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Mar 19, 2019

Correcting the scientific record on gender incongruence: The PLOS ONE blog

Posted by in category: futurism

I’ve posted or commented several times about relying on what I call single-study-science. The tendency to see some awesome scientific report and base one’s entire position on that one paper. This can be a problem in all areas of science.

A few months ago, PLOS ONE published a study of parental reports on gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults, which was the subject of strong criticism and debate shortly after publication (see example here or here). We also received a large volume of personal communication, which I have personally reviewed. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to contact us with their assessment of this study.

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Mar 19, 2019

Tool Discovered in 15th-Century Shipwreck Makes the Guinness Book of Records

Posted by in category: futurism

“I have conducted numerous shipwreck projects around the world, many in depths greater than 4,000 and 5,000 meters,” Mearns says. “But I have never worked harder and had such fun as I did diving with our British and Omani team every day on this rewarding project.”

“You can only dream about finding such a rare and precious artifact as an astrolabe, but then to find such a historically important one in relatively good condition was a huge bonus.”

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Mar 19, 2019

Marcelo Gleiser Wins Templeton Prize For Quest To Confront ‘Mystery Of Who We Are’

Posted by in category: futurism

Templeton Prize Awarded To Marcelo Gleiser, Who Tackles ‘Mystery Of Who We Are The prestigious award comes with nearly $1.5 million in winnings. The physicist, who teaches at Dartmouth and has written for NPR, says he’s driven by the “many questions we still have no clue about.”

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Mar 19, 2019

Karen Uhlenbeck Is First Woman to Win Abel Prize for Mathematics

Posted by in categories: mathematics, particle physics, quantum physics

For the first time, one of the top prizes in mathematics has been given to a woman.

On Tuesday, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced it has awarded this year’s Abel Prize — an award modeled on the Nobel Prizes — to Karen Uhlenbeck, an emeritus professor at the University of Texas at Austin. The award cites “the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry and mathematical physics.”

One of Dr. Uhlenbeck’s advances in essence described the complex shapes of soap films not in a bubble bath but in abstract, high-dimensional curved spaces. In later work, she helped put a rigorous mathematical underpinning to techniques widely used by physicists in quantum field theory to describe fundamental interactions between particles and forces.

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Mar 19, 2019

ResTORbio Announces Phase 3 Human Trials

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Last year, resTORbio announced the positive results of its phase 2b human trial, which targeted the aging immune system with an immune system-boosting drug. Now, the company has announced the news that its therapy is moving to a phase 3 study later this year after successful negotiation with the FDA.

Targeting the mTOR pathway of aging

ResTORbio is a biopharmaceutical company that is developing therapies that directly target the aging processes in order to prevent or cure age-related diseases. Its primary candidate drug is RTB101, which targets part of the mTOR pathway, one of the pathways involved in aging.

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Mar 19, 2019

The implausibility of intelligence explosion

Posted by in categories: business, climatology, existential risks, robotics/AI, sustainability

In 1965, I. J. Good described for the first time the notion of “intelligence explosion”, as it relates to artificial intelligence (AI):

Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an “intelligence explosion,” and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.

Decades later, the concept of an “intelligence explosion” — leading to the sudden rise of “superintelligence” and the accidental end of the human race — has taken hold in the AI community. Famous business leaders are casting it as a major risk, greater than nuclear war or climate change. Average graduate students in machine learning are endorsing it. In a 2015 email survey targeting AI researchers, 29% of respondents answered that intelligence explosion was “likely” or “highly likely”. A further 21% considered it a serious possibility.

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Mar 19, 2019

Latest Space Based Solar Power Concepts and Experiments at Caltech

Posted by in categories: solar power, space travel, sustainability

Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI) is a multi-year research in the field of Space Solar Power Initiative conducted by Caltech team in collaboration with Northrop Grumman (NG) Aerospace and Mission Systems division.

SSPI approach: • Enabling technologies developed at Caltech • Ultra-light deployable space structures • High efficiency ultra-light photovoltaic (PV) • Phased Array and Power Transmission • Integration of concentrating PV, radiators, MW power conversion and antennas in single cell unit • Localized electronics and control for system robustness, electronic beam steering • Identical spacecraft flying in formation • Target is specific power over 2000 Watts per kilogram. This would cost competitive with ground-based power.

