Knowmads, Infocol...
Follow
Find
39.1K views | +58 today
 
Scooped by Wildcat2030
onto Knowmads, Infocology of the future
Scoop.it!

“Primer” Technologies For Enhancing 21st Century Citizenship-David Brin

“Primer” Technologies For Enhancing 21st Century Citizenship-David Brin | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
What new technologies could make the most difference?

-

What new technologies could make the most difference?

Across the 20th Century, a growing array of problems were solved through the application of professional skill. We came to rely increasingly upon professions ranging from medical doctors to law enforcement, from teachers to farmers for countless tasks that an average family used to do largely for itself. No other trend so perfectly represents the last century as this one, spanning all boundaries of politics, ideology or geography

 And yet - just as clearly - this trend cannot continue much longer. If only for demographic reasons, the as the rate of professionalization and specialization must start to fall off, exactly as we are about to face a bewildering array of new -- and rapid-onrushing -- problems. How will we cope?

.

more...
No comment yet.
Knowmads, Infocology of the future
Exploring the possible , the probable, the plausible
Curated by Wildcat2030
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Humanity is in the existential danger zone, study confirms

Humanity is in the existential danger zone, study confirms | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

The Earth’s climate has always changed. All species eventually become extinct. But a new study has brought into sharp relief the fact that humans have, in the context of geological timescales, produced near instantaneous planetary-scale disruption. We are sowing the seeds of havoc on the Earth, it suggests, and the time is fast approaching when we will reap this harvest.

This in the year that the UN climate change circus will pitch its tents in Paris. December’s Conference of the Parties will be the first time individual nations submit their proposals for their carbon emission reduction targets. Sparks are sure to fly.

The research, published in the journal Science, should focus the minds of delegates and their nations as it lays out in authoritative fashion how far we are driving the climate and other vital Earth systems beyond any safe operating space. The paper, headed by Will Steffen of the Australian National University and Stockholm Resilience Centre, concludes that our industrialised civilisation is driving a number of key planetary processes into areas of high risk.

It argues climate change along with “biodiversity integrity” should be recognised as core elements of the Earth system. These are two of nine planetary boundaries that we must remain within if we are to avoid undermining the biophysical systems our species depends upon.

The original planetary boundaries were conceived in 2009 by a team lead by Johan Rockstrom, also of the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Together with his co-authors, Rockstrom produced a list of nine human-driven changes to the Earth’s system: climate change, ocean acidification, stratospheric ozone depletion, alteration of nitrogen and phosphorus cycling, freshwater consumption, land use change, biodiversity loss, aerosol and chemical pollution. Each of these nine, if driven hard enough, could alter the planet to the point where it becomes a much less hospitable place on which to live.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Keeping actively bilingual makes our brains more efficient at relaying information

Keeping actively bilingual makes our brains more efficient at relaying information | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

There is increasing evidence that bilingualism can affect how the brain works. Older, lifelong bilinguals have demonstrated better cognitive skills in tasks that require increased cognitive control. These cognitive effects are most pronounced in bilingual people who speak two languages in their everyday life for many years, compared to those who speak a second language but don’t use it often. Our new research has now highlighted the structural improvements on the brain observed in bilingual people who immerse themselves in two languages.

Bilingualism affects the structure of the brain including both major types of brain tissue – the grey matter and the white matter. The neurons in our brain have two distinct anatomical features: their cell bodies, where all the processing of information, thinking and planning happens, and their axons, which are the main avenues that connect brain areas and transfer information between them. The cell bodies are organised around the surface of the brain – the grey matter – and all the axons converge and interconnect underneath this into the white matter.

We call it white matter because the axons are wrapped in a fatty layer, the myelin, which ensures better neuronal communication – the way information is transferred around the brain. The myelin functions as an “insulation” that prevents information “leaking” from the axon during transfer.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

These Dreamers Are Actually Making Progress Building Elon's Hyperloop | WIRED

These Dreamers Are Actually Making Progress Building Elon's Hyperloop | WIRED | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

When Elon Musk unveiled his idea for the Hyperloop in August of 2013, no one seemed sure what the next step would be. The Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO dropped a 57-page alpha white paper on us, noting he didn’t really have the time to build a revolutionary transit system that would shoot pods full of people around the country in above-ground tubes at 800 mph.

