Science, Technology, and Current Futurism
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33rd Square: MIT's Robot Cheetah Making Strides

33rd Square: MIT's Robot Cheetah Making Strides | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
At last week's International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), the MIT team designing a fast cheetah-inspired robot presented their findings. MIT's Cheetah is already energy efficient to the point it can run with just on-board batteries.
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Science, Technology, and Current Futurism
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Frontiers | Differential changes in self-reported aspects of interoceptive awareness through 3 months of contemplative training | Consciousness Research

Frontiers | Differential changes in self-reported aspects of interoceptive awareness through 3 months of contemplative training | Consciousness Research | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Interoceptive awareness (IA) comprises the awareness of signals from the inside of the body, such as the perception of heart beats, the breath, or movements of the viscera, and higher-order top–down processes including biases, beliefs, attitudes, and emotions regarding those perceptions (Cameron, 2001; Craig, 2002; Mehling et al., 2009). Interoception has been shown to be critical for the sense of self and the creation of a subjective perspective from which the world is experienced (Varela et al., 1991; Craig, 2002, 2009; Critchley et al., 2004; Berlucchi and Aglioti, 2010; Park and Tallon-Baudry, 2014). It is also important for awareness and regulation of emotions (Dunn et al., 2007; Silani et al., 2008; Herbert et al., 2011; Füstös et al., 2013; Koch and Pollatos, 2014) as well as empathy (Singer et al., 2009; Bird et al., 2010; Lamm and Singer, 2010; Terasawa et al., 2014). Furthermore, IA is critical for decision making (Sanfey et al., 2003; Dunn et al., 2010; Sütterlin et al., 2013) and self-control of behavior in various situations with impact on health and disease (Herbert et al., 2007, 2012a, 2013; Herbert and Pollatos, 2014).
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Meet the Diverse and Bizarre “Stars” of the Deep Sea


Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/meet-diverse-and-bizarre-stars-deep-sea-180959056/#ABJFmSVR0IVk8DDD.99
Give the gift o...

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The Neural Precursors of Spontaneous Thoughts - Neuroskeptic

The Neural Precursors of Spontaneous Thoughts - Neuroskeptic | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Back in 2013, I wondered if we would ever discover the neural basis of spontaneous thoughts. Why, I asked, do certain ideas just “pop” into our minds at particular times?
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Watch Google X Unleash an Awesome Two-Legged Robot on Tokyo

Watch Google X Unleash an Awesome Two-Legged Robot on Tokyo | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
It’s been a little over two years since Google jumped into robotics with both feet. In 2013, the company (since reorganized as Alphabet) bought eight of the most interesting robotics... read more
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How Big Data Traps People in Poverty

How Big Data Traps People in Poverty | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Surveillance and public-benefits programs gather large amounts of information on low-income people, feeding opaque algorithms that can trap them in poverty.
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Biomolecular motors enables an incredibly efficient biocomputer

Biomolecular motors enables an incredibly efficient biocomputer | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have utilised nanotechnology to create a biological computer that can solve certain mathematical problems far faster and more energy-efficiently than conventional electrical computers.
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Will capitalism survive the robot revolution?

Will capitalism survive the robot revolution? | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Economic experts are trying to figure out a question that just two decades ago seemed ridiculous: If 90 percent of human jobs are replaced by robots in the..

Via Pierre Tran
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1~877~217~7933 Dell Support Phone Number's curator insight, April 21, 9:20 AM
How to troubleshoot #Dell_Laptop common Issue? See #Youtube video https://youtu.be/hB4qmdKFK68 http://goo.gl/Vp3Mz1 Call 18007490917
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Deep Learning Is Going to Teach Us All the Lesson of Our Lives: Jobs Are for Machines — Basic income — Medium

Deep Learning Is Going to Teach Us All the Lesson of Our Lives: Jobs Are for Machines - Basic income - Medium

Next generation artificial intelligence " in combination with robots like Boston Dynamics’ next generation Atlas portends, is a world where machines can do all four types of jobs and that means serious societal reconsiderations. If a machine can do a job instead of a human, should any human be forced at the threat of destitution to perform that job? Should income itself remain coupled to employment, such that having a job is the only way to obtain income, when jobs for many are entirely unobtainable? If machines are performing an increasing percentage of our jobs for us, and not getting paid to do them, where does that money go instead? And what does it no longer buy? Is it even possible that many of the jobs we’re creating don’t need to exist at all, and only do because of the incomes they provide? These are questions we need to start asking, and fast.

