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March 31, 2015

Tiny 'Nanoneedles' Could Help Your Damaged Organs Repair Themselves

In a trial involving mice, an international team of researchers used microscopic "nanoneedles" to coax the body into generating new blood vessels. Applied to humans, the technology could eventually be used to get organs and nerves to repair themselves.

Researchers from Imperial College London and the Houston Methodist Research Institute used the nanoneedles to deliver nucleic acids — the building blocks of all living organisms and transmitters of genetic information —to a specified area. Once delivered to a cell or tissue, the nucleic acids do their work by regenerating lost function. The researchers, a team led by Ciro Chiappini and Molly Stevens from the Imperial College London, describe their findings in the latest issue of Nature Materials.

The Real-Life Science Behind Orphan Black

In addition to being incredibly entertaining and provocative, the popular Orphan Black series is absolutely teeming with science. From human clones and genetic engineering through to DNA barcodes and genetic patents, here's what you need to know about the science behind the show.

For the uninitiated, Orphan Black is a conspiracy thriller that stars Tatiana Maslany as several human clones. Uncertain of their true origins, the clones struggle to evade the unscrupulous Dyad Corporation as they try to learn more about their past.

And to the show's credit, the writers — with the help of science advisor Cosima Herter — get much of the science right. There's too much to cover in a single article, so we boiled it down to four main topics: human cloning, genetic engineering, the viability of the show's timeline, and the issue of genetic patenting.

Read the rest of the article here.

March 30, 2015

Do You Suffer From 'Exploding Head Syndrome'? You're Not Alone.

New findings indicate nearly one in five college-age students has been startled awake by an abrupt, loud noise that doesn't actually exist. Known as "exploding head syndrome," the psychological condition appears to be more common and disruptive than previously thought.

Read the entire article at io9.

March 27, 2015

A.I. Pilots Are Not The Solution To Preventing Airline Disasters

We're still trying to understand the horrific Germanwings tragedy. But already, some people are suggesting it could have been prevented if a computer had been flying the plane. But that's not the solution. We spoke to an expert about why an A.I. pilot would open up an entirely new set of risks and complications.

Read the entire article at io9.

This Biohacker Used Eyedrops To Give Himself Temporary Night Vision

A team of biohackers from California successfully induced a temporary sense of night vision by injecting a simple chemical cocktail directly onto the eye. Incredibly, it allowed them to see over 160 feet in the dark for a brief period of time.

Read the entire post at io9.

March 26, 2015

This New Infrared Telescope Could Help Us Detect Dyson Spheres

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence just got a big boost, thanks to the introduction of a powerful new infrared telescope. In addition to scanning for pulses of infrared light, astronomers will use device to search for alien megastructures, such as Dyson Spheres.

Read the entire article at io9.

March 25, 2015

The 9 Weirdest Implications Of The Many Worlds Interpretation

According to the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics, we live in an infinite web of alternate timelines. It's a serious claim that carries some rather serious scientific, philosophical, and existential baggage. And here are the nine weirdest possible implications.

Read the entire post at io9.

We Should Be Able To Detect Spaceships Moving Near The Speed Of Light

A pair of engineers say it's possible to detect the signatures of spacecraft traveling at relativistic speeds, and we can do so using current technologies. The trouble is, their new analysis also suggests that moving through space at ludicrous speed is more hazardous than previously thought.

Read more at io9.

Why A Moratorium On Heritable Genetic Modification Is A Bad Idea

A group of geneticists has called for a moratorium on research into modifying heritable human DNA — a practice that could lead to so-called "designer babies." But as scientists consider this drastic proposal, they should also recognize the potential benefits this technology could afford – and the risks of an outright ban.

Read the entire article at io9.

March 12, 2015

New "Senolytic" Drugs Can Dramatically Increase Healthy Lifespan

Researchers from the Scripps Research Institute and the Mayo Clinic have developed a new class of drugs that were shown to significantly slow the aging process in animal models. Remarkably, dramatic improvements were noticeable just days after treatment.

The research was only carried out on mice, but the introduction of an entirely new class of drugs, called "senolytics," could have incredible potential for humans as well.

Read the entire article at io9.

March 6, 2015

These Are The Surprising Jobs You'll Be Doing By The 2030s

As our technological and sociological realities change, so too do our jobs. But just what, exactly, will we be doing 15 years from now? Here are some completely unexpected jobs you've almost certainly never heard of—but likely will soon.

Indeed, the landscape of careers is changing. But knowing which vocations are around the corner is not obvious. This is why the Canadian Scholarship Trust, as part of its Inspired Minds campaign, recently collaborated with the foresight experts at Idea Couture (a team that included scifi author Karl Schroeder). Together, they came up with 10 jobs that are likely to appear within the next 15 years or so, along with the skills and education required.

