New Male Sex Robots With Bionic Penises May Just Replace Men in The Pleasure Department.

In recent times there has been a ton of talk about sex dolls and women made of plastic. However, women are just as worked up about these dolls.

Companies like ‘Real Doll’ are going to be making male sex dolls as well. They will have batteries in them and can be charged to last for as long as you want them to. They will be able to respond to verbal cues and will be able to outperform any normal sex toy.

It is being called the “ultimate pleasure experience”, but it really makes you wonder where society is going. His bionic penis may be enough to make you kiss real men goodbye, but is that really what we want? To get rid of real human relationships, and replace them with machines? These male sex robots are equipped with things that will make your heart stop. They will be able to plug into the things that make a woman have a better experience, for instance, things like conversation and backstories.

These dolls will be able to carry their human lovers around and do things you usually have to trick a real man into doing. These robots will be able to literally thrust their member into their human lovers. They will be able to move as you would need them to.

Would you use one of these sex robots? How well do you think they will do? Could this be the end to real relationships and the beginning of something strange and interesting?

Google’s New AI Has Learned to Become “Highly Aggressive” in Stressful Situations

Is this how Skynet starts?

Late last year, famed physicist Stephen Hawking issued a warning that the continued advancement of artificial intelligence will either be “the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity”.

We’ve all seen the Terminator movies, and the apocalyptic nightmare that the self-aware AI system, Skynet, wrought upon humanity, and now results from recent behaviour tests of Google’s new DeepMind AI system are making it clear just how careful we need to be when building the robots of the future.

 n tests late last year, Google’s DeepMind AI system demonstrated an ability to learn independently from its own memory, and beat the world’s best Go playersat their own game.

It’s since been figuring out how to seamlessly mimic a human voice.

Now, researchers have been testing its willingness to cooperate with others, and have revealed that when DeepMind feels like it’s about to lose, it opts for “highly aggressive” strategies to ensure that it comes out on top.

The Google team ran 40 million turns of a simple ‘fruit gathering’ computer game that asks two DeepMind ‘agents’ to compete against each other to gather as many virtual apples as they could.

They found that things went smoothly so long as there were enough apples to go around, but as soon as the apples began to dwindle, the two agents turned aggressive, using laser beams to knock each other out of the game to steal all the apples.

You can watch the Gathering game in the video below, with the DeepMind agents in blue and red, the virtual apples in green, and the laser beams in yellow:

Now those are some trigger-happy fruit-gatherers.

Interestingly, if an agent successfully ‘tags’ its opponent with a laser beam, no extra reward is given. It simply knocks the opponent out of the game for a set period, which allows the successful agent to collect more apples.

 If the agents left the laser beams unused, they could theoretically end up with equal shares of apples, which is what the ‘less intelligent’ iterations of DeepMind opted to do.

It was only when the Google team tested more and more complex forms of DeepMind that sabotage, greed, and aggression set in.

As Rhett Jones reports for Gizmodo, when the researchers used smaller DeepMind networks as the agents, there was a greater likelihood for peaceful co-existence.

But when they used larger, more complex networks as the agents, the AI was far more willing to sabotage its opponent early to get the lion’s share of virtual apples.

The researchers suggest that the more intelligent the agent, the more able it was to learn from its environment, allowing it to use some highly aggressive tactics to come out on top.

“This model … shows that some aspects of human-like behaviour emerge as a product of the environment and learning,” one of the team, Joel Z Leibo, told Matt Burgess at Wired.

“Less aggressive policies emerge from learning in relatively abundant environments with less possibility for costly action. The greed motivation reflects the temptation to take out a rival and collect all the apples oneself.”

DeepMind was then tasked with playing a second video game, called Wolfpack. This time, there were three AI agents – two of them played as wolves, and one as the prey.

Unlike Gathering, this game actively encouraged co-operation, because if both wolves were near the prey when it was captured, they both received a reward – regardless of which one actually took it down:

“The idea is that the prey is dangerous – a lone wolf can overcome it, but is at risk of losing the carcass to scavengers,” the team explains in their paper.

“However, when the two wolves capture the prey together, they can better protect the carcass from scavengers, and hence receive a higher reward.”

So just as the DeepMind agents learned from Gathering that aggression and selfishness netted them the most favourable result in that particular environment, they learned from Wolfpack that co-operation can also be the key to greater individual success in certain situations.

And while these are just simple little computer games, the message is clear – put different AI systems in charge of competing interests in real-life situations, and it could be an all-out war if their objectives are not balanced against the overall goal of benefitting us humans above all else.

Think traffic lights trying to slow things down, and driverless cars trying to find the fastest route – both need to take each other’s objectives into account to achieve the safest and most efficient result for society.

It’s still early days for DeepMind, and the team at Google has yet to publish their study in a peer-reviewed paper, but the initial results show that, just because we build them, it doesn’t mean robots and AI systems will automatically have our interests at heart.

