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Sep 30, 2017

Study shows how ‘love hormone’ oxytocin spurs sociability

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Why is it so much fun to hang out with our friends? Why are some people so sociable while others are loners or seemingly outright allergic to interactions with others?

A new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine begins to provide an answer, pinpointing places and processes in the that promote socialization by providing pleasurable sensations when it occurs. The findings point to potential ways of helping people, such as those with autism or schizophrenia, who can be painfully averse to socializing.

The study, which will be published Sept. 29 in Science, details the role of a substance called oxytocin in fostering and maintaining sociability. The senior author is Robert Malenka, MD, PhD, professor and associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral science. The lead author is former postdoctoral scholar Lin Hung, PhD.

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Sep 30, 2017

Let’s ban gasoline-powered cars, says California’s governor

Posted by in category: transportation

Electric vehicles would get a big boost if California bans internal combustion engines.

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Sep 30, 2017

Elon Musk Named SpaceX’s Moonbase After a Cult Sci-Fi Classic

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel

With the best theme song in TV history.

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Sep 30, 2017

Elon Musk: SpaceX Is Coming for Mars in 2022

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel

Musk said he’s “confident” the plan will be under way within five years.

“I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars,” Musk said, adding that he thinks SpaceX has figured out a way to make it affordable by using revenues from the company’s satellite launches, service missions to the International Space Station and by making smaller, more efficient rockets that are mostly reusable.

Nine years after SpaceX’s first successful launch — its fourth ever — Musk said his engineers are now perfecting propulsive landing. He believes the BFR rocket can carry out missions to the moon and back without producing propellant, enabling the establishment of a lunar space station.

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Sep 30, 2017

China’s New Electric Car Rules Are Amazingly Aggressive

Posted by in categories: government, sustainability, transportation

This is how you really get an industry to change its ways. Bloomberg reports that China’s government has announced that any automaker producing or importing more than 30,000 cars in China must ensure 10 percent of them are all-electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen-powered by 2019. That number will rise to 12 percent in 2020.

In fact, the new regulations are actually more lenient than drafts of the rules had suggested: they scrap a 2018 introduction to give manufacturers more time to prepare, and will also excuse failure to meet the quota in the first year. So, really, the 12 percent target in 2020 is the first enforceable number.

That still doesn’t make it very easy, as the Wall Street Journal notes (paywall). Domestic automakers already make plenty of electric cars (largely at the government’s behest), which means that they should be able to meet the numbers, but Western firms will find it harder. In preparation, some have actually set up partnerships with Chinese companies to help them build electric vehicles in time.

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Sep 30, 2017

Brain Scanner Mask Is 4x More Effective Than MRIs

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Could this mask replace MRI technology?

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Sep 30, 2017

The Neuroscientist Who Wants To Upload Humanity To A Computer

Posted by in categories: computing, life extension

Randal Koene is recruiting top neuroscientists to help him make humans live forever.

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Sep 30, 2017

Bill Gates: This Will Be the Biggest Technological Breakthrough of Our Lifetime

Posted by in categories: innovation, robotics/AI

Microsoft’s co-founder has set the bar for AI.

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Sep 30, 2017

Toyota and Mazda are making a new company to develop electric cars

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

Both automakers are set to make future EVs off of Prius platform.

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Sep 30, 2017

Perovskite solar cells reach record long-term stability, efficiency over 20 percent

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) can offer high light-conversion efficiency with low manufacturing costs. But to be commercially viable, perovskite films must also be durable and not degrade under solar light over time. EPFL scientists have now greatly improved the operational stability of PSCs, retaining more than 95% of their initial efficiencies of over 20 % under full sunlight illumination at 60oC for more than 1000 hours. The breakthrough, which marks the highest stability for perovskite solar cells, is published in Science.

Challenges of stability

Conventional have reached a point of maturation, with efficiencies plateauing around 25% and problems of high-cost manufacturing, heavyweight, and rigidity has remained largely unresolved. On the contrary, a relatively new photovoltaic technology based on solar cells has already achieved more than 22% .

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