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SpaceX's Mars plans call for massive 42-engine reusable rocket | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX's Mars plans call for massive 42-engine reusable rocket | SpaceNews.com | Nature Science | Scoop.it

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk announced plans by his company to develop a large new launch vehicle and reusable spacecraft that could be ready to take large numbers of people to Mars as soon as the mid-2020s.

Musk, in a highly-anticipated speech at the International Astronautical Congress here that attracted an unusually raucous audience for a professional conference, said that SpaceX had made initial progress on those plans despite only a small fraction of the company working on the effort.

The “Interplanetary Transport System” announced by Musk involves the development of a large reusable booster that will launch a spaceship into low Earth orbit. That spaceship will be fueled by later booster launchers of tanker vehicles, then fly to Mars.


Via Stratocumulus
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Donald Schwartz's curator insight, September 28, 2:07 PM

The large number of engines suggests too many failure points. Take a look at Russia's N1 rocket for background.

 

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Now That's What I Call Plant Science 2015

Now That's What I Call Plant Science 2015 | Nature Science | Scoop.it

From Global Plant Council: "With another year nearly over we recently put out a call for nominations for the Most Influential Plant Science Research of 2015. Suggestions flooded in, and we also trawled through our social media feeds to see which stories inspired the most discussion and engagement. It was fantastic to read about so much amazing research from around the world. Below are our top five, selected based on impact for the plant science research community, engagement on social media, and importance for both policy and potential end product/application."


Via Mary Williams
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Mary Williams's curator insight, December 23, 2015 2:31 AM

Good top-five list from the Global Plant Council - a nice list to share with students!

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Protocol for seed sterilisation for tissue sampling

Protocol for Arabidopsis seeds sterilization used in Dr. Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso's Lab at the Centre for Plant Science. University of Leeds ...
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A Proposal to Modify Plants Gives G.M.O. Debate New Life

A Proposal to Modify Plants Gives G.M.O. Debate New Life | Nature Science | Scoop.it
Some scientists are hoping to overcome objections to genetically modified organisms by reintroducing into plants genes that had long ago been bred out of them.
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Half the DNA on the NYC Subway Matches No Known Organism 

Half the DNA on the NYC Subway Matches No Known Organism  | Nature Science | Scoop.it
The results of a massive new DNA sequencing project on the New York City subway have just been published. And yup, there's a lot of bacteria on the subway--though we know most of it is harmless. What's really important, though, is what we don't know about it.
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Ravens Have Social Abilities Previously Only Seen In Humans | IFLScience

Ravens Have Social Abilities Previously Only Seen In Humans | IFLScience | Nature Science | Scoop.it
Humans and their primate cousins are well known for their intelligence and social abilities. You hear them called bird-brained, but birds have demonstrated a great deal of intelligence in many tasks. However, little is known about their social skills. A new study shows that ravens are socially savvier than we give them credit for. They are able to work out the social dynamics of other raven groups, something which only humans had shown the ability to do.
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Hybrid Material May Help Crush Solar Cell Efficiency Record | IFLScience##

Hybrid Material May Help Crush Solar Cell Efficiency Record | IFLScience## | Nature Science | Scoop.it
During photosynthesis, plants only convert about 10% of the light they receive from the sun into usable hydrogen to fuel the reaction. Last summer, a group of researchers were able to break the world record for laboratory efficiency by reaching 44.7% with a new cell, with 50% as the ultimate goal.
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'Perfect storm' turned HIV from local to global killer - health - 02 October 2014 - New Scientist#.VC5sEo0cTrc#.VC5sEo0cTrc

'Perfect storm' turned HIV from local to global killer - health - 02 October 2014 - New Scientist#.VC5sEo0cTrc#.VC5sEo0cTrc | Nature Science | Scoop.it
The rapid expansion of mining and railway links from Kinshasa, the epicentre of the pandemic, helped HIV spread, say a study tracing the virus's first
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New mushrooms found in porcini packet | Kew News

New mushrooms found in porcini packet | Kew News | Nature Science | Scoop.it
Kew mycologists Bryn Dentinger and Laura Martinez-Suz have discovered three species of mushrooms that are new to science in a commercial packet of dried Chinese porcini purchased from a shop in London.
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Perennial Corn Crops? It Could Happen with New Plant-Breeding Tool | Lab Manager

Perennial Corn Crops? It Could Happen with New Plant-Breeding Tool | Lab Manager | Nature Science | Scoop.it
Since the first plant genome sequence was obtained for the plant Arabidopsis in 2000, scientists have gene-sequenced everything from cannabis to castor bean.
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Stephen Hawking: 'Implications of artificial intelligence - are we taking AI seriously enough?'

