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Archive for the ‘food’ category: Page 186

Dec 26, 2015

Water bears turn into glass when they dry out

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, space

Tardigrades — known affectionately as water bears or moss piglets — have pretty much got it all. These microscopic invertebrates are capable of surviving the most extreme conditions you could dream up, including prolonged desiccation and near-100 percent water loss, freezing and boiling temperatures, intense ionising radiation, and the vacuum of outer space.

Scientists have discovered that to survive extreme desiccation, tardigardes produce a special type of ‘bioglass’ to hold essential proteins and molecules together until they’re rehydrated back to life. Now they’re figuring out how to use this mechanism to develop drought-resistant crops and longer-lasting vaccines.

Back in September, researchers from the University of Chicago announced that they’d discovered a new type of glass — one produced internally by the tardigrade during desiccation. While they’re yet to figure out exactly how the glass is formed, they concluded that it’s produced as a protective mechanism to ensure that tardigrades can survive losing pretty much all of the water in their cells.

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Dec 21, 2015

Is this the restaurant of the future? No host, no waiters or even tables

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI

When you walk into Eatsa, a new restaurant at the Village at Westfield Topanga, there is no host, no waiters or even tables. The restaurant is an empty space lined with iPads on one wall, interactive clear cubbies (glass doors) on another, and a wall outfitted with motion sensors that dispense cutlery.

This is fast food the Eatsa way. The restaurant, which has a location in San Francisco, is completely automated — minus the food preparation.

“There are three people in the back that make everything from scratch,” said Travis Jones, who is head of the culinary operations at both Eatsa locations. “We believe in blending technology and proper culinary skills, and it’s a blend that makes the whole process work.”

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Dec 21, 2015

Not Just A Pretty Face: Popular Skincare Ingredient May Boost Longevity

Posted by in categories: food, life extension

Isolated from the Comfrey plant, Allantoin is a popular ingredient in many skincare regimens. According to new research it may increase longevity by mimicking the benefits of calorie restriction.

Calorie restriction is a subject of debate within the longevity community, and on animal models success is variable. However, it remains one of the most proven ways of extending lifespan in many species, and molecules that mimic the effect at the molecular level have also been associated with protective effects — up-regulating repair and stress response mechanisms. One such molecule is resveratrol, which is responsible for the relatively recent red wine hype.

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Dec 17, 2015

Ethics on the near-future battlefield

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, cyborgs, ethics, food, genetics, military, neuroscience, robotics/AI

US army’s report visualises augmented soldiers & killer robots.


The US Army’s recent report “Visualizing the Tactical Ground Battlefield in the Year 2050” describes a number of future war scenarios that raise vexing ethical dilemmas. Among the many tactical developments envisioned by the authors, a group of experts brought together by the US Army Research laboratory, three stand out as both plausible and fraught with moral challenges: augmented humans, directed-energy weapons, and autonomous killer robots. The first two technologies affect humans directly, and therefore present both military and medical ethical challenges. The third development, robots, would replace humans, and thus poses hard questions about implementing the law of war without any attending sense of justice.

Augmented humans. Drugs, brain-machine interfaces, neural prostheses, and genetic engineering are all technologies that may be used in the next few decades to enhance the fighting capability of soldiers, keep them alert, help them survive longer on less food, alleviate pain, and sharpen and strengthen their cognitive and physical capabilities. All raise serious ethical and bioethical difficulties.

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Dec 12, 2015

With This Greenhouse It Is Now Possible To Grow Crops In The Desert

Posted by in category: food

A non-profit organization called “Roots Up” has designed a greenhouse that collects moisture from the air, which then is used to water the plants.

This new design can help farmers in areas where the lack of proper temperature and rainfall make it difficult to grow crops.

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Dec 11, 2015

Farma bioreactor could let owners brew drugs at home

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

MIT Media Lab graduate Will Patrick has designed a prototype desktop bioreactor that could enable the production of pharmaceutical drugs at home.

The cylinder-shaped Farma kitchen appliance could be used to grow, measure, filter and dry synthetically designed microbes.

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Dec 1, 2015

Gene Editing: What Is It Good For?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

The explosion of gene-editing methods is transforming medicine, agriculture, and possibly the future of the human species.

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Nov 29, 2015

Price of Lab-Grown Burger Falls from $325K to $11.36

Posted by in category: food

Artificial meat will be on our plates sooner than we may realize.

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Nov 25, 2015

The tardigrade genome has been sequenced, and it has the most foreign DNA of any animal

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, life extension, space

Scientists have sequenced the entire genome of the tardigrade, AKA the water bear, for the first time. And it turns out that this weird little creature has the most foreign genes of any animal studied so far – or to put it another way, roughly one-sixth of the tardigrade’s genome was stolen from other species. We have to admit, we’re kinda not surprised.

A little background here for those who aren’t familiar with the strangeness that is the tardigrade – the microscopic water creature grows to just over 1 mm on average, and is the only animal that can survive in the harsh environment of space. It can also withstand temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, can cope with ridiculous amounts of pressure and radiation, and can live for more than 10 years without food or water. Basically, it’s nearly impossible to kill, and now scientists have shown that its DNA is just as bizarre as it is.

So what’s foreign DNA and why does it matter that tardigrades have so much of it? The term refers to genes that have come from another organism via a process known as horizontal gene transfer, as opposed to being passed down through traditional reproduction.

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Nov 24, 2015

Ray Kurzweil: This is your future

Posted by in categories: food, Ray Kurzweil, solar power, sustainability

By 2030 solar energy will have the capacity to meet all of our energy needs. The production of food and clean water will also be revolutionized.

Kurzweil believes solar energy could satisfy 100% our power needs. — CNN

If we could capture one part in ten thousand of the sunlight that falls on the Earth we could meet 100% of our energy needs, using this renewable and environmentally friendly source.

As we apply new molecular scale technologies to solar panels, the cost per watt is coming down rapidly. Already Deutsche Bank, in a recent report, wrote “The cost of unsubsidized solar power is about the same as the cost of electricity from the grid in India and Italy. By 2014 even more countries will achieve solar ‘grid parity.’”

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