Asteroid Flying by Earth Is so Big It Has Its Own Moon

Saturday night, a mile-wide asteroid called 1999 KW4 will fly by the Earth, and when it does, it'll bring with it its very own moon.

Buddy System

Earth will be getting not one but two visitors from space this weekend.

Astronomers expect an asteroid known as 1999 KW4 to swing by the Earth at around 7:05 p.m. ET on Saturday — and when it does, it’ll bring along its very own moon.

“It’s one of the closest binary flybys probably in recent history,” planetary scientist Vishnu Reddy told NBC News. “That’s what makes it a very interesting target.”

Dynamic Duo

Asteroid 1999 KW4 is 1.5 kilometers (.93 miles) wide. That’s about three times the size of its moon, which clocks in at a width of about 0.5 kilometers (.3 miles).

Even at their closest, the space rocks will still be more than 3 million miles away, so don’t worry about them smashing into the Earth. In fact, they won’t even come close enough to see with the naked eye.

Still, the pair won’t be this close to Earth again until 2036, so if you want to catch a glimpse of the dynamic duo, be sure to have your telescope ready Saturday night.

READ MORE: Mile-wide asteroid and its tiny moon to zoom past Earth this weekend [NBC News]

More on asteroids: NASA Asks SpaceX to Help It Save Earth From Incoming Asteroids

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Here’s How NASA Prepares Its Spacecraft for Mars

NASA's Mars 2020 spacecraft just underwent a series of extreme tests to prepare it for the intense conditions on the Red Planet's surface. 

Mars 2020

The unmanned spacecraft that NASA wants to send to Mars in the year 2020 — if things go according to plan — just underwent a series of extreme tests to prepare it for the extreme journey.

“First we blast it with sound to make sure nothing vibrates loose,” said David Gruel, launch operations manager at JPL, in a press release. “Then, after a thorough examination, we ‘put it in space’ by placing the spacecraft in this huge vacuum chamber we have here at JPL.”

Hot ‘n Cold

The spacecraft underwent acoustic and thermal vacuum testing at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Things got intense inside that vacuum chamber. After the facility’s 16-ton door closes, temperatures drop to -200 Fahrenheit (-129 Celsius). Then, powerful xenon lamps are turned on to simulate the sun’s harsh rays in outer space.

“This is the most comprehensive stress test you can put a spacecraft through here on Earth,” said Gruel. “We flew in our simulated space environment for a week and a day, checking and rechecking the performance of every onboard system and subsystem. And everything looked great — which is a good thing, because next time this spacecraft stack hits a vacuum, it will be on its way to Mars for real.”

READ MORE: Mars 2020 spacecraft subjected to brutal tests as it prepares for launch [CNET]

More on Mars 2020: You Can Now Send a Souvenir With Your Name on it to Mars

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Elevate Your Leadership and Grow Your Business at Your Clouds Can 2019

Elevate your leadership potential with Futurism + IBM at this unique, one-day-only traveling experience in New York City. Your Clouds Can 2019 is an immersive journey behind closed doors at some of NYC’s most innovative companies working with data-driven cloud technologies.

This is not your typical conference. Your Clouds Can 2019 will deliver the tools and frameworks that drives impact for leaders and decision makers. This isn’t about what you could do, but what you can do. After our full day of visits, discussions, and design thinking workshop, attendees will not only be inspired, but equipped with new tools they can utilize the very next day.

If you’re working in retail, travel, CPG, or B2C products, your takeaways from Your Clouds Can 2019 will be immediately actionable, both in business and leadership. Though every industry can benefit from this daylong conference.

At Your Couds Can 2019, attendees will be guided through experiences at four trailblazing companies actively changing the landscape in their industries. After meeting for breakfast, we’ll first visit CAMP, a new toy store operating at the intersection of commerce, media, and play. Then, we’ll move to LivePerson, and learn how their an AI-powered conversational platform is changing the way consumers and brands communicate. Following lunch, we’ll explore the culture and data-driven decision making at BuzzFeed, and then conclude the conference at Betaworks, a startup platform designing community at their new membership club for builders.