Instead, we need to build that helpful nature into our machines, and anticipate any ‘loopholes’ that could see them reach for the laser beams.

As the founders of OpenAI, Elon Musk’s new research initiative dedicated to the ethics of artificial intelligence, said back in 2015:

“AI systems today have impressive but narrow capabilities. It seems that we’ll keep whittling away at their constraints, and in the extreme case, they will reach human performance on virtually every intellectual task.

It’s hard to fathom how much human-level AI could benefit society, and it’s equally hard to imagine how much it could damage society if built or used incorrectly.”

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Google’s AI won the game Go by defying millennia of basic human instinct

South Korean professional Go player Lee Sedol reviews the match after finishing the third match of the Google DeepMind Challenge Match against Google's artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, March 12, 2016.

Lee Sedol had seen all the tricks. He knew all the moves. As one of the world’s best and most experienced players of the complex board game Go, it was difficult to surprise him. But halfway through his first match against AlphaGo, the artificially intelligent player developed by Google DeepMind, Lee was already flabbergasted.

AlphaGo shocks Lee Sedol
AlphaGo shocks Lee Sedol 

AlphaGo’s moves throughout the competition, which it won earlier this month, four games to one, weren’t just notable for their effectiveness. The AI also came up with entirely new ways of approaching a game that originated in China two or three millennia ago and has been played obsessively since then. By their fourth game, even Lee was thinking differently about Go and its deceptively simple grid.

The AlphaGo-Lee Sedol matchup was an intense contest between human and artificial intelligence. But it also contained several moves made by both man and machine that were outlandish, brilliant, creative, foolish, and even beautiful. Deconstructing the gameplay helps explain why AlphaGo’s achievement is even more notable than it may seem on the surface and points to a fascinating future for AI.

Here’s how Go works: Two players take turns placing white or black stones on a 19-by-19 grid that’s drawn with lines over a wooden board. Stones are placed at the intersection of any two lines. Players claim territory when their stones completely surround and capture their opponent’s stones. When there are no more moves to make, the player who controls more of the board is the winner.

To explain the most interesting moves of the AlphaGo-Lee match, we worked with Ting Li, a highly ranked professional Go player and vice president of the European Go Federation. We also ran her analysis by Jon Diamond, president of the British Go Association.

Game 1: A different kind of thinking

This was the move that established AlphaGo’s bona fides.

Lee was doing well, and the two were engaged in a skirmish on the left side of the board. But AlphaGo, playing with the white stones, suddenly attacked deep inside Lee-controlled territory on the right side.

“This was totally in the black area,” Li said. “Human players would never think about doing that.”

Lee responded, quickly capturing three of AlphaGo’s stones. It was a poor move by AlphaGo, or so it seemed.

Twenty moves later, AlphaGo had taken three of Lee’s stones in the upper right and occupied about half the area that most human observers had written off as impregnable. Sacrificing three stones turned out to be a key pivot, turning the game in AlphaGo’s favor.

“Even in black’s area, white got a result. It’s unacceptable for black,” Li said. “There are huge variations in a Go game, we can’t even read 1% of them. We have certain patterns in our minds when we play, so this is the kind of move we would never think about.”

Game 2: Psyching out human intelligence

AlphaGo again bucked conventional wisdom in the second game, playing a move that even neophyte players know to avoid. But again, AlphaGo’s naiveté paid off, leading an over-cautious Lee to make unforced errors.

The fourth line from each edge of the board is known as “the line of influence,” and it’s so important to the game that most boards mark it with dots. Young players are taught to play along the line of influence if they are after territory in the middle of the board. But AlphaGo, playing in black, played on the fifth line, which is generally thought to tilt the balance in favor of an opponent.

Lee, apparently unsure how to interpret AlphaGo’s move, could reply aggressively or passively. He chose the passive option. “Lee followed what AlphaGo wanted,” Li said. In the end, Lee’s moves did gain him territory, but not nearly as much as he could have. The AI’s unorthodox move goaded Lee into playing less efficiently.

Game 2: Staying calm amid an invasion

Lee began an invasion of AlphaGo’s territory, but the AI’s response was unexpected: It seemed simply to ignore Lee’s attack. That turned out to be a smart move.

“It’s like your opponent broke into your house and wants a big fight with you, but you go and make a cup of coffee first,” Li said. Instead of immediately defending itself, AlphaGo first strengthened its defenses to ensure that Lee wouldn’t gain much territory in the attack.

In the end, AlphaGo secured two areas—at the top-left of the board and just below it—successfully limiting Lee’s incursion. “Black’s territory is still black’s territory, although white has a weak group there. From here, the game is already finished for Lee Sedol. There’s no chance after this,” Li said. “Lee Sedol played in a normal way, but AlphaGo answered in an unusual way.”

