Dialog box: I have no idea what you want me to do
Today’s the day. The day you help save the internet from being ruined.
(Long story short: The FCC is about to make a critical decision as to whether or not internet service providers have to treat all traffic equally. If they choose wrong, then the internet where anyone can start a website for any reason at all, the internet that’s been so momentous, funny, weird, and surprising—that internet could cease to exist. Here’s your chance to preserve a beautiful thing.)
Scientists have made an important breakthrough in the fight against debilitating autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis by revealing how to stop cells attacking healthy body tissue.
Rather than the body’s immune system destroying its own tissue by mistake, researchers at the University of Bristol have discovered how cells convert from being aggressive to actually protecting against disease.
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Bronwen R. Burton, Graham J. Britton, Hai Fang, Johan Verhagen, Ben Smithers, Catherine A. Sabatos-Peyton, Laura J. Carney, Julian Gough, Stephan Strobel, David C. Wraith. Sequential transcriptional changes dictate safe and effective antigen-specific immunotherapy. Nature Communications, 2014; 5: 4741 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5741
Eating food could be replaced by nanorobot nutrient delivery system.
By early 2030s, experts predict nanorobots will be developed to improve the human digestive system, and by 2040, as radical as this sounds, we could eliminate our need for food and eating.
This is the vision of futurist Ray Kurzweil and nutritionist Terry Grossman, M.D., in their popular book, Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever. In the coming decades, the authors claim, “We will be able to reengineer the way we provide nutrients to our trillions of cells.”
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“We want to explore new ways of putting incredibly tiny things together, with the goal of developing new miniaturization and assembly methods that would work at scales 100,000 times smaller than current state-of-the-art technology,” said John Main, DARPA program manager. “If successful, A2P could help enable creation of entirely new classes of materials that exhibit nanoscale properties at all scales. It could lead to the ability to miniaturize materials, processes and devices that can’t be miniaturized with current technology, as well as build three-dimensional products and systems at much smaller sizes.”
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Earlier this month, we spotlighted promising research that has successfully produced biofuel by feeding electricity to bacteria. If it can scale up, this work would answer several current problems inherent in converting solar energy into fuel, a necessity in a world that runs on powerful vehicle engines that need energy-dense liquids to run.
Figuring out solutions to lowering society’s fossil fuel use could potentially help with global issues from energy insecurity to global warming. Yet contemporary biofuels are rife with their own set of problems. Often biofuel crops compete with acreage for food production and increase pressure to clear forests for cultivation. In the case of commodities like corn, which can be used for fuel feedstock and food, fuel production directly competes with food supplies.
Meanwhile, plants are highly inefficient at converting sunlight into chemical energy, averaging little more than 3 percent efficiency. And if fertilizers are needed or trees must be cut to grow biofuel crops, then the process wouldn’t be carbon neutral, a requirement to slow the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
But electricity-eating bacteria aren’t the only contenders for the next generation of renewable biofuels. There are also a number of projects that are starting to see dividends in taking sunlight and converting it directly into chemical energy.
Tiny chip mimics brain, delivers supercomputer speed
Researchers Thursday unveiled a powerful new postage-stamp size chip delivering supercomputer performance using a process that mimics the human brain.
The so-called “neurosynaptic” chip is a breakthrough that opens a wide new range of computing possibilities from self-driving cars to artificial intelligence systems that can installed on a smartphone, the scientists say.
The researchers from IBM, Cornell Tech and collaborators from around the world said they took an entirely new approach in design compared with previous computer architecture, moving toward a system called “cognitive computing.”
"We have taken inspiration from the cerebral cortex to design this chip," said IBM chief scientist for brain-inspired computing, Dharmendra Modha, referring to the command center of the brain.