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Dec 12, 2023

Commercial Space Stations on Track: NASA’s Partners Reach Key Milestones

Posted by in category: space travel

“We are ending the year on a high note with multiple important milestones being completed by our partners,” said Angela Hart. “Over the past few months, we have been able to dig into the details of the specific hardware and processes of these stations and are moving forward to multiple comprehensive design reviews next year.”

NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) has been a become of scientific value and hope since its first module was launched in 1998, having since expanded into a football-sized behemoth large enough to be observed in detail from Earth. However, all good things come to an end, as the ISS is scheduled for “retirement” in 2031 by being steered into the Earth’s atmosphere where it will crash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, it’s only natural to think about life after the ISS, which is why NASA has recently taken steps to develop future commercial space stations from Axiom Space, Blue Origin, and Nanoracks, with the goal of the United States working to maintain a constant human presence in low Earth orbit (LEO) long after the ISS has retired.

Axiom Space, which has already launched two privately funded missions to the ISS (Ax-1 and Ax-2) with two more being planned for 2024 (Ax-3 and Ax-4), is working hard with NASA to develop its Axiom Station with the first module, Axiom Hab One, currently scheduled to be launched and attached to the ISS sometime in 2026. During its time there, Hab One will undergo significant tests and evaluations pertaining to ensure they can hold seals and function in the vacuum of space.

Continue reading “Commercial Space Stations on Track: NASA’s Partners Reach Key Milestones” »

Dec 12, 2023

Scientists Reveal a New Way Our DNA Can Make Novel Genes From Scratch

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Scientists have discovered how our DNA can use a genetic fast-forward button to make new genes for quick adaptation to our ever-changing environments.

During an investigation into DNA replication errors, researchers from Finland’s University of Helsinki found that certain single mutations produce palindromes, which read the same backward and forward. Under the right circumstances, these can evolve into microRNA (miRNA) genes.

These tiny, simple genes play a significant role in regulating other genes. Many miRNA genes have been around for a long time in evolutionary history, but scientists discovered that in some animal groups, like primates, brand-new miRNA genes suddenly appear.

Dec 12, 2023

Webb’s Wonders: A New Holiday Image of Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia A

Posted by in category: cosmology

Just in time for the holidays, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) recently used its Near-Infrared (NIRCam) instrument to capture stunning images of the massive supernova remnant, Cassiopeia A (Cas A), comes after JWST used its Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) to capture its own images of Cas A earlier this year. Along with being comprised of different colors, each image provides different details of Cas A, with some features being visible in one image that aren’t visible in the other image. In either case, this most recent NIRCam image continues to offer stunning insights into one of the most well-known supernova remnants that spans 10 light-years in diameter and located approximately 11,000 light-years from Earth.

Recent image of the supernova remnant, Cassiopeia A (Cas A), taken by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, revealing details like never before. (Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, D. Milisavljevic (Purdue University), T. Temim (Princeton University), I. De Looze (University of Gent))

“With NIRCam’s resolution, we can now see how the dying star absolutely shattered when it exploded, leaving filaments akin to tiny shards of glass behind,” said Dr. Danny Milisavljevic, who is an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy ay Purdue University and is the research team lead. “It’s really unbelievable after all these years studying Cas A to now resolve those details, which are providing us with transformational insight into how this star exploded.”

Dec 12, 2023

50K WordPress sites exposed to RCE attacks by critical bug in backup plugin

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, robotics/AI

A critical severity vulnerability in a WordPress plugin with more than 90,000 installs can let attackers gain remote code execution to fully compromise vulnerable websites.

Known as Backup Migration, the plugin helps admins automate site backups to local storage or a Google Drive account.

The security bug (tracked as CVE-2023–6553 and rated with a 9.8÷10 severity score) was discovered by a team of bug hunters known as Nex Team, who reported it to WordPress security firm Wordfence under a recently launched bug bounty program.

