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Mar 28, 2018

Clearing Protein Aggregates Boosts Neural Stem Cell Activity

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

In a paper published on March 15, 2018, in the journal Science, Stanford researchers led by Dr. Dena Leeman showed that intracellular protein aggregates accumulate within the lysosomes of neural stem cells that were previously thought not to suffer from this problem [1].

Intracellular waste disposal 101

Dysfunctional proteins and organelles within a cell constitute intracellular waste that the cell needs to dispose of. To do so, the cell may avail itself of proteasomes and lysosomes. Proteasomes are protein complexes that, with the help of enzymes, break down other, unnecessary proteins into shorter amino acids that can then be recycled to build new, useful proteins. Proteasomes are found within the cell nucleus and in the cytosol—the aqueous solution in which everything in a cell floats. The discovery of proteasomes happened later than that of lysosomes, which, for a while, were thought to be the only cellular waste management systems.

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Mar 28, 2018

Inflammaging and Age-related Disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

The aging process is accompanied by a chronic, smoldering background of inflammation that researchers call “inflammaging”. This backdrop of low-grade inflammation contributes significantly to mortality risk in the elderly and has a number of sources.

Today, we are going to take a look at inflammaging and the various known sources that promote this age-related inflammatory condition.

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Mar 28, 2018

Watch military swarm drones lock on and surround a target

Posted by in categories: drones, military, robotics/AI, surveillance

Autonomous weapon bans (previously) are currently being debated, but in the meantime, the US Department of Defense continues work with its Perdix Micro-Drone project. Ostensibly for surveillance, it’s clear these could easily be modded with lethal weaponry.

F/A-18 Super Hornets deploy the drones, which can then perform a series of tactical maneuvers based on post-launch commands.

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Mar 28, 2018

Mars Colony Would Be a Hedge Against World War III, Elon Musk Says

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, climatology, Elon Musk, existential risks, robotics/AI, space travel, sustainability

Humanity’s brutal and bellicose past provides ample justification for pursuing settlements on the moon and Mars, Elon Musk says.

The billionaire entrepreneur has long stressed that he founded SpaceX in 2002 primarily to help make humanity a multiplanet species — a giant leap that would render us much less vulnerable to extinction.

Human civilization faces many grave threats over the long haul, from asteroid strikes and climate change to artificial intelligence run amok, Musk has said over the years. And he recently highlighted our well-documented inability to get along with each other as another frightening factor. [The BFR: SpaceX’s Mars Colony Plan in Images].

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Mar 28, 2018

Russia and China are ‘aggressively developing’ hypersonic weapons — here’s what they are and why the US can’t defend against them

Posted by in categories: employment, military

“We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

“Both Russia and China are aggressively pursuing hypersonic capabilities,” Hyten added. “We’ve watched them test those capabilities.”

Researchers and engineers at Rand explain what a hypersonic weapon is, which countries are developing them and how the U.S. could look to defend against them.

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Mar 28, 2018

Fourth Industrial Revolution

Posted by in category: innovation

We need the arts to stimulate debate over the impact of technological breakthroughs on society.

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Mar 28, 2018

Artificial Brains Shed Light on the Workings of Our Own

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, robotics/AI


In the natural world, intelligence takes many forms. It could be a bat using echolocation to expertly navigate in the dark, or an octopus quickly adapting its behavior to survive in the deep ocean. Likewise, in the computer science world, multiple forms of artificial intelligence are emerging — different networks each trained to excel in a different task. And as will be presented today at the 25th annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS), cognitive neuroscientists increasingly are using those emerging artificial networks to enhance their understanding of one of the most elusive intelligence systems, the human brain.

“The fundamental questions cognitive neuroscientists and computer scientists seek to answer are similar,” says Aude Oliva of MIT. “They have a complex system made of components — for one, it’s called neurons and for the other, it’s called units — and we are doing experiments to try to determine what those components calculate.”

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Mar 28, 2018

33 Angry Physicists Came Together to Shut Down One Theory About the Universe

Posted by in categories: physics, space

Scientists are no strangers to healthy debate. You need criticism to strengthen your ideas, and when debate is done right, both parties leave knowing more than they did when they started. But there are some things that will just make a scientist mad. One of those things? Saying their scientific theory isn’t scientific. That’s what a trio of physicists did in a 2017 article they published in Scientific American, which stated that the idea of an expanding universe simply isn’t testable. The response from other physicists? Oh, it’s on.

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Mar 28, 2018

Astronomers detect a hot, metallic Earth-sized planet outside our solar system

Posted by in category: space

Situated at about 340 million light-years away from Earth, it finds itself very close to its host star (around a hundredth of the distance between the Earth and the Sun), which itself is a medium-sized active K dwarf in the Virgo Constellation.

K2-229b orbits this star every fourteen hours, according to the study published in the journal Nature Astronomy. “Interestingly K2-229b is also the innermost planet in a system of at least three planets, though all three orbit much closer to their star than Mercury. More discoveries like this will help us shed light on the formation of these unusual planets, as well as Mercury itself,” Armstrong added.

Using the K2 telescope, Armstrong and colleagues employed the Doppler spectroscopy technique — also known as the ‘wobble method’ to discover and characterise this faraway planet.

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Mar 28, 2018

The colors of stars

Posted by in category: futurism

Photographer Amanda Cross, of Lancashire, UK, wrote:

I wanted to compare the colors of different stars next to each other. These are stacks of Rigel, Betelgeuse and Sirius. I took individual images 60 seconds apart with iso 16000 and speed 1/50, stacked them with starstax and presented them together to show the different colors of the stars. I took the images deliberately out of focus to show the colors. The color variations are from the Earth’s atmosphere which splits the light from the star and the camera picks up the colors.

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