August 1, 2014
- Why There May Never Be A Cure for Ebola — The Wire 8/1/2014
- Why we don’t have an ebola vaccine yet: cases are so rare, drug makers haven’t been interested in investing. NIH’s Ebola vaccine has been studied in monkeys and
A biomaterial that can regenerate damaged skeletal muscle is being developed by University of Arkansas biomedical engineering researcher Jeffrey Wolchok, funded by a National Institutes of Health three-year, $437,248 grant.
Living cells secrete fibrous proteins and polysaccharide gels called extracellular matrix, which support cell survival and tissue strength. Minor muscle injuries affect tissue cells but not the extracellular components. In severe injuries, however, the extracellular matrix does not… read more
Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered a new catalytic system for converting carbon dioxide (CO2) to methanol — a key commodity used to create a wide range of industrial chemicals and fuels. With significantly higher activity than other catalysts now in use, the new system could make it easier to get normally unreactive CO2 to participate in these reactions.
“Developing an effective catalyst for synthesizing methanol… read more
CrowdOptic is working with the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford University Medical Center to use CrowdOptic’s Google Glass software to help improve resident training in complex surgical procedures, the company has announced.
CrowdOptic’s app gives a Google Glass wearer — such as a surgeon — access to what another user — such as a resident performing an operation — is seeing, simply by looking in the… read more
By studying the injuries and aptitudes of Vietnam War veterans who suffered penetrating head wounds during the war, researchers have found that brain regions that contribute to optimal social functioning are also vital to general intelligence and emotional intelligence.
This finding, reported in the journal Brain, bolsters the view that general intelligence emerges from the emotional and social context of one’s life.
“We are trying to understand the nature… read more
The new nanocarriers are just 15 nanometers in diameter, based on building blocks called amphiphilic polymers: they have both hydrophilic (water-loving, polar) and lipophilic (fat-loving) properties). That allows the nanocarriers to hold the… read more
An international team of researchers led by the University of Arizona (UA) has sequenced the complete genome of African rice.
The genetic information will enhance scientists’ and agriculturalists’ understanding of the growing patterns of African rice, and help development of new rice varieties that are better able to cope with increasing environmental stressors to help solve global hunger challenges, the researchers say.
The research paper was… read more
Israeli and German researchers have created a nanoscale screw-shaped propeller that can move in a gel-like fluid, mimicking the environment inside a living organism, as described in a paper published in the June 2014 issue of ACS Nano.
The… read more
Brain responses of just a few individuals are a remarkably strong predictor of response to future products and messages, according to a study conducted at the City College of New York (CCNY) and Georgia Tech.
By analyzing the brainwaves of just 16 individuals as they watched mainstream television content, the researchers were able to accurately predict the preferences of large TV audiences — up to… read more
UC Berkeley and MIT researchers have developed a prototype of a simple vision-correcting display (and associated algorithm) that uses a printed pinhole screen sandwiched between two layers of clear plastic attached to an iPod display to enhance image sharpness.
The tiny pinholes are 75 microns (millionths of a meter) each and spaced 390 microns apart.
The algorithm adjusts the intensity of each direction of light that emanates from… read more
Several DARPA programs are exploring innovative technologies and approaches that could supplement GPS to provide reliable, highly accurate real-time positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) data for military and civilian uses and deal with possible loss of GPS accuracy from solar storms or jamming, for example.
DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar said DARPA currently has five programs that focus on PNT-related technology.
In a study published July 28 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Salk Institute for Biological Sciences researchers have found that brain cells called astrocytes — not neurons — can control the brain’s gamma waves.
Researchers at NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, and Pennsylvania State University have developed a 3D printing process that transitions from one metal or alloy to another in a single object.
For example, they created a prototype of an improved telescope mirror mount. The part at the top near the glass mirror is made of a metal with low… read more
Nuance Communications, Inc. announced today an annual competition to develop programs that can solve the Winograd Schema Challenge, an alternative to the Turing test that provides a more accurate measure of genuine machine intelligence, according to its developer, Hector Levesque, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, and winner of the 2013 IJCAI Award for Research Excellence.
Nuance is sponsoring the yearly… read more
A new study led by MIT materials scientists reveals the reason why gold nanoparticles can easily slip through cell membranes to deliver drugs directly to target cells.
The nanoparticles enter cells by taking advantage of a route normally used in vesicle-vesicle fusion, a crucial process that allows signal transmission between neurons.
