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Sara_Mednick

Sara_Mednick

1 month ago

Since I'm a scientist, I oppose biohacking

More on Science

Laura Sanders

Laura Sanders

5 months ago

Xenobots, tiny living machines, can duplicate themselves.

Strange and complex behavior of frog cell blobs


A xenobot “parent,” shaped like a hungry Pac-Man (shown in red false color), created an “offspring” xenobot (green sphere) by gathering loose frog cells in its opening.

Tiny “living machines” made of frog cells can make copies of themselves. This newly discovered renewal mechanism may help create self-renewing biological machines.

According to Kirstin Petersen, an electrical and computer engineer at Cornell University who studies groups of robots, “this is an extremely exciting breakthrough.” She says self-replicating robots are a big step toward human-free systems.

Researchers described the behavior of xenobots earlier this year (SN: 3/31/21). Small clumps of skin stem cells from frog embryos knitted themselves into small spheres and started moving. Cilia, or cellular extensions, powered the xenobots around their lab dishes.

The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Dec. 7. The xenobots can gather loose frog cells into spheres, which then form xenobots.
The researchers call this type of movement-induced reproduction kinematic self-replication. The study's coauthor, Douglas Blackiston of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and Harvard University, says this is typical. For example, sexual reproduction requires parental sperm and egg cells. Sometimes cells split or budded off from a parent.

“This is unique,” Blackiston says. These xenobots “find loose parts in the environment and cobble them together.” This second generation of xenobots can move like their parents, Blackiston says.
The researchers discovered that spheroid xenobots could only produce one more generation before dying out. The original xenobots' shape was predicted by an artificial intelligence program, allowing for four generations of replication.

A C shape, like an openmouthed Pac-Man, was predicted to be a more efficient progenitor. When improved xenobots were let loose in a dish, they began scooping up loose cells into their gaping “mouths,” forming more sphere-shaped bots (see image below). As many as 50 cells clumped together in the opening of a parent to form a mobile offspring. A xenobot is made up of 4,000–6,000 frog cells.

Petersen likes the Xenobots' small size. “The fact that they were able to do this at such a small scale just makes it even better,” she says. Miniature xenobots could sculpt tissues for implantation or deliver therapeutics inside the body.

Beyond the xenobots' potential jobs, the research advances an important science, says study coauthor and Tufts developmental biologist Michael Levin. The science of anticipating and controlling the outcomes of complex systems, he says.

“No one could have predicted this,” Levin says. “They regularly surprise us.” Researchers can use xenobots to test the unexpected. “This is about advancing the science of being less surprised,” Levin says.

Katherine Kornei

Katherine Kornei

4 months ago

The InSight lander from NASA has recorded the greatest tremor ever felt on Mars.

The magnitude 5 earthquake was responsible for the discharge of energy that was 10 times greater than the previous record holder.

Any Martians who happen to be reading this should quickly learn how to duck and cover.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, reported that on May 4, the planet Mars was shaken by an earthquake of around magnitude 5, making it the greatest Marsquake ever detected to this point. The shaking persisted for more than six hours and unleashed more than ten times as much energy as the earthquake that had previously held the record for strongest.

The event was captured on record by the InSight lander, which is operated by the United States Space Agency and has been researching the innards of Mars ever since it touched down on the planet in 2018 (SN: 11/26/18). The epicenter of the earthquake was probably located in the vicinity of Cerberus Fossae, which is located more than 1,000 kilometers away from the lander.

The surface of Cerberus Fossae is notorious for being broken up and experiencing periodic rockfalls. According to geophysicist Philippe Lognonné, who is the lead investigator of the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, the seismometer that is onboard the InSight lander, it is reasonable to assume that the ground is moving in that area. "This is an old crater from a volcanic eruption."

Marsquakes, which are similar to earthquakes in that they give information about the interior structure of our planet, can be utilized to investigate what lies beneath the surface of Mars (SN: 7/22/21). And according to Lognonné, who works at the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris, there is a great deal that can be gleaned from analyzing this massive earthquake. Because the quality of the signal is so high, we will be able to focus on the specifics.

