Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category: Page 10

Mar 13, 2023

Surviving An Apocalypse

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, climatology, cosmology, existential risks, robotics/AI

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If the end of the world is nigh, it may be too late to avert a catastrophe. So what can we do to mitigate the damage or recover after a cataclysm comes?

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Mar 9, 2023

Fabulous Fungi: On the Endless Possibilities of the Mushroom

Posted by in categories: existential risks, food

Fungi are everywhere—in our lawns and forests, in and on our bodies, and even lurking in that forgotten Tupperware container in the back of the fridge. While some fungi are harmful, the vast majority are beneficial to their environments and serve important ecological roles.

Some fungi act as parasites, infecting their hosts and sickening or even killing them. Common human ailments such as ringworm and athlete’s foot are caused by fungi. Pathogenic fungi like rusts and mildews regularly cause costly damage to important agricultural crops. Chestnut blight, Cryphonectria parasitica, was inadvertently introduced to North America from Southeast Asia at the turn of the twentieth century and in a few short decades wiped out billions of chestnut trees in the United States, nearly causing their extinction. Fungi even attack other fungi. Hypomyces lactifluorum parasitizes species of Lactarius and Russula, transforming them into the choice edible known as the lobster mushroom.

Hands down, though, the fungal parasites that infect insects have to be among the most bizarre. These fungi keep their insect hosts alive but take complete control of their actions, using them as zombie minions to spread their spores for them.

Mar 9, 2023

Newly Discovered Comet Could Outshine The Brightest Stars Next Year

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

A comet that will make a (somewhat) close approach to the Earth in September 2024 is already creating excitement among amateur astronomers. Comets are unpredictable beasts, and a great many have proven disappointing – but C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) has many of the characteristics required to put on the best display for at least a decade.

Comets visit the inner solar system quite frequently, but few can be seen with the naked eye. Most are either regular visitors (short period) that have been slowly losing material on previous approaches to the Sun and don’t have enough left to be very bright. Others never get close enough to Earth to put on a show.

Tsuchinshan-ATLAS passes both those tests. Its orbit is so long it there is debate as to whether it visited the inner solar system 80,000 years ago, or if it never has. At closest approach, it will be 58 million kilometers (36 million miles) or just under 0.39 AU (Earth-Sun distance) from the Earth.

Mar 7, 2023

NASA’s Asteroid Smashing Mission Was a Huge Success for Planetary Defense

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

By understanding how asteroids function, we can know more about how to knock them off course.

The DART mission moved an asteroid, setting the stage for planetary defense strategies that could avoid collision with more dangerous objects.

Mar 7, 2023

New Results From NASA’s DART Mission Confirm We Could Deflect Deadly Asteroids

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

This larger-than-expected result shows the change in Dimorphos’ orbit was not just from the impact of the DART spacecraft. The larger part of the change was due to a recoil effect from all the ejected material flying off into space, which Ariel Graykowski of the SETI Institute and colleagues estimated as between 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent of the asteroid’s total mass.

A First Success

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Mar 6, 2023

New results from NASA’s DART planetary defense mission confirm we could deflect deadly asteroids

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

What would we do if we spotted a hazardous asteroid on a collision course with Earth? Could we deflect it safely to prevent the impact?

Last year, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission tried to find out whether a “kinetic impactor” could do the job: smashing a 600kg spacecraft the size of a fridge into an asteroid the size of an Aussie Rules football field.

Early results from this first real-world test of our potential planetary defense systems looked promising. However, it’s only now that the first scientific results are being published: five papers in Nature have recreated the impact, and analyzed how it changed the asteroid’s momentum and orbit, while two studies investigate the debris knocked off by the impact.

Mar 5, 2023

Second Variety

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks, government, robotics/AI, space travel

FULL AudioBook | GreatestAudioBooks | Science Fiction / Fantasy — Early victories by the USSR in a global nuclear war cause the United Nations government to retreat to the moon leaving behind troops and fierce autonomous robots called “Claws”, which reproduce and redesign themselves in unmanned subterranean factories. After six bloody years of conflict the Soviets call for an urgent conference and UN Major Joseph Hendricks sets out to meet them. Along the way he will discover what the Claws have been up to, and it isn’t good… — Second Variety was first published in the May 1953 edition of Space Science Fiction Magazine. (Summary by Gregg Margarite)

About the Author, Philip K. Dick:
Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer notable for publishing works of science fiction. Dick explored philosophical, social, and political themes in novels with plots dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, alternate universes, and altered states of consciousness. His work reflected his personal interest in metaphysics and theology, and often drew upon his life experiences in addressing the nature of reality, identity, drug abuse, schizophrenia, and transcendental experiences.

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Mar 5, 2023

Brian Cox — Alien Life & The Dark Forest Hypothesis

Posted by in categories: alien life, existential risks, physics

The renowned physicist and science communicator, Brian Cox delves into the topic of alien life and in particular, the question about intelligent alien civilization.
With his trademark enthusiasm and engaging style, Brian Cox explores the possibility of extraterrestrial life and why we haven’t found any.

The video starts with a brief overview of what Brian Cox & astronomers call: “The Great Silence”. Cox then goes on to explain the Fermi Paradox and the Dark Forest Hypothesis, which suggest that intelligent life may be intentionally avoiding contact with other civilizations to avoid being destroyed.

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Mar 3, 2023

Where Are All The Alien Robots? Hart-Tipler Conjecture and What It Gets Wrong

Posted by in categories: alien life, bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, existential risks, quantum physics, robotics/AI

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Hello and welcome! My name is Anton and in this video, we will talk about new explanations of the Fermi paradox focusing on the Hart Tipler Conjecture that tries to disprove the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence.
Potential other resolutions of Fermi paradox:


Hawking radiation: https://youtu.be/6h6MgvBLrxk.
Penrose process: https://youtu.be/A-WIsnoX2Uw.

Continue reading “Where Are All The Alien Robots? Hart-Tipler Conjecture and What It Gets Wrong” »

Mar 3, 2023

The rise and fall of the riskiest asteroid in a decade

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

For a few tense days this January, a roughly 70-metre asteroid became the riskiest observed in over a decade. Despite the Moon’s attempt to scupper observations, the asteroid is now known to be entirely safe.

*Join ESA, NASA and Asteroid Day LIVE from 19:00 CET this evening in “Killing asteroids — with the experts”, to find out more*.

Initial observations of an asteroid dubbed ‘2022 AE1’ showed a potential Earth impact on 4 July 2023 – not enough time to attempt deflection and large enough to do real damage to a local area should it strike.

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