Game 3: Seeing the whole board

AlphaGo found itself in a weak position after a robust response from Lee on move 13. A human player might have focused on that weakness, but AlphaGo was able to ignore it, instead striking back in another area where Lee was powerless to stop it.

Playing the white stones, AlphaGo probed the upper-left corner of the board on move 12. Lee responded with a stout defense, shutting AlphaGo out. Even as the battle intensified there, with Lee having the upper hand, AlphaGo suddenly switched its focus to an area further down the board that was seemingly unconnected with that skirmish. “It’s too far away,” Li said. “We would not consider this kind of move.”

That move, the 32nd of the game reduced Lee’s moyo, or potential territory, from most of the left-hand side of board to just the upper-left corner. “Before the invasion, Lee had a big moyo, but now he only has a small corner,” Li said. “All the other space is destroyed.”

Game 4: Lee tries a new way of thinking

In their fourth game, the only one in which Lee was victorious, he appeared to adopt some of AlphaGo’s strategy by pursuing less expected and riskier maneuvers that proved successful in the end.

Lee played a “wedge” move, placing his white stone between two of AlphaGo’s. This is generally avoided since the point of Go is to surround the other player’s stones, and a wedge move is essentially the opposite. But Lee did so right in the middle of the board, puzzling observers.

“It’s hard to say if it was a correct move or not,” Li said.

AlphaGo couldn’t interpret it, either. Thrown off by the wedge move, the AI made a series of amateurish mistakes. “Lee Sedol found a move that was out of AlphaGo’s thinking,” Li said.

Seven moves after Lee’s wedge, AlphaGo had lost its grip on the right side of the board. The AI attempted a wedge move of its own, but it didn’t make any sense in the context of the game. “It’s like an amateur player’s level,” Li said.

Lee went on to win the fourth game. AlphaGo regained its composure to win the fifth and take the match, 4–1. But that brief moment of unusual and effective strategizing by Lee demonstrated that the true value of artificial intelligence reaches far beyond the simplistic narrative of man versus machine. Instead, AI’s potential may be in teaching humans new ways of thinking for ourselves.

FDA Update on Rare Breast Implant-Associated Type of Lymphoma

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided an update on breast implant–associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

In January 2011, the agency identified a possible associationbetween breast implants and the development of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).

 Since then, “we have strengthened our understanding of this condition and concur with the World Health Organization designation of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) as a rare T-cell lymphoma that can develop following breast implants,” the FDA said in a statement March 21.

Over 350 Cases, 9 Deaths

The FDA notes that most data suggest that BIA-ALCL occurs more often after implantation of breast implants with textured surfaces rather than those with smooth surfaces.

As of February 1, 2017, the FDA has received a total of 359 medical device reports (MDRs) of BIA-ALCL, including 9 deaths. Of the 231 reports that included information on the implant surface, 203 concerned textured implants and 28, smooth implants.

Of the 312 reports that included information on implant fill types, 186 described implants filled with silicone gel and 126, implants filled with saline.

“It is important to note that details on breast implant surface and fill type are limited. While the MDR system is a valuable source of information, it may contain incomplete, inaccurate, untimely, unverified, or biased data,” the FDA says.

 During the last 6 years, a “significant body” of literature has been published on BIA-ALCL, including additional case histories and comprehensive reviews of the natural history and long-term outcomes of the disease, the agency notes.  “All of the information to date suggests that women with breast implants have a very low but increased risk of developing ALCL compared to women who do not have breast implants.”

Most cases of BIA-ALCL are treated by removal of the implant and the capsule surrounding the implant, and some cases have been treated by chemotherapy and radiation. However, because BIA-ALCL has “generally only been identified in patients with late onset of symptoms such as pain, lumps, swelling, or asymmetry, prophylactic breast implant removal in patients without symptoms or other abnormality is not recommended,” the FDA said.

The exact number of cases of BIA-ALCL worldwide is unknown.

The FDA is continuing to collect and evaluate information about BIA-ALCL. For now, the agency recommends that clinicians who have patients with breast implants take the following action:

  • Be aware that most confirmed cases of BIA-ALCL have occurred in women with textured breast implants. Provide the manufacturer’s labeling as well as any other educational materials to your patients before surgery and discuss with them the benefits and risks of the different types of implants.
  • Consider the possibility of BIA-ALCL in a patient with late-onset, persistent peri-implant seroma. In some cases, patients presented with capsular contracture or masses adjacent to the breast implant. A patient with suspected BIA-ALCL should be referred to an appropriate specialist for evaluation. When testing for BIA-ALCL, collect fresh seroma fluid and representative portions of the capsule and send for pathology tests to rule out BIA-ALCL. Diagnostic evaluation should include cytologic evaluation of seroma fluid with Wright-Giemsa–stained smears and cell block immunohistochemistry testing for cluster of differentiation and anaplastic lymphoma kinase markers.
  • Develop an individualized treatment plan in coordination with the patient’s multidisciplinary care team. Consider current clinical practice guidelines, such as those from the Plastic Surgery Foundation  or the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) when choosing your treatment approach.
  • Report all confirmed cases of ALCL in women with breast implants to the FDA’s MedWatch system.

