Sunday, July 31, 2011
This photo montage shows the Cuban nectar feeding bat Monophyllus beside the vine that scientists discovers attracts bats by producing an "echo beacon" with a special leaf. That sonar-reflecting leaf stands upright above the ring of flowers. The cup-like structures that hold the nectar hang below. CREDIT: Courtesy of Ralph Mangelsdorff and Ralph Simon
Just as some flowers use bright colors to attract insect pollinators, other plants may use sound to lure in nectar-eating bats.
One rain-forest vine has a dish-shaped leaf located above a cluster of flowers that appears to help bats find them (and the plant's tasty nectar) by reflecting back the calls the flying mammals send out, new research indicates. [Video of the Discovery]
While there is other evidence that plants use bats' sonar systems to attract them, this is the first time scientists have shown that a plant can produce an "echo beacon" that cuts through sonic clutter of reflected echoes, and that this signal can cut a bat's search time for food in half, according to the researchers, led by Ralph Simon, a research fellow at the University of Ulm in Germany.
According to The Associated Press, instead of chanting “The people want to topple the regime,” a slogan heard at protests across the Arab world this year, from Tahrir Square to Tunisia, demonstrators called out, “The people want to implement Sharia,” a strict code of Islamic law."
Eat your greens... and pinks and yellows: How Tesco is trying to get children to eat cauliflower by making it more colourful
Children reluctant to eat their veg has been a never ending struggle for parents.
That could be about to change, however, as brighter colours are worked into cauliflowers that hit the shelves at Tesco today.
The supermarket chain has launched 'rainbow' packs that will have sprigs of purple, orange and emerald green cauliflower to appeal to awkward youngsters who see the veg as boring.
Coloured cauliflowers will be exclusively sold in a 'rainbow pack' at Tesco
Tesco greens buyer Jeni Gray said: 'These cauliflowers are almost works of art and have a real wow factor that should really create a stir with shoppers and hopefully children at dinnertime.
'Cauliflower got its poor image from baby boomer generation schoolchildren who generally loathed them as they were always being told to eat their greens for health reasons.
'When food was rationed during and after the Second World War cauliflower became part of the nation's staple meat and two veg diet at school and at home.'
Saturday, July 30, 2011
1) A Trillion Seconds Worth of Distance Run
Can you guess how many days it takes for a trillion seconds to pass? If you said, 'Let me go get my calculator,' you're on the right track. I'll give you a hint: Each 24-hour day is worth 86,400 seconds. That's a huge number! But it's no where near a trillion.
A million seconds is 13 days.
A billion seconds is 31 years.
A trillion seconds is 31,688 years.
If you can believe it, a trillion seconds ago, modern humans were yet to exist, and Neanderthals stalked the plains of Europe."
An ocean exploration team led by Swedish researcher Peter Lindberg has found what some are suggesting is a crashed flying saucer.
Lindberg's team, which has had success in the past recovering sunken ships and cargo, was using sonar to look for the century-old wreck of a ship that went down carrying several cases of a super-rare champagne. Instead, the team discovered what it claims is a mysterious round object that might (or might not) be extraterrestrial.
Let's put the issue on trial before we reach a verdict. In a variation on the theme of evidentiary justice, I offer the defense perspective first and then the prosecution."
Bacterial antibiotic resistance is a major concern because it can lead to the appearance of dangerous and difficult-to-treat infections in humans. Resistance generally occurs in one of two ways: either through mutations in the bacterial DNA or, more commonly, through the acquisition of resistant genes from other organisms through horizontal gene transfer."
Astronomers Bania and Loren Anderson of the Astrophysical Laboratory of Marseille in France have discovered about 450 hidden stellar nurseries in the Milky Way where rare colossal stars many times bigger than the sun are being born. The discovery doubles the number of known sites in the northern reaches of the galaxy where massive stars are born, said Tom Bania of Boston University, who estimats that there could be another 4,000 or so fainter massive-star birth regions awaiting discovery throughout the galaxy.
As NASA’s investigation concluded, the disintegration of the Shuttle began when an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster failed at the moment of lift-off, and caused a breach in the joint which it sealed, thus allowing pressurized hot gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and impinge upon the external fuel tank. This, in turn, led to the structural failure of the same external tank, and unstoppable, and inevitable, tragedy, and death was the only possible outcomes.
Not everyone was convinced the event was an accident, however – as the Freedom of Information Act has now demonstrated. In the immediate wake of the affair, the FBI’s Washington Field Office found itself embroiled in a very curious saga relative to the destruction of the Shuttle."
Friday, July 29, 2011
Major problem for visitors to this formation at Rivar Hill. The farmer does not want anyone in his field and is threatening to spray peoples cars.
