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Knowmads, Infocology of the future
Exploring the possible , the probable, the plausible
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Self-healing plastic mimics blood

Self-healing plastic mimics blood | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

A new plastic that "heals itself" has been designed, meaning your cracked phone screen or broken tennis racquet could mend its own wounds.

The polymer automatically patches holes 3cm wide, 100 times bigger than before.

Inspired by the human blood clotting system, it contains a network of capillaries that deliver healing chemicals to damaged areas.

The new material, created by engineers at the University of Illinois, is described in Science journal.

For decades scientists have dreamed of plastics that heal themselves like human skin.

Cracks in water pipes and car bonnets would seal up. Satellites could repair their own damage. Broken electronic chips in laptops and mobile phones would spontaneously sort out their own problems.

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Hampton Creek and Other Startups Hope to Get into the Food Supply | MIT Technology Review

Hampton Creek and Other Startups Hope to Get into the Food Supply | MIT Technology Review | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Silicon Valley investors and startups are trying to improve our food. Do they bring anything to the table?

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Most tech startups are silent spaces where earbud-clad engineers peer into monitors. Not Hampton Creek Foods. The two-year-old company’s office—a filled-to-bursting space in San Francisco’s South of Market tech hotbed—grinds, clatters, and whirs like a laundromat run amok. That’s the sound of industrial-strength mixers, grinders, and centrifuges churning out what the company hopes is a key ingredient in food 2.0: an animal-free replacement for the chicken egg.

Silicon Valley venture capitalists have funded several food-related startups in the past year, but Hampton Creek has gathered the most momentum. It has A-list investors including Founders Fund, Horizon Ventures, and Khosla Ventures, and two undisclosed industrial food companies are experimenting with its plant-based egg substitute. The prepared-food counter at Whole Foods began using the startup’s egg-free Just Mayo mayonnaise in September 2013, with four other mainstream grocery chains lined up for the first half of this year. And, thanks to a recent investment round that boosted Hampton Creek’s funding to $30 million and drew in Li Ka-shing, the wealthiest person in Asia, Just Mayo soon will be sold by a large online grocer in Hong Kong.

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Functioning of aged brains and muscles in mice made younger | KurzweilAI

Functioning of aged brains and muscles in mice made younger | KurzweilAI | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

A protein known as GDF11 improves brain and skeletal muscle function in aging mice, Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers have shown. The researchers previously demonstrated that GDF11 can make the failing hearts in aging mice appear more like those of young mice.

In two separate papers published online May 4 in the journal Science, Professors Amy Wagers, PhD, and Lee Rubin, PhD, of Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB), report that injections of GDF11, which is also found in humans, improved the exercise capability of mice (equivalent in age) to the exercise capability of a 70-year-old human. The injections also improved the function of the olfactory region of the brains of the older mice — they could detect smell as younger mice do.

Rubin, and Wagers, who also has a laboratory at the Joslin Diabetes Center, each said that they expect to have GDF11 in initial human clinical trials within three to five years, baring unexpected developments.

 

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Warp Drive Research Key to Interstellar Travel | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network

Warp Drive Research Key to Interstellar Travel | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

As any avid Star Trek fan can tell you, the eccentric physicist Zefram Cochrane invented the warp-drive engine in the year 2063. It wasn’t easy. Cochrane had to contend with evil time-traveling aliens who were determined to stop him from building the faster-than-light propulsion system (see the 1996 movie Star Trek: First Contact for details). But in the end he succeeded, and centuries later his warp drive powered the interstellar voyages of the starship Enterprise.What Star Trek fans may not know is that a physicist in the real world—specifically, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston—is investigating the feasibility of building a real warp-drive engine. Harold “Sonny” White, head of the center’s advanced propulsion program, has assembled a tabletop experiment designed to create tiny distortions in spacetime, the malleable fabric of the universe. If the experiment is successful, it may eventually lead to the development of a system that could generate a bubble of warped spacetime around a spacecraft. Instead of increasing the craft’s speed, the warp drive would distort the spacetime along its path, allowing it to sidestep the laws of physics that prohibit faster-than-light travel. Such a spacecraft could cross the vast distances between stars in just a matter of weeks..

