A Momentary Flow

Updating Worldviews one World at a time

A new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence: targeting alien polluters
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Humanity is on the threshold of being able to detect signs of alien life on other worlds. By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist if replenished by life. But those gases come from simple life forms like microbes. What about advanced civilizations? Would they leave any detectable signs? They might, if they spew industrial pollution into the atmosphere. New research by theorists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) shows that we could spot the fingerprints of certain pollutants under ideal conditions. This would offer a new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). “We consider industrial pollution as a sign of intelligent life, but perhaps civilizations more advanced than us, with their own SETI programs, will consider pollution as a sign of unintelligent life since it’s not smart to contaminate your own air,” says Harvard student and lead author Henry Lin. “People often refer to ETs as ‘little green men,’ but the ETs detectable by this method should not be labeled ‘green’ since they are environmentally unfriendly,” adds Harvard co-author Avi Loeb. The team, which also includes Smithsonian scientist Gonzalo Gonzalez Abad, finds that the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) should be able to detect two kinds of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)—ozone-destroying chemicals used in solvents and aerosols. They calculated that JWST could tease out the signal of CFCs if atmospheric levels were 10 times those on Earth. A particularly advanced civilization might intentionally pollute the atmosphere to high levels and globally warm a planet that is otherwise too cold for life. There is one big caveat to this work. JWST can only detect pollutants on an Earth-like planet circling a white dwarf star, which is what remains when a star like our Sun dies. That scenario would maximize the atmospheric signal. Finding pollution on an Earth-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star would require an instrument beyond JWST—a next-next-generation telescope. (via A new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence: targeting alien polluters)

A new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence: targeting alien polluters
-
Humanity is on the threshold of being able to detect signs of alien life on other worlds. By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist if replenished by life. But those gases come from simple life forms like microbes. What about advanced civilizations? Would they leave any detectable signs? They might, if they spew industrial pollution into the atmosphere. New research by theorists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) shows that we could spot the fingerprints of certain pollutants under ideal conditions. This would offer a new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). “We consider industrial pollution as a sign of intelligent life, but perhaps civilizations more advanced than us, with their own SETI programs, will consider pollution as a sign of unintelligent life since it’s not smart to contaminate your own air,” says Harvard student and lead author Henry Lin. “People often refer to ETs as ‘little green men,’ but the ETs detectable by this method should not be labeled ‘green’ since they are environmentally unfriendly,” adds Harvard co-author Avi Loeb. The team, which also includes Smithsonian scientist Gonzalo Gonzalez Abad, finds that the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) should be able to detect two kinds of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)—ozone-destroying chemicals used in solvents and aerosols. They calculated that JWST could tease out the signal of CFCs if atmospheric levels were 10 times those on Earth. A particularly advanced civilization might intentionally pollute the atmosphere to high levels and globally warm a planet that is otherwise too cold for life. There is one big caveat to this work. JWST can only detect pollutants on an Earth-like planet circling a white dwarf star, which is what remains when a star like our Sun dies. That scenario would maximize the atmospheric signal. Finding pollution on an Earth-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star would require an instrument beyond JWST—a next-next-generation telescope. (via A new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence: targeting alien polluters)

When Will Robots Take Over the World?

Jul 17, 2014 | 2-part series
Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg, Sam Price-Waldman, Paul Rosenfeld

At this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, we asked a group of futurists, technology experts, and artists to predict the future of robotics. So, will machines revolt against humans? Maybe not, but as Duke University professor Missy Cummings explains, they may have already won. “We don’t even realize where robots are in our world,” she says.

The Big Question is a series inspired by The Atlantic's back-page feature.

Courtesy of The Atlantic                                      

read of the day: Won’t they help?
Why bystanders are reluctant to report a violent crime or aid a victim, and how they can be taught to step up and help - Bethesda in the state of Maryland is the kind of safe, upscale Washington DC suburb that well-educated, high-earning professionals retreat to when it’s time to raise a family. Some 80 per cent of the city’s adult residents have college degrees. Bethesda’s posh Bradley Manor-Longwood neighbourhood was recently ranked the second richest in the country. And yet, on 11 March 2011, a young woman was brutally murdered by a fellow employee at a local Lululemon store (where yoga pants retail for about $100 each). Two employees of the Apple store next door heard the murder as it occurred, debated, and ultimately decided not to call the police. If the attack had occurred in poor, crowded, crime-ridden Rio de Janeiro, the outcome might have been different: in one series of experiments, researchers found bystanders in the Brazilian city to be extraordinarily helpful, stepping in to offer a hand to a blind person and aiding a stranger who dropped a pen nearly 100 per cent of the time. This apparent paradox reflects a nuanced understanding of ‘bystander apathy’, the term coined by the US psychologists John Darley and Bibb Latané in the 1960s to describe the puzzling, and often horrifying, inaction of witnesses to intervene in violent crimes or other tragedies.
go read..
(via How we can get bystanders to help victims of crime – Dwyer Gunn – Aeon)

read of the day: Won’t they help?