There’s An Invention That Will be the End of All Other Human Inventions


Artificial intelligence is already transforming the way people live their lives. Eventually, AI will become smarter than humans and will be able to innovate better than humans ever could.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is a quickly growing field that excites as many people as it terrifies. The common sci-fi trope where AI tech creates its own AI until it reaches human levels of intelligence and eventually surpasses us is quickly becoming a reality. Many believe that it is really only a matter of time before the AI that we create can create AI more intelligent than us.

According to Dr. Ben Goertzel, a robotics scientist and Chairman of a private AI software company, once this happens, human invention will become obsolete. Once AI devices are able to provide humans with food, water, shelter, and all other basic human needs, there won’t be much else for us to do. He thinks that some who seek higher levels of consciousness may elect to become “super-humans” (a possible theory, given rising interests in biotechnology, but that there will eventually be a tipping point where humans are surpassed by the very technology we created.

Dr. Goertzel was recently was quoted as saying “There’s a lot of work to get to the point where intelligence explodes… But I do think it’s reasonably probable we can get there in my lifetime, which is rather exciting.”

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NASA Confirms: People Are Capable Of Super Human Abilities Using These Ancient Techniques.

From the beginning of time, there have been reported incidents of supernatural abilities like telepathy, psychokinesis, and other phenomena. While most of us probably had assumed this had halted, or possibly never even existed, modern day science says that it did exist and probably still does.

These modern age scientists have actually been researching the relationship between mind and matter for over a century. In this quest, they have discovered that there are observable effects on the physical world that were made inside of the mind.

While these effects aren’t often visible to the naked eye, they can be seen on a much deeper level, otherwise known as the quantum level.

 The quantum double slit experiment is commonly used to illustrate the connection between consciousness and the physical realm. This experiment in particular shows that observation “not only disturbs what has to be measured, they produce it.”

Max Planck, who originated the quantum theory, said to think of consciousness as “fundamental” and matter as “derivative from consciousness.”

 Eugene Wigner, a physicist and mathematician said that “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”

The CIA Document

The document, titled “Chronology of Recent Interest in Exceptional Functions of the Human Body in the People’s Republic of China.” In this document, there is an outline of government interest in supernatural abilities.

In the Stargate program, the US government openly showed an interest in similar abilities.

That program, in particular, lasted over 20 years before the public was told.

Here is a brief outline of the document:

  • In 1979, a major Chinese science journal, Ziran Zachi (Nature Journal), carried a report on “non-visual pattern recognition” in which numerous accounts of exceptional human body function were confirmed. As a result, an unofficial preliminary organization to study this type of thing under the watch of Nature Journal
  • In 1980, the Journal and the Chinese Human Body Science Association held a parapsychology (remote viewing, telepathy, psychokinesis, clairvoyance and more) conference in Shanghai with participants from over 20 research institutes and universities
  • In 1981, over 100 centres to study children with purported exceptional abilities and mental capabilities were formed with the cooperation of more than 100 formally trained scholars
  • In 1982, the Chinese Academy of Sciences sponsored a public hearing in Beijing that more than 4000 scholars attended regarding cases of parapsychological abilities within humans. They called for “fair but strictly controlled” tests to lead to a final judgement
    This part of the document summarizes the various scholars who all agreed that they did not have sufficient evidence conclude what was or was not possible. However, the next part of the document provides truly important information that was disclosed later in the document.

In April of 1982, a joint trial was arranged by the Party’s National Committee of Science at Beijing Teacher’s College. Proponents of both sides attended. The results were mostly negative, with the exception of a few, one of them being Zhang Baosheng

In 1983, “a series of PK experiments with the subject Zhang Baosheng were conducted by 19 researchers led by Prof. Lin Shuhang of the physics department of Beijing Teachers college.”

Zhang Baosheng was able to do interesting things, which is explained further in the article.

What Was He Able to Do?

In one experiment, small pieces of paper were placed inside of a sealed test tube. After waiting five minutes, while scientists observed and taped from different angles, the pieces of paper somehow found their way outside of the tube. The tube was still sealed.
Other objects were used as well, such as paper clips, and live insects, with the same results.

The CIA released more information about Zhang stating:

A wooden cabinet 120 by 180 by 60 centimeters was used as a sealed container. Sheets of papers and boards with one of a kind markings were used as the target objects and placed inside the cabinet on the upper shelf. Without damaging the cabinet or opening the door, the person with ESP was able to remove the target objects and also was able to put them back inside. This demonstrates that even when using especially large container it is possible to completely break through spacial barriers, however, the success rate was much lower and was exceptionally difficult.

