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Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category: Page 2

May 2, 2019

Buzz Aldrin calls for ‘great migration of humankind to Mars’

Posted by in category: existential risks

Humanity must make a giant leap in space exploration and begin the process of migrating to Mars, argues Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

The 89-year-old said a ‘great migration’ is necessary not only for the sake of exploration but for the ongoing survival of the human race.

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Apr 28, 2019

North Korea’s 2017 bomb test set off later earthquakes, new analysis finds

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military, physics

Using newly refined analysis methods, scientists have discovered that a North Korean nuclear bomb test last fall set off aftershocks over a period of eight months. The shocks, which occurred on a previously unmapped nearby fault, are a window into both the physics of nuclear explosions, and how natural earthquakes can be triggered. The findings are described in two papers just published online in the journal Seismological Research Letters.

The September 3, 2017 underground test was North Korea’s sixth, and by far largest yet, yielding some 250 kilotons, or about 17 times the size of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. Many experts believe the device was a hydrogen bomb—if true, a significant advance from cruder atomic devices the regime previously exploded. The explosion itself produced a magnitude 6.3 earthquake. This was followed 8.5 minutes later by a magnitude 4 quake, apparently created when an area above the test site on the country’s Mt. Mantap collapsed into an underground cavity occupied by the bomb.

The test and collapse were picked up by seismometers around the world and widely reported at the time. But later, without fanfare, seismic stations run by China, South Korea and the United States picked up 10 smaller shocks, all apparently scattered within 5 or 10 kilometers around the test site. The first two came on Sept. 23, 2017; the most recent was April 22, 2018. Scientists assumed the bomb had shaken up the earth, and it was taking a while to settle back down. “It’s not likely that there would be so many events in that small area over a small period of time,” said the lead author of one of the studies, Won-Young Kim, a seismologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “These are probably triggered due to the explosion.”

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Apr 28, 2019

Earthquake science could have predicted North Korea’s nuclear climbdown

Posted by in categories: energy, existential risks, nuclear weapons, policy, science

Just days after North Korea announced it was suspending its testing programme, scientists revealed that the country’s underground nuclear test site had partially collapsed. This assessment was based on data gathered from smaller earthquakes that followed North Korea’s biggest nuclear test in 2017. A new study published in Science has now confirmed the collapse using satellite radar imaging.

The collapse may have played a role in North Korea’s change in policy. If correct, and with the hindsight of this research, we might have speculated that the North Koreans would want to make such an offer of peace. This shows how scientific analysis normally reserved for studying natural earthquakes can be a powerful tool in deciphering political decisions and predicting future policy across the globe.

In fact, another unusual in South Korea in 2017 also has the potential to affect geopolitics, this time by changing energy policy. “Seismic shift” may be a cliche often used by journalists and policymakers to describe changing political landscapes, but these recent earthquakes along the Korean Peninsula remind us there can really be authentic links between and global affairs.

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Apr 27, 2019

NASA Preps Mission to Most Interesting Asteroid in Our Solar System

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

In 2022, if all goes well, NASA will launch Psyche, a space probe intended to visit the asteroid of the same name (16 Psyche is its formal designation). It’s a particularly exciting mission given Psyche’s unique nature and highly unusual composition.

The asteroid belt is composed of three types of asteroid: C-type (carbonaceous, ~75 percent of all asteroids), S-type (silicate-rich, ~17 percent of asteroids) and M-type (metal-rich), which are roughly 10 percent of the total population. The numbers, in this case, don’t add up to 100 percent because we aren’t sure of the exact ratios. 16 Psyche is an M-type asteroid made of iron-nickel. What makes it unusual is that it’s believed to be the now-exposed core of a protoplanet. It’s also estimated to be worth $10,000 quadrillion dollars, if anybody has a towing hitch handy.

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Apr 23, 2019

Canadian researchers warn of ‘cascading impacts’ as bumblebee species decline

Posted by in categories: existential risks, food

A team of researchers at York University has warned that the American bumblebee is facing imminent extinction from Canada, and this could lead to “cascading impacts” throughout the country.

The imminent extinction classification is considered the highest and most at-risk classification before extinction.

About 42 of the more than 850 species of bees in Canada are bumblebees — important pollinators needed to grow crops, including apples, tomatoes, blueberries and legumes, as well as trees, shrubs and wildflowers.

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Apr 17, 2019

An Interstellar Rock Like ‘Oumuamua May Have Hit Earth In 2014

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

Unusual Trajectory

The new research hasn’t yet been published, but it’s available on the preprint server ArXiv as of Monday. In it, Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb — the same dude who doubled down on the idea that ‘Oumuamua could be an alien spacecraft — suggests that a three-foot-wide interstellar meteor flew over Papa New Guinea’s Manus Island before crashing down.

Because of the meteor’s high speed and particular trajectory past Earth, Loeb and his student Amir Suraj suggest that it couldn’t have been bound in an orbit about the Sun. Rather, they argue, it might have come from somewhere beyond our solar system.

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Apr 3, 2019

New Fossils Might Capture the Moment of Mass Extinction That Wiped Out the Dinosaurs

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

Fossils uncovered in North Dakota appear to preserve the catastrophic fallout of the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs–but experts remain cautious.

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Mar 28, 2019

The Worst Disease Ever Recorded

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks

A doomsday fungus known as Bd has condemned more species to extinction than any other pathogen.

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Mar 28, 2019

3 Reasons Why “Ending Suffering” Should Be the #1 Transhumanist Priority – Article

Posted by in categories: existential risks, geopolitics, life extension, neuroscience, transhumanism

BY HANK PELLISSIER


Hank Pellissier

Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party features this proposal by our member Hank Pellissier for a new website called Paradise2040, which will focus on the abolition of involuntary suffering and incremental ways of getting there within the next 21 years. This is an endeavor supported by Article IV of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0. It is also a current within transhumanist thinking that, as Mr. Pellissier points out, could bring additional support to the movement. Different transhumanists will have different views as to what the most important aims of transhumanism should be. As an organization that embraces pluralism and diversity of thought, the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party would encourage any of our members who agree with the direction Mr. Pellissier proposes to collaborate with him on the creation of the Paradise2040 website.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party, March 25, 2019

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Mar 20, 2019

Local extinction of Southern California mountain lions possible within 50 years

Posted by in categories: existential risks, genetics

Two isolated mountain lion populations in southern California’s Santa Ana and Santa Monica Mountains are at risk of local extinction, perhaps as soon as within 50 years, according to a study published in the journal Ecological Applications.

The study showed the extinction risk is due to low genetic diversity and mortality that affects the stability of the population. Mountain mortality is often caused by humans, but can also result from changes in the environment, such as wildfire and fluctuations in prey density.

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