We understand that leadership schedules are hectic. This is why we’ve hand-selected these companies and built no-frills agenda, packed with discussions and real life case studies. Attendees will meet with the CEOs, CMOs, and CTOs of these frontier businesses. Together, we’ll discuss not only the future for tech in business but also how these executives are employing these technologies today, right now. And how you can too.

Attendees will also experience and participate in the IBM Garage method, a unique design-thinking, prototyping, hands-on experience. In this method, clients and participants sit side by side with IBM industry experts, designers, and developers to incorporate user feedback in real time to build solutions in days or hours—and scale them in weeks. This is where the magic happens.

The Garage is about co-creating, co-developing new processes, technologies, and organizations, in real time, with specialized experts.

This is why it’s also important that we are hand-selecting not only our innovation leaders, but also our attendees. Tickets are free but space is limited. When you’re ready, please complete the application here.

After attending Your Clouds Can 2019, you will walk away with the knowledge and real-life case studies that will directly empower your business decisions and give your leadership and edge among your organization and markets.

This is not just an inspirational experience. This is hands-on learning behind closed doors. Level-up with some of today’s most innovative leaders and decision-makers at Your Clouds Can 2019, in NYC on June 5th, 2019.

Futurism fans: To create this content, a non-editorial team worked with IBM, who sponsored this post. They help us keep the lights on. This post does not reflect the views or the endorsement of the Futurism.com editorial staff.

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Elon Musk Ridicules Jeff Bezos’ Plan For Space Colonies

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' idea for giant off-world space colonies

Space Feud

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has become increasingly vocal about the idea that humans will eventually live in “giant space colonies” — an idea that’s been widely mocked by critics who’ve pointed out that humans are doing a pretty bad job taking care of their first space habitat, the Earth.

Now, another outsize personality in the space research scene is roasting Bezos: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

Makes no sense. In order to grow the colony, you’d have to transport vast amounts of mass from planets/moons/asteroids. Would be like trying to build the USA in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean!

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2019

Mass Effect

On Thursday, Musk took to Twitter to opine that Bezos’ idea “makes no sense.” The gist of his critique is that space colonies — Bezos favors a design called an “O’Neill cylinder,” which rotates in order to produce artificial gravity — would require extraordinary quantities of materials.

In theory, the fixings for a giant space habitat could be dragged up the gravity well of a planet, like the Earth, but with today’s launch technology, that would be incredibly inefficient.

More likely is an idea Musk alluded to in his tweet: sourcing materials for a space colony from asteroids that have far less gravitational pull than planets — or even building a space station inside an asteroid.

READ MORE: Elon Musk mocks Jeff Bezos’ space colony vision in snarky tweet [Fox Business]

More on space habitats: The Benefits of Colonizing Space: Space Habitats and The O’Neill Cylinder

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Elon Musk Ridicules Jeff Bezos’ Plan For Space Colonies

See China’s Newly Unveiled Maglev Train

China has unveiled a prototype for a new high-speed maglev train that it believes could dramatically cut travel times in the nation.

Fast Track

A new high-speed transportation system is taking shape in China.

On Thursday, state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) unveiled a prototype for a new high-speed magnetic-levitation — better known as “maglev” — train that could dramatically cut travel times in the nation.

“The prototype has already achieved static levitation and is in ideal condition,” CRCC Qingdao’s deputy chief engineer Ding Sansan said at a news conference, according to a report by China Daily. “We are building an experimental center and a trial production center for high-speed maglev trains and expect to put them into operation in the second half of the year.”

Quick Trip

Instead of using wheels and a track, a maglev train floats on a magnetically powered cushion of air. This reduces friction and allows the craft to reach incredibly fast speeds, like the 430 kilometers per hour (267 miles per hour) top speed of a maglev already in operation in Shanghai.

