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This Little Piggy Grew an Organ

Growing human transplant organs in pigs has become a more realistic prospect after scientists used advanced gene editing to remove threatening viruses from the animals’ DNA.

Porcine endogenous retroviruses are permanently embedded in the pig genome but research has shown they can infect human cells, posing a potential hazard.

The existence of the virus has been a major stumbling block preventing the development of genetically engineered pigs to provide kidneys and other organs for transplant into human patients.

That hurdle may now have been cleared away, according to new research reported in the journal Science.

Researchers at Harvard University and a private company used the precision gene editing tool Crispr-Cas9 combined with gene repair technology to deactivate 100 percent of the virus in a line of pig cells.

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Weapon Wednesday – Patriot Missile System Gets an Upgrade

Lockheed Martin’s radar technology demonstrator is designed to operate within the US Army Integrated Air & ...
Lockheed Martin’s radar technology demonstrator is  designed to operate within the US Army Integrated Air & Missile Defense (IAMD) framework (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

The radar at the heart of US Army’s Patriot missile system is getting a bit long in the tooth, so Lockheed Martin has announced the debut of its next-generation air and missile defense radar demonstrator. The 360⁰ capable Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar for Engagement and Surveillance (ARES) will be unveiled to the public at the 2017 Space & Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama. read more

Mapping Junk DNA Could Cure Disease

Yellowstone Super-Caldera Has Deformed

As small earthquakes continue to rumble around the Yellowstone supervolcano in Wyoming, scientists have revealed new evidence of the changes going on beneath the ground.

A new map from the US Geological Survey shows how the ground around the Yellowstone caldera has deformed over the span of two years, as the quakes release uplift-causing pressure, allowing the ground to sink back down.

This activity is typically linked to changes in magma and gases deep below the surface – but for now, the experts say there’s no cause for worry.

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In the map above, a bulls-eye shaped section of uplift can be seen at the Norris Geyser Basin, where the ground has risen roughly 3 inches. And, an elliptical subsidence can be seen in the Yellowstone caldera, with the ground dropping about 1.2 inches

EARTHQUAKE SWARM 

The University of Utah’s Seismograph Stations (UUSS) have been monitoring the activity since it began June 12.

A total of 1,562 quakes have been recorded so far at Yellowstone since the swarm began.

Earthquake swarms are common in Yellowstone and, on average, comprise about 50 per cent of the total activity in the Yellowstone region.

Although the latest swarm is the largest since 2012, it is fewer than weekly counts during similar events in 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2010. 

Tremors were recorded from ground level to 9mi (14.5km) below sea level.

Seismic activity could be a sign of an impending eruption of the supervolcano, although this is impossible to predict exactly

The map, created by USGS geophysicist Chuck Wicks uses data from June 2015 and July 2017 to show how the region around Yellowstone has changed.

In the map, the colourful rings show the changes in the ground’s elevation as seen by a radar satellite, according to USGS.

A bulls-eye shaped section of uplift can be seen at the Norris Geyser Basin, where the ground has risen roughly 3 inches.

And, an elliptical subsidence can be seen in the Yellowstone caldera, with the ground dropping about 1.2 inches.

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An Autonomous Helicopter Air Taxi

German automobile firm Daimler and other investors have has invested more than $29 million dollars (25 million euro) in aviation start-up Volocopter.

Volocopter plans to use the money to invest in further developing its electrically powered, autonomous Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft and ‘conquer’ the market for flying air taxis.

Volocopter’s ‘Volocopter 2X’ is a fully electric VTOL with 18 quiet rotors and a maximum airspeed of 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour – and it can transport two passengers without a pilot.

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Volocopter announced that in the fourth quarter of 2017, it will work with Dubai's Road and Transport Authority (RTA) to conduct tests of its vehicle as an autonomous air taxi. The trial operations and certification program is expected to continue for five years

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First Test of Hyperloop One

Phase 2 of testing has seen the XP-1 put through its paces at Hyperloop One's 500-meter ...
Phase 2 of testing has seen the XP-1 put through its paces at Hyperloop One’s 500-meter (1,600 ft) tube in the Nevada desert

A few weeks back, Hyperloop One revealed a prototype of a pod that it hopes will eventually ferry passengers through near-vacuum tubes at around the speed of sound. Today, the company has announced the first successful tests of this futuristic capsule, in which it levitated above a test track en route to speeds of more than 300 km/h. read more

Weapon Wednesday – USS Gerald R. Ford Shows Off Two New Systems

An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 flies over USS ...
 An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 flies over USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) (Credit: US Navy/Erik Hildebrandt)

The USS Gerald R Ford scored a double first less than a week after commissioning, as the nuclear-powered supercarrier launched and recovered a fighter plane for the first time using an electromagnetic catapult. On July 28, an F/A-18F Super Hornet piloted by Commander Jamie Struck was launched from the flight deck by the ElectroMAgnetic Launch System (EMALS) shortly after arrival, when it made the first arrested landing with the Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system. read more

My PC Isn’t Fast – So What

You may have heard of something called Moore’s Law with regards to computing power. The most simplistic way to describe this is that computing power doubles roughly every year to year and a half. This prediction has pretty much held up fairly well over the last thirty years. Now, with computing power doubling over every year and a half over thirty years means that today’s computers are roughly a million times faster than the first personal computers.

This may seem like a great thing to have a PC that is extremely fast but if you look a bit more closely at how the average PC is used, much of this performance is wasted as the system sits idle for more than 95% of the time. With the processor sitting idle, it isn’t generally necessary for a consumer to buy the most powerful system out there. Instead, it is generally better to buy a more affordable option that will give you roughly the same overall level of experience in the software you will be running. After all, you don’t need a massive eight core processor if your PC is going to be used just to play minesweeper. This article takes a look at how the average PC is used and then tries to point buyers to what would best suit their computing needs. read more

Video Podcast – Busting the Budget – Auto Vending Machine – Marijuana-Ville

by: the Common Constitutionalist

The new federal budget proposal is out and surprise, surprise – we’ll be spending more. To the tune of $1.6 trillion over the next 10 years. See any budget cuts. Me either.

China has unveiled its first ever automobile vending machine. And sure enough, it does a bit like a snack vending machine, with a glass front. The buyer stands in front of the glass-front structure and simply chooses the car he or she wishes – just like buying a bag of pretzels.

The town of Nipton, California was sold on Thursday of last week. Yes, the whole town – to American Green, Inc. No, it’s not an environmental company – is a marijuana producer. They have designs of transforming the town into a stoner’s paradise. read more

Edible Protein Powder

Made in a small portable lab, this edible protein powder could help famine-stricken areas better produce ...
Made in a small portable lab, this edible protein powder could help famine-stricken areas better produce their own food (Credit: Laboratories at VTT)

A Finnish research project has created a batch of single-cell protein using just electricity, water, carbon dioxide and microbes, in a small portable lab. While we’re hesitant to call it “food” in its current state, the stuff is edible and nutritious enough to be used for cooking or livestock feed, and the team hopes that the system can eventually be used to grow food in areas where it’s needed the most. read more