These Species Can Recode Their Own Genetics – Futurism

In Brief More than any other species on earth, octopuses are particularly smartthey can solve puzzles, use tools, and communicate using color. Now scientists are saying they’re also capable of editing their RNA. Gene Editing

A team of scientists led by Joshua Rosenthal at the Marine Biological Laboratory and Noa Liscovitch-Braur and Eli Eisenberg at Tel Aviv University have discovered that octopusesand squid are capable of a type of genetic alteration called RNA editing. The process is rare among other species, leading scientists to believe that the cephalopods have evolved to follow a special kind of gene recoding.

Normally, living creatures use the information contained in DNA to make proteins, and RNA is the go-between, simply transmitting the message in the DNA. More than 60 percent of RNA transcripts in squid are recoded by editing, and similar levels of RNA editing were identified in other cephalopod species, including two octopusesand a cuttlefish. This changes the message that gets sent out, which in turn changes the proteins that get produced. In comparison, other species like fruit flies and humans experience recoding events only a fraction of one percent of the time. But exactly how the gene editing mechanics work is a mystery.

When do they turn it on, and under what environmental influences? It could be something as simple as temperature changes or as complicated as experience, a form of memory, says Rosenthal.

The inherent characteristics of this species have prompted scientists to compare cephalopods to aliens, given their camouflage capability, blue blood, and ability to see polarized light. Their ability to manipulate their RNA demonstrates the importance of editing, which demonstrates how their species have possibly been forgoing standard evolution, sacrificing the ability to quickly evolve in order to develop their impressive brainpower.

Technically, an animal could use RNA editing to change the nature of its proteins without completely altering the underlying DNA instructions. This makes the cephalopods ability to do it a very interesting phenomenon, but its unclear as to why the species requires this much RNA editing.Many of the edited proteins were found in the animals brains, which is why scientists think the editing and their brainpower could be linked.

All of this, however, is still a hypothesis. Further research is needed to determine exactly how the editing mechanism works. Researchers hope to discover the role that RNA editing plays in the development of these species, and whether deeper insight into the process could ultimately lead to treatments for diseases like cystic fibrosis.

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These Species Can Recode Their Own Genetics – Futurism

With Afro-Futurism, Octavia Butler created her own reality: Larry Wilson – LA Daily News

Lotta good writers out there.

Lotta good novelists.

Few craft an entirely new genre, though. One who did, Octavia Butler, who thousands of acolytes credit with creating Afro-Futurism, left her papers to the Huntington Library, which in a new show celebrates her amazing writing and wonderfully American life story of self-creation after a childhood of poverty in the Northwest Pasadena ghetto.

Telling My Stories, which runs through Aug. 7, is one of those roomful-of-arcana museum biopics that I suppose you have to come to with at least a little interest beforehand in the subject. But once visitors wander past the West Hall of the main library exhibit space at the Huntington, many who otherwise just wanted to get a gander at the Gutenberg will be pulled into Butlers room, first by the oversized black and white portrait of the formidable, 6-foot-tall author staring out, and then by all thats contained on the walls and in the display cases.

This isnt like a visit with the papers of some Ivy League tweedster. Octavia Butlers widowed mother was a maid in a wealthy Pasadena household. Octavias exposure to books but for the Bible was not going to happen at home. But, thanks to the childrens section then known as the Peter Pan Room of the Pasadena Library, she discovered reading for pleasure. She began to scrawl little escapist stories about horses and romance. And then, according to Natalie Russell, the Huntingtons assistant curator of literary collections, Butler saw the 1954 B movie Devil Girl from Mars, and had a simple inspiration in reaction to the dumbed-down tale: I can write better than that.

Once she graduated from Muir High and Pasadena City College, and began hanging out at the Los Angeles Library downtown, reading more science fiction, Russell says Butler grew tired of stories featuring only white male heroes. I can write my own stories and I can write myself in, Butler often said after that.

It almost looks easy, or at least inevitable, a writers life in hindsight. But a shy, gangly girl such as Butler had zero role models for her craft. This exhibit shows the Benjamin Franklin-esque manner in which Butler created herself through the national pastime of over-the-top motivational imagineering. I am a bestselling writer, she wrote in ballpoint on lined three-hole-punched papers in the show. I write bestselling books and excellent short stories. Both books and short stories win prizes and awards.

And so she did. Eventually, because she willed it, she was mentored by Harlan Ellison, the Sherman Oaks sci fi giant, and gained entry to the Open Door Program for minority writers of the Writers Guild of America, West. Not that it was easy. No MFA programs or scholarships for her. In a Dear Mama letter Butler typed but never sent from a workshop, she wrote, Im afraid I cant write and I know I cant do anything else. Im blocked. … Im alone here. I mean, Im the only Negro. That shouldnt mean anything. It means a lot.


She unblocked, and, working menial L.A. office jobs by day, she wrote at night. She was 28 when she sold her first novel, Patternmaster, to Doubleday in 1975. As she gave me a preview of the show on Thursday, curator Russell noted of Butlers astounding Kindred, in which an African-American woman of today time travels back to a slave plantation, that only a woman protagonist such as the novels Dana had a chance of flying under the radar of the antebellum South and and making it home.

Butler won the Hugo, Nebula and a MacArthur genius grant. The big one. Like a salary, leaving her free to write. The only thing she ever wanted to do.

Larry Wilson is on the Southern California News Group editorial board. lwilson@scng.com.

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With Afro-Futurism, Octavia Butler created her own reality: Larry Wilson – LA Daily News

The Relationship of The Future: A Man Married a Robot He Built … – Futurism

In BriefA Chinese engineer facing the realities of a widening gendergap in China, and the pressure to marry found a creative andcontroversial solution: he built himself a robot bride. Yingying

While Tindr and other apps might be the height of how technology is shaping human relationships, an engineer in China has taken it to the next level:Zheng Jiajia has married a robot he created.

Zheng, an artificial intelligence expert, spent two months dating Yingying, who he built late last year. Hemade their relationship official in asimple ceremony with his mother and friends in attendance. Or at least as official as the government would allow. Local authorities do not actually recognize the union, through the ceremony did follow Chinese tradition.Click to View Full Infographic

Zhengsdecision to wedthe robot was spurred bymounting pressure for the 31-year-old to marry. Due toChinas one-child policy,sex-selective abortions are common (and preferential to male offspring). China, therefore, has oneworst gender gaps in the world. There are 113.5 men for every 100 women in the country, according to the World Economic Forum. That fact, combined with views on matrimonyamong Chinas middle class, is making itdifficult for men to find wives.

As for Zheng and Yingying, the first hurdle in their relationship may be not dissimilar from human relationships: communication. Yingying is capable of reading some Chinese characters and images and can even speak a few words. Zheng is already working on an update which would hopefully allow her to walk (as of now she must be carried everywhere), do household chores, and converse at a higher level.

Reactions around the world to this unprecedented union have, of course, been mixed but its a very clear demonstration of how relationships and intimacy are evolving in the context of advancing technology.

Futurism explored this concept in previous report:

Technology is pushing human sexuality into uncharted terrain. Its transforming how we express love and intimacy, and holds tremendous potential for deeper emotional and physical connections. While everyone stands to benefit, this is perhaps especially true for those who face sexual challenges due to distance, loneliness, discrimination, or disability.

For many people faced with physical, emotional, and geographic challenges that impact their relationships, turning totechnology for emotional and sexual fulfillment may be their only option. And there are a number of options in that vein, many of which involve the use of remote sex tech, such as long-distance kissing devices, VR haptic body suits, or connected pillows for couples who are in two different geographic locations. Other avenues include adult virtual worlds where users create avatarsand join in virtual gatherings. Similar to Zhengs idea, there are also those creating robotic prototypes equipped with the illusion of sentience and human augmentation which provide companionship for human users.