In the July 21 issue of Nature Communications, the researchers describe in detail the mechanism… read more
The jobless economy: a fully automated, engineered, robotic system that doesn’t need you, or me either. Anything we can do, machines can do better — surgery, warfare, farming, finance. What’s to do? Shall we smash the machines, or go to the beach, or finally learn to play the piano?
Economists predict that 50% of US jobs could be automated in a decade or two. Big fun show with… read more
The promises of accelerating technology are impressive, possibly eliminating disease, poverty, and even death.
But I wonder what hope there is for the lonely. Personally, I’m approaching middle age and have never been on a date. And I know I’m not the only one out there in this situation.
Is there anything technology can do in the near or far future to help people like me… read more
The universe existed several billion years before humans were conscious, and will exist several billion years after we are conscious.
So, it is statistically improbable for the chronological timeline of the universe to be located at this precise moment, when we are conscious, that is, an 80 year lifespan within some 30 billion years.
Are you aware of any theories, besides survivorship bias from statistics, that… read more
You’ll be able to buy a car that can drive itself under most conditions, with an option for override by a human driver, in 2020, according to the median estimate in a survey of 217 attendees of the 2014 Automated Vehicles Symposium. By 2030, the group estimated, you’ll be able to buy a car that is so fully automated it won’t even have the option for a human driver.… read more
Imagine if you could take an exotic vacation billions of light years from Earth, peek in on the dinosaurs’ first-hand, or jump into a parallel universe where another you is living a more exciting life than yours — and you could swap places if you like.
For years, scientists have bandied about radical ideas that future humans will one day harness wormholes to zip across the universe at faster-than-light… read more
I recently saw this article by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and wanted to share it with you.
I have an ongoing interest in the Turing test — a competition that gauges whether an artificial intelligence is capable of human level conversation.
There was a recent test of a chatbot named Eugene Goostman, and I’ve written my reaction to its test results.
This article is… read more
Check out this article on NBC News. I discussed this topic at Time’s 2003 The Future of Life Summit, during the session “The next frontier.” My full dialog is below. My point was “there are already many cyborgs among us.”
— Ray Kurzweil
related viewing from NBC:… read more
A remarkable foreshadowing of the internet, tablet computers and artificial intelligence from a century ago: E.M. Forster’s 1909 short story “The Machine Stops.”
— Ray Kurzweil
Wikipedia | “The Machine Stops” is a science fiction short story by E. M. Forster. After initial publication in The Oxford and Cambridge Review in November 1909, the story was republished in Forster’s The Eternal Moment and Other… read more
My friend — of 50 years! — Mark Bergmann, brought this recent quote from US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to my attention:
“Modern cell phones are such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy,” said Roberts, commenting in the recent Supreme Court ruling on cell phones warrants.… read more
Google I/O 2014 | Ray Kurzweil: “Biologically Inspired Models of Intelligence,” filmed June 25, 2014
Google | For decades Ray Kurzweil has explored how artificial intelligence can enrich and expand human capabilities. In his latest book How to Create a Mind, he takes this exploration to the next step: reverse-engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works, then applying that knowledge to create intelligent machines.
In… read more
I enjoyed these two hit songs on the modern theme of living forever. I want to share these popular music videos, and their concepts.
Ultimately, their lyrics move toward a perspective that reflects my own optimistic, positive outlook on what is possible.
The choruses include the phrases “Move towards the future” and “I want to live forever, now’s the time to find out.” Both songs reiterate:… read more
On June 8, 2014, The University of Reading announced that a computer program “has passed the Turing test for the first time.”
University of Reading professor Kevin Warwick, PhD, described it this way:
“Some will claim that the test has already been passed. The words ‘Turing test’ have been applied to similar competitions around the world. However, this event involved more simultaneous comparison tests than ever before, was independently… read more
TED | Two hundred million years ago, our mammal ancestors developed a new brain feature: the neocortex. This stamp-sized piece of tissue, wrapped around a brain the size of a walnut, is the key to what humanity has become.
Now, futurist Ray Kurzweil suggests, we should get ready for the next big leap in brain power, as we tap into the computing power in the cloud.… read more
The second episode, “Futurism,” featuring Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, MD, will rebroadcast on the evening of May 2, 2014. It will air on Friday, May 2, at 11:00 pm ET and 8:00 pm PT. It will also air Friday, May… read more
There is a major push in Silicon Valley to recruit more women into software engineering. The overall issue of the lack of women in this field is a national issue.
I strongly encourage and support women in the sciences and in technology.
A recent article I found interesting, and wanted to share:
The New York Times | “Technology’s man problem”
Here is… read more