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Patricia Churchland: Neuromorality

Why are humans moral? Patricia Churchland, author of "Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality," is here to explain how humans evolved to be moral beings. How did we go from the attachment and bonding between parent and child to the sophisticated moral landscape we have today? Churchland believes a big part of the answer is in the evolution of the mammalian brain.


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DoorDash Will Start Delivering Food Via Robots In California This Thursday

DoorDash Will Start Delivering Food Via Robots In California This Thursday | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
This Thursday, the on-demand delivery company DoorDash's human couriers will begin working alongside a new type of coworker: robots.

DoorDash is putting a small fleet of six-wheeled delivery robots into action for the first time in Redwood City, California, following weeks of tests. The robots, built by a company called Starship Technologies, are about the size of a golden retriever and roll around sidewalks with relative ease. They'll be used to lug food from restaurants to customers on short-distance orders spanning anywhere from one to two miles.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, Today, 11:35 AM

The human-machine relationship is growing. There are more applications of this technology in the wings, including the delivery of medical supplies to shut-ins and the evolution of new business courier systems.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Being Lazy Is the Key to Success, According to the Best-Selling Author of 'Moneyball'

Do you think of yourself as lazy? If so, do you think that's a good thing? It just might be the key to success. That's according to Michael Lewis, author of the bestsellers Moneyball, The Big Short, and many more.

Lewis was a keynote speaker at the 2017 Insight Summit put on by online survey company Qualtrics. In a candid interview with Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith, Lewis explained why laziness never seemed like a bad thing in his mind, and how it's helped him succeed.

"I grew up in New Orleans, where no one did anything," he said. "It's an endlessly charming and delightful place, but the idea that your worth was connected to things you did in the world was an alien idea." In fact, Lewis recalled, his father had him convinced that there was a Lewis family crest with this motto: "Do as little as possible, and that unwillingly, because it is better to receive a slight reprimand than perform an arduous task." That turned out to be untrue, but the idea that leisure was to be cherished and that being constantly busy was not necessarily a good thing stuck with the younger Lewis.

Embracing laziness has helped him be successful because he focuses his efforts only where it really matters, he explained. Here's how that can create a real advantage:
You're OK with doing nothing.

When was the last time you felt comfortable doing nothing? Not for an hour or a day, but in general, with no immediate projects at hand? Lewis said he has no problem with inactivity if nothing worthwhile has captured his attention. If he believed that being industrious was important, he said, "I'd be panicked at the question 'What are you working on?' if I wasn't working on anything."

Have you ever taken on a project just so you wouldn't be inactive, just to keep things going? How many better opportunities have you missed because that project made you too busy to pursue them? Being willing to be inactive or less active means you'll be available when something truly worthy of your best effort comes along. It also means you'll have the time and space to go looking for those really worthwhile projects. If you're busy being busy, you'll miss them.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 24, 12:21 PM

A counter intuitive idea that may be attractive, but not necessarily beneficial in the "real world."  Lewis's book "Moneyball" is a good read with plenty of fascinating ideas offered for improving your life and business relationships.  Whether creative laziness is for you is something only you can work out.  Perhaps it would be better to find a job that offers challenges, rewards, and fulfillment rather than just waiting for something to come along.


Russell Roberts


Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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We'll Probably Have to Genetically Augment Our Bodies to Survive Mars

We'll Probably Have to Genetically Augment Our Bodies to Survive Mars | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
When it comes to space travel, there's no shortage of enthusiasm to get humans to Mars, with Space X's Elon Musk saying his company could take passengers to the Red Planet by 2025, and NASA being asked by Congress to achieve the mission by 2033.

But while making the trip could be technologically feasible in the next decade or two, are humans really physically and psychologically ready to abandon Earth and begin colonising the Red Planet?

Nope, not a chance, according to a recent paper by cognitive scientist Konrad Szocik from the University of Information Technology and Management in Poland.

Szocik argues that no amount of year-long Martian simulations on Earth or long-duration stays aboard the International Space Station (ISS) could prepare human astronauts for the challenges that Mars colonisation would provide.

"We cannot simulate the same physical and environmental conditions to reconstruct the Martian environment, I mean such traits like Martian microgravitation or radiation exposure," Szocik told Elizabeth Howell at Seeker.

"Consequently, we cannot predict [the] physical and biological effects of humans living on Mars."

In a recent article, Szocik and his co-authors discussed some of the political, cultural, and personal challenges Mars colonists would face, and in a nutshell, the team doesn't think human beings could cut it on the Red Planet – not without making changes to our bodies to help us more easily adapt to the Martian environment.

"My idea is that [the] human body and mind is adapted to live in the terrestrial environment," Szocik told Rae Paoletta at Gizmodo.

