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Aug 16, 2022

5 billion people could die due to famine after a nuclear war between the US and Russia

Posted by in category: existential risks

Aug 16, 2022

Physics Duo Finds Magic in Two Dimensions

Posted by in category: physics


In exploring a family of two-dimensional crystals, a husband-and-wife team is uncovering a potent variety of new electron behaviors.

Aug 16, 2022

AI doesn’t work like our brains. That’s the problem

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

The latest language models are amazing. But for general artificial intelligence, I suspect we’re barking up the wrong tree.

It’s odd to try to create artificial intelligence without taking inspiration from the only existing natural intelligences we have: humans and animals. Yet that is the current direction of AI research.

Aug 16, 2022

Back to the drawing board: Reinventing offshore wind turbines

Posted by in category: sustainability

Brandon Ennis, Sandia National Laboratories’ offshore wind technical lead, had a radically new idea for offshore wind turbines: instead of a tall, unwieldy tower with blades at the top, he imagined a towerless turbine with blades pulled taut like a bow.

This design would allow the massive generator that creates electricity from spinning blades to be placed closer to the water, instead of on the top of a tower 500 feet above. This makes the turbine less top-heavy and reduces the size and cost of the floating platform needed to keep it afloat. Sandia filed a patent application for the design in 2020.

However, before he could set his idea in motion, the team needed to build software capable of modeling the response of the turbine and floating platform to different wind and sea conditions to determine the optimal design of the whole system.

Aug 16, 2022

Humans tamed the microbes behind cheese, soy, and more

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

Somerville and John Gibbons, a genomicist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, independently focused on food fermentation, which helped early farmers and herders transform fresh produce and milk into products that can last months or years. Gibbons took a close look at the genome of Aspergillus oryzae, the fungus that jump-starts production of sake from rice and soy sauce and miso from soybeans.

When farmers cultivate A. oryzae, the fungus—a eukaryote, with its DNA enclosed in a nucleus—reproduces on its own. But when humans take a little finished sake and transfer it to a rice mash to begin fermentation anew, they also transfer cells of the fungal strains that evolved and survived best during the first round of fermentation.

Gibbons compared the genomes of scores of A. oryzae strains with those of their wild ancestor, A. flavus. Over time, he found, selection by humans had boosted A. oryzae’s ability to break down starches and to tolerate the alcohol produced by fermentation. “The restructuring of metabolism appears to be a hallmark of domestication in fungi,” he reported last week at Microbe 2022, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. For example, domesticated Aspergillus strains may have up to five times more copies of a gene for metabolizing starches as their ancestor—“a brilliant way for evolution to turn up this enzyme,” Wolfe says.

Aug 16, 2022

17 Chinese govt departments issue guideline to boost population growth amid falling birth rate

Posted by in categories: education, employment, finance, government, habitats

China, which face population collapse due to low fertility rate, is starting to take steps to encourage more births.

China’s fertility rate is 1.1 children per woman. Replacement level to maintain a stable population size is 2.1 children per woman.

A total of 17 Chinese government departments on Tuesday jointly released a guideline on support policies in finance, tax, housing, employment, education and other fields to create a fertility-friendly society and encourage families to have more children, as the country faces growing pressure from falling birth rates.

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Aug 16, 2022

The future of weight loss

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, futurism

We have eradicated smallpox, cured many bacterial diseases, and invented a vaccine for Covid-19 within the year. But for a very long time we haven’t had a single good treatment for obesity. Has that now changed?

Aug 16, 2022

Astronomer Have Discovered A Mysterious Object, Which Is 570 Billion Times Brighter Than The Sun

Posted by in categories: physics, space

So bright that it pushes the energy limit of physics.

Billions of light years away, there is a massive ball of hot gas that is brighter than hundreds of billions of suns. It is tough to imagine something so bright. So, what is it? Astronomers are not really sure, but they have a couple of theories.

Aug 16, 2022

Algorithm learns to correct 3D printing errors for different parts, materials and systems

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, information science, robotics/AI

Engineers have created intelligent 3D printers that can quickly detect and correct errors, even in previously unseen designs, or unfamiliar materials like ketchup and mayonnaise, by learning from the experiences of other machines.

The engineers, from the University of Cambridge, developed a machine learning algorithm that can detect and correct a wide variety of different errors in real time, and can be easily added to new or existing machines to enhance their capabilities. 3D printers using the algorithm could also learn how to print new materials by themselves. Details of their low-cost approach are reported in the journal Nature Communications.

3D has the potential to revolutionize the production of complex and customized parts, such as aircraft components, personalized medical implants, or even intricate sweets, and could also transform manufacturing supply chains. However, it is also vulnerable to production errors, from small-scale inaccuracies and mechanical weaknesses through to total build failures.

Aug 16, 2022

Spider Silk Proteins Developed into Gel for Biomedical Applications

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

Down the line, the researchers hope to develop an injectable protein solution that forms a gel inside the body. The ability to design hydrogels with specific functions opens up for a range of possible applications. Such a gel could, for example, be used to achieve a controlled release of drugs into the body. In the chemical industry, it could be fused to enzymes, a form of proteins used to speed up various chemical processes.

“In the slightly longer term, I think injectable gels can become very useful in regenerative medicine,” says the study’s first author Tina Arndt, a PhD student in Anna Rising’s research group at Karolinska Institute. “We have a long way to go, but the fact that the protein solution quickly forms a gel at body temperature and that the spider silk has been shown to be well tolerated by the body is promising.”

The ability of spiders to spin incredibly strong fibers from a silk protein solution in fractions of a second has sparked an interest in the underlying molecular mechanisms. The researchers at KI and SLU have been particularly interested in the spiders’ ability to keep proteins soluble so that they do not clump together before the spinning of the spider silk. They have previously developed a method for the production of valuable proteins which mimics the process the spider uses to produce and store its silk proteins.

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