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Feb 14, 2017

Microsoft calls for ‘digital Geneva Convention’

Posted by in categories: computing, internet, policy, security

SAN FRANCISCO – In a policy speech that puts Microsoft front-and-center in the shifting ground of both politics and nationalism, company president Brad Smith said tech companies must declare themselves neutral when nations go up against nations in cyberspace.

“Let’s face it, cyberspace is the new battlefield,” he told an overflow audience in the opening keynote at the RSA computer security conference.

Tech must be committed to “100% defense and zero percent offense,” Smith said.

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Feb 14, 2017

Outlawing microchipping humans not so far-fetched, Nevada senator says

Posted by in category: privacy

CARSON CITY — State Sen. Becky Harris said a bill to prohibit forced microchipping of people is not as far-fetched as it might seem, because it happens in some places around the world.

Senate Bill 109 would make it a Class C felony to require someone to be implanted with a radio frequency identifier, such as microchips placed in pets.

The idea for the bill came from a constituent, the Las Vegas Republican said.

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Feb 14, 2017

U.S. experts soften on DNA editing of human eggs, sperm, embryos

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) — Powerful gene editing tools may one day be used on human embryos, eggs and sperm to remove genes that cause inherited diseases, according to a report by U.S. scientists and ethicists released on Tuesday.

The report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Medicine said scientific advances make gene editing in human reproductive cells “a realistic possibility that deserves serious consideration.”

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Feb 14, 2017

The Island of Dr. Moreau For Real

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, health, space, time travel

By Drs. David Niesel and Norbert Herzog, Medical Discovery News

H.G. Wells was a writer of fantastic science fiction during the 1890s. He is considered one of the fathers of science fiction and wrote novels whose stories remain popular today. He wrote about time travel in “The Time Machine”, about interplanetary conflict originally made popular by the Orson Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” and in “The Island of Dr. Moreau” he described beings that were part human and part animal. Two of the three remain pure science fiction but one is on the verge of becoming a reality. Do you know which one?

In August, 2016, the National Institutes of Health announced that it was lifting its ban on research that introduces stem cells from humans into animal embryos. Stem cells have the ability to evolve into any human cell and can grow into any human tissue. The goal of this type of research is to grow human tissues and eventually human replacement organs in animals. What an innovative way to improve upon transplantation medicine! But to realize this potential, we would create an organism that is part animal and part human! These hybrids are the stuff of ancient mythology. These mixtures of different animals are called chimeras after the mythical ancient Greek creature that was part lion, snake and goat. One goal of today’s research is to produce tissues and organs for experimentation that will improve our understanding of human disease. An alternative and longer term goal would be to produce organs directly for human transplantation.

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Feb 14, 2017

Nuclear Reactors to Power Space Exploration

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, solar power, space travel, sustainability

For the past five decades—from the Apollo-era lunar science experiments to the Mars Curiosity and the New Horizons missions—Pu-238 Radioisotope Thermal Generators (RTG) have served as a power source. While some of the NASA’s forays will continue to rely on these RTGs, others will require larger power sources to enable human space and planetary exploration and establish reliable high bandwidth deep-space communications. Solar power cannot handle this goal. A larger nuclear-based power source is required.

In a recent Washington Post article, Jeff Bezos, founder of amazon.com and creator of Blue Origin space project said, “I think NASA should work on a space-rated nuclear reactor. If you had a nuclear reactor in space—especially if you want to go anywhere beyond Mars­—you really need nuclear power. Solar power just gets progressively difficult as you get further way from the sun. And that’s a completely doable thing to have a safe, space-qualified nuclear reactor.”

Calls for space nuclear power are not new. In fact, numerous reactor concepts have been proposed in the past. Their development is often dampened by the perception that nuclear is too hard, takes too long and costs too much.

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Feb 14, 2017

Again on ageing as a disease: A rectification

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Ageing as a disease, take 2: Things I got wrong.


My previous post was somewhat confusing even to myself. To be completely frank, I think it was a little bit of a fuck-up. Several people have commented about it, for example on Reddit or Facebook, pointing out among the rest that whether or not ageing is a disease isn’t just semantics and it isn’t pointless. (To the people commenting on Facebook, I’d like to say that I’m sorry I didn’t reply to your comments, but for some reason I was stuck as ‘Rejuvenaction’ on those posts, and Pages don’t seem to be allowed to comment on group posts. I tried to switch to my personal account to no avail. I figured out a workaround, but at this point it’s a bit too late.)

What I meant to say is that arguing whether or not ageing is a medical condition is far less important than treating its root causes, and as long as we focused on this task, we could postpone the debate to a later time. The finer points of establishing if ageing fits the definition of ‘disease’ to the letter would waste precious time we could spend saving lives instead; we should definitely not wait until the issue has been settled before we start developing rejuvenation biotechnologies. (And we are not waiting at all, luckily.) However, classifying ageing as a disease is very important and not at all pointless, as Reason of FA! explained in this post. In a nutshell, if the ageing processes that lead to age-related diseases were considered pathological, research on how to interfere with them would likely receive more funding, and drugs that target ageing itself could be approved by the FDA.

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Feb 14, 2017

88 New Satellites Will Watch Earth, All the Time, All the Places

Posted by in categories: satellites, surveillance

With the acquisition of Google’s satellite company and 88 new satellites, Planet is poised to become the world’s most powerful space surveillance company.

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Feb 14, 2017

Dubai aims to launch hover-taxi

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Dubai has tested a Chinese prototype of a self-driving hover-taxi, its transport authority said on Monday, with the aim of introducing the aerial vehicle in the emirate by July.

The test of the one-man electric vehicle comes as the city state in the United Arab Emirates seeks to ensure a quarter of its means of transport are self-driving by 2030.

The EHang 184 can travel on a programmed course at 100 kilometres an hour (60 mph) at an altitude of 300 metres (1,000 feet), the authority said in a statement.

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Feb 14, 2017

Less is more: potential breakthrough for treating hypertension with ultra low-dose combinations

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Synergy is very important in medicine and sometimes old drugs have unexpected results when combined with others. Here we have a quad therapy that has had great results with hypertension.


A small but clinically important trial of a new ultra-low dose four-in-one pill to treat high blood pressure has produced remarkable results.

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Feb 14, 2017

EmDrive: UK scientist claims ‘new physics’ explains galaxy rotation and theoretical space propulsion

Posted by in categories: cosmology, quantum physics, space travel

Dr Mike McCulloch says his theory explains why galaxies are not ripped apart, without needing dark matter.

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