Latest News the Farmer has harvested the field!
An arrogant scientific elite has divorced themselves from common sense, morality, and the rest of the human species in their quest for full spectrum scientific domination. While the vast majority of the population is consuming endless supplies of entertainment, a revolution is taking place right under their noses. The very genetic code of the planet’s biosphere is being tampered with; The ultimate goal being the ability to manipulate and program at will - as if working with a word processor – the biological processes of life.
This issue is the issue of our time. If the Scientific Dictatorship is allowed to continue its operations without debate, the survival of the human species is at risk. The very individuals developing the technologies admit as much.
Top A.I. researcher Hugo de Garis explains in the following clip that the development of super-intelligent A.I. may lead to a devastating world war that could kill billions of people. He adds that he is more than willing to take the risk, saying, “As a brain builder myself, am I prepared to risk the extinction of the human species for the sake of building an artilect? … yep.”
Read More: http://www.oldthinkernews.com/?p=2038
The predicted temperature changes (darker red indicating greater change) due to global warming, based on data that scientists, policymakers and the public are now questioning.
Has a central tenant of global warming just collapsed?
Climate change forecasts have for years predicted that carbon dioxide would trap heat on Earth, and increases in the gas would lead to a planetwide rise in temperatures, with devastating consequences for the environment.
But long-term data from NASA satellites seems to contradict the predictions dramatically, according to a new study.
“There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans,” said Dr. Roy Spencer, a research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. science team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer -- basically a big thermometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite.
“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” he said. The planet isn't heating up, in other words.
Part Human/Part Animal Hybrid Monsters Are Being Created By Scientists All Over The Planet: "Crazed scientists all over the globe are 'playing god' with the very building blocks of life. Today, thanks to extraordinary advances in the field of genetic modification, scientists are now able to do things that were once unthinkable. Part human/part animal hybrid monsters are being created by scientists all over the planet and it is all perfectly legal. Scientists justify mixing the DNA of humans and animals by claiming that it will help them 'cure diseases' and 'feed the world', but the reality is that all of this genetic modification is a tremendous threat to the human race. It is only a matter of time before humans start allowing themselves to be genetically-modified in order to 'fight illness' or to 'enhance' their abilities. The temptation to insert the genes of animals or plants into people in order to create 'super soldiers' or a 'superior race' will certainly prove to be much too tempting. Unless something is done to hold all of this back, it seems almost certain that genetic hell will be unleashed on the human race. Once genetically-modified humans start breeding with normal humans there will be no putting the genie back into the bottle. "
Iarpa, the intelligence community’s way-out research shop, wants to know where you took that vacation picture over the Fourth of July. It wants to know where umanyou took that snapshot with your friends when you were at that New Year’s Eve party. Oh yeah, and if you happen to be a terrorist and you took a photo with some of your buddies while prepping for a raid, the agency definitely wants to know where you took that picture — and it’s looking for ideas to help figure it out.
In an announcement for its new “Finder” program, the agency says that it is looking for ways to geolocate (a fancy word for “locate” that implies having coordinates for a place) images by extracting data from the images themselves and using this to make guesses about where they were taken.
More and more digital cameras today don’t just take pictures but also capture what is called metadata — often referred to as data about data — that can include everything from when the picture was taken to what kind of camera was used to where the it was taken. This metadata, often stored in a format called EXIF, can be used by different programs to understand different aspects of the image — and also by intelligence analysts to understand different aspects of the user who took it, and the people who are in it. Like who they are, what they are doing, and where and when they did it.
Sounds great! But there are a few small problems…
Until now a tiny asteroid had secretly and silently run ahead of Earth on the planet's stroll around the Sun.
But scientists have found that for the coming hundreds of years we are certain not to only have the Moon for company on the year-long journey.
The discovery of this companion, known as Trojan 2010 TK7, which measures only about 300 yards across, makes Earth the fourth planet in the solar system that is known to share its orbit with an asteroid.
Not alone: This artist's impression by NASA shows the trojan leading the Earth, and its extreme orbit around our planet is shown in green. Earth's orbit around the sun is indicated by blue dots
It well never get closer than 50-times the distance the moon sits from the us.
Currently, it is about 50 million miles away, and should come no closer than about 18 million miles.
'These objects are difficult to find from Earth, simply because they're not very big and they're pretty faint, and they're close to the Sun as seen from Earth,' explained Christian Veillet from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and a co-author on the Nature study.
The discovery of an ancient harbor on the Red Sea proves ancient Egyptians mastered oceangoing technology and launched a series of ambitious expeditions to far-off lands.
A relief at the temple of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut in Luxor, Egypt, carved ca. 1480 B.B., shows a merchant ship on a trading expedition. Vessel artifacts match this depiction.
