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Category Archives: Futurism

Scientists Say There Could Be Life on Mercury – Futurism

Posted: March 25, 2020 at 9:46 am

Mercurious

According to a study published last week in the journal Scientific Reports, theres a minuscule chance that Mercury, our Suns closest neighbor, has all it needs to host life.

It is possible that as long as there was water, the temperatures would be appropriate for the survival and possibly the origin of life, co-author Jeffrey Kargel from the Planetary Science Institute told The New York Times.

In the study, the team of researchers suggest that the Mercurys chaotic surface isnt the result of earthquakes, as the prevailing theory holds. Instead, they argue, cracks in the surface are rather caused by volatiles elements that can quickly switch from one state to another such as a liquid turning into a gas bubbling up from below.

Volatiles such as water could provide an environment friendly to life underground the surface itself is far too hot, heating up toaround 800 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.

The idea of life on Mercury is still a long shot, but the researchers are hopeful.

I thought [co-author] Alexis [Rodriguez] had lost it at some point, Kargel told the Times. But the more I dug into the geologic evidence and the more I thought about the chemistry and physical conditions there, the more I realized that this idea well it might be nuts, but its not completely nuts.

READ MORE: Life on the Planet Mercury? Its Not Completely Nuts [The New York Times]

More on Mercury: Mercury Is Every Planet in the Solar Systems Closest Neighbor

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Scientists Say There Could Be Life on Mercury Futurism – News Collective

Posted: at 9:46 am

Futurism.com

We still dont know if theres water on Mercury.

MercuriousAccording to a study published last week in the journal Scientific Reports, theres a minuscule chance that Mercury, our Suns closest neighbor, has all it needs to host life.It is possible that as long as there was water, the temperatures would be appropriate for the survival and possibly the origin of life, co-author Jeffrey Kargel from the Planetary Science Institute told The New York Times.Bubbling UpIn the study, the team of researchers suggest that the Mercurys chaotic surface isnt the result of earthquakes, as the prevailing theory holds. Instead, they argue, cracks in the surface are rather caused by volatiles elements that can quickly switch from one state to another such as a liquid turning into a gas bubbling up from below.Volatiles such as water could provide an environment friendly to life underground the surface itself is far too hot, heating up toaround 800 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.Not Completely NutsThe idea of life on Mercury is still a long shot, but the researchers are hopeful.I thought [co-author] Alexis [Rodriguez] had lost it at some point, Kargel told the Times. But the more I dug into the geologic evidence and the more I thought about the chemistry and physical conditions there, the more I realized that this idea well it might be nuts, but its not completely nuts.READ MORE:Life on the Planet Mercury? Its Not Completely Nuts [The New York Times]More on Mercury:Mercury Is Every Planet in the Solar Systems Closest Neighbor

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Scientists Discover That a Squid Can Edit Its Own Genetic Code – Futurism

Posted: at 9:46 am

Tentacle Hack

The next generation of genetic medicine may be inspired by a bizarre genetic trick that a small squid species uses to edit its own genome on the fly.

The longfin inshore squid can edit the RNA inside its nerve cells, Wired reports, meaning that it can drastically alter the behavior of its biological machinery as needed perhaps to help the animal rapidly adapt to new environments. Its a bizarre discovery, and one that could potentially lead to better genetic treatments for humans.

Researchers from the Marine Biological Laboratory found that the squid alters the RNA within its axons instead of the DNA within its nuclei, according to research published Monday in the journal Nucleic Acids Research. Thus far, its the only animal known to do so.

RNA editing is a hell of a lot safer than DNA editing, lead researcher Joshua Rosenthal told Wired. If you make a mistake, the RNA just turns over and goes away.

Because it happens outside the nucleus, RNA editing would be an improvement over modern genetic treatments, Wired reports. To gene-hack a patient with CRISPR, the new genetic information needs to breach not only a cells membrane but also the membrane of that cells nucleus to reach its DNA.

But it will be some time before medical doctors start to use the longfin inshore squids weird gene-hacks on people. For now, researchers still arent even sure why, exactly, the squid alters its genes.

READ MORE: Squids Gene-Editing Superpowers May Unlock Human Cures [Wired]

More on gene-hacking: George Church Told us Why Hes Listing Superhuman Gene Hacks

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The economic impacts and prospects of Covid-19 – Bizcommunity.com

Posted: at 9:46 am

With South Africa headed into a 21-day lockdown this week, combatting the threat of the Covid-19, has been made a key national priority. Never before in our democracy have we seen a national lockdown taking place, but the gravity of the current situation absolutely demands it.

