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Mar 7, 2016

Crowdsourcing The Hyperloop: How A Group Of Redditors Are Taking On Elon Musk’s Challenge

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, engineering, law, sustainability, transportation

VideoDisclaimer: The author of this article, Jason Belzer, is a member of rLoop and serves as the non-profit’s legal counsel. When billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk proposed the Hyperloop — a futuristic transportation system capable of propelling passengers to supersonic speeds — back in 2013, it is unlikely that even he could have imagined that just a few years later his vision would be tantalizing close to reality. Yet ironically, Musk, who has helped build companies like Tesla Motors and SpaceX that are on the leading edge of technological innovation, will not receive the credit if the Hyperloop indeed becomes a reality. Instead, that honor will be bestowed upon on a small group of teams now working feverishly to construct a prototype that will be tested this summer at SpaceX headquarters in California.

Imagine tackling one of the most complex engineering projects in the history of the human race, requiring countless hours of collaboration and experimentation by some of the world’s most talented engineers, and never actually meeting the people you are working with in a physical setting. You might think it’s impossible, or you might be a member of rLoop — the only non student team to reach the final stage of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition.

rLoop V6 3AM.259 - Final

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Mar 7, 2016

Nonhuman ‘Hands’ Found in Prehistoric Rock Art

Posted by in category: futurism

To know where we are going and why, we must first know from whence we came. So, science. =)

The roughly 8,000-year-old “hands” painted on a rock wall in the Sahara Desert aren’t human at all, as researchers originally thought, but are actually stencils of the “hands” or forefeet, of the desert monitor lizard, a new study finds.

These tiny lizard hands are intermingled with paintings of human adult hands, which ancient rock artists stenciled around using red, yellow, orange and brown pigments, the researchers said.

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Mar 7, 2016

Match 1 — Google DeepMind Challenge Match: Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo | DeepMind

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

“Watch DeepMind’s program AlphaGo take on the legendary Lee Sedol (9-dan pro), the top Go player of the past decade, in a $1M 5-game challenge match in Seoul.”

Mar 7, 2016

The Importance of Hope

Posted by in categories: biological, education, health, homo sapiens, life extension


I learn useful life lessons from each patient I meet. Some are positive messages, reminding me of the importance of maintaining balance between family, work, and leisure activities, but more frequently I witness examples of the remarkable resilience of the human spirit when facing the reality and risks of a major surgical procedure and a diagnosis of cancer. Rarely, patients and their family members utter remorseful or simply sad remarks when they are faced with a grim prognosis and the emotions associated with an onrushing date with mortality. These comments invariably involve an inventory of regrets in life, including, “I should have spent more time with my kids,” “I wish I had told my father (or mother, brother, sister, child, or some other person) that I loved them before they died,” and “I have spent my entire life working, I never took time for anything else.” I wince when I hear these openly expressed remonstrations, I recognize that I am hearing painful and heartfelt truths. Not a week goes by that I am not reminded that I do not one day want to look back at my life with a long list of regrets, should have dones, and what ifs.

I was blessed to meet a great teacher in the guise of a patient early in my academic career. He came to my clinic in my first year after completing a Fellowship in Surgical Oncology, my first year as an Assistant Professor of Surgery. My patient was a 69 year-old Baptist Minister from a small town in Mississippi. He was referred to me by his medical oncologist who called me and said, “I don’t think there is anything you can do for him, but he needs to hear that from you because he doesn’t believe me.” This tall, imposing man had colon cancer that had metastasized (spread) to his liver. The malignant tumor in his colon was removed the year before I met him, and he had received chemotherapy to treat several large tumors found in his liver. The chemotherapy had not worked and the tumors grew. At the point I met him, the medical oncologist told him he would live no more than 6 months, and because he was an avid fisherman when not preaching or helping others in his community , the doctor suggested that he go out and enjoy his remaining time by getting in as much fishing as possible. I learned two invaluable lessons from this patient and his family. First, never deny or dismiss hope from a patient or their family, even when from a medical perspective the situation seems hopeless and the patient is incurable. Second, quoting the minister directly, “Some doctors think of themselves as gods with a small ‘g’, but not one of you is God”.

When I first walked into the examining room, this man was slouched on the examining table in the perfunctory blue and white, open-backed, always unflattering hospital gown. He made eye contact with me briefly, then looked down to the floor. In that momentary meeting of our eyes, I saw no sparkle, no life, no hope in his eyes. He responded to my initial questions with a monotonic and quiet voice. Several times I had to ask him to repeat an answer because his response was so muted. Mid-way through our first visit, the patient’s wife told me he had been very depressed by his diagnosis of untreatable metastatic colon cancer. She reported, despite his occasional side-long warning glances requesting her silence, that while he was eating well, he was spending most of his time sitting in a chair or laying in bed, and that the active, gregarious man with the quick wit and booming voice she had married was gone.

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Mar 7, 2016

David Sinclair, Ph.D

Posted by in category: futurism

The world’s most prestigious thinktank dedicated to advancing the most productive and quality years of life.

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Mar 7, 2016

How to Create Friendly AI and Survive the Coming Intelligence Explosion?

Posted by in categories: life extension, robotics/AI

“Yet, it’s our emotions and imperfections that makes us human.” –Clyde DeSouza, Memories With Maya.

IMMORTALITY or OBLIVION? I hope that everyone would agree that there are only two possible outcomes after having created Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) for us: immortality or oblivion. The necessity of the beneficial outcome of the coming intelligence explosion cannot be overestimated.

AI can already beat humans in many games, but can AI beat humans in the most important game, the game of life?

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Mar 7, 2016

What It Will Take to Become an Interstellar Civilization

Posted by in category: space travel

Researchers met recently to discuss the hurdles that we’ll need to overcome before humanity can spread across interstellar space.

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Mar 7, 2016

Google’s magic Internet balloons bringing Wi-Fi to India

Posted by in category: internet

The software and hardware giant hopes to succeed where Facebook’s Free Basics failed — connecting hundreds of millions of Indians in rural areas to the Internet with Project Loon.

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Mar 7, 2016

Zuckerberg Says Banning Free Basics Won’t Keep Away From India

Posted by in category: internet

In response to the recently imposed ban on Free Basics by TRAI, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reiterated his commitment towards his initiative.

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Mar 6, 2016

Researchers think they’ve just found a new kind of stem cell

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Though their use is marred by controversy and debate, stem cells are one of our best bets when it comes to developing regenerative treatments for a plethora of different conditions. Now, scientists believe they’ve found a brand new type of stem cell hidden in plain sight called XEN, also referred to as iXEN, and it could lead to new ways to study birth defects and reproductive problems.

Before we dive into the latest discovery, it’s worth mentioning how researchers have been using stem cells up to this point. Pluripotent stem cells are so important because they have the potential to develop into every cell in the body, effectively allowing researchers to heal any type of tissue. In the past, these cells were harvested from embryos, but researchers have now figured out how to unlock the potential of pluripotent stem cells using adult cells — avoiding the controversy.

These cells are known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) and researchers create them by “reactivating embryonic genes to ‘reprogram’ mature adult cells”. By doing so, researchers can to an extent, control what these cells become, which means they have the power to regrow damaged tissues.

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