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Aug 29, 2019

How We Could Make Mars Habitable, One Patch of Ground at a Time

Posted by in category: space

Terraforming would be a monumental task. How about this instead?


Humanity could make patches of the Red Planet habitable relatively cheaply and efficiently by placing thin layers of silica aerogel on or above the Martian surface, a new study suggests. The insulating aerogel would warm the ground enough to melt water ice and would also block harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, potentially creating an environment where plants and other photosynthetic life could flourish.

Aug 29, 2019

Carl Sagan on why he liked smoking marijuana

Posted by in category: futurism

Carl Sagan liked to smoke weed. His essay on why is fascinating.

Aug 29, 2019

Nanoparticles could grant humans permanent night vision

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, space

Aug. 27 (UPI) — Built-in night vision may not be far off. Scientists have developed nanoparticles that allow mice to see near-infrared light.

Researchers are scheduled to describe the technological breakthrough on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. ET at the American Chemical Society’s fall meeting, held this week in San Diego. Their presentation will be streamed live online.

Continue reading “Nanoparticles could grant humans permanent night vision” »

Aug 29, 2019

Scientists See Human-Like Brain Waves in Lab-Grown Mini-Brains

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

One way that scientists can non-invasively study the human brain is by growing “mini-brains,” clusters of brain cells each about the size of a pea, in the lab. In a fascinating progression of this line of research, a team this week reports that they observed human-like brainwaves from these organoids.

Previous studies of mini-brains have demonstrated movement and nerve tract development, but the new study from researchers at the University of California San Diego, led by biologist Alysson Muotri, is the first to record human-like neural activity. In their paper, published in Cell Stem Cell on Thursday, the researchers write that they observed brain wave patterns resembling those of a developing human. This sophistication in the in vitro model is a step to enable scientists to use mini-brains to study brain development, model diseases, and learn about the evolution of brains, according to Muotri.

Aug 29, 2019

Brain waves detected in mini-brains grown in a dish

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

Scientists have created miniature brains from stem cells that developed functional neural networks. Despite being a million times smaller than human brains, these lab-grown brains are the first observed to produce brain waves that resemble those of preterm babies. The study, published August 29 in the journal Cell Stem Cell, could help scientists better understand human brain development.

“The level of neural activity we are seeing is unprecedented in vitro,” says Alysson Muotri, a biologist at the University of California, San Diego. “We are one step closer to have a model that can actually generate these early stages of a sophisticated neural network.”

The pea-sized brains, called , are derived from . By putting them in culture that mimics the environment of brain development, the stem differentiate into different types of brain cells and self-organize into a 3D structure resembling the developing human brain.

Aug 29, 2019

Why This New 16-Bit Carbon Nanotube Processor Is Such a Big Deal

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, particle physics

Carbon isn’t just the stuff life is made of—it’s also the stuff our future is being built on.

Carbon—a versatile element that frequently trades off its electrons to create various forms of itself—has been gaining an exciting reputation in tech thanks to the successful exfoliation of graphene, a sheet of carbon that’s just one atom thick and has remarkable chemical properties.

But carbon nanotubes, a sort of cousin to graphene, has been quietly staking out its own place in the world of materials science.

Aug 29, 2019

Elevator from Earth to Moon unveiled in breakthrough for space missions

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, space travel, sustainability

Astronauts would have to fly their rocket into the Spaceline, attach to a solar-powered shuttle and be dragged up to the Moon.

Carbon nanotubes will need to be built on a large scale for the design.

Zephyr Penoyre, one of the Columbia astronomy graduate students behind the Spaceline, told Futurism: The line becomes a piece of infrastructure, much like an early railroad.

Aug 29, 2019

Jack Ma: AI could enable a 12-hour work week

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma told the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai Thursday that artificial intelligence should enable people to work 4 hours a day, 3 days a week, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: It’s a remarkable demonstration of Ma’s faith in AI, given he’s endorsed the Chinese tech sector’s standard “996” schedule, which consists of a 72-hour workweek: 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week.

Aug 29, 2019

MacOS Catalina likely to launch on 23 September

Posted by in categories: electronics, media & arts

Apple’s update to macOS for 2019 will be known as Catalina and will bring many third-party iOS apps to the Mac, new Music and TV apps, as well as lots of other exciting features. Find out what else we expect from the new macOS Catalina update.

Aug 29, 2019

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says Starship could be followed by a dramatically larger rocket

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel

Hinted at in a brief tweet on August 28th, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says that SpaceX’s massive Starship and Super Heavy launch vehicle – set to be the most powerful rocket ever built upon completion – could eventually be followed by a rocket multiple times larger.

SpaceX is currently in the process of assembling the first full-fidelity prototypes of Starship, a 9m (30 ft) diameter, 55m (180 ft) tall reusable spacecraft and upper stage. Two prototypes – Mk1 and Mk2 – are simultaneously being built in Texas and Florida, respectively, while the beginnings of the first Super Heavy prototype has visibly begun to take shape at SpaceX’s Florida campus.

Once complete, Starship’s Super Heavy booster will be the single most powerful rocket booster ever built, standing at least 70m (230 ft) tall on its own and capable of producing as much as ~90,000 kN (19,600,000 lbf) of thrust with 30 250-ton-thrust and 7 200-ton-thrust Raptor engines installed. Assuming 31 throttleable 200-ton Raptors, Super Heavy’s minimum max thrust is a still record-breaking ~62,000 kN (13.7 million lbf).