Futurist, Marius Oosthuizen

Being a few weeks behind some other affected nations, Oosthuizen notes that South Africa is fortunate to have real-life case studies of countries that have handled this crisis well such as South Korea and those that havent, such as Italy and the US. We know from the case of South Korea that the only way to effectively curb the social spread of the virus is through a combination of government and civil action early on.

He notes, however, that South Africa remains particularly vulnerable from an economic perspective. The pandemic started as an infection problem with a supply-side disruption from China, but has gradually moved over to a lock-down environment causing a global economic slow-down, which has precipitated the combination of a disease burden in society and a currency and fiscal crisis something that South Africa is at major risk of.

The second wave of impact will be the disease burden, social distancing and psychological strain that will be felt over April and May. The scale and rate of infection will depend on the scale and effectiveness of response, he says, noting that the third and final wave of impact that the country will likely experience over June and July, will be based on adapted conduct, the level of supply disruptions, fiscal restructure and decline in earnings.

South Africa, in addition to already being in a fragile economic state prior to this pandemic, is dependent on commodity exports and is highly exposed to Asian and US consumer markets. It is for these reasons that I believe we will face a contraction in GDP of between 3-5% as a result of Covd-19, says Oosthuizen.

This means that South Africa risks seeing the second scenario, the perfect storm, play out. Here we would see a fast rate and large scale of infection, with ineffective response, he warns, noting that South Africa is particularly vulnerable to this scenario considering the number of people with respiratory diseases like tuberculosis, as well as the high rate of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among the population.

Fortunately, Oosthuizen believes that the measures needed to avoid the perfect storm scenario are completely within the countrys control. We are seeing these measures being implemented now with the national lockdown, which will hopefully take us into an after the storm scenario. If this scenario plays out, the real challenge will be the economic recovery, which is why the Department of Small Business Development has already launched a debt relief fund to help mitigate the impact on smaller businesses.

The fourth and final potential scenario that Oosthuizen presents, namely Africa spared, is a major wildcard which he says is extremely unlikely at this point. This is a scenario where, for some exogenous reason such as climate, Africa only has a limited number of infections with effective responses.

At this point, Oosthuizen has made it clear that South Africa is likely facing either the perfect storm or an after the storm scenario. The most important thing for South Africa to do now, is accept these two scenarios and do everything in our power to avoid the perfect storm from playing out. This is especially crucial considering how vulnerable some parts of the African continent are and how devastating this pandemic would be if it were to continue spreading.

Of course, for this to be effective, South African people and businesses need to do everything in our power to follow these national efforts together, we can flatten the curve. says Oosthuizen.

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The Neo-Futurists Announce Their Digital Platform, ‘The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral’ – Broadway World

Posted: at 9:46 am

The Neo-Futurists have announced the digital version of their flagship show, The Infinite Wrench via i??Patreon currently titled as The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral Known for performing 50 weeks of the year, The Neo-Futurists took an unprecedented step to suspend performances of its "surprising, occasionally powerful, often hilarious and always entertaining" (Chicago On Stage) show, along with classes, events, and other ancillary programming in order to ensure the safety the ensemble, staff, students, and audiences as concerns regarding the containment of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) evolved.

To honor the non-stop nature of The Neo-Futurists' work, the ensemble has created an easily accessible version of The Infinite Wrench by adapting current works for online audiences, which is accessible on its website, neofuturists.org

"Our work is constantly responding to what's happening in the world. As a collective that creates new material every single week, we're accustomed to constraints that lead us to new unexplored territory" said Artistic Director Kirsten Riiber. "For 31 years, we've provided a space for audiences to come together and see their experience reflected to them with honesty; and this is one of those times where staying present with our audiences, who we've never been able to do our work without, is vital."

The Neo-Futurists' ensemble members, contracted artists, and staff will continue to receive payment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral will be available to subscribers of The Neo-Futurists' Patreon site. Several tiers have been made available to those able and interested in supporting the organization and its various communities during this dire time. The base-level perk, which starts at just $3.00 per show, offers the opportunity for patrons to watch the show from the comfort of their own homes, where they can choose the order of the show, just like they can at the traditional Infinite Wrench.

"One of our greatest strengths is our resilience and ability to create in a small window of time, and The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral is another example of that adeptness, " said Managing Director Jorge Silva. "It is my sincerest hope that by making The Infinite Wrench accessible online and affordable, we can bring some relief to our artistic community and provide comfort to our audiences during this bewildering time."

