Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Google expert claims - We'll be uploading our entire MINDS to computers by 2045 and bodies will be machines in 90 -

Google expert claims - We'll be uploading our entire MINDS to computers by 2045 and bodies will be machines in 90 - 

In just over 30 years, humans will be able to upload their entire minds to computers and become digitally immortal - an event called singularity - according to a futurist from Google.

Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, also claims that the biological parts of our body will be replaced with mechanical parts and this could happen as early as 2100.

Kurweil made the claims during his conference speech at the Global Futures 2045 International Congress in New York at the weekend. 

The conference was created by Russian multimillionaire Dmitry Itskov and featured visonary talks about how the world will look by 2045.

Kurzweil said: 'Based on conservative estimates of the amount of computation you need to functionally simulate a human brain, we'll be able to expand the scope of our intelligence a billion-fold.'

He referred to Moore's Law that states the power of computing doubles, on average, every two years quoting the developments from genetic sequencing and 3D printing. 

In Kurweil's book, The Singularity Is Near, he plots this development and journey towards singularity in a graph. 

This singularity is also referred to as digital immortality because brains and a person's intelligence will be digitally stored forever, even after they die. 

He also added that this will be possible through neural engineering and referenced the recent strides made towards modeling the brain and technologies which can replace biological functions. 

Examples of such technology given by LiveScience include the cochlear implant - an implant that is attached to the brain's cochlear nerve and electronically stimulates it to restore hearing to someone who is deaf. 

Other examples include technology that can restore motor skills after the nervous system is damaged.  


NASA and DHS developing a heartbeat detector for use in search and rescue -

NASA and DHS developing a heartbeat detector for use in search and rescue - 

Your local swat team will have these soon enough. DHS involvement in the development of this "Searching" device is telling.

When natural disasters strike and the damage is dealt, often the wisest thing to do is to rescue any remaining survivors from the rubble. Yet many times, victims die after never being found underneath several feet of damaged materials, from either being too weak to cry out for help, or too far to be detected by our current technology. However, that is all about to change, as NASA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are very close to developing a device that can detect a faint heartbeat under several feet of strata — up to 20 feet of solid and 30 of other crushed material, to be exact.

The two government entities are working in tandem to create the device, called FINDER, or Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response, for use in finding individuals who are still alive after a major disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornados. FINDER prototypes were tested in over 65 simulated disasters by two Urban Search and Rescue teams, with great success. The portable device is capable of detecting a heartbeat up to 100 feet away when out in the open, and is able to penetrate concrete, rebar and other types of material as well.

Previously, radar waves directed at wreckage would bounce right back after being sent, which resulted in inaccurate test results. Another challenge of creating a successful life-tracking device was the difficulty of isolating a weak sound like a heartbeat within louder noise interference in the rescue field. FINDER utilizes microwave radar technology specially developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to not only distinguish between loud interference and softer sounds, but also between species: the device can amazingly tell if the heartbeat belongs to a squirrel or a human. Who knew microwaves could become even more useful?


Brazilian hackers confuse NASA with NSA in revenge attack... -

Brazilian hackers confuse NASA with NSA in revenge attack... - 

"Some activists decided to protest this US practice but it seems that they picked the wrong target," a specialized blog of the Brazilian news portal Uol said.
"They hacked Nasa's web page and left the message: Stop spying on us," it said.
The hackers' message also called on the United States not to attack Syria.
A Nasa spokesman confirmed that a Brazilian hacker group last week posted a political message on a number of Nasa websites.
"At no point were any of the agency's primary websites, missions or classified systems compromised," said Nasa spokesman Allard Beutel.

"We are diligently taking action to investigate and reconstitute the websites impacted during web defacement incident," he said.
The attack followed recent disclosures that the NSA spied on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's email communications and on the state-run energy giant Petrobras.
The disclosures were based on documents obtained by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
Brasilia slammed the alleged spying as "unacceptable" and demanded explanations from Washington.
Ms Rousseff postponed a state visit to Washington in protest over allegations of US cyberspying on her country.
Ms Rousseff announced the decision after discussing the espionage row with US President Barack Obama Monday in a telephone call.

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New battery uses waste water to generate 'poo power' -

New battery uses waste water to generate 'poo power' - 

Electricity could be generated from microbes in sewage, according to U.S. scientists.
The team have created a ‘battery' driven by microbes that produce electricity as they digest organic material.
They claim the microbial battery could offset some of the electricity now use to treat waste water. 

Engineers devised the new way to generate electricity from sewage using naturally-occurring microbes as mini power plants, producing electricity as they digest plant and animal waste
That use currently accounts for about three per cent of the total electrical load in developed nations.
The system was developed by Stanford University in California and their results published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The research team describe how they hope ‘microbial batteries’ could also be used to break down organic pollutants in the lakes and coastal waters where fertiliser run-off and suffocate marine life.