The scenes carved into a wall of the ancient Egyptian temple at Deir el-Bahri tell of a remarkable sea voyage. A fleet of cargo ships bearing exotic plants, animals, and precious incense navigates through high-crested waves on a journey from a mysterious land known as Punt or “the Land of God.” The carvings were commissioned byHatshepsut, ancient Egypt’s greatest female pharaoh, who controlled Egypt for more than two decades in the 15th century B.C. She ruled some 2 million people and oversaw one of most powerful empires of the ancient world.
The exact meaning of the detailed carvings has divided Egyptologists ever since they were discovered in the mid-19th century. “Some people have argued that Punt was inland and not on the sea, or a fictitious place altogether,” Oxford Egyptologist John Baines says. Recently, however, a series of remarkable discoveries on a desolate stretch of the Red Sea coast has settled the debate, proving once and for all that the masterful building skills of the ancient Egyptians applied to oceangoing ships as well as to pyramids.
The sequencing of the complete Neanderthals genome was one of the highlights of last year, not just because of the technical achievement involved, but because it confirmed something extraordinary about our own ancestry. It showed that everyone outside of Africa can trace around 1-4% of their genes to Neanderthals. Our ancestors must have bred with Neanderthals on their way out of Africa.
Then, later in the year, the same team revealed another ancient genome. This one belonged to a group of people called Denisovans, known only from a single finger bone and a tooth. They too had left genetic heirlooms in modern people. Around 5-7% of the genes of Melanesians (people from Papua New Guinea, Fiji and other Pacific islands) came from the Denisovans.
A stalk-like prominence rose up above the sun, then split into roughly four strands that twisted themselves into a knot and dispersed over a two-hour period (July 12, 2011). NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory took a video of the sun twister.
A NASA satellite has caught a stunning, yet eerie, video of a huge plasma twister rising up from the surface of the sun.
The video, taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows a plasma eruption that swirls up like a tornado to a dizzying height of up to 93,206 miles (150,000 kilometers) above the solar surface.
"Its height is roughly between 10 to 12 Earths," solar astrophysicist C. Alex Young of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., told SPACE.com. [See the stunning sun twister video]
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Senior space agency scientists believe that the super storm would hit like ‘a bolt of lightning’ and damage everything from emergency services’ systems, hospital equipment, banking systems and air traffic control devices, through to “everyday” items such as home computers, iPods and Sat Navs.
And unless precautions are taken, it could cause catastrophic consequences for the world’s health, emergency services and national security."
Phone batteries dying, spider webs of power cords — powering mobile technology can be pretty annoying for the average iPhone or iPad user. But it’s even more annoying — not to mention potentially dangerous — if you’re a soldier on patrol in Afghanistan losing juice on a critical gadget. Yes, troops in the field use their fair share of handheld gear, too. Now, the Pentagon is hoping to give them a power-up with a wireless charging system.
Darpa, the Defense Department’s advanced research shop, announced Wednesday that it’s looking to build a short-range wireless power transmission system for troops in the field. The transmitter would allow troops to charge up things like GPS without having to stop and plug in. If the system works, a single GI could strap on a battery pack and allow other troops to draw power from it wirelessly at a distance of up to two meters.
The push for wireless power is a problem born of an increasingly technology-equipped military. GIs in the field lug a lot of handheld electronic gadgetry — about five to ten pounds of just battery weight, according to Darpa. On top of that, the Defense Department keeps coming up with ideas for yet more portable electronic gear, from Android-based smart phones to universal translators. All that gear needs juice to keep going on long missions. If troops are out on patrol, they can’t just find a convenient socket to stop and plug in. Darpa’s hoping its wireless power system can prove a solution to energy needs in the field without adding a tangled mess of charger cords.
That's the theory put forward by UC Berkeley biologist Peter Duesberg, who argues that the very act of carcinogenesis - the formation of cancer - is itself a form of speciation, in which distinct new species evolve. That may seem a little far-fetched, so let's take a look at Duesberg's precise reasoning to see exactly what's going on here."
Policymakers, institutions and even language are hopelessly out of step with developments in trans-species science
Single species ... Humam embryonic stem cells. Photograph: Chad A Cowan
Friday's report by the Academy of Medical Sciences on the increasingly fuzzy boundaries between the human and the animal is the latest in a long series of policy reflections on how to keep pace with developments in the biosciences.
It can justly be said that politics and regulation have not dealt well with our newfound capacities for muddying the boundaries between us and other species. And yet the last two decades have witnessed an unprecedented growth in bioscientific techniques that increasingly call into question what it means to be human. Take the human genome project: many of us may have intuitively suspected that we might have more genetically in common with the chimpanzee than even Darwin had envisaged, only then to be told of our cousinly closeness to the fruit fly, maize and the zebra fish.
