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Aug 14, 2019

Aubrey de Grey at Ending Age-Related Diseases 2019

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Today, we’re releasing another keynote from Ending Age-Related Diseases 2019, our highly successful two-day conference that featured talks from leading researchers and investors, bringing them together to discuss the future of aging and rejuvenation biotechnology.

In his talk, Estimating the True Complexity of Comprehensive Rejuvenation, the famous Aubrey de Grey of SENS Research Foundation discussed the intricacies of creating a complete rejuvenation biotechnology framework, including the differing rates of age-related damage and the ramifications of the extensive crosstalk between different types of this damage.

Aug 14, 2019

Your Doorway to Japan

Posted by in categories: policy, quantum physics, space

With the launch of its Quantum Science Satellite, nicknamed Mozi, China took the lead in implementing quantum-encoded communications. In the first article of a series about China’s ambitious space program, space policy expert Aoki Setsuko explains the significance of this development.

Aug 14, 2019

Novel “invisibility cloaks” for water waves leave no telltale wakes or drag

Posted by in category: materials

Two separate teams of scientists have devised novel hydrodynamic “invisibility cloaks”—instead of shielding objects from light, the cloaks would shield them from fluid flows. The scientists described their work in two new papers in Physical Review Letters. These kinds of cloaking structures could one day help reduce drag on ships or submarines, or protect ships at a port or wharf from potential damage from strong waves.

Most so-called “invisibility cloaks” created thus far work in the electromagnetic regime and rely on metamaterials. A “metamaterial” is any material whose microscopic structure can bend light in ways light doesn’t normally bend—a property called “the index of refraction.” Natural materials have a positive index of refraction; certain manmade metamaterials—first synthesized in the lab in 2000—have a negative index of refraction, meaning they interact with light in such a way as to bend light around even very sharp angles.

Aug 14, 2019

3D-printing organs moves a few more steps closer to commercialization

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical

New successes in printing vascular tissue from living cells point to the accelerating pace of development of 3D-printing tissue — and eventually the ability to manufacture organs from small samples of cells.

Late last month Prellis Biologics announced an $8.7 million round of funding and some significant advancements that point the way forward for 3D-printed organs while a company called Volumetric Bio based on research from a slew of different universities unveiled significant progress of its own earlier this year.

Continue reading “3D-printing organs moves a few more steps closer to commercialization” »

Aug 14, 2019

It’s 2043. We Need a New American Dream for the A.I. Revolution

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, drones, economics, employment, food, government, robotics/AI, surveillance

Nevertheless, to date, most of the wealth generated by advances in A.I. and robotics has been acquired by the executives of technology companies. It’s time for the benefits of the A.I. revolution to be broadly distributed through an expanded social safety net.

Unfortunately, members of Congress are taking the opposite path and have proposed cuts to a range of social programs. Several hundred thousand people arrived in Washington on Saturday to protest these cuts. During the demonstration, masked agitators threw rocks at the autonomous drones deployed for crowd control; in response, drones dispensed pepper spray on the protesters below, causing a stampede. More than 20 people were injured and treated at local hospitals; one protester died of his injuries on Monday. The police detained 35 people at the scene; 25 more arrests have been made since then, after authorities used facial recognition technology to identify protesters from surveillance video.

Punishing the poor who were harmed by economic disruptions has been a mistake repeated throughout American history. During the Industrial Revolution, machines displaced many artisans and agricultural workers. To deter these unemployed workers from seeking public relief, local governments set up poorhouses that required residents to perform hard labor. And between 1990 and 2020, the federal government — and some state governments — repeatedly cut social program spending even as middle-class jobs disappeared as a result of outsourcing and automation. Workers who didn’t have the skills to thrive in the knowledge economy were resigned to join the underclass of service workers.

Aug 14, 2019

One giant leap for Indian cinema: how Bollywood embraced sci-fi

Posted by in categories: energy, entertainment, space

With these high profile missions to the moon and Mars, sci-fi is set to become a Bollywood staple. “The Indian audience, especially the youth segment, now constantly seeks newer themes and stories,” says Vikram Malhotra, CEO of Abundantia Entertainment, one of India’s biggest production companies. “There has been so much talk and discussion about India’s space programmes and the achievements of our scientists that even the common man now wants to know more about this fascinating world. And on the big screen.”


In 2014, India sent the Mars Orbiter Mission into space, and became the first country to send a satellite to orbit the planet at its first attempt – putting its much richer regional rival China in the shade as it became the first Asian nation to get to the red planet. The project was notable for being led by a team of female scientists; as is India’s second lunar probe, Chandrayaan-2 (from the Sanskrit for “moon craft”), which was launched last month and is due to land on the moon in early September. And as the country establishes itself as a space power, Indians have developed an appetite for sci-fi themes in its cinema.

The patriotic outburst that followed the Mars mission has fuelled the latest example of Indian space cinema: Mission Mangal (Sanskrit for Mars), a fictionalised account of the Orbiter Mission. Starring and produced by Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, it is due for release on 15 August, India’s Independence Day. “I would follow the news about India’s space missions and feel proud of what we were achieving,” says Kumar. “But through Mission Mangal I guess you could say I have an insider’s perspective.”

Continue reading “One giant leap for Indian cinema: how Bollywood embraced sci-fi” »

Aug 14, 2019

Robots compete in DARPA’s Subterranean Challenge to prep for alien life hunt

Posted by in categories: alien life, robotics/AI

This week DARPA kicks off a competition called the Subterranean Challenge, where hordes of robots are unleashed into caves and tunnels to test how well they can autonomously navigate these environments. One team, headed up by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), is entering a crew of bots that could inform future designs of spacefaring robots that explore caves and lava tubes on other planets and moons.

Aug 13, 2019

There’s a place at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean where hundreds of giant spacecraft go to die

Posted by in category: space travel

What happens to a spacecraft once it dies?

When a spacecraft completes its mission or runs out of fuel, it’s sent to what NASA calls a Spacecraft Cemetery. Three thousand miles off the Eastern coast of New Zealand and more than 2 miles deep, it’s the one place farthest from any land mass on Earth.

The perfect spot to land giant chunks of spacecraft that are traveling more than 180 mph upon impact. NASA predicts the chance of a spacecraft hitting someone out here to be around 1 in 10,000.

Aug 13, 2019

Scientists tasked a supercomputer with building millions of simulated universes

Posted by in categories: cosmology, supercomputing

Figuring out how our reality took shape over billions of years is no easy task for scientists. Theories about how the Big Bang played out and the immediate aftermath are a dime a dozen, but researchers led by a team from the University of Arizona think they might stumble upon some of the secrets of galaxy formation by asking a supercomputer to simulate millions of virtual universes and seeing which ones come closest to what we see today.

In a new research paper published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the team explains how they used a supercomputer system nicknamed the “Universe Machine” to watch billions of (virtual) years of galaxy formation play out before their eyes.

Aug 13, 2019

Astronomers Have Detected a Whopping 8 New Repeating Signals From Deep Space

Posted by in categories: alien life, mapping

One of the biggest mysteries out there in the Universe is inching closer to answers. An astonishing eight new repeating radio signals known as fast radio bursts (FRBs) have been detected flaring from deep space.

At the start of 2019, just one of these mysterious signals, FRB 121102, was known to flash repeatedly. In January, scientists reported a second repeating one (FRB 180814).

This new paper — available on preprint server arXiv, and accepted into The Astrophysical Journal Letters — describes eight new repeating signals detected by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) radio telescope.