At the moment Stanford’s laboratory prototype is about the size of a small battery and looks like a chemistry experiment, with two electrodes, one positive, the other negative, plunged into a bottle of wastewater.
Sewage plant
Researchers claim the microbial battery is worth pursuing because it could offset some of the electricity now use to treat waste in plants (pictured)
Scientists have known for years of the existence of what they call exoelectrogenic microbes - organisms that evolved in airless environments and developed the ability to react with oxide minerals rather than breathe oxygen as we do to convert organic nutrients into biological fuel.
Several research teams have tried and failed to use these microbes as bio-generators.
But what is new about the microbial battery is a simple yet efficient design that puts these exoelectrogenic bacteria to work.
At the battery’s negative electrode, colonies of wired microbes cling to carbon filaments that serve as efficient electrical conductors. 
Using a scanning electron microscope, the Stanford team captured images of these microbes attaching milky tendrils to the carbon filaments.
Professor Craig Criddle said: ‘You can see that the microbes make nanowires to dump off their excess electrons.’
To put the images into perspective, about 100 of these microbes could fit, side by side, in the width of a human hair.

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‘One-size’ chemotherapy treatment undertreats overweight cancer patients, U.S. study suggests -

‘One-size’ chemotherapy treatment undertreats overweight cancer patients, U.S. study suggests - 

Obese people are less likely to survive cancer, and one reason may be a surprising inequality: The overweight are undertreated.

Doctors often short them on chemotherapy by not basing the dose on size, as they should. They use ideal weight or cap the dose out of fear about how much treatment an obese patient can bear. Yet research shows that bigger people handle chemo better than smaller people do.

Even a little less chemo can mean worse odds of survival, and studies suggest that as many as 40% of obese cancer patients have been getting less than 85% of the right dose for their size.

Now, the largest organization of doctors who treat cancer, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, aims to change that. The group has adopted guidelines urging full, weight-based doses for the obese.

Don’t call it supersizing; it’s right-sizing cancer care, said Dr. Gary Lyman, a Duke University oncologist who led the panel that wrote the advice.

“There’s little doubt that some degree of undertreatment is contributing to the higher mortality and recurrence rates in obese patients,” he said.

The Food and Drug Administration’s cancer drug chief, Dr. Richard Pazdur, agrees.

“By minimizing the dose, or capping the dose, we have been undertreating patients,” he said.

The dosing issue applies to all types of cancer treated with chemo — breast, colon, lung, ovarian and even blood diseases such as leukemia.

It affects a lot of people. Big isn’t healthy but it’s the new “normal” — 60% of Americans are overweight and more than one-third of them are obese.

Giving too little chemo “could make it as if they didn’t even get treated at all … so they go through the whole ordeal with no benefit, in the extreme case ,” said Dr. Jennifer Griggs, a University of Michigan breast cancer specialist who also worked on the guidelines.

So why do doctors limit dose?

Sometimes it’s for good reason — the patient has diabetes, heart problems or other illnesses that interfere with how much chemo they can stand. Usually, though, it’s because doctors are afraid to follow a standard weight-based formula because the dose seems so huge and they’re afraid of harming the heart and blood system, Lyman said.

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Americans Are 110 Times More Likely to Die from Contaminated Food Than Terrorism -

Americans Are 110 Times More Likely to Die from Contaminated Food Than Terrorism - 

One of the most important revelations from the international drama over Edward Snowden's NSA leaks in May is the exposure of a nearly lunatic disproportion in threat assessment and spending by the US government. This disproportion has been spawned by a fear-based politics of terror that mandates unlimited money and media attention for even the mosttendentious terrorism [3] threats, while lethal domestic risks such as contaminated food from our industrialized agribusiness system are all but ignored. A comparison of federal spending on food safety intelligence versus antiterrorism intelligence brings the irrationality of the threat assessment process into stark relief.

In 2011, the year of Osama bin Laden's death, the State Department reported [4] that 17 Americans were killed in all terrorist incidents worldwide. The same year, a single outbreak of listeriosis from tainted cantaloupe [5] killed 33 people in the United States. Foodborne pathogens also sickened 48.7 million, hospitalized 127,839 and caused a total of 3,037 deaths [6]. This is a typical year, not an aberration.

We have more to fear from contaminated cantaloupe than from al-Qaeda, yet the United States spends $75 billion per year spread across 15 intelligence agencies [7] in a scattershot attempt to prevent terrorism, illegally spying on its own citizens in the process. By comparison, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is struggling to secure [8] $1.1 billion in the 2014 federal budget for its food inspection program, while tougher food processing and inspection regulations passed in 2011 are held up by agribusiness lobbying [9] in Congress. The situation is so dire that Jensen Farms, the company that produced the toxic cantaloupe that killed 33 people in 2011, had never been inspected by the FDA [5].

In the past 10 years, outbreaks of foodborne illness have affected all 50 states [10], with hundreds of food recalls annually involving many of America's leading brands, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Taylor Farms Organics, Ralph's, Kroger, Food 4 Less, Costco, Dole, Kellogg's and dozens of others. There have been multi-state recalls [11] of contaminated cheese, organic spinach, salad greens, lettuce, milk, ground beef, eggs, organic brown rice, peanut butter, mangoes, cantaloupe and hundreds of other popular foods.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, foodborne pathogens have killed an estimated 36,000 people [12] in the United States. During this same period, terrorism has killed 323 Americans worldwide. 

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