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Aug 1, 2016

Is Earthly life premature from a cosmic perspective?

Posted by in categories: alien life, futurism

The universe is 13.8 billion years old, while our planet formed just 4.5 billion years ago. Some scientists think this time gap means that life on other planets could be billions of years older than ours. However, new theoretical work suggests that present-day life is actually premature from a cosmic perspective.

“If you ask, ‘When is life most likely to emerge?’ you might naively say, ‘Now,’” says lead author Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “But we find that the chance of life grows much higher in the distant future.”

Life as we know it first became possible about 30 million years after the Big Bang, when the first stars seeded the cosmos with the necessary elements like carbon and oxygen. Life will end 10 trillion years from now when the last stars fade away and die. Loeb and his colleagues considered the relative likelihood of life between those two boundaries.

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Aug 1, 2016

“Beyond the God Particle” –China to Trump CERN’s LHC: Twice the Size and Seven Times as Powerful

Posted by in category: particle physics

China is planning to build an enormous particle accelerator twice the size and seven times as powerful as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, according to state media reports. According to China Daily, the new facility will be capable of producing millions of Higgs boson particles — a great deal more than the Large Hadron Collider which originally discovered the ‘God particle’ back in 2012.

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Aug 1, 2016

A Freaky Anti-Rubber Is Still Weirding Scientists Out

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, transportation

Imagine you wake up one morning burning to make the great physicist Max Planck’s face out of copper. (Just go with it.) Sure, you could sculpt it, but there’s a better way. Cut a flat copper sheet into a half-oval, and take a triangle out of the center of its straight edge. Divide it into smaller triangles, bend the sheet so that the two sides of the big triangle touch—and violà! A sheet of flat copper triangles has morphed to match every nook and cranny of Planck’s face. No sculpting required.

If that sounds like magic … well, that’s understandable, because we left a few steps out. Computer scientist Keenan Crane from Carnegie Mellon University actually did this with real copper, and you can see a computer model of the final product at the top of this article. Making Planck’s face wasn’t the point, of course: When Crane cut the sheet into carefully-designed triangles, he brought it into a class of materials known as auxetics, whose curious and complex properties have excited researchers for decades. Someday, auxetics could improve highway shock absorbers, form more comfortable and versatile shoes, and line veins that thicken when expanding.

At least, that’s what the grant applications say. “People give a lot of lip service to how it’s gonna change the world, in terms of curing cancer,” says Crane. “But at this stage people are still trying to figure out just basic questions.” Auxetics all started with a 1987 Science paper by engineer and professor Roderic Lakes. He reported a new kind of polymer foam that contradicted common sense. It expanded in one direction when stretched in another, and contracted in one direction when squeezed in another.

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Aug 1, 2016

The Cosmic Threat We Should Be Talking About

Posted by in category: particle physics

The night sky, at least when you can see it, appears placid, serene and as inviting as a cold brew on a muggy afternoon.

Don’t be fooled. The real universe is a nasty mélange of stuff that’s mostly scorching hot or bitterly cold. The blackness of space is shot through with lethal particles and radiation. Without doubt, the “final frontier,” often depicted as a beguiling playground for our Spandex-attired descendants, is deceptively treacherous.

Not only that, it’s out to get you.

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Aug 1, 2016

Elon Musk is kicking off an automated low-carbon future with the merger of Tesla and SolarCity

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, robotics/AI, sustainability, transportation

Elon Musk is today set to merge Tesla Motors and SolarCity, Reuters is reporting, kicking off part two of his master plan to transform our cities and suburbs into environmentally friendly automated wonderlands.

In July Musk wrote of his plan to merge the two companies in a blog post entitled Master Plan, Part Deux, saying it was essential to “create a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that just works, empowering the individual as their own utility, and then scale that throughout the world.

“We can’t do this well if Tesla and SolarCity are different companies, which is why we need to combine and break down the barriers inherent to being separate companies. Now that Tesla is ready to scale Powerwall and SolarCity is ready to provide highly differentiated solar, the time has come to bring them together.”

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Jul 31, 2016

Noam Chomsky Is Sick of Hearing About the Robot Takeover (Video)

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, supercomputing

I’m with Noam on the whole Robot taking over the world mentality.

The renowned MIT professor, having heard for 60 years about the threat of supercomputers, says to come back to him when robots are as creative as a 4-year-old. — 2016/07/31.

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Jul 31, 2016

Texting pedestrians exhibit “zombie-like” behaviour, say Montreal researchers

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, neuroscience

Zombies and texting.

A new study presented by researchers from the Tech3Lab at HEC Montreal, along with the University of Montreal’s Department of Psychology and the Centre hospitalier Notre-Dame has found that “Texting while walking is a widespread and dangerous behaviour.”

In a research presentation called “Mobile Multitasking Distraction: A Pilot Study with Intracranial Electroencephalography”, researchers attempted to determine which neural circuitry is implicated in the act of texting while walking, with the aim of helping to develop future methods of mitigating “this dangerous habit” and perhaps to “assist the development of mobile applications aiming directly at the neural circuitry”.

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Jul 31, 2016

Two-time cancer survivor ‘feared’ disease’s return

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The psychological challenges of cancer and survival.

A man who has survived cancer twice says the “worst part” of his journey was the fear of the disease returning after his second all-clear.

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Jul 31, 2016

Now there’s an app to help you breathe

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, health, neuroscience

Apple’s new app to help you do deep breathing to improve your mind, intelligence, and over all health.

APPLE is set to launch a new app that aims to make you healthier through just a few minutes a day of deep breathing.

It is based on the growing field of research proving the biological benefits, including genetic changes, of mind-body medicine.

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Jul 31, 2016

People of the future may not congregate in crowds—at least not physically

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, virtual reality

VR again helping people and their fears.

Actual crowds may be replaced by what we might call distributed crowds, with virtual and augmented reality’s help.

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