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Apr 21, 2024

How Stellar Magnetism Is Reshaping Our View of Distant Worlds

Posted by in category: space

From the brightness variations of its host star, an exoplanet ’s size and other properties can be determined. In order to avoid mistakes, the star’s magnetic field is decisive.

700 light years away from Earth in the constellation Virgo, the planet WASP-39b orbits the star WASP-39. The gas giant, which takes little more than four days to complete one orbit, is one of the best-studied exoplanets.

Shortly after its commissioning in July 2022, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope turned its high-precision gaze on the distant planet. The data revealed evidence of large quantities of water vapor, of methane and even, for the first time, of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of WASP-39b. A minor sensation!

Apr 21, 2024

A Pathway to Making Molecular Oxygen That Doesn’t Involve Life

Posted by in category: alien life

Researchers have quantified a pathway for the formation of molecular oxygen from the interaction of carbon dioxide with electrons, key information for searches of life on other worlds.

So far, life is only known to exist on Earth. But that hasn’t stopped scientists from searching for signs of living creatures on other planets. Those searches intensified with the deployment of the JWST observatory, which astronomers are using to characterize the atmospheres of far-off worlds in the hope of finding the signals of molecules that signify the presence of life (see News Feature: The Skinny on Detecting Life with the JWST). But for that to work, scientists need to know all the possible sources of atmospheric molecules. Now Lucas Sigaud of the Fluminense Federal University, Brazil, and his colleagues have uncovered a pathway for forming an oxygen molecule (O2]. The detailed measurements of the pathway provide key inputs for models used in planetary-life searches.

Apr 21, 2024

See how atmospheric water generators can help water security

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

Atmospheric water generators can save millions of lives due to new drought conditions even bringing water from air in the desert climates.


  • Water scarcity continues to be a pervasive global challenge, cutting across developed and emerging markets, climates and socio-political dynamics.
  • Atmospheric water generation (AWG) technology is a promising emergency solution that can immediately generate drinkable water using moisture in the air.
  • Distribution of atmospheric water generation technology to communities in need can serve as an effective stopgap measure for municipalities facing immediate clean water shortages.

The statistics underpinning water scarcity are dire and noteworthy – approximately 770 million people lack access to clean water. That is one in ten people on the planet. The average woman in rural Africa walks 6 kilometres (about 3.7 miles) daily to haul 40 pounds of water.

Continue reading “See how atmospheric water generators can help water security” »

Apr 21, 2024

New Vaccine Could Protect Against Any Strain of a Virus With One Shot

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Scientists seem to be close to creating a “one-and-done” vaccine that can protect against any strain of a virus with just one shot.

In a press release from the University of California — Riverside, one of the researchers behind the new RNA vaccine, Rong Hai, explained why he and his colleagues are so excited about their experimental — and allegedly universal — shot.

“What I want to emphasize about this vaccine strategy is that it is broad,” said Hai, a virologist and coauthor of a new paper on the vaccine candidate in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “It is broadly applicable to any number of viruses, broadly effective against any variant of a virus, and safe for a broad spectrum of people.”

Apr 21, 2024

Artificial intelligence can predict political beliefs from expressionless faces

Posted by in categories: privacy, robotics/AI

Scientists have demonstrated that facial recognition technology can predict a person’s political orientation with a surprising level of accuracy.


Researchers have demonstrated that facial recognition technology can predict political orientation from neutral expressions with notable accuracy, posing significant privacy concerns. This finding suggests our faces may reveal more personal information than previously understood.

Apr 21, 2024

Links to my published science fiction and poetry

Posted by in categories: alien life, futurism

Many of these are freely available to read online!

Apr 20, 2024

Forms of life, forms of mind

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

We lost a really great human today – philosopher Daniel C. Dennett.

Dan was a kind, honest, generous guy. He had a brilliant mind – insightful, critical, with an encyclopedic knowledge of pithy analogies and clinical examples (“intuition pumps” he called them), as well as who came up with them. And despite all of his experience and accomplishments, he always had a kind of childish excitement about new ideas, and new experiments. What he liked best was new insights, wild ideas, honest argument. I first heard the concept of “steel-manning” from him (opposite of “straw man” – putting forth the strongest, best version of an argument you want to critique). He was not interested in cheap wins or rhetorical bullying – he wanted to get to the best version of every story about nature and about ourselves.

I first came into contact with Dan through his books. As a teenager, Brainstorms, Elbow Room, and The Intentional Stance were a fantastic introduction to the most interesting questions, and ways of thinking about them. My dad and I would hit the bookstores every Saturday and there was no way a Dennett book would escape us if a new one came out. We had lots of great times discussing the topics in his books. I eventually was able to ask Dan to sign a few of them for dad, as birthday presents.

Apr 20, 2024

Paper page — TriForce: Lossless Acceleration of Long Sequence Generation with Hierarchical Speculative Decoding

Posted by in category: futurism

From Carnegie Mellon and Meta.

TriForce.

Lossless Acceleration of Long Sequence Generation with Hierarchical Speculative Decoding.

Continue reading “Paper page — TriForce: Lossless Acceleration of Long Sequence Generation with Hierarchical Speculative Decoding” »

Apr 20, 2024

Top 22 Humanoid Robots in Use Right Now

Posted by in categories: education, robotics/AI

Humanoid robots are robots that resemble and act like humans. Typically engineered to imitate authentic human expressions, interactions and movements, these robots are often outfitted with an array of cameras, sensors and, more recently, AI and machine learning technologies.

While more humanoid robots are being introduced into the world and making a positive impact in industries like logistics, manufacturing, healthcare and hospitality, their use is still limited, and development costs are high.

Continue reading “Top 22 Humanoid Robots in Use Right Now” »

Apr 20, 2024

Prof. Dr. Thomas Rademacher, MD, PhD — CEO & Co-Founder, Emergex — T-Cell Priming Immunotherapies

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

T-Cell Priming Immunotherapies To Provide Broad And Robust, Long-Term Immunity — Prof. Dr. Thomas Rademacher, MD, PhD — CEO & Co-Founder, Emergex Vaccines


Professor Dr. Thomas Rademacher, MD, PhD, is CEO and Co-Founder of Emergex (https://emergexvaccines.com/), a company that has developed a novel nanoparticle-based vaccine technology to deliver synthetic viral fragments via microneedles on a skin-adhesive patch. Emergex’s approach works on the principle of priming immune T-cells, opening the door for the development of universal vaccines against highly mutagenic viruses such as the seasonal flu and covid. T-cell priming offers a superior inoculation strategy over traditional vaccines, which rely on the body’s generation of antibodies and fail to keep up with seasonal mutations.

Continue reading “Prof. Dr. Thomas Rademacher, MD, PhD — CEO & Co-Founder, Emergex — T-Cell Priming Immunotherapies” »

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