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Synthetic biology gets reborn as an aesthetic dream - 28 April 2014 - New Scientist

Synthetic biology gets reborn as an aesthetic dream - 28 April 2014 - New Scientist | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
In Synthetic Aesthetics, researchers and designers team up to present an exciting way of learning from nature

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SYNTHETIC biology is not like other sciences. At its first big conference, held just 10 years ago at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the startling initial premise was that life is simply too complicated for biotechnologists to easily modify and that it would be better if engineers rebuilt life from scratch so the created organisms did exactly what was required.

The youthful enthusiasm that powered the field, and brought together engineers, biologists, computer scientists, physicists and biohackers, persists today. There have been a few major achievements, most notably last month's creation of a computer-designed yeast chromosome. And before that, the creation of the first synthetic cell.

Alongside this big science, researchers have built libraries of standard DNA code that controls different things inside cells. The dream is that one day it will be easy to design novel organisms using DNA as the programming language. Synthetic biology's headline-grabbing achievement is its annual International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, which attracts hundreds of student teams to reprogram organisms. Last year's winners re-engineered the bacterium E. coli to recycle gold from electronic waste. At iGEM, the defensive attitude of biotech is replaced with one of turn up, take part, and talk.

As artist Daisy Ginsberg puts it, design "is about possibility", the unimagined things that life could be. Synthetic biology, she writes, has been addressing "humanity's needs" – limitless fuel, for example – rather than "our needs as individual, diverse and complex humans". This is refreshing: worries about the separation between the top-down design of the future and those who must live with the designs are quite rare in science.

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Will a world government work? – Luis Cabrera – Aeon

Will a world government work? – Luis Cabrera – Aeon | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
World government is back, in geopolitics and in the academy, but what does the future hold?
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paul babicki's curator insight, April 26, 9:11 PM

Any efforts such is this is worth a try. We need to get there as soon as possible and to keep making progress!

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Epigenetics 101: a beginner’s guide to explaining everything

Epigenetics 101: a beginner’s guide to explaining everything | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Cath Ennis: The word ‘epigenetics’ is everywhere these days, from academic journals and popular science articles to ads touting miracle cures. But what is epigenetics, and why is it so important?

Epigenetics is one of the hottest fields in the life sciences. It’s a phenomenon with wide-ranging, powerful effects on many aspects of biology, and enormous potential in human medicine. As such, its ability to fill in some of the gaps in our scientific knowledge is mentioned everywhere from academic journals to the mainstream media to some of the less scientifically rigorous corners of the Internet.

The basics

Epigenetics is essentially additional information layered on top of the sequence of letters (strings of molecules called A, C, G, and T) that makes up DNA.

If you consider a DNA sequence as the text of an instruction manual that explains how to make a human body, epigenetics is as if someone's taken a pack of highlighters and used different colours to mark up different parts of the text in different ways. For example, someone might use a pink highlighter to mark parts of the text that need to be read the most carefully, and a blue highlighter to mark parts that aren't as important.

There are different types of epigenetic marks, and each one tells the proteins in the cell to process those parts of the DNA in certain ways. For example, DNA can be tagged with tiny molecules called methyl groups that stick to some of its C letters. Other tags can be added to proteins called histones that are closely associated with DNA. There are proteins that specifically seek out and bind to these methylated areas, and shut it down so that the genes in that region are inactivated in that cell. So methylation is like a blue highlighter telling the cell "you don't need to know about this section right now."

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Americans Aren’t Ready for the Future Google and Amazon Want to Build | Business | WIRED

Americans Aren’t Ready for the Future Google and Amazon Want to Build | Business | WIRED | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
A new study out of Pew Research Center shows how Americans view the future of tech and what they're not quite ready for.