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Mar 19, 2019

Woolly Mammoth cells 28,000 years-old reactivated

Posted by in category: climatology

“It have. We not learned anything from Jurassic Park. A team of Japanese scientist is attempting to bring back the long extinct, you guessed it, Ernie woolly mammoth the animal has been extinct for nearly four thousand years. I thought it was longer than that. But the scientists have emerged to extract the cells of a twenty eight thousand year old mammoth and transport them into a mouse, the cells show signs of life. We’re gonna have a woolly mouse. Here we go. The cells were taken from a mammoth that scientists call Yuka would have been seven at the time of her death. Okay. Her carcass was in pretty good shape. And they found it in Siberia back in two thousand ten now. You may be asking Ernie rightly so how soon until we start seeing these hairy beasts in our woods. It’s only going to be a matter of time before we see him over in Waco. Oh, sure, they say could be quite a while. While the cells took to the mouse eggs, the cells divide to create anything like a fetus. But it did prove that science. It did prove to scientists that they could reawaken cells isn’t a Willie ma’am at the size of an elephant speaker is even bigger than the elephant much planting this what did they think how big do? They think the uterus of the mouse is gonna ho- how big is this thing gonna have to know the science behind this. But it will be fascinated. The I want to be there for the discussion of where do we put them? Do. We put them exactly where they were. Yeah. We put them in Madison Wisconsin or wherever the heck large populations of them were found dead or do we just like, well, we got to put them in Montana and do they have to be in cold climates? Do they have to the plane in Texas? Well, Waco, actually does have a giant mammoth? Sanctuary study dig whatever you wanna call it. But that was four thousand years ago. I imagine the weather was much colder. No, no, no science on that has been settled. I don’t know the science of the weather twenty eight thousand four thousand years ago. Neither does anyone else. Unfortunately, they settled the science. So if so we have to unleash and Canada, I candidate deal with it. I would suggest this that if you’re going to rebuild the woolly mammoth, which are you in on. I know I think you are weak. You shouldn’t be I think, hey, you had your day it came and went you’re gone. Didn’t is man to blame for them not being around. And you know, no man is not to blame Jesus Jesus. That’s right. You had your shot you blew it. You sat around drinking beer watching TV all day. You got fat all of you had heart attacks, you’re gone. It’s done. So I don’t want these things coming back. But if you’re gonna bring them back, I would like you to modify the genes to where we smaller version. Yeah, they’re the size lapdog. Yeah. They could be the size of a lapdog, and they’re domesticated because I’ll be happy to have a woolly mammoth at the house a little horns. Yeah. Tiny little horns, it’s really adorable or you trick them out to be like those Ali fonts Lord of the rings that have long horn. I like that. Yeah. Something something like that since we’re really tricky since we’re playing the part of Jesus here. Let’s go ahead. And trick these suckers up when they come back or just here’s a better idea. Let’s cross him. So when they come back, they have mink coats, look, really, really snazzy, nightlife. Yeah. Really soft. You can sleep around with them. Chinchilla? Yeah. Exactly beautiful. Now. I don’t like the idea of see I’m all about it. Are you? I when I die. I’m figuring unless something kills mega tell about ninety. Okay. I think by ninety we’ll have it figured out. And if I could see a willy mammoth for die man, that’d be great. But what if a kick ass, but here’s the problem if they can do that. Then eventually they can bring you back and then you’ll see the woolly mammoth in life number two. Nobody’s gonna wanna do that. No guy. They don’t bring back. The key had his shot. Kind of like how you talk about it. You had your shot you blew it. Let’s”


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Mar 19, 2019

Hubble Image of Elliptical Galaxy With 200 Billion Stars

Posted by in category: cosmology

This fuzzy orb of light is a giant elliptical galaxy filled with an incredible 200 billion stars. Unlike spiral galaxies, which have a well-defined structure and boast picturesque spiral arms, elliptical galaxies appear fairly smooth and featureless. This is likely why this galaxy, named Messier 49, was discovered by French astronomer Charles Messier in 1771. At a distance of 56 million light-years, and measuring 157,000 light-years across, M49 was the first member of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies to be discovered, and it is more luminous than any other galaxy at its distance or nearer.

Elliptical galaxies tend to contain a larger portion of older stars than spiral galaxies and also lack young blue stars. Messier 49 itself is very yellow, which indicates that the stars within it are mostly older and redder than the Sun. In fact, the last major episode of star formation was about six billion years ago — before the Sun was even born!

Messier 49 is also rich in globular clusters; it hosts about 6000, a number that dwarfs the 150 found in and around the Milky Way. On average, these clusters are 10 billion years old. Messier 49 is also known to host a supermassive black hole at its centre with the mass of more than 500 million Suns, identifiable by the X-rays pouring out from the heart of the galaxy (as this Hubble image comprises infrared observations, these X-rays are not visible here).

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Mar 19, 2019

Women’s Pain Is Different From Men’s—the Drugs Could Be Too

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, sex

A new study shows clear differences in the biology of how men and women feel pain, a reminder that sex-specific pain medications might benefit us all.

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