"Consequently, some particular physiological and psychological challenges during [the] journey and then during living on Mars probably will be too difficult for human beings to survive."

While NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko famously spent a year on the ISS – the ordeal was not without significant physiological effects and pains resulting from so much time living in space.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 21, 12:48 AM

Fascinating article by cognitive scientist Konrad Szocik on whether humans are physically and psychologically suited to survive on planets such as Mars.  Szocik says humans would need massive genetic "augmentation" to survive space and eventual settlement on the "Red Planet."

Declan Ryan's curator insight, March 23, 3:57 PM

The safety concerns of genetically altering your body are quite obvious.  But knowing what the planet itself has in store.  For example the atmosphere and surface are one thing but knowing how the climate will change and develop over the next few years is another.  Knowing what lies under the surface and deeper down what resources lie buried.  How many natural disasters occur if any and their frequency.  These facts alone produce their own threats to safety without having to genetically augment our bodies.  That too has its own threats and every scenario that ca be imagined needs to have a solution thought of and research thorough enough for the information required for safe procedures of this.

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Polymath Stephen Wolfram Defends His Computational Theory of Everything

Polymath Stephen Wolfram Defends His Computational Theory of Everything | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Stephen Wolfram seems to see himself as Newton upgraded with programming chops and business savvy, but it’s not hubris if you back it up. As he points out on his website, he published papers on particle physics in his mid-teens, earned a Ph.D. in physics from Caltech when he was 20 and won a MacArthur “genius” grant at 22. In his late 20s he invented and began successfully marketing Mathematica, software for automating calculations. Wolfram contends that Wolfram Language—which underpins Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha, a knowledge engine he released in 2009—represents a “new paradigm for computation” that will enable humans and machines to “interact at a vastly richer and higher level than ever before.” This vision dovetails with the theme of Wolfram’s 2002 opus A New Kind of Science, which argues that simple computer programs, like those that generate cellular automata, can model the world more effectively than traditional mathematical methods. Physicist Steven Weinberg called the book an interesting “failure,” and other scientists griped that Wolfram had rediscovered old ideas. Critics have also accused Wolfram of hyping his computational products.* Yet Wolfram, when I saw him speak last fall at “Ethics of Artificial Intelligence,” exuded confidence, suggesting how Wolfram Language might transform law and politics. We recently had the following email exchange.–-John Horgan

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Scientists Need You to Solve This Chess Problem to Help Find the Key to Human Consciousness

Consciousness is the most important quality of a human being, but scientists have struggled for millennia to explain it - where does it come from, and how does it arise?

We've seen studies try to pinpoint the physical location of consciousness in the brain, and one physicist has even proposed that it's a new state of matter. And now scientists want the public to solve a chess problem that computers find impossible so we can figure out what separates our minds from machines.

"If you put this puzzle into a chess computer, it just assumes a black win because of the number of pieces and positions, but a human will look at this and know quickly that is not the case," Sir Roger Penrose from the Mathematical Institute of Oxford told The Telegraph.

"We know that there are things that the human mind achieves that even the most powerful supercomputer cannot, but we don't know why."

The public challenge has been released to coincide with the launch of the new Penrose Institute - a UK-based research group affiliated with Oxford University and University College London.
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Robotics, AI And Cognitive Computing Are Changing Organizations Even Faster Than We Thought

Robotics, AI And Cognitive Computing Are Changing Organizations Even Faster Than We Thought | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
The world of AI, robotics and cognitive computing are changing business even faster than we thought. JPMorgan Chase & Co now uses software to perform the mind-numbing job of interpreting commercial loans, reducing 360,000 hours of lawyer time each year. AI software can now identify leukemia in photos and X-rays, learning faster than technicians. Amazon.com reduced new hire training to only two days because of its newest robotics used in shipping. And the stories go on and on.

Is this real and widespread around the world? The answer is yes, and the pace is quickening.
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Jeff's curator insight, March 13, 3:21 PM
AI will even change family
Brendon Dundas's curator insight, March 14, 7:09 AM

This scoop is a prime example of where we will be in 5 years, with an ever changing world the opening line in this article tells all

"The world of AI, robotics and cognitive computing are changing business even faster than we thought"

An autonomous machine and human work force is inevitable and as the article reads on it states 

"Our just-released research (Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2017) shows that companies are not waiting for such technology to be perfected: they are implementing it now."

This is where I see OHS in the future being a reactive not pro active force in the working community. As more and more people are exposed to these new technologies the mor OHS will be relied on, most likely in an investigative form rather than a general enforcer of policies and procedures.