Fortunately for futurists and people who enjoy picking apart complicated plans, an El Segundo, California-based startup has taken Musk up on his challenge to develop and build the Hyperloop. JumpStartFund combines elements of crowdfunding and crowd-sourcing—bringing money and ideas in from all over the place—to take ambitious ideas and move them toward reality.

When Musk proposed his idea, JumpStartFund was fresh off its beta launch, and taking on the Hyperloop seemed like the perfect way to test the company’s approach (and drum up headlines), says CEO Dirk Ahlborn. So they reached out to SpaceX, proposed the project on their online platform, and created a subsidiary company to get to work: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc.

The incorporated entity has a fancy name and all, but it’s less a standard company than a group of about 100 engineers all over the country who spend their free time spitballing ideas in exchange for stock options. That said, this isn’t a Subreddit trying to solve the Boston Marathon bombing. These gals and guys applied for the right to work on the project (another 100 or so were rejected) and nearly all of them have day jobs at companies like Boeing, NASA, Yahoo!, Airbus, SpaceX, and Salesforce. They’re smart. And they’re organized.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Wildcat2030 from e.cloud
Scoop.it!

How NASA Could Build A Cloud City Over Venus

How NASA Could Build A Cloud City Over Venus | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Owing to the extreme conditions on the Venusian surface, it's going to be quite some time before a human ever steps foot on that planet. That's why NASA is developing a plan to deploy human-occupied airships in Venus's upper atmosphere. And yes, permanent occupation is the ultimate goal.

Via Alessio Erioli
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Blood grown from stem cells could transform transfusions

Blood grown from stem cells could transform transfusions | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Stem-cell technology is being used to grow fresh human blood in the laboratory – but don’t hand in your donor card just yet-

In 2007, a team of researchers from the UK and Irish Blood services responded to an oddly specific call from the US military. They wanted scientists to help them build a machine, no bigger than two and a half washing machines, that could be dropped from a helicopter on to a battle field and generate stem-cell-derived blood for injured soldiers.

The team’s application was not successful, but they refocused their efforts and set off on a more utopian mission – to develop a similar technology to create a limitless supply of clean, laboratory-grown blood for use in clinics around the world. Using blood made from stem cells would unshackle blood services from the limits of human supply, and any risk of infection would be removed.

They’ve been working with embryonic or induced pluripotent stem cells, which, given the right culture conditions, can differentiate into any type of cells. Still at least a year from human testing, the team have tweaked their protocol to select only red blood cells.

“Because we make them from human cells they are as nature intended,” says Joanne Mountford, of the University of Glasgow, who leads the project along with Marc Turner, the medical director of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service.

“It’s the same thing your body makes but we’re just doing it in a lab.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Enthusiasts and Skeptics Debate Artificial Intelligence

Enthusiasts and Skeptics Debate Artificial Intelligence | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Kurt Andersen wonders: If the Singularity is near, will it bring about global techno-Nirvana or civilizational ruin?

.

Artificial intelligence is suddenly everywhere. It’s still what the experts call “soft A.I.,” but it is proliferating like mad. We’re now accustomed to having conversations with computers: to refill a prescription, make a cable-TV-service appointment, cancel an airline reservation—or, when driving, to silently obey the instructions of the voice from the G.P.S.

But until the other morning I’d never initiated an elective conversation with a talking computer. I asked the artificial-intelligence app on my iPhone how old I am. First, Siri spelled my name right, something human beings generally fail to do. Then she said, “This might answer your question,” and displayed my correct age in years, months, and days. She knows more about me than I do. When I asked, “What is the Singularity?,” Siri inquired whether I wanted a Web search (“That’s what I figured,” she replied) and offered up this definition: “A technological singularity is a predicted point in the development of a civilization at which technological progress accelerates beyond the ability of present-day humans to fully comprehend or predict.”

