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Jan 14, 2017

Why a New Group Aims to Elect More Scientists to the Government

Posted by in categories: climatology, education, government, mathematics, sustainability

Concerned that scientific views are not being properly represented in Washington, a new nonprofit group wants to get more scientists elected. 314 Action, named after the first three digits of pi, wants scientists to embrace the political process, running for all levels of government. The group’s aim is to get as many scientists elected as possible in the 2018 elections.

314 Action sees particular urgency for its work due to the rise of anti-science rhetoric on the Hill, especially from the right. The current Republican standard bearer President Trump has questioned the idea that climate change is caused by humans and seemingly encouraged debunked anti-vaccination opinions. With the appointments Trump made so far, it’s hard to believe his administration will advance scientific causes.

The 314 Action group describes its members as people who come from the STEM community whose goals are to increase communication between STEM community and elected officials, to actually elect STEM-trained candidates to public office, to increase presence of STEM ideas through the media, and to prevent the U.S. from falling further and further behind the rest of the world in math and science education.

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Jan 14, 2017

Institute of Exponential Sciences D.N.A conference: Liz Parrish

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

I missed this one. A Liz lecture with what they do and about regulation questions from the audience.

The fourth speaker at the “Designing New Advances” conference hosted by the Institute of Exponential Sciences in Utrecht. Liz Parrish, CEO BioViva Sciences, talks about her work. Learn more about gene therapies and ageing diseases.

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Jan 14, 2017

A London Restaurant Hired Dogs to Serve Beer and They’re Calling Them ‘Bark-Tenders’

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

I can say this is a first for me. Forget about AI taking your job; as our favorite friend will soon serve you a drink.

For one day, the Bar D’Alsace-tian in London will employ a team of Alsatian dogs to deliver cold bottles of beer to customer via a custom harness. Read on.

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Jan 14, 2017

Body-Pierced Gadget Turns You Into a Human Compass

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, internet, neuroscience, transhumanism

Liviu Babitz is not content waiting around for evolution to improve upon his human form. Like other transhumanists, Babitz believes that science and technology can take a person’s intelligence, physical performance and psychological state to the next level, all in less than the span of a single lifetime.

To that end, he helped develop North Sense, a small silicone gadget that detects magnetic north. This is not a GPS device, nor a tracker. It’s not even connected to the Internet nor any other network. This is a new sensory organ designed to be pierced to a person’s body and vibrate each time the wearer faces magnetic north.

The idea is that over time, the brain will assimilate the vibration into the everyday human experience, enhancing it. That will open a person up to a world that exists beyond his or her own current capabilities.

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Jan 14, 2017

Seeing the quantum future… literally

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

Scientists at the University of Sydney have demonstrated the ability to “see” the future of quantum systems, and used that knowledge to preempt their demise, in a major achievement that could help bring the strange and powerful world of quantum technology closer to reality.

The applications of quantum-enabled technologies are compelling and already demonstrating significant impacts — especially in the realm of sensing and metrology. And the potential to build exceptionally powerful quantum computers using quantum bits, or qubits, is driving investment from the world’s largest companies.

However a significant obstacle to building reliable quantum technologies has been the randomisation of by their environments, or decoherence, which effectively destroys the useful quantum character.

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Jan 14, 2017

Illumina wants to sequence your whole genome for $100

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

I got my autosomal DNA analysed for $50 by FTDNA recently. Not a full gene sequence though. You get NGS tests for about $400 now.

The first sequencing of the whole human genome in 2003 cost roughly $2.7 billion, but DNA sequencing giant Illumina has now unveiled a new machine that the company says is “expected one day” to order up your whole genome for less than $100.

Illumina’s CEO Francis deSouza showed off the machine, called the NovaSeq, onstage at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in downtown San Francisco today, telling the crowd the machine’s scanning speed could decipher an entire human genome in less than an hour.

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Jan 14, 2017

An Ultra-Rare Crystal Is Found in a Meteorite, Revealing a Bizarre Form of Matter

Posted by in categories: military, particle physics

In Brief

  • Just a few micrometers in diameter, this quasicrystal is the third to be found in this particular meteorite, but it differs from the other two in both structure and chemical composition.
  • While many applications have been discovered for synthetic quasicrystals, the rarity of naturally occurring ones has made them difficult to study.

A team led by Luca Bindi, a geologist from the University of Florence, has found an ultra-rare quasicrystal just a few micrometres wide in a meteorite that landed in Russia five years ago. The discovery has been detailed in Scientific Reports.

Two other quasicrystals have already been discovered in this particular meteorite, but the latest is different from its predecessors in both structure and chemical composition. This new quasicrystal is composed of aluminum, copper, and iron atoms structured in an arrangement very similar to the pentagon-based pattern of a soccer ball, a first of its kind in nature.

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Jan 14, 2017

Woman died from superbug resistant to all available antibiotics in U.S.

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The case serves as a “wake up call” that antibiotic resistance is a growing problem, experts say.

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Jan 14, 2017

A Direct Infusion Of Immune Cells Could Fight Cancer

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

A new way to treat brain cancer with our own immune cells.

Injecting genetically modified immune cells directly into the brain and spinal fluid has had remarkable effects on a deadly brain cancer

Glioblastoma is a particularly virulent form of brain cancer. Around 20,000 people in the United States are diagnosed each year and the disease typically has poor survival rates. In a new case reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, a man has undergone experimental CAR-T therapy to treat the condition. CAR-T therapy is a branch of immunotherapy, the field taking cancer treatment by storm, and involves infusing genetically modified T cells back into a patient to target cancer cells.

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Jan 14, 2017

Microsoft just bought an AI startup that can outperform Facebook and Google

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Microsoft announced this morning that it has acquired Maluuba, a Toronto startup focused on using deep learning for natural language processing. Deep learning is an approach to artificial intelligence currently in vogue that has driven incredible gains in the field over the last five years. As Microsoft wrote in the blog post announcing the purchase, “We’ve recently set new milestones for speech and image recognition using deep learning techniques, and with this acquisition we are, as Wayne Gretzky would say, skating to where the puck will be next — machine reading and writing.”

The Verge covered Maluuba in the summer of 2016, when the startup shared the results of an AI system that could read and comprehend text with near human capability, outperforming similar systems shown off by Google and Facebook. Along with acquiring the company, Microsoft has also established closer ties with Yoshua Bengio, a pioneer in the field of deep learning who served as an advisor to Maluuba, and will now become and advisor to Microsoft’s AI division.

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