Tag Archives | Science

Project Elysium: VR to revive deceased loved ones

A development screenshot from Project Elysium.

A development screenshot from Project Elysium. Paranormal Games.

Mark Walton via Ars Technica:

How far is too far when it comes to pushing the boundaries of virtual reality? As VR devices grow ever more sophisticated—and the tools to create software for them ever more accessible—where do we draw the line between what’s ethically acceptable in the real world and what’s ethically acceptable in the virtual world?

One of the developers putting this question to the test is Australia-based Paranormal Games. Project Elysium, its entry into the upcoming Oculus VR Jam 2015, treads some shaky moral ground by promising to create a “personalized afterlife experience,” reuniting people with loved ones who have passed on. Exactly how the developer hopes to do this isn’t clear at this point (it will be required to showcase screenshots by April 27, followed by video footage the week after to be eligible for the jam’s grand prize), although a screenshot from Project Elysium’s development does show a friend of the studio being transformed into a 3D model.

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Hubble Space Telescope: 25 Years Exploring the Cosmos

Hubble captured this mountain of dust and gas rising in the Carina Nebula. The top of a three-light-year tall pillar of cool hydrogen is being worn away by the radiation of nearby stars, while stars within the pillar unleash jets of gas that stream from the peaks. Photo by NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

Hubble captured this mountain of dust and gas rising in the Carina Nebula. The top of a three-light-year tall pillar of cool hydrogen is being worn away by the radiation of nearby stars, while stars within the pillar unleash jets of gas that stream from the peaks. Photo by NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

Jasmine Wright and Margaret Myers Via PBS.org:

Hubble’s contributions to space exploration are countless. Its images, explains Hubble Space Telescope Senior Project Scientist Jennifer Wiseman, have shown the first definitive detection of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. They also have provided measurement of the expansion rate of the universe, and detection (along with ground-based telescopes) of acceleration in that expansion, caused by mysterious “dark energy” that appears to be pushing the universe apart.

“Hubble will go down in history as having changed the textbooks by totally revolutionizing humanity’s view of the universe, and our place in it,” Wiseman says.

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Hubble Space Telescope’s chief scientist on what it took to get the project off the ground

Hubble in orbit. NASA

Hubble in orbit. NASA

C Robert O’Dell, Vanderbilt University

Iconic images of astronomical pillars of gas and dust, views of galaxies soon after they were formed, an accelerating universe driven by Dark Energy… “give us more!” say the public and the taxpayers. The Hubble Space Telescope is undoubtedly one of the most popular science projects today. It was not always thus.

Laying the groundwork

With its origins dating back to a time when almost all astronomers used photographic plates to record images at ground-based telescopes, the idea of an ambitious and expensive observatory in space was not a popular one.

Palomar Observatory, firmly rooted to the ground. Tylerfinvold

The most influential astronomers of the 1960s thought it better to spend the money on 15 copies of the 200-inch giant on Palomar Mountain, rather than gamble all on a single telescope in space that was not as large.

Nevertheless, NASA held out the Hubble as a long-term goal.… Read the rest

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Scientists Target New Painkillers From Spider Venom

Scientists may be excited about the prospect of a new class of painkillers derived from spider venom, but will Big Pharma go for them if they’re not highly addictive? From the Wall Street Journal:

Scientists in Australia, home to some of the most poisonous creatures on Earth, have made an important discovery about spider venom that eventually could lead to a new class of painkillers.

GBB.jpg

The greenbottle blue tarantula (Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens) is one of seven species of spiders whose venom Australian researchers found has potential painkilling properties. The creature is native to Venezuela and has some of the most dramatic coloring of any spider species.

Spiders use their venom to immobilize or kill their prey. Researchers from the University of Queensland isolated seven peptides—the building blocks of proteins—in spider venom that blocked the molecular pathway responsible for sending pain signals from the nerves to the brain. One peptide in particular, from a Borneo orange-fringed tarantula, had the right structure, stability and potency to potentially become a painkilling drug, the researchers said.

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Communication from the Future

time-traveller- 3Communication from the Future Discovered and Proven to be REAL!

