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Talks from the Singularity Summit 2011 in NYC [22 Videos]

Talks from the Singularity Summit 2011 in NYC [22 Videos] | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The Singularity Summit 2011 was a TED-style two-day event at the historic 92nd Street Y in New York City. The next event will take place in San Francisco, on October 13 & 14, 2012.

 

For more information, visit: http://www.singularitysummit.com

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Neuroscience: The mind reader

Neuroscience: The mind reader | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
Adrian Owen has found a way to use brain scans to communicate with people previously written off as unreachable.

Via Sakis Koukouvis
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Scientists Sequence Genome of Asiatic Pear

Scientists Sequence Genome of Asiatic Pear | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
An international consortium of universities and institutions has recently completed the first sequencing of the Asiatic pear genome.
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NASA offers prize to turn moon dust into breathable oxygen

NASA offers prize to turn moon dust into breathable oxygen | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

NASA is willing to pay US$250,000 to the first person or team to turn lunar soil into breathable oxygen, a technology intended to revive the country's long-dormant lunar exploration program. The contest is the latest in NASA's Centennial Challenges program, designed to lure private industry and research groups into helping NASA find alternative and lower-cost technologies for Moon and Mars exploration.

 

The competition is based on the successful Ansari X Prize, which last year awarded US$10 million to the developers of SpaceShipOne for building and flying the world's first private spaceship. The contest requires contenders to use a simulated lunar regolith, the loose soil found on the Moon's surface, to extract at least 5 kilograms of oxygen in eight hours. Although several methods to extract oxygen from lunar soil already have been developed, none has produced enough oxygen to win the prize.

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Canada's new moon rover prototype

Canada's new moon rover prototype | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Canada’s brand new made-in-Ottawa lunar rover was previewed for American eyes only this week, as the Canadian Space Agency and NASA showed off Artemis Jr. to U.S. media.

 

The rover is designed to look for and dig up soil rich in hydrogen near the moon’s north or south pole. Lunar soil is also rich in oxygen, so if future astronauts can extract both hydrogen and oxygen they can make their own water. The rover could also be adapted for a mission to Mars.

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A surprising find: Giant tropical lake detected on Saturn moon Titan

A surprising find: Giant tropical lake detected on Saturn moon Titan | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

An oasis of liquid methane has unexpectedly been discovered amid the tropical dunes of Saturn's moon Titan, researchers say. This lake in the otherwise dry tropics of Titan hints that subterranean channels of liquid methane might feed it from below, scientists added.

 

Titan has clouds, rain and lakes, like Earth, but these are composed of methane rather than water. However, methane lakes were seen only at Titan's poles until now — its tropics around the equator were apparently home to dune fields instead.

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Quantum Cryptography Outperformed By Classical Technique

Quantum Cryptography Outperformed By Classical Technique | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Quantum cryptography has had a bad couple of years. For a decade or so, we were promised the capability to send messages with absolute secrecy guaranteed by the laws of physics. At least in theory. In practice, however, things turned out a little differently.  In 2010, a team at the University of Toronto in Canada announced that they had successfully hacked a commercial quantum cryptography system. The problem was not the theory but the practical limitations of the equipment used to carry out this kind of communication and the loopholes this introduces. 

 

Then, earlier this year, a UK-based team showed that these kinds of practical limitations can never be overcome entirely since there is no way to prove beyond doubt  that any machine is not compromised (unless it is used only once and then thrown away). So rather than being perfect, quantum cryptography turns out to be just 'pretty good', a standard that is perfectly acceptable for most people and one that very much looked as if it  was the best we ever can hope for.

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Ellie Kesselman Wells's comment, April 18, 2013 6:45 PM
Lol! All those silly people who say that schools should stop teaching Newtonian physics because it has been proven wrong by quantum mechanics should see this. It wouldn't convince them, as anyone who says that, about ending study of classical physics, obviously doesn't know any sort of physical science at all, I suspect ;o)
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Stem cells applied in clinic: Ten-year-old gets lab-grown vein

Stem cells applied in clinic: Ten-year-old gets lab-grown vein | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

A 10-year-old girl has had a major blood vessel in her body replaced with one grown with her own stem cells, Swedish doctors report. She had poor blood flow between her intestines and liver.  Surgeons said there was a "striking" improvement in her quality of life.

