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Archive for the ‘nanotechnology’ category

Feb 19, 2020

Mind Uploading: Cybernetic Immortality

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension, nanotechnology, quantum physics, robotics/AI, transhumanism

B y definition, posthumanism (I choose to call it ‘cyberhumanism’) is to replace transhumanism at the center stage circa 2035. By then, mind uploading could become a reality with gradual neuronal replacement, rapid advancements in Strong AI, massively parallel computing, and nanotechnology allowing us to directly connect our brains to the Cloud-based infrastructure of the Global Brain. Via interaction with our AI assistants, the GB will know us better than we know ourselves in all respects, so mind-transfer, or rather “mind migration,” for billions of enhanced humans would be seamless, sometime by mid-century.

I hear this mantra over and over again — we don’t know what consciousness is. Clearly, there’s no consensus here but in the context of topic discussed, I would summarize my views, as follows: Consciousness is non-local, quantum computational by nature. There’s only one Universal Consciousness. We individualize our conscious awareness through the filter of our nervous system, our “local” mind, our very inner subjectivity, but consciousness itself, the self in a big sense, our “core” self is universal, and knowing it through experience has been called enlightenment, illumination, awakening, or transcendence, through the ages.

Any container with a sufficiently integrated network of information patterns, with a certain optimal complexity, especially complex dynamical systems with biological or artificial brains (say, the coming AGIs) could be filled with consciousness at large in order to host an individual “reality cell,” “unit,” or a “node” of consciousness. This kind of individuated unit of consciousness is always endowed with free will within the constraints of the applicable set of rules (“physical laws”), influenced by the larger consciousness system dynamics. Isn’t too naïve to presume that Universal Consciousness would instantiate phenomenality only in the form of “bio”-logical avatars?

Feb 19, 2020

Scientists Built a Genius Device That Generates Electricity ‘Out of Thin Air’

Posted by in categories: biological, nanotechnology

They found it buried in the muddy shores of the Potomac River more than three decades ago: a strange “sediment organism” that could do things nobody had ever seen before in bacteria.

This unusual microbe, belonging to the Geobacter genus, was first noted for its ability to produce magnetite in the absence of oxygen, but with time scientists found it could make other things too, like bacterial nanowires that conduct electricity.

For years, researchers have been trying to figure out ways to usefully exploit that natural gift, and they might have just hit pay-dirt with a device they’re calling the Air-gen. According to the team, their device can create electricity out of… well, almost nothing.

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Feb 15, 2020

Aging and Stem Cells | Theodore Ho | TEDxMiddlebury

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, life extension, nanotechnology, neuroscience

Dr. Theodore Ho talks about the rapidly expanding possibilities of stem cells to be used in reversing or slowing the aging process. He discusses his previous and current work with the brain, including such methods as tissue clearing, multifiber photometry and optogenetics, and single resolution calcium imaging and control. Dr. Ho is a neuroscientist and stem cell biologist studying the mechanisms and causes of biological aging and potential strategies to slow or reverse them, in order to prevent the onset of age

Associated diseases to help us live healthier and longer lives.

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Feb 13, 2020

Exploring the quantum world inside atoms

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum physics

Andreas heinrich director of the IBS center for quantum nanoscience and distinguished professor at ewha womans university

Feb 13, 2020

Interventions for pain: Finding connections at the surface

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, nanotechnology, neuroscience

Like buoys bobbing on the ocean, many receptors float on the surface of a cell’s membrane with a part sticking above the water and another underwater, inside the cell’s cytoplasm. But for cells to function, these receptors must be docked at specific regions of the cell. Most research has focused on the ‘underwater’ portions. That’s where the cell’s molecular machines swarm and interact with a receptor’s underwater tails, with those interactions then fueling signals that dive deep into the nucleus, changing the cell’s course.

New work by a team of Thomas Jefferson University researchers reveals new activity above the surface, in brain-cell receptors that govern learning and chronic pain. In the study, the authors show that the ‘above water’ portion of proteins can help dock the proteins at synapses, where neurons mediate flow of information throughout the brain. This discovery opens the possibility of using this docking site as a target to develop treatments for chronic pain and other diseases more effectively. The study was published January 29th in Nature Communications.