MANY dystopian writers have imagined worlds in which a singular "human nature" has bifurcated or splintered into a plurality of human natures. They have portrayed societies in which the genetically modified rise above their inferior, natural cousins ("Gattaca"); or different castes of human are selectively bred for accomplishing different tasks ("Brave New World"). In some cases humans from working and middle classes evolve over millennia into two different species ("The Time Machine"), or they experience a reality that is entirely virtual ("The Matrix").
These dystopias are readily imaginable only because at some level it is obvious that human nature is malleable. There is no reason in principle why creatures like ourselves might not become radically different over time. Until recently, such mutations were simply abstract possibilities, limited to the power of gods, sorcerers and novelists. But lately we have begun to consider the possibility that technology might change us more in a generation or two than evolution has done over millions of years.
It's known as MORIS, short for Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System. A police officer attaches a handheld biometric device to a smartphone, so it's small enough and light enough to take from the station house into the field."
The so-called “humanzee” (sometimes also called a “chuman”) refers to the hypothetical offspring between a human and a chimpanzee. Though our two species are similar enough, in theory, to result in successful hybridization, such an experiment has never actually taken place, primarily for ethical reasons. After all, if a being is created that further adds to the blurring between the proverbial lines of human and animal, how should that creature be treated? What if an accident were to occur as a result of mishandling, or if the “manimal” were to behave in wild and erratic ways that could be dangerous to others? Conversely, what if the individual were intelligent enough to exist within society; having only one human “parent”, what rights and laws would be applicable to this individual?
Indeed, there are a number of questions… and those are only a few pertaining to hybridization between humans and our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom. However, there are many other possibilities considering the vast array of fauna available on Earth, and previous tests in China and elsewhere involving combining of human stem cells with those of goats, as well as recent propositions that might allow integration of human brain cells into mice, are again raising the red flags of ethical outcry.
Life Out There: Eden in a Test Tube: To better recognize extraterrestrial life should they come upon it, scientists are working to create simple life forms in a lab. But, as Dennis Overbye reports, they first have to agree what life is.
SAN DIEGO — Here in a laboratory perched on the edge of the continent, researchers are trying to construct Life As We Don’t Know It in a thimbleful of liquid.
Generations of scientists, children and science fiction fans have grown up presuming that humanity’s first encounter with alien life will happen in a red sand dune on Mars, or in an enigmatic radio signal from some obscure star.
But it could soon happen right here onEarth, according to a handful of chemists and biologists who are using the tools of modern genetics to try to generate the Frankensteinian spark that will jump the gap separating the inanimate and the animate. The day is coming, they say, when chemicals in a test tube will come to life.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Control robotic limbs with software
Advances in brain computer interfaces have helped researchers develop a ‘brain cap’ that can turn thoughts into motion.
A team at the University of Maryland has been working on a non-invasive method that will allow a sensor lined cap to connect with neural software.
The technology could potentially be used to control computers, robotic prosthetic limbs, motorised wheelchairs or even digital avatars.
To get widely speculative, it could be possible to interact wirelessly. The team says its discovery could be used to help with a variety of illnesses or injuries.
"We are doing something that few previously thought was possible," said Contreras-Vidal in a statement.
"We use EEG [electroencephalography] to non-invasively read brain waves and translate them into movement commands for computers and other devices.”
That includes using brain signals to reconstruct the complex three dimensional movements of ankle, knee and hip joints while walking.
Italian professor Francesco D'Andria said archeologists found the tomb of the biblical figure -- one of the 12 original disciples of Jesus -- while working on the ruins of a newly-unearthed church, Turkish news agency Anadolu reported Wednesday.
'We have been looking for Saint Philip's tomb for years,' d'Andria told the agency. 'We finally found it in the ruins of a church which we excavated a month ago.'
The structure of the tomb and the writings on the wall proved it belonged to St. Philip, he added."
Human DNA includes eight nucleotides instead of the four originally identified.
The human recipe just got complicated: It turns out there are more ingredients in us than we thought.
In high school science, we were taught of the four basic units that make up DNA -- adenine, guanine, thymine and cytosine. When scientists talk of DNA sequencing, it's written as strings of these units: ATCGGTGA, and so on.
In recent years, scientists expanded that list of nucleotides from four to six. And in a study published online in the most recent issue of Science magazine, researchers from the University of North Carolina School's medical school have discovered the seventh and eight bases of DNA.
South Korean scientists said on Wednesday they have created a glowing dog using a cloning technique that could help find cures for human diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, Yonhap news agency reported.