A preview performance of The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral was published online this past Sunday, March 22, 2020 and all are invited to take part in the 'opening night performance' set for Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 8:00 PM CST. Additional options are being tailored for those interested in supporting The Neo-Futurists community outside or beyond the Patreon platform. Those interested in donating to The Neo-Futurists and their ambitious efforts should go to The Neo-Futurists' website portal.

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Why Buckminster Fuller is the ‘patron saint’ of University City Science Center – Technical.ly

Posted: at 9:46 am

University City Science Center, a nonprofit that helps innovators and entrepreneurs take their creative ideas to the marketplace, was designed to be a place of collaboration, and has only grown since its start in 1963.

The center, which moved into its new uCity Square location at the end of 2018, was slated as the next hub to be featured in Technical.lys 10-week series ahead ofPhilly Tech Week 2020 presented by Comcast thats connecting historical figures to modern spaces that embody innovation. (See how the programmers of the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computerconnect to Pennovation Works if youre not caught up.)

Alas, when we launched this series and spent the past several months planning this years Philly Tech Week events, we didnt anticipate a pandemic ripping through our region and bounding residents to their homes. (Maybe youve heard?) Accordingly, PTW20 is now postponed to later this year. But we couldnt resist sharing one more story of an innovator from Phillys past and, happily, one with the strongest connection yet to its assigned PTW hub.

The Science Centers mission has three pillars: commercializing promising companies, convening people to share and support ideas, and cultivating future talent in STEM. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) spent time there as a World Fellow in Residence during the 1970s and early 1980s.

The futurist and author behind the concept of Spaceship Earth is known for designing the geodesic dome, which you may know from the shape of Disneys Epcot Center. The Science Center honored Fuller in its inaugural class of the Innovators Walk of Fame in the art category in 2014.

David Clayton, director of in-house STEM education program FirstHand, feels like Fuller is the patron saint of the Science Center: Fuller used resources to better humanity, something Clayton believes speaks to the culture of innovation the org is trying to create.

Some of his principles are things we still look to today, said Clayton. I think its something that he was doing far ahead of time through his books, lectures and projects.

At FirstHand, Clayton works with middle school youth to give them early exposure to careers in science, design, and entrepreneurship.

Were creating a platform where young people can start to solve the problems of tomorrow and start thinking about those problems now, Clayton said. Fuller is at the roots of that.

Bucky, as hes referred to affectionately, preferred the title of design scientist over anything else. He spent his life working in multiple fields, including architecture, design and engineering, in his pursuit to make the world work for all of humanity. He often paired art with technology; the Science Center connects the two as well.

The center is home to the Esther Klein Gallery and uses creative arts to explore the intersections between art, science and technology. The gallery shows six exhibitions each year that are based on some type of art and tech. Fuller displayed his work in a solo exhibit at the gallery in the early 1980s which featured his latest invention at the time, the 4D dymaxion book case.

Bucky had a lot of really amazing ideas he put into practice, but he also had a lot of ideas that never came to fruition, said Angela McQuillan, curator of the Esther Klein Gallery. I think that just shows he wasnt afraid to experiment and be super creative.

McQuillan is also the director the Science Centers BioArt Residency program remember that engineered Lovesick virus that spreads kindness and empathy? which she founded in 2017. The program is a part of a partnership with biotech company Integral Molecular the folks trying to figure out what makes COVID-19 so infectious and was made to create interdisciplinary ideas and to get people talking about things from a different perspective and find solutions to problems. Three residents each year spend three months working alongside scientists to create a body of work for the gallery.

The Science Center continues to evolve as the needs of startup companies and entrepreneurs change over time, said Marketing Director Kristen Fitch.

Were trying to build on his legacy and not lose sight on the value of different ideas and different types of people and what they can collectively bring to the table, Fitch said.

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A look inside the Columbus Centennial exhibit of cycling and art – VeloNews

Posted: at 9:46 am

Perhaps no bicycle manufacturer has bridged the bicycle and art as steadfastly as the Columbus steel tubing company.

Antonio Colombo, head of Columbus and Cinelli, may be in pandemic lockdown, like all Italians. But that isnt stopping the industry legend from reflecting on his other passion modern art. From his apartment in downtown Milan, Colombo, an avid art collector and gallery owner, is putting the final touches on his third exhibit celebrating the centennial of legendary Columbus steel tubing company, one that simply celebrates cycling and art. Here, we have a sneak peek at the bicycles and images that will be on display.