This new design would be able to far exceed the speed of that maglev, reaching a top speed of 600 kilometers per hour (372 miles per hour). Ding used a theoretical journey between Beijing and Shanghai to show how this could dramatically decrease travel times.

“It takes about four-and-a-half hours by plane including preparation time for the journey; about five-and-a-half hours by high-speed rail, and [would] only [take] about three-and-a-half hours by maglev,” he said, according to a South China Morning Post report.

READ MORE: Prototype maglev train can reach 600 km/h [China Daily]

More on maglev: China Is Set to Start Work on the World’s Fastest Maglev Train

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New Research: The Oceans Are Slowly Leaking Into the Earth

The Earth's oceans are gradually leaking into the interior of the Earth — though nowhere near fast enough to cancel out climate change.

Drain Plug

The Earth’s oceans are gradually leaking into the interior of the planet.

That’s according to new research by Norwegian scientists, who told New Scientist that the Earth’s water is slowly draining into the planet’s crust — though nowhere near fast enough to cancel out the sea level rises we’re currently experiencing because of climate change.

Rapid Subduction

The new research, published in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, found that the rate at which the oceans are draining into the Earth spiked about 150 million years ago — when the supercontinent Pangaea split up.

“You have much more rapid subduction when you break up a supercontinent,” University of Oslo researcher Krister Karlsen told New Scientist. “The rapid subduction is crucial for bringing water in hydrated rock deep into the mantle.”


At their current rate, according to New Scientist, the oceans will be completely sucked dry in about 12 billion years.

But that doesn’t mean there’s any cause for concern, the magazine points out: the Sun itself will be long gone by then.

READ MORE: The oceans are very slowly draining into the rock below Earth’s crust [New Scientist]

More on the oceans: Diver Reaches Record Ocean Depth — and Finds a Plastic Bag

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Studying the Sun’s Atmosphere Could Make Fusion Power a Reality

By studying the plasma in the Sun's atmosphere, we could learn how to control it here on Earth and finally make fusion energy a reality.

Solar Plasma

Scientists from Dublin, Ireland and Paris, France just reported some amazing observations from a massive ultraviolet radio telescope in central France: they managed to image radio pulses and watch plasmas become unstable in the Sun’s atmosphere.

Plasma is extremely difficult to study and observe. But by studying the plasma in the Sun’s atmosphere — its gases exist primarily in plasma form since, obviously, it’s extremely hot — the researchers say we could learn how to control the plasma here on Earth and finally make fusion energy a reality.

Fusion Control

For fusion energy to occur, you need tightly contained and extremely hot and pressurized plasma inside a reactor. But controlling that plasma is extremely difficult.

“The only problem is that nuclear fusion plasmas are highly unstable,” said Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies professor Peter Gallagher in a statement about the new work. “As soon as the plasma starts generating energy, some natural process switches off the reaction.”

But that’s where studying an abundant source of the stuff in our Solar System comes in handy.

“By studying how plasmas become unstable on the Sun, we can learn about how to control them on Earth,” Gallagher added.

READ MORE: Scientists uncover exotic matter in the sun’s atmosphere [Trinity College]

More on energy: Scientists Have a New Idea to Make a Fusion Reactor Practical

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NASA Just Hired the First Contractor to Build Lunar Space Station

NASA has awarded Maxar Technologies a contract worth a maximum of $375 million to build the lunar Gateway's power and propulsion element.

Sign Here

NASA just picked its first construction partner for the lunar Gateway.

On Thursday, the agency announced it had awarded a contract worth a maximum of $375 million to Maxar Technologies. The Colorado-based spacetech company will now have the responsibility of developing and demonstrating power, propulsion, and communications capabilities for the Moon-orbiting space station — an integral piece of the lunar Gateway project.

Solar Power

According to a NASA press release, the contract begins with a 12-month base period during which Maxar will design the power and propulsion element, which NASA describes in the release as “a high-power, 50-kilowatt solar electric propulsion spacecraft.”