 

Americans are hopeful about the future of technology. But don’t release the drones just yet. And forget meat grown in a petri dish.

Pushing new tech on a public that isn’t ready can have real bottom-line consequences.

That’s the takeaway from a new study released by the Pew Research Center looking at how U.S. residents felt about possible high-tech advances looming in the not-too-distant future. Overall, a decisive majority of those surveyed believed new tech would make the future better. At the same time, the public doesn’t seem quite ready for many of the advances companies like Google and Amazon are pushing hard to make real.

If the stigma surrounding Google Glass (or, perhaps more specifically, “Glassholes”) has taught us anything, it’s that no matter how revolutionary technology may be, ultimately its success or failure ride on public perception. Many promising technological developments have died because they were ahead of their times. During a cultural moment when the alleged arrogance of some tech companies is creating a serious image problem, the risk of pushing new tech on a public that isn’t ready could have real bottom-line consequences.

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Read Hundreds of Free Sci-Fi Stories from Asimov, Lovecraft, Bradbury, Dick, Clarke & More

Read Hundreds of Free Sci-Fi Stories from Asimov, Lovecraft, Bradbury, Dick, Clarke & More | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
'We think audio is the best medium for Science Fiction literature and drama,' says the 'About' page at SFFaudio.com.
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Google X Confirms The Rumors: It Really Did Try To Design A Space Elevator

Google X Confirms The Rumors: It Really Did Try To Design A Space Elevator | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Google X's imagination is sky-high.

A working space elevator is still, sadly, not a reality. But sci-fi geeks may be excited to know that some of the most intelligent and imaginative minds on Earth have indeed looked into the logistics of building such a fanciful contraption. Rich DeVaul, head of Google X's Rapid Evaluation team, has confirmed for the first time ever that Google's super hush-hush R&D lab actually tried to design one.

"It would be a massive capital investment," he said in this month's issue of Fast Company. But once this hypothetical machine was built, "it could take you from ground to orbit with a net of basically zero energy. It drives down the space-access costs, operationally, to being incredibly low."

Unfortunately, our current technological landscape has its limitations:

The team knew the cable would have to be exceptionally strong-- "at least a hundred times stronger than the strongest steel that we have," by ­[Google X researcher Dan Piponi]'s calculations. He found one material that could do this: carbon nanotubes. But no one has manufactured a perfectly formed carbon nanotube strand longer than a meter. And so elevators "were put in a deep freeze," as [Google X researcher Mitch Heinrich] says, and the team decided to keep tabs on any advances in the carbon nanotube field.

Google X's space elevator ambitions might be frozen, but they're not dead. Google's just waiting for the material and manufacturing world to catch up with its sky-high ideas.

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Consciousness Might Emerge from a Data Broadcast

Consciousness Might Emerge from a Data Broadcast | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
What is consciousness? A neuroscientist's new book argues that it arises when information is broadcast throughout the brain

Quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli expressed disdain for sloppy, nonsensical theories by denigrating them as “not even wrong,” meaning they were just empty conjectures that could be quickly dismissed. Unfortunately, many remarkably popular theories of consciousness are of this ilk—the idea, for instance, that our experiences can somehow be explained by the quantum theory that Pauli himself helped to formulate in the early 20th century. An even more far-fetched idea holds that consciousness emerged only a few thousand years ago, when humans realized that the voices in their head came not from the gods but from their own internal spoken narratives.

Not every theory of consciousness, however, can be dismissed as just so much intellectual flapdoodle. During the past several decades, two distinct frameworks for explaining what consciousness is and how the brain produces it have emerged, each compelling in its own way. Each framework seeks to explain a vast storehouse of observations from both neurological patients and sophisticated laboratory experiments.

