Yesterday, a team of researchers from MIT introduced a new computer chip optimized for deep-learning, an approach to artificial intelligence that is gaining popularity. The chip, dubbed "Eyeriss" could allow mobile devices to perform tasks like natural language processing and facial recognition without being connected to the internet. It’s the latest attempt to make the complex operations of machine learning more portable. That means that our smartphones, wearables, robots, self-driving cars, and other IoT devices could begin performing complex deep learning processes locally — something that until now has been very difficult to do.
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Do students think best when on their feet? A new study by the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health indicates they do. Findings published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health provide the first evidence of neurocognitive benefits of stand-height desks in classrooms, where students are given the choice to stand or sit based on their preferences.
"Test results indicated that continued use of standing desks was associated with significant improvements in executive function and working memory capabilities," Mehta said. "Changes in corresponding brain activation patterns were also observed."
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2016/01/gut-microbe-therapeutics-better-brain.html
Gut microbe therapeutics, Better brain imaging, Superfluid knots, Weaving molecular chains, New brain insights, Living microdroplet reactors, Fermi Paradox nonequilibrium, Memristor chips on market, Modular food computer, Graphene advances.
1. Therapeutics via the Gut Microbiome
Seres and Synlogic are companies trying to launch modified bacteria as drugs designed to live in and complement the human gut microbiome http://www.technologyreview.com/news/545446/companies-aim-to-make-drugs-from-bacteria-that-live-in-the-gut/. Seres wants to introduce specially-selected bacteria into the gut to help restore a healthy microbiome, while Synlogic wants to introduce genetically modified bacteria designed to take up residence and perform useful functions such as metabolising toxins and other compounds that some people have trouble with. I’ve been thinking about different ways you might functionalise the gut microbiome in beneficial ways for years now and think the opportunities here are immense - it’s good to see these early approaches entering clinical studies but I worry if they go the conventional route they might suffer similar difficulties to that of bacteriophage therapies.
2. Better Brain Imaging and Sensors
The nVista system is an implantable miniature microscope that allows researchers to track brain activity in mice in realtime http://gizmodo.com/gopro-for-mouse-brains-records-neural-circuits-in-real-1746582790. The device is very light to allow animals to move around relatively unobstructed and is capable of tracking the activity of up to 1,000 individual neurons simultaneously. In related news a new type of tiny sensor can be implanted to monitor brain temperature and pressure and then later dissolve away when no longer needed; measurements are conveyed via an implanted wireless transmitter https://news.illinois.edu/blog/view/6367/312684 - the group are moving towards clinical trials and exploring other application areas.
3. Tying Complex Knots in Superfluids
After preparing a superfluid a new technique involving targeting the superfluid with rapidly changing and specifically structured magnetic fields allows the superfluid to be tied in knots; quantum knots in the form of a self-reinforcing soliton comprised of a toroidal ring structure in three dimensions https://www.amherst.edu/news/news_releases/2016/01-2016/node/626688. This builds on previous work in which the group used similar techniques to create synthetic magnetic monopoles. This is a very interesting new natural phenomenon to explore and harness and the group will continue to probe the properties of these knotted superfluid objects.
4. New Materials from Woven Molecular Chains
The first three dimensional covalent organic framework materials have been created by weaving together helical organic threads http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2016/01/21/weaving-a-new-story-for-cofs-and-mofs/. This should result in a new generation of materials with novel properties stemming from the base structure of individual molecular chains being woven together in a precise, ordered, and controlled way. Removing metal from the chains resulted in a 10-fold increase in elasticity of the material while adding metal restored the materials original stiffness. The technique has generalities in that it should allow many long threads of covalently-linked molecules to be woven and cross-together at regular intervals and is applicable to metal organic frameworks, nanoparticles, and polymers.
5. New Brain Insights
We had a trio of interesting brain insights this week. First, it appears synapses can vary in size in far greater increments than originally thought, resulting in estimates for the memory capacity of the human brain being revised upwards by an order of magnitude and helping to explain the computational efficiency of the hippocampus for example http://www.salk.edu/news-release/memory-capacity-of-brain-is-10-times-more-than-previously-thought/; every 2 - 20 minutes your synapses go up or down to the next size. Second, network analysis of brain activity reveals that 70% of all information within cortical regions passes through just 20% of the region’s neurons, further supporting the brain’s preference for efficiency over vulnerability http://news.indiana.edu/releases/iu/2016/01/hub-neurons.shtml. Finally, new micro-tissue engineered neural networks are small columns of biomaterial through which neurons have grown axons and which, when implanted, can connect neuronal populations in the brain (and possibly elsewhere) and replace damaged axonal tracts http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2016/01/cullen/.
