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Aug 27, 2019

These Researchers Want to Run a Cable From the Earth to the Moon

Posted by in categories: materials, space travel

It would be much easier to escape Earth’s gravity if you could skip the energy-intensive rockets.

That’s the idea behind the Spaceline, a newly-proposed type of space elevator that would link the Earth and the Moon in a bid drastically cut the cost of space travel.

Described in research published to the preprint server ArXiv by researchers at Columbia University and Cambridge University, the Spaceline would be tethered to the surface of the Moon and dangle down into geostationary orbit around the Earth like a plumb bob, waiting for astronauts to latch on and ride into the cosmos. The proof-of-concept paper found that the Spaceline could be constructed out of materials that exist today, raising the possibility of easier space travel and perhaps even orbital settlements.

Aug 27, 2019

Futurist Predicts Cyborgs Will Replace Humans on Earth

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, futurism

When British futurist James Lovelock looks to the future, he doesn’t see humans ruling the Earth.

“Our supremacy as the prime understanders of the cosmos is rapidly coming to end,” he wrote in his new book “Novacene,” according to NBC News. “The understanders of the future will not be humans but what I choose to call ‘cyborgs’ that will have designed and built themselves.”

Aug 27, 2019

What Is Quantum Gravity?

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics, space

Gravity was the first fundamental force that humanity recognized, yet it remains the least understood. Physicists can predict the influence of gravity on bowling balls, stars and planets with exquisite accuracy, but no one knows how the force interacts with minute particles, or quanta. The nearly century-long search for a theory of quantum gravity — a description of how the force works for the universe’s smallest pieces — is driven by the simple expectation that one gravitational rulebook should govern all galaxies, quarks and everything in between. [Strange Quarks and Muons, Oh My! Nature’s Tiniest Particles Dissected (Infographic)].

Aug 27, 2019

Newly Built Computer Mimics The Human Brain

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience

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Aug 27, 2019

DARPA Making Progress on Miniaturized Atomic Clocks for Future PNT Applications

Posted by in category: futurism

Aug 27, 2019

Key Uncertainties About the Future of Women

Posted by in categories: economics, policy, sex

In the past several months, the issue of ensuring a truly equal future for women in society has risen up the agenda of global challenges – whilst at the same time indicators suggest the actual gap is growing globally. From harassment and #metoo to #timesup and the rights to equal pay and equal access in education, the workplace, and the boardroom, women have been succeeding in spotlighting the issues and arguing for their rights. So, as we look to the future, some fundamental questions arise: What is the future of women? Are women’s futures different from men’s futures? How do we proceed in the coming years to embed a gender equality mindset while accounting for the unique challenges women face?

This article draws on insights from our recent book – The Future Reinvented – Reimagining, Life, Society and Business to explore how business and society can adjust to ensure a more positive future for women, focusing on what we consider to be critical agenda issues. We conclude with our advice and dreams for the future of women.

Areas which could benefit significantly from the increased participation of women

As we look to the forces shaping our world, it is clear that society as a whole could benefit significantly from the increased participation of women in the future of technology development, elected governmental roles, and higher education. For example, we need to better understand that an algorithm can be racist or sexist before integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into our social systems and institutions. The new book by Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression, is a great example of the kind of critical thinking about its broader social implications that the technology sector needs.

Continue reading “Key Uncertainties About the Future of Women” »

Aug 27, 2019

History Made: How Costa Rica has Doubled It’s Tropical Rainforest Cover

Posted by in categories: employment, habitats, policy

The year 2017 saw the second highest global tree cover loss recorded in the history of this planet, according to the World Economic Forum. Researchers at the University of Maryland (USA) found an area of tree loss equal to the size of Bangladesh. That equates to losing 40 soccer fields covered in trees every minute for a year. But guess what, Costa Rica took the fight in the other direction, declaring they had officially doubled their tropical rainforests since 2001. Doubled!

How can the world learn from Costa Rica’s experience and use it as a model for other nations? It helps to take a closer look at exactly what Costa Rica has done right in managing this issue, while other countries have failed miserably. In the mid-20th century, three quarters of Costa Rica was covered in lush, verdant tree canopy. Then came loggers, who savagely cleared acres and acres of pristine rainforest, lining their pockets by selling off Costa Rica’s natural resources. At the same time, of course, they were destroying the natural habitats of Costa Rica’s indigenous creatures, for instance Golden toads and Poison dart frogs.

But then, something changed radically in the thought processes of Costa Rican policy makers, and the rate of deforestation slowed, until it eventually dropped to zero. What happened? Costa Rica awakened to the potential of its rich ecosystems and began vigorously safeguarding them. Healthy ecosystems meant tourist dollars and employment opportunities for Ticos throughout the country.

Aug 27, 2019

Shhhhh. Listen Closely. Your Plants Might Be Talking

Posted by in category: futurism

As part of the “Sonic Succulents” exhibit at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, visitors are encouraged to touch plants and listen to what that contact sounds like. Dana Cronin/NPR hide caption.

Aug 27, 2019

A New Type of Visual Prosthetic

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

In normal vision, light falls on the retinas inside the eyes, and is immediately transduced into electrochemical signals before being uploaded to the brain through the optic nerves. So you do not see light itself, but the brain’s interpretation of electrochemical signals in the visual parts of the brain. It follows that, if your eyes do not work, but your brain is stimulated just so, your visual neurons will activate (and you will be able to see) just the same as if your eyes were in perfect condition.

Sounds easy, but can we do that? Building on decades of research in visual neuroscience, my lab, in collaboration with Susana Martinez-Conde’s, has now conducted some of the studies that validate this idea, completing some of the most important preliminary steps towards a new kind of visual prosthetic.

Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health, has just posted a blog that highlights our approach. He took notice of our work when we first presented it at this year’s meeting for the Principal Investigators of the BRAIN Initiative—the NIH led government funding initiative meant to spur research along on topics like brain implants. The BRAIN Initiative funds several agencies including the NIH, including the National Science Foundation, who kindly funded the grant driving our research thus far.

Aug 27, 2019

Sleep-Disordered Breathing Tied to Accelerated Aging

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

SAN ANTONIO — Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), and the disruption in nightly sleep it causes, speeds up the aging process, according to preliminary research.

SDB is a common disorder that results in oxidative stress and inflammation and is associated with several age-related health disorders. However, it hasn’t been well studied with respect to epigenetic aging.

“To our knowledge, this study is the first empirical study that has linked sleep-disordered breathing with epigenetic age acceleration,” Xiaoyu Li, ScD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, told Medscape Medical News.