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Nov 8, 2018

Culture may explain why brains have become bigger

Posted by in categories: economics, neuroscience

A theory called the cultural brain hypothesis could explain extraordinary increases in brain size in humans and other animals over the last few million years, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology by Michael Muthukrishna of the London School of Economics and Political Science and Harvard University, and colleagues at the University of British Columbia and Harvard University.

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Nov 8, 2018

Embryos remember the chemicals that they encounter

Posted by in category: biological

We all start out as a clump of identical cells. As these cells divide and multiply, they gradually take on distinct identities, acquiring the traits necessary to form, for instance, muscle tissue, bone, or nerves. A recent study from Rockefeller scientists offers new insight into how these cellular identities are cultivated over the course of development.

According to the study, published in eLife, cells retain a memory of the chemical signals to which they are exposed. And, the researchers show, embryos that fail to form these memories remain a clump of clones, never realizing their unique biological potential.

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Nov 8, 2018

Custom-Grown Bones, and Other Wild Advances in Regenerative Medicine

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

The human body has always been an incredible machine, from the grand feats of strength and athleticism it can accomplish down to the fine details of each vein, nerve, and cell. But the way we think about the body has changed over time, as has our level of understanding of it.

In Nina Tandon’s view, there have been two different phases of knowledge here. “For so much of human history, medicine was about letting the body come to rest, because there was an assumed proportionality attributed to the body,” she said.

Then, around the turn of the last century, we started developing interchangeable parts (whether from donors, or made of plastic or metal), and thinking of our bodies a bit more like machines. “We’re each made out of 206 bones held together by 360 joints,” Tandon said. “But many of us are more than that. By the time we go through this lifetime, 70 percent of us will be living with parts of our body that we weren’t born with.”

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Nov 8, 2018

MIT plans for a giant laser ‘porch light’ in space to attract aliens

Posted by in category: alien life

A pair of MIT researchers has proposed a radical method for making our presence known in the universe.

In a new feasibility study, the team says it could be possible to use laser technology as a beacon to attract the attention of alien astronomers, much like a planetary-scale porch light.

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Nov 8, 2018

A New Nanobot Drills Through Your Eyeball to Deliver Drugs

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

It simply twists its way through the dense tissue.

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Nov 8, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Hits the Barrier of Meaning

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

Machine learning algorithms don’t yet understand things the way humans do — with sometimes disastrous consequences.

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Nov 8, 2018

The most detailed map of the brain ever created!

Posted by in category: neuroscience

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Nov 8, 2018

This surgery makes short people a few inches taller

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Credit: Hashem Al-Ghaili.

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Nov 8, 2018

Scientists Develop Liquid Fuel That Can Store The Sun’s Energy For Up to 18 Years

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

No matter how abundant or renewable, solar power has a thorn in its side. There is still no cheap and efficient long-term storage for the energy that it generates.

The solar industry has been snagged on this branch for a while, but in the past year alone, a series of four papers has ushered in an intriguing new solution.

Scientists in Sweden have developed a specialised fluid, called a solar thermal fuel, that can store energy from the sun for well over a decade.

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Nov 8, 2018

High-Tech Vision Care: Is It Time to Upgrade Your Glasses or Contacts?

Posted by in category: energy

It’s an unfortunate fact that a large percentage of people have some sort of trouble with their vision. Even if you don’t at the moment, every human eventually has enough trouble focusing both near and far that they’ll need glasses for one or the other as they age. Our pupils become more limited also, with young eyes able to expand and close from about 2mm to 8mm, while in seniors they hardly change size at all. Exposure to the wrong kinds of light can also lead to eye issues later in life.

Fortunately, there are a variety of high-tech solutions either available or planned that can help us delay, or workaround, or even prevent some of these problems. For many of us, the only time we think about getting new glasses or a different kind of contact lenses is when our prescription changes. But that old pair of glasses you’re wearing doesn’t include the latest high-tech advances, which might turn out to be important to you. Similarly, there is increasing competition in contact lenses as well. We’ll cover some of the most important advances below.

While welders and other man-made sources of UV often get warnings, the Sun is the largest source

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