Sébastien PASTOR's comment, March 14, 11:57 AM
This is indeed interesting, should we fear it to happen, or in contrary change the way we work and how we do ? Some politics are already considering we should tax robots when they replace a human being... sounds not realistic but we should consider it shouldn't we ?
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‘Digital Alchemist’ Seeks Rules of Emergence | Quanta Magazine

‘Digital Alchemist’ Seeks Rules of Emergence |  Quanta Magazine | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Sharon Glotzer has made a number of career-shifting discoveries, each one the kind “that completely changes the way you look at the world,” she said, “and causes you to say, ‘Wow, I need to follow this.’”

A theoretical soft condensed matter physicist by training who now heads a thriving 33-person research group spanning three departments at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Glotzer uses computer simulations to study emergence — the phenomenon whereby simple objects give rise to surprising collective behaviors. “When flocks of starlings make these incredible patterns in the sky that look like they’re not even real, the way they’re changing constantly — people have been seeing those patterns since people were on the planet,” she said. “But only recently have scientists started to ask the question, how do they do that? How are the birds communicating so that it seems like they’re all following a blueprint?”

Glotzer is searching for the fundamental principles that govern how macroscopic properties emerge from microscopic interactions and arrangements. One big breakthrough came in the late 1990s, when she was a young researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland. She and her team developed some of the earliest and best computer simulations of liquids approaching the transition into glass, a common yet mysterious phase of matter in which atoms are stuck in place, but not crystallized. The simulations revealed strings of fast-moving atoms that glide through the otherwise frustrated material like a conga line. Similar flow patterns were later also observed in granular systems, crowds and traffic jams. The findings demonstrated the ability of simulations to illuminate emergent phenomena.
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It's Official: Time Crystals Are a New State of Matter, and Now We Can Create Them

It's Official: Time Crystals Are a New State of Matter, and Now We Can Create Them | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Earlier this year, physicists had put together a blueprint for how to make and measure time crystals - a bizarre state of matter with an atomic structure that repeats not just in space, but in time, allowing them to maintain constant oscillation without energy.

Two separate research teams managed to create what looked an awful lot like time crystals back in January, and now both experiments have successfully passed peer-review for the first time, putting the 'impossible' phenomenon squarely in the realm of reality.

"We've taken these theoretical ideas that we've been poking around for the last couple of years and actually built it in the laboratory," says one of the researchers, Andrew Potter from Texas University at Austin.

"Hopefully, this is just the first example of these, with many more to come."

Time crystals are one of the coolest things physics has dished up in recent months, because they point to a whole new world of 'non-equilibrium' phases that are entirely different from anything scientists have studied in the past.

For decades, we've been studying matter, such as metals and insulators, that's defined as being 'in equilibrium' - a state where all the atoms in a material have the same amount of heat.

Now it looks like time crystals are the first example of the hypothesised but unstudied 'non-equilibrium' state of matter, and they could revolutionise how we store and transfer information via quantum systems.

"It shows that the richness of the phases of matter is even broader [than we thought]," physicist Norman Yao from the University of California, Berkeley, who published the blueprint in January, told Gizmodo.

"One of the holy grails in physics is understanding what types of matter can exist in nature. [N]on-equilibrium phases represent a new avenue different from all the things we've studied in the past."
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New Burger Robot Will Take Command of the Grill in 50 Fast Food Restaurants

New Burger Robot Will Take Command of the Grill in 50 Fast Food Restaurants | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Would your burger taste as delicious if it was made by a robot?

You’ll soon be able to find out at CaliBurger restaurants in the US and worldwide.

Cali Group partnered with Miso Robotics to develop Flippy the burger robot, which made its debut this week at the Pasadena, California CaliBurger.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 8, 11:41 PM

I wonder if you can tell the robot to make your order "supersize."  Intriguing technology that could put some people out of work.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

https://hawaiiintelligencedigest.com

https://paper.li/f-1482109921

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Scientists Have Stored a Movie, a Computer OS, and an Amazon Gift Card in a Single Speck of DNA

Scientists Have Stored a Movie, a Computer OS, and an Amazon Gift Card in a Single Speck of DNA | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Scientists have developed what they claim is the most efficient data storage technique ever, with a new DNA-encoding method that approaches the theoretical maximum for information stored per nucleotide.

Using an algorithm called DNA Fountain, the researchers squeezed six files into a single speck of DNA – including a short film, an entire computer OS, and an Amazon gift card – but that's just for starters. The team says the same technique could effectively compress all the world's data into a single room.

Not only is DNA data storage an amazing space saver; the technique could also enable us to preserve knowledge with extreme robustness and longevity – unlike traditional technology media, which is known to succumb to all kinds of faults with time.

"DNA won't degrade over time like cassette tapes and CDs, and it won't become obsolete – if it does, we have bigger problems," says computer scientist Yaniv Erlich from Columbia University.