Katrina Paulson

Katrina Paulson

1 month ago

Dehumanization Against Anthropomorphization

We've fought for humanity's sake. We need equilibrium.

Photo by Bekah Russom on Unsplash

We live in a world of opposites (black/white, up/down, love/hate), thus life is a game of achieving equilibrium. We have a universe of paradoxes within ourselves, not just in physics.

Individually, you balance your intellect and heart, but as a species, we're full of polarities. They might be gentle and compassionate, then ruthless and unsympathetic.

We desire for connection so much that we personify non-human beings and objects while turning to violence and hatred toward others. These contrasts baffle me. Will we find balance?

Anthropomorphization

Assigning human-like features or bonding with objects is common throughout childhood. Cartoons often give non-humans human traits. Adults still anthropomorphize this trait. Researchers agree we start doing it as infants and continue throughout life.

Humans of all ages are good at humanizing stuff. We build emotional attachments to weather events, inanimate objects, animals, plants, and locales. Gods, goddesses, and fictitious figures are anthropomorphized.

Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks, features anthropization. Hanks is left on an island, where he builds an emotional bond with a volleyball he calls Wilson.

We became emotionally invested in Wilson, including myself.

Why do we do it, though?

Our instincts and traits helped us survive and thrive. Our brain is alert to other people's thoughts, feelings, and intentions to assist us to determine who is safe or hazardous. We can think about others and our own mental states, or about thinking. This is the Theory of Mind.

Neurologically, specialists believe the Theory of Mind has to do with our mirror neurons, which exhibit the same activity while executing or witnessing an action.

Mirror neurons may contribute to anthropization, but they're not the only ones. In 2021, Harvard Medical School researchers at MGH and MIT colleagues published a study on the brain's notion of mind.

“Our study provides evidence to support theory of mind by individual neurons. Until now, it wasn’t clear whether or how neurons were able to perform these social cognitive computations.”

Neurons have particular functions, researchers found. Others encode information that differentiates one person's beliefs from another's. Some neurons reflect tale pieces, whereas others aren't directly involved in social reasoning but may multitask contributing factors.

Combining neuronal data gives a precise portrait of another's beliefs and comprehension. The theory of mind describes how we judge and understand each other in our species, and it likely led to anthropomorphism. Neuroscience indicates identical brain regions react to human or non-human behavior, like mirror neurons.

Some academics believe we're wired for connection, which explains why we anthropomorphize. When we're alone, we may anthropomorphize non-humans.

Humanizing non-human entities may make them deserving of moral care, according to another theory. Animamorphizing something makes it responsible for its actions and deserves punishments or rewards. This mental shift is typically apparent in our connections with pets and leads to deanthropomorphization.

Dehumanization

Dehumanizing involves denying someone or anything ethical regard, the opposite of anthropomorphizing.

Dehumanization occurs throughout history. We do it to everything in nature, including ourselves. We experiment on and torture animals. We enslave, hate, and harm other groups of people.

Race, immigrant status, dress choices, sexual orientation, social class, religion, gender, politics, need I go on? Our degrading behavior is promoting fascism and division everywhere.

Dehumanizing someone or anything reduces their agency and value. Many assume they're immune to this feature, but tests disagree.

It's inevitable. Humans are wired to have knee-jerk reactions to differences. We are programmed to dehumanize others, and it's easier than we'd like to admit.

Why do we do it, though?

Dehumanizing others is simpler than humanizing things for several reasons. First, we consider everything unusual as harmful, which has helped our species survive for hundreds of millions of years. Our propensity to be distrustful of others, like our fear of the unknown, promotes an us-vs.-them mentality.

Since WWII, various studies have been done to explain how or why the holocaust happened. How did so many individuals become radicalized to commit such awful actions and feel morally justified? Researchers quickly showed how easily the mind can turn gloomy.

Stanley Milgram's 1960s electroshock experiment highlighted how quickly people bow to authority to injure others. Philip Zimbardo's 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment revealed how power may be abused.

