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Feb 2, 2019

Listening to the music you love will make your brain release more dopamine, study finds

Posted by in categories: media & arts, neuroscience

A new study has found that dopamine — a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in our cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning — plays a direct role in the reward experience induced by music. The new findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“In everyday life, humans regularly seek participation in highly complex and pleasurable experiences such as music listening, singing, or playing, that do not seem to have any specific survival advantage. Understanding how the brain translates a structured sequence of sounds, such as music, into a pleasant and rewarding experience is thus a challenging and fascinating question,” said study author Laura Ferreri, an associate professor in cognitive psychology at Lyon University.

“In the scientific literature, there was a lack of direct evidence showing that dopamine function is causally related to music-evoked pleasure. Therefore in this study, through a pharmacological approach, we wanted to investigate whether dopamine, which plays a major role in regulating pleasure experiences and motivation to engage in certain behaviors, plays a direct role in the experience of pleasure induced by music.”

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Feb 2, 2019

AHS18 Michael Rose — Evolutionary Biology of Diet, Aging, and Mismatch

Posted by in categories: biological, evolution, life extension, mathematics

Human health depends on age and evolutionary history. Firstly, adaptation is age-specific, with Hamilton’s forces of natural selection leading to much greater adaptation at earlier ages than later ages. This of course is how evolutionary biologists explain the existence of aging in the first place. Secondly, when environmental conditions change, it takes surprisingly few generations for populations to adapt to such new conditions, at least at early ages when natural selection is intense. Thirdly, at later ages, when the forces of natural selection are weak, natural selection will often fail to produce adaptation to a selective environment that is not evolutionarily ancient. All three of these themes will be illustrated using both explicit mathematical theory and findings from experimental evolution. At the end of the presentation, we will apply these general scientific insights to the case of human evolutionary history, human aging, and optimal human diets.

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Feb 2, 2019

The Moon might actually be made out of the same material as our home planet

Posted by in categories: materials, space

Samples collected nearly 50 years ago during Apollo, combined with experimental studies that mirror the conditions inside planetary bodies provide compelling evidence.

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Feb 2, 2019

What.IfVideosWhat If You Lived 50 Years into the Future?

Posted by in category: futurism

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?

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Feb 2, 2019

Enochian Chess

Posted by in category: futurism

Nuadha. often known by the title Airgetlám (“silver hand”), was the first king of the Tuatha Dé Danann. He is one of the characters represented in WB Yeats’s twilight magickal world of Celtic Nuada had his lost arm replaced by a working silver one by the physician Dian Cecht and the wright Creidhne (and later with a new arm of flesh and blood by Dian Cecht’s son Miach). A lot of our druidic and Celtic past has been purposefully obliterated by monotheism — but this creative heritage may yet be more useful to us going forwards.

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Feb 2, 2019

Brain implants, AI, and a speech synthesizer have turned brain activity into robot words

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

Neural networks have been used to turn words that a human has heard into intelligible, recognizable speech. It could be a step toward technology that can one day decode people’s thoughts.

A challenge: Thanks to fMRI scanning, we’ve known for decades that when people speak, or hear others, it activates specific parts of their brain. However, it’s proved hugely challenging to translate thoughts into words. A team from Columbia University has developed a system that combines deep learning with a speech synthesizer to do just that.

The study: The team temporarily placed electrodes in the brains of five people scheduled to have brain surgery for epilepsy. (People who have this procedure often have implants fitted to learn more about their seizures.) The volunteers were asked to listen to recordings of sentences, and their brain activity was used to train deep-learning-based speech recognition software. Then they listened to 40 numbers being spoken. The AI tried to decode what they had heard on the basis of their brain activity—and then spoke the results out loud in a robotic voice. What the voice synthesizer produced was understandable as the right word 75% of the time, according to volunteers who listened to it. The results were published in Scientific Reports today (and you can listen to the recordings here.)

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Feb 2, 2019

Morgan Stanley says Spaceflight Industries is ‘entirely’ disrupting the rocket launch market

Posted by in category: space travel

Spaceflight Industries is the latest company featured in Morgan Stanley’s “Space Disruptor Series,” which covers 90 companies.

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Feb 2, 2019

Worried About Breast, Ovarian Cancer? Genetic Testing Could Help

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Genetic testing could reveal mutation which make women more susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer. (Photo: iStockPhoto)

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Feb 2, 2019

New Research Could Be First Step Toward Buckyball-Powered Quantum Computers

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, quantum physics, solar power, sustainability

Scientists have characterized the quantum behavior of buckminsterfullerene molecules, also known as buckyballs, with the hope of perhaps one day turning them into miniature quantum computers.

Buckyballs are the Nobel Prize-winning molecules that consist of sixty carbon atoms arranged in a closed, soccer ball-shape. Their peculiar structure bestows them with strange observable quantum properties, and has given them uses in solar panels and even medicine. But a team of scientists from JILA, a research institute run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado, has made measurements in preparation for exploiting buckyballs’ quantum properties in even stranger ways.

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Feb 2, 2019

Boeing’s Starliner Spacecraft Will Be Ready for 1st Test Flight in March

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel

WASHINGTON — Boeing is on track to launch its new astronaut taxi to the International Space Station (ISS) next month.

Along with SpaceX, the private spaceflight company was contracted by NASA to begin launching astronauts from U.S. soil again for the first time since the space shuttle program ended in 2011. Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner won’t be taking any astronauts along for its first flight to the ISS, however. After docking robotically with the orbiting lab, it will return to Earth for a parachute landing in Texas.

If this test flight goes according to plan, Boeing will be ready to launch its first crew of astronauts to the space station in August, Boeing spokesperson Maribeth Davis told Space.com during a presentation of Boeing’s future vision for space travel here. [How Boeing’s Commercial CST-100 Starliner Spacecraft Works].

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