If anything, these emerging technologies are able to provide context for the integral role that relationships play in human interaction. How these innovations will one day shape human connection and intimacy, however, is very much still evolving.

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The Relationship of The Future: A Man Married a Robot He Built … – Futurism

Scientists Just Created a Material for Self-Healing Smartphones – Futurism

In BriefInspired by Wolverine, the ultimate self-healing hero, aresearcher has created a self-healing polymer that conductselectricity. This material may one day be used in smartphones thatcan repair themselves. Wolverine-Inspired Material

A researcher inspired by the X-Mens self-healing hero, Wolverine, has created a self-healing polymeric material for use in soft robotics and electronic devices like smartphones. Chao Wang, Ph.D. presented his teams research yesterday at the 253rd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

When I was young, my idol was Wolverine from the X-Men, Dr. Wang said in a press release. He could save the world, but only because he could heal himself. A self-healing material, when carved into two parts, can go back together like nothing has happened, just like our human skin.

Chemical bonding is the key to self-repair, and materials can have two types of bonds: covalent bonds, which are stronger and dont easily reform once they are broken, and non-covalent bonds, which are weaker but more dynamic. The challenge with many non-covalent bonds is balancing that desirable flexibility with the ability to conduct electricity. Most self-healing polymers form hydrogen bonds or metal-ligand coordination, but these arent suitable for ionic conductors, explained Dr. Wang.

Wangs team looked for an alternative approach and settled upon an ion-dipole interaction. Ion-dipole interactions have never been used for designing a self-healing polymer, but it turns out that theyre particularly suitable for ionic conductors, said Dr. Wang. To that end, the team combined a stretchable, polar polymer with a mobile, ionic salt. The polymer, poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene), contains polar groups that interact with the ionic salt to create the ion-dipole force.

The result is a material that is conductive and extremely flexible, capable of stretching up to 50 times its starting size and stitching itself back together again completely within the space of a single day after being ripped in half. The material is also conductive enough for use with electronics and artificial muscles.

The researchers plan to alter the polymer to improve its properties next. For example, they are working toward achieving functionality in very humid conditions and other harsh environments. Previous self-healing polymers havent worked well in high humidity, Wang said. We are currently tweaking the covalent bonds within the polymer itself to get these materials ready for real-world applications.

The team also acknowledged that, while the material was able to self-heal without the application of intense pressure, exactly how much pressure must be applied for it to self-heal is unknown. This remains an area for further study.

All of the materials used to create the polymer are commercially available, so manufacturing it should remain inexpensive, especially at scale. However, the researchers acknowledge that there are many practical hurdles to clear before the material will be available commercially. I think we still have a lot of things to do before we can really use it for smartphones, Wang said at yesterdays press conference.

However, if this material lives up to its promise, dropping your expensive phone might not be such a tragedy one day soon.

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Scientists Just Created a Material for Self-Healing Smartphones – Futurism

We Just Created an Artificial Synapse That Can Learn Autonomously – Futurism

In Brief A team of researchers has developed artificial synapses that are capable of learning autonomously and can improve how fast artificial neural networks learn. Mimicking the Brain

Developments and advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have been due in large part to technologies that mimic how the human brain works. In the world of information technology, such AI systems are called neural networks. These contain algorithms thatcan be trained, among other things, to imitate how the brain recognizes speech and images. However, running an Artificial Neural Networkconsumes a lot of time and energy.

Now, researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)inThales, the University of Bordeaux in Paris-Sud, and Evry have developed an artificial synapse called a memristordirectly on a chip. It paves the way for intelligent systems that requiredless time and energy to learn, and it can learn autonomously.

In the human brain, synapses work as connections between neurons. The connections are reinforced and learning is improved the more these synapses are are stimulated. The memristor works in a similar fashion. Its made up of a thin ferroelectric layer(which can be spontaneously polarized) that is enclosed between two electrodes. Using voltage pulses, their resistance can be adjusted, like biologicalneurons. The synaptic connection will be strong when resistance is low, and vice-versa. The memristors capacity for learning is based on this adjustable resistance.

AI systems have developed considerably in the past couple of years. Neural networks built with learning algorithms are now capable of performing tasks which synthetic systems previously could not do. For instance, intelligent systems can now compose music, play games and beat human players, or do your taxes. Some can even identify suicidal behavior, or differentiate between what is lawful and what isnt.

This is all thanks to AIs capacity to learn, the only limitation of which is the amount of time and effort it takes to consume the data that serve as its springboard. With the memristor, this learning process can be greatly improved. Work continues on the memristor, particularly on exploring ways to optimize itsfunction. For starters, the researchers have successfully built a physical model to help predict how it functions. Their work is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Soon, we may have AI systems that can learn as well as out brains can or even better.

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We Just Created an Artificial Synapse That Can Learn Autonomously – Futurism

A Space Station That Orbits the Moon May Be on the Way – Futurism

In BriefAs the ISS winds down its mission and scientific work, the aninternational team considers a station in lunar orbit to replaceit. A lunar outpost would support the same scientific research andserve as a way station along the route to Mars. ISS is Passing the Baton

In the latest instance of our human obsession with the Moon, the International Spacecraft Working Group (ISWG), the agency architects of the International Space Station (ISS), recently met to discuss how to replace the station, which is set to be decommissioned in 2024. A plan to construct a space outpost in lunar orbit is evolving, and at this latest meeting the participants agreed to a tentative orbit trajectoryto be finalized by 2018.

The ISS was created as an international scientific laboratory for astronauts to conduct experiments in space. Despite our many technological advances, the environment of space is impossible to recreate on Earth, yet the drive to explore and even colonize space demands scientific experimentation in that environment.

The ISS has also been the center of private, commercial research in support of space colonization initiatives. The work conducted on ISS has greatly improved life back on Earth, supporting global water purification efforts, growing high-quality protein crystals for use in medical research, and providing new technologies for use in a wide range of industries.

A space station in lunar orbit poses significant challenges, but, compared with the ISS, holds more opportunity for testing technologies for deep space missions and greater scientific potential. Much ISS research centers on microgravity, studieswhich could be supported within a lunar outpost. The station would also allow for more study of the Moon itself thanks to its proximity to our natural satellite. A lunar orbit station could also serve as a stepping stoneon a journey to Mars.

Members of the ISWG agreed that the stationshould utilize plug and play parts so that new components can be adapted to existing infrastructure. They also want to make the development of common standards a priority.

At this time, designs for the new station incorperatethe Canadian robotic arm from the ISS, a Russian airlock, and propulsion and power systems from the U.S. Although Russia favors a lunar surface base, NASA is pushing for a higher orbit because of its convenience forMars access. Thus far, the plans cite a Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit, a widened oval path 1450 km (900 miles) from the Moon at its closest and 69,000 km (43,000 miles) at its furthest, taking a week to complete one rotation.

Additionalbenefits of a station in this orbit would include good communication with Earth, constant sunlight for solar panels, and reduced need for departing spacecrafts to use height boosts that consume large amounts of fuel. The primary drawback of the design is that trips to the Moons surface would be somewhat difficult based on the distance, which has left Russia carrying on with its investigation of a Moon base. Solutions might include compromising with a modular design, or changing the orbit periodically.

The timeline right now plans for construction throughout the 2020s. This would have the new station ready to serve missions to Mars and elsewhere in the 2030s. Interestingly, if this timeline holds true, by the time the station is in orbit, private companies may already be on the Moon or in orbit around it.Bigelow Aerospace hopes its inflatable space station will be in orbit around the Moon by 2020, and SpaceX may be there even sooner.