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Transcript of "A robot that runs and swims like a salamander"

Transcript of "A robot that runs and swims like a salamander" | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
TED Talk Subtitles and Transcript: Roboticist Auke Ijspeert designs biorobots, machines modeled after real animals that are capable of handling complex terrain and would appear at home in the pages of a sci-fi novel. The process of creating these robots leads to better automata that can be used for fieldwork, service, and search and rescue. But these robots don't just mimic the natural world -- they help us understand our own biology better, unlocking previously unknown secrets of the spinal cord.
Sharrock's insight:
The four components information is fascinating. It's not what we were taught about the spinal cord when I was a kid, that there is more going on in the spine than just "reflexes": 
"There are four main components behind animal locomotion. The first component is just the body, and in fact we should never underestimate to what extent the biomechanics already simplify locomotion in animals. Then you have the spinal cord, and in the spinal cord you find reflexes, multiple reflexes that create a sensorimotor coordination loop between neural activity in the spinal cord and mechanical activity. A third component are central pattern generators. These are very interesting circuits in the spinal cord of vertebrate animals that can generate, by themselves, very coordinated rhythmic patterns of activity while receiving only very simple input signals. And these input signals coming from descending modulation from higher parts of the brain, like the motor cortex, the cerebellum, the basal ganglia, will all modulate activity of the spinal cord while we do locomotion. But what's interesting is to what extent just a low-level component, the spinal cord, together with the body, already solve a big part of the locomotion problem. You probably know it by the fact that you can cut the head off a chicken, it can still run for a while, showing that just the lower part, spinal cord and body, already solve a big part of locomotion." (excerpt)
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Saliency, switching, attention and control: a network model of insula function

Saliency, switching, attention and control: a network model of insula function | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

The insula is a brain structure implicated in disparate cognitive, affective, and regulatory functions, including interoceptive awareness, emotional responses, and empathic processes. While classically considered a limbic region, recent evidence from network analysis suggests a critical role for the insula, particularly the anterior division, in high-level cognitive control and attentional processes. The crucial insight and view we present here is of the anterior insula as an integral hub in mediating dynamic interactions between other large-scale brain networks involved in externally oriented attention and internally oriented or self-related cognition. The model we present postulates that the insula is sensitive to salient events, and that its core function is to mark such events for additional processing and initiate appropriate control signals. The anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex form a “salience network” that functions to segregate the most relevant among internal and extrapersonal stimuli in order to guide behavior. Within the framework of our network model, the disparate functions ascribed to the insula can be conceptualized by a few basic mechanisms: (1) bottom–up detection of salient events, (2) switching between other large-scale networks to facilitate access to attention and working memory resources when a salient event is detected, (3) interaction of the anterior and posterior insula to modulate autonomic reactivity to salient stimuli, and (4) strong functional coupling with the anterior cingulate cortex that facilitates rapid access to the motor system. In this manner, with the insula as its integral hub, the salience network assists target brain regions in the generation of appropriate behavioral responses to salient stimuli. We suggest that this framework provides a parsimonious account of insula function in neurotypical adults, and may provide novel insights into the neural basis of disorders of affective and social cognition.

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Viral Video Showing Sun’s “Vortex” Motion Is Wildly Inaccurate

Viral Video Showing Sun’s “Vortex” Motion Is Wildly Inaccurate | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
I’ve been getting lots of tweets and email from folks linking to a slick-looking video, a computer animation showing the motion of the planets around the Sun as the Sun orbits around the Milky Way Galaxy. It’s a very pretty video with compelling music and well-done graphics. It’s wrong. And not just superficially; it’s deeply wrong, based on a very wrong premise. While there are some useful visualizations in it, I caution people to take it with a galaxy-sized grain of salt.
Sharrock's insight:
excerpt: "how things should be and how they are don’t always overlap. The Universe is a pretty cool place, and works using a fairly well-regulated set of rules. We call those rules physics, they’re written in the language of math, and trying to understand all that is science."
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What's the deal with eating avocado seeds? | Fox News

What's the deal with eating avocado seeds? | Fox News | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The research on avocado seed consumption is very limited. In the studies that do exist, scientists conclude that additional research needs to be done to determine whether it’s safe or beneficial to eat them. Additionally, the existing studies have focused on the potential benefits of avocado seed extracts, rather than the consumption of the seed itself, and they provide information only on lab testing, not on clinical data.
Sharrock's insight:
Clinical trials are important because they are trials on actual people. 
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Degrees that will make you rich

Degrees that will make you rich | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
STEM graduates earn more money and are more likely to land a job.