A research team from Seoul National University (SNU) said the genetically modified female beagle, named Tegon and born in 2009, has been found to glow fluorescent green under ultraviolet light if given a doxycycline antibiotic, the report said.
The researchers, who completed a two-year test, said the ability to glow can be turned on or off by adding a drug to the dog’s food.
Wikipedia tells us that 'the contemporary meaning of the term 'transhumanism' – which is now symbolized by H+ (human plus) ... (is) an international intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.'"
Be part of the action at work from home or anywhere. All you need is a web browser to interact with the whole office, lab, factory, or warehouse. QB glides around smoothly and quietly, giving you total access and presence.
Purchase Here: http://www.anybot.com/#front
But Beijing has a brutally simple — if risky — plan to compensate for this relative weakness: buy missiles. And then, buy more of them. All kinds of missiles: short-range and long-range; land-based, air-launched and sea-launched; ballistic and cruise; guided and “dumb.”
The Underwater Kites and Wing Waves might sound like obscure bands nabbing rave reviews over atPitchfork, but all hip indie techies know these have nothing to do with fickle music scenes and more to do with generating energy from the ebb and flow of ocean waves.
Harnessing wave energy may be a packed genre (crowded with chillwavers and new wavers), but the non-musical super group composed of researchers from Boston University and the Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation think you might dig their sound ideas on producing cleaner and cheaper wave energy.
They want to harness energy from waves using a fleet of ships. The fleet would replace expensive transmission cables currently used to transfer electricity from offshore power generators to the mainland could ultimately be done away with. Typically, these cables fetch a salty price -- often more than $500,000 for less than a mile.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Just what does this mean? Genetically modified organisms or GMOs are organisms that have been created through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology. This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be snipped and inserted into another species in a laboratory to create specific characteristics and new species that do not occur in nature. You may have heard them referred to as 'frankenfoods' for this reason. For instance, a plant can be engineered to become resistant to a pesticide, or even contain its own pesticides within the plant cells, so that the fields can be sprayed with the chemical and the crops will not die along with weeds."
Warner Brothers is moving into the web TV series game with a bang with the announcement of their new web series “H+”, which is being produced by Bryan Singer of The Usual Suspects fame. Here’s a synopsis of the series:
H+: The Digital Series takes viewers on a journey into an apocalyptic future where technology has begun to spiral out of control…. a future where 33% of the world’s population has retired its cell phones and laptops in favor of a stunning new device – an implanted computer system called H+.
This tiny tool allows the user’s own mind and nervous system to be connected to the Internet 24 hours a day. But something else is coming… something dark and vicious… and within seconds, billions of people will be dead… opening the door to radical changes in the political and social landscape of the planet — prompting survivors to make sense of what went wrong.
The trailer premiered at the San Diego Comic-Con, and you can watch it below:
It’s hard to say what exactly is going on in here, but I thought the effects of people using the internet in their brains was pretty neat. And there does seem to be some interesting takes on the potential here – both good and bad.
Who is John Lear? He is a retired airline captain with over 19,000 hours of flight time. He is the son of Lear Jet inventor, Bill Lear. He has flown over 100 different types of planes in 60 different countries. John holds 17 aviation world records. His accomplishments are too numerous to mention here such as: He was the youngest American to climb the Matterhorn in 1959. LEAR FLEW SECRET MISSIONS FOR THE CIA in Central and Southest Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa between 1966 and 1983. In 1988, John met Bob Lazar; the scientist/physicist who worked on back-engineering of ET saucers at S-4 near the infamous Area 51. In March 1989, Lazar took Lear to a section of Rachel Nevada where they observed the flight of a flying saucer at the exact time Lazar told him it would occur. Two weeks later during more UFO spying, security forces caught Lear, Lazar and 3 others. The next day, Lazar lost his job with the Government for this breach of security. John Lear has lectured and learned incredible information about life in our Solar System; structures on the Moon; cities on Mars and huge ET ships mining the rings of Saturn, etc., etc...
A machine gun is a powerful weapon, particularly on board a Navy ship. But it suffers from what some would consider a design flaw: It’s not a laser cannon. Until now.
It’s the next move in the Navy’s dicey long-term mission to protect surface ships with death rays: Two defense giants, Boeing and BAE Systems, have teamed up to combine a solid-state laser weapon with BAE’s Mk-38 25-mm machine gun. On Monday, they announced they’re developing a demonstration model together for shipboard defense, which a Boeing vice president called a revolutionary one-two punch against enemy ships or small drones.
The next model Mk-38 will have a twin capability: It can keep firing off 180 rounds per minute with aneffective range of 2000 yards. Or it can fire off “different levels of laser energy,” according to BAE spokeswoman Stephanie Bissell Serkhoshian. And the two can be combined, as the laser can identify and lock on a target for the machine gun to fill with lead.