 

This is the latest is a series of body parts grown, or engineered, to match the tissue of the patient. Last year, scientists created a synthetic windpipe and then coated it with a patient's stem cells.

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Textured Surface Maintains Efficiency and Reduces Thickness of Silicon Solar Cells

Textured Surface Maintains Efficiency and Reduces Thickness of Silicon Solar Cells | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Highly purified silicon represents up to 40 percent of the overall costs of conventional solar-cell arrays — so researchers have long sought to maximize power output while minimizing silicon usage. Now, a team at MIT has found a new approach that could reduce the thickness of the silicon used by more than 90 percent while still maintaining high efficiency.

 

The secret lies in a pattern of tiny inverted pyramids etched into the surface of the silicon. These tiny indentations, each less than a millionth of a meter across, can trap rays of light as effectively as conventional solid silicon surfaces that are 30 times thicker.

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Sugar-powered fuel cell from MIT for future medical implants

Sugar-powered fuel cell from MIT for future medical implants | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

MIT engineers have developed a fuel cell that runs on the same sugar that powers human cells: glucose. This glucose fuel cell could be used to drive highly efficient brain implants of the future, which could help paralyzed patients move their arms and legs again.

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Marcus Chown talks about the top 10 strangest things about the Universe

Marcus Chown of New Scientist Magazine on his Top 10 Bonkers Things About the Universe.

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Seminars : Life - What A Concept! Interviews and Videos

Seminars : Life - What A Concept! Interviews and Videos | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Physicist Freeman Dyson envisions a biotech future which supplants physics and notes that after three billion years, the Darwinian interlude is over. He refers to an interlude between two periods of horizontal gene transfer, a subject explored in his abovementioned essay.

 

Craig Venter, who decoded the human genome, surprised the world in late June by announcing the results of his lab's work on genome transplantation methods that allows for the transformation of one type of bacteria into another, dictated by the transplanted chromosome. In other words, one species becomes another.

 

George Church, the pioneer of the Synthetic Biology revolution, thinks of the cell as operating system, and engineers taking the place of traditional biologists in retooling stripped down components of cells (bio-bricks) in much the vein as in the late 70s when electrical engineers were working their way to the first personal computer by assembling circuit boards, hard drives, monitors, etc.

 

Biologist Robert Shapiro disagrees with scientists who believe that an extreme stroke of luck was needed to get life started in a non-living environment. He favors the idea that life arose through the normal operation of the laws of physics and chemistry. If he is right, then life may be widespread in the cosmos.

 

Dimitar Sasselov, Planetary Astrophysicist, and Director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative, has made recent discoveries of exo-planets ("Super-Earths"). He looks at new evidence to explore the question of how chemical systems become living systems.

 

Quantum engineer Seth Lloyd sees the universe as an information processing system in which simple systems such as atoms and molecules must necessarily give rise complex structures such as life, and life itself must give rise to even greater complexity, such as human beings, societies, and whatever comes next.

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World Science Festival - Webcasts

World Science Festival - Webcasts | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The World Science Festival is a production of the Science Festival Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in New York City. The Foundation’s mission is to cultivate a general public informed by science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future.

 

The World Science Festival’s signature event is an annual celebration and exploration of science that launched in 2008. Hailed a “new cultural institution,” by the New York Times, the Festival has featured such luminaries as: Stephen Hawking, E.O. Wilson, Sir Paul Nurse, Harold Varmus, Daniel Dennett, Eric Lander, Steven Chu, Richard Leakey, Sylvia Earle, Yo-Yo Ma, Oliver Sacks, Mary-Claire King, Chuck Close, Philip Glass, Charlie Kaufman, Glenn Close, Anna Deavere Smith, Bobby McFerrin, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Liev Schreiber, John Lithgow, Bill T. Jones, Charlie Rose, John Hockenberry, Elizabeth Vargas and Walter Isaacson.

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The Milky Way Galaxy

The Milky Way Galaxy | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

University of Califorinia Center for Astrophysics astronomy tutorial.