After that, NASA can choose to exercise a series of options totaling 64 months for the craft’s development, launch, and in-space flight demonstration.

Nearing Liftoff

This contract is just the first of many NASA will award during the creation of the lunar Gateway. However, according to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, it’s an incredibly meaningful one.

“The power and propulsion element is the foundation of Gateway and a fine example of how partnerships with U.S. companies can help expedite NASA’s return to the Moon with the first woman and next man by 2024,” Bridenstine said in a press release. “It will be the key component upon which we will build our lunar Gateway outpost, the cornerstone of NASA’s sustainable and reusable Artemis exploration architecture on and around the Moon.”

READ MORE: NASA Awards Artemis Contract for Lunar Gateway Power, Propulsion [NASA]

More on Lunar Gateway: NASA’s Plan for a Lunar Outpost Just Leaked

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Anonymous Group of 3D-Printed Gun Makers Is Spreading Online

People interested in 3D-printed guns are sharing the files needed to build the firearms anonymously online, according to a troubling Wired story.

One of Many

A global network of gun enthusiasts is using the internet to anonymously share the files needed to 3D-print firearms — and there’s seemingly nothing anyone can do to stop them, according to a newly published Wired story that includes an interview with one of the network’s members.

“If they [the government] were to come after me, they’d first have to find my identity,” a person going by the name Ivan the Troll told Wired. “I’m one of many, many like-minded individuals who’re doing this sort of work.”

Guns on Demand

Guns are, obviously, not illegal in the United States. The issue with 3D-printed guns is that they make it easy for people to circumvent existing gun laws.

Essentially, anyone with access to an adequate 3D printer can go online, download a CAD file for free, and print the parts needed to build a functioning firearm — and “anyone” includes people prohibited from owning guns for legitimate reasons.

Drawing Fire

Ivan the Troll doesn’t seem to see an issue with this, telling Wired that thousands of people across the globe are currently developing 3D-printed guns — and there’s seemingly no magic bullet that could convince them to stop.

“I believe it is inherently important that… you should be able to own a gun,” he said. “You should be able to own the same legal force that the cops are using to control you.”

READ MORE: 3D-printed guns are back, and this time they are unstoppable [Wired]

More on 3D-printed guns: A Court Just Sent a Man to Prison for 3D Printing a Gun

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This Robot Scans Preschoolers’ Faces Daily for Signs of Sickness

Thousands of preschools are using a robot named Walklake that looks for signs of illness by scanning the faces and hands of students.

Dr. Robot

Every morning, children at more than 2,000 preschools in China start their days by facing off with a robot named Walklake.

The bot looks for signs of illness and alerts a teacher or school nurse if it notices that a child might be under the weather, according to a recent New Scientist story. It’s then up to the human to decide whether or not to send the student home for the day — and experts are divided on whether Walklake is a boon for schools or a potential privacy nightmare.

Open Wide

Walklake uses an array of cameras and sensors to check each student’s face and hands for signs of common ailments, such as a fever or irritated throat. The idea is that catching an illness early could prevent it from spreading throughout a school’s population, and it only takes the robot about three seconds to check each student.

“It’s allowing for better health monitoring, especially in places that have large populations but not enough skilled health professionals,” Karen Panetta, an engineering professor at Tufts University, told New Scientist.

Healthy Suspicion

The boxy, brightly colored Walklake looks innocuous enough. However, Joanna Bryson, a computer science professor at the University of Bath, told New Scientist there’s always the possibility that hackers could access the data collected by the healthcare robot.

Still, even she sees the benefits of Walklake in a school environment.

“The robots can be very appealing to kids,” she told New Scientist, “and may make them willing to have their health checked every day.”

READ MORE: Robots conduct daily health inspections of schoolchildren in China [New Scientist]

More on robot healthcare: Bill Gates Funds Tiny Robot Surgeons That Operate Inside the Body

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Tone-Deaf US Official: Melting Sea Ice Offers Trade Opportunities

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says melting sea ice in the Arctic is

Fast Lane

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has found what he believes is the silver lining to melting Arctic sea ice: economic opportunity.

“Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new naval passageways and new opportunities for trade, potentially slashing the time it takes for ships to travel between Asia and the West by 20 days,” he said on Monday, according to the Associated Press. “Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century’s Suez and Panama canals.”

Arctic Council

Pompeo’s remarks came during a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Arctic Council, a group comprising the United States, Canada, Russia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Iceland.

Every two years, the group convenes to discuss any economic or environmental challenges facing the Arctic region, releasing a joint declaration at the end of every meeting.

Every meeting except this one, that is.

What Climate Change?

According to the AP report, Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini said the group didn’t release a declaration because someone he didn’t want to “name and blame” refused to include language about climate change in it.

Still, at least the meeting wasn’t a total wash.

Thanks to Pompeo, we can now see the bright side of melting Arctic sea ice  — it was just hiding behind all the starving wildlife, rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and leaking greenhouse gases.

READ MORE: Climate change missing as US defends Arctic policy [Associated Press]

More on sea level rise: Polar Bears Are Terrorizing a Russian Town Due to Climate Change

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The ISS Now Has an “Algae Bioreactor” Generating Oxygen and Food

The ISS is about to test a new algae bioreactor that turns carbon dioxide to food and breathable oxygen. If it works, it could allow deep space missions.

Fresh Air

The air on the International Space Station (ISS) might get a whole lot fresher.

Astronauts are about to start testing out a new device called a “Photobioreactor,” according to Space.com, which uses living algae to convert carbon dioxide to breathable oxygen and produce edible food.

Unlike Matt Damon, real astronauts can’t live on potato shipments alone, so closed-loop systems that replenish spacecraft with essentials like air and food may be necessary for missions into deep space.

Test Run

The bioreactor arrived at the ISS on Monday, and soon it will be used in concert with another closed loop life support system that converts carbon dioxide to useable methane and water. The leftover carbon dioxide will be consumed by the algae, according to Space.com.

If all goes well, astronauts on future missions to deep space will get more than a viable source of oxygen — the protein-rich algae could someday make up as much as 30 percent of an astronaut’s diet.

“With the first demonstration of the hybrid approach, we are right at the forefront when it comes to the future of life-support systems,” Oliver Angerer, the German scientist leading the project, said in a press release. “Of course, the use of these systems is interesting primarily for planetary base stations or for very long missions. But these technologies will not be available when needed if the foundations are not laid today.”

READ MORE: Algae ‘Bioreactor’ on Space Station Could Make Oxygen, Food for Astronauts [Space.com]

More on space food: This Martian Greenhouse Concept Just Won a NASA Award

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The ISS Now Has an “Algae Bioreactor” Generating Oxygen and Food

In China, Surgeons Are Treating Addiction With Brain Implants

Deep Brain

Deep brain stimulation (DBS), an experimental technology that involves implanting a pacemaker-like device in a patient’s brain to send electrical impulses, is a hotly debated subject in the field of medicine. It’s an inherently risky procedure and the exact effects on the human brain aren’t yet fully understood.

But some practitioners believe it could be a way to alleviate the symptoms of depression or even help treat Alzheimer’s — and now they suspect it could help with drug addiction as well.

In a world’s first, according to the Associated Press, a patient in Shanghai’s Ruijin Hospital had a DBS device implanted in his brain to treat his addiction to methamphetamine.

And the device has had an astonishingly positive effect, the patient says.

“This machine is pretty magical. He adjusts it to make you happy and you’re happy, to make you nervous and you’re nervous,” he told the Associated Press. “It controls your happiness, anger, grief and joy.”

Other studies in China have yielded mixed results trying to treat opioid addictions using DBS, according to the AP. In the United States, at least two studies that tried to treat alcoholism with DBS were dropped for not being able to justify the risks.

Inherent Risks

The idea of using DBS to treat drug addiction has raised concerns in medical communities across the globe — and not just concerning the inherent risks of a brain hemorrhage, seizures, infections, or personality changes.

