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Aug 7, 2018

SpaceX organizes inaugural conference to plan landings on Mars

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, government, space travel

No one can deny that SpaceX founder Elon Musk has thought a lot about how to transport humans safely to Mars with his Big Falcon Rocket. But when it comes to Musk’s highly ambitious plans to settle Mars in the coming decades, some critics say Musk hasn’t paid enough attention to what people will do once they get there.

However, SpaceX may be getting more serious about preparing for human landings on Mars, both in terms of how to keep people alive as well as to provide them with something meaningful to do. According to private invitations seen by Ars, the company will host a “Mars Workshop” on Tuesday and Wednesday this week at the University of Colorado Boulder. Although the company would not comment directly, a SpaceX official confirmed the event and said the company regularly meets with a variety of experts concerning its missions to Mars.

This appears to be the first meeting of such magnitude, however, with nearly 60 key scientists and engineers from industry, academia, and government attending the workshop, including a handful of leaders from NASA’s Mars exploration program. The invitation for the inaugural Mars meeting encourages participants to contribute to “active discussions regarding what will be needed to make such missions happen.” Attendees are being asked to not publicize the workshop or their attendance.

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Aug 6, 2018

Blood serum study reveals networks of proteins that impact aging

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

A team of researchers from several institutions in Iceland and the U.S. has conducted a unique blood serum investigation and discovered multiple protein networks that are involved in the aging process. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their study and what they found.

Prior research has shown that when older mice have their blood systems connected to younger mice, the older mice experience improvements in age-related organ deterioration. This finding has led scientists to suspect that aging might be caused by something in the blood. In this new effort, the researchers sought to test this idea by studying proteins in the circulatory system.

The study consisted of analyzing blood samples from 5,457 people living in Iceland, all of whom were over the age of 65 and who were participants in an ongoing study called Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility. The volunteers had also been chosen specifically to represent a cross section of the people living in Iceland. The major part of the analysis involved creating a panel of DNA aptamers (short sequences that bind to proteins) that could be used to recognize proteins, both known and unknown. Blood serum from the volunteers was then compared against the panels and the results were analyzed by a computer looking for patterns.

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Aug 6, 2018

Scientists hope AI will illuminate the mystery of dark matter

Posted by in categories: cosmology, robotics/AI

Scientists are using artificial intelligence to reveal the hidden mysteries of the universe, such as whether or not dark matter actually exists.

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Aug 6, 2018

Soft, multi-functional robots get really small

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

Roboticists are envisioning a future in which soft, animal-inspired robots can be safely deployed in difficult-to-access environments, such as inside the human body or in spaces that are too dangerous for humans to work, in which rigid robots cannot currently be used. Centimeter-sized soft robots have been created, but thus far it has not been possible to fabricate multifunctional flexible robots that can move and operate at smaller size scales.

A team of researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Boston University now has overcome this challenge by developing an integrated fabrication process that enables the design of on the millimeter scale with micrometer-scale features. To demonstrate the capabilities of their new technology, they created a robotic soft spider – inspired by the millimeter-sized colorful Australian peacock spider – from a single elastic material with body-shaping, motion, and color features. The study is published in Advanced Materials.

“The smallest soft robotic systems still tend to be very simple, with usually only one degree of freedom, which means that they can only actuate one particular change in shape or type of movement,” said Sheila Russo, Ph.D., co-author of the study. Russo helped initiate the project as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Robert Wood’s group at the Wyss Institute and SEAS and now is Assistant Professor at Boston University. “By developing a new hybrid technology that merges three different fabrication techniques, we created a soft robotic spider made only of silicone rubber with 18 degrees of freedom, encompassing changes in structure, motion, and color, and with tiny features in the micrometer range.”

Continue reading “Soft, multi-functional robots get really small” »

Aug 6, 2018

Using machine learning to generate persuasive faces for ads

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have recently developed a conditional variational autoencoder that can produce unique faces for advertisements. Their study is grounded on their previous work, which explored automated methods of better understanding advertisement.

“In our past project, we wanted to see whether machines could decode the complex visual rhetoric found in ads,” Christopher Thomas, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told Tech Xplore. “Ads contain puns, metaphors, and other persuasive rhetorical devices that are hard for machines to understand. In this paper, we didn’t only want to understand ads, but we wanted to see whether such persuasive content could be automatically generated by computers.”

The primary mission of the advertising industry is to promote products or convey ideas using persuasive language and images. Faces, a key aspect of ads, are often portrayed differently depending on the product advertised and message communicated.

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Aug 6, 2018

124,000 electric and PHEV cars from VW, Audi and Porsche could be recalled due to poisonous cadmium

Posted by in category: transportation

The Volkswagen group confirmed that it might have to recall as many as 124,000 electric and hybrid cars from its VW, Audi and Porsche brands due to poisonous cadmium finding its way into a charger component.

Following a report from the German magazine Wirtschaftswoche, VW has confirmed that it is currently in discussions with Kraftfahrtbundesamt (KBA), the German road authority, over the potential recall.

A spokesperson for the German automaker said:

Continue reading “124,000 electric and PHEV cars from VW, Audi and Porsche could be recalled due to poisonous cadmium” »

Aug 6, 2018

Mystery meteor reportedly exploded with 2.1 kilotons of force above a US military base — and the Air Force said nothing

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military

Meteors could be a possible trigger of the nuclear war.


Data from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows a record of an object of unspecified size traveling at 24.4 kilometers per second (about 54,000 mph, or Mach 74) at 76.9 degrees north latitude, 69.0 degrees west longitude, on July 25 at 11:55 p.m. That latitude and longitude checks out as almost directly over Thule, Greenland.

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Aug 6, 2018

What is Autophagy? Definition, Benefits, 25 Ways to Increase It

Posted by in categories: genetics, health

Autophagy is how our cells recycle their components. Most of the time it runs quietly in the background. But when cells are stressed (such as during fasting or in the presence of dysfunctional proteins) it is increased in order to protect us. Read on to learn about autophagy, its definition and how it works, autophagy regulation, and how to increase autophagy through things like fasting.

Discover the exact, genetic factors in your body that are affecting autophagy with SelfDecode, the most powerful genetic health analysis tool available.

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Aug 6, 2018

Fourth Eurosymposium on Healthy Ageing

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

There is a 3-day conference in Brussels on November 8–10 for those of you in Europe interested in aging research.


The Eurosymposium on Healthy Ageing (EHA) is an international event that provides a unique opportunity for researchers, government officials, biotech executives, entrepreneurs, and non-governmental institutions from around the world to meet, network, and forge new scientific collaborations.

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Aug 6, 2018

Fully autonomous A.I.

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Fully autonomous A.I. and robot empowered bartending unit. It serves drinks, handles payments, identifies and communicates with clients.

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