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A Space Station That Orbits the Moon May Be on the Way – Futurism

For $250000, You Can Have a Flying Suit Like Iron Man’s – Futurism

In Brief Gravity is a British technology start-up founded by Richard Browning in March 2017 dedicated to improving aviation across the world. Their first suit, the Daedalus, is expected to travel at speeds of 100 mph and costs around $250,000 to produce. A New Way To Fly

The media is bursting at its seams with what seems to be the superhero revolution. Comic book publishers like Marvel and DC have spilled over onto the big screen, and now it may look as though theyre spilling over into our technology in the real world. While we have been making efforts at a superhero heads up displayor an iron man workout suit, we are also inching our way up to a functional flight suit.

Gravityis a British technology start-up startedby Richard Browning on March 31, 2017. The company has developed a human propulsion system to re-imagine manned flight. With miniaturizedjet engines and a customized exoskeleton, the Daedalus is expected to push us into a new era of aviation. Browning and his team developed the suit over the course of 2016, with the teams journey covered in this short documentary:

Brownings team put together six kerosene-fuelled micro gas turbines to lift the manned-suit upessentially, a man tethered to six compact jet engines. Initial testing began with Browning performing assisted jumps with four engines.Thinking additional engines would help him levitate off the ground, the team added two additional engines with leg mounts. The final design looks slightly different, as it houses two engines within the suits back in conjunction with two engines attached at each arm. The design also has a heads-up display that relays fuel information to the user through a WiFi connection. The suit is expected to reach speeds of 160 km/h (100 mph), but you can test that out yourself.

Gravitys developments marks the beginning of a new era of human aviation. While the suit seems clunky now, so did the first computers when they were built. Were witnessing pockets of intelligent capital develop, and isnt too hard to imagine the future of this technology.

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For $250000, You Can Have a Flying Suit Like Iron Man’s – Futurism

Elon Musk’s Attempt to Merge to the Human Brain With AI May Have Serious Problems – Futurism

Musks Neural Lace

When Elon Musk confirmed last week that hes working on a way to combine humans and machines, it wasnt exactly a surprise. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has long been in favor of a human-machine merger in order to keep up with artificial intelligence (AI) development. Not to mentionavoiding the end of humankind at the hands of machines.

Neuralink is Musks unconventionalproposal forpreempting thatfear.The budding company will build a deviceto be implanted into the human brain. This device which is likely to be called aneural lace would give the human brain the ability to directly interface with gadgets and other devices. It could also improve the human brains memory by increasing its storage capacity. Such brain-computer implants could also lead to improved treatments for neurological diseases and cognitive disorders.If that wasnt impressive enough, such a device could potentially be used toreprogram a persons neural code.

In an piece he wrote for CNBC, Dustin McKissen wondered aloud how such a technology would be introduced quite literally into the public consciousness: one question Musk hasnt answered (and in fairness, it may not be his responsibility to answer) is who will have the privilege of getting a neural lace? McKissen is the founder and CEO of PR and strategy firm McKissen + Company, whose work includes analyzing the effects of politics in the U.S. business climate.

If the essentialness of maternity care is up for debate, it goes without saying Elon Musks neural lace probably wont be covered under your insurance plan, McKissen wrote, referring to the Obamacare repeal that has been at the forefront of U.S. political debate as of late. In other words, not only do the rich seem to get richerthey may get the benefit of having a computer-enhanced brain.

McKissen warns of how social inequality could render Musks neural lace beneficial only to a select few, rather than the human race on the whole. What will income inequality look like if only the very wealthy get an upgrade? And will children be able to get a neural lace?, he asked. Such a society is reminiscent of one featured in the science fiction film Elysium, where only the privileged few had access to technologys benefits.

McKissenadded: Research has shown there is already a digital divide contributing to chronic poverty in low-income and rural communities. That digital divide will only grow when some of us can afford a brain enhanced with artificial intelligence. [] most of us are going to have to compete with computer-enhanced peers in an already unequal world.

McKissen isnt arguing that some people would be more deserving of access to advanced technology like a neural lace, but rather, he points out theneed to improve the current playing field whichone could argue extends beyond the question of who gets a neural lace.

As he said, In a world thats growing increasingly class conscious, the ability for a relatively small number of people to become more than human could be a disaster for everyoneespecially if that technology arrives in a time when income inequality is even worse than it is today.

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Elon Musk’s Attempt to Merge to the Human Brain With AI May Have Serious Problems – Futurism

Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Are Officially Allowed on California Roads – Futurism

California and Ubers Tricky Relationship

The well-known ride-sharing company, Uber, is making headlines again. After a struggle with the state of California, Uber notoriously packed its self-driving vehicles up and went to Phoenix, Arizona, setting up a location in addition to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the companys self-driving initiative. This time, its about the companys return to California streets with self-driving cars.

Uber finally applied and received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles that allows the testing of two Volvo SUVs on public roads. In addition, 48 backup drivers were approved by regulators, requiring them to sit behind the wheel in the event ofa mishap with the autonomous vehicles.

The $150 permit seems to be an olive branch of sorts, resolving the issues from late 2016 when Uber introduced a pilot program of more than a dozen autonomous vehicles in San Francisco without consulting state regulators. While Uber claimed that its cars did not meet the states definition of autonomous vehicles because they need a person present to monitor the car in case an intervention is needed, legal authorities felt differently when faced with Ubers malfunctioning AI. Without the permit, the state revoked the license of the 16 autonomous cars from Ubers pilot program.

Uber is now the 26th company to hold a permit to test self-driving vehicles in the state of California. However, the company wont be offering driverless rides just yet, and its not clear when passengers will be able to hitch a ride with one of them.

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Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Are Officially Allowed on California Roads – Futurism

China to Send People to the Moon by 2020 – Futurism

Chinas Mission to the Moon

China is working to develop a new spaceship that can both fly in low-Earth orbit and land on the moon.

Their announcement comes shortly after the US announced plans to fly two private citizens around the Moon by late 2018, under private aerospace company SpaceX.

Chinas spacecraft will be designed to be recoverable, with better capacity than other similar spaceships, capable of shuttling multiple crew members. Spaceship engineer Zhang Bainian, who spoke to Science and Technology Daily, compared the planned spacecraft to the NASA and the European Space Agencys Oriona spacecraft equipped for a moon landing operation, which they hope will be able to bring astronauts to space by 2023.

Despite joining the space race fairly recently (their first crewed mission was in 2003), Chinas achievements have firmly established the country as a major contender in the field.

In terms of rocket launches, China has already overtaken Russia in volume and is at par with the US, reaching a total of 22. In contrast, Russia, despite having a long-established space program, fell behind with only 17 launches. According to Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, the US could have achieved more if the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket fleet had not been grounded after an explosion in September 2016.

In addition, Chinas most recent crewed mission saw two astronauts spend a month aboard the Chinese space station, with plans for a permanently crewed space station to start operations within five years.

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China to Send People to the Moon by 2020 – Futurism

You Can Rewire Your Brain to Have a Super Memory – Futurism

Mnemonic Jocks

We know the brains of memory athletes are differentbut its not because they started out that way. The tasks that elite mnemonic athletes undertake in competitions may seem impossible to most of us, no matter how intelligent we are. Memorizing 500 digits in five minutes, for example, or thousands of random words in sequence. Yet new research shows that most people can successfully master and apply the memorization techniques that memory athletes use. Even more fascinating,research indicates that as we apply these techniques, we literally rewire our brains on a large scale.

The Radboud University research team, led by Martin Dresler, compared the minds of memory champions to those of people in the general population using brain scans and behavioral tests. These comparisons revealed a different pattern of brain connectivity in the brains of top memory athletes versus thecontrols. The team also found that the changes to brain connection patterns caused by learning a common memorization technique began to appear after a period of weeks. Not surprisingly, these subjects were able to significantly improve their memory skills and exhibit behaviors similar to those of memory athletes.

It makes sense thatlearning new skills throughout our lives could be healthy for our brains, but there isnt complete scientific evidence for its efficacy. However, some research links specific changes in the brain to certain skills. For example, one study showed that taxi drivers in London developed more gray matter in their hippocampi as they learned to navigate the streets of the city, and therefore had larger-than-average memory centers. The scientists were able to definitively say that not only did thedrivers have larger memory centers built up by their time on the roads, but that the developmentof this form of memory might inhibit developmentin other areas.