Right now, the prototype that BAE and Boeing jointly developed — thanks to a $2.8 million Navy contractawarded in March — tops out at a laser blast of 10 kilowatts. That’s an order of magnitude below what’s considered militarily effective. And there are many other hurdles for the system to overcome: It’s a solid-state fiber laser, meaning light has to focus through a crystal medium to create a deadly beam, and all the crud in sea air can diminish the potency of those kinds of lasers.
Still, a solid-state laser not manufactured by Boeing and BAE succeeded in blasting the engine off a small watercraft during an April test off the coast of California. That laser, operated by the eggheads at the Office of Naval Research, used a mere 15-kilowatt beam to disable the boat from a mile away.
"I don't think the human race will survive the next 1,000 years unless we spread into space."
The Obama Administration new mission for NASA puts the focus on developing new space technologies, exploring the solar system with robots, and pushing humans closer to living offworld. All of which will be funded a budget increase to NASA of $6 billion over five years.
Under the new strategy, we'd see a revamped NASA program focused on scientific innovation, rather than recreating old experiments. Specifically, as NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said: "We will invent and demonstrate large-scale, new and novel approaches to spaceflight such as in-orbit fuel depots and rendezvous and docking technologies, and closed-loop life support systems so that our future robotic and human exploration missions are both highly capable and more affordable . . . as well as providing $3 billion over five years for robotic exploration precursor missions that will pave the way for later human exploration of the moon, Mars and nearby asteroids."
The state of Minnesota is now paying scientists to engage in the grisly practice of human cloning. After the state legislature failed to re-authorize a ban on state funded human cloning during the special session, it is now legal to use taxpayer dollars to create cloned human embryos.
The ban on the use of state taxpayer money had been in place since 2009 and encompassed all forms of human cloning, known also as somatic cell nuclear transfer, whether intended for reproductive or so-called therapeutic purposes. The University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute repeatedly testified during the legislative session against a permanent ban on state funding of human cloning, saying it wanted to leave open its option to clone human life with state funds.
“In these hard economic times when so many Minnesotans are hurting, it is a tragedy that our taxpayer dollars can now be wasted to create and kill the tiniest human beings,” responded Leo LaLonde, the president of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, a statewide pro-life organization.
During the regular 2011 legislative session, state legislators passed a total ban on all forms of human cloning, in addition to passing a continuation of the ban on taxpayer funding of human cloning. Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat, vetoed the pro-life legislation. Then, in a legislative deal struck by pro-abortion Gov. Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Koch, and Speaker of the House Zellers going into the special session, no pro-life provisions were allowed to be considered, MCCL indicates.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Boeing is working on a new flat plane that would be able to take off and land vertically using dozens of new pulse jets they call Pulse-Ejector-Thrust-Augmentors. Of course, these things were originally created by Nazis.
A newly-identified, 70million-year-old species of crocodile with huge teeth and a dog-shaped head has been found in a small town in Brazil.
The fossil of Pissarrachampsa sera, which scientists believe ate dinosaurs, was discovered in Cretaceous sediments in Minas Gerais by a municipal worker.
Dating back to the end of the dinosaur era, the strange head of this remarkable terrestrial crocodile has revealed much about the extinct Baurusuchia breed of crocodiles.
Huge teeth: The fossil of Pissarrachampsa sera's head, which scientists believe ate dinosaurs, was discovered in Cretaceous sediments in Minas Gerais by a municipal worker
Lead researcher Hans Larsson, of McGill University in Quebec, said: 'Whereas modern-day amphibious crocodiles have low and flat heads, this new find gives us one of the first detailed insights into the head anatomy of this weird group of extinct crocs called Baurusuchia that feature tall, dog-like skulls with enlarged canines, and long-limbed body proportions.'
Two of the world's greatest particle smashers announced tantalizing hints that the Higgs boson -- or 'God Particle' -- may soon be within reach, a breakthrough find that could either make or break our model of the universe as we know it.
Again, no one is shouting eureka just yet, but taken together, collision data from the Large Hadron Collider and the Tevatron suggest scientists may have seen the first glimpses of the elusive Higgs particle, the grand prize of physics."
Transhumanism is not simply something that will happen in the future; it is a general byproduct of modernity. Thinking of transhumanism narrowly, only as a future state, jeopardizes the development of desirable ethics and societal changes.
When asked if I am a transhumanist, my first reaction is, No. I describe my identity functionally: researcher, theologian; and relationally: wife, daughter, sister, friend. Equally true, but what I am less likely to consider, are the contextual aspects of my identity: female, American, Caucasian or westerner. These latter aspects of identity so shape my perceptions as to be almost invisible to me.