Zhang Wasn’t the Only One

Eric Davis, Ph.D, FBIS said in a declassified US Air Force document obtained the Federation of American Scientists, Shuhuang stated that ‘gifted children’ are the ones responsible for the teleportation of random, small, and physical objects. In the experiments, the children never touches the object beforehand.

Dr. Dean Radin, a Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, conducted an experiment that involved bits of paper being teleported out of a plastic film container. Later, he documented this in a report published in 2010 by Dong Shen. Furthermore, these abilities were taught to other people with a 40% success rate.

Radin states:

“Evaluating the details and credibility of these studies have been difficult because many of the papers appear only in Chinese. The techniques have not yet been reported outside of China, and the experimental methods employed in conducting such tests do not appear to be as rigorously controlled as compared to typical Western methods…”

However, Eric Davis explained it differently,

“The results of the Chinese Teleportation experiments can simply be explained as a human consciousness phenomenon that somehow acts to move or rotate test specimens through a 4th spacial dimension, so that specimens are able to penetrate the solid walls/barriers of their containers without physically breaching them.” – Eric Davis, Ph.D, FBIS

In a study published by the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, it was demonstrated how a woman with supernatural abilities could accelerate the growth of seeds.

In the study, it says:

“Chulin Sun is a woman with exceptional powers (Shen and Sun, 1996, 1998; Sun, 1998). A member of the Chinese Somatic Science Research Institute, she is a practitioner of Waiqi. Waiqi is a type of qigong that teaches the practitioner to bring the qi energy of traditional Chinese medicine under the control of the mind. Chulin Sun can induce plant seeds to grow shoots and roots several cm long within 20 min using mentally projected qi energy (Fig. 1). This has been demonstrated on more than 180 different occasions at universities as well as science and research institutions in China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong) as well as other countries (e.g., Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, etc.) (Ge et al., 1998; Qin et al., 1998; Lee et al., 1999). We took part in and repeated the qi germination experiments seven times, and five of them succeeded (Ge et al., 1998). This remarkable effect on seed development has drawn widespread attention (Tompkins and Bird, 1973; Lee, 1998), but the biological mechanisms that underlie this phenomenon are unknown.”

During a trance-like state, Sun uses her mind to speed up the process required for dry seeds to sprout from 3-4 days to 20 minutes! Not only is this remarkable in regards to what is possible for the mind to achieve, but think of all that could be done by harnessing powers such as this?

According to so many studies and reports, it is a proven fact that people with phenomenal abilities do indeed exist. Not only do they exist, but the CIA has studied their abilities and conducted quite a bit of research on the subject. Sadly, while people with super human abilities walk among us, the world of mainstream science has refused to do their own research on the subject.

World of Secrecy

In the U.S, a program referred to as the Stargate Program was used in a similar manner. However, as a “Special Access Black Budget Program” (SAP) the information found in this program remains a secret to the rest of the known world.

Aside from being called SAPs, they are also referred to as ‘deep black programs.’ One 1997 US senate report stated that they are “so sensitive that they are exempt from standard reporting requirements to the Congress.”

There is also quite a bit of evidence that suggests that these programs are using trillions of unaccounted-for dollars. According to a statement made in 2008 by Canada’s former Minister of National Defence, Paul Hellyer,

“It is ironic that the U.S. would begin a devastating war, allegedly in search of weapons of mass destruction when the most worrisome developments in this field are occurring in your own backyard. It is ironic that the U.S. should be fighting monstrously expensive wars allegedly to bring democracy to those countries, when it itself can no longer claim to be called a democracy when trillions, and I mean thousands of billions of dollars have been spent on projects which both congress and the commander in chief know nothing about.”

So, while trillions of dollars of unaccounted for funds are used in secret programs by the CIA, our society remains blind about the true powers of the human mind. What exact interest does the CIA have in hiding information like this from the general public? While it would seem that they are possibly only protecting their research subjects, it also begs the question of whether or not our government would prefer to keep us blinded from the possibility of our own inner power. That would be of prime interest to any entity that wishes to remain in an authoritative position, as their power would be diminished if we discovered a power of our own.

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Source:Collective Evolutions

This New Molecule Can Collect Solar Energy Without Solar Panels.

A big step towards a carbon-neutral future.

 The discussion on climate has persisted for decades since we first discovered that there is a human-made influence on the environment. From then, many researchers have come together to finagle innovations that reduce our industrial carbon footprint.

One such innovation is the molecular leaf.

 Liang-shi Li at Indiana University and an international team of scientists discovered this novel way to recycle carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere.

With the use of light or electricity, the molecule built by the team can convert the notorious greenhouse gas into carbon monoxide. The molecular leaf is the most efficient method of carbon reduction to date.