I think the interesting part is that not only can you boost memory in a similar way behaviorally in normal subjects compared to memory athletes, Dresler says, but on the brain level you see a reflection of that behavioral increase, and you drive the brains of naive subjects into the patterns of the best memorizers in the world.

The results of this study concurwith recent findings that some Alzheimers patients appear to be resistant to memory loss. The idea that the typical plaques associated with Alzheimersmay be present in a brain that continues to function normally suggests there may be protective factors involved, or practices we can adopt to maintain healthier minds as we age. The results of this super memorizer study certainly imply that rewiring the brain is within reach for most of us.

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You Can Rewire Your Brain to Have a Super Memory – Futurism

The Art of Noises

Dear Balilla Pratella, great Futurist composer,

In Rome, in the Costanzi Theatre, packed to capacity, while I was listening to the orchestral performance of your overwhelming Futurist music, with my Futurist friends, Marinetti, Boccioni, Carr, Balla, Soffici, Papini and Cavacchioli, a new art came into my mind which only you can create, the Art of Noises, the logical consequence of your marvelous innovations.

Ancient life was all silence. In the nineteenth century, with the invention of the machine, Noise was born. Today, Noise triumphs and reigns supreme over the sensibility of men. For many centuries life went by in silence, or at most in muted tones. The strongest noises which interrupted this silence were not intense or prolonged or varied. If we overlook such exceptional movements as earthquakes, hurricanes, storms, avalanches and waterfalls, nature is silent.

Amidst this dearth of noises, the first sounds that man drew from a pieced reed or streched string were regarded with amazement as new and marvelous things. Primitive races attributed sound to the gods; it was considered sacred and reserved for priests, who used it to enrich the mystery of their rites.

And so was born the concept of sound as a thing in itself, distinct and independent of life, and the result was music, a fantastic world superimposed on the real one, an inviolatable and sacred world. It is easy to understand how such a concept of music resulted inevitable in the hindering of its progress by comparison with the other arts. The Greeks themselves, with their musical theories calculated mathematically by Pythagoras and according to which only a few consonant intervals could be used, limited the field of music considerably, rendering harmony, of which they were unaware, impossible.

The Middle Ages, with the development and modification of the Greek tetrachordal system, with the Gregorian chant and popular songs, enriched the art of music, but continued to consider sound in its development in time, a restricted notion, but one which lasted many centuries, and which still can be found in the Flemish contrapuntalists most complicated polyphonies.

The chord did not exist, the development of the various parts was not subornated to the chord that these parts put together could produce; the conception of the parts was horizontal not vertical. The desire, search, and taste for a simultaneous union of different sounds, that is for the chord (complex sound), were gradually made manifest, passing from the consonant perfect chord with a few passing dissonances, to the complicated and persistent dissonances that characterize contemporary music.

At first the art of music sought purity, limpidity and sweetness of sound. Then different sounds were amalgamated, care being taken, however, to caress the ear with gentle harmonies. Today music, as it becomes continually more complicated, strives to amalgamate the most dissonant, strange and harsh sounds. In this way we come ever closer to noise-sound.

This musical evolution is paralleled by the multipication of machines, which collaborate with man on every front. Not only in the roaring atmosphere of major cities, but in the country too, which until yesterday was totally silent, the machine today has created such a variety and rivalry of noises that pure sound, in its exiguity and monotony, no longer arouses any feeling.

To excite and exalt our sensibilities, music developed towards the most complex polyphony and the maximum variety, seeking the most complicated successions of dissonant chords and vaguely preparing the creation of musical noise. This evolution towards noise sound was not possible before now. The ear of an eighteenth-century man could never have endured the discordant intensity of certain chords produced by our orchestras (whose members have trebled in number since then). To our ears, on the other hand, they sound pleasant, since our hearing has already been educated by modern life, so teeming with variegated noises. But our ears are not satisfied merely with this, and demand an abundance of acoustic emotions.

On the other hand, musical sound is too limited in its qualitative variety of tones. The most complex orchestras boil down to four or five types of instrument, varying in timber: instruments played by bow or plucking, by blowing into metal or wood, and by percussion. And so modern music goes round in this small circle, struggling in vain to create new ranges of tones.

This limited circle of pure sounds must be broken, and the infinite variety of noise-sound conquered.

Besides, everyone will acknowledge that all musical sound carries with it a development of sensations that are already familiar and exhausted, and which predispose the listener to boredom in spite of the efforts of all the innovatory musicians. We Futurists have deeply loved and enjoyed the harmonies of the great masters. For many years Beethoven and Wagner shook our nerves and hearts. Now we are satiated and we find far more enjoyment in the combination of the noises of trams, backfiring motors, carriages and bawling crowds than in rehearsing, for example, the Eroica or the Pastoral.

We cannot see that enormous apparatus of force that the modern orchestra represents without feeling the most profound and total disillusion at the paltry acoustic results. Do you know of any sight more ridiculous than that of twenty men furiously bent on the redoubling the mewing of a violin? All this will naturally make the music-lovers scream, and will perhaps enliven the sleepy atmosphere of concert halls. Let us now, as Futurists, enter one of these hospitals for anaemic sounds. There: the first bar brings the boredom of familiarity to your ear and anticipates the boredom of the bar to follow. Let us relish, from bar to bar, two or three varieties of genuine boredom, waiting all the while for the extraordinary sensation that never comes.

Meanwhile a repugnant mixture is concocted from monotonous sensations and the idiotic religious emotion of listeners buddhistically drunk with repeating for the nth time their more or less snobbish or second-hand ecstasy.

Away! Let us break out since we cannot much longer restrain our desire to create finally a new musical reality, with a generous distribution of resonant slaps in the face, discarding violins, pianos, double-basses and plainitive organs. Let us break out!

Its no good objecting that noises are exclusively loud and disagreeable to the ear.

It seems pointless to enumerate all the graceful and delicate noises that afford pleasant sensations.

To convince ourselves of the amazing variety of noises, it is enough to think of the rumble of thunder, the whistle of the wind, the roar of a waterfall, the gurgling of a brook, the rustling of leaves, the clatter of a trotting horse as it draws into the distance, the lurching jolts of a cart on pavings, and of the generous, solemn, white breathing of a nocturnal city; of all the noises made by wild and domestic animals, and of all those that can be made by the mouth of man without resorting to speaking or singing.

Let us cross a great modern capital with our ears more alert than our eyes, and we will get enjoyment from distinguishing the eddying of water, air and gas in metal pipes, the grumbling of noises that breathe and pulse with indisputable animality, the palpitation of valves, the coming and going of pistons, the howl of mechanical saws, the jolting of a tram on its rails, the cracking of whips, the flapping of curtains and flags. We enjoy creating mental orchestrations of the crashing down of metal shop blinds, slamming doors, the hubbub and shuffling of crowds, the variety of din, from stations, railways, iron foundries, spinning wheels, printing works, electric power stations and underground railways.

Nor should the newest noises of modern war be forgotten. Recently, the poet Marinetti, in a letter from the trenches of Adrianopolis, described to me with marvelous free words the orchestra of a great battle:

To attune noises does not mean to detract from all their irregular movements and vibrations in time and intensity, but rather to give gradation and tone to the most strongly predominant of these vibrations.

Noise in fact can be differentiated from sound only in so far as the vibrations which produce it are confused and irregular, both in time and intensity.

Every noise has a tone, and sometimes also a harmony that predominates over the body of its irregular vibrations.

Now, it is from this dominating characteristic tone that a practical possibility can be derived for attuning it, that is to give a certain noise not merely one tone, but a variety of tones, without losing its characteristic tone, by which I mean the one which distinguishes it. In this way any noise obtained by a rotating movement can offer an entire ascending or descending chromatic scale, if the speed of the movement is increased or decreased.

