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Sep 11, 2019

Chinese Scientists Try to Cure One Man’s HIV With Crispr

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

In July of 2017, doctors in Beijing blasted the patient with chemicals and radiation to wipe out his bone marrow, making space for millions of stem cells they then pumped into his body through an IV. These new stem cells, donated by a healthy fellow countryman, would replace the patient’s unhealthy ones, hopefully resolving his cancer. But unlike any other routine bone marrow transplant, this time researchers edited those stem cells with Crispr to cripple a gene called CCR5, without which HIV can’t infiltrate immune cells.


For the first time, a patient got treated for HIV and cancer at the same time, with an infusion of gene-edited stem cells. The results? Mixed.

Sep 11, 2019

Water found in atmosphere of planet beyond our solar system

Posted by in category: space

LONDON (Reuters) — Scientists for the first time have detected water in the atmosphere of an Earth-like planet orbiting a distant star, evidence that a key ingredient for life exists beyond our solar system, according to a study published on Wednesday.

Water vapor was found in the atmosphere of K2-18b, one of hundreds of “super-Earths” — worlds ranging in size between Earth and Neptune — documented in a growing new field of astronomy devoted to the exploration of so-called exoplanets elsewhere in the Milky Way galaxy.

More than 4,000 exoplanets of all types and sizes have been detected overall.

Sep 11, 2019

A European Spacecraft Almost Collided With A SpaceX Satellite

Posted by in categories: alien life, military, satellites

The tradition of road rage on earth does not apply to space where someone can yell at you to move. There has to be a channel of communication form the earth’s control centres and even then, those emails can be missed. Well, this may have almost caused two assets to run into each other about 350 km above Earth last weekend. This involved a Starlink satellite belonging to SpaceX and the European Space Agency’s Aeolus satellite.

The incident actually started on Wednesday when the US Air Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron issued a risk warning to both organisations. The unit that monitors space vessels and debris warned that the collision might happen around September 2nd at 7 am ET, with a 0.1% probability.

Continue reading “A European Spacecraft Almost Collided With A SpaceX Satellite” »

Sep 11, 2019

Reno-based Flirtey unveils Eagle delivery drone, can deliver packages under 10 minutes

Posted by in categories: drones, habitats

The Eagle has landed — the Flirtey Eagle drone, that is.

Reno-based drone delivery company Flirtey showed off the new drone that it will be using once it starts to deliver packages by air later this year. The company unveiled its drone on Monday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Continue reading “Reno-based Flirtey unveils Eagle delivery drone, can deliver packages under 10 minutes” »

Sep 11, 2019

This startup is outsourcing production to space

Posted by in categories: economics, space

This aptly named startup is eyeing extraterrestrial outsourcing.

Made in Space has plans to produce ZBLAN wire on the International Space Station and have it shipped back to Earth for humans to use, reports Wired.

Both Made in Space CEO Andrew Rush and NASA (currently the company’s primary investor and customer) hope this could be the start of the “low-Earth orbit economy,” per Wired.

Sep 11, 2019

This AI Uses Echolocation to Follow Your Every Move

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, security, surveillance

Would you consent to a surveillance system that watches without video and listens without sound?

If your knee-jerk reaction is “no!”, then “huh?” I’m with you. In a new paper in Applied Physics Letters, a Chinese team is wading into the complicated balance between privacy and safety with computers that can echolocate. By training AI to sift through signals from arrays of acoustic sensors, the system can gradually learn to parse your movements—standing, sitting, falling—using only ultrasonic sound.

To study author Dr. Xinhua Guo at the Wuhan University of Technology, the system may be more palatable to privacy advocates than security cameras. Because it relies on ultrasonic waves—the type that bats use to navigate dark spaces—it doesn’t capture video or audio. It’ll track your body position, but not you per se.

Sep 11, 2019

Astronomical Observatories and Indigenous Communities in Chile

Posted by in category: space

Continuing our series on the historical interaction between Western astronomy and Indigenous communities, this post discusses ALMA and other observatories in Chile.

Sep 11, 2019

How Bullying May Shape Adolescent Brains

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

In recent years, a steadily increasing volume of data has demonstrated that peer victimization — the clinical term for bullying — impacts hundreds of millions of children and adolescents, with the effects sometimes lasting years and, possibly, decades. The problem is even recognized as a global health challenge by the World Health Organization and the United Nations. And yet, researchers maintain there is still a limited understanding of how the behavior may physically shape the developing brain.

Sep 11, 2019

After leading Mars rover missions, Steve Squyres joins Blue Origin as chief scientist

Posted by in category: space travel

Just months after closing out the 15-year-long Opportunity rover mission on Mars, Cornell University astronomer Steve Squyres is taking advantage of a new opportunity: the post of chief scientist at Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture.

Today Blue Origin confirmed that Squyres, 63, will be joining the company, which is headquartered in Kent, Wash.

Squyres has been involved in NASA space missions including Voyager’s trip past the solar system’s giant planets and Magellan’s voyage to Venus. But his main claim to fame is his stint as principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers.

Sep 11, 2019

New metamaterial morphs into new shapes, taking on new properties

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, nanotechnology

A newly developed type of architected metamaterial has the ability to change shape in a tunable fashion.

While most reconfigurable materials can toggle between two distinct states, the way a switch toggles on or off, the new material’s shape can be finely tuned, adjusting its as desired. The material, which has potential applications in next-generation energy storage and bio-implantable micro-devices, was developed by a joint Caltech-Georgia Tech-ETH Zurich team in the lab of Julia R. Greer.

Greer, the Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering in Caltech’s Division of Engineering and Applied Science, creates materials out of micro- and nanoscale building blocks that are arranged into sophisticated architectures that can be periodic, like a lattice, or non-periodic in a tailor-made fashion, giving them unusual physical properties.