The carbon monoxide generated by this molecule could be reused as fuel. Burning carbon monoxide releases an abundance of energy as well as carbon dioxide.

Because converting carbon dioxide back into carbon monoxide requires as much energy as is released by burning carbon monoxide, this potential cycle has been largely one way, leading to a build-up of carbon dioxide.


The team’s work could lead to reducing this carbon dioxide build-up by making the conversion cycle more efficient and by harnessing solar power.

 The molecule’s nanographene structure has a dark colour that absorbs large amounts of sunlight. The energy from the sunlight is then utilised by the molecule’s rhenium ‘engine’ to produce carbon monoxide from carbon dioxide.

The molecular leaf would help us tackle the greenhouse gas effects of carbon dioxide. Since the industrial revolution, we have raised the levels of carbon dioxide from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million in the last 150 years.

Scientists agree that there is a 95 percent probability that human-produced greenhouse gases have increased the Earth’s temperature over the past 50 years.

 While Li is glad that his innovation is efficient at tackling greenhouse gases, he hopes to improve the molecular leaf by producing one that can survive in a non-liquid form.

The team is also looking for ways to replace the rhenium element with manganese, which is far more common and therefore much more affordable for reproduction.

But even without these improvements, the molecular leaf could be a powerful tool in the efforts to halt climate change.

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Google Maps will soon let you share your real-time location – here’s how it works.

Google Maps

If you’re the type of person who texts your friends “I just left, I’ll be there soon” when you’re really about to step into the shower, you’re not going to like this news: Google is updating its popular Maps app  with new features let friends view each other’s location in real-time.

The location-sharing feature only works if you decide to share your current location with a specific person, and you can limit how long a friend sees your location. Ideally, this will provide Google Maps users with a handy way to let their friends know how close, or far away, they are from a rendez-vous – and just how late they really will be.

Google said the update is coming “soon,” though it did provide an exact release date.

While you wait for the update, here’s a look at how it works:

The new feature looks simple enough to use, requiring only that you tap the blue dot that indicates your location and then select “share my location.”

You can share your location with anyone in your Google Contacts list, regardless of whether they are on iOS, Android or on a computer. You will also have the option to bypass Google Contacts and copy a link to send to any recipient.

You will be able to set a time limit on how long you are sharing your location, and the app will notify you that your location is being shared whenever you are in it, so that you don’t inadvertently forget.

And if you’re using Google Maps for driving directions, the update will allow you to share your location and route with whoever you want, providing them with an up-to-date ETA.

These features come on the heels of a Maps update that makes sure you never forget where you parked your car again. Interestingly enough, Google envisions these updates being most useful when planning a surprise birthday party.

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Old blood can be made young again and it might fight ageing.

A protein can boost blood stem cells, making them behave like those of younger people. Is it the key to harnessing young blood’s rejuvenating power?

BLOOD from the young seems to have healing powers, but how can we harness them without relying on donors? The discovery of a protein that keeps blood stem cells youthful might help.The rejuvenating properties of young blood came to light in macabre experiments that stitched young and old mice together to share a circulatory system. The health of the older mice improved, while that of the younger ones deteriorated. Other animal studies have since shown that injections of young or old blood have similar effects.

This may work in people too. Young blood is being trialled as a treatment for conditions like Alzheimer’s, and aged mice that received injections of blood from human teenagers showed improved cognition, memory and physical activity levels.

“We think the drug will improve signs of ageing and boost the immune systems of older people”

But these studies rely on young people donating their blood: if this became the go-to therapy for age-related disease it would be difficult to get enough donations to fulfil demand.

The stem cells in our blood could provide an alternative approach. Our red and white blood cells are made by stem cells that themselves come from “mother” stem cells in bone marrow. But as we age, the number of these mother stem cells declines. One of the world’s longest-lived women seemed to only have two left in her blood when she died at age 115.

The decline in mother stem cells causes people to have fewer red blood cells, and white blood cells called B and T lymphocytes. These declines can cause anaemia and weaken the immune system. “Usually the immune system in the elderly is not prepared to fight infections very hard,” says Hartmut Geiger at the University of Ulm in Germany.

When Geiger’s team examined the bone marrow in mice, they found that older animals have much lower levels of a protein called osteopontin. To see if this protein has an effect on blood stem cells, the team injected stem cells into mice that lacked osteopontin and found that the cells rapidly aged.

But when older stem cells were mixed in a dish with osteopontin and a protein that activates it, they began to produce white blood cells just as young stem cells do. This suggests osteopontin makes stem cells behave more youthfully (EMBO Journal, “If we can translate this into a treatment, we can make old blood young again,” Geiger says.

“It’s exciting,” says Hanadie Yousef at Stanford University in California. But longer term studies are needed to see whether this approach can rejuvenate the whole blood system, she says.

