Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category

Jul 14, 2021

Nickel isotopes link Siberian Traps aerosol particles to the end-Permian mass extinction

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics

The Sverdrup Basin was a Carboniferous to Paleogene depocenter that accumulated over 12 km of sediment from Carboniferous to Paleogene time18 (Fig. 1). From Late Carboniferous to Early Triassic time, the Sverdrup Basin was along the NW margin of Pangea at palaeolatitudes of 35–40°N (ref. 19) (Fig. 1). Until the EPME, the basin was characterised by a central deep basinal area of fine-grained clastic deposition surrounded by a shallow shelf dominated by biogenic carbonate that transitioned in the late Permian to chert formed by shallow water siliceous sponges19. After the EPME, the Sverdrup basin was dominated by clastic-dominated sedimentation18. In this study, we examined the distal deep-water Buchanan Lake section which preserves outstanding Boreal records of the EPME, followed by the biotic recovery in the Early Triassic5. The Buchanan Lake section consists mostly of black shale of the Late Permian Black Stripe Formation and overlying Early Triassic Blind Fiord Formation that preserves characteristic post-extinction fauna20 (Fig. 2).

During the last decade, the Buchanan Lake section has been extensively examined, and the carbon isotope chemostratigraphy, elemental compositions of the shale, and oceanic palaeo-redox changes have been well constrained5, 11, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 (Fig. 2). The EPME in the Sverdrup Basin is marked by eradication of silica and carbonate producers along with the onset of a significant negative δ13 Corg shift that has been correlated globally with the dated Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the Permian-Triassic boundary at Meishan, China, at ~251.9 Ma (refs. 3, 4, 20, 27, 28) (Fig. 2). The palaeo-redox conditions during the deposition of the Late Permian Black Stripe Formation and Early Triassic Blind Fiord Formation evolved from an oxic water column with a strong redoxcline in the sediments to anoxic and then to sulphidic bottom water conditions (Fig. 2).

Jul 10, 2021

I’m 11, I have a physics degree and want to make humans immortal

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, existential risks, finance, food, government, law enforcement, nanotechnology, quantum physics, robotics/AI, transhumanism

As someone with a passionate interest in longevity, transhumanism and biological immortality — I am naturally both excited and optimistic that medical technology will continue to advance in my lifetime — hopefully to the point where humanity has cured or at least greatly mitigated the signs & symptoms of most diseases as well as disabilities, radically expanded human biological lifespan regardless of age, and created a more dignified existence for all as a result of rapid breakthroughs in robotics, AI, automation, nanotechnology, 3D printing and biotechnology — which I hope in turn will largely eradicate poverty, disease, food & shelter insecurity, natural resource scarcity, environmental degradation and income inequality. I know that some of my likeminded friends are far more skeptical that we will ever see outright cures or significant mitigations for major diseases and disabilities — much less radical life extension or perhaps biological immortality in human beings — which are widely available on a commercial basis. They cite their belief that pharmaceutical giants, a plethora of not for profit organizations (i.e., American Cancer Society), and many other allegedly “self-interested parties” supposedly allied with government regulatory bodies — apparently do not want to see diseases or disabilities cured or lifespan significantly extended — EVER — as this would prevent them from earning untold sums selling treatments and supports for such things on a regular ongoing basis (i.e., chemo drugs for cancer, statins for cardiovascular disease, inhaled/oral steroids for lung disease, renal replacement therapy for kidney disease, mobile supports for spinal cord injuries, ect.) They believe that too much money would be at stake, too many jobs on the line and the entire “pharma-medical-academic industrial complex” supposedly at great risk, if actual cures or significant mitigations ever saw the light of day. Some of these friends even cite their belief that fully autonomous, accident proof, self-driving cars will most likely never occur — as it would supposed put the entire auto insurance industry at existential risk as well as deprive law enforcement agencies of a key source of reliable revenue (issuing speeding tickets) This one makes me giggle! 🤭 My friends also believe that radical life extension in human beings — much less biological immortality — would apparently upset the proverbial apple cart — where the “powers that be” are concerned — in terms of everything from the highly lucrative profits which are derived from pharmaceutical sales, old age homes, life and health insurance plans, personal financial services and all of the sales of key products and services associated with the aging process — to macroeconomic considerations such as the long term viability of government entitlement programmes. They believe that government regulatory authorities allegedly working at the behest of the aforementioned self-interested parties will always seek to delay, disrupt or even derail ANY and ALL significant progress into cures/mitigations for disease/disabilities, radical human life extension and/or human biological immortality. Apparently, new biotech start ups which do advance the aforementioned things are allegedly “always aggressively bought out by monopoly capital — with their cures and advances indefinitely suppressed” I personally tend to be more on the positive and optimistic side where these things are concerned — but perhaps these rather pessimistic arguments do have some validity — minus the implied conspiracy theory aspect. Do you think human beings will ever be “allowed” to truly be free from illnesses and disabilities? Will we ever be “permitted” to radically expand our lifespans or even become biologically immortal at some point? Please discuss.

