terça-feira, 31 de janeiro de 2017

About | F-35 Lightning II




The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least ten other countries.

The Lightning II is a single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed for many missions with advanced, integrated sensors built into every aircraft. Missions that were traditionally performed by small numbers of specialized aircraft, such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and electronic attack missions can now be executed by a squadron of F-35s, bringing new capabilities to many allied forces.

The F-35 is developed, produced, and supported by an international team of leading aerospace companies. As the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin continues its 100-year history of aircraft research and design with the Lightning II. Principal partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems build the center and aft fuselages, respectively. Northrop Grumman also brings its expertise in carrier aircraft and low-observable stealth technology to the F-35 program and supports logistics, sustainment, modeling and simulation and mission planning. BAE Systems contributes a rich heritage of capabilities, including short takeoff and vertical landing experience, advanced lean manufacturing, flight testing and air systems sustainment. Pratt & Whitney builds the F-35's F135 propulsion system, the world's most powerful fighter engine.

Why the F-35?
It can go where other aircraft can't:

Maintaining air superiority is essential to preserving global security and stability. The F-35 is designed to defeat today's most advanced threat systems both in the air and on the ground, as well as those expected to emerge in the decades to come. The ongoing advancement of fighter aircraft designs around the world reinforces the importance of the F-35’s advanced capabilities and technologies. Enabled by global partnerships, the F-35 offers unprecedented capability and supportability across the spectrum of military operations.

U.S. and allied fighter fleets are getting smaller and older. Since 1990, the U.S. Air Force fighter inventory has been cut in half and current Air Force fighter aircraft are, on average, more than 25 years old. Numerous militaries around the world also need to recapitalize their aging fighter fleets with modern, more capable aircraft. The F-35 was designed to recapitalize allied fighter fleets and counter emerging threats.

There's no better aircraft for the job:

An advanced, affordable fighter enabled by global partnerships, the F-35 offers unprecedented capability and supportability across the spectrum of military operations.

What is a "5th Generation" Fighter?

A 5th Generation fighter has advanced stealth, exceptional agility and maneuverability, sensor and information fusion, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. 5th Generation technology provides greater survivability, situational awareness, and effectiveness for pilots, as well as improved readiness and lower support costs. As a true 5th Generation fighter, the F-35 has stealth designed in as part of the aircraft from the beginning.

Maj. Thomas Hayes, USAF 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, explains what 5th Generation survivability means from a pilot’s perspective:

The F-35 and the F-22 are both 5th Generation fighters featuring advanced stealth, integrated avionics, sensor fusion and superior logistics support. The F-35 also delivers additional 5th Generation features, such as multi-spectral sensors, interoperability and modernized avionics.

The F-35 and the F-22 are the world's two premier fighters, but there are some differences between the aircraft. The F-35 is optimized to be a multirole fighter, with the ability to perform air-to-air, air-to-ground and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. While the F-22 is superior to the F-35 in air-to-air missions, the F-35’s air-to-air capability is superior to all other fighters. The F-35 is better than any other fighter aircraft, including the F-22, for air-to-ground strike missions.

Learn more about F-35 capabilities.

In not-too-distant future, brain hackers could steal your deepest secrets




Dan Goodin - 1/31/2017, 11:20 PM


A simplified diagram of a compromised brain-connected interface system.

OAKLAND, Calif.—In the beginning, people hacked phones. In the decades to follow, hackers turned to computers, smartphones, Internet-connected security cameras, and other so-called Internet of things devices. The next frontier may be your brain, which is a lot easier to hack than most people think.

At the Enigma security conference here on Tuesday, University of Washington researcher Tamara Bonaci described an experiment that demonstrated how a simple video game could be used to covertly harvest neural responses to periodically displayed subliminal images. While her game, dubbed Flappy Whale, measured subjects' reactions to relatively innocuous things, such as logos of fast food restaurants and cars, she said the same setup could be used to extract much more sensitive information, including a person's religious beliefs, political leanings, medical conditions, and prejudices.

"Electrical signals produced by our body might contain sensitive information about us that we might not be willing to share with the world," Bonaci told Ars immediately following her presentation. "On top of that, we may be giving that information away without even being aware of it."

Flappy Whale had what Bonaci calls a BCI, short for "brain-connected interface." It came in the form of seven electrodes that connected to the player's head and measured electroencephalography signals in real time. The logos were repeatedly displayed, but only for milliseconds at a time, a span so short that subjects weren't consciously aware of them. By measuring the brain signals at the precise time the images were displayed, Bonaci's team was able to glean clues about the player's thoughts and feelings about the things that were depicted.

There's no evidence that such brain hacking has ever been carried out in the real world. But the researcher said it wouldn't be hard for the makers of virtual reality headgear, body-connected fitness apps, or other types of software and hardware to covertly mine a host of physiological responses. By repeatedly displaying an emotionally charged image for several milliseconds at a time, the pilfered data could reveal all kinds of insights about a person's most intimate beliefs. Bonaci has also theorized that sensitive electric signals could be obtained by modifying legitimate BCI equipment, such as those used by doctors.

Bonaci said that electrical signals produced by the brain are so sensitive that they should be classified as personally identifiable information and subject to the same protections as names, addresses, ages, and other types of PII. She also suggested that researchers and game developers who want to measure the responses for legitimate reasons should develop measures to limit what's collected instead of harvesting raw data. She said researchers and developers should be aware of the potential for "spillage" of potentially sensitive data inside responses that might appear to contain only mundane or innocuous information.

"What else is hidden in an electrical signal that's being used for a specific purpose?" she asked the audience, which was largely made up of security engineers and technologists. "In most cases when we measure, we don't need the whole signal."

One Question that Will Change Your Attitude (When You Can’t Change Anything Else)


Hi ,
Ready for a quick reality check?
To a great extent, we create our fate every single day, and most of the ills we suffer from are directly traceable to our own (controllable) attitude. Life is packed full of uncontrollable events; in many situations the only thing we can control is the attitude we choose to respond with.
When you really take the time to think about it, everything happening around us is neutral and meaningless up until the point that we give it meaning. And the questions we ask ourselves drive the meaning we create and the attitude we have about everything.
Regardless of what you’re going though, it’s about choosing: Will I allow this to upset me? Will I choose to make this bad or good? Will I choose to stay or walk away? Will I choose to yell or whisper? Will I choose to react or take the time to respond?
When our "Getting Back to Happy" course students come to us feeling down about a life situation they can’t control, we typically start by reinforcing the hard truth: sometimes changing your situation isn’t possible – or simply not possible soon enough. You can’t get to a new job in an instant. You can’t make someone else change against his or her will. And you certainly can’t erase the past. But…
You CAN always choose an attitude that moves you forward. And doing so will help you change things from the inside out, and ultimately allow you to grow beyond the struggles you can’t control.
Here's one powerful question that will support you with a positive attitude adjustment when you need it most:
Who would you be, and what else would you see, if you erased the thought that’s worrying you?
Honestly, worry is the biggest enemy of the present moment. It does nothing but steal your joy and keep you very busy doing absolutely nothing at all. When you spend time worrying, you’re simply using your imagination to create moments you don’t want.
Realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace. Because inner peace does not depend on external conditions, it’s what remains when you’ve surrendered your ego and worries. Peace can be found within you at any place and at any time. It’s always there, patiently waiting for you to turn your attention toward it.
Peace of mind arrives the moment you come to peace with what’s on your mind. It happens when you let go of the need to be anywhere but where you are, physically and emotionally. This acceptance of the way things are creates the foundation for inner harmony. The need for something to be different in this moment is nothing more than a worry, and worries simply lead you in circles.
It’s always the right time to embrace the present – just the detached awareness and acceptance of right here, right now. Only then do you have the power to focus on your challenges and opportunities more mindfully ... which changes everything in the long-run!
So again, think about it: Who would you be, and what else would you see, if you erased the thought that’s worrying you?
Identify a specific thought that’s been troubling your worried mind lately, and then visualize how your life would be different if you removed this thought:

  • How would it change your outlook on your present life situation?
  • Would you treat yourself and others differently?
  • How would you feel?
  • How would you behave?
  • What else would you be able to accomplish?

