process termed epigenetics. Similar to flipping on a light, switch gene expression can be “turned on” or “turned off. ”We have a lot of genome-editing tools – like zinc finger nucleases, or CRISPR/Cas9 systems – that could theoretically allow you to epigenetically seek out and turn on genes that make your muscles physically large, make you strategically minded, incredibly fast, or increase your stamina,” he said.

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