Agriculture company Monsanto has acquired a non-exclusive global licensing agreement from MIT’s Broad Institute and Harvard to use the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing system. The firm will use it to design and grow new seeds and plants, but there are key restrictions on its use to prevent Monsanto from abusing this revolutionary new technology.
The world’s most famous human ancestor, an extinct hominid named Lucy, died after falling from a tall tree, according to scientists. It’s a revelation that points to tree-dwelling behavior in recent evolutionary history, but some scientists aren’t convinced.
Astronomers using the RATAN-600 radio telescope in the Russian Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia have detected an unusual signal emanating from a star located about 94 light-years from Earth. It’s not clear if the signal is being transmitted by aliens, but the researchers say we should keep a close watch on this intriguing new extraterrestrial candidate.
Pharmaceutical company Mylan has announced plans to launch its first generic EpiPen. But at a cost of $300—which is half of the branded product’s list price—it’s still a heap of money for this critically important medicine.
Jupiter is often referred to as a “failed star,” leading some futurists to wonder if our descendants might set it ablaze in a process called planetary stellification. A new study suggests this is indeed theoretically possible—and that we should be on the hunt for galactic aliens who have already converted their gas giants into stellar objects.
In July, construction workers at the Astravets nuclear power plant in Belarus dropped a 330 ton reactor shell. Weeks went by before the government admitted an “abnormal situation” had occurred, prompting international concerns about safety at the Russian-built facility—and the Belarusian government’s unwillingness to disclose information in a timely manner.
Real estate database company Zillow is warning that nearly 1.9 million homes in the United States could be flooded by the end of the century. That’s about two percent of the nation’s total housing stock, amounting to $882 billion in value.
I don’t play No Man’s Sky (yet?), the pictures here were taken by my friend Extropia DaSilva who is busy exploring the simulated universe. Perhaps I will follow, but perhaps not: I am sure I would love No Man’s Sky and find it addictive, but I prefer to develop visions of hope for everyone to visit, one day, the big No Man’s Sky out there. However, No Man’s Sky is the richest simulation that we have developed so far, and an impressive technological feat.
In October, the joint ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars 2016 mission will land the Schiaparelli rover on the Red Planet. Here’s where the probe is scheduled to land, and why researchers chose this particular area.
A groundbreaking new experiment shows that brain-machine interfaces, when used in conjunction with exoskeletons and virtual reality, can trigger partial recovery in patients recovering from spinal cord injuries.
Olympic organizers have made climate change a central theme at the current games—and for good reason. A sobering new study shows that by the 2084 Olympics, rising temperatures will make it practically impossible for most cities to host the summer games.
It’s been 20 years since the birth of Dolly the Sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult. Because Dolly died prematurely, scientists have worried that cloning accelerates the aging process. But a new analysis of 13 cloned sheep—including a batch of Dolly’s genetic duplicates—shows this isn’t the case.
The ability to control fire brought our ancestors countless benefits, but as a new study by Australian researchers suggests, it may have also triggered the spread of one of the worst blights to afflict our species: tuberculosis.
Most American adults are nervous about the prospect of enhancing humans beyond normal capacities, a new Pew Research Center poll reveals. But while many of those surveyed expressed concerns about brain-boosting chips and designer babies, a significant number had a positive view of technology’s ability to transform humans and society.
Researchers working in the Netherlands have developed an atomic-scale rewritable data-storage device capable of packing 500 terabits onto a single square inch. Incredibly, that’s enough to store every book written by humans on a surface the size of a postage stamp. Holy shit.
Neuroscientists working on the Human Connectome Project have compiled the most accurate map yet of the human cerebral cortex. The researchers identified 180 distinct areas of the brain’s outer layer—effectively doubling the previous number of known regions.
Volcanic super-eruptions are bad. Like really bad. Scientists warn of such a potentially civilization-ending catastrophe in our future, but as a new study shows, we’ll only have a year to prepare once the signs of an impending eruption become visible.
Refrigerated pasteurized milk typically lasts about two to three weeks before turning into a wretched hive of scum and villainy. A new process developed by researchers at Purdue University extends the shelf life of milk up to 63 days—and without the benefit of added chemicals.
We’ve seen exoskeletons before, but nothing quite like this one. The new brace, developed by Spanish researchers, will help children with spinal muscular atrophy.
The 26-pound device consists of long support rods and are adjusted to fit around a child’s legs and torso. A series of motors mimic human muscles in the joints, endowing the patient the required strength to stand upright and walk. A series of sensors, along with a movement controller and a five-hour battery, complete the system. The aluminum and titanium device can also be expanded and modified to accommodate children between the age of 3 and 14.
Robin Hanson’s future scenario in “The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth” reminds me of Dante. On the one hand, many people will transcend (current concepts of) humanity and “transhumanize” – a word invented by Dante in Paradiso, Canto 1 – to become uploaded souls running on high performance computing circuitry. On the other hand, they will live in red-hot metal cities that create strong hot winds to disperse the excess heat generated by billions of uploads computing their way to continued existence. The infernal city of Dis, described by Dante in Inferno, Canto 8, comes to mind.
They like to do things big in Dubai, including a newly-approved concentrated solar power project that will generate 1,000 megawatts of power by 2020—and a whopping 5,000 megawatts by 2030.
he Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) has announced the launch of the world’s largest concentrated solar power (CSP) project. Located on a single site within the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the plant will consist of five facilities. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed either in late 2020 or 2021, at which time it’s expected to generate 1,000 MW of power. By 2030, this plant could be churning out five times that amount—enough to raise the emirate’s total power output by 25 percent.
A discouraging new study concludes that most antidepressants are ineffective for children and adolescents, and may even be harmful in some cases. But the researchers caution that the low quantity and quality of clinical trials are obscuring the true effects of these drugs.
Discovered in an ancient shipwreck near Crete in 1901, the freakishly advanced Antikythera Mechanism has been called the world’s first computer. A decades-long investigation into the 2,000 year-old-device is shedding new light onto this mysterious device, including the revelation that it may have been used for more than just astronomy.
Using the CRISPR gene-editing tool, scientists from Harvard University have developed a technique that permanently records data into living cells. Incredibly, the information imprinted onto these microorganisms can be passed down to the next generation.
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