Transhumanism, too, is part of our context. It is all around us.
On the biological side, IVF and surrogacy are becoming mainstream ways of thinking about reproduction. Life extension through medications or transplants are expected aspects of healthcare. Laser surgery, cochlear ear implants, artificial limbs, brain-computer interfaces, artificial organs and humanized animals are also commonplace. We have supplements and drugs that are used to enhance our abilities. Plant genetic engineering is commonplace and we now have animal cloning and transgenic food animals.
On the computational side, the Internet is integrated with daily living. In gaming, the first thought-controlled peripherals are on the market now. Artificial intelligence runs a variety of systems, including order-fulfillment in warehouses, and drives the stock exchange. Robotics are in the home as toys or as cleaning devices. Some car companies have begun shifting from autos to robotics, and Google is developing a driverless-car.
The Canadian (conservative) bioethicist Margaret Summervile has a good piece on the problems with transhumanism, the futurist movement that presumes to “seize control” of human evolution to create a “post human species.” She hits some points I have repeatedly made — e.g., transhumanism is actually a materialist religion in that it seeks transcendence and embraces an eschatological belief in immortality. But she also included in her critique some concerns I haven’t considered. From “Transhumanism: The Danger of Creating Humanity 2.0:”
Because we all have a natural fear of death and annihilation, immortality is a very attractive concept. But would the new immortal “techno me” or “techno you” — our brain contents downloaded onto a computer or robot — truly be us, or just a machine? I believe we would be the latter. And that brings to mind the concept of “genetic reductionism” — the belief that we are nothing more than gene machines or “genes-R-us” — which I also reject.
This is a report from the first annual Future Congress on Emerging Threats and Challenges, held July 22-24, 2011, in Branson, Missouri, which I am attending on behalf of the IEET.
Here is how the event is described by its organizers:
The mission of Future Congress is to serve as an educational source for accurate, comprehensive and Biblically consistent information spanning a wide range of fields and regarding the end times in which we live.
The conference began with a short welcoming speech from the Mayor of Branson, Raeanne Presley, followed by opening remarks from Tom Horn. According to Tom, the event is comprised of the world’s foremost authorities on conference subjects and is intended to serve as a response to questions people have about the issues.
One of the first things I noticed about this event that differs from others I have attended on emerging technologies is that there are children here. While I understand that most of the conferences I attend are academic or professional, and ideological differences aside, it is nice to see parents wanting their children to be exposed to new ideas on emerging technologies.
I look forward to a conference where I can bring my kids to rub elbows and listen to the great minds in person. A big reason I am who I am today is because my mother incorporated me into her exposure to ideas such as these, and this conference is one she definitely would have taken me to as a child.
One of the common themes of the conference is to take complex ideas and make them accessible to everyday people. Another theme is to frame everything within an Evangelical Christian perspective. This theme was most prominent since, throughout the conference, the Bible was the ultimate proof. Physics, biology, politics, non-Christian religions—whatever the topic was, it was ultimately put to the Biblical test. Ironically, where errors in Biblical prophecy are acceptable or overlooked, this same truth does not apply to the scientific world. The scientific burden of proof is much less lenient in the eyes of this community.
Pual Hellyer, became the first person of cabinet rank in the G8 group of countries to state unequivocally 'UFO's are as real as the airplanes flying overhead.' Author of Light At The End Of The Tunnel: A Survival Plan For The Human Species, Paul Hellyer joined Kate Valentine to discuss his view on why he believes UFO disclosure is an absolute necessity for human survival on this planet.
Mr. Hellyer, who Kate pointed out 'has an informed opinion given his position in politics' confirmed 'there is an extraterrestrial presence on the planet at this time and that that presence is in contact with at least one of our governments'."
Fifteen years after the biotech revolution first hit rural America, farmers overwhelmingly choose to grow genetically modified (GM) varieties of corn and soybeans. In Minnesota this year, a record 95 percent of the soybeans are GM varieties. For corn, it's 93 percent. A similar trend is unfolding around the world.
'Everybody thinks it's just a U.S. thing, and that's far from the case now,' said David Morgan, president of Syngenta Seeds, which has its U.S. headquarters in Minnetonka. 'With the exception of Europe, it's pretty well adopted around the world.'"
"The First Trillionth of a Second of Time" --Will CERN's LHC Reveal a "Dark Sector" of the Universe?
One of the most fascinating discoveries of our new century may be imminent if the Large Hadron Collider outside Geneva produces nano-blackholes. According to the best current physics, such nano blackholes could not be produced with the energy levels the LHC can generate, but could only come into being if a parallel universe were providing extra gravitational input. Versions of multiverse theory suggest that there is at least one other universe very close to our own, perhaps only a millimeter away. This makes it possible that some of the effects, especially gravity, "leak through," which could be responsible for the production of dark energy and dark matter that make up 96% of the universe.
