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Italy elects first transhumanist MP

August 26, 2012 by Giulio Prisco

giuseppe_vatinno

A transhumanist congressman? In Italy? Seriously?

Yes. In July, Italy — ironically, a stronghold of the Catholic Church —  became the first major Western nation to elect an active transhumanist.

Giuseppe Vatinno, a member of the Italian Parliament, ran on a platform of “politics that strive to improve the human condition, making use of appropriate advanced technologies.”

And not a moment too soon, as Italy… read more

Curiosity rover laser zaps Martian rock

August 20, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

laser operator

NASA has launched the first interplanetary war by attacking Mars with a high-power laser beam for “target practice.” Some are blaming the “mohawk guy” at JPL, shown in disguise in this NASA photo. No word if Mars plans to return fire….

OK, we admit, it’s a remote spectroscopy experiment to determine the composition of a rock curiously called “Coronation.” The energy from the laser excites atoms in the… read more

Accelerated returns in food production

August 19, 2012 by Sam Ghandchi

Average daily calorie consumption in countries (credit: Interchange88/Wikimedia Commons)

Ray Kurzweil’s “law of accelerating returns” is a very viable economic theory that can be used to address many of the issues that economists are facing in our times, but unfortunately most university departments of economics pay very little attention to it, whereas the old economic theories are not able to answer issues that global economy has been facing since the inception of computer revolution of the last thirty

read more

book review | The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates

August 14, 2012 by Giulio Prisco

The God Problem

Howard Bloom‘s forthcoming book The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates, is arguably his best book so far, a page-turner with deep thoughts and entertaining bits on every page.

Is The God Problem a book on the history of science? No, more like a philosophical novel. Wait, perhaps an autobiography? Pop culture?

All of the above, and none. The God Problem defies categorization; it’s a cascade… read more

Meet Stompy: the giant, rideable walking robot

August 10, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Wanna take a ride? Sorry, you'll have to pledge first. Stompy is a work in progress. (Credit: Hexapod)

It’s an open-source, 18 ft. wide, 4,000 pound, 6-legged hydraulic robot. So yet another quirky Kickstarter project? Well, not exactly, read on….

“We dream of a world where imagination becomes reality simply because enough passionate people decide that an idea has merit.” So say the folks at Project Hexapod, based out of a makerspace in Somerville, Massachusetts called Artisan’s Asylum.

OK, but what’s the purpose of… read more

1987 time-capsule predictions for 2012

August 1, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

maglev-vacuum-train-11

Writers of the Future has released the 1987 time capsule predictions from science fiction writers for the year 2012.

They ranged from wildly utopian to prescient.

The utopian predictions included people living in space and on the Moon, an expedition to Mars, much industry located off-planet, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease effectively cured, a network of levitated superconducting trains under construction in Western Europe and in Japan,… read more

First attack on a cyborg

July 17, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

EyeTap (credit: Steve Mann)

UPDATE: McDonald’s provided this statement to KurzweilAI on July 18, 2012:

“We share the concern regarding Dr. Mann’s account of his July 1 visit to a McDonald’s in Paris.  McDonald’s France was made aware of Dr. Mann’s complaints on July 16, and immediately launched a thorough investigation. The McDonald’s France team has contacted Dr. Mann and is awaiting further information from him.

In addition, several staff members involvedread 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

Why immersive virtual reality is the next generation of gaming: part 1

DIY real virtual reality on your smartphone or iPad 3 is here
July 14, 2012 by James Iliff

FOV2GO

It’s now obvious that immersive virtual reality is finally back in the consumer market — with a vengeance.

Especially with the recent advent of FOV2GO, a free DIY portable fold-out iPhone and Android viewer that turns the smartphone screen into a 3-D VR system.

You can create one with foamboard and 2 cheap plastic lenses, and downloadable software lets you create your own virtual worlds or environments to display.… read more

Transhumanist religion 2.0

July 13, 2012 by Giulio Prisco

The_material_around_SN_1987A_900

Cosmism, an emerging “religion 2.0” that is part of a radical futurist conception of the future development of humanity, can give us the positive optimism and “strenuous mood” to overcome our current problems and embark on our cosmic journey.

So say contemporary cosmists, who believe that the “manifest destiny” of our species is colonizing the universe and developing spacetime engineering and scientific “future magic” much beyond our current understanding… read more

I’ve seen the future of electronics and it’s … vacuum tubes!

July 12, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

back_to_the_vacuum

Huh? Yep, you read it right.

We are bumping into a limit to increasing transistor speed, determined by the “electron transit time” — the time it takes an electron to travel, says Hong Koo Kim, a professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering.

It’s back to the vacuum, folks.

Kim explains: electrons traveling inside a semiconductor device frequently experience collisions or scattering… read more

Is there a biological limit to longevity?

"Medicine is about transcending biology."
July 5, 2012 by Aubrey de Grey

Percent of people surviving to a given age, based on data from the Dept. of Demography, UC Berkeley (credit: C. A. Everone/fig.org)

Gerontologists and demographers have argued about this for a long time, with the balance of opinion heavily influenced by the changes seen in the wealthiest nations’ “survival curves” — graphs showing, broadly speaking, the proportion of an initial population that survived to a given age.

Until a couple of centuries ago, these curves looked very much like radioactive decay curves, because one’s chance of dying at any given age… read more

Why the sponge’s protosynapses never evolved into the real thing

June 25, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

ucsb_sponge

It was a mystery: sponges had evolved a protosynapse — the beginning of a nervous system — but never actually developed a real synapse.

It was the evolutionary period of time when virtually the rest of the entire animal kingdom branched off from a common ancestor it shared with sponges, the oldest known animal group with living representatives.

Ironically, sponges themselves have no nervous system. So what happened to… read more

Getting ‘hallucinating’ robots to arrange your room for you

June 20, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

A robot populates a room with imaginary human stick figures in order to decide where objects should go to suit the needs of humans (credit: Personal Robotics Lab, Cornell)

When we last (virtually) visited the Personal Robotics Lab of Ashutosh Saxena, Cornell assistant professor of computer science, we learned that they’ve taught robots to pick up after you, while you sit around and watch Futurama.

But why stop there in your search for the ultimate slave robot? Now they’ve taught robots where in a room you might stand, sit, or work,read more

V2V: Department of Transportation’s new communication system helps cars avoid crashes by talking to each other

June 11, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

vehicle2vehicle

The University of Michigan is conducting a pilot program to test a vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications device that could help drivers avoid accidents, CNET reports.

This technology could prevent up to 81 percent of all vehicle crashes, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The school’s Transportation and Research Institute is seeking 3,000 drivers in the Ann Arbor, Mich., area, and will equip their vehicles with wireless… read more

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