The us-versus-them attitude is natural and even young toddlers act on it. Without a relationship, empathy is more difficult.

It's terrifying how quickly dehumanizing behavior becomes commonplace. The current pandemic is an example. Most countries no longer count deaths. Long Covid is a major issue, with predictions of a handicapped tsunami in the future years. Mostly, we shrug.

In 2020, we panicked. Remember everyone's caution? Now Long Covid is ruining more lives, threatening to disable an insane amount of our population for months or their entire lives.

There's little research. Experts can't even classify or cure it. The people should be outraged, but most have ceased caring. They're over covid.

We're encouraged to find a method to live with a terrible pandemic that will cause years of damage. People aren't worried about infection anymore. They shrug and say, "We'll all get it eventually," then hope they're not one of the 30% who develops Long Covid.

We can correct course before further damage. Because we can recognize our urges and biases, we're not captives to them. We can think critically about our thoughts and behaviors, then attempt to improve. We can recognize our deficiencies and work to attain balance.

Changing perspectives

We're currently attempting to find equilibrium between opposites. It's superficial to defend extremes by stating we're only human or wired this way because both imply we have no control.

Being human involves having self-awareness, and by being careful of our thoughts and acts, we can find balance and recognize opposites' purpose.

Extreme anthropomorphizing and dehumanizing isolate and imperil us. We anthropomorphize because we desire connection and dehumanize because we're terrified, frequently of the connection we crave. Will we find balance?

Katrina Paulson ponders humanity, unanswered questions, and discoveries. Please check out her newsletters, Curious Adventure and Curious Life.

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Sneaker News

Sneaker News

4 months ago

This Month Will See The Release Of Travis Scott x Nike Footwear

Following the catastrophes at Astroworld, Travis Scott was swiftly vilified by both media outlets and fans alike, and the names who had previously supported him were quickly abandoned. Nike, on the other hand, remained silent, only delaying the release of La Flame's planned collaborations, such as the Air Max 1 and Air Trainer 1, indefinitely. While some may believe it is too soon for the artist to return to the spotlight, the Swoosh has other ideas, as Nice Kicks reveals that these exact sneakers will be released in May.

Both the Travis Scott x Nike Air Max 1 and the Travis Scott x Nike Air Trainer 1 are set to come in two colorways this month. Tinker Hatfield's renowned runner will meet La Flame's "Baroque Brown" and "Saturn Gold" make-ups, which have been altered with backwards Swooshes and outdoors-themed webbing. The high-top trainer is being customized with Hatfield's "Wheat" and "Grey Haze" palettes, both of which include zippers across the heel, co-branded patches, and other details.

See below for a closer look at the four footwear. TravisScott.com is expected to release the shoes on May 20th, according to Nice Kicks. Following that, on May 27th, Nike SNKRS will release the shoe.

Travis Scott x Nike Air Max 1 "Baroque Brown"
Release Date: 2022
Color: Baroque Brown/Lemon Drop/Wheat/Chile Red
Mens: $160
Style Code: DO9392-200
Pre-School: $85
Style Code: DN4169-200
Infant & Toddler: $70
Style Code: DN4170-200

Travis Scott x Nike Air Max 1 "Saturn Gold"
Release Date: 2022
Color: N/A
Mens: $160
Style Code: DO9392-700

Travis Scott x Nike Air Trainer 1 "Wheat"
Restock Date: May 27th, 2022 (Friday)
Original Release Date: May 20th, 2022 (Friday)
Color: N/A
Mens: $140
Style Code: DR7515-200

Travis Scott x Nike Air Trainer 1 "Grey Haze"
Restock Date: May 27th, 2022 (Friday)
Original Release Date: May 20th, 2022 (Friday)
Color: N/A
Mens: $140
Style Code: DR7515-001

Langston Thomas

2 months ago

A Simple Guide to NFT Blockchains

Ethereum's blockchain rules NFTs. Many consider it the one-stop shop for NFTs, and it's become the most talked-about and trafficked blockchain in existence.