And of course, if you're struggling with any of this, know that you are not alone. Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, think more clearly, and get our lives back on track. This is precisely why Marc and I built Getting Back to Happy. The course is filled with time-tested steps on how to do just that. And I'm thrilled to let you know that the full Getting Back to Happy course is now OPEN to 100 early access members.
Have we been sending you more emails than usual about this over the past several weeks?
YES! Because we’re closing the doors once we hit our first 100 early access members and sometimes we need a little nudge to invest in ourselves.
This is not some ebook that you read and forget about.

It's a revolutionary, self-paced online course and community with 60 HD video lessons, and hundreds of time-tested strategies and techniques that will teach you scientifically proven methods for Conquering Pain, Eliminating Insecurity, Beating Procrastination, Healing Toxic Relationships, Taming Life’s Complications, and Building Consistent Growth into Your Life and Career -- the exact proven strategies and techniques Marc and I have used in our coaching practice to help tens of thousands of people over the past decade.
It took 17 iterations, and thousands of dollars, to get it right.
These techniques work no matter where you stand in your current situation or what you’re up against going forward. Even if you have limited experience with self-improvement and personal development tactics. And even if you don't know what you really want for yourself…yet.

Sincerely hoping you're ready to invest in yourself,
Angel Chernoff
Marc and Angel Hack Life
Practical Tips for Productive Living

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease



By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N.

A common question I hear is, "Why does it seem like my diabetes pills and other injectable diabetes medications don't seem to work as well over time?" This is commonly referred to as "pill failure" or "beta-cell failure" by endocrinologists.

Recently, I met a woman who was upset that no health care provider or diabetes educator had explained to her, at the time her diabetes was diagnosed, that diabetes is a progressive disease. She thought that if she "behaved herself," her diabetes could be cured, or at least stay in holding pattern.

But type 2 diabetes is progressive in nature. Even if a person has high blood glucose levels at the time of his or her diagnosis, he or she is often able to manage the diabetes by losing weight, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising. Whether that's possible depends on what I call the "state of the pancreas" and how well the beta cells are functioning. I've only seen a few people control diabetes by diet and exercise alone for more than 20 years. But most people I see who've controlled their type 2 diabetes this way eventually also need oral diabetes medications, non-insulin injectable diabetes medications or both, an average of 7 to 10 years after the initial diagnosis. Of course, this varies per individual, and everyone is different.

The longer you have type 2 diabetes, the less responsive the beta cells are, and, over time, the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas are no longer able to release enough insulin. This happens even with the assistance of oral diabetes medications and non-insulin injectable diabetes medications. Oral and injectable diabetes medications are not insulin and work in various ways to stimulate the production of insulin and the absorption of insulin into the cells, to reduce the output of glucose from the liver, to slow the absorption of carbohydrates, and even to spill extra glucose out of the kidneys. At a certain point in the progression of diabetes, insulin or insulin in combination with the other oral diabetes medications is necessary to control blood glucose levels.

When people who take oral diabetes medications progress to needing insulin, they often feel as if they've done something wrong to prompt this transition. Unfortunately, it's just the progression of diabetes and can't be avoided in those instances. Insulin is a hormone and generally doesn't interact with other medications; the primary side effect is hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can occur with some of the oral diabetes medications, too. But insulin does not cause diabetes complications; it's high blood glucose levels that are responsible for complications. Insulin is a helpful and necessary tool in the management of type 2 diabetes.

Infiniti's breakthrough new engine has nothing to do with electric cars




Matthew DeBord


Infiniti VC-Turbo A breakthrough! Infiniti

Last year at the Paris Motor Show, Infiniti revealed a breakthrough new engine technology. And it was neither a hybrid nor an electric powerplant.

It's called the VC-Turbo, and it's important.

The world is busy these days thinking about an electric-car future, but the vast majority of the vehicles on the road are powered by internal combustion engines and will be for decades.

And before you start thinking that IC engines are yesterday's dirty tech, don't forget that automakers have been continuously innovating them for a century. They no longer belch plumes of black smoke, and in many cases, automakers have been able to extract impressive MPGs from them. Ironically, with all the extra weight that modern safety and technology features are adding to vehicles, fuel-economy from efficient IC motors has gone down.

So car companies are working hard to claw back good gas mileage, in large part because they're up against more stringent government fuel-economy and environmental regulations (those regulations might be rolled back under the Trump presidency, but for now they're still in place).

The new VC-Turbo is a great example on how much innovation is underway. In a statement, Infiniti said the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder power plant "promises to be one of the most advanced internal-combustion engines ever created."

The VC stands for "variable compression," and it means that the new motor can modulate its compression ratio to optimize its performance. According to Infiniti, it combines the torque of a diesel motor with a high-performance gas engine — minus the emissions problems that small-displacement diesels confront.

The VC-Turbo is to engines what a continuously variable transmission is to shifting gears: It can locate the ideal compression ratio for a given driving condition. Infiniti has been working on the technology for 20 years and thinks it will enable the automaker to offer better performance with a four-cylinder motor, replacing six-cylinder power plants.

CVTs are somewhat controversial — auto enthusiasts don't much like them. But they do serve up superior gas mileage. The VC-Turbo isn't likely to incur similar complaints because it could solve a problem with turbocharged engines: the "lag" between hitting the accelerator and the power coming on. This issue has long been seen as a compromise that just has to be dealt with if you want turbo advantages. But automakers have been getting better and solving the turbo problem.

The VC-Turbo will go under the hoods of Infiniti vehicles in 2018.

An Aspirin A Day




January 30, 2017

We have known there were certain health benefits to taking aspirin, but despite that, few people take it regularly.

Researchers at the University of Southern California have determined that taking low-dose aspirin every day could reduce the risk of a heart attack, prevent some cancers and cancer death, extend the lives and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of older Americans over the course of 20 years. What's more, they estimate a net health benefit worth $692 billion for the U.S.

“Although the health benefits of aspirin are well established, few people take it,” said lead author David B. Agus, the founding director and CEO of the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine at USC, and a USC professor of medicine and engineering. “Our study shows multiple health benefits and a reduction in health care spending from this simple, low-cost measure that should be considered a standard part of care for the appropriate patient.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expressed concern that patients 60 years old and older who took aspirin every day might be at risk of stroke, gastrointestinal bleeding, and brain bleeding.

“The problem that this creates for Americans and medical professionals is that the information about aspirin is confusing,” said study co-author Étienne Gaudette, an assistant professor at the USC School of Pharmacy and policy director of the USC Roybal Center for Health Policy Simulation. “This means some people in the US who would benefit from aspirin aren’t taking it. Through our study, we sought to make it much easier for everyone to understand what the long-term benefits are.”

Aspirin's best known benefit is as a blood thinning agent, and as such it an help patients at risk of heart disease because it prevents clotting. Each year one in four deaths is attributed to cardiovascular disease. Of course, no one owns a patent on aspirin, and the scientists suspect that may be an unspoken part of the prblem.

“The irony of our findings is that aspirin may be too cheap,” said study co-author Dana Goldman, director of the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics and USC Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, Pharmacy, and Economics. “Only 40 percent of the US people are taking aspirin when they should, and providers have little incentive to push that number up, despite the obvious health benefits and health care savings.”

The research has been published in PLOS ONE.

