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Mar 20, 2019

Science has a problem. Here is how you can help

Posted by in categories: physics, science

Science has a problem (especially theoretical physics). Here’s how you can help.

[I have gotten numerous requests by people who want to share Appendix C of my book. The content is copyrighted, of course, but my publisher kindly agreed that I can make it publicly available. You may use this text for non-commercial purposes, so long as you add the copyright disclaimer, see bottom of post.]

Both bottom-up and top-down measures are necessary to improve the current situation. This is an interdisciplinary problem whose solution requires input from the sociology of science, philosophy, psychology, and – most importantly – the practicing scientists themselves. Details differ by research area. One size does not fit all. Here is what you can do to help.

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Mar 20, 2019

Cerebral organoids at the air–liquid interface generate diverse nerve tracts with functional output

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

In Nature Neuroscience, researchers present a new method to grow a cerebral organoid from human stem cells that exhibits axon outgrowth with specific tract-like patterns. Read the paper here:

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Mar 20, 2019


Posted by in categories: cyborgs, economics, government, space

The last two decades have seen a great upswing in commercial space endeavors with hundreds of new companies formed and a few prominent billionaires entering the fray. This is all good, but it remains devilishly hard to make money in space without tapping into government space markets. Nevertheless, I’m a firm believer that the commercialization of space is absolutely essential for the growth of the space economy and achieving all of the goals we espouse for human activities in space.

So, what do I mean by commercial space? This has been a great topic of debate ever since NASA initiated the commercial cargo and commercial crew programs. There are many definitions and which is appropriate depends on the context. The real distinction is between the public sector and the private sector. Any given space activity can include a mixture of both elements. The purest form of commercial activity takes place entirely within the private sector. It is performed by private-sector companies for the benefit of private-sector customers using private-sector capital. Something like Direct TV would be an example.

At the other end of the spectrum is a pure public-sector activity where the activity is performed entirely by public-sector agencies using public-sector employees, entirely funded by public funds for a public purpose. An example would be SLS, but even it is not purely public as several private sector companies are employed. In between are all manner of hybrids involving a mix of investment funds, executing entities and customers.

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Mar 20, 2019

Budget Docs Show Pentagon Aims To Loft Particle Beam Anti-Missile Weapon Into Space In Four Years

Posted by in categories: military, particle physics, space

After three decades, the Pentagon is betting big on their belief that a dream of the Star Wars initiative may now be closer to a practical concept.

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Mar 20, 2019

Researchers Discover DNA Switch for Full Body Regeneration

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

This new method could open a major avenue towards the full regeneration of body parts.

A new study has revealed a method of switching the early growth response of DNA on and off, opening the future possibility of regenerating human body parts with the use of genetic editing.

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Mar 20, 2019

Founder of geometric analysis honored with Abel Prize

Posted by in category: mathematics

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters today announced that Karen Uhlenbeck has won the 2019 Abel Prize, a Nobel-level honor in math. Uhlenbeck won for her foundational work in geometric analysis, which combines the technical power of analysis—a branch of math that extends and generalizes calculus—with the more conceptual areas of geometry and topology. She is the first woman to receive the prize since the award of 6 million Norwegian kroner (approximately $700,000) was first given in 2003.

Karen Uhlenbeck is first woman to receive the honor.

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Mar 19, 2019

Award-Winning Physicist: ‘Science Does Not Kill God’

Posted by in categories: education, science

In Plato’s “Apology,” the Greek philosopher quotes Socrates, who is having one of his famous discourses with another philosopher, as saying, “Although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, I am better off than he is — for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know.”

Sadly, the “Socratic Paradox” is not much taught in schools these days. And that’s a shame because Socrates — who was forced to drink a fatal dose of hemlock after being charged with not believing in “the gods of the state” — has much to teach us about the true nature of knowledge.

Some, though, appear to still be reading Socrates’ works. Like Marcelo Gleiser.

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Mar 19, 2019

Fountain of youth for heart health may lie in the gut

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

“We have long known that oxidative stress and inflammation are involved in making arteries unhealthy over time, but we didn’t know why arteries begin to get inflamed and stressed. Something is triggering this,” Seals said. “We now suspect that, with age, the gut microbiota begins producing toxic molecules, including TMAO, which get into the blood stream, cause inflammation and oxidative stress and damage tissue.”

As our collection of resident gut bacteria changes with age, it increasingly produces harmful metabolites that damage veins and blood vessels, driving disease, a new study suggests.

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Mar 19, 2019

A Real World ‘Star Trek’ Replicator Is Now Possible Thanks To New Breakthrough

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, energy, nanotechnology

A startup with alumni from MIT and Yale says it’s made a breakthrough in creating a next-generation material that should make it possible to 3D print literally anything out of thin air.

New York-based Mattershift has managed to create large-scale carbon nanotube (CNT) membranes that are able to combine and separate individual molecules.

“This technology gives us a level of control over the material world that we’ve never had before,” said Mattershift Founder and CEO Dr. Rob McGinnis in a release. “For example, right now we’re working to remove CO2 from the air and turn it into fuels. This has already been done using conventional technology, but it’s been too expensive to be practical. Using our tech, I think we’ll be able to produce carbon-zero gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels that are cheaper than fossil fuels.”

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Mar 19, 2019

Politician who opposed mandatory chickenpox vaccine has been hospitalized after getting chickenpox

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The Onion is well known for biting satire. This is NOT The Onion.

Massimiliano Fedriga, a member of Italy’s far-right League party, is dead-set against the country’s mandatory vaccination laws. Guess who contracted chickenpox and had to spend four days in the hospital?

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