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Critique of a claimed discovery of a diatom from outer space [UPDATED]

September 21, 2013 by Richard Gordon

Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) (credit: Kitt Peak National Observatory)

A recent paper by Milton Wainwright et al. [1] claimed that sampling of the stratosphere revealed a diatom frustule captured from a height of >25km.

The paper, published in Journal of Cosmology, also argues that the object came from space, with a probable origin in the watery environment of a comet.

There are a number of problems that I would have flagged had I been a… read more

No methane on Mars? Say it isn’t so!

Cat astronauts? Snake robots on rockets? What the ....
September 20, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

persian cat

“In findings that are as scientifically significant as they are crushing to the popular imagination, NASA reported Thursday that its Curiosity Mars rover has deflated hopes that life could be thriving on Mars today.”

So say the kill-joys at The New York Times.

Deftly side-stepping the blow, Michael Meyer, NASA’s lead scientist for Mars exploration, explained: “This important result will help direct our efforts to examine the… read more

Take back the Internet

September 17, 2013 by Bruce Schneier

bruce-blog2

Government and industry have betrayed the Internet, and us.

By subverting the Internet at every level to make it a vast, multi-layered and robust surveillance platform, the NSA has undermined a fundamental social contract. The companies that build and manage our Internet infrastructure, the companies that create and sell us our hardware and software, or the companies that host our data: we can no longer trust them to be… read more

Late-night radio host Art Bell returns with new show, Dark Matter

September 17, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: Chris Moet)

Talk-radio legend Art Bell launched Monday night his new nightly radio show, Dark Matter, with guest Dr. Michio Kaku.

Dark Matter airs on SiriusXM Indie Talk channel 104 (30-day trial available) at 10PM Eastern/7PM Pacific* (also available via Internet and apps), covering wild ideas at the edge of reality.

Art was a founder and original host of the read more

Ask Ray | Your recent book mentioned cuteness and made me wonder

September 14, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

baby kitten and puppy

Ray,

Your recent book on creating intelligence mentioned cuteness in passing, and it made me wonder: why are most baby animals so cute. Naked mole rat is a possible exception?

They can’t look cute so we become gaga, if not for we humans, then it has to be for the parents, and if cuteness is not an exclusively human concept, its origins must be way back in time… read more

book review | William Hertling’s Singularity series continues with The Last Firewall

September 12, 2013 by Giulio Prisco

hertling_last_firewall

William Hertling’s science-fiction collection of Singularity novels about the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) consists (so far) of Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears, A.I. Apocalypse, and the recently published The Last Firewall.

I think The Last Firewall is the best of the lot: a fast techno-thriller set in a hybrid human/AI world with social tension and dominance conflicts, in where… read more

The Last Generation to Die — a short film

A Kickstarter project
September 12, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

The Last Generation To Die

Set in the future when science first begins to stop aging, a daughter tries to save her father from natural death.

The story takes place roughly 30 years in the future at the moment when science has first figured out how to stop aging through genetics. It is framed around the gulf between generations that would occur with the first release of this technology.

A daughter who works… read more

Consciousness, the Beatles, and Zombie Blues

September 8, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

SgtPepperFeatured

I’ve been to two of the amazing biennial Toward a Science of Consciousness events and enjoyed them immensely, but I think this one April 21–26 next year in Tuscon will be the best yet.

It features three of the most interesting characters in neuroscience — Karl Deisseroth, Cristof Koch, and Henry Markram — and a bevy of other compelling speakers.… read more

Ask Ray | Oral nutritional supplementation decreases hospitalization length by 21% says report

September 4, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

oral nutritional supplement

Dear readers,

This is a valuable study about supplements and health that I wanted to share with our readers. 

American Journal of Managed Care | “Impact of oral nutritional supplementation on hospital outcomes”

The findings say “the use of oral nutritional supplementation decreases length of stay, episode cost, and 30-day readmission risk in the inpatient population of hospitals.”

That’s the conclusion of an eleven-year retrospective… read more

book review | Radical Abundance: How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization

August 24, 2013

Radical Abundance

This post is being revised. Please visit Radical Abundance: How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization meanwhile.

Ask Ray | How can my consciousness survive indefinitely?

August 23, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

Energy of Human Mind

Dear Ray,

Should my brain be downloaded into a computer, my consciousness would not follow along, since if it did, I — the conscious I that I know and love — would be in two different places at once, both in my body and in the computer, presumably a contradiction of some sort, and the I in the computer may think and react identically to me and it may… read more

New ‘visual breadcrumbs’ smartphone/Glass app maps group exploration paths

August 19, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

radar view

CrowdOptic plans to announce Monday a new mapping technology that will allow users of electronic devices (such as smartphones and Google Glass) to create and share “visual breadcrumb” trails to find each other, CrowdOptic CEO Jon Fisher told me in an exclusive interview.

As KurzweilAI noted on August 3, CrowdOptic’s “find friend” augmented-reality app overlays an object showing what two or more users are… read more

Ask Ray | A little thought experiment on cognitive functions

August 15, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

Image created with the Connectome Mapping Toolkit (credit: University of Lausanne and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)

Dear Ray,

After finishing reading The Singularity Is Near and How to Create a Mind I have a few questions about some higher level cognitive functions in regards to your theory of pattern recognizer construction of the brain.

First, you believe that all forms of organized information systems have some form of consciousness albeit at varying degrees of magnitude.

More importantly there seems to be a positive… read more

book review | Nexus continues in Crux by Ramez Naam

August 9, 2013 by Giulio Prisco

crux-cover

Readers of Ramez Naam‘s techno-thriller NEXUS will not want to miss the awesome CRUX sequel, to be published August 27.

Set in a not-too-distant future, these novels tackle head-on an important conflict of our times: between the libertarian approach (those who think that people should be free to experiment with emerging technologies without harming others) and the authoritarian approach (those who want to… read more

movie review | New science fiction movie Elysium

Now in U.S. theaters and in IMAX
August 5, 2013 by L. Stephen Coles

Elysium2

The science-fiction movie Elysium opens in theaters and IMAX in the U.S. on Friday, August 9. The ostensible bionics (exoskeleton technology) and special effects for this film are mesmerizing.

The folk who live on the space station Elysium appear to have eliminated poverty, war, illness (including cancer), and possibly death.

The unfortunate folk who remain on Earth have all of these problems in spades and worse. Recall the… read more

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