Óculos inteligentes focam automaticamente no que você olhar





Por Marina Demartini

30 jan 2017, 17h22

Óculos: eles demoram 14 milissegundos para mudar de foco (Dan Hixson/University of Utah College of Engineering/Divulgação)

São Paulo – Um professor da Universidade de Utah, nos EUA, criou um par de óculos que promete facilitar a vida de quem tem algum tipo de problema de visão. O gadget tem lentes líquidas que automaticamente focam em qualquer coisa que o usuário está vendo – independentemente da distância.

A ideia de desenvolver os óculos surgiu quando o professor Carlos Mastrangelo descobriu que tinha presbiopia, uma condição que afeta a maioria das pessoas a partir dos 45 anos. Também conhecido popularmente como “vista cansada”, o distúrbio faz com que o indivíduo não consiga ver com nitidez objetos próximos.

Mastrangelo disse em entrevista ao site The Verge que a maior dificuldade em ter presbiopia é que os óculos são usados em apenas algumas ocasiões. Caso estivesse dirigindo, ele não poderia usar os acessórios para olhar a estrada, porém ele também não conseguiria ver a tela do GPS ou o painel de controle do automóvel.

Por isso, o professor criou óculos que se modelam de acordo com a situação. Eles funcionam de uma maneira bem similar aos olhos humanos, já que as lentes – assim como o cristalino dos olhos de uma pessoa jovem – se curvam facilmente.

Isso é possível graças às membranas de borracha que seguram as lentes. A membrana traseira é conectada a três atuadores mecânicos que empurram a membrana para a frente e para trás. Desse modo, ela muda a curvatura da lente líquida – que é feita de glicerina – e, como consequência, muda a distância focal entre a lente e o olho.

“O comprimento focal dos óculos depende do formato da lente. Assim, para mudar a potência óptica, temos que mudar a forma da membrana”, disse Mastrangelo em um comunicado da Universidade de Utah.

Além disso, para que as lentes se curvem corretamente, o vidro dos óculos possui um sensor de distância que usa luz infravermelha para calcular a distância entre o objeto e os óculos. Segundo o professor, os óculos demoram 14 milissegundos para mudar de foco e têm uma bateria recarregável que dura mais de 24 horas.

Este é a primeira versão dos óculos. Mastrangelo e seu time de pesquisadores pretendem deixar o gadget mais bonito e elegante. A equipe também quer incluir uma câmera de profundidade e um sensor de rastreamento ocular na próxima versão dos óculos.

O professor acredita que o dispositivo poderá ser comercializado daqui a dois ou três anos. O preço estipulado por ele fica entre 500 e mil dólares. Segundo Mastrangelo, os óculos custam caro, mas valem o preço.


Notícias sobre GadgetsMedicina

Você está carregando seu smartphone do jeito errado




Por Nicolas Gunkel


Smartphone sendo carregado: ao contrário do que muitas pessoas pensam, é melhor carregá-lo em pequenos intervalos (Thinkstock)

São Paulo – Poucas coisas são mais irritantes em um momento de necessidade do que ficar sem bateria no celular. E, como você já deve ter percebido, esse problema se torna mais frequente à medida que o smartphone ganha meses de uso.

Mas, e se a forma como você carrega o seu aparelho não for a mais eficiente? Foi pensando nisso que o site Battery University preparou dicas, não apenas para a sua bateria durar o dia todo, mas também para mantê-la mais resistente no longo prazo.

Em primeiro lugar, ao contrário do que muitas pessoas acreditam, o site explica que é melhor carregar o smartphone em pequenos intervalos do que conectá-lo ao carregador apenas quando ele já estiver quase sem bateria.

Isso porque, assim como nós humanos, os smartphones “sentem” quando ficam com pouca energia e o acúmulo desse “estresse” acaba encurtando sua vida.

Assim como a falta de carga, o excesso dela também pode ser um problema. Por isso, recomenda-se que o usuário não mantenha o celular no carregador depois que sua carga estiver completa – algo que possivelmente você costuma fazer durante a noite.

Em outra analogia ao corpo humano, o site explica que o aparelho precisa “relaxar seus músculos depois de uma longa sessão de exercícios”, ou então terá sua saúde comprometida.

Quando possível, o mais indicado é carregá-lo várias vezes durante o dia por pouco tempo, e não poucas vezes por longos períodos. Isso não apenas permite que a bateria do seu smartphone tenha “um desempenho ótimo”, como também evita que sua carga se aproxime do zero.

O Battery University vai mais longe. Segundo o site, o ideal é que o smartphone sequer atinja sua carga máxima, pois a exposição frequente a uma alta voltagem pode prejudicá-lo no longo prazo. “A bateria de lítio não precisa ser completamente carregada; uma carga parcial é melhor”, resume.

O procedimento ideal, de acordo com o site, é carregar o seu celular sempre que ele tiver consumido cerca de 10% de sua bateria e retirá-lo da tomada um pouco antes de ele completar a carga de 100%.

Por fim, o site recomenda que você mantenha o celular em temperaturas moderadas e o retire da tomada imediatamente se ele estiver ficando quente. Uma forma de evitar o superaquecimento é tirar sua capinha enquanto ele estiver plugado.

Se você quiser entender melhor a base química por trás das dicas do Battery University, basta entrar aqui.

segunda-feira, 30 de janeiro de 2017

Milestone for the analysis of human proteomes




ProteomeTools: Synthetic peptides and spectra for proteomics

DOE/Ames Laboratory,

Researchers led by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) report on the synthesis of a library of more than 330,000 reference peptides representing essentially all canonical proteins of the human proteome. It is a major milestone in the ProteomeTools project which aims at translating human proteome information into new molecular and digital tools with the potential for use in drug discovery, personalized medicine and life science research.

In a manuscript published online in Nature Methods, ProteomeTools scientists report on the synthesis of a library of more than 330,000 reference peptides (termed PROPEL for ProteomeTools Peptide Library) representing essentially all canonical proteins of the human proteome. All peptides were analysed by multi-modal liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), creating a compendium of millions of very high quality reference spectra (termed PROSPECT for ProteomeTools Spectrum Compendium). The study illustrates the utility of these reagents and data to verify protein identifications from sparse observations and to predict the behaviour of peptides during liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry.

Data is freely available to the global scientific community

The consortium of TUM, JPT Peptide Technologies (JPT), SAP and Thermo Fisher Scientific has made the vast quantity of data freely available to the scientific community via the data analytics platform ProteomicsDB and the data repository PRIDE to enable scientists and to foster collaboration around the globe.

Going forward, the ProteomeTools project will generate a further one million peptides and corresponding spectra with a focus on splice variants, cancer mutations and post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation, acetylation and ubiquitinylation.

Using the new resources, ProteomeTools scientists will study human proteomes with the aim of turning the vast amount of molecular information on the human proteome into new reagents, equipment, workflows, assays and software to enhance the application of proteomics in both science and medicine.

"ProteomeTools was started as a collaborative effort bringing together academic and industrial partners to make important contributions to the field of proteomics. It is gratifying to see that this work is now producing a wealth of significant results," says Professor Bernhard Kuster, Chair of Proteomics and Bioanalytics at TUM, and coordinator of the project.

Develop new and improve upon existing hardware, software and workflows

"Representing the human proteome by tandem mass spectra of synthetic peptides alleviates some of the current issues with protein identification and quantification. The libraries of peptides and spectra now allow us to develop new and improve upon existing hardware, software, workflows and reagents for proteomics. Making all the data available to the public provides a wonderful opportunity to exploit this resource beyond what a single laboratory can do. We are now reaching out to the community to suggest interesting sets of peptides to make and measure as well as to create LC-MS/MS data on platforms not available to the ProteomeTools consortium."

Story Source:

Materials provided by Technical University of Munich (TUM). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Rule could take one-third of chest pain patients off emergency department heart monitors




Canadian Medical Association Journal,

Ottawa researchers have validated a rule that could safely take a third of chest pain patients in the emergency department off of heart monitors, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Implementing this made-in-Ottawa rule could free up these monitored beds for sicker patients and reduce wait times.

