Category Archives: Science

Global Warming: Ten Facts and Ten Myths on Climate Change

Originally published by GR in 2009

Ten facts about climate change

1.     Climate has always changed, and it always will. The assumption that prior to the industrial revolution the Earth had a “stable” climate is simply wrong. The only sensible thing to do about climate change is to prepare for it.

2.    Accurate temperature measurements made from weather balloons and satellites since the late 1950s show no atmospheric warming since 1958.  In contrast, averaged ground-based thermometers record a warming of about 0.40 C over the same time period. Many scientists believe that the thermometer record is biased by the Urban Heat Island effect and other artefacts.

3.    Despite the expenditure of more than US$50 billion dollars looking for it since 1990, no unambiguous anthropogenic (human) signal has been identified in the global temperature pattern.

Continue reading Global Warming: Ten Facts and Ten Myths on Climate Change

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Power and Limitations of Artificial Intelligence

Power and Limitations of Artificial Intelligence

Workshop 30 November – 1 December 2016 – One of the key issues today concerns the place of the human person in a growing digital environment of increasing complexity that not only expands the range of his or her capacities, but also may compete with them or even replace them. Over the past fifty years, robots and computers have progressively supplemented humans, initially only in relatively simple computational and manipulation tasks, but more recently in higher cognitive tasks that used to be the prerogative of the human brain, including language, mathematics, probabilistic reasoning and decision making. Continue reading Power and Limitations of Artificial Intelligence

Top Ten Transhumanist Technologies

by Lifeboat Foundation Scientific Advisory Board member Michael Anissimov.

Overview

Transhumanists advocate the improvement of human capacities through advanced technology. Not just technology as in gadgets you get from Best Buy, but technology in the grander sense of strategies for eliminating disease, providing cheap but high-quality products to the world’s poorest, improving quality of life and social interconnectedness, and so on. Technology we don’t notice because it’s blended in with the fabric of the world, but would immediately take note of its absence if it became unavailable. (Ever tried to travel to another country on foot?) Technology needn’t be expensive — indeed, if a technology is truly effective it will pay for itself many times over. Transhumanists tend to take a longer-than-average view of technological progress, looking not just five or ten years into the future but twenty years, thirty years, and beyond. We realize that the longer you look forward, the more uncertain the predictions get, but one thing is quite certain: if a technology is physically possible and obviously useful, human (or transhuman!) ingenuity will see to it that it gets built eventually. As we gain ever greater control over the atomic structure of matter, our technological goals become increasingly ambitious, and their payoffs more and more generous. Sometimes new technologies even make us happier in a long-lasting way: the Internet would be a prime example. In the following list I take a look at what I consider the top ten transhumanist technologies. Continue reading Top Ten Transhumanist Technologies

CERN Scientist -dead at 62

Physicist Tested Particle Actions

By WALTER SULLIVAN Published: October 10, 1990

John Stewart Bell, whose test for one of the most bizarre aspects of quantum physics led to its apparent confirmation, died last week at a hospital in Geneva. He was 62 years old. Continue reading CERN Scientist -dead at 62

Are genetically engineered mosquitoes realistic solution to Zika?

Arvind Suresh | February 5, 2016

Earlier this week the Director of the World Health Organization Dr. Margaret Chan declared that the ongoing Zika outbreak was a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern.’ This was a significant move by the international body as it is the fourth time that the declaration has been made since such a designation was formally defined as a response to a public health crisis by the WHO in 2005, with the most recent one being for the Ebola outbreak. Continue reading Are genetically engineered mosquitoes realistic solution to Zika?

Genetic editing is like playing God – and what’s wrong with that?

Baby playing with DNA model
‘Gene editing of human embryos to eliminate disease should be considered to be ethically the same as using laser surgery to correct eye defects.’ Photograph: Tetra Images/Getty Images

by Johnjoe McFadden Tuesday 2 February 2016 13.29 GMT

British scientists are getting permission to alter embryos’ DNA. We have the chance to correct devastating diseases in the womb, so let’s get on with it.

The announcement that scientists are to be allowed to edit the DNA of human embryos will no doubt provoke an avalanche of warnings from opponents of genetic modification (GM) technology, who will warn that we are “playing God” with our genes. Continue reading Genetic editing is like playing God – and what’s wrong with that?

British researchers get green light to genetically modify human embryos

Kathy Niakan next to a microscope
Dr Kathy Niakan wants to look at the first few days of fertilisation. Photograph: Francis Crick Institute

by Haroon Siddique Monday 1 February 2016 13.12

Britain’s first genetically modified human embryos could be created within months, after scientists were granted permission by the fertility regulator to carry out the procedure.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) regulator approved a licence application by Kathy Niakan, a stem cell scientist at the Francis Crick Institute in London, to perform so-called genome editing on human embryos. Continue reading British researchers get green light to genetically modify human embryos

No, GM Mosquitoes Didn’t Start The Zika Outbreak

By Christie Wilcox | January 31, 2016 9:56 pm

A new ridiculous rumor is spreading around the Internets. According to conspiracy theorists, the recent outbreak of Zika can be blamed on the British biotech company Oxitec, which some are saying even intentionally caused the disease as a form of ethnic cleansing or population control. The articles all cite a lone Redditor who proposed the connection on January 25th to the Conspiracy subreddit. “There are no biological free lunches,” says one commenter on the idea. “Releasing genetically altered species into the environment could have disastrous consequences” another added. “Maybe that’s what some entities want to happen…?” Continue reading No, GM Mosquitoes Didn’t Start The Zika Outbreak

CIA releases secret files of ‘flying saucer’ UFO sightings – including over Britain

© Provided by The Independent ‘Flying saucers’ spotted over Sheffield in March 1952 (Picture: [copyright])

The CIA has posted online previously secret photographs purportedly showing UFOs or ‘flying saucers’ hovering over Britain.The hand selected images are among formerly classified files from the 1950s which were hidden away by the American spy agency. Continue reading CIA releases secret files of ‘flying saucer’ UFO sightings – including over Britain

How To Investigate a Flying Saucer

Southbound on a lone desert highway, police officer Lonnie Zamora was in pursuit of a speeding car outside the town of Socorro, New Mexico, when he was startled by a loud roar! Seconds later, he saw a large flame rise from the ground and pierce the sky above a remote patch of desert southwest of the highway. Fearing a nearby dynamite shack might have exploded, Zamora let the speeding car go, turned right, and drove down a bumpy gravel road that ran alongside the shack. Continue reading How To Investigate a Flying Saucer