Why bystanders are reluctant to report a violent crime or aid a victim, and how they can be taught to step up and help
-
Bethesda in the state of Maryland is the kind of safe, upscale Washington DC suburb that well-educated, high-earning professionals retreat to when it’s time to raise a family. Some 80 per cent of the city’s adult residents have college degrees. Bethesda’s posh Bradley Manor-Longwood neighbourhood was recently ranked the second richest in the country. And yet, on 11 March 2011, a young woman was brutally murdered by a fellow employee at a local Lululemon store (where yoga pants retail for about $100 each). Two employees of the Apple store next door heard the murder as it occurred, debated, and ultimately decided not to call the police. If the attack had occurred in poor, crowded, crime-ridden Rio de Janeiro, the outcome might have been different: in one series of experiments, researchers found bystanders in the Brazilian city to be extraordinarily helpful, stepping in to offer a hand to a blind person and aiding a stranger who dropped a pen nearly 100 per cent of the time. This apparent paradox reflects a nuanced understanding of ‘bystander apathy’, the term coined by the US psychologists John Darley and Bibb Latané in the 1960s to describe the puzzling, and often horrifying, inaction of witnesses to intervene in violent crimes or other tragedies.

go read..

(via How we can get bystanders to help victims of crime – Dwyer Gunn – Aeon)

India doctors remove 232 teeth from boy’s mouth
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Doctors in India have extracted 232 teeth from the mouth of a 17-year-old boy in a seven-hour operation. Ashik Gavai was brought in with a swelling in his right jaw, Dr Sunanda Dhiware, head of Mumbai’s JJ Hospital’s dental department, told the BBC. The teenager had been suffering for 18 months and travelled to the city from his village after local doctors failed to identify the cause of the problem. Doctors have described his condition as “very rare” and “a world record”.
‘Small white pearls’ “Ashik’s malaise was diagnosed as a complex composite odontoma where a single gum forms lots of teeth. It’s a sort of benign tumour,” Dr Dhiware said. (via BBC News - India doctors remove 232 teeth from boy’s mouth)

rtamerica:

Japanese leader proposes first-ever ‘Robot Olympics’
Nations of the world will be sending their most talented athletes to Tokyo in 2020 for the Olympic Games – but if Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gets his way, they might also be pitting robots against each other.
Abe announced his vision while touring robotics factories in Tokyo and Saitama, which is located just north of the country’s capital. According to Japan’s Jiji Press (translated via Agence France-Presse), the prime minister said a Robot Olympics would be a great way to showcase advances in the field around the globe.
“In 2020, I would like to gather all of the world’s robots and aim to hold an Olympics where they compete in technical skills,” he said.

rtamerica:

Japanese leader proposes first-ever ‘Robot Olympics’

Nations of the world will be sending their most talented athletes to Tokyo in 2020 for the Olympic Games – but if Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gets his way, they might also be pitting robots against each other.

Abe announced his vision while touring robotics factories in Tokyo and Saitama, which is located just north of the country’s capital. According to Japan’s Jiji Press (translated via Agence France-Presse), the prime minister said a Robot Olympics would be a great way to showcase advances in the field around the globe.

“In 2020, I would like to gather all of the world’s robots and aim to hold an Olympics where they compete in technical skills,” he said.

(via scienceyoucanlove)

Source rtamerica

Reblogged from RT America

New microchip promises to streamline and simplify diabetes diagnoses

See on Scoop.it - The future of medicine and health

For people who don’t already know, here’s the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes: the body produces little or no insulin in the case of type 1, and isn’t able to utilize the insulin that it does produce in type 2. It’s a significant difference, so it’s important that patients are diagnosed correctly. Thanks to a new microchip developed by a team at Stanford University led by Dr. Brian Feldman, doing so could soon be quicker, cheaper and easier than ever before.

In order to determine that a patient has type 1 diabetes as opposed to type 2, tests must be performed to confirm the presence of tell-tale antibodies in a sample of their blood. These tests must be performed by extensively-trained personnel in a lab, they involve the use of radioactive materials, take days to get results, and cost hundreds of dollars per test.

Because of these factors, the tests are sometimes not even performed, as it’s generally assumed that children will get type 1 and adults will get type 2. In recent years, however, childhood obesity has caused a rise in the number of kids getting type 2, plus there’s also a puzzling increase in adults with type 1.

That’s where the Stanford chip comes in.

It can be incorporated into a hand-held device that could be used in the field with minimal training, delivering results in minutes. The chip doesn’t require any radioactive material, is worth about $20, and can be used for about 15 tests before needing to be replaced. Additionally, it only requires a drop of blood, as opposed to the larger amount needed in the traditional system.


See on gizmag.com

Human blood platelets grown in bone marrow-replicating bioreactor

See on Scoop.it - The future of medicine and health

Scientists have already successfully coaxed stem cells into becoming red blood cells, which could be used to create “man-made” blood for transfusion. Red blood cells, however, aren’t the only component of human blood. Now, researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital have also created functional human platelets, using a bioreactor that simulates the medium in which blood cells are naturally produced – bone marrow.

The main role of platelets (also known as thrombocytes) is to stop wounds from bleeding, by essentially “plugging the hole” in the skin with a clot. Without sufficient numbers of them in the blood, spontaneous and excessive bleeding can occur. Such shortages can be caused by diseases, as a result of undergoing chemotherapy, or by other factors. In these situations, transfusions of platelets harvested from donated blood are often necessary.

In previous studies, scientists have successfully gotten induced pluripotent stem cells to change into megakaryocytes – these are the cells that ordinarily sit in the bone marrow and release platelets into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, it’s proven difficult to get those lab-grown megakaryocytes to produce platelets outside of the body.

That’s where Brigham and Women’s new “bioreactor-on-a-chip” comes into the picture. By mimicking bone marrow’s extracellular matrix composition, stiffness, micro-channel size and shear forces, it persuades the megakaryocytes to produce anywhere from 10 to 90 percent more platelets than was previously possible.


See on gizmag.com