DNA storage itself isn't new, with the technique pioneered in 2012 by researchers at Harvard University, who figured out how to compress a 53,400-word book into the genetic code of synthetic DNA molecules, and then read the data back using DNA sequencing.

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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 7, 11:40 PM

A new DNA-encoding method known as DNA Fountain will change the way we work with data.  Imagine a computer compressed into a single strand of DNA. Amazing stuff!

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

https://hawaiiintelligencedigest.com

https://paper.li/f-1482109921

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Scientists Want to Build a Super-Fast, Self-Replicating Computer That "Grows as It Computes"

Scientists Want to Build a Super-Fast, Self-Replicating Computer That "Grows as It Computes" | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Scientists say it's possible to build a new type of self-replicating computer that replaces silicon chips with processors made from DNA molecules, and it would be faster than any other form of computer ever proposed - even quantum computers.

Called a nondeterministic universal Turing machine (NUTM), it's predicted that the technology could execute all possible algorithms at once by taking advantage of DNA's ability to replicate almost perfect copies of itself over billions of years.

The basic idea is that our current electronic computers are based on a finite number of silicon chips, and we're fast approaching the limit for how many we can actually fit in our machines.

To address this limitation, researchers are currently working on making quantum computers a reality - super-powerful devices that replace the bits of electronic computers with quantum-entangled particles called qubits.

Unlike regular bits that can only take on the form of 1 or 0 in the binary code, qubits can take the form of 0, 1, or a superposition of the two simultaneously, which allows them to perform many different calculations at once.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 4, 11:29 PM

The age of the quantum computer is fast approaching. The computer frontier will be breached when scientists replace  silicon chips with super fast processors made from DNA molocules.  Cyborgs and "Terminators" are just around the corner.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

https://hawaiiintelligencedigest.com

https://paper.li/f-1482109921

GROW.'s curator insight, March 5, 4:19 PM

Self-Replicating Computer

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Are We Ready for Cyborgs? The Tech Is on Its Way

Are We Ready for Cyborgs? The Tech Is on Its Way | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Are we ready for cyborgs? More specifically, people with implants that enhance beyond the superficially cosmetic and into the realms of evolved beings?

Jorge Pelegrín-Borondo (Universidad de La Rioja), Eva Reinares-Lara (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos) and Cristina Olarte-Pascual (Universidad de La Rioja), in cooperation with Professor Kiyoshi Murata, from Meiji University in Tokyo, believe society is ready for this melding of (hu)man and machine.

The Spanish academics’ report "Assessing the acceptance of technological implants (the cyborg): Evidences and challenges" has just been released in the scientific journal Computers in Human Behavior. The report shows a significant proportion of those surveyed are comfortable with the coming cyborg modifications. The group are also collaborating with other academics across the world, including Professor Kiyoshi Murata, for a comparative cross-cultural study roundtable at the 2017 ETHICOMP conference this summer in Turin, Italy.

Quick background: There are already the accepted medical examples: Cochlear implants, pacemakers, cardioverter defibrillators, catheters and heart valves, as well as those that incorporate technology into the body through sensory prostheses: exoskeletons, neuroprostheses, and deep brain stimulation. Then there’s the underground biohacking and transhumanism movement, with Amal Graafstra and his double RFID implants as a notable exponent (you can see him in demo mode here).

Unsurprisingly, tech giants are also looking into the cyborg field, experimenting in the lab and registering intriguing patents: Motorola is investigating a neck implant to improve cellular reception and Nokia might be developing a tattoo that vibrates.

We spoke to the report’s three authors via email recently. In a series of conversations, they explained the theory behind the report, ethical and evolutionary implications of “insideables,” and whether they’d go under the knife to achieve cyborg elite status.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 4, 11:33 PM

Science Fiction is becoming Science Fact.  The weird stuff you saw in "Robo Cop", "Terminator", "I, Robot", and "Blade Runner" is on its way.  Augmenting the human mind and body with AI implants and machine intelligence will be a mixed blessing--largely dependent on who owns the rights, who programs the cyborg, and for what purpose the implants are intended.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

https://hawaiiintelligencedigest.com

https://paper.li/f-1482109921

Charley Bang's comment, March 8, 10:33 AM
MacBook Pro Support Phone Number
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Charley Bang's comment, March 8, 10:33 AM
Mac Technical Support
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Artificial 'embryos' created in the lab - BBC News

Artificial 'embryos' created in the lab - BBC News | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Scientists have created "artificial embryos" using stem cells from mice, in what they believe is a world first.

The University of Cambridge team used two types of stem cells and a 3D scaffold to create a structure closely resembling a natural mouse embryo.

Previous attempts have had limited success because early embryo development requires the different cells to coordinate with each other.

The researchers hope their work will help improve fertility treatments.

