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Apr 8, 2016

Meet Behrokh Khoshnevis, the Man Designing Robots to Build Colonies on Mars

Posted by in categories: energy, robotics/AI, space

When Khoshnevis imagines the future of colonies on Mars, he imagines very tall buildings, with a lot of protection from the elements.

“Gravity is one third of Earth’s, and therefore with less construction material we can build stronger structures out there, therefore we can build much taller,” he says. “The cost of energy for elevators and all that will be much less. Theoretically everything could be three times as high as here with the same consumption of energy,” he says.

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Apr 8, 2016

‘Groundbreaking’ Stem Cell Treatment Could Regrow Limbs, Repair Bones

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

In the pages of comic books and on the silver screen, superheroes like Wolverine and Deadpool have a “healing factor” that allows their bodies to regenerate and recover from injuries or illness at an amazing rate – but certainly nothing like that is possible in real life, right?

Amazingly, a team of scientists led by John Pimanda, a hematologist and associate professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia, published a study in Monday’s edition of the journal PNAS reporting that they had successfully reprogrammed bone and fat cells into induced multipotent stem cells (iMS) – the first step to making such a repair system a reality.

As they explained in a statement, stem cell therapies using iMS cells could theoretically repair a fractured bone or fix injured spinal discs, using a technique similar to how salamanders are able to regenerate lost limbs. These treatments could radically alter the field of regenerative medicine, and perhaps most surprisingly, the authors believe they could be available in just a few years. The technique, which has been successfully tested in mice, “is a significant advance on many of the current unproven stem cell therapies, which have shown little or no objective evidence they contribute directly to new tissue formation,” Pimanda said.

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Apr 8, 2016

Imperial opens UK’s first synthetic-biology foundry

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, robotics/AI

#SyntheticBiology: Robotic lab to custom-make synthetic bacteria.

Imperial College opens UK’s first robotic lab that automates the creation & rebooting of bacteria custom-made to produce pharmaceuticals and other materials. The robots will automate the synthesise of complete DNA strands, which consists millions of base pairs, and transplant entire genomes into bacteria chassis.

H/T: @CSERCambridge

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Apr 8, 2016

Student-designed ‘FemtoSats’ aim to bring cost of satellite deployment below $1,000

Posted by in categories: solar power, space, sustainability

Got a grand burning a hole in your pocket? You could get a new laptop — or you could send this tiny, palm-sized satellite to space. That’s what a team of engineers at Arizona State hope, anyway: their “FemtoSats” are meant to be as cheap a space-bound platform as has ever been devised.

At just 3cm per side and 35 grams (that’s about 1.2 inches and 0.077 pounds, dogs of the Imperial system), the SunCube 1F is the prototype FemtoSat. It’s powered by a salvaged scrap of solar panel (they don’t make them small enough off the shelf), the tiny unit includes propulsion, imaging, communication, and data collection.

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Apr 8, 2016

Why fossil fuel power plants will be left stranded — By Martin Wolf | Financial Times

Posted by in categories: business, disruptive technology, education, energy, environmental, governance, law, sustainability

“Virtually all new fossil fuel-burning power-generation capacity will end up “stranded”. This is the argument of a paper by academics at Oxford university. We have grown used to the idea that it will be impossible to burn a large portion of estimated reserves of fossil fuels if the likely rise in global mean temperatures is to be kept below 2C. But fuels are not the only assets that might be stranded. A similar logic can be applied to parts of the capital stock.”

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Apr 8, 2016

Will Transhumanism Change Racism in the Future?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, sex, transhumanism

My new article for The Hufffington Post on whether transhumanism will change racism in the near future:

A future transhumanist? — CCO Public Domain

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Apr 7, 2016

Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?

Posted by in categories: computing, physics

High-profile physicists and philosophers gathered to debate whether we are real or virtual—and what it means either way.

By Clara Moskowitz on April 7, 2016.

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Apr 7, 2016

XS-1 Program to Ease Access to Space Enters Phase 2

Posted by in category: space travel

Spaceplane program looks to public-private effort to enable next-generation space launch.

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Apr 7, 2016

DARPA Christens (Mostly) Autonomous Vessel

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

The Sea Hunter, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s most ambitious unmanned vessel to date, may well be the most advanced self-navigating surface craft in the world. Its 130-foot trimaran hull is designed for a maximum speed of 27 knots and operations in conditions up to sea state five. It can conduct missions of up to 70 days without resupply, and can work unmanned to perform tasks too risky for human sailors. It is even capable of complying with the Rules of the Road, in certain well-defined situations. And it can do all of these things at a construction cost of $23 million, a bit under one percent of the price for a Zumwalt -class destroyer (excluding R&D).

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Apr 7, 2016

Piecing the puzzle together, MQ-1 and MQ-9s provide crucial CAP capabilities: Post-flight procedures

Posted by in category: military

The remotely piloted aircraft has landed, but there’s still work to be done.

After the launch and recovery element lands the RPA, they taxi it off the runway and in to a hangar, where the maintenance Airmen get right to work.

“Post-flight we do any scheduled maintenance for the aircraft and change any parts that need to be replaced if they are broken, or if the manufacturer has deemed it necessary to change at a specific allotted time,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew, 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron MQ-1 Predator crew chief. “We also refuel the aircraft with the required amount for the next mission.”

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