I have already taken a few courses for a master’s in physics at the University of Antwerp and I want to complete it there. In a bachelor’s degree you get a basis of knowledge in physics and quantum physics, but it gets more detailed in a master’s.

The main reason I chose to study physics is because my end goal is to achieve immortality. One of the areas that is important in the study of immortality is physics, but as of yet, there is no mapped out path to achieve it.

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Jul 8, 2021

Repurposed communications satellites could help save humanity from an asteroid impact

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, satellites

What do you do if you discover a big rock on a collision course with Earth and have very little time to take action?

Large telecommunication satellites used for TV broadcasting could be quickly and easily repurposed as anti-asteroid weapons according to European aerospace company Airbus.

Jul 4, 2021

Mass extinction: what can stop it? | The Economist

Posted by in categories: existential risks, sustainability

The world’s animals and wildlife are becoming extinct at a greater rate than at any time in human history. Could technology help to save threatened species?

Read our latest technology quarterly on protecting biodiversity: https://econ.st/3dqdkKN

Continue reading “Mass extinction: what can stop it? | The Economist” »

Jun 19, 2021

The 27.5-million-year cycle of geological activity

Posted by in category: existential risks

Geologic activity on Earth appears to follow a 27.5-million-year cycle, giving the planet a ‘pulse,’ according to a new study published in the journal Geoscience Frontiers.

“Many geologists believe that geological events are random over time. But our study provides statistical evidence for a common , suggesting that these geologic events are correlated and not random,” said Michael Rampino, a geologist and professor in New York University’s Department of Biology, as well as the study’s lead author.

Over the past five decades, researchers have proposed cycles of major geological events—including and mass extinctions on land and sea—ranging from roughly 26 to 36 million years. But early work on these correlations in the was hampered by limitations in the age-dating of geologic events, which prevented scientists from conducting quantitative investigations.

Jun 15, 2021

NASA approved a space telescope that could save Earth from an asteroid

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

NASA finally approves the launch of an infrared asteroid hunting space telescope able to locate threats 30M miles away…

NASA has approved the Near-Earth Object Surveyor space telescope to help the space agency be better prepared for future asteroids that could pose a threat to Earth.

The 20-foot-long infrared telescope would help astronomers and planetary scientists find ‘most’ of the potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that come within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit, also known as near-Earth objects (NEOs).

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Jun 14, 2021

Where do meteorites come from? A new study challenges popular theory

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

By knowing where meteorites come from, we can protect the Earth from asteroid collisions.

After examining 10000 kilograms of sedimentary rock, a new study suggests that meteorites come from an unidentified region in the asteroid belt.

Jun 1, 2021

Deepfake maps could really mess with your sense of the world

Posted by in categories: existential risks, government, mapping, robotics/AI

Satellite images showing the expansion of large detention camps in Xinjiang, China, between 2016 and 2018 provided some of the strongest evidence of a government crackdown on more than a million Muslims, triggering international condemnation and sanctions.

Other aerial images—of nuclear installations in Iran and missile sites in North Korea, for example—have had a similar impact on world events. Now, image-manipulation tools made possible by artificial intelligence may make it harder to accept such images at face value.

In a paper published online last month, University of Washington professor Bo Zhao employed AI techniques similar to those used to create so-called deepfakes to alter satellite images of several cities. Zhao and colleagues swapped features between images of Seattle and Beijing to show buildings where there are none in Seattle and to remove structures and replace them with greenery in Beijing.

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May 24, 2021

Spermageddon: are humans going extinct?

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, economics, existential risks

A new topic a new challenge for future civilizations.

I won’t write an introduction I will ask couple of questions to make you think about it.

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May 22, 2021

Yeah, scientists just went there and came up with a faster way to create artificial DNA

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks, genetics

DNA was personified in Jurassic Park, where the animated double helix that called himself Mr. DNA took you and a group of skeptical scientists through the oversimplified (and obviously fictional) steps to creating dino DNA — but there is some reality in this.

For all you dinosaur enthusiasts out there, synthesizing DNA can’t bring T.Rex and Brachiosaurus back from extinction. Though creating genes in a lab sounds like the original eureka moment of Jurassic Park, synthesizing human DNA has done everything from genetic sequencing and editing to detecting diseases like the current plague we are living through. There is just one step that has always been problematic.

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