Siri appeared on my phone three years ago, a few months after the IBM supercomputer Watson beat a pair of Jeopardy! champions. Since then, Watson has been speeded up 24-fold and fed millions of pages of medical data, thus turning the celebrity machine into a practicing cancer diagnostician. Autonomous machines now make half the trades on Wall Street, meaning, for instance, that a firm will often own a given stock for less than a second—thus the phrase “high-frequency trading,” the subject of Flash Boys, Michael Lewis’s book earlier this year. (Trading by machines is one reason why a hoax A.P. tweet last year about a White House bombing made the Dow Jones Industrial Average suddenly drop 146 points.) Google’s test fleet of a couple dozen robotic Lexuses and Priuses, after driving more than 700,000 miles on regular streets and highways, have been at fault in not a single accident. Meanwhile, bionic and biological breakthroughs are radically commingling humans and machines. Last year, a team of biomedical engineers demonstrated a system that enabled people wearing electrode-embedded caps to fly a tiny drone helicopter with their minds.

Machines performing unimaginably complicated calculations unimaginably fast—that’s what computers have always done. Computers were called “electronic brains” from the beginning. But the great open question is whether a computer really will be able to do all that your brain can do, and more. Two decades from now, will artificial intelligence—A.I.—go from soft to hard, equaling and then quickly surpassing the human kind? And if the Singularity is near, will it bring about global techno-Nirvana or civilizational ruin?

Wildcat2030's insight:

An important and well written read..

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Mediterranean diet 'combats obesity'

Mediterranean diet 'combats obesity' | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
A Mediterranean diet is a better way of tackling obesity than calorie counting, leading doctors say.

-

A Mediterranean diet may be a better way of tackling obesity than calorie counting, leading doctors have said.

Writing in the Postgraduate Medical Journal (PMJ), the doctors said a Mediterranean diet quickly reduced the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

And they said it may be better than low-fat diets for sustained weight loss.

Official NHS advice is to monitor calorie intake to maintain a healthy weight.

Last month NHS leaders stressed the need for urgent action to tackle obesity and the health problems that often go with it.

The PMJ editorial argues a focus on food intake is the best approach, but it warns crash dieting is harmful.

Signatories of the piece included the chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Prof Terence Stephenson, and Dr Mahiben Maruthappu, who has a senior role at NHS England.

They criticise the weight-loss industry for focusing on calorie restriction rather than "good nutrition".

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

From electric ink to aromapoetry – the physical book is not dead, it's about to be reborn

From electric ink to aromapoetry – the physical book is not dead, it's about to be reborn | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Analogue” and “digital” are the two polar opposites of our modern world. The word “analogue” has become our catch-all term for what we see as slow, one-way and limited in functional possibilities; while “digital” is our synonym for the dynamic, interactive and fluid.

Analogue is old; digital new. Paper has always been the epitome of the analogue: a physical medium which can receive, present and preserve information but otherwise remains static and fixed.

It’s our entrenched understanding of these polarities that are to blame for the well-worn idea that the physical book is dying. This is simply not the case – “analogue” technologies such as ink and paper are now being developed in ways that can and in all likelihood will revolutionise the material, printed book.

Sketching circuits

Conductive inks such as those produced by the British firm Bare Conductive mean that pen and ink can be used to make circuits – and a piece of paper could feasibly become a circuit board, much like that in a computer but infinitely more flexible and versatile.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Peter Thiel’s Book Zero to One | MIT Technology Review

Peter Thiel’s Book Zero to One | MIT Technology Review | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Investor Peter Thiel has inspiring advice for wanna-be entrepreneurs, but he is unrealistic about where technology really comes from.

Is the technology investor Peter Thiel brilliant, or is he just strange? He is nothing if not industrious. Since he cofounded PayPal, in 1998, Thiel has had a hand in some of the most important and unexpected tech companies of our era. His success has made him an oracular presence in Silicon Valley.

Thiel’s contrarianism is notorious, and he appears to delight in saying or doing the unexpected, even at the risk of ridicule. Each year, his nonprofit gives a handful of college students $100,000 to drop out of school and pursue a risky startup. He has declared himself to be not only against taxes but against “the ideology of the inevitability of death.” And when the Seasteading Institute—a utopian group intent on building floating cities so as to escape the intrusions of government—sought funding a few years ago, Thiel ponied up half a million dollars.

If one wanted to emulate Peter Thiel’s success, would one have to do more than just the opposite of everyone else? His new book—a polished version of some lectures he gave at Stanford for aspiring entrepreneurs in 2012—suggests that there is such a creed as Thielism. His theories on what makes a good technology company and how such companies can improve society are by turns brazen, thoughtful, and precise; the challenge lies in separating the truth from the truthiness. Thiel insightfully diagnoses the failings of today’s technology (see Q&A), but the cures he suggests are questionable.