Via Anna Hu
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Anna Hu 's curator insight, May 9, 7:49 PM
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The Lifesavers of Science - OpenMind

The Lifesavers of Science - OpenMind | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Great scientists have saved millions of lives throughout history. Find out who are the main "lifesavers" of science with OpenMind.
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OPINION: Economic Singularity will force big changes on the majority of people

OPINION: Economic Singularity will force big changes on the majority of people | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
People like Peter Diamandis are arguing that the future is a world of abundance and everyone will be able to live in material wealth with no shortages.
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Changing Ocean Conditions Affect Quality of Prey for Atlantic Salmon, Other Species

Changing Ocean Conditions Affect Quality of Prey for Atlantic Salmon, Other Species | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Sharrock's insight:
Science tests for causality to separate it from correlation. It also refines understanding of systems in order to measure natural indicators. We know this from physician practice of measuring heart beats, blood pressure, temperature but by also checking ears, nose, and throat. Teachers can discuss how certain fish health can tell a great deal about the ocean's "health" as a system.
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Robot chef coming to a kitchen near you in 2017

Robot chef coming to a kitchen near you in 2017 | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
An automated kitchen that will create up to 2,000 meals from scratch is slated to go on the market in 2017. Over several months, Anderson helpedMoley Robotics bring the robotic chef to life by wearing special gloves that took 3-D recordings of his movements in preparing his recipe for crab bisque.
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New 3-D printer unlocks 'mind-blowing' possibilities with electronics manufacturing

New 3-D printer unlocks 'mind-blowing' possibilities with electronics manufacturing | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The Optomec Aerosol Jet 500 system, which became operational in January, is capable of printing circuits with a broad range of nanomaterials, allowing engineers to manufacture conductors, semiconductors and microcircuits with an intricacy and flexibility not possible with the Lab's previous technology.
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Cellular forces and matrix assembly coordinate fibrous tissue repair : Nature Communications : Nature Publishing Group

Cellular forces and matrix assembly coordinate fibrous tissue repair : Nature Communications : Nature Publishing Group | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Planar in vitro models have been invaluable tools to identify the mechanical basis of wound closure. Although these models may recapitulate closure dynamics of epithelial cell sheets, they fail to capture how a wounded fibrous tissue rebuilds its 3D architecture. Here we develop a 3D biomimetic model for soft tissue repair and demonstrate that fibroblasts ensconced in a collagen matrix rapidly close microsurgically induced defects within 24 h. Traction force microscopy and time-lapse imaging reveal that closure of gaps begins with contractility-mediated whole-tissue deformations. Subsequently, tangentially migrating fibroblasts along the wound edge tow and assemble a progressively thickening fibronectin template inside the gap that provide the substrate for cells to complete closure. Unlike previously reported mechanisms based on lamellipodial protrusions and purse-string contraction, our data reveal a mode of stromal closure in which coordination of tissue-scale deformations, matrix assembly and cell migration act together to restore 3D tissue architecture.
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Explainer: the brain

Explainer: the brain | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Over the last 15 years, the methods used to study the brain have advanced significantly, and with this so has our understanding. Which makes the task of explaining the most complex organ in the body, well, complex.
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Technical Roadblock Might Shatter Bitcoin Dreams

Technical Roadblock Might Shatter Bitcoin Dreams | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
A study of the system that powers Bitcoin concludes that it cannot become widely used without a major redesign.
Sharrock's insight:
"no tweak to Bitcoin could allow transactions at a scale close to that of conventional payment processors such as Visa without compromising the digital currency's decentralized design", says Ari Juels
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Why Can't Quantum Mechanics Explain Gravity? (Op-Ed)

Why Can't Quantum Mechanics Explain Gravity? (Op-Ed) | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Gravity is about more than an apple falling from a tree, but that doesn't mean science can completely explain it … yet. Paul Sutter digs deeper into quantizing gravity.
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B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review

B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The B-vitamins comprise a group of eight water soluble vitamins that perform essential, closely inter-related roles in cellular functioning, acting as co-enzymes in a vast array of catabolic and anabolic enzymatic reactions. Their collective effects are particularly prevalent to numerous aspects of brain function, including energy production, DNA/RNA synthesis/repair, genomic and non-genomic methylation, and the synthesis of numerous neurochemicals and signaling molecules. However, human epidemiological and controlled trial investigations, and the resultant scientific commentary, have focused almost exclusively on the small sub-set of vitamins (B9/B12/B6) that are the most prominent (but not the exclusive) B-vitamins involved in homocysteine metabolism. Scant regard has been paid to the other B vitamins. This review describes the closely inter-related functions of the eight B-vitamins and marshals evidence suggesting that adequate levels of all members of this group of micronutrients are essential for optimal physiological and neurological functioning. Furthermore, evidence from human research clearly shows both that a significant proportion of the populations of developed countries suffer from deficiencies or insufficiencies in one or more of this group of vitamins, and that, in the absence of an optimal diet, administration of the entire B-vitamin group, rather than a small sub-set, at doses greatly in excess of the current governmental recommendations, would be a rational approach for preserving brain health.
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