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Feb 5, 2019

Russian media threatens US with 100 megaton nuclear doomsday device after key arms treaty fails

Posted by in categories: existential risks, geopolitics, military, treaties

With the dropping of the INF treaty, Putin and Trump have brought the dangers of nuclear war back into a more realistic possibility. I’m not posting this to engage in a political discussion but nuclear war is definitely a lifeboat type of issue.


Russia’s military and state-sponsored media have reacted with a fire and fury of their own to the news that the US will exit the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaties, one of the last barriers to a full-on Cold War-like arms race in Europe — and there’s already talk of a nuclear doomsday device visiting the US.

The INF treaty banned land-based nuclear capable missiles with a range between 300 and 3,200 miles in 1987 when Russia and the US had populated much of Europe with intermediate-ranged nuclear missiles. The ban eliminated this entire class of missiles and went down as one of the most successful acts of arms control ever.

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Feb 5, 2019

This conveyor belt is omnidirectional

Posted by in category: futurism

This conveyor belt can move in any direction.

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Feb 5, 2019

New invisibility cloak hides tiny three-dimensional objects of any shape

Posted by in category: computing

Circa 2015


Scientists at UC Berkeley have developed a foldable, incredibly thin invisibility cloak that can wrap around microscopic objects of any shape and make them undetectable in the visible spectrum. In its current form, the technology could be useful in optical computing or in shrouding secret microelectronic components from prying eyes, but according to the researchers involved, it could also be scaled up in size with relative ease.

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Feb 5, 2019

Scans Show Female Brains Remain Youthful As Male Brains Wind Down

Posted by in categories: health, neuroscience

Women’s Brains Age More Slowly Than Men’s : Shots — Health News Researchers say the metabolism of a woman’s brain remains higher than a man’s throughout a lifetime. And that may help with late-life creativity and learning.

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Feb 5, 2019

Ceramic holds promise for greener optical devices

Posted by in category: electronics

A lead-free ceramic that could be used in applications ranging from optical sensors and switches to creams for protecting against ultraviolet (UV) light has been developed by A*STAR researchers.

Ceramics made from potassium sodium niobate (KNN) are promising alternatives to lead-based ceramics in electro-optical applications. However, it is both challenging and costly to improve KNN’s performance by ensuring it has a high density, fine-grained, chemically uniform microstructure.

Known as PLZT, lanthanum modified lead zirconate titanate is one of the most widely used electro-optic ceramics. Yet there are serious ecological concerns regarding toxicity to the environment and living organisms once devices made with it are discarded; PLZT contains around 60 per cent of lead (by weight). The search is on to find lead-free replacements for PLZT.

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Feb 5, 2019

The Air Force’s ‘rods from god’ could hit with the force of a nuclear weapon — with no fallout

Posted by in categories: biological, geopolitics, military, treaties

The 107-country Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967 prohibits nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons from being placed in or used from Earth’s orbit.

What they didn’t count on was the US Air Force’s most simple weapon ever: a tungsten rod that could hit a city with the explosive power of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

During the Vietnam War, the US used what it called “Lazy Dog” bombs. These were simply solid-steel pieces, less than 2 inches long, fitted with fins.

Continue reading “The Air Force’s ‘rods from god’ could hit with the force of a nuclear weapon — with no fallout” »

Feb 5, 2019

How easy will it be to build a Moon base?

Posted by in categories: materials, space

Musk has yet to make a definite announcement about a Moon base. He has said we may need one just to get people fired up about Mars, and he is going to shoot someone around the Moon and back. I point this out because the first part of this article makes it seem like Musk has drawn up plans and announced them.


How can astronauts build a lunar base if traditional building materials are too heavy to load into a rocket?

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Feb 5, 2019

A single transistor process that can create connections

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience

A single transistor process that can create connections, and encode short and long term memories. The transistor is based on organic versus inorganic technology. The project relies on a form of transistor that uses ion injection from an electrolyte solution, which changes the storage and connectivity of the transistor.

The end result, a simple learning circuit to replicate neuronal action.

News Article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190205102537.htm

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Feb 5, 2019

What Happened to the 100,000-Hour LED Bulbs?

Posted by in categories: life extension, space

An excellent article on Hackaday addresses the lifetime of LED bulbs. To a certain degree, it also addresses the lifetime of LED’s themselves. However, the majority of the article investigates the various parts of the LED bulb, such as electronics and housings, and how they last. The article also addresses the issues of lumen depreciation and color change.

These issues are all important when thinking about long-term use in space applications.


Early adopters of LED lighting will remember 50,000 hour or even 100,000 hour lifetime ratings printed on the box. But during a recent trip to the hardware store the longest advertised lifetime I found was 25,000 hours. Others claimed only 7,500 or 15,000 hours. And yes, these are brand-name bulbs from Cree and GE.

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Feb 5, 2019

Fragile DNA Enables New Adaptations to Evolve Quickly

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

If highly repetitive gene-regulating sequences in DNA are easily lost, then that may explain why some adaptations evolve quickly and repeatedly.

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