It could also provide useful insights into the way early embryos develop.

However, experimentation on human embryos is strictly regulated, and banned after 14 days.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 2, 10:49 PM

While this is exciting news, it should come with a warning.  The possibility of misuse can't be dismissed.  Some of the "Star Wars" themes come to mind...such as the "Clone Wars."

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest\

https://hawaiiintelligencedigest.com

https://paper.li/f-1482109921

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Common Sense, the Turing Test, and the Quest for Real AI - MITP on Nautilus

Common Sense, the Turing Test, and the Quest for Real AI - MITP on Nautilus | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
In trying to make sense of intelligent behavior, it is tempting to try something like this: We begin by looking at the most common cases of the behavior we can think of, and figure out what it would take to handle them. Then we build on it: We refine our account to handle more and more. We stop when our account crosses some threshold and appears to handle (say) 99.9 percent of the cases we are concerned with.

This might be called an engineering strategy. We produce a rough form of the behavior we are after, and then we engineer it to make it work better, handle more. We see this quite clearly in mechanical design. Given a rocket with a thrust of X, how can it be refined to produce a thrust of Y? Given a bridge that will support load X, how can it be bolstered to support load Y?

This engineering strategy does work well with a number of phenomena related to intelligent behavior. For example, when learning to walk, we do indeed start with simple, common cases, like walking on the floor or on hard ground, and eventually graduate to walking on trickier surfaces like soft sand and ice. Similarly, when learning a first language, we start by listening to baby talk, not the latest episode of The McLaughlin Group (or the Dana Carvey parody, for that matter).
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ourservices's comment, March 23, 11:05 PM

Thats brilliant
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Where Are Humans Headed?

Where Are Humans Headed? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Like a lot of academics, I have long harbored the desire to write a popular book — in my case, something like Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene. But sadly, I have come to realize that I just don’t have it in me, mainly because, like all philosophers, as soon as I say something interesting I want to qualify it with all sorts of escape clauses. Death by a thousand footnotes.

In Future Humans: Inside the Science of Our Continuing Evolution, the Rice University evolutionary biologist Scott Solomon suffers no such wounds, but he nonetheless finds himself trapped. Refusing to speculate on such a speculative topic, he ends up wandering into an unsatisfying mist of possibilities. For instance, he notes that humans have rapidly evolved to digest milk products and grains since the advent of agriculture. But what now, given the nigh-unlimited powers of genetic modification? Are we still evolving to exploit newly available food options? Will the Scots be able to live indefinitely on a diet of fried Mars bars?

Remaining true to his scientific parameters, he is restricted from venturing into the wilder but potentially more meaningful leaps of imagination enjoyed by fiction writers and even bolder scientific authors.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 21, 12:51 AM

A speculative and fascinating look at what our bodies and minds will look like in the future.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

nukem777's curator insight, March 21, 8:10 AM

Critical we wake up and get back to being human...the A.I.'s are neither human nor have any moral value...they are value neutral, just 1's and 0's and will simply shut down in a more efficient manner once we have arrived at post

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Lab-grown chicken on the menu for the first time

Lab-grown chicken on the menu for the first time | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
If you find yourself torn between cravings and ethical concerns every time you tuck into a chicken nugget, there might soon be a way you can have your meat and eat it too. Memphis Meats has just served up chicken and duck meat cultivated in a lab from poultry cells, meaning no animals were harmed in the making of the meal.

Along with the ethical issues of animal cruelty that surround a carnivorous diet, feeding, breeding and keeping livestock for food has an enormous environmental impact. The animals burp more greenhouse gases into the air than all modes of human transport, and require large swathes of land to be cleared, not to mention all the food, water, and care they need. Studies show that growing meat in a lab setting could go a long way towards solving those problems.

In 2013, the public got a taste of beef that had never actually been a cow, but as impressive as that achievement was, it was reportedly pretty bland and cost as much as a house. Companies like Impossible Burger are working on improving the look and taste, and in February 2016, Memphis Meats unveiled what it called a "clean" meatball.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 17, 1:33 AM

The future diet is on your plate now.  Lab-grown meat from Memphis Meats involves no real animals, just their cells cultivated in a lab environment.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

globephysicist's comment, March 18, 2:19 AM
good
Aleisha Daley's curator insight, March 22, 9:04 AM
In this article it talks about lab-grown chicken and duck. Lab-grown or Memphis meats are made by taking muscle tissue from the animals, this causes them no harm. The tissue is then grown in a vats. This is part of the “Clean Meat Movement”, the movement is aware of what farming animals for their meat is doing to our environment, and that it is causing, and will continue to, cause environmental problems. If all goes to plan the company has a target of getting the products out to consumers by 2021. I personally don't think I would want to eat meat that has been grown in a lab. I think that the reasons that they are making lab-grown meats is reasonable, but I think that you could never get the same qualities as real meat.
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These 3D Images Are Our First Ever Look at How DNA Shapes Itself Inside Cells

These 3D Images Are Our First Ever Look at How DNA Shapes Itself Inside Cells | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
For the first time, scientists have been able to model the physical structure of mammalian genomes from individual cells, giving us a unique 3D perspective on how DNA packages itself inside our cells.