Dec 12, 2023

Scientists Identify Interferon-gamma as Potential SARS-CoV-2 Antiviral

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Conditioning the lungs with interferon-gamma, a natural immune system protein (cytokine) best known for fighting bacterial infections, appears to be a strong antiviral for SARS-CoV-2, according to National Institutes of Health scientists and colleagues. Their new study, published in Nature Communications, shows in two different mouse models that when a bacterial infection triggers the release of interferon-gamma in the lungs, those animals subsequently are protected from infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The investigators further report that using recombinant interferon-gamma in the nose of study mice at the time of viral exposure substantially reduces SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID disease.

The lead project scientists suggest testing interferon-gamma further, alone and in combination with other treatments, to limit early SARS-CoV-2 infection in people. They also hypothesize that people with prior bacterial infections that naturally release interferon-gamma in their lungs may be less susceptible to COVID-19.

NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) led the project with collaborators at Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in New Zealand.

Dec 12, 2023

Microsoft Training AI to Do Paperwork to Build Nuclear Power Plants

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, robotics/AI

Microsoft is looking to accelerate the regulatory approval process for setting up new nuclear power plants using AI.

Dec 12, 2023

New brain-computer interface allows people to play a game using their thoughts

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, cyborgs, neuroscience

😀 Amazing breakthrough face_with_colon_three

A group of Spanish researchers have developed a brain-computer interface based on electroencephalograms that allowed a group of 22 users to play a simple multiplayer game. The interface was 94% accurate in translating players’ thoughts into game moves, with each move taking just over 5 seconds. The study was published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

A brain-computer interface is a technology that enables direct communication between the human brain and external devices, such as computers or prosthetic limbs. Brain-computer interfaces work by detecting and interpreting neural signals, typically through electrodes placed on the user’s head. These signals are then translated into actionable commands, allowing individuals to control computers, devices, or applications using their thoughts.

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Dec 12, 2023

Combining brain-computer interfaces and multiplayer video games: an application based on c-VEPs

Posted by in categories: computing, entertainment, neuroscience

Introduction and objective: Video games are crucial to the entertainment industry, nonetheless they can be challenging to access for those with severe motor disabilities. Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) systems have the potential to help these individuals by allowing them to control video games using their brain signals. Furthermore, multiplayer BCI-based video games may provide valuable insights into how competitiveness or motivation affects the control of these interfaces. Despite the recent advancement in the development of code-modulated visual evoked potentials (c-VEPs) as control signals for high-performance BCIs, to the best of our knowledge, no studies have been conducted to develop a BCI-driven video game utilizing c-VEPs. However, c-VEPs could enhance user experience as an alternative method. Thus, the main goal of this work was to design, develop, and evaluate a version of the well-known ‘Connect 4’ video game using a c-VEP-based BCI, allowing 2 users to compete by aligning 4 same-colored coins vertically, horizontally or diagonally.

Methods: The proposed application consists of a multiplayer video game controlled by a real-time BCI system processing 2 electroencephalograms (EEGs) sequentially. To detect user intention, columns in which the coin can be placed was encoded with shifted versions of a pseudorandom binary code, following a traditional circular shifting c-VEP paradigm. To analyze the usability of our application, the experimental protocol comprised an evaluation session by 22 healthy users. Firstly, each user had to perform individual tasks. Afterward, users were matched and the application was used in competitive mode. This was done to assess the accuracy and speed of selection. On the other hand, qualitative data on satisfaction and usability were collected through questionnaires.

Results: The average accuracy achieved was 93.74% ± 1.71%, using 5.25 seconds per selection. The questionnaires showed that users felt a minimal workload. Likewise, high satisfaction values were obtained, highlighting that the application was intuitive and responds quickly and smoothly.

Dec 12, 2023

Inside the decades-long fight over Yahoo’s misdeeds in China

Posted by in category: futurism

The Yahoo Human Rights Fund was intended to support imprisoned Chinese dissidents. Instead, a lawsuit alleges that only a small fraction of the money went to help former prisoners.

Dec 12, 2023

Mind-reading AI technology turns thoughts into text

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Researchers use an electroencephalography (EEG) cap, which helps read the activity inside our brains.

Researchers have developed a portable, non-invasive system that can decode silent thoughts and turn them into text.

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