Via Barbara Falkinburg
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On the Horizon: Novel Inhibitors for Hematologic Malignancies - OncLive

On the Horizon: Novel Inhibitors for Hematologic Malignancies - OncLive | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
On the Horizon: Novel Inhibitors for Hematologic MalignanciesOncLive... nodal responses were seen in 80% of patients. This was accompanied by rapid lymphocyte redistribution, for an ORR of 26%.

Via Gilbert Faure au nom de l'ASSIM
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Study Identifies 15 distinct biogeographic regions in Antarctica

Study Identifies 15 distinct biogeographic regions in Antarctica | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

A new study examines the geography, geology, climate, flora and fauna of the ice-free areas of Antarctica and identifies 15 biologically distinct Antarctic Conservation Biogeographic Regions.

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Stem cells still viable long after death

Stem cells still viable long after death | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Some stem cells can lay dormant for more than two weeks in a dead person and then be revived to divide into new, functioning cells. Remarkably, skeletal muscle stem cells can survive for 17 days in humans and 16 days in mice, post mortem well beyond the 1-2 days currently thought.

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NASA X-ray mission reaches orbit - expected to discover hundreds of new supermassive black holes

NASA X-ray mission reaches orbit - expected to discover hundreds of new supermassive black holes | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

At noon Eastern time on Wednesday, NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) blasted towards low-Earth orbit from a Pegasus XL rocket, after it was dropped from the belly of a carrier jet circling near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

The X-ray mission, a low-cost NASA mission in its small Explorer line of competitive missions, is expected to discover hundreds of new supermassive black holes that lie in the hearts of distant galaxies.

 

A lot is riding on NuSTAR — it is one of few missions in sight for X-ray astronomers. Just last week, GEMS, a similar-looking mission that would have gathered polarized X-ray light, was canceled because of budget overruns. While NuSTAR is no replacement for general purpose X-ray observatories like Chandra and XMM-Newton, it will have unprecedented sensitivity in the “hard”, or high-energy, X-ray part of the spectrum.

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Microbe census maps out human body's bacteria, viruses, and fungi

Microbe census maps out human body's bacteria, viruses, and fungi | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

After five years of toil, a consortium of several hundred U.S. researchers has released a detailed census of the myriad bacteria, yeasts, viruses and amoebas that live, eat, excrete, reproduce and die in or on us. It gives scientists a reference point of what the microbial community looks like in healthy people, and they plan to use it to study how changes in a person's microbiome can lead to illness.

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Extremely powerful fist of mantis shrimp inspires development of new body armor

Extremely powerful fist of mantis shrimp inspires development of new body armor | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Military body armor and vehicle and aircraft frames could be transformed by incorporating the unique structure of the club-like arm of a crustacean - the mantis shrimp.

 

The bright orange fist-like club of the mantis shrimp, or stomatopod, a 4-inch long crustacean found in tropical waters, accelerates underwater faster than a 22-caliber bullet. Repeated blows can destroy mollusk shells and crab exoskeletons, both of which have been studied for decades for their impact-resistant qualities.

 

The power of the mantis shrimp is exciting, but David Kisailus, an assistant professor at the Bourns College of Engineering, and his collaborators, were interested in what enabled the club to withstand 50,000 high-velocity strikes on prey during its lifespan. Essentially, how does something withstand 50,000 bullet impacts?

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Accelerated Tech News by Aaron Saenz recaps the top stories from Singularity Hub [Videos]

Accelerated Tech News by Aaron Saenz recaps the top stories from Singularity Hub [Videos] | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Every week Aaron Saenz brings you a recap of the top stories from SingularitiyHub.com.

Singularity Hub Membership Program: http://singularityhub.com/membership/

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Harvard School researchers create ultra slippery anti-ice and anti-frost surface

Harvard School researchers create ultra slippery anti-ice and anti-frost surface | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

A team of researchers from Harvard University have invented a way to keep any metal surface free of ice and frost. The treated surfaces quickly shed even tiny, incipient condensation droplets or frost simply through gravity. The technology prevents ice sheets from developing on surfaces—and any ice that does form, slides off effortlessly.

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Antibody cocktail cures monkeys of Ebola - human cure "only a few steps" away?

Antibody cocktail cures monkeys of Ebola - human cure "only a few steps" away? | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Monkeys infected with Ebola have been cured by a cocktail of three antibodies first administered 24 hours or more after exposure. The result raises hopes that a future treatment could improve the chances of humans surviving the disease caused by the deadly virus, which kills up to 90% of infected people and could potentially be used as a biological weapon. Most treatment regimes tested to date only improve chances of survival if administered within one hour of infection.

