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Oct 10, 2018

New FAA Rules for Drones Go Into Effect

Posted by in categories: drones, law, robotics/AI

The 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act maintains a distinction between recreational and commercial activities, but the FAA is no longer constrained by law not to impose rules on the former: Section 336, which had previously carved out an exception for model aircraft, has been entirely repealed. In its place is a new Section 349, which covers what the FAA expects of recreational flyers.

The title of Section 349 betrays a very different attitude compared with the earlier Section 336. It reads: “Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft.” No more calling them model aircraft: Small models—including things sold as toys, even paper airplanes—are referred to as “Unmanned Aircraft.”

That seems a little ridiculous to me. In my view, the FAA is committing what philosophers sometimes call the fallacy of the beard: A paper airplane is clearly not something the FAA should worry about, whereas a large octocopter with whirring blades carrying a heavy camera is. But where do you draw the line? The FAA refuses to set a threshold under which it bows out, insisting that everything not carrying people and capable of flight is an “unmanned aircraft” requiring the agency’s oversight and regulation.

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Oct 10, 2018

The cosmological lithium problem

Posted by in category: cosmology

The international collaborative n_TOF, in which a group of University of Seville researchers participated, has made use of the unique capacities of three of the world’s nuclear facilities to carry out a new experiment aimed at finding an explanation of the cosmological lithium problem. This problem is among the still unresolved questions of the current standard description of the Big Bang. The new experimental results, their theoretical interpretations and their implications have been published in Physical Review Letters.

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Oct 10, 2018

Air Force awards launch vehicle development contracts to Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman, ULA

Posted by in categories: security, space travel

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force announced on Wednesday it is awarding three contracts collectively worth about $2 billion to Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems and United Launch Alliance to develop launch system prototypes.

The funding is for the development of competing launch system prototypes geared toward launching national security payloads. Each company will receive an initial award of $181 million.

The Launch Service Agreements are for the development of Blue Origin’s New Glenn, Northrop Grumman’s Omega and ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rockets. The awards are part of cost-sharing arrangements — known as Other Transaction Agreements — that the Air Force is signing with the three companies to ensure it has multiple competitors. The Air Force has committed through 2024 a total of $500 million in OTA funds for Blue Origin, $792 million for Northrop Grumman and $967 million for ULA. SpaceX previously received an LSA award but did not make the cut this time.

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Oct 10, 2018

Elon Musk Shares SpaceX Falcon 9 Image That Highlights Its True Size

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, satellites

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is impressive, but based on launch photos it can be hard to get a sense of the true scale of the craft. On Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk shared an image that shows himself alongside three figures, standing next to a freshly-landed Falcon 9. The image gives a clear indication of how the craft appears in real life.

Musk shared the image below with the caption “At Falcon LZ-1 Vandenberg on Sunday night with the Base Commander. Support of [United States Air Force] much appreciated.” The image was taken just after Sunday’s launch, which saw the SAOCOM 1A satellite sent up from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, before the first stage booster landed on the firm’s brand new west coast landing pad. The whole craft measures 229.6 feet tall, with a 12-foot diameter. The composite fairing, which houses the satellite entering orbit, measures 43 feet with a 17-foot diameter.

See more: Elon Musk Shares Incredible Photos From SpaceX’s Landmark Falcon 9 Launch.

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Oct 10, 2018

Scientists Just Created Quantum Artificial Life For The First Time Ever

Posted by in categories: biological, information science, quantum physics, supercomputing

Can the origin of life be explained with quantum mechanics? And if so, are there quantum algorithms that could encode life itself?

We’re a little closer to finding out the answers to those big questions thanks to new research carried out with an IBM supercomputer.

Encoding behaviours related to self-replication, mutation, interaction between individuals, and (inevitably) death, a newly created quantum algorithm has been used to show that quantum computers can indeed mimic some of the patterns of biology in the real world.

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Oct 10, 2018

Aging Happens

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

Today, we have a talk by Dr. Alvaro Macieira-Coelho, who discusses how aging is a consequence of thermodynamics and entropy. Quite simply, aging is the default for most species.

Earlier this year, we hosted the Ending Age-Related Diseases 2018 conference at the Cooper Union, New York City. The event was focused on bringing the worlds of research and investment in the rejuvenation biotechnology field together and saw a number of talks and panels focused on research and investment.

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Oct 10, 2018

Invariant Natural Killer T Cells Might Be The Next Step in Cancer Therapy

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

Invariant natural killer T cells might lead to cheaper and more effective immunotherapy.

Researchers at the Imperial College London have discovered that specifically employing invariant natural killer T cells, rather than generic T cells, in cancer immunotherapies based on chimeric antigen receptors might lead to significantly more effective, cheaper, and more easily mass-produced treatments [1].


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Oct 10, 2018

Conservation and Compassion in the Age of Humans and Beyond

Posted by in category: futurism

“Broadly speaking, a posthuman perspective would call into question the anthropocentric notion that humans are to be privileged over all other forms of life. Posthumanism generally aligns with a more ecological perspective that favors simultaneous coexistence with other species and consideration of the lives and experiences of other species. Posthumanism would thus resist the notion that humans are at the center of any given context and would instead posit that human society is composed of a web of interwoven, entangled relationships of humans, nonhuman animals, organic and inorganic matter, and so on.”…/conservation-and-compassi…

A new book called “Visualizing Posthuman Conservation in the Age of the Anthropocene” argues against human domination and favors peaceful coexistence with other species.

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Oct 10, 2018

The Universe Has A Speed Limit, And It Isn’t The Speed Of Light

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

Nothing can go faster than the speed of light in a vacuum. But particles in our Universe can’t even go that fast.

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Oct 10, 2018

The Latest Prostheses Take Orders Directly From Your Nerves

Posted by in category: futurism

New prostheses can perform dexterous motions, such as opening beers and grinding pepper, by learning how your specific nervous system gives orders.

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