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Aug 14, 2016

Think you can take out a swarm of attack drones? DARPA wants to hear from you

Posted by in categories: drones, military

Pentagon research agency DARPA wants to develop a system that’s capable of countering a swarm of attack drones.

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Aug 14, 2016

Immortality Through Technology, Exploring the Singularity with Ray Kurzweil

Posted by in categories: computing, life extension, Ray Kurzweil, singularity

I love investing. Every investor who strives to understand their craft to the fullest, ends up at the undeniable conclusion that time is the most valuable asset, bar none. Without it, nothing else of value can exist, it’s the magic ingredient. We can leave value behind for our loved ones, but on an individual level, this intangible asset is a requirement to value and enjoyment as a life form.

Technological innovation and growth can be compared to a snowball rolling down a mountainside, growing faster with each rotation, while speeding up simultaneously. Moore’s Law has held for decades, some say we will hit a wall in silicon transistor shrinking, but the advent of graphene has recently given new light on how this can continue on. New materials, will keep the acceleration of processing power and shrinking of those technologies, intact.

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Aug 14, 2016

World War 3 in SPACE: Superpowers engineering battle-ready laser-armed cosmic tech

Posted by in categories: engineering, existential risks

Ok, which country will have a Darth Vader leading the command?

HUMANITY’S next war will move away from Earth and be a brutal battle for control of the stars, experts predict.

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Aug 14, 2016

Another Tesla Autopilot Crash, This Time in China

Posted by in categories: government, robotics/AI, sustainability, transportation

One more of these; we may see government step in at the consumer’s urging.

Nobody was killed or even injured. But a minor accident involving a Tesla Model S running on Autopilot in China is again raising questions about exactly how the feature works.

The electric car company said Wednesday that it is investigating the Aug. 2 incident. The driver’s Tesla sideswiped a Volkswagen that was parked halfway in the lane of a busy Beijing highway. The company said Autopilot was engaged and the driver was not holding the steering wheel.

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Aug 14, 2016

Fun With DNA

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing

We have seen the beauty of DNA in medical advancements, tech for storage, and even in designer fashion, Now, lets play with Art and art expression.

Tiny computers, microscopic art, bringing back the dodo—the future uses of the double helix.

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Aug 14, 2016

The MetroSpiritual: Does your DNA code prove you’re part alien?

Posted by in categories: alien life, futurism

This is a new one on me. I will admit that some of us often have folks trying to figure out how we come up with the stuff that we share as our vision of the future.

As scientists suggest humans may be descendants of alien civilizations, see which extraterrestrial race you most connect with.

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Aug 14, 2016

Revolutionary computer program could change chemistry forever

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing


Software can tell chemists how to make new molecules from scratch and its inventors claim it has already mapped out a cheaper route to a blockbuster drug.

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Aug 14, 2016

The head of Google’s Brain team is more worried about the lack of diversity in artificial intelligence than an AI apocalypse

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Something that I have shared many times as an issue/ gap with robotics and other AI technology.

Lack of diversity is more than a public relations issue, people.

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Aug 14, 2016

Novel Approach to Biological Circuit Design Allows Scientists to Track Cell Lineages

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

By Kevin Kang

A recent article in ScienceDaily reviews a new approach in Synthetic Biology that allows cells to respond to a series of input stimuli and simultaneously remember the order of these stimuli over many generations. As noted by the senior investigator, Timothy Lu from MIT, combining computation with memory creates complex cellular circuits that can perform logic functions and store memories of events by encoding them in their DNA (1,2). In their current work, Dr. Lu and his colleagues created cells that can remember and respond to three different inputs, including chemical signals in a particular order, and in the future may be able to incorporate even more inputs (1,2,3). The cellular machines thus created are referred to as biological “state machines” because they exist in different states depending on the identity and order of inputs that they receive. The state machines rely on enzymes called recombinases. When activated by a specific input, recombinases either delete or invert a particular segment of DNA depending on the orientation of two DNA target sequences known as recognition sites. The segment of DNA between these sites may have recognition sites for other recombinases that respond to different inputs. Flipping or deleting these sites permanently changes what will happen if a second or third recombinase is later activated. Therefore, a cell’s history is determined by sequencing its DNA. In a version of this system with just two inputs, there are five possible states for this circuit: states corresponding to no input, input A alone, input B alone, A followed by B, and B followed by A. Dr. Lu’s team in MIT has designed and built circuits that record up to three inputs, in which sixteen states are possible (1,2).

