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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

Ask Ray | Thoughts on Amazon’s plans to use drones for delivery

December 4, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

Amazon Prime Air drone in warehouse

Dear readers,

I am reviewing the recent news on Amazon’s interest in using unmanned drones to make product deliveries.

There is public discussion about the feasibility of this logistically, and some concerns about using drones in public due to privacy and other issues.

You can read some background on Amazon’s plans in this report by 60 Minutes:

CBS News | “Amazon unveils futuristic planread more

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

Black boxes to be required in all new cars from 2015

April 23, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

1984-Big-Brother

A new bill (Senate Bill 1813, known as MAP-21) passed by the U.S. Senate in March calls for “mandatory event data recorders” to be installed in all new passenger motor vehicles sold in the U.S. for recording data before, during, or after a crash.

As stated in Section 31406 of the bill, the government would have the power to access it in a number of

read more

How to achieve ‘biological immortality’ naturally

December 6, 2010 by David Despain

bioimmortality

Evolutionary biologist Michael Rose, professor at University of California, Irvine, says he has discovered a natural way to achieve “biological immortality” without the use of anti-aging drugs and stem cell treatments.

“It’s one you can start this evening,” the author of Evolutionary Biology of Aging shared in his talk Saturday at Humanity+ @ Caltech in Los Angeles. “It comes at no cost, you don’t have… read more

Avatars meet in Second Life to celebrate Future Day 2012

March 5, 2012 by Natasha Vita-More

natashafutureday2012

The first Future Day on March 1 featured events in 14 cities in 8 countries. The largest event was at Terasem Island in Second Life, with about 50 attendees.

The auditorium at Terasem Island was full and we were eagerly awaiting three of the speakers to arrive: Ben Goertzel, Martine Rothblatt, and Howard Bloom.

I introduced the event by… read more

TED Talk 2014 | Ray Kurzweil: “Get ready for hybrid thinking” video now playing

June 4, 2014

TED 30 years logo

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

Grow your own glowing plant

June 6, 2013 by Andrew Hessel

A glow-in-the-dark tobacco plant (credit: Science)

The Glowing Plants Kickstarter, the first-ever crowdfunded synthetic biology campaign, is winding down into the final hours. Launched on April 23, 2013, the campaign aimed to create a glow-in-the-dark plant while showcasing the technology of synthetic biology.  It also served as a vehicle to introduce two startups in the sector: Genome Compiler Corporation and Cambrian Genomics.

The campaign has been wildly popular, attracting widespread media attention that saw the… read more

Is Sponge Bob destroying kids’ minds — or accelerating their intelligence?

September 13, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

spongebob

Young children who watch fast-paced, fantastical television shows may become “handicapped” in their readiness for learning, says a new University of Virginia study.

U.Va. psychologists tested 4-year-old children immediately after they had watched nine minutes of the popular show “SpongeBob SquarePants” and found that their “executive function” — the ability to pay attention, follow rules, remember what they were told, solve problems,… read more

Let’s bring back apprenticeships!

March 23, 2012 by Dale J. Stephens

UnCollege

Dale J. Stephens, age 20, is a Thiel Fellow and leads UnCollege, the social movement changing the notion that college is the only path to success. His first book, Hacking Your Education, will be published by Penguin in 2013.

The idea that the world is constantly changing — and faster than ever before — is nothing new. But what’s new is that companies and organizations are starting to realize that our… read more

Stalking the wild microbiome

Startup biotech project offers sequencing of your 100 trillion microbes --- indiegogo crowdfunding campaign expires Thurs. Jan. 31 just before midnight
January 31, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

The full microbiome analysis will be available with the $1,337 Delta Five kit (credit: uBiome)

Did you know that foreign microoganisms outnumber our own cells by 10:1, and that we know almost nothing about how they affect our personal health?

Neither did I. But biotech startup µBiome, a UCSF Quantitative Biosciences Institute spinoff, hopes to fix all that by launching the world’s first citizen science effort to fully map the human “microbiome” (all the microbes in your body),… 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

Ask Ray | We could have had the benefits of the Singularity years ago

November 15, 2010 by Ray Kurzweil

brain plug

Dear Ray,

I’ve written a book about the future of software: After the Software Wars. I talk about Linux primarily, but it has implications for things like how we can have driverless cars and other cool technology faster.

The book starts with a quote by John McCarthy, the inventor of Lisp: “Some people think much faster computers are required for Artificial Intelligence, as… read more

Who blew up the rocket?

What happens when you mix space pork, greedy megacorporations, and recycled Russian rocket engines?
November 6, 2014 by Howard Bloom

Antares launch failure, (credit: NASA)

Exactly what exploded in a ball of flame over Wallops Island, Virginia, on Tuesday October 28 at 6:22 pm? And what brought down Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo over the Mojave Desert Friday morning just after ten am?

Was the vehicle that exploded above the launch pad in Virginia, as some headlines have proclaimed, a NASA rocket? Was it, as others have said, a commercial rocket? Or were both… read more

Why immersive virtual reality is the next generation of gaming: part 2

A new head-mounted display called Oculus RIFT promises to change the gaming industry
July 14, 2012 by James Iliff

Doom3 BFG

At the recent E3 2012 show, I saw the future of virtual reality and gaming.

It’s a robust stereoscopic head-mounted display (HMD) called the Oculus RIFT from hardware pioneer Palmer Luckey, shown off by legendary computer graphics guru John Carmack, technical director of Id Software.

Using aspheric lenses and side-by-side stereoscopy, the Oculus RIFT boasts a wide field-of-view of 90 degrees horizontal and 110… read more

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