 

Researchers based at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Canada, administered an antibody cocktail named ZMAb to cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) infected with the Zaire virus — the deadliest strain of Ebola, prevalent in African countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon. All four of the monkeys that began the three-dose treatment regime within 24 hours of being infected survived. Two of four monkeys given the cocktail from 48 hours of infection also lived. A monkey that was not treated died within five days of infection.

“The antibodies slowed replication until the animals’ own immune systems kicked in and completely cleared the virus,” says Gary Kobinger, a medical microbiologist at the University of Manitoba who led the study.

 

 

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By Andrei Linde | 2012 Annual Question: Why is our world / universe comprehensible?

By Andrei Linde | 2012 Annual Question: Why is our world / universe comprehensible? | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

"The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible." This is one of the most famous quotes from Albert Einstein. "The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle." Similarly, Eugene Wigner said that the unreasonable efficiency of mathematics is "a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve." Thus we have a problem that may seem too metaphysical to be addressed in a meaningful way: Why do we live in a comprehensible universe with certain rules, which can be efficiently used for predicting our future?

 

Let us consider several other questions of a similar type. Why is our universe so large? Why parallel lines do not intersect? Why different parts of the universe look so similar? For a long time such questions looked too metaphysical to be considered seriously. Now we know that inflationary cosmology provides a possible answer to all of these questions. Let us see whether it might help us again.

 

To understand the issue, consider some examples of an incomprehensible universe where mathematics would be inefficient. Here is the first one: Suppose the universe is in a state with the Planck density r ~ 1094 g/cm3. Quantum fluctuations of space-time in this regime are so large that all rulers are rapidly bending and shrinking in an unpredictable way. This happens faster than one could measure distance. All clocks are destroyed faster than one could measure time. All records about the previous events become erased, so one cannot remember anything and predict the future. The universe is incomprehensible for anybody living there, and the laws of mathematics cannot be efficiently used.

 

If the huge density example looks a bit extreme, rest assured that it is not. There are three basic types of universes: closed, open and flat. A typical closed universe created in the hot Big Bang would collapse in about 10-43 seconds, in a state with the Planck density. A typical open universe would grow so fast that formation of galaxies would be impossible, and our body would be instantly torn apart. Nobody would be able to live and comprehend the universe in either of these two cases. We can enjoy life in a flat or nearly flat universe, but this requires fine-tuning of initial conditions at the moment of the Big Bang with an incredible accuracy of about 10-60.

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A discrete population of squamocolumnar junction cells implicated in the pathogenesis of cervical cancer

A discrete population of squamocolumnar junction cells implicated in the pathogenesis of cervical cancer | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Scientists have achieved a major breakthrough in finding the cause of cervical cancer, resolving various speculations and the mystery behind cervical cancer in women around the world. Infection by carcinogenic human papillomaviruses (HPV) results in precancers [cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)] and cancers near the ectoendocervical squamocolumnar (SC) junction of the cervix. However, the specific cells targeted by HPV have not been identified and the cellular origin of cervical cancer remains elusive. In this new study, scientists uncovered a discrete population of SC junctional cells with unique morphology and gene-expression profile. They also demonstrated that the selected junctional biomarkers were expressed by a high percentage of high-grade CIN and cervical cancers associated with carcinogenic HPVs but rarely in ectocervical/transformation zone CINs or those associated with noncarcinogenic HPVs. That the original SC junction immunophenotype was not regenerated at new SC junctions following excision, not induced by expression of viral oncoproteins in foreskin keratinocytes, and not seen in HPV-related precursors of the vagina, vulva, and penis further support the notion that junctional cells are the source of cervical cancer. Taken together, these findings suggest that carcinogenic HPV-related CINs and cervical cancers are linked to a small, discrete cell population that localizes to the SC junction of the cervix, expresses a unique gene expression signature, and is not regenerated after excision. The findings in this study uncover a potential target for cervical cancer prevention, provide insight into the risk assessment of cervical lesions, and establish a model for elucidating the pathway to cervical cancer following carcinogenic HPV infection.

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