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Apr 3, 2018

What if Apollo 11 had failed? Nixon’s undelivered speech

Posted by in categories: astronomy, government, science, space travel

In 1969, William Safire was President Nixon’s speech writer. He wrote the short speech shown below, and delivered it to Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman. The speech was to be read by Nixon in the event that the Apollo 11 lunar lander failed to launch or that some other problem caused the lander or mothership to crash back onto the surface of the moon.

In 1969, the space race was at full throttle. Russians were first to launch a satellite, send a dog and a man into space,* and perform an extravehicular space walk. America was under great pressure to fulfill John F. Kennedy’s promise and beat the Russians in landing a man on the moon. Today, former engineers at NASA acknowledge that they believed the chances of such a catastrophe were more than 50%.

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Apr 3, 2018

These tiny robots could be disease-fighting machines inside the body

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

Nanobots could provide cancer treatment free from side effects.

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Apr 3, 2018

A close galactic pair

Posted by in category: space

This image displays the galaxies NGC 4302 — seen edge-on — and NGC 4298, both located 55 million light-years away. They were observed by Hubble to celebrate its 27th year in orbit.

The galaxy NGC 4298 is seen almost face-on, allowing us to see its spiral arms and the blue patches of ongoing star formation and young stars. In the edge-on disc of NGC 4302 huge swathes of dust are responsible for the mottled brown patterns, but a burst of blue to the left side of the galaxy indicates a region of extremely vigorous star formation.

The image is a mosaic of four separate captures from Hubble, taken between 2 and 22 January 2017, that have been stitched together to give this amazing field of view. Two different types of light emitted by the galaxies — visible and near-infrared — have been combined to give a rich and colourful image. This light was captured by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, one of the telescope’s most advanced imaging instruments.

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Apr 3, 2018

Reaping the wind with the biggest turbines ever made

Posted by in category: energy

Wind power capacity is growing thanks to giant offshore turbines, but can they get much bigger?

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Apr 3, 2018

Ethereum Community Considers Hard Fork To Fight ASIC Miners

Posted by in category: cryptocurrencies

Top Ethereum devs cause online stir with talk of a hard fork in protocol to combat mining centralization.

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Apr 3, 2018

Mini Brains Just Got Creepier—They’re Growing Their Own Veins

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

The first human brain balls—aka cortical spheroids, aka neural organoids—agglomerated into existence just a few short years ago. In the beginning, they were almost comically crude: just stem cells, chemically coerced into proto-neurons and then swirled into blobs in a salty-sweet bath. But still, they were useful for studying some of the most dramatic brain disorders, like the microcephaly caused by the Zika virus.

Then they started growing up. The simple spheres matured into 3D structures, fusing with other types of brain balls and sparking with electricity. The more like real brains they became, the more useful they were for studying complex behaviors and neurological diseases beyond the reach of animal models. And now, in their most human act yet, they’re starting to bleed.

Neural organoids don’t yet, even remotely, resemble adult brains; developmentally, they’re just pushing second trimester tissue organization. But the way Ben Waldau sees it, brain balls might be the best chance his stroke patients have at making a full recovery—and a homegrown blood supply is a big step toward that far-off goal. A blood supply carries oxygen and nutrients, allowing brain balls to grow bigger, complex networks of tissues, those that a doctor could someday use to shore up malfunctioning neurons.

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Apr 3, 2018

Activating Natural Killer T cells to Combat Cancer

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

New research has identified the mechanisms responsible for enhancing immune system activity, offering new approaches for more effective cancer treatments and vaccines.

Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are part of the immune system’s arsenal for fighting infection and defeating diseases like cancer. Finding ways to activate these potent cells more quickly could lead to more effective solutions to cancer and other diseases.

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Apr 3, 2018

Vicon Siren first look

Posted by in category: futurism

With ‘Siren,’ Unreal Engine blurs the line between CGI and reality: http://engt.co/2ubDGMi

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Apr 3, 2018

Elon Musk and Peter Diamandis

Posted by in categories: business, Elon Musk, life extension, Peter Diamandis, singularity, sustainability, transportation

Elon Reeve Musk is a South African-born Canadian-American business magnate, engineer, inventor and investor. He is the CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors, and chairman of SolarCity as well as co-chairman of OpenAI.

He is the founder of SpaceX and a co-founder of Zip2, PayPal, and Tesla Motors. He has also envisioned a conceptual high-speed transportation system known as the Hyperloop and has proposed a VTOL supersonic jet aircraft with electric fan propulsion. He is the wealthiest person in Los Angeles.

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Apr 3, 2018

Path to a booming Australian solar thermal energy market

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

A report out from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) this month published responses from industry stakeholders on the viability of a concentrated solar thermal (CST) energy market in Australia: Paving the way for concentrated solar thermal in Australia.

Only 5 gigawatts (GW) of CST is deployed globally so far, with remarkable cost reductions for a technology so “young.” Submissions noted that when today’s 300 GW of PV had only 5 GW of deployed capacity in 2004, its LCOE was ten times that of CST.

CST’s dispatchable solar could play a pivotal role in Australia with its need for that can meet obligations for both emissions reductions and reliability, because with its ability to store its solar energy in molten salts for delivery later, CST can offer a stable and predictable supply of solar energy at any time of day or night.

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