Until now, most efforts to use blood as a rejuvenation agent have focused on plasma, the liquid component, as some believe it carries dissolved factors that help maintain youth. But Geiger thinks the cells in blood might play a key role, because they are better able to move into the body’s tissues.

Heart health

Both soluble factors and blood cells are likely to be important, says Yousef. While injections of young plasma rejuvenate older animals, the treatment doesn’t have as strong an effect as when young and old animals share a circulatory system, she says.

Geiger’s team is developing a drug containing osteopontin and the activating protein to encourage blood stem cells to behave more youthfully. “It should boost the immune system of elderly people,” he says.

Such a drug might have benefits beyond fighting infection and alleviating anaemia. The team also think the protein will boost levels of mother stem cells. Having only a small number of such cells has been linked to heart disease, so Geiger says there is a chance that boosting them may help prevent this.

Osteopontin might also be useful for treating age-linked blood disorders, such as myelodysplasias that involve dysfunctional cells, says Martin Pera of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. “It is possible that rejuvenating bone marrow stem cells could help with these conditions,” he says.

“This study provides more evidence that cells can be rejuvenated,” says Ioakim Spyridopoulos at Newcastle University, UK. “They have made old blood look young again, although whether it acts young or not will have to be shown in clinical trials.”

The Coming Amnesia

In a talk delivered in Amsterdam a few years ago, science fiction writer Alastair Reynolds outlined an unnerving future scenario for the universe, something he had also recently used as the premise of a short story (collected here).

As the universe expands over hundreds of billions of years, Reynolds explained, there will be a point, in the very far future, at which all galaxies will be so far apart that they will no longer be visible from one another.

Upon reaching that moment, it will no longer be possible to understand the universe’s history—or perhaps even that it had one—as all evidence of a broader cosmos outside of one’s own galaxy will have forever disappeared. Cosmology itself will be impossible.

In such a radically expanded future universe, Reynolds continued, some of the most basic insights offered by today’s astronomy will be unavailable. After all, he points out, “you can’t measure the redshift of galaxies if you can’t see galaxies. And if you can’t see galaxies, how do you even know that the universe is expanding? How would you ever determine that the universe had had an origin?”

There would be no reason to theorize that other galaxies had ever existed in the first place. The universe, in effect, will have disappeared over its own horizon, into a state of irreversible amnesia.

It was an interesting talk that I had the pleasure to catch in person, and, for those interested, it includes Reynolds’s explanation of how he shaped this idea into a short story.

More to the point, however, Reynolds was originally inspired by an article published in Scientific American back in 2008 called “The End of Cosmology?” by Lawrence M. Krauss and Robert J. Scherrer.

That article’s sub-head suggests what’s at stake: “An accelerating universe,” we read, “wipes out traces of its own origins.”

As Krauss and Scherrer point out in their provocative essay, “We may be living in the only epoch in the history of the universe when scientists can achieve an accurate understanding of the true nature of the universe.”

“What will the scientists of the future see as they peer into the skies 100 billion years from now?” they ask. “Without telescopes, they will see pretty much what we see today: the stars of our galaxy… The big difference will occur when these future scientists build telescopes capable of detecting galaxies outside our own. They won’t see any! The nearby galaxies will have merged with the Milky Way to form one large galaxy, and essentially all the other galaxies will be long gone, having escaped beyond the event horizon.”

This won’t only mean fewer luminous objects to see in space; it will mean that, “as a result, Hubble’s crucial discovery of the expanding universe will become irreproducible.”

The authors go on to explain that even the chemical composition of this future universe will no longer allow for its history to be deduced, including the Big Bang.

“Astronomers and physicists who develop an understanding of nuclear physics,” they write, “will correctly conclude that stars burn nuclear fuel. If they then conclude (incorrectly) that all the helium they observe was produced in earlier generations of stars, they will be able to place an upper limit on the age of the universe. These scientists will thus correctly infer that their galactic universe is not eternal but has a finite age. Yet the origin of the matter they observe will remain shrouded in mystery.”

In other words, essentially no observational tool available to future astronomers will lead to an accurate understanding of the universe’s origins. The authors call this an “apocalypse of knowledge.”

[Image: “The Christianized constellation St. Sylvester (a.k.a. Bootes), from the 1627 edition of Schiller’s Coelum Stellatum Christianum.” 

There are many interesting things here, including the somewhat existentially horrifying possibility that any intelligent creatures alive in that distant era will have no way to know what is happening to them, where things came from, even where they currently are (an empty space? a dream?), or why.

Informed cosmology will, by necessity, be replaced with religious speculation—with myths, poetry, and folklore.

It is worth asking, however briefly and with multiple grains of salt, if something similar has perhaps already occurred in the universe we think we know today—if something has not already disappeared beyond the horizon of cosmic amnesia—making even our most well-structured, observation-based theories obsolete. For example, could even the widely accepted conclusion that there was a Big Bang be just an ironic side-effect of having lost some other form of cosmic evidence that long ago slipped eternally away from view?