"Chest pain is one of the most common reasons people visit Canadian emergency departments, with around 800,000 visits a year," said Dr. Venkatesh Thiruganasambandamoorthy, lead author of the study and a scientist and emergency physician at The Ottawa Hospital and an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa. "Between the two emergency departments at The Ottawa Hospital we see around 35 chest pain patients every day, and usually 25 are assigned to monitored beds. This rule would let us safely remove eight patients from these beds, freeing up the monitors for other patients."

About 70 percent of chest pain patients who come to the emergency department are put in beds with heart monitors in order to detect a potentially dangerous condition called arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. However, previous studies have shown that this condition is rare, with less than two percent of chest pain patients experiencing it during stay.

This is why Ottawa researchers had previously developed a simple, highly sensitive tool to identify those patients who can be safely removed from heart monitors. According to the Ottawa Chest Pain Cardiac Monitoring Rule, patients can be removed if they have no current chest pain and there are no significant abnormalities in the electrocardiogram reading.

Patients are normally taken off the monitor after about eight hours, when they are discharged home. Applying this rule will allow patients to be taken off monitors much sooner. If implemented when they first arrive, the rule will allow them to be redirected to a non-monitored area of the emergency department.

To verify the rule, researchers observed chest pain patients in the emergency department. Then they tested whether the tool could accurately predict which patients had needed to stay on heart monitors because of irregular heartbeat.

They found that 15 of the 1,125 patients admitted to The Ottawa Hospital emergency departments for chest pain between November 2013 and April 2015 experienced irregular heartbeat during their eight-hour stay. The rule was able to predict with 100 percent accuracy the 15 patients who needed to stay on heart monitors. It also indicated that 36 percent of the 796 patients who were monitored during the study could have been safely removed from the monitors.

"This rule now has the potential to take a large number of low risk chest pain patients off of heart monitors," said Dr, Thiruganasambandamoorthy. "We started using this rule in The Ottawa Hospital emergency departments a few months ago, and we're watching the outcomes very closely. We have also spoken to several emergency departments across the country who are excited about bringing this rule into their hospitals."

Story Source:

Materials provided by Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

What primary care providers should know about diabetic neuropathy




New guidelines from Michigan Medicine researchers and the American Diabetes Association equip physicians with better information on the condition

University of Michigan Health System,

An estimated 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes develop some form of diabetic neuropathy, or the chronic nerve damage diabetes causes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

With so many people affected, researchers at Michigan Medicine led a group of internationally recognized endocrinologists and neurologists from both sides of the Atlantic and teamed up with the American Diabetes Association to craft a new position statement on the prevention, treatment and management of the condition.

The statement provides recommendations for physicians on the overall prevention of diabetic neuropathy, noting that preventing this complication is a key component of diabetes care because treatments to reverse the underlying nerve damage are lacking. It also delves into various diabetic neuropathies and suggests guidelines to manage and treat each.

The ADA last released a statement on diabetic neuropathy in 2005. This update better reflects the current landscape of diabetic neuropathy care.

"Our goal was to update the document so that it not only had the most up-to-date evidence, but also was easy to understand and relevant for primary care physicians," says Rodica Pop-Busui, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine at Michigan Medicine Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes and lead author of the statement. "We wanted it to be accessible to whoever takes care of diabetes patients, not just specialists."

Another goal of the statement was to clarify the multiple forms of diabetic neuropathy that exist.

"We wanted to unify all of the various forms of diabetic neuropathy in a more objective and easy-to-follow recommendation method," Pop-Busui says. "Many physicians have used different classifications for neuropathies. We came to a consensus to classify them in a more logical pattern, or format, for clinical care."

"We asked ourselves: What are the critical steps that have to be followed to diagnose diabetic neuropathy efficiently without ordering unnecessary evaluations for the patient, which can be expensive and may involve long wait times?" Pop-Busui says. "We agreed on an algorithm that can be used in the clinical care setting so physicians have an easier understanding of when to perform a center evaluation or when they should refer the patient to a neurologist."

Prevention and treatment recommendations

The research team includes a classification system for diabetic neuropathies within the statement, which describes the three main types: diffuse neuropathy, mononeuropathy, and radiculopathy or polyradiculopathy.

Diffuse neuropathy can be broken down into two categories, peripheral, which affects the feet and hands, and autonomic, which affects the internal organs. Common examples of diffuse neuropathy are distal symmetric polyneuropathy (DSPN) and cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (CAN).

Mononeuropathy occurs when a single nerve or an isolated nerve group is damaged. Radiculopathy occurs when the root of a nerve is pinched.

After establishing the classification system, the research team provides recommendations for overall prevention of diabetic neuropathy, including:

  • In type 1 diabetes, work to effectively control glucose as soon as possible to prevent or delay the development of DSPN and CAN.
  • In type 2 diabetes, work to effectively control glucose to prevent or slow the progression of DSPN.
  • With type 2 diabetes, consider a multifactorial approach with targeting glycemia and other risk factors to prevent CAN.

Recommendations for screening and diagnosing, managing and treating the specific forms are also now available.

For example, with DSPN, one of the most common forms of diabetic neuropathy encountered in the clinical setting, the researchers say:

  • All patients should be screened for DSPN as soon as they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and five years after the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, with annual screenings afterward.
  • If you have a patient with prediabetes who has symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, consider screening.
  • Assessment should include a careful history check, in addition to either a temperature or pinprick sensation (if the patient has small-fiber function) or a vibration sensation using a 128-hertz tuning fork (if the patient has large-fiber function). All patients should have an annual 10-gram monofilament testing to determine if their feet are at risk for ulceration or amputation.
  • Electrophysiological testing or referring the patient to a neurologist is rarely needed for screening, except if the symptoms presenting are atypical, such as motor greater than sensory neuropathy, rapid onset or asymmetrical presentation. You can also refer if the diagnosis is unclear or different etiology is suspected.

DSPN pain management

Pop-Busui mentions pain is often the reason many diabetic neuropathy patients seek help from their providers. The researchers recommend:

  • As the initial approach, consider either pregabalin or duloxetine.
  • Gabapentin can also be considered as an effective initial approach, but the patient's socioeconomic status, comorbidities and potential drug interactions have to be taken into consideration.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants are also effective but are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and should be used with caution because of the higher risk of serious side effects.
  • Opioids are not recommended as first- or second-line agents for treating pain associated with DSPN because of the high risks of addiction and other complications.

The importance of guidelines for diabetic neuropathy pain management

Pop-Busui says the position statement update is especially timely.

"Treatment of neuropathy pain is specifically relevant because, unfortunately, there has been much overprescribing of narcotics for neuropathic pain," Pop-Busui says. "We now provide clear evidence to fellow physicians that other agents are available and are more effective in treating diabetic neuropathy. We also demonstrate that there are ways to stay away from prescribing opioids and avoiding the epidemic of addiction and serious health consequences associated with opioid use in patients with diabetes."

She adds, "We hope these guidelines bring together primary care physicians, endocrinology specialists and neurologists to expand the care provided to diabetic patients."

Researchers on fast track to combat antibiotic resistance




January 30, 2017 by Thea Singer

Researchers on fast track to combat antibiotic resistance

Slava Epstein. Credit: Northeastern University

The marriage of two innovative technologies—one developed by Northeastern's Slava Epstein, the other by the Broad Institute's Paul Blainey—could accelerate both the discovery of new antibiotics that kill pathogens without encountering resistance and the diagnosis of specific pathogens causing disease, enabling fast, targeted treatments.

The new system, described in a paper in the journal Nature Communications, speaks to the Obama administration's recent release of a National Action Plan to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria that calls for nationwide tracking of antibiotic resistance in pathogens using DNA sequencing.

Why DNA sequencing? Because it reveals a pathogen's every move, whether offensive or defensive.