The end result is Careers 2030—an intriguing piece of speculative work designed to inspire conversations—between parents and kids, teachers and students, and so on—about what the world of work might look like in the near future. To learn more, we contacted Jayar LaFontaine, a Foresight Strategist at Idea Couture.

Read the entire article at io9.

The 10 Algorithms That Dominate Our World

The importance of algorithms in our lives today cannot be overstated. They are used virtually everywhere, from financial institutions to dating sites. But some algorithms shape and control our world more than others — and these ten are the most significant.

Read the entire article at io9.

12 Futuristic Forms of Government That Could One Day Rule the World

As history has repeatedly shown, political systems come and go. Given our rapid technological and social advances, it's a trend we can expect to continue. Here are 12 extraordinary — and even frightening — ways our governments could be run in the future.

Read the entire article at io9.

9 Unexpected Outcomes Of Human Cloning

Human cloning is currently illegal in virtually all parts of the world, but that doesn't mean it will stay that way. Here are some surprising things we can expect once we're finally allowed to make genetic duplicates of ourselves.

Read the entire article at io9.

How Artificial Superintelligence Will Give Birth To Itself

There's a saying among futurists that a human-equivalent artificial intelligence will be our last invention. After that, AIs will be capable of designing virtually anything on their own — including themselves. Here's how a recursively self-improving AI could transform itself into a superintelligent machine.

When it comes to understanding the potential for artificial intelligence, it's critical to understand that an AI might eventually be able to modify itself, and that these modifications could allow it to increase its intelligence extremely fast.

Read the entire article at io9.

The Radical Plan To Phase Out Earth's Predatory Species

Should animals be permitted to hunt and kill other animals? Some futurists believe that humans should intervene, and solve the "problem" of predator vs. prey once and for all. We talked to the man who wants to use radical ecoengineering to put an end to the carnage.

Read the entire article at io9.

Why Do the Anarcho-Primitivists Want to Abolish Civilization?

Anarcho-primitivists are the ultimate Luddites — ideologues who favor complete technological relinquishment and a return to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. We spoke to a leading proponent to learn more about this idea and why he believes civilization was our worst mistake.

Read the entire article at io9.

10 Horrifying Technologies That Should Never Be Allowed To Exist

As we head deeper into the 21st century, we're starting to catch a glimpse of the fantastic technological possibilities that await. But we're also starting to get a grim sense of the potential horrors. Here are 10 frightening technologies that should never, ever, come into existence.

Read the entire article at io9.

Are We Overthinking the Dangers of Artificial Intelligence?

Futurists and science fiction authors often give us overly grim visions of the future, especially when it comes to the Singularity and the risks of artificial superintelligence. Scifi novelist David Brin talked to us about why these dire predictions are often simplistic and unreasonable.

Read the entire article at io9.

12 Technologies We Need To Stop Stalling On And Develop Now

The pace of technological change is governed by many factors — including public demand. Which is why we need to be demanding more. Here are 12 transformative technologies whose development should be expedited right now.

Read the entire article at io9.

Want to Stay Healthy? You'll Need to Become a Human-Animal Hybrid.

Biologists have been mixing the DNA of different animals since the 1970s, but the idea of injecting the genes of animals into humans remains taboo. Called transgenics, it's a practice that could cure illness in the future — and eventually reshape our species. Here's what you need to know about it.

Read the entire article at io9.

Could Game Theory Be Used To Prevent Human Extinction?

Game theory is a powerful tool for understanding strategic behavior in economics, business, and politics. But some experts say its true power may lie in its ability to help us navigate a perilous future.

Read the entire article at io9.

The Top 100 Science Fiction-Themed Songs Of All Time

Whether it be rock or rap, metal or country, no genre of music has been left untouched by the influence of science fiction. Here are the 100 greatest songs about science fiction.

Read the entire article at io9.

How Universal Basic Income Will Save Us From the Robot Uprising

Robots are poised to eliminate millions of jobs over the coming decades. We have to address the coming epidemic of "technological unemployment" if we're to avoid crippling levels of poverty and societal collapse. Here's how a guaranteed basic income will help — and why it's absolutely inevitable.

Read the entire article at io9.

Is It Time to Accept That We're Alone in the Universe?

We have yet to discover any signs of aliens, a troubling observation that has led to much speculation. One possible solution to the Great Silence is that nobody's out there. It's a conclusion that sounds impossible to believe, but there may be something to it. Here's why we may be alone in the universe.