Stephen Hawking: 'Implications of artificial intelligence - are we taking AI seriously enough?' | Nature Science | Scoop.it
With the Hollywood blockbuster Transcendence playing in cinemas, with Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman showcasing clashing visions for the future of humanity, it's tempting to dismiss the notion of highly intelligent machines as mere science fiction. But this would be a mistake, and potentially our worst mistake in history.

 

Artificial-intelligence (AI) research is now progressing rapidly. Recent landmarks such as self-driving cars, a computer winning at Jeopardy! and the digital personal assistants Siri, Google Now and Cortana are merely symptoms of an IT arms race fuelled by unprecedented investments and building on an increasingly mature theoretical foundation. Such achievements will probably pale against what the coming decades will bring.


The potential benefits are huge; everything that civilisation has to offer is a product of human intelligence; we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools that AI may provide, but the eradication of war, disease, and poverty would be high on anyone's list. Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history.


Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks. In the near term, world militaries are considering autonomous-weapon systems that can choose and eliminate targets; the UN and Human Rights Watch have advocated a treaty banning such weapons. In the medium term, as emphasised by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee in The Second Machine Age, AI may transform our economy to bring both great wealth and great dislocation.

 

Looking further ahead, there are no fundamental limits to what can be achieved: there is no physical law precluding particles from being organised in ways that perform even more advanced computations than the arrangements of particles in human brains. An explosive transition is possible, although it might play out differently from in the movie: as Irving Good realised in 1965, machines with superhuman intelligence could repeatedly improve their design even further, triggering what Vernor Vinge called a "singularity" and Johnny Depp's movie character calls "transcendence".

 

One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand. Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.

 

So, facing possible futures of incalculable benefits and risks, the experts are surely doing everything possible to ensure the best outcome, right? Wrong. If a superior alien civilisation sent us a message saying, "We'll arrive in a few decades," would we just reply, "OK, call us when you get here – we'll leave the lights on"? Probably not – but this is more or less what is happening with AI. Although we are facing potentially the best or worst thing to happen to humanity in history, little serious research is devoted to these issues outside non-profit institutes such as the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, the Future of Humanity Institute, the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, and the Future of Life Institute. All of us should ask ourselves what we can do now to improve the chances of reaping the benefits and avoiding the risks.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Tekrighter's curator insight, May 19, 2014 9:58 AM

Do we need to control it, or learn to coexist with it?

oliviersc's comment, May 19, 2014 4:01 PM
Partagé dans la Revue de blogs : Olivier-SC = http://oxymoron-fractal.blogspot.fr/2014/05/olivier-sc.html
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Stephen Hawking on Space Exploration

Professor Stephen Hawking explains why the International Space Station is so vital to the future survival of humankind. LIVE FROM SPACE AIRS FRI MARCH 14 at 8P.
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Gardening as a child may lead college students to eat more veggies

Gardening as a child may lead college students to eat more veggies | Nature Science | Scoop.it
As researchers nationwide try to get college students to eat healthier foods, they’re finding that gardening may lead to a lasting habit of eating more fruits and vegetables.

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Ron Wolford's curator insight, September 21, 1:49 PM
Science Daily
Eric Larson's curator insight, September 22, 4:44 PM
Gardening classes lead to college students who eat vegetables? 
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More than half of the world's plants 'are wrongly named' - The Independent

More than half of the world's plants 'are wrongly named' - The Independent | Nature Science | Scoop.it
In an embarrassing finding for a profession which is allegedly based on fact, more than half the world’s natural history specimens may be wrongly named, according to British scientists.
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Coydogs and lynxcats and pizzlies, oh my

Coydogs and lynxcats and pizzlies, oh my | Nature Science | Scoop.it
As humans change the planet, more native animals and plants are hybridizing Problem — or solution?
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Geheimnis der Domestikation entdeckt