Other blockchains are becoming popular in NFTs. Crypto-artists and NFT enthusiasts have sought new places to mint and trade NFTs due to Ethereum's high transaction costs and environmental impact.

When choosing a blockchain to mint on, there are several factors to consider. Size, creator costs, consumer spending habits, security, and community input are important. We've created a high-level summary of blockchains for NFTs to help clarify the fast-paced world of web3 tech.

Ethereum

Ethereum currently has the most NFTs. It's decentralized and provides financial and legal services without intermediaries. It houses popular NFT marketplaces (OpenSea), projects (CryptoPunks and the Bored Ape Yacht Club), and artists (Pak and Beeple).

It's also expensive and energy-intensive. This is because Ethereum works using a Proof-of-Work (PoW) mechanism. PoW requires computers to solve puzzles to add blocks and transactions to the blockchain. Solving these puzzles requires a lot of computer power, resulting in astronomical energy loss.

You should consider this blockchain first due to its popularity, security, decentralization, and ease of use.

Solana

Solana is a fast programmable blockchain. Its proof-of-history and proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanisms eliminate complex puzzles. Reduced validation times and fees result.

PoS users stake their cryptocurrency to become a block validator. Validators get SOL. This encourages and rewards users to become stakers. PoH works with PoS to cryptographically verify time between events. Solana blockchain ensures transactions are in order and found by the correct leader (validator).

Solana's PoS and PoH mechanisms keep transaction fees and times low. Solana isn't as popular as Ethereum, so there are fewer NFT marketplaces and blockchain traders.

Tezos

Tezos is a greener blockchain. Tezos rose in 2021. Hic et Nunc was hailed as an economic alternative to Ethereum-centric marketplaces until Nov. 14, 2021.

Similar to Solana, Tezos uses a PoS consensus mechanism and only a PoS mechanism to reduce computational work. This blockchain uses two million times less energy than Ethereum. It's cheaper than Ethereum (but does cost more than Solana).

Tezos is a good place to start minting NFTs in bulk. Objkt is the largest Tezos marketplace.

Flow

Flow is a high-performance blockchain for NFTs, games, and decentralized apps (dApps). Flow is built with scalability in mind, so billions of people could interact with NFTs on the blockchain.

Flow became the NBA's blockchain partner in 2019. Flow, a product of Dapper labs (the team behind CryptoKitties), launched and hosts NBA Top Shot, making the blockchain integral to the popularity of non-fungible tokens.

Flow uses PoS to verify transactions, like Tezos. Developers are working on a model to handle 10,000 transactions per second on the blockchain. Low transaction fees.

Flow NFTs are tradeable on Blocktobay, OpenSea, Rarible, Foundation, and other platforms. NBA, NFL, UFC, and others have launched NFT marketplaces on Flow. Flow isn't as popular as Ethereum, resulting in fewer NFT marketplaces and blockchain traders.

Asset Exchange (WAX)

WAX is king of virtual collectibles. WAX is popular for digitalized versions of legacy collectibles like trading cards, figurines, memorabilia, etc.

Wax uses a PoS mechanism, but also creates carbon offset NFTs and partners with Climate Care. Like Flow, WAX transaction fees are low, and network fees are redistributed to the WAX community as an incentive to collectors.

WAX marketplaces host Topps, NASCAR, Hot Wheels, and cult classic film franchises like Godzilla, The Princess Bride, and Spiderman.

Binance Smart Chain

BSC is another good option for balancing fees and performance. High-speed transactions and low fees hurt decentralization. BSC is most centralized.

Binance Smart Chain uses Proof of Staked Authority (PoSA) to support a short block time and low fees. The 21 validators needed to run the exchange switch every 24 hours. 11 of the 21 validators are directly connected to the Binance Crypto Exchange, according to reports.

While many in the crypto and NFT ecosystems dislike centralization, the BSC NFT market picked up speed in 2021. OpenBiSea, AirNFTs, JuggerWorld, and others are gaining popularity despite not having as robust an ecosystem as Ethereum.

Scott Hickmann

Scott Hickmann

8 months ago

Welcome

Welcome to Integrity's Web3 community!