 

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Jose M Quiroz's curator insight, April 14, 2:14 AM

just as this article emphasizes,  the consciousness is incredibly difficult to analyze. To be said is that we as humans are most likely to want an answer for what can't be answered yet; even if that requires implanting sensory devices in peoples skulls, and brains to discover what is yet to be answered. In this case it is a confusing material just as psychology is in great part gray area, indeed the conscious could be explained as the process of storing data to later be processed and used in the required way it is needed.

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Researchers discover ancient virus DNA remnants necessary for pluripotency in humans

Researchers discover ancient virus DNA remnants necessary for pluripotency in humans | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
(Phys.org) —A team of Canadian and Singaporean researchers has discovered that remnants of ancient viral DNA in human DNA must be present for pluripotency to occur in human stem cells. In their paper published in the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, the team describes how they disabled ...
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How the Internet Is Taking Away America’s Religion | MIT Technology Review

How the Internet Is Taking Away America’s Religion | MIT Technology Review | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Using the Internet can destroy your faith. That’s the conclusion of a study showing that the dramatic drop in religious affiliation in the U.S. since 1990 is closely mirrored by the increase in Internet use.

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Back in 1990, about 8 percent of the U.S. population had no religious preference. By 2010, this percentage had more than doubled to 18 percent. That’s a difference of about 25 million people, all of whom have somehow lost their religion.

That raises an obvious question: how come? Why are Americans losing their faith?

Today, we get a possible answer thanks to the work of Allen Downey, a computer scientist at the Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts, who has analyzed the data in detail. He says that the demise is the result of several factors but the most controversial of these is the rise of the Internet. He concludes that the increase in Internet use in the last two decades has caused a significant drop in religious affiliation.

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Graduates make most of free degrees-University of the People - where students get free degrees

Graduates make most of free degrees-University of the People - where students get free degrees | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Ali Patrik Eid is a happy man right now. A few weeks ago he graduated from a university that he didn't pay a penny for. He didn't even have to show up for lectures.

And when his wife gave birth to twins shortly after he started his course in business management, it was no problem for him to take six months off to help take care of them.

He was attending the University of the People (UoPeople), one of a growing number of online universities which are opening new doors to people, particularly in the developing world.

"I have always dreamt about having a degree but I didn't think I ever would," the 34-year-old Jordanian told the BBC.

Online learning courses are not new - the University of Phoenix, for example, has been offering 100% online learning since 1987 - but the UoPeople is the first tuition-free online college that grants degrees.

Students are asked to pay a $100 (£58) fee for every exam they take but if they can't afford it, they can take advantage of a range of available scholarships.

Mr Eid did not pay for any of his 35 exams and assumes that "they were funded".

Wildcat2030's insight:

go read..

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A Debt to the Future, Face of Pain, Science Meets Fiction - New York Times

A Debt to the Future, Face of Pain, Science Meets Fiction - New York Times | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
A Debt to the Future, Face of Pain, Science Meets Fiction
New York Times
Advances in science, medicine, political organization, philosophy and, yes, even economics have been initiated with future beneficiaries in mind.
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We Need Online Alter Egos Now More Than Ever | Opinion | WIRED

We Need Online Alter Egos Now More Than Ever | Opinion | WIRED | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Online, I use my real name for many things. But sometimes, I prefer to use a pseudonym. Not because I want to anonymously harass people or post incendiary comments unscathed; no, I simply want to manage the impression I make, while still participating in diverse conversations and communities.
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Cochlear implant enhances patient experience through gene therapy

Cochlear implant enhances patient experience through gene therapy | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

According to the World Health Organization, more than 360 million people worldwide live with disabling hearing loss, and for many, devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants allow them to maintain a normal life style. But what if a cochlear device could offer a biological solution that would enhance a patient’s experience?

For the first time, researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia have used cochlear implants to regenerate auditory nerves through gene therapy, a process where therapeutic DNA is inserted into cells to treat a disease.