According to Thiel, most startups funded by his fellow Silicon Valley investors shouldn’t exist. All prospective entrepreneurs, he suggests, should ask themselves a simple and essential question: “What valuable company is nobody building?” If they don’t have an answer, they should do something else.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

A Stretchable, Light-Up Surface Inspired by Squid Skin | WIRED

A Stretchable, Light-Up Surface Inspired by Squid Skin | WIRED | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

 

Squid and other cephalopods control their skin displays by contracting color-filled cells. A team of engineers attempted the same using elastomer and electrical pulses.

Displays are becoming flatter and flexible, so why not stretchable as well? A study published today in Nature Communications describes a paper-thin, elastic film that lights up when stimulated by an electric pulse. It’s a technology that could some day be used to make fold-up light sources, on-demand camouflage, or possibly even the Tron jumpsuit you’ve always wanted.

The engineers of the film were inspired by the skin of octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish, which can change color using tiny, ring-shaped structures called chromatophores. Each chromatophore is pigment-filled and ringed with tiny muscles. By contracting or expanding the chromatophores in different patterns, the cephalopods can create dazzling displays, or camouflage themselves from sight.

The new soft, stretchable elastomer is chemically combined with artificial, fluorescent-color versions of chromatophores, called mechanophores. Electrical pulses activate the mechanophores and create flourescant patterns. Different pulse strengths change the colors, and once the pulse is shut off the pattern instantly clears.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Artificial Intelligence: How Algorithms Make Systems Smart | Innovation Insights | WIRED

Artificial Intelligence: How Algorithms Make Systems Smart | Innovation Insights | WIRED | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
“Algorithm” is a word that one hears used much more frequently than in the past. One of the reasons is that scientists have learned that computers can learn on their own if given a few simple instructions. That’s really all that algorithms are mathematical instructions. Wikipedia states that an algorithm “is a step-by-step procedure for…
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

The Case For Intelligent Failure To Invent The Future | TechCrunch

The Case For Intelligent Failure To Invent The Future | TechCrunch | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
The future will not be like the past. The future will be built by those who will take risks and action to invent the world they want.

Our civilization’s needs are expanding rapidly, as seven billion people reach for the lifestyle of the 700 million most well off while our physical resources cannot keep pace.

Wildcat2030's insight:

necessary read..

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Ignore the IQ test: your level of intelligence is not fixed for life

Ignore the IQ test: your level of intelligence is not fixed for life | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
We’re getting more stupid. That’s one point made in a recent article in the New Scientist, reporting on a gradual decline in IQs in developed countries such as the UK, Australia and the Netherlands. Such research feeds into a long-held fascination with testing human intelligence. Yet such debates are too focused on IQ as a life-long trait that can’t be changed. Other research is beginning to show the opposite.

The concept of testing intelligence was first successfuly devised by French psychologists in the early 1900s to help describe differences in how well and quickly children learn at school. But it is now frequently used to explain that difference – that we all have a fixed and inherent level of intelligence that limits how fast we can learn.

Defined loosely, intelligence refers to our ability to learn quickly and adapt to new situations. IQ tests measure our vocabulary, our ability to problem-solve, reason logically and so on.

But what many people fail to understand is that if IQ tests measured only our skills at these particular tasks, no one would be interested in our score. The score is interesting only because it is thought to be fixed for life.

Who is getting smarter?

Standardised IQ tests used by clinical psychologists for diagnostic purposes, such as the Weschler scale, are designed in such a way that it is not easy to prepare for them. The contents are kept surprisingly secret and they are changed regularly. The score given for an individual is a relative one, adjusted based on the performance of people of the same age.

But even as we become better educated and more skillful at the types of tasks measured on IQ tests (a phenomenon known as the “Flynn effect”, after James Fylnn who first noted it) our IQs stay pretty much the same. This is because the IQ scoring system takes into account the amount of improvement expected over time, and then discounts it. This type of score is called a “standardised score” – it hides your true score and merely represents your standing in relation to your peers who have also been getting smarter at about the same rate.

