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Sep 26, 2018

Genetic testing: Not a one-and-done deal

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

That conclusion is based on a study that reviewed genetic testing results from 1.45 million individuals and found that nearly 25 percent of “variants of uncertain significance” were subsequently reclassified — sometimes as less likely to be associated with cancer, sometimes as more likely.

The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

When variations from the norm are discovered in a gene, the variants are classified as “benign,” “likely benign,” “variant of uncertain significance,” “likely pathogenic,” or “pathogenic.”

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Sep 26, 2018

The Ethics Of Transhumanism And The Cult Of Futurist Biotech

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, ethics, sex, transhumanism

Certainly, there are those in the movement who espouse the most extreme virtues of transhumanism such as replacing perfectly healthy body parts with artificial limbs. But medical ethicists raise this and other issues as the reason why transhumanism is so dangerous to humans when what is considered acceptable life-enhancement has virtually no checks and balances over who gets a say when we “go too far.” For instance, Kevin Warwick of Coventry University, a cybernetics expert, asked the Guardian, “What is wrong with replacing imperfect bits of your body with artificial parts that will allow you to perform better – or which might allow you to live longer?” while another doctor stated that he would have “no part” in such surgeries. There is, after all, a difference between placing a pacemaker or performing laser eye surgery on the body to prolong human life and lend a greater degree of quality to human life, and that of treating the human body as a tabula rasa upon which to rewrite what is, effectively, the natural course of human life.

While many” target=”_blank” rel=” nofollow noopener noreferrer” data-ga-track=” ExternalLink:”> transhumanist ideals remain purely theoretical in scope, what is clear is that females are the class of humans who are being theorised out of social and political discourse. Indeed, much of the social philosophy surrounding transhumanist projects sets out to eliminate gender in the human species through the application of advanced biotechnology and assisted reproductive technologies, ultimately inspired by Shulamith Firestone’s…lution.pdf” target=”_blank” rel=” nofollow noopener noreferrer” data-ga-track=” ExternalLink:…lution.pdf”> The Dialectic of Sex and much of Donna Haraway’s writing on…sm_in_the_…pdf” target=”_blank” rel=” nofollow noopener noreferrer” data-ga-track=” ExternalLink:…sm_in_the_…pdf”> cyborgs. From parthenogenesis to the creation of artificial wombs, this movement seeks to remove the specificity of not gender, but sex, through the elision of medical terminology and procedures which portend to advance a technological human-cyborg built on the ideals of a post-sex model.

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Sep 26, 2018

The Physics of Information: Quantum Potentiality to Classical Actuality of Your Experiential Reality

Posted by in categories: computing, mathematics, neuroscience, quantum physics

Physicists face the same hard problem as neuroscientists do: the problem of bridging objective description and subjective experience. Physics has encountered consciousness. Quantum theory says an object remains in a superposition of possibilities until observed. We can consider a quantum state as being about our knowledge rather than a direct description of physical reality. The physics of information just may be that bridging of quantum-to-digital reality of subjective experience. We are now at the historic juncture when quantum computing could reveal quantum information processing underpinnings of subjectivity. Quantum mechanics is a spectacularly successful theory of fundamental physics that allows us to make probabilistic predictions derived from its mathematical formalism, but the theory doesn’t tell us precisely how these probabilities should be interpreted in regards to phenomenology, i.e. our experiential reality. There are basically three main interpretive camps within quantum mechanics from which stem at least a dozen further interpretations.

By Alex Vikoulov.


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Sep 25, 2018

How the World Map Looks Wildly Different Than You Think

Posted by in category: media & arts

This topic touches a lot of nerves, so I ask for logic to rule above all else please.

All of us have seen a world map at some point in our lives before, but it is very difficult to imagine how certain countries and parts of the world compare to each other in size that are far apart. In this video, I explore why the world looks very different than how it is portrayed in the Mercator Projection map. I then go on to explore how certain countries are unexpectedly larger or smaller than what they appear to be, and how some places looks wildly different than our perceptions.

