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The Race to Read Genomes on a Shoestring, Relatively Speaking

February 11, 2008

Pacific Biosciences is developing a DNA sequencing machine that within a few years might be able to unravel an individual’s entire genome in minutes, for less than $1,000.

The company is just one entrant in a heated race for the “$1,000 genome”–a gold rush of activity whose various contestants threaten to shake up the current $1-billion-a-year market for machines that sequence genomes.

The price today: $350,000.

The Race to Reverse Engineer the Human Brain

December 3, 2009

IBM’s recent announcement of simulation of a cat’s cortext on a Dawn Blue Gene/P Supercomputer aligns with IBM’s “smarter planet” initiative, a method of integrating sensors into infrastructure and analyzing the data they produce to optimize systems like the electrical grid, water systems, and traffic.

The rational aspect of empathy

July 18, 2011

According to a new study from the University of Southern California, even failing to possess a full complement of limbs will not stop your brain from understanding what it is like for someone else to experience pain in one of them. It may, however, change the way your brain does so, the researchers have found.

They showed videos of tasks being performed by hands, feet,… read more

The Real 3D Mandelbulb

November 17, 2009

(Click image for 500x4500 pixel version)

An awesome 3D equivalent of the Mandelbrot fractal has been developed.

The real Limitless drug

April 8, 2013

Modafinil (Provigil in the United States) was first approved by the FDA in 1998 for the treatment of narcolepsy, but since has become better known as a nootropic, a “smart drug,” especially among entrepreneurs, says New York magazine.

Rumored to be the model for the fictional pills in the movie Limitless, no scientist has conducted a study of its long-term effects on healthy brains yet. At the very… read more

The real reason for Atkins diet weight loss

March 22, 2005

The high-protein Atkins diet works not for the reasons its inventor claimed, but simply because people eat less, according to studies by Guenther Boden at Temple University School of Medicine.

“They dropped 1000 calories because they didn’t want to eat more,” Boden says. “They loved the diet. They loved to eat bacon and eggs, and sausages and that sort of thing.”

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The Real Transformers

July 30, 2007

Some believe that emotion is at least theoretically possible for robots. Rodney Brooks goes so far as to say that robot emotions may already have occurred — that Cog and Kismet not only displayed emotions but, in one way of looking at it, actually experienced them.

Sociable robots come equipped with the very abilities that humans have evolved to ease our interactions with one another: eye contact, gaze direction,… read more

The real world of Second Life

May 17, 2010

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Life 2.0, a documentary about the real physical lives of Second Lifers, focuses on the people behind the avatars.

The real-life future for A.I. robots

July 1, 2001
Flesh Fair: orgas vs. mechas

Some researchers believe the A.I. film’s robots are a reasonable approximation of where robotics is headed.

Ray Kurzweil believes human emotions, especially love, are half a century away from being replicated by machines. Should that day arrive, says Kurzweil, machines will have become human.

The robot-boy David expresses an unrequited love for his human owner, all the while wishing he were “a real boy.”

To… read more

The Reality of Robot Surrogates

September 25, 2009

Telepresence will become a significant feature of the US $1.16 billion personal robotics market, says NextGen Research.

Applications include remote security and surveillance robots, monitoring by health-care professionals of elderly people taking medication at home, telecommuting, teleoperated robotic servants, remote medical diagnosis and doctor training, and remote control of robots via a brain/computer interface.

The Red Queen was right: life must continually evolve to avoid extinction

June 22, 2013

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A University of California, Berkeley study has found that a lack of new emerging species contributes to extinction over a period of millions of years.

The researchers studied 19 groups of mammals that either are extinct or in decline from a past peak in diversity, as in the case of horses, elephants, rhinos and others.

The “Red Queen” hypothesis

The study was conducted… read more

The relentless rise of the digital worker

January 18, 2010

Opportunities are opening in the emerging area of “cloud labor,” where a virtual workforce can undertake any task via the Internet.

The Remarkable Pattern Of Neuronal Activity In The Brain

January 14, 2011

Researchers at Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil have carried out the first measurements of “criticality” — which occurs in systems that are delicately balanced between inactivity, where the changes are always small, to a state of overactivity where any change tends to be runaway.neuronal avalanche distribution — in animals carrying out tasks and throughout their full sleep-wake cycle.

Ribeiro say their results show clear evidence of criticality throughout… read more

The replicator: create your own body double

June 9, 2005

Two computer scientists are trying to build an intelligent material that can replicate a physical 3-D facsimile of you from nothing more than a stream of video images.

If it works, all you’ll need to project yourself around the globe is an Internet connection and a pile of their “claytronics” self-organizing nanocomputers that can stick to each other and communicate with built-in wireless at the other end to assemble… read more

The Right to Human Enhancement

June 6, 2006

The recent Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights conference examined the right to use enhancing technologies, such as making inheritable changes to the human genome, controlling our own brain, and uploading human consciousness into a computer.

  • Martine Rothblatt, Terasem Foundation: “Bemes” — units of beingness — could eventually be captured, perhaps by wearable recording systems and neuron-sensing nanowires, and uploaded into computers.
  • Richard Glen Boire, Center
  • read more

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