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Google announces Calico, a new company focused on health and well-being

September 18, 2013

calico-google

Google announced Calico, a new company that will focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases. Arthur D. Levinson, Chairman and former CEO of Genentech and Chairman of Apple, will be Chief Executive Officer and a founding investor.

Announcing this new investment, Larry Page, Google CEO said: “Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer… read more

Who lives longest?

March 26, 2013

(Credit: World Life Expectancy)

Life expectancy is an average, and it fluctuates with age as the risks we face change throughout our lifetimes. Both those facts make it a frequently misunderstood statistic, The New York Times reports.

High infant-mortality rates depress the figure substantially. This can lead contemporary observers to the false conclusion that most humans died quite young, even in the not-so-distant past.

Before the Upper Paleolithic, early humans really… read more

Obama seeking to boost study of human brain

February 18, 2013

brain-rays

The Obama administration is planning a decade-long scientific effort to examine the workings of the human brain and build a comprehensive map of its activity, seeking to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for genetics, The New York Times reports.

The project, which the administration has been looking to… read more

Brain Activity Map Project is futile, say some scientists, others enthused

Complete human brain generates about 300,000 petabytes of data each year
February 28, 2013

brain-rays

In setting the nation on a course to map the active human brain, President Obama may have picked a challenge even more daunting than ending the war in Afghanistan or finding common ground with his Republican opponents, The New York Times reports.

Many neuroscientists are skeptical that a multiyear, multibillion dollar effort to unlock the brain’s mysteries will succeed.“I believe the scientific paradigm… read more

Whoa, dude, are we inside a computer right now?

September 11, 2012

the_sims

Two years ago, Rich Terrile appeared on Through the Wormhole, the Science Channel’s show about the mysteries of life and the universe. He was invited onto the program to discuss the theory that the human experience can be boiled down to something like an incredibly advanced, metaphysical version of The Sims, Vice reports.

It’s an idea that every college student with a gravity bong and The Matrix… read more

Bringing a virtual brain to life

March 20, 2013

(Credit: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)

In 2009, Dr. Henry Markram conceived of the Human Brain Project, a sprawling and controversial initiative of more than 150 institutions around the world that he hopes will bring scientists together to realize his dream, as The New York Times notes.

In January, the European Union raised the stakes by awarding the project a 10-year grant of up to $1.3 billion — an unheard-of sum… read more

When death becomes optional

March 15, 2012

The year is 2032. You have just celebrated your 80th birthday and you have some tough decisions ahead. You can either keep repairing your current body or move into a new one.

The growing of “blank” bodies has become all the rage, and by using your own genetic material, body farmers can even recreate your own face at age 20.

In just 20 years, this is anread more

Let’s make genetically modified food open-source

July 10, 2013

March_Against_Monsanto_Vancouver

If Monsanto is the Microsoft of food supply, perhaps the time has come for the agricultural equivalent of Linux, the open-source operating system that made computer programming a communal effort, Slate suggests.

“GMO agriculture relies on the relatively new science of bioinformatics (a mixture of bio- and information science), which means that DNA sequences look a lot more like software code than a vegetable garden,” says Slate.… read more

‘No morsel too minuscule for NSA,’ says New York Times

November 5, 2013

NSA

“From thousands of classified documents, the National Security Agency emerges as an electronic omnivore of staggering capabilities, eavesdropping and hacking its way around the world to strip governments and other targets of their secrets, all the while enforcing the utmost secrecy about its own operations,” The New York Times claims.

“A review of classified agency documents obtained by Mr. Snowden and shared with The New York Timesread more

First message sent to Gliese 526, 17.6 light-years away

June 18, 2013

Jamesburg_Earth_Station

At 9 PM EDT Monday, June 17 at a press event in New York, the Lone Signal team announced the transmission of the first interstellar beam (message).

It was transmitted from the giant ex-NASA Jamesburg dish in Carmel, California to the Gliese 526 solar system, 17.6 light-years away.

Simultaneously, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, as he started his welcome talk to… read more

Boundless Informant: the NSA’s secret tool to track global surveillance data

June 9, 2013

The Guardian says it has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks.

The focus of the internal NSA tool is on counting and categorizing the records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the content of an email or… read more

Planetary Resources ‘now hiring asteroid miners’

October 1, 2012

asteroid

“Do you want to be an Asteroid Miner? Well, here’s your chance!” — an email we just received.

“We’re looking for passionate college students for paid coop positions to help us mine asteroids this spring and summer,” it reads. “If you love space and want to contribute directly to the development of the next generation of space exploration technologies, we want to hear from you (or from anyone you… read more

Why don’t we have fusion yet?

October 2, 2013

800px-Preamplifier_at_the_National_Ignition_Facility

The dream of igniting a self-sustained fusion reaction with high yields of energy, a feat likened to creating a miniature star on Earth, is getting closer to becoming reality, according the authors of a new review article in the journal Physics of Plasmas.

Researchers at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) report that while there is at least one significant obstacle to overcome before achieving the highly stable precisely… read more

Fully self-driving cars expected by 2030, says forecast — UPDATE

New IHS Automotive study forecasts nearly 12 million yearly self-driving cars sales and almost 54 million in use on global highways by 2035
January 3, 2014

Google_autonomous_vehicle

Self-driving cars (SDC) that include driver control are expected to hit highways around the globe before 2025 and self-driving “only” cars (only the car drives) are anticipated around 2030, according to an emerging technologies study on Autonomous Cars from IHS Automotive.

In the study, “Emerging Technologies: Autonomous Cars — Not If, But When,” IHS Automotive forecasts total worldwide sales of self-driving cars will grow from nearly 230… read more

AP: Justice Department’s seizure of phone records an unprecedented intrusion

May 14, 2013

Security woman

The U.S. Department of Justice has seized two months’ worth of phone records of calls made by reporters and editors.from the offices of the Associated Press news agency, in what appeared to be an effort to track down the source who disclosed an alleged Yemen terrorist plot story, The Guardian reports.

AP’s president and chief executive officer, Gary Pruitt, described it as “serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to… read more

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