The dendritic arms of some human neurons can perform logic operations that once seemed to require whole neural networks.
Be warned. If the rise of the robots comes to pass, the apocalypse may be a more squelchy affair than science fiction writers have prepared us for.
Researchers in the US have created the first living machines by assembling cells from African clawed frogs into tiny robots that move around under their own steam.
One of the most successful creations has two stumpy legs that propel it along on its “chest”. Another has a hole in the middle that researchers turned into a pouch so it could shimmy around with miniature payloads.
“These are entirely new lifeforms. They have never before existed on Earth,” said Michael Levin, the director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. “They are living, programmable organisms.”
Roboticists tend to favour metal and plastic for their strength and durability, but Levin and his colleagues see benefits in making robots from biological tissues. When damaged, living robots can heal their wounds, and once their task is done they fall apart, just as natural organisms decay when they die.
Their unique features mean that future versions of the robots might be deployed to clean up microplastic pollution in the oceans, locate and digest toxic materials, deliver drugs in the body or remove plaque from artery walls, the scientists say.
“It’s impossible to know what the applications will be for any new technology, so we can really only guess,” said Joshua Bongard, a senior researcher on the team at the University of Vermont.
The robots, which are less than 1mm long, are designed by an “evolutionary algorithm” that runs on a supercomputer. The program starts by generating random 3D configurations of 500 to 1,000 skin and heart cells. Each design is then tested in a virtual environment, to see, for example, how far it moves when the heart cells are set beating. The best performers are used to spawn more designs, which themselves are then put through their paces.
Because heart cells spontaneously contract and relax, they behave like miniature engines that drive the robots along until their energy reserves run out. The cells have enough fuel inside them for the robots to survive for a week to 10 days before keeling over.
The scientists waited for the computer to churn out 100 generations before picking a handful of designs to build in the lab. They used tweezers and cauterising tools to sculpt early-stage skin and heart cells scraped from the embryos of African clawed frogs, Xenopus laevis. The source of the cells led the scientists to call their creations “xenobots”.
Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe how they set the robots loose in dishes of water to keep the frog cells alive. Some crept along in straight lines, while others looped around in circles or teamed up with others as they moved around.
“These are very small, but ultimately the plan is to make them to scale,” said Levin. Xenobots might be built with blood vessels, nervous systems and sensory cells, to form rudimentary eyes. By building them out of mammalian cells, they could live on dry land.
Sam Kriegman, a PhD student on the team at the University of Vermont, acknowledged that the work raised ethical issues, particularly given that future variants could have nervous systems and be selected for cognitive capability, making them more active participants in the world. “What’s important to me is that this is public, so we can have a discussion as a society and policymakers can decide what is the best course of action.”
He was less concerned about xenobots posing any threat to humankind. “If you watch the video, it’s hard to fear that these things are taking over any time soon,” he said.
But the work aims to achieve more than just the creation of squidgy robots. “The aim is to understand the software of life,” Levin said. “If you think about birth defects, cancer, age-related diseases, all of these things could be solved if we knew how to make biological structures, to have ultimate control over growth and form.”
The research is funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s lifelong learning machines programme, which aims to recreate biological learning processes in machines.
Thomas Douglas, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, said: “There are interesting ethical questions about the moral status of these xenobots. At what point would they become beings with interests that ought to be protected? I think they’d acquire moral significance only if they included neural tissue that enabled some kind of mental life, such as the ability to experience pain.
“But some are more liberal about moral status. They think that all living creatures have interests that should be given some moral consideration. For these people, difficult questions could arise about whether these xenobots should be classified as living creatures or machines.”
Source – TheGuardian
Feeling real zen after todays yoga session. A light overview of a very deep bunny animation Watership Down. I wasnt expecting the intensity that this series delivers. The bunny world can be a cold carrot in a warm place if you know what I mean. Story time, I share the time I almost caused myself to be Kidnapped and the first time they put me in handcuffs. I had to make up for the instrumental I added yesterday, it was a quick whip up so today I put a little more effort into a new one. Hopefully it makes a difference, Enjoy
Quotes Of The Day
The chakata fruit on the ground belongs to all, but the one on the tree is for she who can climb
She who sows joy harvest pleasure
not to know is bad not to wish to know is worst
The move is motivated by complaints that new cannabis laws do not provide paths for Black and brown people to thrive in what appears to be a billion dollar industry
Source – TheGrio
For the ultimate combination of style, performance and innovative design, look no further than the new line of electric bikes from Harley Davidson.
It’s not all about the premium branding that comes with the 116-year old motorcycle manufacturing legacy.
The highly anticipated set of bikes comes with impressive features that any biking lover would relish.
Slated for release in 2019, the LiveWire is first on the line, with the capacity to go from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 3.5 seconds.
For motorcycle lovers who delight in that unique rumble of speed, it comes with a new signature sound during acceleration. That’s an outstanding feature in as far as electric bikes go.
Another first for the new model is its cellular connection, which the company claims is not available on any other mass market motorcycle.
It’s telematics system displays all the necessary data about operations via a connected app. On a single charge, the bike can go for up to 110 miles.
