Archive for the ‘biological’ category

Jul 9, 2024

Predicted Weakening of Ocean’s Overturning Circulation

Posted by in categories: biological, climatology, sustainability

“My work shows that we need to look more carefully at how ocean biology can affect the climate,” said Dr. Jonathan Lauderdale.

How will climate change influence the ocean’s circulation in the future? This is what a recent study published in Nature Communications hopes to address as a researcher from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) investigated how could hinder the ocean’s mechanisms of transferring carbon between the ocean floor and the planet’s atmosphere. This study holds the potential to help researchers, climate scientists, and the public better understand the long-term impacts of climate change and what steps that can be taken to mitigate them.

For the study, Dr. Jonathan Lauderdale, who is a Research Scientist in the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate (PAOC) at MIT used models to challenge previous studies pertaining to the transfer of nutrients, specifically carbon, between the ocean floor and the Earth’s atmosphere, with an emphasis on a specific class of molecules called “ligands”. These previous studies dating back 40 years have hypothesized that weaker ocean circulation results in reduced levels of carbon dioxide being transferred to the atmosphere.

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Jul 8, 2024

Ex-Meta scientists debut gigantic AI protein design model

Posted by in categories: biological, robotics/AI

“We want to build tools that can make biology programmable,” says Alex Rives, the company’s chief scientist, who was part of Meta’s efforts to apply AI to biological data.

EvolutionaryScale’s AI tool, called ESM3, is what’s known as a protein language model. It was trained on more than 2.7 billion protein sequences and structures, as well as information about these proteins’ functions. The model can be used to create proteins to specifications provided by users, akin to the text spit out by chatbots such as ChatGPT.

“It’s going to be one of the AI models in biology that everybody’s paying attention to,” says Anthony Gitter, a computational biologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Jul 7, 2024

Researchers explain the imaging mechanisms of atomic force microscopy in 3D

Posted by in categories: biological, nanotechnology, transportation

Researchers at Nano Life Science Institute (WPI-NanoLSI), Kanazawa University report the 3D imaging of a suspended nanostructure. The technique used is an extension of atomic force microscopy and is a promising approach for visualizing various 3D biological systems.

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was originally invented for visualizing surfaces with nanoscale resolution. Its basic working principle is to move an ultrathin tip over a sample’s surface. During this xy-scanning motion, the tip’s position in the direction perpendicular to the xy-plane follows the sample’s height profile, resulting in a height map of the surface.

In recent years, ways to extend the method to 3D imaging have been explored, with researchers from Nano Life Science Institute (WPI-NanoLSI), Kanazawa University reporting pioneering experiments on living cells. However, for 3D-AFM to evolve into a widely applicable technique for visualizing flexible molecular structures, a thorough understanding of the imaging mechanisms at play is necessary.

Jul 7, 2024

Even short trips to space can change an astronaut’s biology − a new set of studies offers the most comprehensive look at spaceflight health since NASA’s Twins Study

Posted by in categories: biological, health, space

Editor’s note: Video above is about a NASA astronaut discussing an extended stay in space.

(THE CONVERSATION) – Only about 600 people have ever traveled to space. The vast majority of astronauts over the past six decades have been middle-aged men on short-duration missions of fewer than 20 days.

Today, with private, commercial and multinational spaceflight providers and flyers entering the market, we are witnessing a new era of human spaceflight. Missions have ranged from minutes, hours and days to months.

Jul 7, 2024

Meet the presidential hopeful who wants to end death

Posted by in categories: biological, geopolitics, life extension, robotics/AI, transhumanism

A new feature story out on book Transhuman Citizen:

A former presidential candidate who believes a dramatic increase in science funding can help humans achieve biological immortality has told Newsweek he is considering a third White House run in 2028.

Zoltan Istvan ran as an independent candidate during the 2016 presidential election when he attracted widespread media attention for driving a bus modified to look like a coffin from San Francisco to Washington D.C., to illustrate his believe that death can be overcome.

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Jul 5, 2024

NASA seeks industry support in GLIMR concept study

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, economics, engineering, space, sustainability

WASHINGTON — The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that the agency is seeking assistance from industry as it begins a study into its Geostationary Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) Access to Space (ATS) approach.

The GLIMR mission aims to provide transformative rapid observations of dynamic coastal zone ecosystems throughout the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and coastal continental U.S. (CONUS). Its goal is to observe and monitor ocean biology, chemistry, and ecology to help protect ecosystem sustainability, improve resource management, and enhance economic activity. This includes identifying and tracking harmful algal blooms and oil spills, while also observing, quantifying, and understanding processes associated with rapid changes in phytoplankton growth.

The GLIMR ATS scope is expected to include several key components and activities: the spacecraft itself, the launch vehicle, the integration and testing of the GLIMR payload with the spacecraft, and the integration of the spacecraft with the launch vehicle and subsequent launch. It will also cover the command uplink from the industry-provided Mission Operations Center (MOC), the downlink of GLIMR engineering and science telemetry to industry-allocated ground stations, and the delivery of error-checked GLIMR data to various mission partners. Additionally, it encompasses all related tasks and support required during the planned GLIMR Mission, such as pre-launch planning, launch support, in-orbit check-out, and operations.

Jul 5, 2024

New Study Reveals Molecular Secret to Lifelong Memories

Posted by in categories: biological, transportation

New research identifies the molecule KIBRA as a critical “glue” in stabilizing long-term memories by maintaining synaptic strength, offering insights into memory persistence despite ongoing cellular changes.

Whether it’s a first-time visit to a zoo or when we learned to ride a bicycle, we have memories from our childhoods kept well into adult years. But what explains how these memories last nearly an entire lifetime?

A new study in the journal Science Advances, conducted by a team of international researchers, has uncovered a biological explanation for long-term memories. It centers on the discovery of the role of a molecule, KIBRA, that serves as a “glue” to other molecules, thereby solidifying memory formation.

Jul 3, 2024

Daniel Dennett on the Evolution of the Mind, Consciousness and AI

Posted by in categories: biological, neuroscience, robotics/AI

Want to join the debate? Check out the Intelligence Squared website to hear about future live events and podcasts:

How come there are conscious minds?
How do language and culture evolve?
Should we still teach children things which computers can do better?
Will our smart electronic devices rob us of our intelligence?
Will human intelligence and AI co-evolve?

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Jul 2, 2024

Divergent landscapes of A-to-I editing in postmortem and living human brain

Posted by in categories: biological, neuroscience

Adenosine-to-inosine editing is a form of RNA modification observed in the human brain transcriptome. Here the authors question the accuracy of utilizing postmortem samples to reflect the RNA biology of living brains. This is due to significant differences in adenosine-to-inosine editing between living and postmortem brain tissues, with most sites exhibiting higher editing levels postmortem.

Jun 30, 2024

The 5th Industrial Revolution

Posted by in categories: biological, existential risks, space travel, sustainability

In this episode of the 5th Industrial Revolution VODcast we sit down with Dr. Jordan Okie of Arizona State University School of Earth and Space Exploration to discuss a key relevancy to the next industrial revolution, sustainability, through the lens of Dr. Okie’s area of expertise: Ecology and Biology. Our key takeaways: We are in a race against time and extinction. We will need to find a way to evolve through technology to survive, be it here on Earth or in our exploration of Space.

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