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May 22, 2014

Biotech’s Brave New World: Push One To Create Life; Push Two To Create Alien Life

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Written By:
dna banner
It’s been a good month for miracles. And by miracles I mean our oldest miracle, that first miracle, the creation of life itself.

During these first weeks in May, two separate teams working at two separate institutions announced that when it comes to creating life from scratch, well, there are a couple of new gods in town.

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May 21, 2014

White Swan Update by Andres Agostini, Countermeassuring Every Unthinkable Black Swan, at http://lifeboat.com/blog/2014/04/white-swan

Posted by in category: futurism

White Swan Update by Andres Agostini, Countermeassuring Every Unthinkable Black Swan, at https://lifeboat.com/blog/2014/04/white-swan

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Rice Isn’t The Only Staple At Risk from Rising Temperatures http://www.21stcentech.com/rice-staple-risk-rising-temperatures/

Continue reading “White Swan Update by Andres Agostini, Countermeassuring Every Unthinkable Black Swan, at http://lifeboat.com/blog/2014/04/white-swan” »

May 21, 2014

White Swan Update by Andres Agostini, Countermeassuring Every Unthinkable Black Swan, at http://lifeboat.com/blog/2014/04/white-swan

Posted by in categories: business, economics, education, engineering, futurism

White Swan Update by Andres Agostini, Countermeassuring Every Unthinkable Black Swan, at https://lifeboat.com/blog/2014/04/white-swan

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A new way to beam power to medical chips deep inside the body http://www.kurzweilai.net/a-new-way-to-beam-power-to-medical…e-the-body

Glasses-free 3D projector http://www.kurzweilai.net/glasses-free-3d-projector

Continue reading “White Swan Update by Andres Agostini, Countermeassuring Every Unthinkable Black Swan, at http://lifeboat.com/blog/2014/04/white-swan” »

May 21, 2014

VIRUS: Rebutting the fear of synthetic biology @HJBentham @IEET

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, disruptive technology, economics, energy, ethics, existential risks, futurism, genetics, science

- @ClubOfINFO — A recent massive leap forward in synthetic life, recently published in Nature, is the expansion of the alphabet of DNA to six letters rather than four, by synthetic biologists – the technicians to whom we entrust the great task of reprogramming life itself.

Breakthroughs such as the above are quite certain to alert more and more people to synthetic biology and its possible consequences. For as long as such breathtaking discoveries continue to be made in this area of research, it is inevitable that latent fears among society will come closer to the surface.
There is likely to be a profound distrust, whether inculcated by religion or by science fiction horror movies and literature, towards the concept of tampering with nature and especially the very building blocks that brought us into existence. While the people with this profoundly negative reaction are not sure what they are warning against, they are motivated by a vitalistic need to believe that the perversion of life is going to provoke hidden – almost divine – repercussions.
Is it really true that no-one should be meddling with something so fundamental to life, or is synthetic biology the science of our century, our civilization’s key to unlimited energy? Whatever the answer may be, the science enabling it already exists and is growing rapidly, and history seems to show that any technology once invented is impossible to contain.

Continue reading “VIRUS: Rebutting the fear of synthetic biology @HJBentham @IEET” »

May 20, 2014

With gold and photons, scientists offer way to turn energy into matter

Posted by in category: physics

— LA TImes
Albert Einstein

In a study published online Sunday in the journal Nature Photonics, three physicists from Imperial College London and the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, propose a relatively straightforward method for witnessing the conversion of two photons into two particles. The trio came up with the idea and hammered out the key details in a single, coffee-fueled day, according to Imperial.

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May 20, 2014

Forget the 3D Printer: 4D Printing Could Change Everything

Posted by in category: 3D printing

By Randy Rieland — Smithsonian.com

These days, 3D printing seems to be at the core of most new new research ventures, whether it’s developing ways to print entire meals or recreating facial features to repair a patient’s face.

But Skylar Tibbits wants to up the ante: He’s hoping 4D printing will be the thing of the not-so-far future.

The name for his concept, Tibbits admits, was a bit lighthearted at first. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tibbits and researchers from the firms Stratasys and Autodesk Inc were trying to come up with a way of describing the objects they were creating on 3D printers—objects that not only could be printed, but thanks to geometric code, could also later change shape and transform on their own.

The name stuck, and now the process they developed—which turns code into “smart objects” that can self-assemble or change shape when confronted with a change in its environment—could very well pop up in a number of industries, from construction to athletic wear.

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May 20, 2014

The Next Startup Craze: Food 2.0

Posted by in categories: business, food

By Ted Greenwald — MIT Technology Review

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Most tech startups are silent spaces where earbud-clad engineers peer into monitors. Not Hampton Creek Foods. The two-year-old company’s office—a filled-to-bursting space in San Francisco’s South of Market tech hotbed—grinds, clatters, and whirs like a laundromat run amok. That’s the sound of industrial-strength mixers, grinders, and centrifuges churning out what the company hopes is a key ingredient in food 2.0: an animal-free replacement for the chicken egg.

Silicon Valley venture capitalists have funded several food-related startups in the past year, but Hampton Creek has gathered the most momentum. It has A-list investors including Founders Fund, Horizon Ventures, and Khosla Ventures, and two undisclosed industrial food companies are experimenting with its plant-based egg substitute. The prepared-food counter at Whole Foods began using the startup’s egg-free Just Mayo mayonnaise in September 2013, with four other mainstream grocery chains lined up for the first half of this year. And, thanks to a recent investment round that boosted Hampton Creek’s funding to $30 million and drew in Li Ka-shing, the wealthiest person in Asia, Just Mayo soon will be sold by a large online grocer in Hong Kong.

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May 18, 2014

White Swan Update by Andres Agostini, Countermeassuring Every Unthinkable Black Swan, at http://lifeboat.com/blog/2014/04/white-swan

Posted by in category: futurism

White Swan Update by Andres Agostini, Countermeassuring Every Unthinkable Black Swan, at https://lifeboat.com/blog/2014/04/white-swan

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New algorithm shakes up cryptography http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140515163739.htm

Global Growth Worries Climb http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1000142405270230454770…21218.html

Continue reading “White Swan Update by Andres Agostini, Countermeassuring Every Unthinkable Black Swan, at http://lifeboat.com/blog/2014/04/white-swan” »

May 18, 2014

‘Killer robots’ to be debated at UN

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, security

BBC
Robot

Two robotics experts, Prof Ronald Arkin and Prof Noel Sharkey, will debate the efficacy and necessity of killer robots.

The meeting will be held during the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). A report on the discussion will be presented to the CCW meeting in November. This will be the first time that the issue of killer robots, or lethal autonomous weapons systems, will be addressed within the CCW.

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May 18, 2014

Scientists Reconnect Severed Nerves With Liquid Metal

Posted by in category: biotech/medical
Scientists Have Reconnected Severed Nerves with Liquid Metal

Get your T-1000 jokes ready, because we’re one step closer to liquid metal-powered people. As a team of Chinese biomedical engineers recently used an alloy to close the gap between severed sciatic nerves in frogs. In effect, it made electronic circuits out of nerves — and it worked.

Shockingly, this sci-fi solution is as simple as it sounds. Looking for a way to keep muscles active while nerves healed, the Tsinghua University researchers identified liquid metal as a highly conductive but also safe material to bridge the gap. They decided on the liquid metal alloy gallium-indium-selenium, a benign material that’s liquid at body temperature. (This liquid metal is not to be confused with the brand-name wonder material Liquidmetal, which is not actually a liquid.) The liquid metal alloy is also highly conductive.

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