Page 7597

May 14, 2018

Eco-friendly water treatment works best with experienced bacterial flora

Posted by in categories: biological, sustainability

Sustainable biological filters called slow sand filters have been used to filter drinking water since the 1800s. They don’t use any chemicals, create no waste and use very little energy. However, technologies that meet modern requirements for control, monitoring and time-efficiency have become popular, while biological water treatment has been less favoured, since little has been understood about how it works. New research from Lund University in Sweden shows that not only are the older filters more efficient cleaners – they could be making a comeback soon with the help of new technology.

Older are more effective than new ones, a unique field study at a water treatment facility in southern Sweden shows. This is because the old filters have had the time to develop a specific ecosystem of hungry bacteria that purify the water. The water is cleaned not only by mechanical filtering by the grains of sand, but by considerably smaller helpers as well.

The fact that sand filters contain microorganisms was already known. However, it was believed that sand filters helped to reduce the number of bacteria, which is not the case.

Continue reading “Eco-friendly water treatment works best with experienced bacterial flora” »

May 14, 2018

Biological and Artificial Intelligence

Posted by in categories: biological, neuroscience, robotics/AI, transhumanism

We all feel overwhelmed by the speed at which new computing technologies are being thrown at us, but we haven’t seen anything yet. With the upcoming breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence technology, today’s computers will look like prehistoric tools, within just a few years. Systems are likely to follow suit, bringing us closer to strong AI, a moment when machines will be as smart as any human being. The question many fear is what will happen if and when machines become much brighter than us? In “What’s on their mind?” system consultant Serge Van Themsche describes through an engaging discussion with his driverless car, the main AI issues any concerned citizen should know about. This conversation resorts to hard and soft disciplines to better explain AIn this book you will get to understand: — What are biological and artificial knowledge, intelligence, and self-consciousness? — Which new neuroscience evidence shows how our brain programs data coming from our senses? — How can simple formulas, such as 2 power of i −1, explain how our neurons connect? — Can emotions be computable? — Can machines already create knowledge without any human interference? — Why must the computer industry mimic as closely as possible the brain functionalities to develop intelligent androids? — Why will AI be based on a discrete world rather than a digital one? — Will humans become super beings? This book will enable every reader, with or without a scientific or philosophical background, to grasp the similarities and differences between brains and computers. By doing so, he or she will not only figure out the likely paths AI will follow but also how humans will use these new technologies to transform themselves into super beings. Even though not all readers might be looking forward to Transhumanism, the movement that apprehends these modifications, they can get prepared for this future co-existence with smart robots. In the meantime, they will at least, gain a clear understanding of how their own mind works and why they become knowledgeable, intelligent, and self-aware.

Read more

May 14, 2018

What is the Singularity?

Posted by in categories: computing, internet, physics, singularity, transhumanism, virtual reality

Not everyone is convinced. Critics point out that one of the points of exponential growth is that it cannot carry on forever. After a 50-year run, Moore’s Law is stuttering. Singularitarians retort that the laws of physics define a limit to how much computation you can cram into a given amount of matter, and that humans are nowhere near that limit. Even if Moore’s Law slows, that merely postpones the great day rather than preventing it. Others say the Singularity is just reli…gion in new clothes, reheated millenarianism with transistors and Wi-Fi instead of beards and thunderbolts. (One early proponent of Singularitarian and transhumanist ideas was Nikolai Federov, a Russian philosopher born in 1829 who was interested in resurrecting the dead through scientific means rather than divine ones.) And those virtual-reality utopias do look an awful lot like heaven. Perhaps the best way to summarise the Singularity comes from the title of a book published in 2012: the Rapture of the Nerds.

And will it lead to the extermination of all humans?

Continue reading “What is the Singularity?” »

May 14, 2018

Could technology help cure depression among older adults? (Short answer: Yes)

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, neuroscience

This is important because “the go-to treatment for many cases of depression is medication…this treatment option can cause as many issues as the problem it is trying to solve. Antidepressants can put residents at greater risk of falls, negative health complications and other poor conditions…studies indicate that antidepressants may not be effective for most older Americans. (Additionally) Medication adherence is another significant challenge.”

___ Why technology — not medication — is the future of treating older adults with depression (McKnight’s Long-term Care News): “The go-to treatment for many cases of depression is medication. Unfortunately, this treatment option can cause as many issues as the problem it is trying to solve. Antidepressants can put.

Read more

May 13, 2018

Anti-aging protein alpha Klotho’s molecular structure revealed

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, neuroscience

DALLAS – March 29, 2018 – Researchers from UT Southwestern’s Charles and Jane Pak Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research and Internal Medicine’s Division of Nephrology recently published work in Nature that reveals the molecular structure of the so-called “anti-aging” protein alpha Klotho (a-Klotho) and how it transmits a hormonal signal that controls a variety of biologic processes. The investigation was performed in collaboration with scientists from New York University School of Medicine and Wenzhou Medical University in China.

Studies at UTSW two decades ago by Dr. Makoto Kuro-o, Professor of Pathology, demonstrated that mice lacking either a-Klotho or the hormone FGF23 suffered from premature and multiple organ failure as well as other conditions, including early onset cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive decline. Because defects in a-Klotho lead to symptoms seen in aging, researchers inferred that a-Klotho suppresses aging, leading to great interest in how the a-Klotho protein might work together with the hormone FGF23 to fulfill their roles.

A-Klotho can exist on the surface of a cell or can be released from the cell and circulate in body fluids, including the blood, as soluble a-Klotho. The cell-attached form and the circulating form of a-Klotho were previously and universally believed to serve completely different functions.

Continue reading “Anti-aging protein alpha Klotho’s molecular structure revealed” »

May 13, 2018

If We Heard From Aliens, What Would It Look Like?

Posted by in category: alien life

How SETI sifts through cosmic noise to hunt for alien signals.

Follow Focal Point for more stories on groundbreaking science!

Read more

May 13, 2018

A Post-Smartphone Future? How About: Bots That Accept Inaudible Commands, Impersonate Humans, and Know When You Kiss Someone

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, robotics/AI

Google and Amazon are on the forefront of AI innovation. But have they already gone too far?

By John Brandon Contributing editor,

Read more

May 13, 2018

Artificial intelligence is changing everything, ‘We need a different mentality’

Posted by in categories: information science, military, robotics/AI, surveillance

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military got is first big taste of artificial intelligence with Project Maven. An Air Force initiative, it began more than a year ago as an experiment using machine learning algorithms developed by Google to analyze full-motion video surveillance.

The project has received high praise within military circles for giving operators in the field instant access to the type of intelligence that typically would have taken a long time for geospatial data analysts to produce.

Project Maven has whetted the military’s appetite for artificial intelligence tools. And this is creating pressure on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to jump on the AI bandwagon and start delivering Maven-like products and services.

Continue reading “Artificial intelligence is changing everything, ‘We need a different mentality’” »

May 13, 2018

Sun Emits a Solstice Flare and CME

Posted by in category: materials

This image shows the bright light of a solar flare on the left side of the Sun and an eruption of solar material shooting through the Sun’s atmosphere.

Read more

May 13, 2018

New Multiverse Research Suggests Scientists Need a New Law of Dark Energy

Posted by in category: cosmology

Two new studies analyzing the relationship between dark energy, life, and the multiverse suggest it’s possible life exists in universes outside our own. Though the idea of the multiverse is not new, the concept of our universe being extraordinarily special might not be true.

Read more