Throughout the 20th century, the bicycle was a common motif in the history of modern art. The bicycle was celebrated in Cubism, and Futurism as a modern tool in the early 1900s, while street artists like Keith Haring celebrated its timeless forms in the late 20th century.

Perhaps no bicycle manufacturer has bridged the bicycle and art as steadfastly as the Columbus steel tubing company. This year, as the company celebrates its own centennial, Antonio Colombo, the son of founder Angelo, has organized several exhibits in Milan to focus not only on the companys history, but the historic relationship of cycling and art.

Growing up in the 1960s, Antonio fell in love with modern art and, before he took over the family business, would travel the world to study it. Soon enough he began collecting, developing a personal relationship with many contemporary artists, and eventually opened his own Antonio Colombo Arte Contempranea gallery, in Milan, in the late 1990s.

Throughout 2019 and 2020, a series of exhibits entitled Columbus Continuum focuses on different aspects of the companys relationship to cycling and art.

The first exhibit Flessibili Splendori: Columbus and Tubular furniture, that opened last fall, focused on the prevalent use of the companys highly reputed steel tubing in modern furniture design, as the company had a close working relationship with the German-led Bauhaus school between the world wars.

Pioneering designers like Michael Breuer relied heavily on the bicycle tubes as the foundation of his historic chairs. Today several models like the Cesca and Wassily chairs can be found in museums around the world and are considered some of the most influential furniture designs of the 20th century.

Anima dAccacio: Columbus e il design della bicicletta, which ran until January 19 2020, focused on the evolution of the bicycling itself, while Traguardo Volante: Cinelli and Columbus, Crossing the Line Between Art and Bicycle, focuses on cycling as a recurrent motif in the visual arts.

Freedom is the territory of art and the territory of the bicycle, so it just normal that the two come together, Colombo told VeloNews on Tuesday. What you like when you get a bicycle is the freedom it gives you and artists are always in search of the freedom of expression.

Obviously, considering the current coronavirus crisis that has all of Italy in lockdown, the gallery is currently closed and the final exhibit is on hold. But that has not prohibited Colombo or his exhibit curator Luca Beatrice to make final selections for the exhibit.

The exhibits this year at the gallery were a way to bring together my passion for the bicycle, modern furniture and contemporary art, he said. The bicycle has been a central part of life in the 20th century so it is normal that artists would at times incorporate it into their own own.

Certain artists of course were more fascinated by the aesthetic form of the bicycle. And this was perhaps no more evident than with Marcel Duchamps revolutionary Bicycle Wheel, from 1913. Considered a Dada masterpiece just before the outbreak of World War I, Duchamp took two objects found in everyday life a wooden stool and the front fork and wheel of a bicycle to create his first Readymade piece of art.

Other artists, like the Futurists, were more interested in the speed and movement of the bicycle in action.

Colombos gallery is historically focused on more contemporary art. And while the final selection is still a work in progress itself, dont be surprised to see works by late 20th-century artists, as well as personal friends, like Kieth Haring or Mario Schifano.

While Colombo admits that it is impossible to announce an exact date for the opening, he knows that once his country frees itself from the current health crisis, there will be even more reason to celebrate.

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NASA Fixes Mars Lander By Telling It to Hit Itself With a Shovel – Futurism

Posted: March 24, 2020 at 4:57 am

Percussive Maintenance

NASAs InSightlander, which is currently on the surface of Mars, has faced some unexpected problems during its mission to explore and study the planet.

Namely, a digging probe that was built to burrow beneath the surface like a jackhammer got stuck because Mars soil is clumpier than scientists expected,PopularScience reports.

After a few failed attempts to get it out, NASA had to get a bit creative. Ultimately, it freed the probe up by giving it a solid thwack with InSights shovel.

NASA expected its probe, dubbed the mole, to dig its way through sand-like terrain. But because the Martian soil clumped together, the whole apparatus got stuck in place.

Programming InSights robotic arm to land down on the mole was a risky, last-resort maneuver, PopSci reports, because it risked damaging fragile power and communication lines that attached nearby. Thankfully, engineers spent a few months practicing in simulations before they made a real attempt.

With tentative results that the mole is working again, NASA hopes to again task it with burrowing beneath the surface of Mars.

Once its down there, it will hopefully be able to complete its research mission: analyzing temperature fluctuations inside the Red Planet in an attempt to understand how similar Mars core is to that of Earth.

