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Feb 13, 2017

Bacteria Have ‘Biological Wheels’ That We Can Finally See In 3D

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Among bacteria’s many attributes, perhaps one of its most overlooked yet important ones is its ability to propel itself via flagellum, a unique appendage hanging off its end. This mechanism is a perfect example of a naturally occurring, biological wheel.

Now, for the first time, scientists were able to take a high resolution, 3D look at these wheels at work, using an electron microscope. Their work was published online yesterday in the journal, PNAS.

A flagella is like a tiny tail at the end of the bacteria, allowing it to move through various mediums. It generates torque (that’s twisting force) from stators, a ring of structures around the motor part of the organ. These act as the wheel providing the power.

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Feb 13, 2017

Cassie — The Bipedal Ostrich Robot

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

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Feb 13, 2017

Proxima Centauri b And Most Other Exo-Planets Are Likely Uninhabitable

Posted by in category: alien life

Bad news for anyone who thinks Earth-mass planets must automatically harbor life.


New study says nearby earth-mass planet Proxima Centauri b may not be habitable after all. The implications for astrobiology aren’t good.

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Feb 12, 2017

Why Elon Musk Thinks Universal Basic Income Is Inevitable

Posted by in categories: economics, Elon Musk, employment, government

Elon Musk shared his thoughts on the future of jobs and the government’s role in a rapidly changing society.

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Feb 12, 2017

Zoltan Istvan, who advocates radical technology, hopes to be governor of California

Posted by in categories: economics, futurism

Here’s my official announcement/OpEd article via Newsweek for running for California Governor as a Libertarian. Thanks for reading it!


Futurist Zoltan Istvan believes California could become the world’s largest economy.

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Feb 12, 2017

Cell Death Might Be Reversible, and Scientists Are Trying to Find Out Why

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

It tells us something important about cancer.

A mysterious cell process named anastasis (Greek for “rising to life”) challenges our idea of life being a linear march towards death, and suggests that cell death can actually be reversed under certain conditions—essentially allowing cells to un-die.

Even as the cell is shrivelling up in response to radiation, toxins, or other stresses, it can in some cases undo the dying process and repair itself if the stress is taken away before the cell is completely gone, said cell biologist Denise Montell of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Feb 12, 2017

These windows are actually an interactive screen

Posted by in category: futurism

You’ll never hear “are we there yet” again.

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Feb 12, 2017

3D Printed Artificial Organs

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical

Thanks to 3D printing, scientists can now recreate any organ in the human body.

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Feb 12, 2017

Distributed Objective Consensus: Beyond POW & POS

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, computing, cryptocurrencies, economics, innovation, privacy, software

At the heart of Bitcoin or any Blockchain ledger is a distributed consensus mechanism. It’s a lot like voting. A large and diverse deliberative community validates each, individual user transaction, ownership stake or vote.

But a distributed consensus mechanism is only effective and faithful if the community is impartial. To be impartial, voters must be fairly separated. That is, there must be no collusion enabled by concentration or hidden collaboration. They must be separated from the buyer and seller; they must be separated from the big stakeholders; and they must be separated from each other. Without believable and measurable separation, all sorts of problems ensue. One problem that has made news in the Bitcoin word is the geographical concentration of miners and mining pools.

A distributed or decentralized transaction validation is typically achieved based on Proof-of-Work (POW) or Proof-of-Stake (POS). [explain]. But in practice, these methodologies exhibit subtle problems…

The problem is that Proof-of-Work can waste an enormous amount of energy and both techniques result in a concentration of power (either by geography or by special interest) — rather than a fair, distributed consensus.

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Feb 12, 2017

A Vision to Bootstrap the Solar System Economy

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biological, economics, information science, robotics/AI, space, transportation

Early probes are one thing, but can we build a continuing presence among the stars, human or robotic? An evolutionary treatment of starflight sees it growing from a steadily expanding presence right here in our Solar System, the kind of infrastructure Alex Tolley examines in the essay below. How we get to a system-wide infrastructure is the challenge, one analyzed by a paper that sees artificial intelligence and 3D printing as key drivers leading to a rapidly expanding space economy. The subject is a natural for Tolley, who is co-author (with Brian McConnell) of A Design for a Reusable Water-Based Spacecraft Known as the Spacecoach (Springer, 2016). An ingenious solution to cheap transportation among the planets, the Spacecoach could readily be part of the equation as we bring assets available off-planet into our economy and deploy them for even deeper explorations. Alex is a lecturer in biology at the University of California, and has been a Centauri Dreams regular for as long as I can remember, one whose insights are often a touchstone for my own thinking.

By Alex Tolley

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