With the space shuttle now history, Nasa's next great mission is so audacious, the agency's best minds are wrestling with how to pull it off.
They have presidential orders to to send astronauts to an asteroid in less than 15 years.
The challenges are innumerable, but many Nasa brains are thrilled to have such an improbable assignment - and believe civilisation may even depend on it.
The asteroid Vesta, as photographed by the orbiting Dawn spacecraft on July 17. Nasa now aims to place astronauts on an asteroid within 15 years
An asteroid is a giant space rock that orbits the sun, like Earth. And someday one might threaten the planet.
But sending people to one won't be easy. You can't land on an asteroid because you'd bounce off - it has virtually no gravity. Astronauts couldn't even walk on it because they'd float away.
Reaching it might require a Nasa spacecraft to harpoon it.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Supersoldier 2020 will have exoskeleton, robot helpers, pathogen immunity, some doctor assisted regeneration
The new Captain America movie is out this weekend, so we take a look at the actual developments and research for enhancing soldiers in real-life. Super soldiers of the 2020s will be a little bit Iron man with HULC and XOS exoskeletons. They will have some wall crawling (Spiderman like) capability from the Z-Man program (attachable pads with magnets and microsplines).
They will be using a lot more ground and flying robot support. They will have flying hummers.They will have better guns with better range, smart bullets/grenades when needed and computers and sensors to improve the accuracy of soldiers and snipers. They will have medical enhancement to be resistant to infections and to allow them to be restored from more severe injuries.
See Also “Top Ten Future Weapons and Gear for US Army 2011-2020” : http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/12/new-technology-for-us-army-from-2011-to.html
Artist's conception of the rogue planet Nibiru/Planet X.
Renowned astrophysicist Carl Sagan once described a "baloney detection kit" — a set of tools that skeptical thinkers use to investigate any new concept. A few of the key tools include a healthy distrust of information that isn't independently verified, critically assessing an idea rather than becoming irrationally attached to it simply because it's intriguing, and a preference for simple explanations over wildly speculative ones.
The waxing obsession with the planet Nibiru , which conspiracy theorists say is a planet swinging in from the outskirts of our solar system that is going to crash into Earth and wipe out humanity in 2012 — or, in some opinions, 2011 — shows that an astonishing number of people "are watching YouTube videos and visiting slick websites with nothing in their skeptical toolkit," in the words of David Morrison, a planetary astronomer at NASA Ames Research Center and senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
Morrison estimates that there are 2 million websites discussing the impending Nibiru-Earth collision. He receives, on average, five email inquiries about Nibiru every day.
American political science commentator Francis Fukuyama once called transhumanism the world’s most dangerous idea. Whether this is true depends on your aspirations for society. But a brief article in Discover by a staffer with the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, a transhumanist thinktank, Kyle Munkittrick, at least shows that society will be very different if transhumanism gets traction.
As you might expect with such a controversial philosophy, there are different schools of transhumanism. What Munkittrick offers is a diagnostic chart for recognising the transhumanist society when it arrives. Briefly, here are his criteria:
Legends of mysterious mass disappearances have cropped up all across the globe. Without a doubt, the most famous incident in North American history is the unknown fate of the citizens of Roanoke Colony, who were last seen alive in 1587, but an even more inexplicable case concerns the whereabouts of the over 30 men, women and children who allegedly vanished without a trace from an Inuit fishing village in the first half of the 20th Century.
Any mention of ESP and psychic-phenomena in connection with the activities of the U.S. Government is almost certain to provoke and guarantee commentary with respect to the ground-breaking “Remote-Viewing” work of the CIA, U.S. Army, and Defense Intelligence Agency from the early 1970s onwards. And rightly so, too. Many people, however, are glaringly unaware that the government’s interest – and direct involvement – in such matters actually dates back decades before the remote-viewers were even on the scene.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Captain America is not a serious scientific film. Nearly every piece of technology is furious hand-waving. Vibranium? Vita-rays? Rocket-powered propellers? The cosmic cube? Awesome, yes, but not real. These, however, are narrative tools, not attempts at hard scientific prediction and therefore not something to be critiqued. What the comic-book-tech of Captain America allows for is an exploration of the ethics of enhancement. Here, more than perhaps any other fictional film I’ve seen, Captain America displays striking balance and nuance – it gets enhancement right.
Based on your knowledge of the film and/or comics, this post may contain *spoilers*, so consider yourself warned. And if you’re looking for review of why it’s a fun movie, A.O. Scott in the NYT captures my sentiments about the film perfectly: pulpy Nazi-punching goodness. Now, on to enhancement!