Four chemical compounds, called "bases," make up the DNA of organisms from bacteria to us. The order, or sequence, of those bases determines the organism's genetic inheritance. Taken together, the ordered bases—the "genome"—spell out the instructions for making and maintaining the entire organism. In the case of a bacterium, a particular sequence might code for a natural compound that kills other bacteria or, conversely, one that ensures its survival in the face of an attack from others. The killer compound could be a candidate for a new antibiotic, the protector compound the source of a bacterium's antibiotic resistance, letting clinicians know which drugs not to prescribe if it hits.

The research team's new lab-on-a-chip permits the screening of not only many more pathogens in record time at lower cost but also multitudes of pathogens that until now have not been available for analysis.

"The platform addresses the bottleneck in the overall sequencing of the genome, that is, the preparation of the DNA itself," says Epstein, Distinguished Professor of Biology. "In the past, researchers had to grow massive amounts of bacteria and extract, purify, fragment, tag, and sort massive amounts of DNA from them, a costly and time-consuming process. This new system reduces the amount of DNA required 100-fold. We can use a tiny amount of cells—even 10,000 is enough—and produce superior sequencing analyses."

Researchers on fast track to combat antibiotic resistance

The iChip. Credit: Slava Epstein

A meeting of minds

Blainey's lab at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard developed the fundamental technology: a tool that automates the steps necessary to prepare the DNA for sequencing using just minuscule amounts of each liquid sample. It employs the science of "microfluidics"—the flow of liquids, usually in the range of microliters (one-millionth of a liter) to picoliters (one-trillionth of a liter), through micrometer-size channels.

Epstein's iChip device expands the reach of Blainey's technology immeasurably. The iChip isolates and grows small colonies of individual bacterial cells in their natural soil environment, permitting researchers to access the 99 percent of soil-based microorganisms that won't grow in a lab, the so-called microbial dark matter.

In the past, researchers discovered new antibiotics by screening soil teeming with bacteria in the lab to find which ones produced compounds lethal to other bacteria. But today many bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, have acquired mutations that render them resistant to current antibiotics. With the well of culturable bacteria essentially run dry, Kim Lewis, University Distinguished Professor of Biology, and Epstein cofounded the Cambridge-based biotechnology company Novobiotic Pharmaceuticals to plumb the microbial dark matter, with iChip in hand. There, they and their colleagues discovered teixobactin, a new antibiotic that kills pathogens without encountering resistance. They are on the fast track to discover more.

"With this platform, we can do high-throughput screening of genomes of culturable and of previously unculturable bacteria," says Epstein. The paper describes success at sequencing both types accurately and quickly: The known pathogens Mycobacterium tuberculosis, whose slow growth stalls its diagnosis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and new soil microcolonies produced via the iChip.

The findings address a critical concern of the recent Report to the President on Combating Antibiotic Resistance, which notes: "CDC has a large repository of well-characterized bacterial pathogens, but few have been sequenced to date."

They also directly address patients' needs. Given the very small samples the system requires, individuals could benefit from rapid by-the-bedside testing to diagnose the particular pathogens causing their disease as well as which antibiotics the sequenced pathogen might be resistant to.

"The high-throughput and high-accuracy sample preparation method presented here is positioned to power precision medicine, genomic surveillance, antibiotic-resistance tracking, and novel organism/natural product discovery on large scales," the authors conclude.

Academics build ultimate solar-powered water purifier




January 30, 2017 by Cory Nealon

Move over Bear Grylls! Academics build ultimate solar-powered water purifier

From the top left corner, moving clockwise, the four images depict: University at Buffalo students performing an experiment, clean drinking water, water evaporating, and black carbon wrapped around plastic in water with evaporated vapor on …more

You've seen Bear Grylls turn foul water into drinking water with little more than sunlight and plastic.

Now, academics have added a third element—carbon-dipped paper—that may turn this survival tactic into a highly efficient and inexpensive way to turn saltwater and contaminated water into potable water for personal use.

The idea, which could help address global drinking water shortages, especially in developing areas and regions affected by natural disasters, is described in a study published online today (Jan. 30, 2017) in the journal Global Challenges.

"Using extremely low-cost materials, we have been able to create a system that makes near maximum use of the solar energy during evaporation. At the same time, we are minimizing the amount of heat loss during this process," says lead researcher Qiaoqiang Gan, PhD, associate professor of electrical engineering in the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Additional members of the research team are from UB's Department of Chemistry, Fudan University in China, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the lab of Gan, who is a member of UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics and UB's RENEW Institute, an interdisciplinary institute dedicated to solving complex environmental problems.

Solar vapor generator

To conduct the research, the team built a small-scale solar still. The device, which they call a "solar vapor generator," cleans or desalinates water by using the heat converted from sunlight. Here's how it works: The sun evaporates the water. During this process, salt, bacteria or other unwanted elements are left behind as the liquid moves into a gaseous state. The water vapor then cools and returns to a liquid state, where it is collected in a separate container without the salt or contaminants.

Move over Bear Grylls! Academics build ultimate solar-powered water purifier

A floating solar still prototype that researchers used for some of experiments. Credit: University at Buffalo.

"People lacking adequate drinking water have employed solar stills for years, however, these devices are inefficient," says Haomin Song, PhD candidate at UB and one of the study's leading co-authors. "For example, many devices lose valuable heat energy due to heating the bulk liquid during the evaporation process. Meanwhile, systems that require optical concentrators, such as mirrors and lenses, to concentrate the sunlight are costly."

The UB-led research team addressed these issues by creating a solar still about the size of mini-refrigerator. It's made of expanded polystyrene foam (a common plastic that acts as a thermal insulator and, if needed, a flotation device) and porous paper coated in carbon black. Like a napkin, the paper absorbs water, while the carbon black absorbs sunlight and transforms the solar energy into heat used during evaporation.

The solar still coverts water to vapor very efficiently. For example, only 12 percent of the available energy was lost during the evaporation process, a rate the research team believes is unprecedented. The accomplishment is made possible, in part, because the device converts only surface water, which evaporated at 44 degrees Celsius.

Efficient and inexpensive

Based upon test results, researchers believe the still is capable of producing 3 to 10 liters of water per day, which is an improvement over most commercial solar stills of similar size that produce 1 to 5 liters per day.

Materials for the new solar still cost roughly $1.60 per square meter—a number that could decline if the materials were purchased in bulk. (By contrast, systems that use optical concentrators can retail for more than $200 per square meter.) If commercialized, the device's retail price could ultimately reduce a huge projected funding gap—$26 trillion worldwide between 2010 and 2030, according to the World Economic Forum—needed for water infrastructure upgrades.

"The solar still we are developing would be ideal for small communities, allowing people to generate their own drinking water much like they generate their own power via solar panels on their house roof," says Zhejun Liu, a visiting scholar at UB, PhD candidate at Fudan University and one the study's co-authors

New smartwatch software may now verify your signatures




January 30, 2017

New smartwatch software may now verify your signatures

Credit: Tel Aviv University

The handwritten signature is still the most widely accepted biometric used to verify a person's identity. Banks, corporations, and government bodies rely on the human eye and digital devices such as tablets or smart pens to capture, analyse, and verify people's autographs.

New software developed by researchers at Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev now enables smartwatches, currently worn by one in six people around the world, to verify handwritten signatures.

The accompanying study was recently published on arXiv. It is available at https://arxiv.org/abs/1612.06305.

"A popular device worn by so many people should feature additional, critically useful functions," said study co-author Dr. Erez Shmueli of TAU's Department of Industrial Engineering, who added that 373 million of these devices will be in use by 2020. "Considering how dependent we are on signatures, we decided to develop software that would verify the smartwatch device wearer's handwritten signature."