Some researchers argue that the precise relationship between the technique and drug addiction are not yet known and require further study. Animal studies have shown some signs of its effectiveness, but remain inconclusive.

“It would be fantastic if there were something where we could flip a switch, but it’s probably fanciful at this stage,” Adrian Carter, head of neuroscience at Monash University in Melbourne told AP.

READ MORE: Experimental surgery gains support as opioid deaths rise [Associated Press]

More on deep brain stimulation: Brain-Zapping Pacemaker Implant Could Be a New Treatment for Opioid Addiction

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In China, Robots Are Taste-Testing Food

Chinese food manufacturers have deployed taste-testing robots and artificial intelligence to make sure that the food is high-quality and authentic.

Two Robo-Claws Up!

Chinese robots equipped with sensors that imitate human eyes, noses, and tongues are pigging out on the job.

The taste-testing robots are sampling mass-produced food to make sure the quality is up to snuff. And according to the South China Morning Post, the bots is already saving food manufacturers millions of dollars.


The Chinese government has issued a number of regulations for specific foods — SCMP gives the example of a shredded pork dish that that must, according to officials, contain exactly ten-centimeter-long slices. Other regulations dictate the colors, tastes, and other factors of specific dishes.

The robots’ AI, analyzing data from their sensors, can monitor these distinctions faster than humans. SCMP reports that the system is about 90 percent accurate as a human — while doing away with their individual tastes and biases.

Sour Taste

The automated taste tests are good for productivity and business, since a robotic tongue never needs to take a breather. But experts on Chinese food told SCMP that evaluating flavor should remain a human endeavor.

“Chinese food is extremely sophisticated. It is probably the most difficult to standardize in the world,” said Sun Lin, director of international affairs at the China Cuisine Association. “It is hard to judge which is the most authentic. I don’t think AI can tell the difference within the next two or three decades.”

READ MORE: Artificial intelligence robots boost profits in Chinese food factories, paving way for mass use [South China Morning Post]

More on AI food: AI Trained on Decades of Food Research Is Making Brand-New Foods

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In China, Robots Are Taste-Testing Food

This New Plastic Can Be Recycled Repeatedly

A team from Berkeley has found a way to make recycled plastic far more useful by breaking the bonds between chemicals in the material.

Plastic Solution

As of 2015, Americans recycled less than 10 percent of the plastics they used, and not only because they’re lazy: Many plastics just aren’t conducive to recycling.

Now, scientists from Berkeley Lab say they’ve created a plastic that can be broken down and recycled indefinitely — and it could help the world address its ever-growing plastic pollution problem.

Tight Bond

All plastics comprise large molecules called polymers, which in turn comprise compounds called monomers.

Often, the chemicals added to plastics to give them desirable traits — rigidity or flexibility, for example — bind so tightly to these monomers that they stick around even after the plastic goes through the recycling process.

The problem is that when manufacturers use the recycled monomers to make new plastics, they can’t know for sure what properties the new plastic might inherit from the original.

Acid Test

But in a study recently published in the journal Nature Chemistry, the Berkeley team details its creation of a new kind of plastic called poly(diketoenamine), or PDK.

Instead of being permanent, the bonds between the chemical additives and monomers in PDK are reversible — they dissolve when the material is placed in a highly acidic solution, which allowed the researchers to use the reclaimed monomers to create a recycled plastic that didn’t exhibit the same properties as the recycled plastic.

“Most plastics were never made to be recycled,” researcher Peter Christensen said in a press release.”But we have discovered a new way to assemble plastics that takes recycling into consideration from a molecular perspective.”

READ MORE: Plastic Gets a Do-Over: Breakthrough Discovery Recycles Plastic From the Inside Out [Berkeley Lab]

More on plastic: An Australian Ban Kept Billions of Plastic Bags From Polluting

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Major Bank: The Immortality Industry Is the Next Hot Investment

Bank of America analysts argue that it would be wise to invest in longevity companies that are working to extend the human lifespan and erase disease.