Every manifestation of our life is accompanied by noise. The noise, therefore, is familiar to our ear, and has the power to conjure up life itself. Sound, alien to our life, always musical and a thing unto itself, an occasional but unnecessary element, has become to our ears what an overfamiliar face is to our eyes. Noise, however, reaching us in a confused and irregular way from the irregular confusion of our life, never entirely reveals itself to us, and keeps innumerable surprises in reserve. We are therefore certain that by selecting, coordinating and dominating all noises we will enrich men with a new and unexpected sensual pleasure.

Although it is characteristic of noise to recall us brutally to real life, the art of noise must not limit itself to imitative reproduction. It will achieve its most emotive power in the acoustic enjoyment, in its own right, that the artists inspiration will extract from combined noises.

Here are the 6 families of noises of the Futurist orchestra which we will soon set in motion mechanically:

In this inventory we have encapsulated the most characteristic of the fundamental noises; the others are merely the associations and combinations of these. The rhythmic movements of a noise are infinite: just as with tone there is always a predominant rhythm, but around this numerous other secondary rhythms can be felt.

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The Art of Noises

Musk Just Promised To Solve This Country’s Energy Crisis in 100 Days or It’s Free – Futurism

In Brief

Elon Musk is never shy about making grand announcements and declaring his ambitious plans, especially when theyre anchored in his vision for a more sustainable future. His latestpromise is to help South Australia createa solar farm that will address the their energy issues in just one hundreddays orhell do the work for free.

In South Australia, energy prices continue to surge, andlocal companies remain unable to meet public energy demand mostly due to environmental concerns. Last year, storms led to a state-wide blackout that shut down operations for numerous ports and public transportation, as well as disrupting business operations in the fifth most populous state in the country.

To that end, co-founder of SolarCity (and Musks cousin) Lyndon Rive says theyre capable of installing 100 to 300 megawatt per hour battery storage, which could solve South Australias energy issues. And while Rivedoesnt have 300 MWh sitting there ready to go, he told AFR that he can certainly get them.

After making this statement, Mike Cannon-Brookes, CEO of Atlassian, tweeted Lyndon and Musk if they were indeed serious about the offer.

Musk replied:

On Cannon-Brookes end, he asked for seven days to sort out politics and funding, at which point he also requested that the Tesla CEO send an approximate quote on how much a 100MW battery farm at mates rates would cost.

According to Musk, it would cost $250 per kWh to produce over 100MWh. Hes confident that Tesla could get the system installed and working within one hundred days of signing a contract.

Assuming that Cannon-Brookes can indeed secure the paperwork needed to get the project underway, Tesla certainlyhas a reputationwhen it comes to delivering on its promises. Last year, Tesla took on a similar project in California: a 80MW farm that was completed in just 90 days that provided grid-scale power in response to possible power shortages.

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Musk Just Promised To Solve This Country’s Energy Crisis in 100 Days or It’s Free – Futurism

Could Universal Basic Income Be the ‘Social Vaccine’ of the 21st Century? – Futurism

For those not familiar with this old idiom, it means its less costly to avoid problems from ever happening in the first place, than it is to fix problems once they do. It also happens to be the entire logic behind the invention of the vaccine, and it is my belief that universal basic income has the same potential.

The savings provided by vaccines are staggering to the point of almost being beyond comprehension. The human suffering avoided through vaccinations are immeasurable, but the economic benefits are not, and in fact have been measured. Lets start with polio.

We estimate that the United States invested approximately US dollars 35 billionin polio vaccines between 1955 and 2005 The historical and future investments translate into over 1.7 billion vaccinations that prevent approximately 1.1 million cases of paralytic polio and over 160,000 deaths. Due to treatment cost savings, the investment implies net benefits of approximately US dollars 180billion, even without incorporating the intangible costs of suffering and death and of averted fear. Retrospectively, the U.S. investment in polio vaccination represents a highly valuable, cost-saving public health program.

For every $1 billion weve spent on polio vaccines, weve avoided spending about $6 billion down the road. And thats purely the economic costs, not the personal costs. You might think our investment in fighting polio is perhaps as good as it gets, but its not.

Most vaccines recommended are cost-saving even if only direct medical costsand not lost lives and sufferingare considered. Our country, for example, saves $8.50 in direct medical costs for every dollar invested in diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine. When the savings associated with work loss, death, and disability are factored in, the total savings increase to about $27 per dollar invested in DTaP vaccination. Every dollar our Nation spends on measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination generates about $13 in total savingsadding up to about $4 billion each year.

Just $1 spent on a single MMR shot can save $13 and a DTaP shot can save $27 that would otherwise have been spent on the costs of the full-blown diseases they protect against.

These vaccinations save us incredible amounts of money and suffering as a society, as long as we continue vaccinating ourselves. But what kind of savings are there to be found, when we go all-in and invest in a massive vaccine program so large, its aim is to entirely eradicate something?

Reported as eradicated from the face of the Earth in 1977, and in possibly one of the greatest understatements of all time, the eradication of smallpox by the U.S. proved to be a remarkably good economic investment.

A total of $32 million was spent by the United States over a 10-year period in the global campaign to eradicate smallpox. The entire $32 million has been recouped every 2 months since 1971 by saving the costs of the smallpox vaccine, administration, medical care, quarantine and other costs. According to General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates from a draft report, Infectious Diseases: Soundness of World Health Organization Estimates to Eradicate or Eliminate Seven Diseases, the cumulative savings from smallpox eradication for the United States is $17 billion. The draft report also estimates the real rate of return for the United States to be 46 percent per year since smallpox was eradicated.

We also didnt stop at eradicating it from within our own borders. We invested our money in the world.

It has since been calculated that the largest donor, the United States, saves the total of all its contributions every 26 days, making smallpox prevention through vaccination one of the most cost-beneficial health interventions of the time.

Even if we let these numbers sink in for a bit, its a huge challenge to fully appreciate because these savings are what we dont experience. We arent spending tens of billions of dollars that we otherwise would have. Had we not spent millions then, wed be spending billions on all of the effects of smallpox to this day and long into the future.

Try to imagine a world where we didnt eradicate smallpox. Aside from the obvious increases in our already sky-high health care costs and the deaths of over 100 million people, millions every year would be calling in sick to work to care for themselves or a loved one with smallpox. Businesses would be paying more for sick leave and losing millions of hours of productivity (estimated at $1 billion lost every year). Medical bankruptcies would likely be higher. Crime would likely be higher. The entire economy would suffer along with all of society.

But we didnt take that path. We chose instead to pay for an ounce of prevention in order to avoid paying for a pound of cure.

Unfortunately we cant see the effects of what we did, because we made them never happen with the ounce of prevention. Were saving what will eventually be trillions of dollars, and dont even give this incredible fact a second thought.

Not only is it hard to see the pounds weve avoided, but we also have a really hard time recognizing the pounds were paying for, because we consider them normal, just as smallpox would today still be normal if wed never chosen to eradicate it through mass vaccinations. It would just be an ugly fact of life like poverty.

What if poverty is like smallpox?

What if the realities of hunger and homelessness arent just facts of life, but examples of those costly pounds that we currently consider normal that we could just instead eradicate with an ounce of cure? How much would it cost to eradicate? How much could we save?

As Ive written about before, a report by the Chief Public Health Officer in Canada looked at this question of potential savings, and estimated that:

$1 invested in the early years saves between $3 and $9 in future spending on the health and criminal justice systems, as well as on social assistance.

Its rare to see this kind of return on investment. That is, outside of vaccinations. Thats the power of immunizations. Spending $1 on a vaccine for a kid can save $10, but also just giving the same kid $1 can save $9 some decades down the road too. How can this be? Because childhood poverty is hugely expensive.