Cochlear implants work by converting sounds into electrical signals that are sent directly to the auditory nerve, bypassing the outer and middle ear. The process allows for significantly improved hearing, including the ability to maintain a phone conversation, but the sounds they provide for patients are monotone and robotic.

“Ultimately, we hope that after further research, people who depend on cochlear implant devices will be able to enjoy a broader dynamic and tonal range of sound, which is particularly important for our sense of the auditory world around us and for music appreciation,” says Professor Gary Housley, Director of the Translational Neuroscience Facility at UNSW Medicine.

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Our godless brains: Emerging science reveals mind-blowing alternatives to a higher power

Our godless brains: Emerging science reveals mind-blowing alternatives to a higher power | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Science has yet to uncover many mysteries of the mind. But there are more reasons than ever why God isn't necessary

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Physics is the mother science. As such, it holds the greatest power for discovering the true nature of the universe and life within it. Physicists these days seem preoccupied with astronomical issues, such as the origin and ultimate fate of the universe. But some physicists venture into the realm of biology, claiming that their unique experimental and mathematical skills give them special insight into matters of life and death.

I just hate it when physicists write about biology. They sometimes say uninformed and silly things. But I hate it just as much when I write about physics, for I too am liable to say uninformed and silly things—as I may well do here.

To digress briefly, I am reminded of the communication gap between people of science and everybody else, as so powerfully discussed by C. P. Snow in his classic book “Two Cultures.” These days, within science there are also two cultures: physical science and biological science, and they don’t always speak the same language. The language of physics, for example, relies heavily on mathematics, which is rarely mastered by biologists.

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Miro Svetlik's curator insight, April 29, 5:09 AM

Many people have argued about these matters for quite long time, The human understanding is ultimately kept back by two lenses we use to discover our universe. One is a complexity and the other is depth. We can use them separately but to convey a proper meaning of the universe we will need both. Go figure...

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8 Technologies That Will Shape Future Classrooms

8 Technologies That Will Shape Future Classrooms | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

What does the future of learning hold? What will classrooms of the future be like? Emerging technologies such as cloud computing, augmented reality (AR) and 3D printing are paving the way for the future of education in ways we may have yet to see. At the very least though, we can extrapolate from what these promising technologies and predict how schools will adopt them in time to come.

 


Via Nik Peachey
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E-trucit's curator insight, April 23, 4:17 AM

Very interesting article full of links to others sources that help to span the vision of possible future and not only in teaching.

Yolanda Bernabeu's curator insight, April 25, 8:49 AM

Aplicación de nuevas tecnologías en las aulas de un futuro esperamos que reciente

Al Post's curator insight, April 27, 10:21 PM

Some of these technologies are just too cool! I love trying to "peek" at the future.

 

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10 Breakthrough Technologies 2014 | MIT Technology Review

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2014 | MIT Technology Review | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Technology news is full of incremental developments, but few of them are true milestones. Here we’re citing 10 that are. These advances from the past year all solve thorny problems or create powerful new ways of using technology. They are breakthroughs that will matter for years to come.

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Epigenetics Helps Explain Early Humans' Appearances - D-brief | DiscoverMagazine.com

Epigenetics Helps Explain Early Humans' Appearances - D-brief | DiscoverMagazine.com | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Reconstructed epigenetics maps of Neanderthals and Denisovans reveal why their appearance and disease risk differ from ours.

Scientists have increasingly realized that DNA is only part of what makes us us — perhaps equally important is how our genes’ activity is modified by a process called epigenetics. Recently this cutting-edge field has turned its attention to some very old DNA: Researchers today announced they have reconstructed methylation maps for our extinct relatives. The findings might explain certain differences in appearances between Neanderthals, Denisovans, and us, as well as the prevalence of disease.

Epigenetics is a branch of science that explores how the expression of our DNA can be influenced by external factors without the DNA itself changing. Research in the field has focused on DNA methylation. This is when a chemical compound called a methyl group attaches to DNA. This can regulate an individual’s genetic expression and even be passed down through generations. DNA methylation has been linked to disease and also to an individual’s appearance and behavior. This is the first time, however, that an archaic pattern of methylation has been reconstructed for early humans.

