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Nov 27, 2019

Former Go champion beaten by DeepMind retires after declaring AI invincible

Posted by in categories: entertainment, robotics/AI

When competing, it makes sense to compete on/with that worth competing (for). AI or not, it doesn’t matter.


The South Korean Go champion Lee Se-dol has retired from professional play, telling Yonhap news agency that his decision was motivated by the ascendancy of AI.

“With the debut of AI in Go games, I’ve realized that I’m not at the top even if I become the number one through frantic efforts,” Lee told Yonhap. “Even if I become the number one, there is an entity that cannot be defeated.”

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Nov 27, 2019

FDA Calls Psychedelic Psilocybin a ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ for Severe Depression

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

The FDA is helping to speed up the process of researching and approving psilocybin, a hallucinogenic substance in magic mushrooms, to treat major depressive disorder (MDD).

For the second time in a year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designated psilocybin therapy — currently being tested in clinical trials — as “breakthrough therapy,” an action that is meant to accelerate the typically sluggish process of drug development and review. It is typically requested by a drug company and granted only when preliminary evidence suggests the drug may be an enormous improvement over already available therapy, according to the FDA.

Nov 27, 2019

Multiverse Theories Are Bad for Science

Posted by in categories: cosmology, science

New books by a physicist and science journalist mount aggressive but ultimately unpersuasive defenses of multiverses.

Nov 27, 2019

Strategy to help cells get rid of disease-related debris

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Tohoku University researchers have developed a strategy that could help cells get rid of disease-related debris. Further research could lead to treatments for neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases, Down syndrome, and maybe even aging-related diseases. The findings were published in the journal Molecular Cell.

Cells have a natural ability to routinely rid themselves of unnecessary or dysfunctional proteins and organelles. During this process of “,” debris are tagged with a compound called ubiquitin and then degraded within tiny cellular vacuoles. Autophagy is impaired in some cancers, and neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases, so scientists have been working to develop drugs that can regulate this process. However, little is known about the details of autophagy, such as how the cell knows which components to tag with ubiquitin.

In previous research, Hirokazu Arimoto, a chemical biologist at Tohoku University, and colleagues found that autophagy is initiated against invading streptococci bacteria when they are tagged with the nucleic acid guanine. The researchers wondered if guanine tagging could also initiate autophagy against other cellular components.

Nov 27, 2019

Space travel can make the gut leaky

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, space travel

Bacteria, fungi, and viruses can enter our gut through the food we eat. Fortunately, the epithelial cells that line our intestines serve as a robust barrier to prevent these microorganisms from invading the rest of our bodies.

A research team led by a biomedical scientist at the University of California, Riverside, has found that simulated microgravity, such as that encountered in spaceflight, disrupts the functioning of the epithelial barrier even after removal from the .

“Our findings have implications for our understanding of the effects of space travel on intestinal function of astronauts in space, as well as their capability to withstand the effects of agents that compromise intestinal epithelial barrier function following their return to Earth,” said Declan McCole, a professor of biomedical sciences at the UC Riverside School of Medicine, who led the study published today in Scientific Reports.

Nov 27, 2019

Stem cell therapy helps broken hearts heal in unexpected way

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Stem cell therapy helps hearts recover from a heart attack, although not for the biological reasons originally proposed two decades ago that today are the basis of ongoing clinical trials. This is the conclusion of a Nov. 27 study in Nature that shows an entirely different way that heart stem cells help the injured heart—not by replacing damaged or dead heart cells as initially proposed.

The study reports that injecting living or even dead heart stem cells into the injured hearts of mice triggers an acute inflammatory process, which in turn generates a wound healing-like response to enhance the mechanical properties of the injured area.

Mediated by macrophage cells of the immune system, the secondary healing process provided a modest benefit to heart function after , according to Jeffery Molkentin, Ph.D., principal investigator, director of Molecular Cardiovascular Microbiology a Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and a professor of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

Nov 27, 2019

US Military Warns of “Augmented Human Beings”

Posted by in categories: drones, military

The military is particularly keen on giving soldiers the ability to control drones with their minds.

Nov 27, 2019

How new thoughts are formed in the brain?

Posted by in category: neuroscience

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Nov 27, 2019

The world’s been waiting for male birth control. India may be the first to launch it

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, sex

But however promising RISUG may seem, and however much the world needs a new form of male birth control, some researchers are skeptical. And a closer look at the most recent phase three clinical trial of the treatment in India suggests there’s good reason to be cautious.

Sharma recently published the results of the clinical trial on RISUG in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, and it tells a slightly more complicated story than what he’s been telling the press. The study involved 139 men under the age of 41 who were living with their wives and had at least two children each. The men were given a single dose of RISUG and then followed up by doctors for six months. Their wives were also monitored to find out if they became pregnant. Note: This is a small, short-term study.

Importantly, the partners of the 133 men in the trial who got the shot didn’t get pregnant despite having unprotected sex.

Nov 27, 2019

This microbe no longer needs to eat food to grow, thanks to a bit of genetic engineering

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, food, genetics

Biochemical makeover allows Escherichia coli to use carbon dioxide as a building block for its cells.