This apparent stability in IQ scores makes intelligence look relatively constant, whereas in fact we are all becoming more intelligent across and within our lifetimes. The IQ test and the IQ scoring system are constantly adjusted to ensure that the average IQ remains at 100, despite a well-noted increase in intellectual ability worldwide.

more...
Alfredo Calderon's curator insight, August 27, 2014 6:46 AM

add your insight...

Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Energy-harvesting discovery generates 200 times higher voltage to power wearables, other portable devices | KurzweilAI

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) researchers have discovered how to radically improve conversion of ambient energy (such as body movement) to electrical energy for powering wearable and portable devices.

As has been noted on KurzweilAI, energy-harvesting devices can convert ambient mechanical energy sources — including body movement, sound, and other forms of vibration — into electricity. The energy-harvesting devices or “nanogenerators” typically use piezoelectric materials such as zinc oxide* (ZnO) to convert mechanical energy to electricity. Uses of such devices include wearables and devices for portable communication, healthcare monitoring, environmental monitoring; and for medical implants.

The researchers explored ways to improve “vertically integrated nanogenerator” energy-harvesting chips based on ZnO. They inserted an aluminum-nitride insulating layer into a conventional energy-harvesting chip based on ZnO and found that the added layer increased the output voltage a whopping 140 to 200 times (from 7 millivolts to 1 volt, in one configuration). This increase was the result of the high dielectric constant (increasing the electric field) and large Young’s modulus (stiffness).

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

A step toward a potential anti-aging drug | KurzweilAI

A step toward a potential anti-aging drug | KurzweilAI | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

According to a new study published in Science Translational Medicine, researchers have tested a potential anti-aging drug called everolimus (AKA RAD001) — an analog (version) of the drug rapamycin (sirolimus)*.

In previous research, rapamycin extended the life span of mice by 9 to 14%, even when treatment was initiated late in life, and it improved a variety of aging-related conditions in old mice, including tendon stiffening, cardiac dysfunction, cognitive decline, and decreased mobility.

These findings raise the possibility that “mTOR inhibitors”* (like rapamycin and RAD001) may have beneficial effects on aging and aging-related conditions in humans.

Since it would take decades to test the effect of a drug on life span in humans, the researchers at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research and affiliates used a proxy: the decline in immune function in seniors’ (age 65 and older) during aging, as assessed by their response to a flu vaccine.

Immune-system aging is a major cause of disease and death, making older people more susceptible to infections — and to have a weaker response to vaccines. In the research, the scientists found that R001 boosted immune systems response to a flu vaccine by 20 percent.

“The immune-enhancing effects of mTOR inhibitors need to be verified with additional studies,” the authors say. Although some scientists are reportedly already self-medicating, “the toxicity of RAD001 at doses used in oncology or organ transplantation results in adverse effects such as stomatitis, diarrhea, nausea, cytopenias, hyperlipidemia, and hyperglycemia.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

How Skype Used AI to Build Its Amazing New Language Translator | WIRED

Very soon now, a select group of Skype beta testers will have a new Microsoft technology that seems borrowed from the world of Star Trek. It’s called the Skype Translator—a Skype add-on that listens to the English words you speak into Microsoft’s internet phone-calling software and translates them into Spanish, or vice versa.

As you can see from demos like the one below, it’s an amazing technology, and it’s based on work that’s been going on quietly inside Microsoft’s research and development labs for more than a decade. Microsoft is already using some of the text translation technology underpinning Skype Translate to power its Bing Translate search engine translation service, and to jump start the foreign language translation of its products, manuals, and hundreds of thousands of support documents. “One of the largest, published, untouched machine translation repositories on the internet is the Microsoft customer support Knowledge Base,” says Vikram Dendi, strategy director with Microsoft Research.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Net is 'less free and more unequal'

Net is 'less free and more unequal' | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Sir Tim Berners-Lee calls for net access to be treated as a basic right, following a report suggesting great inequalities online.

-

The web is becoming less free and more unequal, according to a report from the World Wide Web Foundation.

Its annual web index suggests web users are at increasing risk of government surveillance, with laws preventing mass snooping weak or non-existent in over 84% of countries.

It also indicates that online censorship is on the rise.

The report led web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee to call for net access to be recognised as a human right.

The World Wide Web Foundation, led by Sir Tim, measured the web's contribution to the social, economic and political progress of 86 countries.