Through the new technique, scientists can see how the arrangement of cell chromosomes (DNA strands) are designed to keep some cells active or inactive at any one time.

The procedure, which so far has been conducted on mice cells, could help us understand more about how animals grow, as well as how cell malfunction can lead to disease.

"Knowing where all the genes and control elements are at a given moment will help us understand the molecular mechanisms that control and maintain their expression," says one of the researchers, Ernest Laue from the University of Cambridge in the UK.
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carptag's comment, March 15, 5:18 AM
GOOD
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Why our brains may be 100 times more powerful than believed

Why our brains may be 100 times more powerful than believed | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
A new study out of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has found that one part of the neurons in our brains is more active than previously revealed. The finding implies that our brains are both analog and digital computers and could lead to better ways to treat neurological disorders.

The focus of the study was the dendrites, long branch-like structures that attach to a roundish body called the soma to form neurons. It was previously believed that dendrites were nothing more than conduits that sent spikes of electrical activity generated in the soma to other neurons. But the study has shown that the dendrites themselves are highly active, sending spikes of their own at a rate 10 times that previously believed.

The finding runs counter to the long-held belief that somatic spikes were the main way we learn and form memories and perceptions.

"Dendrites make up more than 90 percent of neural tissue," said UCLA neurophysicist Mayank Mehta, the study's senior author. "Knowing they are much more active than the soma fundamentally changes the nature of our understanding of how the brain computes information. It may pave the way for understanding and treating neurological disorders, and for developing brain-like computers."
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 14, 1:24 AM

Fascinating implications for neurological research and medical treatment. Apparently, our brains can function as both analog and digital computers, setting the stage for the eventual union of human intelligence with Artificial Intelligence.  Welcome to the age of the Cyborg.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

Allan Whitworth's curator insight, March 15, 3:20 AM
Share your insight
carptag's comment, March 15, 5:20 AM
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How Fully Synthetic Complex Life Just Got a Lot Closer

How Fully Synthetic Complex Life Just Got a Lot Closer | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
From domestication to selective breeding and right up to DNA editing, humans have long sought to bend the genetic makeup of animals and plants to our needs. Now an international team has taken a significant step towards building the genome of a complex organism from scratch—a major milestone in the quest for fully synthetic life.

Led by Jef Boeke, a geneticist at New York University Langone Medical Center, the Synthetic Yeast Project (Sc2.0) has now built five new synthetic chromosomes for the single-celled fungus S. cerevisiae, more commonly known as Baker’s yeast.

Boeke’s lab had previously synthesized the first synthetic yeast chromosome in 2014, meaning that more than a third of the organism’s genome—16 chromosomes in total—has now been replaced with engineered alternatives. The consortium has also finished designing the entire genome and expects to have synthesized working versions of all the chromosomes within the year.

Sc2.0 is not the first major effort to create synthetic life. In 2010, geneticist Craig Venter manufactured the entire genome of the bacteria Mycoplasma mycoides and transplanted it into another Mycoplasma species, creating the first self-replicating synthetic organism. This genome was almost identical to the original, but then last year his team released new research in which they had whittled down the organism’s genome to just 473 genes—the bare bones required for life.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 12, 11:07 PM

The are important medical, religious, cultural, and ethical dimensions to the creation of synthetic life.  Will we, in fact, become gods by the act of creating life?  Something to think about.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

https://hawaiiintelligencedigest.com

https://paper.li/f-1482109921

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Are These Giant Neurons the Seat Of Consciousness in the Brain?

Are These Giant Neurons the Seat Of Consciousness in the Brain? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
The towering trees with their sprawling branches in the redwood forests have always reminded me of neurons in the brain.

Like trees, each neuron extends out tortuous, delicate branches in a quest to make contact with others in its ecosystem. By communicating through thousands of contact points—synapses—dotted along their branches, neurons coordinate their activation patterns across the brain. In this way, bits and pieces of information integrate into unified experiences that are our memories, feelings and awareness of the world.

In other words, the secret of conscious thought may lie in the connections of neuronal trees.

In the 140 years of mapping neuronal projection, scientists have seen it all: stubby ones, lopsided ones, and shockingly long branches that thread all the way from the back of the head, the brainstem, to the very front.

But the brain has more surprises in store.