READ MORE: At long last, NASAs probe finally digs in on Mars [Popular Science]

More on InSight: NASA Isnt Sure Whats Wrong With Its InSight Mars Lander

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Scientists Call for Fusion Power Plant in the United States – Futurism

Posted: at 4:57 am

Pilot Program

In an ambitious push to develop and implement nuclear fusion power, a team of 300 researchers just published a massive new report that lays out exactly what the scientific community needs and what it should prioritize to get the ball rolling.

The main goal of the report, according to an MIT press release, is to develop a shared, functional nuclear fusion power plant in the U.S. by the end of the decade the most ambitious and concerted call-to-arms for nuclear physicists,arguably, that the field has seen in years.

Theres a lot that needs to happen before that pilot fusion plant gets built if scientists had already conquered the challenges of practical nuclear fusion then the report wouldnt have been necessary.

This is the first time in a generation when the fusion community has been called upon to self-organize and figure out its highest priorities for getting from fusion science to fusion energy, Bob Mungaard, CEO of Commonwealth Fusion Systems, said in the release. How we can get ready, with data, experience, test facilities the things that are needed to support the science, and eventually an industry.

Over the next eight months, the team behind the report plans to formalize a series of recommendations for the Department of Energy on how to best pursue fusion energy.

Its something a lot of folks in Congress are interested in, said University of California, Los Angeles researcher Troy Carter.

READ MORE: Fusion researchers endorse push for pilot power plant in US [MIT Newsroom]

More on nuclear fusion: Expert: Im 100 Percent Confident Fusion Power Will Be Practical

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We Talked to Someone Who Got the Experimental Coronavirus Vaccine – Futurism

Posted: at 4:57 am

This past Monday, Seattle-area Microsoft network engineer Neal Browning became the second-ever person to be injected with the experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna.

Later this week, we caught up with Browning to chat about how he ended up here, how his daily routine has changed since taking the vaccine, and what it feels like to take part in medical history.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Futurism: Why did you volunteer to take part in this trial?

Neal Browning: Because science, facts, and medicine are important parts of modern life. I tell my three daughters they have to go get their vaccinations and flu shots, I am no different when leading by example. If I am healthy and can help take part in trying to reduce the pain, suffering and deaths associated with this pandemic, I would be remiss not to.

Logistically, howd you actually get involved?

A friend on Facebook referred me to the program, I looked into it and felt like I could make a difference if I took part.

What did it feel like, emotionally, as you prepared to get your first dose?

I was actually pretty relaxed. They had just taken my blood pressure and pulse before to make sure all was well, I was at about 72bpm pulse. I donate blood regularly, and needles dont bother me. There is no dead or even weakened virus in this vaccine, and while it had never been tested on any animal and I was the second to get it, I knew and accepted the risks.

Did you notice any side effects, or anything else, after you took the vaccine?

So far, near zero. The injection didnt hurt at all, and there was only a slight tightness in my arm from the vaccine being inserted. The following morning, there was very mild ache in the muscle at the injection site, but once I moved around and got blood flowing, it disappeared entirely within five minutes.

Are you at home, or are you being held for observation?

Im at home, but have a daily log to fill out, recording any symptoms at all, even if I dont think they are related to the vaccine, as well as my temperature daily. Ill return to the research location once a week for blood draws to analyze how my body is reacting.

Whats your living situation currently like?

I live with my fianc, and 50percent of the time we have my two daughters and her one daughter. We wash hands regularly, dont associate outside the home, and limit exposure by not going to public places except when absolutely necessary.

What happens next for you and the other participants as they test whether the vaccine worked?

We continue daily logs, and go get blood taken for the next four weeks. On week four, we will get a second vaccine injection, then go through an identical 4 weeks of weekly blood draws and daily logs.

Are you in any risk groups for the coronavirus, and did that factor into why they selected you?

No, that would be the phase 2 group, this group was tightly controlled, all between 18 and 55 years old, very healthy, and they went over our medical history quite in depth and rigorously to ensure there were not underlying health issues that could interfere at this first testing phase.

Do you know anyone whos been personally affected by the outbreak?

Yes, I heard that one of my old co-workers daughter had (she is in her early 20s) and had a rough go of it, but is recovered and ok now.

Is there anything else you think our readers should know?

Yes do not treat this lightly. If we overreact, we might never know if we did. If we under-react, we will cost a lot of lives needlessly. Those saying it is just the flu, or that they are young and wont be hurt you can be infected and contagious for over a week before you have symptoms. Think about your parents, friends, grandparents, everyone you are spreading this to unintentionally then they do the same. This is why we are in the place we are now. Limit social interactions outside of your home, wash your hands, and this will end sooner, and with less loss of life.

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