Geheimnis der Domestikation entdeckt | Nature Science | Scoop.it
Russlands Genetiker haben den Mechanismus der Domestikation von Tieren erklärt. Sie haben bei den Silberfüchsen einen Chromosomabschnitt entdeckt, der für das „gezähmte Verh
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Archaeologists find vast medieval palace buried under prehistoric fortress at Old Sarum

Archaeologists find vast medieval palace buried under prehistoric fortress at Old Sarum | Nature Science | Scoop.it
Archaeologists in southern England have discovered what may be one of the largest medieval royal palaces ever found – buried under the ground inside a vast prehistoric fortress.
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Graphene Could Lead To Better Bullet-Proof Vests And Hydrogen Fuel Cells | IFLScience

Graphene Could Lead To Better Bullet-Proof Vests And Hydrogen Fuel Cells | IFLScience | Nature Science | Scoop.it
Ever since its discovery ten years ago, scientists and engineers have expressed great expectations for the “wonder material” graphene. Just a single atom thick, these carbon sheets are not only the world’s thinnest material, but they are also the strongest. It therefore may not come as a complete surprise that scientists are now considering its use in body armor.
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Forensic chemistry could stop African-plant thieves

Forensic chemistry could stop African-plant thieves | Nature Science | Scoop.it
Isotope analysis could help in the rush to save South Africa's cycads from extinction.

 

Nature 514, 17 (02 October 2014) doi:10.1038/nature.2014.16010
Via NatProdChem
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New Phytologist: Hitchhiker's guide to multi-dimensional plant pathology (2014)

New Phytologist: Hitchhiker's guide to multi-dimensional plant pathology (2014) | Nature Science | Scoop.it

Filamentous pathogens pose a substantial threat to global food security. One central question in plant pathology is how pathogens cause infection and manage to evade or suppress plant immunity to promote disease. With many technological advances over the past decade, including DNA sequencing technology, an array of new tools has become embedded within the toolbox of next-generation plant pathologists. By employing a multidisciplinary approach plant pathologists can fully leverage these technical advances to answer key questions in plant pathology, aimed at achieving global food security. This review discusses the impact of: cell biology and genetics on progressing our understanding of infection structure formation on the leaf surface; biochemical and molecular analysis to study how pathogens subdue plant immunity and manipulate plant processes through effectors; genomics and DNA sequencing technologies on all areas of plant pathology; and new forms of collaboration on accelerating exploitation of big data. As we embark on the next phase in plant pathology, the integration of systems biology promises to provide a holistic perspective of plant–pathogen interactions from big data and only once we fully appreciate these complexities can we design truly sustainable solutions to preserve our resources.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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Marie Zen Attitude's curator insight, July 26, 2014 8:21 AM

Un petit lien spécial pour Emeric ;)

 

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Were Dinosaurs Warm Or Cold Blooded? | IFLScience

Were Dinosaurs Warm Or Cold Blooded? | IFLScience | Nature Science | Scoop.it
  The trouble with old bones is that they can’t tell you a whole lot about metabolism and the temperature of blood. We used to think that dinosaur metabolic rates were slow, that they just lumbered across the landscape, making giant thuds as they went. But then we saw them chasing Jeeps... so which is it? According to a new study, their metabolic rates weren’t slow like salamanders, and they weren’t fast like finches -- they were somewhere in between.
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Pen That Lets You Draw Any Color In The World | IFLScience

Pen That Lets You Draw Any Color In The World | IFLScience | Nature Science | Scoop.it
A pen that combines an RGB sensor and a five-color ink cartridge allows artists to match any pigment they can see. The pen is known as Scribble, and it's not yet available for sale. However, if you can't wait to get your hands on it, and the $150 pricetag does not deter you, you can sign up to an alert (and be encouraged to contribute to their Kickstarter campaign).
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Calorie-free Sweetener Safe for Humans, Kills Fruit Flies | IFLScience

Calorie-free Sweetener Safe for Humans, Kills Fruit Flies | IFLScience | Nature Science | Scoop.it
  Forget capturing, forget honey. You can kill more flies with sugar substitute.
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How we all could benefit from synaesthesia

How we all could benefit from synaesthesia | Nature Science | Scoop.it
Developing the condition in those without it may help to improve learning, aid recovery from brain injury and guard against mental decline, writes Helen Massy-Beresford
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