This week at the BRAIN Initiative meeting in Maryland, Dr. Christof Koch, the president of the Allen Institute of Brain Science based in Seattle, announced the discovery of three neurons with branches that extensively span both hemispheres of the brain.

Incredibly, these neurons sit in the claustrum, a mysterious, thin sheet of cells that Koch believes is the seat of consciousness. Among the three, the largest neuron wrapped around the entire circumference of the mouse brain like a “crown of thorns”—something never seen before.

“A single neuron, projecting across the entire cortex! Absolutely astonishing!” Koch exclaimed during his talk.
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Regular Humans Have Been Taught to Double Their Memory Capacity in 40 Days

Regular Humans Have Been Taught to Double Their Memory Capacity in 40 Days | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Most days, it's a struggle just to remember where you put your keys. But there are a few 'super-memorisers' in the population who can memorise huge lists of words at a time, or recite thousands of digits of Pi by heart.

Now, new research suggests that these super-memorisers aren't all that different to us, and that even average human brains can be taught the same skills with just a little over a month's training.

In fact, the brain of a person with average memory skills isn't structurally any different to the brain of a super memoriser, according to the new study, which means there's hope for all of us to boost our memory abilities.

To figure this out, researchers from Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands studied the brains of the 23 top competitors in the World Memory Championships - a competition where contestants try to recall more words off a list than the person next to them.

Oddly enough, the researchers found that the brain anatomy of these super-memorisers was nothing special compared to the average brains of 23 people of similar ages, health, and intelligence. But the World Memory Championship brains did show specific changes in brain connectivity - in other words, regions in their brains work together in different ways.

Because brain connectivity is known to be flexible, the team then tested whether average memorisers could be trained to significantly improve their memories.

After training 51 'normal memorisers' for 30-minutes a day over 40 days, the team found that one technique in particular saw participants' memory capacity more than double - going from recalling an average of 26 words from a list of 72, to an impressive 62.

Even more fascinating, their brain connectivity patterns were more similar to the World Memory Championships athletes than before. And four months after the experiment and brain training exercises, their recall performance remained high.

"After training we see massively increased performance on memory tests," said lead researcher, neuroscientist Martin Dresler.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 8, 11:38 PM

Here's some hope for those of us who have a tough time where we put our car keys. Research shows that "regular" humans can be taught to expand their brain power in as little as 40 days.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

https://hawaiiintelligencedigest.com

https://paper.li/f-1482109921

Jessica Henao's curator insight, March 10, 1:44 PM
The brain of a person with average memory skills isn't structurally any different to the brain of a super memoriser, according to the new study, which means there's hope for all of us to boost our memory abilities. To figure this out, researchers from Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands studied the brains of the 23 top competitors in the World Memory Championships - a competition where contestants try to recall more words off a list than the person next to them.
Brendon Dundas's curator insight, March 14, 5:48 AM

I chose this because lets face it who doesn't want to improve their memory and it was an interesting read. 

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IBM Is Rolling Out the World's First Universal 'Quantum Computing' Service

IBM Is Rolling Out the World's First Universal 'Quantum Computing' Service | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
We're all excited about the potential of quantum computers - devices that will harness strange quantum phenomena to perform calculations far more powerful than anything conventional computers can do today.

Unfortunately, we still don't have a tangible, large-scale quantum computer to freak out over just yet, but IBM is already preparing for a future when we do, by announcing that they're rolling out a universal 'quantum-computing' service later this year.

The service will be called IBM Q, and it will give people access to their early-stage quantum computer over the internet to use as they wish - for a fee.

The big elephant in the room is that, for now, IBM's quantum computer only runs on five qubits, so it's not much faster (if any faster) than a conventional computer.

But their technology is improving all the time. The company has announced it hopes to get to 50 qubits in the next few years, and in the meantime, it's building the online systems and software so that anyone in the world can access the full power of its quantum computer when it's ready. IBM Q is a crucial part of that.
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Charley Bang's comment, March 8, 10:30 AM
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NASA Wants to Launch a Giant Magnetic Field to Make Mars Habitable

NASA Wants to Launch a Giant Magnetic Field to Make Mars Habitable | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
NASA scientists have proposed a bold plan that could give Mars its atmosphere back and make the Red Planet habitable for future generations of human colonists.

By launching a giant magnetic shield into space to protect Mars from solar winds, the space agency says we could restore the Red Planet's atmosphere, and terraform the Martian environment so that liquid water flows on the surface once again.

Mars may seem like a cold, arid wasteland these days, but the Red Planet is thought to have once had a thick atmosphere that could have maintained deep oceans filled with liquid water, and a warmer, potentially habitable climate.