Our results suggest that the costs to the United States associated with childhood poverty total about $500 billion per year, or the equivalent of nearly 4 percent of GDP. More specifically, we estimate that childhood poverty each year:

Reduces productivity and economic output by about 1.3 percent of GDP;

Raises the costs of crime by 1.3 percent of GDP; and

Raises health expenditures and reduces the value of health by 1.2 percent of GDP.

The above numbers are from 2007, and since then the child poverty rate has increased from 17% to 25%, so we can safely assume the hit to GDP has increased as well. Assuming a proportional increase, the 2015 loss to economic growth of child poverty could now be 5.6% of GDP, or $981 billion. And thats only child poverty, not adult poverty.

For the same reason its cheaper to just spend $10,000 on the homeless providing a home, than it is to instead spend $30,000 in medical and criminal justice system costs, it is cheaper to prevent people from ever living in poverty, than it is to pay the full costs of poverty. In addition to the costs of child poverty above, these full costs include a significant portion of the estimated $1.4 trillion spent on crime, the $2.7 trillion spent on health care, and the trillions of dollars spent on its many other effects every single year in the U.S.

These numbers are just economic costs. There are biological costs as well. Poverty even rewires our brains. The new study of epigenetics show us such biological costs can be paid spanning entire lives.

Coming of age in poverty may lead to permanent dysfunction in the prefrontal cortex and the amygdalawhich, according to the researchers, has been associated with mood disorders including depression, anxiety, impulsive aggression and substance abuse.

Fortunately, the even newer study of neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons long thought to be impossible) shows us these effects also need not be permanent.

Chronic stress, predictably enough, decreases neurogenesis. As Christian Mirescu, one of Goulds post-docs, put it, When a brain is worried, its just thinking about survival. It isnt interested in investing in new cells for the future. On the other hand, enriched animal environmentsenclosures that simulate the complexity of a natural habitatlead to dramatic increases in both neurogenesis and the density of neuronal dendrites, the branches that connect one neuron to another. Complex surroundings create a complex brain.

Essentially, were recently learning that we can potentially reverse the long-term effects of poverty, if we eliminate it.

Poverty currently affects almost 50 million Americans, 18 million of whom are kids coming of age impoverished. To allow poverty to continue in the 21st century or to eradicate it is the same choice between an ounce or a pound as smallpox was in the 20th century, and outside of an experiment in Manitoba, weve been choosing a pound of poverty for pretty much all of recorded history.

As another saying goes, so far were being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Decades ago, we developed a vaccine for smallpox and we used it to eradicate smallpox.

Today, we may already have a vaccine for poverty. Its been tested, and the results are remarkable.

Its called universal basic income.

The idea is to give every citizen enough money to cover their basic needs like food and shelter, no strings attached. For the U.S. to guarantee these basic needs to assure no one would live in poverty would cost about $1,000 per adult and $300 per child every month.

For a significant portion of the population here in 2015, this is where the conversation can stop. Once the napkins are whipped out and its $3 trillion price tag is estimated, the idea can be hand-waved away as too expensive.But is it?

Remember how every $1 spent keeping a child out of poverty can save $3 to $9 as an adult? Well, that means if we started vaccinating kids with a basic income of $300 a month, we would not have to spend $900 to $2,700 a month on them as adults. This also means that when kids became adults, a basic income of $1,000 per month is a savings of up to $1,700 wed have otherwise spent. So why not start vaccinating our kids against poverty, and consider their basic incomes as adults a net savings?

What if we had hand-waved away the costs of eradicating smallpox as too expensive with napkin math? What if we today faced that same choice we did then? What if the price of smallpox eradication now was calculated on a napkin as being $3 trillion? What would we do? What should we do?

What if the discussion about smallpox eradication never included the reality the investment would be recouped every two months? What if no one talked about the 40% annual return on investment? What if we all kept pretending eradicating smallpox would just be too darn expensive and that its just one of those ugly facts of life we just have to deal with until we die?

A $3 trillion napkin-math price tag does not reflect a vaccines true value. The fact that its not even its true price tag doesnt even really matter (Note: its true price tag is more like $1 trillion after consolidation and elimination of many existing cash-replaceable federal programs) because even at $3 trillion instead of $1 trillion, its still an ounce instead of a pound.

Poverty is a disease. Its an illness that even doctors are beginning to recognize as something that requires the prescription of cash in order to successfully treat its many associated diseases:

I was treating their bodies, but not their social situations. And especially not their income, which seemed to be the biggest barrier to their health improving. The research evidence was pretty clear on this. Income, poverty, is intimately connected to my patients health. In fact, poverty is more important to my low-income patients than smoking, high cholesterol, high-blood pressure, obesity, salt, or soda pop. Poverty wreaks havoc on my patients bodies. A 17% increased risk of heart disease; more than 100% increased risk of diabetes; 60% higher rates of depression; higher rates of lung, oral, cervical cancer; higher rates of lung disease like asthma and emphysema It became pretty clear to me I was treating all of [my patients] health issues except for the most important onetheir poverty.Dr. Gary Bloch

We can do more than continually treat povertys many economically and physically expensive symptoms. We can eradicate it entirely with a social vaccine designed to immunize against it.

A social vaccine can be defined as, actions that address social determinants and social inequities in society, which act as a precursor to the public health problem being addressed. While the social vaccine cannot be specific to any disease or problem, it can be adapted as an intervention for any public health response. The aim of the social vaccine is to promote equity and social justice that will inoculate the society through action on social determinants of health.

Basic income is a tested social vaccine. Its been found to increase equity and general welfare. It has been found to reduce hospitalizations by 8.5% in just a few years through reduced stress and work injuries. Its been found to increase birth weights through increased maternal nutrition. Its been found to decrease crime rates by 40% and reduce malnourishment by 30%. Intrinsic motivation is cultivated. Students do better in school. Bargaining positions increase. Economic activity increases. Entrepreneurs are born.

With experiment after experiment, from smaller unconditional cash transfers to full-on basic incomes, the results point in positive directions across multiple measures when incomes are unconditionally increased.

Universal basic income is a social vaccine for the disease ofpoverty.

We can keep spending trillions every year to treat this disease and its many symptoms, or we can choose to eradicate poverty as we did smallpox through a mass social vaccination program known as basic income.

It costs real money for us to look the other way on poverty. Unlike smallpox and other diseases we can vaccinate ourselves against, the costs of poverty can be more invisible. We dont get bills in the mail from Poverty, Inc. telling us each month how much we owe, but we still pay these bills because they are included in our many other bills.

When we pay $10,000 in taxes instead of $7,000 because of welfare and health care, thats in large part a $3,000 poverty bill. When we pay $500 a month instead $400 on our private health insurance premiums, thats a $100 poverty bill. When we pay $50 on a shirt instead of $45 because of theft, thats a $5 poverty bill. When were taxed a percentage of our homes to pay for prisons, thats a poverty bill. What other examples can you think of personally? What might we all be spending on poverty every day?

These poverty bills are all around us, but were just not seeing them as they are. And lets not ignore the lack of opportunity bills either.

If just one Einstein right now is working 60 hours a week in two jobs just to survive, instead of propelling the entire world forward with another General Theory of Relativity that loss is truly incalculable. How can we measure the costs of lost innovation? Of businesses never started? Of visions never realized?

These are the full costs of not implementing universal basic income, and they will only increase as technology reduces our need for work as long as we continue requiring the little work thats left in exchange for income.

These are the full costs of being penny-wise and pound-foolish by not socially vaccinating ourselves against poverty.

These are the full costs of continuing to opt for a pound of cure instead of an ounce of prevention.

So now, let us consider a new question.

Is the question for us to answer in the 21st century, Can we afford basic income?

Or is the question, Can we not afford basic income?