“The extracellular spaces — the parts ‘above the water’ — have been largely overlooked,” says senior author Matthew Dalva, PhD, professor and vice chair of the Department of Neuroscience and director of the Jefferson Synaptic Biology Center in the Vickie & Jack Institute for Neuroscience — Jefferson Health. Dr. Dalva and his team looked at the NMDAR receptor on brain cells and pinpointed the spot where this receptor interacts with a neighbor to initiate signaling. “When trying to develop new therapy, finding the bullseye is half the problem,” says Dr. Dalva.

Feb 10, 2020

DNA-like material could bring even smaller transistors

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology

Computer chips use billions of tiny switches, called transistors, to process information. The more transistors on a chip, the faster the computer.

A material shaped like a one-dimensional DNA helix might further push the limits on a transistor’s size. The material comes from a rare earth element called tellurium.

Researchers found that the material, encapsulated in a nanotube made of boron nitride, helps build a with a diameter of two nanometers. Transistors on the market are made of bulkier silicon and range between 10 and 20 nanometers in scale.

Feb 6, 2020

Key molecular machine in cells pictured in detail for the first time

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Scientists from the UNC School of Medicine, Columbia University, and Rockefeller University have revealed the inner workings of one of the most fundamental and important molecular machines in cells.

The researchers, in a study published in Science, used biochemical experiments and cryo– (cryo-EM) to determine the atomic structure of a complex assembly of molecules known as the histone mRNA three-prime (3’) end-processing machine. This machine plays a fundamental role in proper activity and duplication of the cell genome and when defective, it may lead to human diseases, including cancers.

Histone proteins are found in all plants and animals, and they form a “beads-on-a-string” arrangement where the DNA in chromosomes is wrapped around the beads of histones. Histones ensure the efficient packaging of DNA and help regulate which genes are turned “on” and which are kept “off,” processes needed for all cells to function properly.

Feb 5, 2020

Religion and the Posthuman Discourse

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, nanotechnology, transhumanism

The proliferation of transhumanist thought beyond science fiction and into the public space seems, at first, a minor ideological and physical threat. Numerous concerns about the implications of transhumanism have been raised, but few regarding religious implications. Cultural anthropologist Chris Toumey notes in his article in Nature Nanotechnology the small body of literature grounded explicitly in Christian values, remarking “I would like to see religious thought on nanotechnology develop well beyond a reaction to the more sensationalist parts of the transhumanist vision.” [1] Though the quote specifies nanotechnology, it applies more broadly to non-secular works on the problem(s) with transhumanism. To find literature from Muslims, then, containing an approach to transhumanism guided by Islamic principles is a laborious endeavor. This is not to fault Muslims, but to draw observant, critical eyes to the transhumanist movement.

The existing literature must be studied in order to understand the scope of possible reconciliation/conflict as Muslims formulate their own methods of evaluation. In her book, Cyborg Selves: A Theological Anthropology of the Posthuman, Jeanine Thweatt-Bates, Assistant Professor of Theology at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, outlines her approach: one that is, at once, an overview of two approaches to the ‘posthuman,’ and an analysis of possible reconciliatory discourse with a Christian theological locus. To be clear, it’s not a book on the Christian perspective of the posthuman, but a Christian’s perspective.

The Cyborg

Feb 4, 2020

Lasers etch a ‘perfect’ solar energy absorber

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, physics, solar power, sustainability

The University of Rochester research lab that recently used lasers to create unsinkable metallic structures has now demonstrated how the same technology could be used to create highly efficient solar power generators.

In a paper in Light: Science & Applications, the lab of Chunlei Guo, professor of optics also affiliated with Physics and the Material Sciences Program, describes using powerful femto-second pulses to etch with nanoscale structures that selectively absorb light only at the solar wavelengths, but not elsewhere.

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Feb 3, 2020

Scientists cooled a nanoparticle to the quantum limit

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum physics

A tiny nanoparticle has been chilled to the max.

Physicists cooled a nanoparticle to the lowest temperature allowed by quantum mechanics. The particle’s motion reached what’s known as the ground state, or lowest possible energy level.

In a typical material, the amount that its atoms jostle around indicates its temperature. But in the case of the nanoparticle, scientists can define an effective temperature based on the motion of the entire nanoparticle, which is made up of about 100 million atoms. That temperature reached twelve-millionths of a kelvin, scientists report January 30 in Science.

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