The next step in signature verification

Signing on a digital pad or using a special electronic pen has replaced pen and paper in many instances, but these alternatives often require cumbersome dedicated devices. The new software developed by Dr. Shmueli and his student Alona Levy, in collaboration with Prof. Yuval Elovici of BGU's Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering and his student Ben Nassi, would turn any generic smartwatch into an expert signature verifier.

The novel technology utilizes motion data—a person's wrist movements measured by an accelerometer or a gyroscope—to uniquely identify them during the signing process and subsequently classify the signature as either genuine or forged.

"Using a wrist-worn device such as a smartwatch or a fitness tracker bears obvious advantages over other wearable devices, since it measures the gestures of the entire wrist rather than a single finger or an arm," said Dr. Shmueli. "While several other recent studies have examined the option of using motion data to identify users, this is its first application to verify handwritten signatures—still a requirement at the bank, the post office, your human resources department, etc."

Fighting forgery

The team tested its system on 66 TAU undergraduates. The students, all wearing smartwatches, were asked to provide 15 signature samples on a tablet, using the tablet's digital pen. The students were then shown video recordings of people signing during the first phase, and were asked to forge five of those signatures. The students were given ample time to practice and were compensated for "exceptional forgeries."

The smartwatch, equipped with the new verification software, was able to detect forgery with an extremely high level of accuracy.

"Next we plan to compare our approach with existing state-of-the-art methods for offline and online signature verification," said Dr. Shmueli. "We would also like to investigate the option of combining data extracted from the wearable device with data collected from a tablet device to achieve even higher verification accuracy."

The researchers have applied for a patent in an initial step toward commercializing their system.

Sound waves create whirlpools to round up tiny signs of disease



January 25, 2017

Sound waves create whirlpools to round up tiny signs of disease

The new acoustic whirlpool device with a penny for scale. The acoustic transducer creates a whirlpool in the long, thing, blue capillary tube that effectively concentrates nanoparticles. Credit: Duke University

Mechanical engineers at Duke University have demonstrated a tiny whirlpool that can concentrate nanoparticles using nothing but sound. The innovation could gather proteins and other biological structures from blood, urine or saliva samples for future diagnostic devices.

Early diagnosis is key to successfully treating many diseases, but spotting early indicators of a problem is often challenging. To pick out the first warning signs, physicians usually must concentrate scarce proteins, antibodies or other biomarkers from small samples of a patient's body fluid to provide enough of a signal for detection.

While there are many ways to accomplish this today, most are expensive, time-consuming or too cumbersome to take to the field, and they might require trained experts. Duke engineers are moving to develop a new device that addresses these obstacles.

In a new study, researchers paired a small acoustic transducer to a glass cylinder to produce a whirlpool that can capture these disease-signaling nanoparticles in its vortex. The system shows early promise for new diagnostic devices because it is compact, inexpensive, low-energy and does not alter the properties of the corralled particles.

The results appear online on January 25, 2017, in the journal American Chemical Society Nano.

Sound waves create whirlpools to round up tiny signs of disease

A sample of 500 nanometer particles in solution. In the top image, the acoustic whirlpool device turned off. The bottom image shows that when the device is turned on, the nanoparticles are concentrated to the point of becoming visible as a …more

"Diagnosis impacts about 70 percent of healthcare decisions," said Tony Huang, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke. "If we can improve the quality of diagnostics while reducing its costs, then we can tremendously improve the entire healthcare system."

The new technology relies on calculating and manipulating the effects of the two forces associated with sound waves—acoustic radiation and acoustic streaming. If you've ever blown air across the top of a bottle to create a tone, then you're familiar with the latter. Acoustic streaming is the same phenomenon but in reverse, where a vibrating body induces a fluid to flow.


Five ways the Fourth Industrial Revolution will transform NGOs




The Fourth Industrial Revolution will arguably become the most disruptive and transformative shift in history, and it's happening at a rapid pace. Experts from all over the world are discussing how technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing, robotics and biotechnology will have a transformative impact on nearly every industry—from manufacturing and retail to entertainment to healthcare.

But one of the biggest areas of transformation will happen within the social sector. Nonprofits, NGOs and education institutions have a tremendous opportunity to leverage new technologies to scale up their impact and ultimately achieve their critical missions.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution offers huge opportunities to transform social good organizations for the better. Here are five key ways nonprofits, NGOs and education institutions can benefit:

1. Connect to anyone, from anywhere, on any device: The digital era has allowed more people from more places around the globe to become connected. And for the first time, people in remote places have access to other people, resources and aid through the connected devices. There’s a huge opportunity for nonprofits and education institutions to reach more people than ever before and connect them with their cause. Today, nonprofits and education organizations can connect with their donors, volunteers, students and constituents in real-time from anywhere. At schools, for example, a student advisor can send a text message or push notification the minute they see a student falling behind. Nonprofits can instantly reach their community of donors and volunteers to help with urgent matters that may mean the difference between life and death.

2. Scale like never before: Because we’re more connected than ever before, social good organizations can also scale like never before. Historically, a lack of resources and funding have plagued the social sector, but technology can help small organizations make a big impact. Now, it doesn’t matter whether an organization has 8 or 8,000 employees, the amount of people that can be reached is limitless. Populations that were previously unreachable can now be tapped and connected with particular causes without having to drastically increase overhead costs. Individuals with a passion who may have previously felt helpless will be able to start international movements with minimal resources.

3. Organize communities and engage more deeply: Organizations can also start to organize and understand these communities better than ever before, resulting in deeper engagement. A nonprofit, for example, can organize its community based on region, specific causes, engagement level and more, and communicate with these groups or individuals in a way that’s highly personalized. According to the recently released Connected Nonprofit Report, 65% of donors would give more money if they felt their nonprofits knew their personal preferences—and 75% of volunteers would give more time. With deeper engagement, these organizations will start to see increases in donations and volunteer time, which directly impacts their mission. For schools and education organizations, they can create a curriculum and course tools around specific learning styles and preferences in order to engage them more deeply and improve their education experience.

4. Predict outcomes: Not only is everyone becoming connected, but everything is becoming connected. In fact, there are expected to be up to 75 billion connected devices in the world by 2020 that will generate trillions of interactions. Advances in artificial intelligence and deep learning are helping make sense of this massive amount of data to deliver actionable insights to businesses and organizations alike. Artificial Intelligence could perhaps be the biggest disrupter of all. For the social sector, that means services can recognize patterns within a community or particular cause and predict future outcomes. For example, education institutions can recognize patterns within a student’s journey, so teachers and advisors can proactively reach out to students who may be in danger of failing or dropping out before it happens. A nonprofit focused on the humanitarian crisis, could identify the specific location and number of refugees coming into different countries, and preemptively send the appropriate level of aid and supplies.

5. Measure impact: Today, 90% of donors think it’s important to understand how their money is impacting the organizations they support, but more than half of donors don’t know how their money is being used, according to the Connected Nonprofit Report. As we look toward the future, the measure of nonprofit success will not be the amount of dollars raised—it will be the impact made on the communities they serve. Historically, impact has not been quantifiable, but with advances in data and analytics, social good organizations can measure how they are performing. This will be crucial to maintain and attract donors and volunteers who help make these organizations possible.

Technology can create, inform and drive global change. The social sector can use it to find and connect with more people who need their services, understand their communities on a deeper level, predict outcomes to make them better prepared and possibly prevent certain situations, and even measure the impact they’re making against their cause.

But it’s up to social good organizations to take advantage of these opportunities—and quickly.


Written by

Rob Acker, CEO, Salesforce.org

Menor lente do mundo mostra ligações químicas entre átomos




Menor lente do mundo mostra ligações químicas entre átomos

Com a nova lente será possível explorar novos dispositivos de armazenamento de dados optomecânicos, nos quais a informação seja escrita e lida por luz e armazenada na forma de vibrações moleculares. [Imagem: NanoPhotonics Cambridge/Bart deNijs]

Menor lente de aumento do mundo

Durante séculos, os cientistas acreditaram que a luz, como todas as ondas, não poderia ser focada em um ponto menor do que seu comprimento de onda - pouco menos de um milionésimo de metro, ou algumas centenas de nanômetros.