Bank of America analysts say that companies focused on immortality and longevity — extending the human lifespan as much as possible — are going to grow in coming years, with the market expected to be worth $600 billion by 2025.

Longevity companies have often risen and fallen with little ado. But if these financial experts are correct that biotech companies are poised to start “bringing unprecedented increases to the quality and length of human lifespans,” per CNBC, then we may start seeing serious results out of the industry.

“New Frontier”

Bank of America’s predictions would mean a six-fold increase in the amount of money in longevity companies. In a report to clients reviewed by CNBC, analysts wrote that the human lifespan may soon extend to 100 years.

“This has enabled a new frontier in precision medicine to further extend life expectancy,” the report reads.

Four Areas

The analysts identified four key areas of longevity research that they expect to grow in the coming years: genomics, big data and artificial intelligence, futuristic foods and nutrition, and healthcare companies working to eradicate diseases.

The analysts claim that “medical knowledge will double every 73 days by 2020,” a claim that, given how much medical knowledge is already out there, sounds like it could be overly optimistic.

READ MORE: Human lifespan could soon pass 100 years thanks to medical tech, says BofA [CNBC]

More on longevity: Disrupting the Reaper: Tech Titans’ Quest for Immortality Rages Forward

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Major Bank: The Immortality Industry Is the Next Hot Investment

Facebook Co-Founder: “It’s Time to Break Up Facebook”

In a New York Times op-ed, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes argues that Facebook needs to be broken up and regulated.

Point Break

Chris Hughes helped Mark Zuckerberg launch Facebook. But times have changed.

In a New York Times op-ed titled “It’s Time to Break Up Facebook,” Hughes argues that Facebook has gained too much power — and that it should be broken up and regulated.

“It’s been 15 years since I co-founded Facebook at Harvard, and I haven’t worked at the company in a decade,” Hughes wrote. “But I feel a sense of anger and responsibility.”

“Unchecked Power”

At the middle of Facebook’s continued troubles is Zuckerberg, a CEO that Hughes argues has too much “unchecked power” — he can determine what people read, what is hate speech and what isn’t — and an incredible amount of wealth that gives him the ability to shut out any competitors by buying them out.

Mark has a “unilateral control over speech,” Hughes wrote. “There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people.”

Though Hughes is unusually close to Facebook, he’s certainly not alone in calling for accountability for the social giant. His op-ed comes after news of an impending multi-billion-dollar fine from the Federal Trade Commission emerged as a result of an investigation into the way Facebook handled its users’ data. Hughes also joins Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who argued in March that she wants Facebook, Amazon and Google to be broken up.


The solution to Zuckerberg’s unbridled power, according to Hughes: government regulation. WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook need to be spun out into distinct businesses to create a healthier, more competitive market. Hughes also calls for the creation for a new government agency that deals with tech regulation specifically.

“I don’t blame Mark for his quest for domination,” Hughes wrote. “Yet he has created a leviathan that crowds out entrepreneurship and restricts consumer choice. It’s on our government to ensure that we never lose the magic of the invisible hand.”

READ MORE: It’s Time to Break Up Facebook [The New York Times]

More on Facebook: InfoWars Made a New Facebook Page One Hour After Ban

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Facebook Co-Founder: “It’s Time to Break Up Facebook”

Denver Becomes First U.S. City to Decriminalize “Magic Mushrooms”

Denver became the first city in the US to decriminalize psilocybin, a compound with hallucinogenic properties that occurs in some

Magic Mushrooms

This week, Denver, CO became the first city in the United States to decriminalize psilocybin, a compound with hallucinogenic properties that occurs in some mushrooms — a move that could signal new frontiers both in the country’s evolving relationship with mind-altering substances and in the medical community’s accelerating exploration of psychedelics.

“Because psilocybin has such tremendous medical potential, there’s no reason individuals should be criminalized for using something that grows naturally,” said Kevin Matthews, the director of the campaign to legalize psilocybin in Denver, in an interview with the New York Times.