Did you know that there was a study conducted to see if someone from the future was here present in our time? Yes, it’s true! Astrophysicists – Robert Nemiroff and Teresa Wilson at Michigan Tech University did just that as reported in 2014. They figured that if someone from the future traveled back to our time, there may be trace evidence. Someone may have done internet searches of future events. The search dates would have been prior to the events and would stand out that way. If enough of these searches were traced to one user, it could reveal a pattern of advanced knowledge.

After exhausting their funds, the results of the study remained inconclusive. However, in response to a question posted on one website asking: “Do you believe communication through time would be possible?” I replied that “I believe it has already happened.” Only because I believe that our near future thinkers will be quantum computers with artificial intelligence.… Read the rest

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Tools Found In Kenya 700,000 Years Older Than Previous Record Holder

"LakeTurkanaSouthIsland" by User:Doron - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

LakeTurkanaSouthIsland” by User:DoronOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The tools are 3.3 million years old.

Ian Johnston via The Independent:

The world’s oldest tools – made by ancestors of modern humans some 3.3 million years ago – have been found in Kenya.

Stones had been deliberately “knapped” or flaked to make a sharp cutting edge, researchers said, according to Sciencemagazine.

They are about 700,000 years older than the previous record holder and are likely to have been made by Australopithecus, an ape-like ancestor of Homo sapiens, or another species, Kenyanthropus.

Archaeologist Sonia Harmand, of New York’s Stony Brook University, told the annual meeting of the US Paleoanthropology Society: “The artefacts were clearly knapped and not the result of accidental fracture of rocks.”

About 150 flakes, the stones they were taken from and anvils on which the stones were placed while they were struck were found near Lake Turkana in Kenya.

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How a bee sting saved my life: poison as medicine

© Victoria Jenkins

© Victoria Jenkins

Ellie Lobel was ready to die. Then she was attacked by bees.
Christie Wilcox hears how venom can be a saviour.

“I moved to California to die.”

Ellie Lobel was 27 when she was bitten by a tick and contracted Lyme disease. And she was not yet 45 when she decided to give up fighting for survival.

Caused by corkscrew-shaped bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, which enter the body through the bite of a tick, Lyme disease is diagnosed in around 300,000 people every year in the United States. It kills almost none of these people, and is by and large curable – if caught in time. If doctors correctly identify the cause of the illness early on, antibiotics can wipe out the bacteria quickly before they spread through the heart, joints and nervous system.

But back in the spring of 1996, Ellie didn’t know to look for the characteristic bull’s-eye rash when she was bitten – she thought it was just a weird spider bite.… Read the rest

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Do our genes tell us how to vote? Study of twins says they might

The citizens came in two by two. D.C.Atty, CC BY

The citizens came in two by two. D.C.Atty, CC BY

Tim Spector, King’s College London

As a society we believe that our political allegiance depends on which party best marries up with our needs and values – and that these are shaped by our life experiences. But research with twins suggests picking who to vote for in an election might have more to do with your genes than the policies of the parties.

At the Department of Twin Research, which hosts TwinsUK, the biggest adult twin registry in the UK, we recently performed a poll of voting preferences. The twins were all born in the UK and were broadly representative of the UK population. The aim was to explore how much nature and nurture influence our party political allegiances and potential voting preferences so can we draw broader conclusions about people’s voting habits.

Twins provide a unique natural experiment for research.… Read the rest

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200 World-Leading Thinkers Discuss Whether Everything We Know Is Wrong

For people living in the UK wanting to explore controversial new ideas in the real world, 200 world-leading scientists, politicians, artists and philosophers, including Lawrence Krauss, Warren Ellis, Mary Midgley, Paul Krugman, Terry Eagleton, Rae Langton, John Searle, Roger Penrose and many more, are getting together at the end of May at the world’s largest philosophy and music festival HowTheLightGetsIn.

It’s 11 days of big thinking under the theme ‘Fantasy & Reality’ with 650 events and more debates, big names and parties than you can shake a massive hyper-intelligent stick at. Some of the debates taking place include:

Everything We Know Is Wrong

Lawrence Krauss, Steve Fuller, Kenneth Cukier
At a time of uncertainty and doubt, we often suppose that science alone uncovers the truth. Yet a recent study found 90% of scientific papers are unrepeatable. Should we see science as a flawed method and look elsewhere for our truths, or is it the only direct line to reality we’ve got?… Read the rest

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