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Sep 25, 2018

In 1973, an MIT computer predicted the end of civilization. So far, it’s on target

Posted by in category: computing

An MIT model predicted when and how human civilization would end. Hint: it’s soon.

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Sep 25, 2018

3D bioPen: A hydrogel injection to regenerate cartilage

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

Highly specialized cartilage is characteristically avascular and non-neural in composition with low cell numbers in an aliphatic environment. Despite its apparent simplicity, bioengineering regenerative hyaline cartilage in a form effective for implantation remains challenging in musculoskeletal tissue engineering. Existing surgical techniques including autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) and matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI) are considered superior to self-repair induction techniques. However, both MACI and ACI are complex, multistage procedures that require a double operation; first for surgical excision of native cartilage, followed by expansion of adult chondrocytes in vitro prior to implantation by a second operation.

Regenerating robust articular hyaline-like cartilage is a key priority in musculoskeletal tissue engineering to prevent cost-intensive degenerative osteoarthritis that limits the quality of life in global healthcare. Integrating mesenchymal stem cells and 3D printing technologies has shown significant promise in bone tissue engineering– although the key challenge remains in transferring the bench-based technology to the operating room for real-time applications. To tackle this, a team of Australian orthopedic surgeons and bioengineers collaboratively proposed an in situ additive manufacturing technique for effective cartilage regeneration. The handheld engineered extrusion device known as the BioPen offers an advanced, co-axial extrusion strategy to deposit cells embedded in a hydrogel material within a surgical setting.

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Sep 25, 2018

NASA to develop projects to hunt for ‘technosignatures’ of alien life

Posted by in category: alien life

NASA is ramping up its search for life outside of our solar system.

The space agency is hosting a workshop in Houston this week to assess the state of current efforts to find ‘technosignatures’ coming from deep space and explore new areas.

These signatures are those that could be traced to an advanced civilization, reaching Earth as radio signals or other emissions caused by extraterrestrial activity.

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Sep 25, 2018

Matter is Going Into this Black Hole at 30% the Speed of Light

Posted by in category: cosmology

How did early black holes grow so quickly? A new study sheds some light on that by observing matter entering a black hole at 30% of the speed of light.

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Sep 25, 2018

No longer whistling in the dark: Scientists uncover source of perplexing waves

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, satellites

Magnetic reconnection, the snapping apart and violent reconnection of magnetic field lines in plasma—the state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei—occurs throughout the universe and can whip up space storms that disrupt cell phone service and knock out power grids. Now scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and other laboratories, using data from a NASA four-satellite mission that is studying reconnection, have developed a method for identifying the source of waves that help satellites determine their location in space.

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Sep 25, 2018

Babies Show Signs of Altruism Earlier Than Scientists Ever Thought

Posted by in categories: futurism, neuroscience

Babies notice more than we think they do, and the things they notice can tell us a lot about the kind of people they’ll grow up to be. Previously, scientists determined that toddlers younger than two years old exhibit signs of altruism — selfless concern for the well-being of others — that in turn predicted what they’d be like in the future. Now, new research in the journal PLOS Biology suggests that these signs emerge even earlier than we thought. The way a baby acts before it even turns one year old can reliably predict whether it will display altruistic behavior by the time it’s 14 months old.

Research in this field is an attempt to understand whether it’s really in our nature to be altruistic, and why. Acting selflessly, after all, is not immediately beneficial, at least from a purely evolutionary standpoint. And yet even our non-human primate relatives will sacrifice themselves for their neighbors, leading to the understanding that the behavior is somehow conserved.

In the new paper, published Tuesday, a team of psychologists and cognitive scientists show that a 7-month-old baby that pays close attention to the face of someone who is afraid is more likely to display prosocial behavior by the time they’re 14 months old.

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