Other headline findings from the report include:

74% of countries either lack clear and effective net neutrality rules and/or show evidence of traffic discrimination62% of countries report that the web plays a major role in sparking social or political action74% of countries are not doing enough to stop online harassment of women

The index ranked countries around the world in terms of:

universal accessrelevant content and usefreedom and opennessempowerment

Four of the top five were Scandinavian, with Denmark in first place, Finland second and Norway third. The UK came fourth, followed by Sweden.

"The richer and better educated people are, the more benefit they are gaining from the digital revolution," said Anne Jellema, chief executive of the World Wide Web Foundation, and the lead author of the report.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Artificial intelligence could spell end of human race – Stephen Hawking

Artificial intelligence could spell end of human race – Stephen Hawking | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Technology will eventually become self-aware and supersede humanity, says astrophysicist
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

How to increase (or decrease) brain activity and memory | KurzweilAI

How to increase (or decrease) brain activity and memory | KurzweilAI | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Limitless movie poster (credit: Virgin Produced) Is it possible to rapidly increase (or decrease) the amount of information the brain can store? 

Is it possible to rapidly increase (or decrease) the amount of information the brain can store?

A new international study led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) suggests is may be. Their research has identified a molecule that improves brain function and memory recall is improved. Published in the latest issue of Cell Reports, the study has implications for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases, such as autism spectral disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Our findings show that the brain has a key protein called FXR1P (Fragile X Related Protein 1) that limits the production of molecules necessary for memory formation,” says RI-MUHC neuroscientist Keith Murai, the study’s senior author and Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University. “When this brake-protein is suppressed, the brain is able to store more information.”

Murai and his colleagues used a mouse model to study how changes in brain cell connections produce new memories. When FXR1P was selectively removed from certain parts of the brain, new molecules were produced. They strengthened connections between brain cells, which correlated with improved memory and recall in the mice.

Brain-disease link“The role of FXR1P was a surprising result,” says Murai. “Previous to our work, no-one had identified a role for this regulator in the brain. Our findings have provided fundamental knowledge about how the brain processes information. We’ve identified a new pathway that directly regulates how information is handled and this could have relevance for understanding and treating brain diseases.

“If we can identify compounds that control the braking potential of FXR1P, we may be able to alter the amount of brain activity or plasticity. For example, in autism, one may want to decrease certain brain activity and in Alzheimer’s disease, we may want to enhance the activity. By manipulating FXR1P, we may eventually be able to adjust memory formation and retrieval, thus improving the quality of life of people suffering from brain diseases.” 

The study is described in an open-access paper in Cell Reports. Funding was provided by he Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and U.S. National Institutes of Health.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

What Neuro-revolution? The Public Find Brain Science Irrelevant and Anxiety-provoking | WIRED

What Neuro-revolution? The Public Find Brain Science Irrelevant and Anxiety-provoking | WIRED | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Neuroscience seems like a hot topic, but a series of interviews with members of the public finds that they see brain science as largely irrelevant to their lives.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Scientific research can be prone to bubbles too – neuroscience risks being the next one

Scientific research can be prone to bubbles too – neuroscience risks being the next one | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Science, like any other field that attracts investment, is prone to bubbles. Overly optimistic investments in scientific fields, research methods and technologies generate episodes comparable to those experienced by financial markets prior to crashing.

Assessing the toxic intellectual debt that builds up when too much liquidity is concentrated on too few assets is an important task if research funders want to avoid going short on overvalued research.

The cause of the meltdown of the financial market is obvious: leveraged trading in financial instruments that bear no relation to the things they are supposed to be secured against. Science, too, is a market in which the value of research is ultimately secured against objects in the world. If the world is not as it appears in a research paper, does the research have value?

A paper that claims that smoking causes cancer or that terrorism is caused by poverty is valuable only if it turns out to be a good explanation of cancer or terrorism. As recently noted by Philip Gerrans at the University of Adelaide, “[It] is why an original and true explanation is the gold standard of academic markets.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

New book: Andreas Wagner's 'Arrival of the Fittest' asks how life innovates so rapidly

New book: Andreas Wagner's 'Arrival of the Fittest' asks how life innovates so rapidly | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Natural selection isn’t nearly enough to explain how life created so many innovations so fast. Fortunately for us, writes SFI External Professor Andreas Wagner in a new book, Nature had something else up her sleeve: robustness.