Essa crença vem sendo desmistificada ao longo dos anos com o auxílio de diversas técnicas, incluindo metalentes e diversos tipos de lentes planas.

Agora, uma equipe do Reino Unido e da Espanha criou a menor lente de aumento do mundo, capaz de concentrar a luz em um ponto um bilhão de vezes menor, até a escala de átomos individuais.

Felix Benz e seus colegas usaram nanopartículas para construir a menor cavidade óptica já feita, tão pequena que apenas uma única molécula pode caber dentro dela. A cavidade - que a equipe chamou de "picocavidade" - foi esculpida em uma nanoestrutura de ouro, sendo ela a responsável por confinar a luz a menos de um bilionésimo de metro.

"Nossos modelos sugerem que átomos individuais que se projetam [da superfície da nanopartícula] podem atuar como pequenos pára-raios, mas focando a luz em vez da eletricidade," disse o professor Javier Aizpurua, da Universidade Politécnica de Valência.

Novos campos de pesquisas e aplicações

Com um foco tão minúsculo, com dimensões similares às de um único átomo, torna-se possível observar ligações químicas individuais dentro de moléculas, abrindo novas formas de estudar a luz e a matéria.

Por exemplo, é possível fazer com que as moléculas na cavidade passem por reações químicas e observar tudo o que acontece, o que pode permitir o desenvolvimento de tipos inteiramente novos de sensores.

Em sentido mais amplo, o avanço tem o potencial para abrir um novo campo de estudo e exploração de reações químicas catalisadas por luz, permitindo que moléculas complexas sejam construídas a partir de componentes menores.

Além disso, a equipe afirma ser possível explorar novos dispositivos de armazenamento de dados optomecânicos, nos quais a informação seja escrita e lida por luz e armazenada na forma de vibrações moleculares.


20 Big Questions about the Future of Humanity




Credit: Kyle Hilton

1. Does humanity have a future beyond Earth?
“I think it’s a dangerous delusion to envisage mass emigration from Earth. There’s nowhere else in the solar system that’s as comfortable as even the top of Everest or the South Pole. We must address the world’s problems here. Nevertheless, I’d guess that by the next century, there will be groups of privately funded adventurers living on Mars and thereafter perhaps elsewhere in the solar system. We should surely wish these pioneer settlers good luck in using all the cyborg techniques and biotech to adapt to alien environments. Within a few centuries they will have become a new species: the posthuman era will have begun. Travel beyond the solar system is an enterprise for posthumans—organic or inorganic.”
—Martin Rees, British cosmologist and astrophysicist

2. When and where do you think we will find extraterrestrial life?
“If there is abundant microbial life on Mars, I suspect that we will find it within 20 years—if it is enough like our form of life. If an alien life-form differs much from what we have here on Earth, it is going to be difficult to detect. It’s also possible that any surviving Martian microbes are rare and located in places that are difficult for a robotic lander to reach. Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Titan are more compelling places. Europa is a water world where more complex forms of life may have evolved. And Titan is probably the most interesting place in the solar system to look for life. It is rich in organic molecules but very cold and has no liquid water; if life exists on Titan, it will be very different from life on Earth.”
—Carol E. Cleland, philosophy professor and co-investigator in the Center for Astrobiology at the University of Colorado Boulder

3. Will we ever understand the nature of consciousness?
“Some philosophers, mystics and other confabulatores nocturne pontificate about the impossibility of ever understanding the true nature of consciousness, of subjectivity. Yet there is little rationale for buying into such defeatist talk and every reason to look forward to the day, not that far off, when science will come to a naturalized, quantitative and predictive understanding of consciousness and its place in the universe.”
Christof Koch, president and CSO at the Allen Institute for Brain Science; member of the Scientific American Board of Advisers

4. Will the entire world one day have adequate health care?
“The global community has made tremendous progress toward health equity over the past 25 years, but these advances have not reached the world’s most remote communities. Deep in the rain forest, where people are cut off from transportation and cellular networks, mortality is the highest, access to health care is the most limited and quality of care is the worst. The World Health Organization estimates that one billion people go their entire lives without seeing a health worker because of distance. Health workers recruited directly from the communities they serve can bridge the gap. They can even fight epidemics such as Ebola and maintain access to primary care when health facilities are forced to shut their doors. My organization, Last Mile Health, now deploys more than 300 health workers in 300 communities across nine districts in partnership with the government of Liberia. But we can’t do this work alone. If the global community is serious about ensuring access to health care for all, it must invest in health workers who can reach the most remote communities.”
—Raj Panjabi, co-founder and chief executive at Last Mile Health and instructor at Harvard Medical School

5. Will brain science change criminal law?
“In all likelihood, the brain is a causal machine, in the sense that it goes from state to state as a function of antecedent conditions. The implications of this for criminal law are absolutely nil. For one thing, all mammals and birds have circuitry for self-control, which is modified through reinforcement learning (being rewarded for making good choices), especially in a social context. Criminal law is also about public safety and welfare. Even if we could identify circuitry unique to serial child rapists, for example, they could not just be allowed to go free, because they would be apt to repeat. Were we to conclude, regarding, say, Boston priest John Geoghan, who molested some 130 children, ‘It’s not his fault he has that brain, so let him go home,’ the result would undoubtedly be vigilante justice. And when rough justice takes the place of a criminal justice system rooted in years of making fair-minded law, things get very ugly very quickly.”
—Patricia Churchland, professor of philosophy and neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego

6. What is the chance Homo sapiens will survive for the next 500 years?
“I would say that the odds are good for our survival. Even the big threats—nuclear warfare or an ecological catastrophe, perhaps following from climate change—aren’t existential in the sense that they would wipe us out entirely. And the current bugaboo, in which our electronic progeny exceed us and decide they can live without us, can be avoided by unplugging them.”
—Carlton Caves, Distinguished Professor in physics and astronomy at the University of New Mexico

7. Are we any closer to preventing nuclear holocaust?
“Since 9/11 the U.S. has had a major policy focus on reducing the danger of nuclear terrorism by increasing the security of highly enriched uranium and plutonium and removing them from as many locations as possible. A nuclear terrorist event could kill 100,000 people. Three decades after the end of the cold war, however, the larger danger of a nuclear holocaust involving thousands of nuclear explosions and tens to hundreds of millions of immediate deaths still persists in the U.S.–Russia nuclear confrontation.

Remembering Pearl Harbor, the U.S. has postured its nuclear forces for the possibility of a bolt-out-of-the-blue first strike in which the Soviet Union would try to destroy all the U.S. forces that were targetable. We don’t expect such an attack today, but each side still keeps intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles carrying about 1,000 warheads in a launch-on-warning posture. Because the flight time of a ballistic missile is only 15 to 30 minutes, decisions that could result in hundreds of millions of deaths would have to be made within minutes. This creates a significant possibility of an accidental nuclear war or even hackers causing launches.