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Could Universal Basic Income Be the ‘Social Vaccine’ of the 21st Century? – Futurism

Five of the Most Futuristic Cars Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show – Futurism

The Cars of the Future

The cars of the future will run on renewable energy. Or, at the very least, will be hybrids. At the annual Geneva International Motor Show, the world was given a preview of the some of the most futuristic cars (or car concepts) in the works. Weve already shared the details onSedric, Volkswagens autonomous lounge on wheels,and Pop.Up, Airbus and Italdesigns car-drone hybrid, but here are five others from the total of 118 that are just as impressive.

Hyundais FE (short for Future Eco) Fuel Cell, slated for 2018, aims to be the future of SUVs. It will run on Hyundais improved hydrogen fuel cell technology and is a zero-emission vehicle, promising 30 percent greater energy density than the Tucson Fuel Cell. This futuristic-looking SUV is designed with a clean, flowing look thats inspired by water, according to Hyundai. On the inside, it has internal air humidifiers that can recycle some of its water emissions within the cabins atmosphere. Plus, it has a trunk that can stow and charge an electric scooter.

This onesa comeback concept. Initially unveiled by Bentley at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the EXP 12 Speed 6e is probably one of the fanciest EV concepts out there. Thats to be expected with British manufacturer Bentley, of course. This elegant two-seater has a better battery than its predecessor, cameras for side mirrors, and no roof making it perfect for a grand touring experience.

Heres another luxurious-looking sedan. Though not an electric car, the 2018 Lexus LS 500h makes the case for a hybrid large sedan, which is cleaner but packs the same powertrain found in the 2018 LC 500h sports coupe. It can run on pure electric power for a considerable distance.

Theres the regular Zoe, and then theres the E-Sport. Both are EVs from Renault, but the E-Sport is built to wow your racing genes. It has 460 bhp courtesy of its monstrous 450 kg battery, boosting this four-wheel drive EVs performance. To keep its weight down to 1,400 kg (3,086 lb), the E-Sport has a carbonfiber body. This working concept is intended to maintain Renaults commitment to the ongoing development of electric vehicles.

The GT by Mercedes-AMG is another high-performance hybrid car concept. The renowned car manufacturer is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a concept car that has a Formula 1-derived 805-hp hybrid powertrain.With the Mercedes-AMG GT concept, we are giving a preview of our third completely autonomously developed sports car, Tobias Moers, chairman of Mercedes-AMG, said during the unveiling. With our AMG GT concept, that means a combination of an ultramodern V8 petrol engine and a high-performance electric motor.

Originally posted here:

Five of the Most Futuristic Cars Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show – Futurism

Scientists: Potatoes Can Grow on Mars – Futurism

In Brief

True to the sprit of humanitys early settlers, cultivating the land will probably be the best way to provide food for the Red Planets early colonists. But just how possible is it to plant seeds from Earth and grow them as Martian crops? To figure this out, the International Potato Center (CIP) yes, its a real institution launched an initiative last February called the Potatoes on Mars Project.

The effort is reminiscent of the scene from the movie The Martian in whichMatt Damons character plants potatoes to survive on Mars. Turns out, the sci-fi film may actually have been onto something. The CIP worked in tandem with NASAs Ames Research Center (NASA ARC) to discover if potatoes could be grown under Mars atmospheric conditions.

A tuber was planted in a CubeSat-contained environment that was especially designed by engineers from the University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Lima. Soil taken from the Pampas de La Joya Desert in southern Peru, described as the most Mars-like soil found on Earth, was placed inside a hermetically sealed container that was installed in the satellite. To simulate the radiation found on Mars surface, the researchers used an LED. They built controls to alter the temperature to reflect Mars day and night cycles, as well as for adjusting air pressure, oxygen, and carbon dioxide levels.

Now, a month after the first tuber was planted, preliminary results have been positive.It was a pleasant surprise to see that potatoes weve bred to tolerate abiotic stress were able to produce tubers in this soil, said CIPs potato breeder Walter Amoros.

However, the CIPs experiment does more than just let us know that the Earths first Martian colonists may be snacking on potatoes when they reach the Red Planetin the next decade or so. It also helped us figure out if potatoes could survive in extreme conditions on Earth.This [research] could have a direct technological benefit on Earth and a direct biological benefit on Earth, says Chris McKay of NASA ARCin a press release.

By proving that potatoes can be cultivated under the harshest environments on Earth, the study could help the estimatedone in nine people on the planet suffering from chronic undernourishment. That problem is likely to get worse considering modern stressors on our environment. The results indicate that our efforts to breed varieties with high potential for strengthening food security in areas that are affected, or will be affected, by climate change are working, said Amoros.

All in all, potatoes may turn out to bea super food both in space and here on Earth.

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Scientists: Potatoes Can Grow on Mars – Futurism

US Government Issues NASA Demand, ‘Get Humans to Mars By 2033’ – Futurism

A Mandate For Humanity

Both chambers of Congress just passed the NASA Authorization Act of 2017. With this transformative development, the space agency got a lot more than just$19.508 billion in funding. They also got a very clear mandate: Get humanity to Mars.

To be clear, Mars has been in the works for some time; however, the 2017 Actplaces astrong emphasis on this goal, making it the focal point of NASAs long-term plans. In the document, congress asserts that the space agency is to get humans near or on the surface of Mars in the 2030s. Opposition to the bill from the administration isnt expected, so its more than likely to be passed into law by the presidency.

In order to get to Mars by the 2030s, Congress is asking NASA to develop an initial human exploration roadmap that must be submitted before December 1, 2017.

The bill outlines the necessity of this roadmap, stating: It is the sense of Congress that expanding human presence beyond low-Earth orbit and advancing toward human missions to Mars in the 2030s requires early strategic planning and timely decisions to be made in the near-term on the necessary courses of action for commitments to achieve short-term and long-term goals and objectives.

To that end, the 2017Act states that this plan should outline clear goals that are a bit closer to home, instead of just making a grand leap to the Red Planet all at once.The document states, A human exploration roadmap should begin with low-Earth orbit, then address in greater detail progress beyond low-Earth orbit to cis-lunar space, and then address future missions aimed at human arrival and activities near and then on the surface of Mars.

Speaking of the planned stages, NASA already has a basic outline: The human exploration of Mars crosses three thresholds, each with increasing challenges as humans move farther from Earth: Earth Reliant [now until the mid-2020s], the Proving Ground [2018-2030], and Earth Independent [now to 2030s and beyond].

You can see a full breakdown of each of these stages at this linkand a very basic breakdown of the stages in the NASA image below:

With these planned phases, NASA should be able to easily provide Congress with the roadmap that its asking for.

Through this new NASA Authorization Act, Congress affirms that Mars is the appropriate long-term goal for the human space flight program, and it is likely that the Moon will be a stop over in 2020, if the current administrations planspush forward.

Recently, much of the news covering missions to Mars involved private space companies, most notably, SpaceX and foreign space agencies including China and the UAE.

According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the company will create a permanentMartian settlement. To that end, Musks plan includes the launch of the unmanned Red Dragon spacecraft by 2018, then sending a new and reusable rocket by 2022 (which will be powered by the just recently tested Raptor rocket), and eventually launching humans to Mars after thathopefully landing by 2025.However, much of the details still need to be fleshed out.

Regardless, Musk has made it clear that he thinks such a colonization project will ultimately save the human race. And as this directive by congress reveals, the U.S. government agrees. See SpaceXs plans in this video:

To say, however, that NASA has been sitting idly by would be inaccurate. The space agency has been on a journey to Mars for some time.

So, what has NASA been up to in relation to the Red Planet? The agency already has a host of rovers currently on Mars. One, the Curiosity rover, has made much headway in helping us better understand how much water did (and maybe still does) exist on Mars.Another rover is planned for 2020. This Mars 2020 rover will gather and study data on the availability of resources, such as oxygen, on Mars.

In this respect, Sending rovers isone of the first steps in getting people to Mars.

