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

September 13, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica


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

Avatars meet in Second Life to celebrate Future Day 2012

March 5, 2012 by Natasha Vita-More


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

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

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

September 14, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

baby kitten and puppy


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

Let’s bring back apprenticeships!

March 23, 2012 by Dale J. Stephens


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

Transhumanist position on human germline genetic modification

March 22, 2015 by James Hughes

(credit: pixabay)

Recently a group of scientists and an industry group have issued statements calling for a moratorium on human heritable or germline genetic modifications (see herehere and here), now that we have the powerful CRISPR technique to pursue such modifications.

These statements have been greeted rapturously by bioconservatives, who want to see a global ban on germline and enhancement genetic therapies.

Of… 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 | 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

This is your brain on magic mushrooms

January 24, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica


Stoner alert: psilocybin (the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms) messes with your brain.

OK, not exactly a news flash. But that’s what researchers in the U.K. and Denmark found when they scanned the brains of 30 people tripping on psilocybin.

But here’s what’s interesting: the researchers did two different types of functional MRI (fMRI) brain scans with two groups of 15 — one scan that measured blood flow throughout the… read more

Welcome to your future android clone

March 12, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Bina48 android (credit:

This is the most interesting event at SXSW I’ve heard of so far: “Robot panelists, AI and the future of identity.”

It’s a session Monday at SXSW (3:30PM  – 4:30PM), where Bruce Duncan, Managing Director of the Terasem Movement Foundation, will bring us up to date on Terasem’s amazing LifeNaut project.

LifeNaut is a free online service (and experiment) for personal data storage and avatar interactivity,… read more

Ask Ray | Health technologies to support sleep apnea and snoring

June 22, 2015

credit | Airing

Dear readers,

Obstructive sleep apnea is a very common sleep disorder caused by periodic obstruction of the upper airway. A sleep apnea is literally a pause in breathing. It can happen many times each hour while the individual is asleep. It leads to reduced oxygen saturation and is a risk factor for heart disease.

Most sufferers are unaware that they have this syndrome. It is often first noticed… read more

A Darwinian explanation for the Fermi paradox [UPDATED 4/21/2011]

April 18, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Arecibo Observatory: risking destruction of the Earth?

The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with, such civilizations. As Enrico Fermi asked, “Where is everybody?”

One answer is that extraterrestial life sufficiently advanced to be capable of interstellar travel or communication must be rare, since otherwise we would have seen evidence of it by now. This in… 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

Russia 2045: will the Singularity be launched in Russia?

March 29, 2012 by Ben Goertzel


For 3 days in late February, Russian businessman Dmitry Itskov gathered 500+ futurists in Moscow for a “Global Future 2045 Congress” — the latest manifestation of his “Russia 2045” movement.

The Congress featured an impressive roster of Russian scientists, engineers and visionaries, along with American and West European futurist leaders like Ray Kurzweil, Randal Koene, and John Smart.

As Kurzweil noted when I asked him about… read more

Ask Ray | How do you find the motivation to live forever?

May 26, 2012 by Ray Kurzweil

Transcendent Man poster earth

Dear Ray:

How do you find motivation to want to live forever? How do you find comfort in your father’s death, knowing you may never truly see him again — only an avatar of what he’d represent?

John Hansen


I have the motivation to live to tomorrow, metaphorically speaking. I think everyone has that motivation. As we get to times in the… read more

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