Details are still scanty for their other all-electric concept bikes, but judging from their style, they hold promise of great things to come.
Source – awesomestuff365
As promised I go over the most recent book knocked off the list Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Two quick entheogenic stories and the lessons that come with it. Flying planes on Mushrooms and The pendulum of emotions. Tune in and listen close.
Quotes Of The Day
The tongue carries that which is light
Over discipline makes a child stunted
Too Long Honest, Too Long Poor
Hell itself holds dishonor in horror
Beetroots, commonly known as beets, are a popular root vegetable used in many cuisines around the world.
Beets are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, some of which have medicinal properties.
What’s more, they are delicious and easy to add to your diet.
This article lists 9 health benefits of beets
1. Many Nutrients in Few Calories
Beets boast an impressive nutritional profile.
They are low in calories, yet high in valuable vitamins and minerals. In fact, they contain a bit of almost all the vitamins and minerals that you need (1).
Here is an overview of the nutrients found in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked beetroot (1):
• Calories: 44
• Protein: 1.7 grams
• Fat: 0.2 grams
• Fiber: 2 grams
• Vitamin C: 6% of the RDI
• Folate: 20% of the RDI
• Vitamin B6: 3% of the RDI
• Magnesium: 6% of the RDI
• Potassium: 9% of the RDI
• Phosphorous: 4% of the RDI
• Manganese: 16% of the RDI
• Iron: 4% of the RDI
Beets also contain inorganic nitrates and pigments, both of which are plant compounds that have a number of health benefits.
Beets are loaded with vitamins and minerals and low in calories and fat. They also contain inorganic nitrates and pigments, both of which have a number of health benefits.
2. Help Keep Blood Pressure in Check
Heart disease, including heart attacks, heart failure and stroke, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
And high blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for the development of these conditions.
Studies have shown that beets can significantly lower blood pressure by up to 4–10 mmHg over a period of only a few hours
The effect appears to be greater for systolic blood pressure, or pressure when your heart contracts, rather than diastolic blood pressure, or pressure when your heart is relaxed. The effect may also be stronger for raw beets than cooked beets
These blood pressure-lowering effects are likely due to the high concentration of nitrates in beets. In your body, dietary nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, a molecule that dilates blood vessels, causing blood pressure to drop
Blood nitrate levels remain elevated for about six hours after eating dietary nitrate. Therefore, beets only have a temporary effect on blood pressure, and regular consumption is required to experience long-term reductions in blood pressure (10
Beets contain a high concentration of nitrates, which have a blood pressure-lowering effect. This may lead to a reduced risk of heart attacks, heart failure
3. Can Improve Athletic Performance
Several studies suggest that dietary nitrates may enhance athletic performance.
For this reason, beets are often used by athletes.
Nitrates appear to affect physical performance by improving the efficiency of mitochondria, which are responsible for producing energy in your cells
In two studies including seven and eight men, consuming 17 ounces (500 ml) of beet juice daily for six days extended time to exhaustion during high-intensity exercise by 15–25%, which is a 1–2% improvement in overall performance
Eating beets may also improve cycling and athletic performance and increase oxygen use by up to 20%
One small study of nine competitive cyclists looked at the effect of 17 ounces (500 ml) of beetroot juice on cycling time trial performance over 2.5 and 10 miles (4 and 16.1 km).
Drinking beetroot juice improved performance by 2.8% over the 2.5-mile (4-km) time trial and 2.7% over the 10-mile (16.1-km) trial
It’s important to note that blood nitrate levels peak within 2–3 hours. Therefore, to maximize their potential, it’s best to consume beets 2–3 hours before training or competing
Eating beets may enhance athletic performance by improving oxygen use and time to exhaustion. To maximize their effects, beets should be consumed 2–3 hours prior to training or competing.
4. May Help Fight Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is associated with a number of diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, liver disease and cancer
Beets contain pigments called betalains, which may potentially possess a number of anti-inflammatory properties
However, most of the research in this area has been conducted in rats.
Beetroot juice and beetroot extract have been shown to reduce kidney inflammation in rats injected with toxic chemicals known to induce serious injury
One study in humans with osteoarthritis showed that betalain capsules made with beetroot extract reduced pain and discomfort associated with the condition
While these studies suggest that beets have an anti-inflammatory effect, human studies are needed to determine whether beets could be used to reduce inflammation.
Beets may have a number of anti-inflammatory effects. However, further research in humans is required to confirm this theory.
5. May Improve Digestive Health
Dietary fiber is an important component of a healthy diet.
It has been linked to many health benefits, including improved digestion.
One cup of beetroot contains 3.4 grams of fiber, making beets a good fiber source (1).
Fiber bypasses digestion and heads down to the colon, where it either feeds the friendly gut bacteria or adds bulk to stool.
This can promote digestive health, keep you regular and prevent digestive conditions like constipation, inflammatory bowel disease and diverticulitis (24
Moreover, fiber has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases including colon cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes
Beets are a good source of fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health, as well as reducing the risk of a number of chronic health conditions.
Source – HealthLine
Read the full article at Panalliance