Monthly Archives: April 2014

Matter of Mind

A new way of thinking about consciousness is sweeping through science like wildfire. Now physicists are using it to formulate the problem of consciousness in concrete mathematical terms for the first time Continue reading

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Synthetic biology gets reborn as an aesthetic dream

SYNTHETIC biology is not like other sciences. At its first big conference, held just 10 years ago at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the startling initial premise was that life is simply too complicated for biotechnologists to easily modify and that it would be better if engineers rebuilt life from scratch so the created organisms did exactly what was required.

The youthful enthusiasm that powered the field, and brought together engineers, biologists, computer scientists, physicists and biohackers, persists today. There have been a few major achievements, most notably last month’s creation of a computer-designed yeast chromosome. And before that, the creation of the first synthetic cell. Continue reading

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Finding Life After Academia — and Not Feeling Bad About It –

According to a 2011 National Science Foundation survey, 35 percent of doctorate recipients — and 43 percent of those in the humanities — had no commitment for employment at the time of completion. Fewer than half of Ph.D.’s are expected … Continue reading

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Butterfly Wings Inspire Better Sensors

Imitating nature is not a new idea. When the GE team put Morpho wings under a powerful microscope, they saw a layer of tiny scales just tens of micrometers across. In turn, each of the scales had arrays of ridges … Continue reading

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Artificial intelligence ‘will take the place of humans within five years’ – Telegraph

Mr Aksenov, now 21 years old, founded technology company London Brand Management in 2011. The company provides an AI service for big brands who want to outsource customer or staff interactions to computers. Customers send questions in to LBM’s system … Continue reading

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An (Im)Modest Proposal – The UK Evidence Information Service | Pasco Phronesis

Three U.K. universities are doing something I doubt their U.S. counterparts have the resources (or the willingness to risk) to duplicate.  They have started a process for establishing an Evidence Information Service (EIS) to, as they put it, help put … Continue reading

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Human evolution: Fifty years after Homo habilis : Nature News & Comment

Half a century ago, the British–Kenyan palaeoanthropologist Louis Leakey and his colleagues made a controversial proposal: a collection of fossils from the Great Rift Valley in Tanzania belonged to a new species within our own genus1. The announcement of Homo … Continue reading

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Brace for impacts : Nature News & Comment

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its previous report in 2007, some scientists and many environmentalists were still loath to talk about adapting to climate change. The policy focus was squarely on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and even … Continue reading

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How to Record the Sound of Silence – Robinson Meyer – The Atlantic

“Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.” That’s the opening of “Future of Music: A Credo,” a 1937 speech by Cage. It … Continue reading

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Winding Down Possibilities

For a technical scientific term, entropy is pretty popular. I mean, it was the title of an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after all. Search the Internet for “entropy” quotes and you’ll find them by everybody from Anton Chekhov … Continue reading

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