Tag Archives | Science

Black Holes Are Not Ruthless Killers, but Instead Benign Hologram Generators

This artist's concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun. Supermassive black holes are enormously dense objects buried at the hearts of galaxies. Smaller black holes also exist throughout galaxies. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This artist’s concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun. Supermassive black holes are enormously dense objects buried at the hearts of galaxies. Smaller black holes also exist throughout galaxies.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Ohio State University Via ScienceDaily:

Are black holes the ruthless killers we’ve made them out to be? Samir Mathur says no. According to the professor of physics at The Ohio State University, the recently proposed idea that black holes have “firewalls” that destroy all they touch has a loophole.

In a paper posted online to the arXiv preprint server, Mathur takes issue with the firewall theory, and proves mathematically that black holes are not necessarily arbiters of doom.

In fact, he says the world could be captured by a black hole, and we wouldn’t even notice.

More than a decade ago, Mathur used the principles of string theory to show that black holes are actually tangled-up balls of cosmic strings.

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Could we one day control the path of lightning?

Bruce Guenter (CC BY 2.0)

Bruce Guenter (CC BY 2.0)

Institut national de la recherche scientifique – INRS via Science Daily:

Lightning dart across the sky in a flash. And even though we can use lightning rods to increase the probability of it striking at a specific location, its exact path remains unpredictable. At a smaller scale, discharges between two electrodes behave in the same manner, streaking through space to create electric arcs where only the start and end points are fixed. How then can we control the current so that it follows a predetermined path? Professor Roberto Morandotti and his colleagues have discovered a way to guide electric discharges–and even steer them around obstacles–through the clever use of lasers. This scientific breakthrough was published on June 19, 2015, in Science Advances.

Using the Advanced Laser Light Source (ALLS) facility, researchers from the INRS Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications research centre tackled this challenge, which had previously been the subject of intensive research, particularly in the 1970s.

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Jakob Böhme — The Teutonic Theosopher

Aurora

Aurora

Jakob Böhme – THE TEUTONIC THEOSOPHER

Jakob Böhme (/ˈbeɪmə, ˈboʊ-/;[1] 1575 – November 17, 1624) was a German Christian mystic and theologian. He is considered an original thinker within the Lutheran tradition, and his first book, commonly known as Aurora, caused a great scandal. In contemporary English, his name may be spelled Jacob Boehme; in seventeenth-century England it was also spelled Behmen, approximating the contemporary English pronunciation of the German Böhme.

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How might algorithms rule our lives? Mapping the logical space of algocracy

IBM_Blue_Gene_P_supercomputer

This post was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

This post is a bit of an experiment. As you may know, I have written a series of articles looking at how big data and algorithm-based decision-making could affect society. In doing so, I have highlighted some concerns we may have about a future in which many legal-bureaucratic decisions are either taken over by or made heavily dependent on data-mining algorithms and other artificial intelligence systems. I have even referred to such a future state of governance as being a state of ‘algocracy’ (rule by algorithm).

Anyway, one thing that has bothered me about these past discussions is their relative lack of nuance when it comes to the different forms that algocratic systems could take. If we paint with too broad a brush, we may end up ignoring both the advantages and disadvantages of such systems. Cognisant of this danger, I have been trying to come up with a better way to taxonomise and categorise the different possible forms of algocracy.… Read the rest

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No Donor Required: 5 Body Parts You Can Make With 3-D Printers


Robert J. Szczerba via Forbes:

3-D printing has been around in various forms since the 1980s, originally as a means of quickly producing affordable prototypes for the manufacturing industry. Recently, researchers have found some amazing healthcare and biological applications for 3-D printing technology, called bioprinting.  As a result, the 3-D printing market for healthcare is predicted to reach roughly 4.04 billion by 2018. From custom prosthetics to living tissue, 3-D printing is a versatile means of providing cost effective and individualized care to patients.

With the advent of 3-D bioprinting, cells can now be dispensed from the printer onto a biologically compatible scaffolding, layer by layer, to create a three dimensional viable tissue. Numerous tissues have been constructed that can be used for a number of clinical applications from transplants to scientific research.

