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Aug 24, 2016

ESO confirms the discovery of Earth’s closest potentially habitable neighbour

Posted by in categories: physics, space

Astronomers have today confirmed the existence of a planet orbiting the sun’s nearest neighbour, Proxima Centauri, which has the potential to host liquid water, and therefore life.

The exoplanet in question, Proxima b, is thought to be the Earth’s closest potentially habitable neighbour, making this discovery a major landmark in humanity’s exploration of the universe.

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Aug 24, 2016

Steve Fuller’s Review of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Posted by in categories: big data, bioengineering, biological, bionic, cyborgs, disruptive technology, energy, evolution, existential risks, futurism, homo sapiens, innovation, moore's law, neuroscience, philosophy, policy, posthumanism, robotics/AI, science, singularity, theory, transhumanism

My sociology of knowledge students read Yuval Harari’s bestselling first book, Sapiens, to think about the right frame of reference for understanding the overall trajectory of the human condition. Homo Deus follows the example of Sapiens, using contemporary events to launch into what nowadays is called ‘big history’ but has been also called ‘deep history’ and ‘long history’. Whatever you call it, the orientation sees the human condition as subject to multiple overlapping rhythms of change which generate the sorts of ‘events’ that are the stuff of history lessons. But Harari’s history is nothing like the version you half remember from school.

In school historical events were explained in terms more or less recognizable to the agents involved. In contrast, Harari reaches for accounts that scientifically update the idea of ‘perennial philosophy’. Aldous Huxley popularized this phrase in his quest to seek common patterns of thought in the great world religions which could be leveraged as a global ethic in the aftermath of the Second World War. Harari similarly leverages bits of genetics, ecology, neuroscience and cognitive science to advance a broadly evolutionary narrative. But unlike Darwin’s version, Harari’s points towards the incipient apotheosis of our species; hence, the book’s title.

This invariably means that events are treated as symptoms if not omens of the shape of things to come. Harari’s central thesis is that whereas in the past we cowered in the face of impersonal natural forces beyond our control, nowadays our biggest enemy is the one that faces us in the mirror, which may or may not be able within our control. Thus, the sort of deity into which we are evolving is one whose superhuman powers may well result in self-destruction. Harari’s attitude towards this prospect is one of slightly awestruck bemusement.

Here Harari equivocates where his predecessors dared to distinguish. Writing with the bracing clarity afforded by the Existentialist horizons of the Cold War, cybernetics founder Norbert Wiener declared that humanity’s survival depends on knowing whether what we don’t know is actually trying to hurt us. If so, then any apparent advance in knowledge will always be illusory. As for Harari, he does not seem to see humanity in some never-ending diabolical chess match against an implacable foe, as in The Seventh Seal. Instead he takes refuge in the so-called law of unintended consequences. So while the shape of our ignorance does indeed shift as our knowledge advances, it does so in ways that keep Harari at a comfortable distance from passing judgement on our long term prognosis.

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Aug 24, 2016

25 Years Later After The Crash, Web and VR Are Finally Converging For Real — By Tony Parisi | UploadVR

Posted by in category: virtual reality

samsung

“Twenty five years after the first consumer VR crash, virtual reality is poised to upend human-computer interaction, the Internet has disrupted every facet of life as we knew it back then, and the two are now on a collision course.”

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Aug 24, 2016

An Interview with Kelsey Moody of Ichor Therapeutics, Bringing a SENS Therapy for Macular Degeneration to the Clinic

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Will Ichor Therapeutics be the first to clinic with a SENS based approach?


As I mentioned last week, earlier this year Fight Aging! invested a modest amount in the Ichor Therapeutics initiative to develop a treatment for macular degeneration, joining a number of other amateur and professional investors in helping to get this venture started. The approach taken here is based on the results of research carried out at the Methuselah Foundation and SENS Research Foundation over much of the past decade, funded by philanthropists and the support of our community of longevity science enthusiasts. This is how we succeed in building the future: medical science in the laboratory leads to medical development in startup companies, each new stage bringing treatments capable of repairing specific forms of age-related molecular damage that much closer to the clinic.

Ichor Therapeutics is one of a growing number of success stories to emerge from the SENS rejuvenation research community. Young scientists, advocates, and donors involved in earlier projects — years ago now — have gone on to build their own ventures, while retaining an interest in stepping up to do something meaningful to help bring an end to aging. Back in 2010, Kelsey Moody worked on the LysoSENS project to find ways to break down damaging metabolic waste in old tissues; fast-forward six years, and he is the now the CEO of a successful small biotechnology company with a great team, taking that very same technology and putting it to good use. I recently had the chance to ask Kelsey a few questions about the future of SENS rejuvenation research, as well as how the Ichor scientists intend to construct a new class of therapy for macular degeneration, one based on removing one of the root causes of the condition.

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Aug 24, 2016

Uber Acquires Self-Driving Truck Startup Otto for $680 Million

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Ride-hailing giant Uber announced on Thursday that is has acquired Otto for approximately $680 million.

All of Otto’s team, which includes ex-leader of Google’s self-driving project, Anthony Levandowski, will move to Uber. They will work on the company’s self-driving project and report directly to CEO Travis Kalanick.

See also: Self-driving tech startup Otto wants truckers to keep on…napping.

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Aug 24, 2016

An MIT Scientist Claims That This Pill Is the Fountain of Youth

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Leonard Guarente is certain he’s succeeded where doctors (and quacks) before him have failed. His pill will either extend lives or tarnish his career.

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Aug 24, 2016

NASA Symposium: Futuristic Space Exploration Concepts

Posted by in categories: futurism, space travel

Technology20160823.

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Aug 24, 2016

Living Wall Designs, Ideas, Green, Eco Friendly Walls, India

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Living walls are basically vertical gardens. Growing plants of our desire on walls present anywhere, from the insides of residences to offices to hospitals is the idea. They possess a list of favourable qualities and advantages.

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Aug 23, 2016

China unveils 2020 Mars rover concept: report

Posted by in category: space travel

China has unveiled illustrations of a Mars probe and rover it aims to send to the Red Planet at the end of the decade in a mission that faces “unprecedented” challenges, state media said on Wednesday.

China, which is pouring billions into its space programme and working to catch up with the US and Europe, announced in April it aims to send a spacecraft “around 2020” to orbit Mars, land and deploy the rover.

Zhang Rongqiao, chief architect of the project, said Tuesday they were targeting July or August of that year for the launch, the Xinhua news agency reported.

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Aug 23, 2016

Iron Man Helmet

Posted by in category: futurism

The U.S. Navy is bringing Iron Man’s helmet to life!

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