The U.S. does not need this posture to maintain deterrence, because it has about 800 warheads on untargetable submarines at sea at any time. If there is a nuclear war, however, U.S. Strategic Command and Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces want to be able to use their vulnerable land-based missiles before they can be destroyed. So the cold war may be over, but the Doomsday Machine that came out of the confrontation with the Soviets is still with us—and on a hair trigger.”
—Frank von Hippel, emeritus professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and co-founder of Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security

8. Will sex become obsolescent?
“No, but having sex to conceive babies is likely to become at least much less common. In 20 to 40 years we’ll be able to derive eggs and sperm from stem cells, probably the parents’ skin cells. This will allow easy preimplantation genetic diagnosis on a large number of embryos—or easy genome modification for those who want edited embryos instead of just selected ones.”
—Henry Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University

9. Could we one day replace all of the tissues in the human body through engineering?
“In 1995 Joseph Vacanti and I wrote for this magazine about advances in artificial pancreas technology, plastic-based tissues such as artificial skin and electronics that might permit blind people to see [see ‘
Artificial Organs,’ by Robert Langer and Joseph P. Vacanti; Scientific American, September 1995]. All of these are coming to pass, either as real products or in clinical trials. Over the next few centuries it is quite possible that nearly every tissue in the body may be able to be replaced by such approaches. Creating or regenerating tissues such as those found in the brain, which is extremely complex and poorly understood, will take an enormous amount of research. The hope is, however, that research in this area will happen quickly enough to help with brain diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.”
—Robert Langer, David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

10. Can we avoid a “sixth extinction”?
“It can be slowed, then halted, if we take quick action. The greatest cause of species extinction is loss of habitat. That is why I’ve stressed an assembled global reserve occupying half the land and half the sea, as necessary, and in my book Half-Earth, I show how it can be done. With this initiative (and the development of a far better species-level ecosystem science than the one we have now), it will also be necessary to discover and characterize the 10 million or so species estimated to remain; we’ve only found and named two million to date. Overall, an extension of environmental science to include the living world should be, and I believe will be, a major initiative of science during the remainder of this century.”
Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor emeritus at Harvard University

11. Can we feed the planet without destroying it?
“Yes. Here’s what we need to do: reduce crop waste, consumer waste and meat consumption; integrate appropriate seed technologies and management practices; engage consumers about the challenges farmers face in both the developed and the developing world; increase public funding for agricultural research and development; and focus on advancing the socioeconomic and environmental aspects of farming that characterize sustainable agriculture.”
—Pamela Ronald, professor in the Genome Center and the department of plant pathology at the University of California, Davis*

12. Will we ever colonize outer space?
“That depends on the definition of ‘colonize.’ If landing robots qualifies, then we’ve already done it. If it means sending microbes from Earth and having them persist and maybe grow, then, unfortunately, it’s not unlikely that we’ve done that as well—possibly on Mars with the Phoenix spacecraft and almost certainly inside the Curiosity rover, which carries a heat source and was not fully baked the way Viking had been.

If it means having humans live elsewhere for a longer period of time, but not reproduce, then that’s something that might happen within the next 50 years or so. (Even some limited degree of reproduction might be feasible, recognizing that primates will be primates.) But if the idea is to construct a self-sustaining environment where humans can persist indefinitely with only modest help from Earth—the working definition of a ‘colony,’ according to the various European colonies outside of Europe—then I’d say this is very far in the future, if it’s possible at all. We currently have a very inadequate understanding of how to build closed ecosystems that are robust to perturbation by introduced organisms or nonbiological events (Biosphere 2, for example), and I suspect that the contained ecosystem problem will turn out to be much more challenging than the vast majority of space colonization advocates realize. There are a wide range of technical problems to solve, another being air handling. We haven’t bothered to colonize areas underwater on Earth yet. It’s far more challenging to colonize a place where there’s hardly any atmosphere at all.”
—Catharine A. Conley, NASA planetary protection officer

13. Will we discover a twin Earth?
“My money’s on yes. We’ve found that planets around other stars are far more abundant and diverse than scientists imagined just a couple of decades ago. And we’ve also found that the crucial ingredient for life on this planet—water—is common in space. I’d say nature seems to have stacked the deck in favor of a wide range of planets, including Earth-like planets. We just have to look for them.”
—Aki Roberge, research astrophysicist focusing on exoplanets at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

14. Will there ever be a cure for Alzheimer’s?
“I am not sure if there will be a cure, per se, but I am very hopeful that there will be a successful disease-modifying therapy for Alzheimer’s disease within the next decade. We have now started prevention trials that are testing biological interventions even before people show clinical symptoms of the disease. And we don’t have to cure Alzheimer’s—we just need to delay dementia by five to 10 years. Estimates show that a five-year delay in the terrible and expensive dementia stage of the disease would reduce Medicare dementia costs by nearly 50 percent. Most important, that would mean that many older people could die while out ballroom dancing rather than in nursing homes.”
—Reisa Sperling, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment

15. Will we use wearable technologies to detect our emotions?
“Emotions involve biochemical and electrical signals that reach every organ in our bodies—allowing, for example, stress to impact our physical and mental health. Wearable technologies let us quantify the patterns in these signals over long periods of time. In the coming decade wearables will enable the equivalent of personalized weather forecasts for our health: 80 percent increased probability in health and happiness for you next week, based on your recent stress/sleep/social-emotional activities. Unlike with weather, however, smart wearables can also identify patterns we might choose to change to reduce unwanted ‘storm’ events: Increase sleep to greater than or equal to nine hours per night and maintain current low-moderate stress, for a 60 percent reduced likelihood of seizure in the next four days. Over the next 20 years, wearables, and analytics derived from them, can dramatically reduce psychiatric and neurological disease.”
—Rosalind Picard, founder and director of the Affective Computing research group at the M.I.T. Media Lab

16. Will we ever figure out what dark matter is?
“Whether we can determine what dark matter is depends on what it turns out to be. Some forms of dark matter allow detection through small interactions with ordinary matter that have so far evaded detection. Others might be detectable through their influence on structures such as galaxies. I’m hopeful we will learn more through experiments or observations. But it’s not guaranteed.”
—Lisa Randall, Frank B. Baird, Jr., professor of science in theoretical physics and cosmology at Harvard University

17. Will we get control of intractable brain diseases like schizophrenia or autism?
“Diseases like autism and schizophrenia remain elusive because neuroscience hasn’t found a structural problem to fix. Some interpret this to mean future answers lie purely in biochemistry, not neural circuits. Others argue the key is for the neuroscientist to start to think in terms of overall brain architecture—not specific neural failures. Still, when thinking about the future, I am reminded of the Nobelist Charles Townes’s remark that the wonderful thing about a new idea is you don’t know about it.”
—Michael Gazzaniga, director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara

18. Will technology eliminate the need for animal testing in drug development?
“If human organs on chips can be shown to be robust and consistently recapitulate complex human organ physiology and disease phenotypes in unrelated laboratories around the world, as suggested by early proof-of-concept studies, then we will see them progressively replace one animal model at a time. That will eventually lead to significant reductions in use of animal testing. Importantly, these devices also will open up new approaches to drug development not possible with animal models today, such as personalized medicines and development of therapeutics for specific genetic subpopulations using chips created using cells from particular patients.”
—Donald E. Ingber, founding director, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University

19. Will gender equality be achieved in the sciences?
“Gender equality can be achieved, but we can’t just sit back and wait for it to happen. We need to ‘fix the numbers’ by recruiting more women into science and technology. We need to fix the institutions by implementing dual-career hiring, family-friendly policies, and new visions of what it means to be a leader. And, most importantly, we need to fix the knowledge by harnessing the creative power of gender analysis for discovery and innovation.”
—Londa Schiebinger, John L. Hinds Professor of History of Science at Stanford University

20. Do you think we will one day be able to predict natural disasters such as earthquakes with warning times of days or hours?
“Some natural disasters are easier to see coming than others. Hurricanes approach over days, volcanoes often build up to an eruption over days to hours, tornadoes strike within a few minutes. Earthquakes are perhaps the greatest challenge. What we know about the physics of earthquakes suggests that we will not be able to predict earthquakes days in advance. But what we can do is predict the damaging ground shaking just before it arrives and provide seconds to minutes of warning. Not enough time to get out of town, but enough time to get to a safe location.”
—Richard M. Allen, director, Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley

*Editor's Note (8/22/16): This biographical note was edited after posting to correct an error in Ronald's title. 

This article was originally published with the title "20 Big Questions about the Future of Humanity"

In the store

Scientific American