Although 3-D bioprinting is still a relatively new technology, there is notable success within this field with greater implications as the technology develops.

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Single-celled sniper uses one eye to hunt

This single-celled organism can point its eye in different directions and it may use it to hunt prey. It also has a unique piston mechanism, but its use is still unclear.

Michael Le Page via New Scientist:

It is perhaps the most extraordinary eye in the living world – so extraordinary that no one believed the biologist who first described it more than a century ago.

Now it appears that the tiny owner of this eye uses it to catch invisible prey by detecting polarised light. This suggestion is also likely to be greeted with disbelief, for the eye belongs to a single-celled organism called Erythropsidinium. It has no nerves, let alone a brain. So how could it “see” its prey?

Fernando Gómez of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, thinks it can. “Erythropsidinium is a sniper,” he told New Scientist. “It is waiting to see the prey, and it shoots in that direction.”

Erythropsidinium belongs to a group of single-celled planktonic organisms known as dinoflagellates.

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Dying like an American: spaceflight, coral reefs, and other wild ways to get buried

Screen Shot from UrbanDeathProject.org

Screen Shot from UrbanDeathProject.org

Lizzie Plaugic via The Verge:

On the day before her 56th birthday, Grace Seidel talked to me about dying. It probably wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, she said, but when it did, she knew what she wanted her family to do with her body: compost it. Earlier this year, Seidel found out about the Urban Death Project — a proposed system that would turn bodies of the dead into compost — and knew instantly it was how she wanted to go out.

“It took a nanosecond for me to make that decision,” Seidel said. “My brain was probably already working in that direction.”

Seidel, an avid gardener who lives in Seattle, said she’s recently been drawn to the idea of green burials, and the Urban Death Project felt like an intimate, even spiritual way to return to the earth. So she donated $2,500 to the project’s Kickstarter campaign, which secured her a space in the “core”: a multi-story vault designed to sit at the center of every Urban Death facility.

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Better Living Through Technology

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Evolver has recently announced their newest learning lab course, Better Living Through Technology. Join Disinformation author, R.U. Sirius, as he explores the limits of human potential.

Discover the new drugs, machines and techniques that are extending the horizon of human potential.

Humanity is on the cusp of an extraordinary leap. New and emerging technologies promise an unprecedented wave of human self-enhancement. Advances in the areas of longevity, creativity, and biology will enable you to have a quality of experience that previous generations barely conceived possible.

Course details:

Guests: Steve Kotler, Dr. Terry Grossman, Dr. Andrew Hill, James Kent, Tim Cannon, Jay Cornell
5 Sessions • Starts June 24
Free Introductory Session: June 17
$149 + $30 discount if you signup by June 17 with code TRANSHUMANISM

If you’re hesitant about forking over $149 for this course, we urge you to at least checkout the Free Introductory Session this Wednesday.… Read the rest

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Upload Your Mind And Live Forever

I’m not quite sure that I’d count it as “living” forever, but nonetheless the idea of uploading your mind to a computer so that it carries on indefinitely has an awful lot of people excited. Hopes and Fears interviews Professor Pete Mandik to get the scoop on this “trend”:

Science fiction has long been influenced by philosophy. Sadly, the inverse doesn’t seem to happen nearly enough.

Credit: Hiking Artist (CC)

Credit: Hiking Artist (CC)

 

Works as diverse as The Matrix (Descartes, Baudrillard), Neon Genesis Evangelion (Schopenhauer, Hegel, Kierkegaard), Frankenstein (Darwin, the Enlightenment) and Labyrinth (Berkeley, Leibniz, Pascal) have come to spread philosophical theory through mainstream culture like wildfire. They’ve all drawn narrative and artistic strength from treating philosophical subjects seriously. Not to mention sci-fi scribes like Stanislaw Lem and Philip K. Dick having their own influence on metaphysics and epistemology or Ursula K. Le Guin and Aldous Huxley, on politics and ethics.

But philosophy rarely takes its influence from science fiction, a fact that distinguishes Pete Mandik, a professor at William Paterson University, from many of his contemporaries.

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