6. Mimicking Living Systems with Microdroplet Reactors
A new microfluidic system promises better, easier bioreactors for synthetic biology applications http://phys.org/news/2016-01-microdroplet-reactors-mimic.html. The new system first establishes water-in-oil test sites in discrete wells formed in the microfluidic chip, with each site bordered by electrodes able to apply an AC voltage over the site; water-in-oil droplets introduced in a digital fashion to the channels flow past the reaction sites and (i) when AC is applied the droplets fuse to the site, while (ii) the shear force of the travelling droplets induces fission and the droplet travelling on. Fusion uses the travelling droplets to introduce new molecules to the sites, while fission can carry away waste products, production products, or signalling products for collection and analysis. This does away with complex valves and mixers and is able to maintain chemical reactions in the sites far from equilibrium. In related news a new microfluidic microbubble technique efficiently produces liposomes for study, drug delivery, and artificial cell applications http://phys.org/news/2016-01-closer-artificial-cell-divisionby.html.
7. Fermi Paradox and Planetary Extinction
A new study on early planetary environments and life suggests a “Gaian Bottleneck” that prevents life from evolving beyond the simple single-celled stage, essentially operating as an early Great Filter preventing the rise of complex intelligent life on otherwise habitable planets thought to be ubiquitous throughout the galaxy http://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/the-aliens-are-silent-because-they-are-extinct. The authors suggest that new life commonly dies out on fledgling new worlds due to runaway heating or cooling arising from the unstable nature of young planetary environments, and before life has a chance to evolve a complex global ecosystem of simple organisms capable of regulating atmospheric gases.
8. Commercial Offerings of Memristor Chips
Knowm has launched a portfolio of three memristor chip products made available to customers seeking to include the chips in their computing hardware http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1328733. Memristors can act as emulators of synapses and brain networks with the promise of offering brain-like computing and energy efficiency; such chips will have powerful deep learning and neural network emulation applications across a range of areas in future. The commercial availability of memristor-based chips is great news although we’ll have to wait and see when they make their way into consumer-facing products and services.
9. Open Source Food Computer
The Food Computer from the Open Agriculture Initiative is a new platform seeking to standardise indoor hydroponics and plant cultivation and so better enable rapid growth, industrial scale, cost efficiencies, and accessibility for the sector http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/embedded-systems/mits-food-computer-the-future-of-urban-agriculture. The Food Computer is an advanced indoor plant cultivator and hydroponic system that precisely monitors and controls light exposure temperature, humidity, CO2, water cycle, and nutrient exposure to create an optimal “recipe” for each type of plant. The system is inherently modular with Food Computers coming in (i) Personal Food Computer, (ii) Shipping Container, and (iii) Warehouse Scale sizes for personal, small scale, and large scale use - and all benefiting from cheaper and better sensors, computers, and lighting.
10. Graphene, Graphene, and More Graphene
First, a new spongy graphene elastomer functions as a flexible ultra-light pressure and vibration sensor that far exceeds the response range of human skin http://monash.edu/news/show/revolutionary-new-graphene-elastomer-exceeds-sensitivity-of-human-skin. Second, terahertz frequency lasers can now be made tunable thanks to the combination of graphene with a quantum cascade laser http://www.graphene.manchester.ac.uk/latest/?archive=twelvemonths&id=15750. Third, simulations show that fast and accurate DNA sequencing is possible by passing DNA through functionalised graphene nanopores http://www.nist.gov/mml/acmd/nist-simulates-fast-accurate-dna-sequencing-through-graphene-nanopore.cfm. Fourth, specific and controllable placement of molecules is possible via graphene sheets decorated with custom patterns http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/ucla-scientists-create-graphene-barrier-to-precisely-control-molecules-for-making-nanoelectronics. Finally, graphene nanoelectromechanical systems can controllably modulate the emission of light from single-photon nanodiamond emitters http://phys.org/news/2016-01-on-chip-nano-optics-graphene-nano-opto-mechanics.html.