Read the entire article at io9.

How The Search For Aliens Could Save Us From Environmental Collapse

It's hard to assess the sustainability of our civilization when climate scientists and ecologists have nothing to compare ourselves to. Which is why we need to learn from the success — and potential failures — of distant alien civilizations.

Read the entire article at io9.

10 Diseases That Might Afflict Us In The Future

Today, humans suffer from a wide range of diseases and disorders that didn't exist in the past, a trend that will likely continue well into the future. Here are 10 unexpected and wholly unpleasant diseases we'll eventually have to contend with.

Top image: A scene from Floris Kaayk's Metalosis Maligna, a short film featuring a fictional disease which causes cybernetic implants to replicate uncontrollably.

Read the entire article at io9.

The Coming Age Of Cyborg Animals

Wearable tech like fitness bands and GPS trackers are all the rage, and our pets are starting to use them, too. These tools can help us monitor and track our companion animals. But these devices are also changing our pets' capabilities and how we interact with them. We've entered the age of cyborg animals.

Read the entire article at io9. 

March 5, 2015

12 Reasons Robots Will Always Have An Advantage Over Humans

We puny humans can be depressingly fragile and flawed, a realization that's all the more discouraging when we consider the incredible potential for robots. Here are 12 reasons why machines will always have the edge over us meatbags.

Read the entire article at io9.

How The Military Could Turn Your Mind Into The Next Battlefield

Long a staple of science fiction, the idea of creating weapons that can disrupt or alter the cognitive processes of enemy combatants is starting to become reality. Inspired by recent advances in neuroscience, the U.S. military is considering the potential for "neuro-cognitive weapons". Here's what you need to know about this fascinating and frightening prospect.

Read the entire article at io9.

How Humanity Will Conquer Space Without Rockets

Getting out of Earth's gravity well is hard. Conventional rockets are expensive, wasteful, and as we're frequently reminded, very dangerous. Thankfully, there are alternative ways of getting ourselves and all our stuff off this rock. Here's how we'll get from Earth to space in the future.

Read the entire article at io9.

8 Logical Fallacies That Fuel Anti-Science Sentiments

We need science more than ever, yet many people find it hard to get accurate information about the scientific method and its achievements. Making things more difficult, their misconceptions about science are often driven by logical fallacies, or errors in deductive reasoning. Here are eight of the most common anti-science fallacies.

Read the entire article at io9.

How To Create A Virtual "Body" For Your Uploaded Mind

The prospect of uploading your brain into a supercomputer is an exciting one — your mind can live on forever, and expand its capacity in ways that are hard to imagine. But it leaves out one crucial detail: Your mind still needs a body to function properly, even in a virtual world. Here's what we'll have to do to emulate a body in cyberspace.

Read the entire article at io9.

11 Ways The Future Could Turn Out Differently Than You Expect

Many of us, owing to an intuitive sense of where technological and social progress are taking us, have a preconceived notion of what the future will look like. But as history has continually shown, the future doesn't always go according to plan. Here are 11 ways the world of tomorrow may not unfold the way we expect.

Read the entire article at io9.

New Technique Reverses Aging By Decades In Cultured Human Cells

Scientists from Stanford Medical Center have devised a technique for extending the length of human telomeres. It's a breakthrough that could eventually result in therapies to treat a host of age-related diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. It could also result in longer, healthier lives.

Read the entire article at io9.

How We'll Finally Put An End To Organ Donation Shortages

The waiting list for organ transplants is growing at an alarming rate while the number of potential organ donors has failed to keep pace. Encouragingly, scientists are working several high-tech solutions in the field of regenerative medicine. We spoke to the experts to learn how organ shortages will soon become a thing of the past.

Read the entire article at io9.


A New Calculation Predicts Hundreds Of Billions Of Earth-Like Planets

Using a 200 year-old statistical technique, a team of Australian astronomers have concluded that virtually every star in the Milky Way hosts at least one to two terrestrial planets capable of fostering life.

Read the entire article at io9.


How Much Longer Before Companies Start To Run Themselves?

Increasingly powerful AI is poised to threaten many well-established professions. A strong case can be made that no industry or job is safe — including the upper echelons of corporate governance. The era is fast approaching when companies will be able to operate with virtually no human intervention. Here's how it will work.

Read the entire article at io9.


The 7 Least Plausible Solutions To The Fermi Paradox

One of the greatest conundrums to face humanity is the question of extraterrestrial life. Many explanations have been posited over the years to explain why we have yet to make first contact, some better than others. Here are seven of the weakest solutions to the vexing problem known as the Fermi Paradox.


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