Remember that these future astronomers will not know anything is missing. They will merrily forge ahead with their own complicated, internally convincing new theories and tests. It is not out of the question, then, to ask if we might be in a similarly ignorant situation.

In any case, what kinds of future devices and instruments might be invented to measure or explore a cosmic scenario such as this? What explanations and narratives would such devices be trying to prove?

[Image: “Woodcut illustration depicting the 7th day of Creation, from a page of the 1493 Latin edition of Schedel’s Nuremberg Chronicle. Note the Aristotelian cosmological system that was used in the Middle Ages, below, with God and His retinue of angels looking down on His creation from above.” Image (and caption) from Star Maps: History, Artistry, and Cartography

Science writer Sarah Scoles looked at this same dilemma last year for PBS, interviewing astronomer Avi Loeb.

Scoles was able to find a small glimmer of light in this infinite future darkness, however: Loeb believes that there might actually be a way out of this universal amnesia.

“The center of our galaxy keeps ejecting stars at high enough speeds that they can exit the galaxy,” Loeb says. The intense and dynamic gravity near the black hole ejects them into space, where they will glide away forever like radiating rocket ships. The same thing should happen a trillion years from now.

“These stars that leave the galaxy will be carried away by the same cosmic acceleration,” Loeb says. Future astronomers can monitor them as they depart. They will see stars leave, become alone in extragalactic space, and begin rushing faster and faster toward nothingness. It would look like magic. But if those future people dig into that strangeness, they will catch a glimpse of the true nature of the universe.

There might yet be hope for cosmological discovery, in the other words, encoded in the trajectories of these bizarre, fleeing stars.

[Images: (top) “An illustration of the Aristotelian/Ptolemaic cosmological system that was used in the Middle Ages, from the 1579 edition of Piccolomini’s De la Sfera del Mondo.” (bottom) “An illustration (influenced by Peurbach’s Theoricae Planetarum Novae) explaining the retrograde motion of an outer planet in the sky, from the 1647 Leiden edition of Sacrobosco’s De Sphaera.” Images and captions from Star Maps: History, Artistry, and Cartography 

There are at least two reasons why I have been thinking about this today. One was the publication of an article by Dennis Overbye earlier this week about the rate of the universe’s expansion.

“There is a crisis brewing in the cosmos,” Overbye writes, “or perhaps in the community of cosmologists. The universe seems to be expanding too fast, some astronomers say.”

Indeed, the universe might be more “virulent and controversial” than currently believed, he explains, caught-up in the long process of simply tearing itself apart.

One implication of this finding, Overbye adds, “is that the most popular version of dark energy—known as the cosmological constant, invented by Einstein 100 years ago and then rejected as a blunder—might have to be replaced in the cosmological model by a more virulent and controversial form known as phantom energy, which could cause the universe to eventually expand so fast that even atoms would be torn apart in a Big Rip billions of years from now.”

In the process, perhaps the far-future dark ages envisioned by Krauss and Scherrer will thus arrive a billion or two years earlier than expected.

The second thing that made me think of this, however, was a short essay called “Dante in Orbit,” originally published in 1963, that a friend sent to me last night. It is about stars, constellations, and the possibility of determining astronomical time in The Divine Comedy.

In that paper, Frederick A. Stebbins writes that Dante “seems far removed from the space age; yet we find him concerned with problems of astronomy that had no practical importance until man went into orbit. He had occasion to deal with local time, elapsed time, and the International Date Line. His solutions appear to be correct.”

Stebbins goes on to describe “numerous astronomical references in [Dante’s] chief work, The Divine Comedy”—albeit doing so in a way that remains unconvincing. He suggests, for example, that Dante’s descriptions of constellations, sunrises, full moons, and more will allow an astute reader to measure exactly how much time was meant to have passed in his mythic story, and even that Dante himself had somehow been aware of differential, or relativistic, time differences between far-flung locations. (Recall, on the other hand, that Dante’s work has been discussed elsewhere for its possible insights into physics.)

But what’s interesting about this is not whether or not Stebbins was correct in his conclusions. What’s interesting is the very idea that a medieval cosmology might have been soft-wired, so to speak, into Dante’s poetic universe and that the stars and constellations he referred to would have had clear narrative significance for contemporary readers. It was part of their era’s shared understanding of how the world was structured.

Now, though, imagine some new Dante of a hundred billion years from now—some new Divine Comedy published in a trillion years—and how it might come to grips with the universal isolation and darkness of Krauss and Scherrer. What cycles of time might be perceived in the lonely, shining bulk of the Milky Way, a dying glow with no neighbor; what shared folklore about the growing darkness might be communicated to readers who don’t know, who cannot know, how incorrect their model of the cosmos truly is?

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