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G bouts's curator insight, June 20, 3:38 PM

Scientists have increasingly realized that DNA is only part of what makes us us — perhaps equally important is how our genes’ activity is modified by a process called epigenetics. Recently this cutting-edge field has turned its attention to some very old DNA: Researchers today announced they have reconstructed methylation maps for our extinct relatives. The findings might explain certain differences in appearances between Neanderthals, Denisovans, and us, as well as the prevalence of disease.

Epigenetics is a branch of science that explores how the expression of our DNA can be influenced by external factors without the DNA itself changing. Research in the field has focused on DNA methylation. This is when a chemical compound called a methyl group attaches to DNA. This can regulate an individual’s genetic expression and even be passed down through generations. DNA methylation has been linked to disease and also to an individual’s appearance and behavior. This is the first time, however, that an archaic pattern of methylation has been reconstructed for early humans.

 

Sensitive Measures

Researchers set out to reconstruct the DNA methylation activity of Neanderthals and Denisovans, two species of archaic human that split from modern humans more than half a million years ago. The researchers could not use methyl measurement techniques that are currently standard procedure in labs because the methods require DNA to be destroyed, an impractical approach when dealing with rare archaic DNA samples.

Instead, the team turned to cytosines, one of the four nucleobases that are the building blocks of DNA. Over time, cytosines naturally decay into other nucleobases: unmethylated cytosines become uracils, while methylated cytosines decay to thymines. Because DNA methylation occurs primarily in cytosines, measuring their rate of decay in the archaic DNA allowed researchers to build a detailed picture of how archaic human DNA had methylated —

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Coming to Terms With Humanity's Inevitable Union With Machines

Coming to Terms With Humanity's Inevitable Union With Machines | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Our robot overlords are already here. We’re just anthropomorphizing our technology in more subtle ways than we’d imagined in the past.
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Two-Way Communication With Dolphins Begins With 'Sargassum'

Two-Way Communication With Dolphins Begins With 'Sargassum' | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
A human researcher floats near her ship recording a series of whistles from a nearby grey-skinned creature with great dark eyes. Amid the chatter,
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Air Pollution Killed 7 Million in 2012, According to WHO

Air Pollution Killed 7 Million in 2012, According to WHO | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

The Industrial Revolution may seem like a thing of the past to residents of developed countries, but those who live in developing countries are still very much in the thick of it. Air pollution claimed 7 million lives in 2012, according to a report just released by the World Health Organization, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries.

One out of every eight premature deaths in 2012 was attributable to air pollution, the numbers reveal — a rate double that reported in previous years due to more accurate measures of pollution in both outdoor and indoor environments and in a broader range of rural areas.

The numbers also reveal that the link between air pollution and cardiovascular disease and cancer is even stronger than previously believed. A recent analysis of life expectancy in more and less polluted regions of China also suggested that air quality levies a high tax on health than documented in prior studies.

“The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes. Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution,” Maria Neira, director of the WHO’s Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, said in a news release.

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dilaycock's curator insight, April 8, 5:53 PM

Alarming statistics from the World Health Organisation. This is something that can be, and must be, addressed.

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Scientists smash barrier to growing organs from stem cells

Scientists smash barrier to growing organs from stem cells | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

(Phys.org) —Scientists at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have overcome one of the greatest challenges in biology and taken a major step toward being able to grow whole organs and tissues from stem cells. By manipulating the appropriate signaling, the U.Va. researchers have turned embryonic stem cells into a fish embryo, essentially controlling embryonic development.

 

The research will have dramatic impact on the future use of stem cells to better the human condition, providing a framework for future studies in the field of regenerative medicine aimed at constructing tissues and organs from populations of cultured pluripotent cells.

 

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