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Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category: Page 6

Apr 23, 2019

Canadian researchers warn of ‘cascading impacts’ as bumblebee species decline

Posted by in categories: existential risks, food

A team of researchers at York University has warned that the American bumblebee is facing imminent extinction from Canada, and this could lead to “cascading impacts” throughout the country.

The imminent extinction classification is considered the highest and most at-risk classification before extinction.

About 42 of the more than 850 species of bees in Canada are bumblebees — important pollinators needed to grow crops, including apples, tomatoes, blueberries and legumes, as well as trees, shrubs and wildflowers.

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Apr 17, 2019

An Interstellar Rock Like ‘Oumuamua May Have Hit Earth In 2014

Posted by in categories: alien life, asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Unusual Trajectory

The new research hasn’t yet been published, but it’s available on the preprint server ArXiv as of Monday. In it, Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb — the same dude who doubled down on the idea that ‘Oumuamua could be an alien spacecraft — suggests that a three-foot-wide interstellar meteor flew over Papa New Guinea’s Manus Island before crashing down.

Because of the meteor’s high speed and particular trajectory past Earth, Loeb and his student Amir Suraj suggest that it couldn’t have been bound in an orbit about the Sun. Rather, they argue, it might have come from somewhere beyond our solar system.

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Apr 3, 2019

New Fossils Might Capture the Moment of Mass Extinction That Wiped Out the Dinosaurs

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Fossils uncovered in North Dakota appear to preserve the catastrophic fallout of the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs–but experts remain cautious.

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Mar 28, 2019

The Worst Disease Ever Recorded

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks

A doomsday fungus known as Bd has condemned more species to extinction than any other pathogen.

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Mar 28, 2019

3 Reasons Why “Ending Suffering” Should Be the #1 Transhumanist Priority – Article

Posted by in categories: existential risks, geopolitics, life extension, neuroscience, transhumanism

BY HANK PELLISSIER


Hank Pellissier

Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party features this proposal by our member Hank Pellissier for a new website called Paradise2040, which will focus on the abolition of involuntary suffering and incremental ways of getting there within the next 21 years. This is an endeavor supported by Article IV of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0. It is also a current within transhumanist thinking that, as Mr. Pellissier points out, could bring additional support to the movement. Different transhumanists will have different views as to what the most important aims of transhumanism should be. As an organization that embraces pluralism and diversity of thought, the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party would encourage any of our members who agree with the direction Mr. Pellissier proposes to collaborate with him on the creation of the Paradise2040 website.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party, March 25, 2019

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Mar 20, 2019

Local extinction of Southern California mountain lions possible within 50 years

Posted by in categories: existential risks, genetics

Two isolated mountain lion populations in southern California’s Santa Ana and Santa Monica Mountains are at risk of local extinction, perhaps as soon as within 50 years, according to a study published in the journal Ecological Applications.

The study showed the extinction risk is due to low genetic diversity and mortality that affects the stability of the population. Mountain mortality is often caused by humans, but can also result from changes in the environment, such as wildfire and fluctuations in prey density.

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Mar 19, 2019

The implausibility of intelligence explosion

Posted by in categories: business, climatology, existential risks, robotics/AI, sustainability

In 1965, I. J. Good described for the first time the notion of “intelligence explosion”, as it relates to artificial intelligence (AI):

Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an “intelligence explosion,” and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.

Decades later, the concept of an “intelligence explosion” — leading to the sudden rise of “superintelligence” and the accidental end of the human race — has taken hold in the AI community. Famous business leaders are casting it as a major risk, greater than nuclear war or climate change. Average graduate students in machine learning are endorsing it. In a 2015 email survey targeting AI researchers, 29% of respondents answered that intelligence explosion was “likely” or “highly likely”. A further 21% considered it a serious possibility.

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Mar 19, 2019

5 Killer Events From Space That Could Wipe Out Human Life On Earth

Posted by in categories: alien life, existential risks

Wiping out all life on Earth is hard, but causing mass extinctions is easy. Five major extinction events have occurred since the Cambrian explosion, each eradicating over 60% of terrestrial species. At least five extraterrestrial scenarios are capable of wiping humanity out.


Even if we don’t destroy ourselves, we always have the Universe to contend with.

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Mar 17, 2019

NASA Asteroid WARNING: Giant Asteroid Headed For Earth This Weekend At 29,000MPH

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

The asteroid, dubbed by NASA Asteroid 2019 CB2, is barreling towards a so-called “Earth Close Approach”. NASA’s scientists have pinpointed the asteroid’s passage down to 1.20am GMT (UTC) on Sunday, February 10. The incredible flyby comes just five days after NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) first observed the rock on February 2. As it zips by, Asteroid CB2 will breach speeds of nearly 29,125mph or 13.02km per second.

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Mar 17, 2019

Pentagon Wants to Test A Space-Based Weapon in 2023

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military, particle physics, satellites

Defense officials have asked for $304 million to fund research into space-based lasers, particle beams, and other new forms of missile defense next year.

Defense officials want to test a neutral particle-beam in orbit in fiscal 2023 as part of a ramped-up effort to explore various types of space-based weaponry. They’ve asked for $304 million in the 2020 budget to develop such beams, more powerful lasers, and other new tech for next-generation missile defense. Such weapons are needed, they say, to counter new missiles from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. But just figuring out what might work is a difficult technical challenge.

So the Pentagon is undertaking two studies. The first is a $15 million exploration of whether satellites outfitted with lasers might be able to disable enemy missiles coming off the launch pad. Defense officials have said previously that these lasers would need to be in the megawatt class. They expect to finish the study within six months.

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