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Oct 15, 2017

How scientists and supercomputers could make oceans drinkable

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, particle physics, supercomputing, sustainability

Aleksandr Noy has big plans for a very small tool. A senior research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Noy has devoted a significant part of his career to perfecting the liquid alchemy known as desalination—removing salt from seawater. His stock-in-trade is the carbon nanotube. In 2006, Noy had the audacity to embrace a radical theory: Maybe nanotubes—cylinders so tiny, they can be seen only with an electron microscope—could act as desalination filters. It depended on just how wide the tubes were. The opening needed to be big enough to let water molecules flow through but small enough to block the larger salt particles that make seawater undrinkable. Put enough carbon nanotubes together and you potentially have the world’s most efficient machine for making clean water.

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Oct 15, 2017

Gene Editing Is Here, and Desperate Patients Want It

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

Two-thirds of Americans support therapeutic use, but regulators are still stuck in the 1970s.

Should Americans be allowed to edit their DNA to prevent genetic diseases in their children? That question, which once might have sounded like science fiction, is stirring debate as breakthroughs bring the idea closer to reality. Bioethicists and activists, worried about falling down the slippery slope to genetically modified Olympic athletes, are calling for more regulation.

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Oct 15, 2017

Oil spills are no match for this super cool sponge

Posted by in category: futurism

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Oct 15, 2017

BMW is putting IBM’s Watson AI in the passenger seat

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

The BMW i8 is already one of the most futuristic-looking cars on the road, but it’s about to get more innovative inside, too. BMW has just announced a brand-new tech collaboration with IBM, which will see the tech giant’s Watson AI tested in four of BMW’s hybrid sports cars. The project will see BMW engineers and IBM researchers work together in Germany, as both IBM and BMW have research facilities in Munich.

The project aims to make driving assistance and information more personalised and intuitive – and Watson looks to be the perfect candidate for the job. IBM’s powerful AI should make the car’s existing systems much easier to use, and BMW has already given a few examples of how it could work. The i8’s manual will be by Watson, so drivers will be able to enquire about vehicle information in natural language, rather than select phrases. In the same way, BMW and IBM want the Watson-fitted i8 to provide updates on everything from fuel levels to traffic updates in a simple, easy way.

However, Watson’s machine learning will have another benefit, too: personalisation. By gradually learning the routes, language and needs of a driver, Watson will be able to deliver the right amount of information almost before it’s needed.

Continue reading “BMW is putting IBM’s Watson AI in the passenger seat” »

Oct 15, 2017

Your future companion in your old age could be a robot

Posted by in categories: food, habitats, robotics/AI

The market is definitely there. But, it needs to be able to do a minimum amount of practical things, in about this order: 1. it needs to be able to cook even the most basic of meals, being unable to cook for themselves is usually the main reason someone has to go into a nursing home; 2. being able to clean your average kitchen and bathroom; 3. being able to do basic yard tasks, operating a lawnmower and a snowblower. Those would be the most important, after those get mastered have it equipped to do more niche tasks and entertainment features.

As to when, we have clumsy humanoid robots right now, and AI will supposedly reach human level around 2029. It will just be a task of merging those two between now and then, and getting that robot down to a reasonable cost, which i think would be in the neighborhood of a brand new SUV.


As artificial intelligence advances, we humans will form relationships with our robot helpers and caregivers.

Continue reading “Your future companion in your old age could be a robot” »

Oct 15, 2017

Wiping Off all Life From Earth is Not Easy

Posted by in category: existential risks

Have you ever imagined what it would take to wipe of all life from Earth? It turns out that another mass extinction is highly improbable.

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Oct 15, 2017

Lost in Transportation: Nucleocytoplasmic Transport Defects in ALS and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Neuron. 2017 Oct 11;96:285–297. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.07.029.

Kim HJ, Taylor JP.

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Oct 15, 2017

Synthetic organs, nanobots and DNA ‘scissors’: the future of medicine (w/video)

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Nanobots that patrol our bodies, killer immune cells hunting and destroying cancer cells, biological scissors that cut out defective genes: these are just some of technologies that Cambridge researchers are developing which are set to revolutionise medicine in the future.

In a new film to coincide with the recent launch of the Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences, researchers discuss some of the most exciting developments in medical research and set out their vision for the next 50 years.

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Oct 15, 2017

Can We Rejuvenate Our Bodies Using Telomerase to Lengthen Telomeres?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Telomerase replenishes telomeres, extending the cell’s lifespan. Researchers hope that telomerase enhancement will rejuvenate our organs.

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Oct 15, 2017

New Senolytics Reverse Aging

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Senolytics have been a hot topic lately. Here’s a primer.


Senolytics reverse aging by killing senescent cells. Researchers have found seven senolytics and are testing them in clinical trials.

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