- Online StudiesGeneralist (life), Molecular Biology, 2010 - present
- Unbound Future (current)
- Science & Tech
- Trending and Systemic Changes in Culture & Markets
- My Opinions about Optimizing and Changing our Collective Paradigms
- Sustainability & Health
- Discoverying myself
- a Lateral (divergent) thinker
- a MAVERICK
- an infovore/philomath
- trying to change the world one mind at a time
- INTP (introversion, intuition, thinking, perceiving) [Myers-Briggs Personality Type]
- Molecular Biology
- Nutrition - Natural Medicine (I'm biased towards natural vitamins, minerals, and other natural compounds rather than pharmaceuticals. I prefer prevention rather than intervention.)
- Nootropics (mind enhancing drugs and nutrients)
- Robotics and Automation
- Quantum Mechanics
- Open Source - Development and Data
- Web 3.0, Semantics, Ontologies
- Artificial Intelligence
- Liquid Fluoride-Thorium Nuclear Reactors
- Quantum Electronics
- Optical Electronics
- Biological Batteries
- CLEAN ENERGY
- Social Reform
- INTENTIONAL COMMUNITIES
- COOPERATIVES (United Nations 2012: Year of the Cooperative!)
- SHARED SOURCES (Infrastructures and Services that cut down on redundant waste)
- OPEN SOURCE ECOLOGY
- Occupy Wall Street
- EDUCATION REFORM
- Commercial (feral) Hemp Legalization (paper, cloth, ethanol, food, CO2 reduction, fertilizer and pesticide reduction)
- PROGRESSIVE LIBERTARIAN (Scientific Conservative) [Grassroots-Organized-Anarchist] [Progressive and Participatory-Tiered-Democracy] [Socialist-Free Market] [Peaceful-Post-Scarcity] [Scientific-Accepting] [Fractal-Unionist] (Why? Because the more "networked" a nation is, the better. The U.S. started out pretty good. It can be done better. Authoritarian Regimes are very dangerous. Power should be as diversified and distributed as possible. It promotes humility.)
- * http://www.votesmart.org/voteeasy/ (The E-Harmony of Politics!) *
"When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty." -Thomas Jefferson
"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." -Alice Walker
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." -Helen Keller
"Your competitive advantage comes from the accuracy of your interpretation of reality and the way you articulate your life experience." -Jennifer Sertl
"What looks like luck to most people is when preparation meets opportunity." -Oprah Winfrey
"...the ability to constructively face the tensions of opposing models, and instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, generating a creative resolution of the tension in the form of a new model that contains elements of the individual models, but is superior to each."
The website continues:
"Integrative thinkers build models rather than choose between them. Their models include consideration of numerous variables — customers, employees, competitors, capabilities, cost structures, industry evolution, and regulatory environment — not just a subset of the above. Their models capture the complicated, multi-faceted and multidirectional causal relationships between the key variables in any problem. Integrative thinkers consider the problem as a whole, rather than breaking it down and farming out the parts. Finally, they creatively resolve tensions without making costly trade-offs, turning challenges into opportunities."
- Wealth without Work
- Pleasure without Conscience
- Science without Humanity
- Knowledge without Character
- Politics without Principle
- Commerce without Morality
- Worship without Sacrifice
Maslow's list of Metaneeds:
- Wholeness (unity)
- Perfection (balance and harmony)
- Completion (ending)
- Justice (fairness)
- Richness (complexity)
- Simplicity ( essence)
- Liveliness (spontaneity)
- Beauty (rightness of form)
- Goodness (benevolence)
- Uniqueness (individuality)
- Playfulness (ease)
- Truth (reality)
- Autonomy (self-sufficiency)
- Meaningfulness (values)
- The Offsite - Robert H. Thompson (Leadership Fable)
- Abundance: The Future is Better than you Think - Peter H. Diamandis - Steven Kotler (Future Abundance and Prosperity through Technology and Post-Scarcity)
- The Power of Pull - John Hagel (Pull-Based Strategies, Distributed Leadership, and Need-Based Supply Webs and Ecosystems)
- United Healing ArtsHealth Consultant, 2015 - presentFocused on You and your Ultimate Health and Performance Goals
- Alien Hive
- Alien Creeps TD
- Bird Climb
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