Ultimately, in the end, getting humans to Mars isnt some empty obsession. Its a worthwhile endeavorone that has the potential to inspire generations in the same manner that the Apollo missions (and Moon landing) did. For many, getting to Mars would be the highest point of human exploration they would ever witness. Think of what New Horizons arrival at Pluto felt like, and now multiply that by about 100.

Already, Mars rover missions are accelerating innovation and research exponentially, so think of all the things that we could learn once were actually there. It is a bold new era in the final frontier.


US Government Issues NASA Demand, ‘Get Humans to Mars By 2033’ – Futurism

Humans Caused 100% of the Past Century’s Global Warming – Futurism

Unnatural Causes

100 percent of global warming over the past century has been caused by humans. In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report stated a clear expert consensus that: It is extremely likely [defined as 95-100% certainty] that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic [human-caused] increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.

Then in 2014, research in the journal Climate Risk Management using rigorous statistical techniques revealed an objective link between global temperature increases and human activity, with a probability exceeding 99.999 percent. In fact, according to a Skeptical Science review of studies on human and natural contributions to global warming:

The overwhelming majority of scientistsabout 97 percentagree not only that climate change is happening, but that it is caused by humans. Nevertheless, most people dont agree:they tend to disbelieve these kinds of statistics, or see climate change denial as an equally valid, alternative point of view.

Despite clear evidence that global warming is caused by humans, many people believe natural processes are playing a major role: only 43 percent of people in the U.K., 49 percent of Germans, 34 percent of Norwegians, and 55 percent of the French believe that climate change is mostly or completely caused by humans. Even fewer peopleonly about one-third of all people in these four countriesbelieve that more than 80 percent of scientists agree that climate change is a real, human-caused phenomenon.

In the U.S., Pew data shows that about 48 percent of all adults believe climate change is caused by humans, but about 31 percent believe that global warming is the result of natural causes. A full 20 percent believe that it doesnt exist at all. Only about 40 percent of Americans expect global warming will have harmful effects on wildlife, weather patterns, and shorelines. When it comes to that figure citing almost all climate scientists agreeing that global warming is caused by humans, only 27 percent of Americans believe thats true. As for everyone else? 35 percent saying more than half, of global warming is caused by humans, 20 percent saying about half, is and 15 percent believefewer than half or almost none.

Although these differences in opinion exist along political lines in the U.S. in particular, it is critically important to drive conversations about climate change. Forcing policy changes in the current political climate isnt easy, and without public pressure and widespread support, its near impossible. This is why helping people understand the facts about climate change is so important. Species are already dying, and extreme, climate change-induced weather is already killing people. This is terrible news, but it does mean that the facts will be harder and harder to ignore. Maybe then the conversations will be easier to have.

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Humans Caused 100% of the Past Century’s Global Warming – Futurism

Physicists: Time Crystals Exist, and We Can Create Them – Futurism

Really Strange and Really Real

Its confirmed. Time crystals can exist. Two teams of researchers, one from Harvard University and the other from the University of Maryland, had their peer-reviewed work on time crystals published todayin the journal Nature.The Harvard-based team used an experimental setup that created an artificial lattice in a synthetic diamond. The Maryland team, on the other hand, continued on their previous work using a chain of charged particles called ytterbium ions.

Both studies built off of time crystal theories developed from Princeton University. Our work discovered the essential physics of how time crystals function, said Princetons Shivaji Sondhi. What is more, this discovery builds on a set of developments at Princeton that gets at the issue of how we understand complex systems in and out of equilibrium, which is centrally important to how physicists explain the nature of the everyday world.

Unlike other, more conventional crystals, time crystals are lattices that repeat not just in space but also in time, breaking what is known as time-translation symmetry. A time crystal is a quantum phenomenon that has movement while remaining in its ground, or lowest energy, state. In other words, it moves without spending energy and does not settle into a thermal equilibrium. Its one of the first examples of a non-equilibrium phase of matter.

Sondhi used the analogy of periodically squeezing a sponge to explain the system: When you release the sponge, you expect it to resume its shape. Imagine now that it only resumes its shape after every second squeeze even though you are applying the same force each time. That is what our system does.

This strange matter,first proposed in 2012 by physicist and Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek, was only considered theoretically possible after considerable debate in September of 2016. Then, the first-ever time crystal was made just a month later in October. By then, it seemed very clear that time crystals are real.

Weve known since earlier this year thatthese two teamswere developing ways to actuallycreate time crystals. Their published works further confirm that time crystals can, indeed, exist, and one possible application for this new phase of matter is in quantum computing. Because the quantum behavior in a time crystal isnt affected by outside forces, researchers see it as a potential tool for protecting information in quantum computers.

Thats all still far off. For now, work on time crystals is focused on helping us better understand physics. Although any applications for this work are far in the future, these experiments help us learn something about the inner workings of this very complex quantum state, said Chris Monroe, who led the Maryland team.

This opens the door to a whole new world of nonequilibrium phases, Andrew Potter, who was part of the Maryland team, told Science Daily. Weve taken these theoretical ideas that weve been poking around for the last couple of years and actually built it in the laboratory. Hopefully, this is just the first example of these, with many more to come.

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Physicists: Time Crystals Exist, and We Can Create Them – Futurism

The World Doubled Its Solar Power Capacity in 2016 – Futurism

Here Comes the Sun

The rise of the solar energy industry is astounding. Though virtually nothing in the early 2000s, the worldssolar capacity is now at 305 gigawatts. The countries taking the lead in this worldwide solar power surge are the United States and China, with the United Kingdom leading the rest of Europe.

A report compiled by SolarPower Europe notes that both the U.S. and China almost doubled the amount of solar energy they added in 2016 from 2015s numbers. Just to give an example in the case of the U.S., the state of New York alone has increased its solar power use by more than 800 percent. The 49 other states are also contributing to the growth, with California dominating them all, boasting a 34 percent share of the U.S. market.

As for China, its now the worlds largest solar energy producer. Reports from Chinas National Energy Administration (NEA) estimate that the country more than doubled its solar energy production in 2016. By last years end, China reached 77.42 gigawatts of solar, generating around 66.2 billion kilowatt-hours of power.

In Europe, despite suffering setbacks due to cuts in government incentives for solar adoption, the U.K. managed to increase its solar capacity by 29 percent, with Germany following at 21 percent and France with 8.3 percent.

Solar energy adoption has become increasingly viable due to a notable drop in costs. According to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the cost for installing solar-powered systems has dropped by more than 60 percent over the last decade. For one, solar panels have become cheaper, encouraging adoption in a host of other areas apart from roofing.

As the world faces the realities of climate change, with global temperatures hitting another all-time-high record in 2016, efforts to fight the climate problem are now more crucial than ever. One of the ways governments and various groups in the private sector can contribute to this fight is through the increased use of renewable energy sources, like solar energy.

In order to meet the Paris [climate agreement] targets, it would be important if solar could continue its rapid growth, explained James Watson, chief executive at SolarPower Europe. The global solar industry is ready to do that and can even speed up. To reach the goals of the agreement, half of the worlds energy must be generated from renewables by 2060.

Renewables can also drive the economy forward by providing jobs. In the case of solar energy in the U.S., roughly209,000 Americans now work in the industry, according to The Solar Foundation. Thats more than double 2010s figure, and the number is expected to increase to more than 360,000 by 2021. Its an industry thats already employing more people than its fossil fuel counterparts combined.

Solar energy isnt the only alternative source currently being explored and developed. Other efforts include harnessing wind energy, which just coveredmore than 50 percent of one U.S. power grids energy demands. Efforts are being undertaken to improve nuclear energy production, specifically research in sustainable fusion, as well as developments in solar fuel technology. With all of these efforts combined, humanity has a chance to stop or even reverse the damage done to the planet.

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The World Doubled Its Solar Power Capacity in 2016 – Futurism