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Feb 26, 2024

Huge set of galaxies is set to form largest cluster in known universe

Posted by in category: space

Astronomers have spotted a gargantuan protocluster – the primordial beginnings of a galaxy cluster – by searching near a quasar in the early universe.

By Alex Wilkins

Feb 26, 2024

AI startup Magic is building a “superhuman software engineer”

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

San Francisco-based startup Magic AI just secured more than $100 million in funding to develop an AI software engineer, which it sees as a milestone along the path to artificial general intelligence (AGI).

The background: Everything we see and do on our devices starts as code, and traditionally, that code was written by trained software engineers. In 2021, OpenAI disrupted this paradigm with CODEX, an AI that can write computer code in response to prompts written in natural language.

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Feb 26, 2024

Accidental Deep Ocean Discovery Changes Our Understanding of Earth

Posted by in category: chemistry

Studying a rock is like reading a book. The rock has a story to tell, says Frieder Klein, an associate scientist in the Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

The rocks that Klein and his colleagues analyzed from the submerged flanks of the St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago in the St. Paul’s oceanic transform fault, about 500 km off the coast of Brazil, tell a fascinating and previously unknown story about parts of the geological carbon cycle.

Transform faults, where tectonic plates move past each other, are one of three main plate boundaries on Earth and about 48,000 km in length globally, with the others being the global mid-ocean ridge system (about 65,000 km) and subduction zones (about 55,000 km).

Feb 26, 2024

A Prelude to Speech: How the Brain Forms Words

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, neuroscience

Summary: Researchers made a groundbreaking discovery on how the human brain forms words before speaking. By utilizing Neuropixels probes, they’ve mapped out how neurons represent speech sounds and assemble them into language.

This study not only sheds light on the complex cognitive steps involved in speech production but also opens up possibilities for treating speech and language disorders. The technology could lead to artificial prosthetics for synthetic speech, benefiting those with neurological disorders.

Feb 26, 2024

Ultrasound Brain Stimulation: A Significant Leap in Neurotherapy

Posted by in category: neuroscience

New research conducted by a team led by Dr. PARK Joo Min of the Center for Cognition and Sociality within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) unveils a novel technique that could transform the treatment landscape for brain disorders.

The team developed a non-invasive brain stimulation method called Patterned Low-Intensity Low-Frequency Ultrasound (LILFUS), which holds tremendous potential for inducing long-lasting changes in brain function.

Feb 26, 2024

Neural Decoding Unveils Secrets of Navigation

Posted by in categories: biological, military, robotics/AI

Summary: A new study combines deep learning with neural activity data from mice to unlock the mystery of how they navigate their environment.

By analyzing the firing patterns of “head direction” neurons and “grid cells,” researchers can now accurately predict a mouse’s location and orientation, shedding light on the complex brain functions involved in navigation. This method, developed in collaboration with the US Army Research Laboratory, represents a significant leap forward in understanding spatial awareness and could revolutionize autonomous navigation in AI systems.

The findings highlight the potential for integrating biological insights into artificial intelligence to enhance machine navigation without relying on GPS technology.

Feb 26, 2024

Bottlenose Dolphins Become One Of Few Known Mammals With A “Seventh Sense”

Posted by in category: futurism

The first study of bottlenose dolphins’ sensitivity to electric fields has found some can detect electric direct current (DC) fields as weak as 2.4 microvolts per centimeter, even better than the measured capacities of platypus. Although still less capable in this regard than sharks and rays, the finding suggests electroreceptivity may play a more important role in dolphins’ survival than previously suspected.

Dolphins have small pits rich in nerve endings on their face, known as vibrissal crypts. A 2022 study confirmed these allow them to detect weak electric fields, but provided no indication on how weak that can be. It makes sense for species that live in murky rivers or estuaries to develop alternatives to seeing underwater, but for those dolphins that inhabit clearer waters such capacities might prove superfluous.

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Feb 26, 2024

Unlocking the Brain’s Fear Circuitry: A Pathway to Survival Responses

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Source: Northwestern University.

Scientists have discovered a new neural pathway involved in how the brain encodes the transition to high-intensity fear response behaviors that are necessary for survival, according to a recent study published in Nature.

Jones Parker, Ph.D., assistant professor of Neuroscience, of Pharmacology and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, was a co-author of the study.

Feb 26, 2024

Memories Could Be Lost if Two Key Brain Regions Fail to Sync Together

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Summary: If neural assemblies between the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex fail to sync together at the correct time, memories are lost.

Source: University of Bristol.

Learning, remembering something, and recalling memories is supported by multiple separate groups of neurons connected inside and across key regions in the brain. If these neural assemblies fail to sync together at the right time, the memories are lost, a new study led by the universities of Bristol and Heidelberg has found.

Feb 26, 2024

Why PTSD Patients Relive Highly Charged Fear Memories in Sleep

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Summary: In people with PTSD, during REM sleep norepinephrine and serotonin levels remain high, reducing the brain’s ability to inhibit fear-expression neurons through neural rhythms sent between the prefrontal cortex and amygdala. Those with PTSD require higher frequency rhythms to extinguish fear memories. Researchers say unlocking the higher frequencies via therapies could help to restore quality sleep in those with PTSD.

Source: Virginia Tech.

During periods of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, brain activity often resembles that of awake behavior. At times, the brain can actually be more active during REM sleep than when you’re awake. It’s why REM sleep is sometimes called “paradoxical sleep,” said Virginia Tech neuroscientist Sujith Vijayan.

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