Scientists think Mars lost all of this when its protective magnetic field collapsed billions of years ago, and solar wind – high-energy particles projected from the Sun – has been stripping the Red Planet's atmosphere away ever since.

Now, new simulations by NASA suggest there could be a way to naturally give Mars its thick atmosphere back – and it doesn't require nuking the Red Planet into submission, as Elon Musk once proposed.

Instead, the space agency thinks a powerful-enough magnetic shield launched into space could serve as a replacement for Mars's own lost magnetosphere, giving the planet a chance to naturally restore its own atmosphere.

In new findings presented at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop last week, NASA's Planetary Science Division director, Jim Green, said launching an "artificial magnetosphere" into space between Mars and the Sun could hypothetically shield the Red Planet in the extended magnetotail that trails behind the protective field.

"This situation then eliminates many of the solar wind erosion processes that occur with the planet's ionosphere and upper atmosphere allowing the Martian atmosphere to grow in pressure and temperature over time," the researchers explain in an accompanying paper.

While the team acknowledges that the concept might sound "fanciful", they point to existing miniature magnetosphere research being conducted to protect astronauts and spacecraft from cosmic radiation, and think that the same technology on a larger scale could be used to shield Mars.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 7, 11:45 PM

Science Fiction could become science fact.  One day in the far future, we may need Mars to sustain life and continue human civilization, especially if our sun becomes a bloated red giant and swallows up Mercury, Venus, and Earth. This is an idea worth pursuing.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

https://hawaiiintelligencedigest.com

https://paper.li/f-1482109921

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Moral Outrage Is Self-Serving, Say Psychologists - Hit & Run : Reason.com

Moral Outrage Is Self-Serving, Say Psychologists - Hit & Run : Reason.com | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
When people publicly rage about perceived injustices that don't affect them personally, we tend to assume this expression is rooted in altruism—a "disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others." But new research suggests that professing such third-party concern—what social scientists refer to as "moral outrage"—is often a function of self-interest, wielded to assuage feelings of personal culpability for societal harms or reinforce (to the self and others) one's own status as a Very Good Person.

Outrage expressed "on behalf of the victim of [a perceived] moral violation" is often thought of as "a prosocial emotion" rooted in "a desire to restore justice by fighting on behalf of the victimized," explain Bowdoin psychology professor Zachary Rothschild and University of Southern Mississippi psychology professor Lucas A. Keefer in the latest edition of Motivation and Emotion. Yet this conventional construction—moral outrage as the purview of the especially righteous—is "called into question" by research on guilt, they say.

Feelings of guilt are a direct threat to one's sense that they are a moral person and, accordingly, research on guilt finds that this emotion elicits strategies aimed at alleviating guilt that do not always involve undoing one's actions. Furthermore, research shows that individuals respond to reminders of their group's moral culpability with feelings of outrage at third-party harm-doing. These findings suggest that feelings of moral outrage, long thought to be grounded solely in concerns with maintaining justice, may sometimes reflect efforts to maintain a moral identity.
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If plastic replaces cash, much that is good will be lost – Brett Scott | Aeon Essays

If plastic replaces cash, much that is good will be lost – Brett Scott | Aeon Essays | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
I recently found myself facing a vending machine in a quiet corridor at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. I was due to speak at a conference called ‘Reinvent Money’ but, suffering from jetlag and exhaustion, I was on a search for Coca-Cola. The vending machine had a small digital interface built by a Dutch company called Payter. Printed on it was a sentence: ‘Contactless payment only.’ I touched down my bank card, but rather than dispensing Coke, it beeped a message: ‘Card invalid.’ Not all cards are created equal, even if you can get one – and not everyone can.

In the economist’s imagining of an idealised free market, rational individuals enter into monetary-exchange contracts with each other for their mutual benefit. One party – called the ‘buyer’ – passes money tokens to another party – called the ‘seller’ – who in turn gives real goods or services. So here I am, the tired individual rationally seeking sugar. The market is before me, fizzy drinks stacked on a shelf, presided over by a vending machine acting on behalf of the cola seller. It’s an obedient mechanical apparatus that is supposed to abide by a simple market contract: If you give money to my owner, I will give you a Coke. So why won’t this goddamn machine enter into this contract with me? This is market failure.

To understand this failure, we must first understand that we live with two modes of money. ‘Cash’ is the name given to our system of physical tokens that are manually passed on to complete transactions. This first mode of money is public. We might call it ‘state money’. Indeed, we experience cash like a public utility that is ‘just there’. Like other public utilities, it might feel grungy and unsexy – with inefficiencies and avenues for corruption – but it is in principle open-access. It can be passed directly by the richest of society to the poorest of society, or vice versa.
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Charley Bang's comment, March 8, 10:33 AM
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Charley Bang's comment, March 8, 10:33 AM
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