Magic Mushroom

The new law passed by a narrow margin, according to the Times, of less than 2,000 votes. It doesn’t entirely legalize psilocybin-containing mushrooms, but it makes the prosecution of possession and cultivation of them an extremely low-priority offense.

But not everybody in Denver is pleased.

“We’re still in the very early stages of marijuana legalization, and we are still learning the impact of that substance on our city,” Carolyn Tyler, a spokeswoman for the district attorney, told the Times. The district attorney, she said, “is not in favor of Denver being the only city that doesn’t enforce the law.”

READ MORE: Denver Voters Support ‘Magic’ Mushrooms [The New York Times]

More on psilocybin: Scientist Tells World Leaders MDMA and Magic Mushrooms Should Be Legal

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Denver Becomes First U.S. City to Decriminalize “Magic Mushrooms”

This Machine Lets You Play “Tetris” With Your Brain

A brain-computer interface can connect three people's brains, letting them transmit thoughts to each other to collaborate in a game of Tetris.

Drift Compatible

A new brain-computer interface can connect three people’s brains, allowing them to play a “Tetris”-like video game together using something resembling telepathy.

Companies like Elon Musk’s Neuralink and Facebook are working on mind-reading devices designed to connect people’s brains to machines. While details on those projects have been sparse, this new gamified version of a brain-computer interface out of the University of Washington shows that the technology could be ready in the near future.


In the game, three people collaborate to solve rudimentary “Tetris”-like puzzles in which they rearrange blocks to fill a complete row in a virtual grid. In a video featuring NPR’s Elise Hu, two players are each presented with the puzzle and asked whether or not they should rotate a block before it drops to the bottom of the screen.

The device monitors the players’ brain activity to determine whether they want to rotate the block or not. The two players’ decisions are then transmitted into the brain of a third player, who hasn’t seen the puzzle, and must then decide whether or not to rotate the block. In the video, Hu and her teammate successfully recommended against rotating the block.

For now, the system isn’t sophisticated enough to handle a full version of “Tetris” — rather, it broke the puzzles down into yes or no questions which each took several seconds, meaning that until the technology improves, we’re stuck controlling games with our hands like animals.

READ MORE: How Computer-Assisted Telepathy Helps Humans Communicate [NPR]

More on brain-computer interface: This Neural Implant Accesses Your Brain Through the Jugular Vein

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This Machine Lets You Play “Tetris” With Your Brain

NASA Admits SpaceX Ship Crashed During Failed Test Last Month

Last month, a SpaceX Crew Dragon shuttle crash-landed after its parachutes failed, but NASA says it's a learning experience.

Parachute Test

NASA administrator Bill Gerstenmaier admitted during a contentious hearing before the House of Representatives Wednesday that SpaceX’s Crew Dragon shuttle smashed into the ground last month after a failed parachute test — alarming news that comes in the wake of a separate SpaceX failure last month when a Crew Dragon apparently exploded during a different test.

“The test was not satisfactory,” Gerstenmaier said. “We did not get the results we wanted. The parachutes did not work as designed.”

Brush It Off

During a parachute test over a dried-out lake bed in Nevada, an empty Crew Dragon shuttle was damaged when it crashed into the ground, Gerstenmaier said.

The Crew Dragon is equipped with four parachutes, and this particular test was designed to determine how safely the spacecraft could land with one parachute intentionally disabled. But the other three chutes didn’t work right, leading to the incident Gerstenmaier described.

Fully Engaged

All the same, Gerstenmaier expressed confidence that the parachute problem will be solved in time for NASA and the federal government’s ambitious space travel plans.

“NASA is fully engaged on this,” he said.

READ MORE: SpaceX had a problem during a parachute test in April [Ars Technica]

More on NASA: NASA Head: “This Time, When We Go to the Moon, We Will Stay”

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NASA Admits SpaceX Ship Crashed During Failed Test Last Month