Besides creating circuits that record events in a cell’s life and then transmit these memories to future generations, the researchers from MIT also placed genes into the array of recombinase binding sites along with genetic regulatory elements. In these circuits, when recombinases rearrange the DNA, the circuits record the information as well as control which genes get turned on and off. Lu’s lab tested this work in bacteria by color coding the identity and order of input stimuli, so input A followed by B would would lead to bacteria fluorescing red and green, but input B followed by A would lead to red and blue fluorescence. Hence, these techniques can be used not only to record the states that the cells experience over time, but also to deploy in state-dependent gene expression programs (1,2).

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Aug 14, 2016

The Impact of Cortical Lesions on Thalamo-Cortical Network Dynamics after Acute Ischaemic Stroke: A Combined Experimental and Theoretical Study

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

New insights on the Thalamo-Cortical Nuero Netowrk of Acute Ischaemic Stroke victims.

The neocortex and thalamus provide a core substrate for perception, cognition, and action, and are interconnected through different direct and indirect pathways that maintain specific dynamics associated with functional states including wakefulness and sleep. It has been shown that a lack of excitation, or enhanced subcortical inhibition, can disrupt this system and drive thalamic nuclei into an attractor state of low-frequency bursting and further entrainment of thalamo-cortical circuits, also called thalamo-cortical dysrhythmia (TCD). The question remains however whether similar TCD-like phenomena can arise with a cortical origin. For instance, in stroke, a cortical lesion could disrupt thalamo-cortical interactions through an attenuation of the excitatory drive onto the thalamus, creating an imbalance between excitation and inhibition that can lead to a state of TCD. Here we tested this hypothesis by comparing the resting-state EEG recordings of acute ischaemic stroke patients (N = 21) with those of healthy, age-matched control-subjects (N = 17). We observed that these patients displayed the hallmarks of TCD: a characteristic downward shift of dominant α-peaks in the EEG power spectra, together with increased power over the lower frequencies (δ and θ-range). Contrary to general observations in TCD, the patients also displayed a broad reduction in β-band activity. In order to explain the genesis of this stroke-induced TCD, we developed a biologically constrained model of a general thalamo-cortical module, allowing us to identify the specific cellular and network mechanisms involved. Our model showed that a lesion in the cortical component leads to sustained cell membrane hyperpolarization in the corresponding thalamic relay neurons, that in turn leads to the de-inactivation of voltage-gated T-type Ca2+ -channels, switching neurons from tonic spiking to a pathological bursting regime. This thalamic bursting synchronises activity on a population level through divergent intrathalamic circuits, and entrains thalamo-cortical pathways by means of propagating low-frequency oscillations beyond the restricted region of the lesion. Hence, pathological stroke-induced thalamo-cortical dynamics can be the source of diaschisis, and account for the dissociation between lesion location and non-specific symptoms of stroke such as neuropathic pain and hemispatial neglect.

The thalamus is involved in the relay and processing of most sensory information, and provides an interface between subcortical structures and the neocortex. However, disruptions in the subcortical communication with the thalamus are known to lead to thalamo-cortical dysrhythmia (TCD), which is linked to symptoms in a range of illnesses including Parkinson’s disease, neurogenic pain syndrome and tinnitus. Thus far, TCD has solely been interpreted in terms of changes within subcortical pathways, but here we investigate how cortical disturbances (i.e., ischaemic stroke) may affect thalamic function in a similar manner. We do so by analysing the electroencephalogram (EEG) of stroke patients with a cortical lesion, and show that their EEG power spectra display the characteristic features of TCD.

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