Even in organisms with relatively few genes, the number of possible combinations of those genes is unimaginably enormous — many, many orders of magnitude greater than the number of hydrogen atoms in the Universe. Even 3.7 billions years isn’t enough to search all those possibilities at random and find all the forms of life we have today.

In Arrival of the Fittest: Solving Evolution's Greatest Puzzle (Current Hardcover , October 2, 2014), Wagner shows how robustness, long a subject of interest at SFI, helped solve the problem. Metabolic systems, protein interactions, and gene regulation networks share a particular kind of robustness: even drastic changes to the underlying structure leaves their operations unchanged. For example, the complex of chemical reactions that metabolize glucose in E. coli can overlap by as little as 20 percent and still function perfectly well.

Read a review of Wagner's book by Mark Pagel in Nature (October 1, 2014)

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall Talks about What Makes Humans Special [Video]

Paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall Talks about What Makes Humans Special [Video] | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

In the September Scientific American, devoted to human evolution, paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall discusses how a capacity for toolmaking and other cultural developments worked in conjunction with luck to foster the success of Homo sapiens. Luck came in the form of the climate shifts that served to accelerate the rate of evolution and the adaptation of beneficial traits among certain of our archaic forebears.

In the video here Tattersall describes how his field has changed since he first entered it nearly 50 years ago. Students of human evolution long believed that the story of our species origins was linear, “from primitiveness to perfection.” Scientists now know that the evolutionary path from apes to modern man was far more convoluted, populated with many rival hominins (the group including modern humans and their extinct relations) whose survival was periodically challenged by unpredictable climate shifts.

He also speaks of what makes Homo sapiens special. That our species is the only surviving hominin in the world is testament, he says, to how exceptional we are. We are unique in that we use symbols to represent the world, moving them around and recombining them to create “alternatives to existing reality.” This cognitive faculty also means we are able to ponder where we came from. The study of human evolution, Tattersall notes, holds “a special fascination for human beings, who, of course, are a very egotistical species.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Training your brain to prefer healthy foods

Training your brain to prefer healthy foods | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
It may be possible to train the brain to prefer healthy low-calorie foods over unhealthy higher-calorie foods, according to new research.

-

It may be possible to train the brain to prefer healthy low-calorie foods over unhealthy higher-calorie foods, according to new research by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University and at Massachusetts General Hospital. Published online today in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes, a brain scan study in adult men and women suggests that it is possible to reverse the addictive power of unhealthy food while also increasing preference for healthy foods.

 

"We don't start out in life loving French fries and hating, for example, whole wheat pasta," said senior and co-corresponding author Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D., director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA, who is also a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and an adjunct professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine. "This conditioning happens over time in response to eating -- repeatedly! -- what is out there in the toxic food environment."

Scientists have suspected that, once unhealthy food addiction circuits are established, they may be hard or impossible to reverse, subjecting people who have gained weight to a lifetime of unhealthy food cravings and temptation. To find out whether the brain can be re-trained to support healthy food choices, Roberts and colleagues studied the reward system in thirteen overweight and obese men and women, eight of whom were participants in a new weight loss program designed by Tufts University researchers and five who were in a control group and were not enrolled in the program.

Both groups underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans at the beginning and end of a six-month period. Among those who participated in the weight loss program, the brain scans revealed changes in areas of the brain reward center associated with learning and addiction. After six months, this area had increased sensitivity to healthy, lower-calorie foods, indicating an increased reward and enjoyment of healthier food cues. The area also showed decreased sensitivity to the unhealthy higher-calorie foods.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Wildcat2030
Scoop.it!

Can You 3D Print Emotions? New "Love Project" Uses Biometric Sensors to Create Household Objects

Can You 3D Print Emotions? New "Love Project" Uses Biometric Sensors to Create Household Objects | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Everyone has knick-knacks of sentimental value around their home, but what if your emotions could actually be shaped into household things?

A project recently unveiled at the Sao Paulo Design Weekend turns feelings of love into physical objects using 3D printing and biometric sensors. “Each product is unique and contains the most intimate emotions of the participants’ love stories,” explains designer Guto Requena.

more...
No comment yet.