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Stephen Hawking's newly published essays reveal dark prediction: Wealthy will create 'superhuman race'

Stephen Hawking
© Reuters / Lucas Jackson
'Brief Answers to the Big Questions' is a collection of articles and essays revealing the final thoughts of the late Stephen Hawking.
A collection of newly published essays written by Stephen Hawking before his death reveal the iconic physicist believed wealthy people could create a new race of "superhumans" by editing their children's DNA.

The collection of articles and essays, which has appeared in part in the Sunday Times, will be published in their entirety as a book called: 'Brief Answers to the Big Questions', due to be released on October 16.

Hawking, who died in March, writes that he is sure breakthroughs in genetic engineering will allow people to create a superhuman race within this century. He also predicted that while laws will try to prevent it, the rich and greedy will be unable to resist the temptation.

Comment: See: Humanity 2.0?! The transhumanism agenda has gone totally mainstream


Catastrophic geological events could have created evolutionary bottlenecks

Impact Event
© NASA/Don Davis
Giant asteroid impacts could have created evolutionary bottlenecks that decided the path that evolution should take.
Evidence that catastrophic geological events could have created evolutionary bottlenecks that changed the course of life on Earth may be buried within ancient rocks beneath our feet.

There is a 700-million year gap in Earth's history, and in that time one of the most transformative events happened: life appeared. This missing epoch could hold not just the secret of humanity's first ancestor, but could guide our search for life on other planets.

To this end a recent paper, published in the scientific journal Astrobiology, tries to bring the worlds of geology and chemistry together by laying out what Earth's ancient geology tells us about when life began on the planet, and how geological constraints - such as those caused by an asteroid impact or evolutionary bottlenecks - can be used to vet the different theories about the evolution of life.

"Geologists have only weakly constrained the time when the Earth became habitable and the later time when life actually existed to the long interval between about 4.5 billion years ago and 3.85 billion years ago," Norm Sleep, a geologist at Stanford University in the United States, writes in his paper.


Scientists claim virtual reality environments can change our food tastes

virtual reality  alter tastes
© Global Look Press / Maximilian Schönherr
Participants were asked to rate the pungency of cheese in various VR environments.
When we eat, the ambiance and environment play a much larger role than previously thought. A team of scientists at Cornell University have shown that we can alter how our food tastes using virtual reality.

"When we eat, we perceive not only just the taste and aroma of foods, we get sensory input from our surroundings - our eyes, ears, even our memories about surroundings," said Robin Dando, associate professor of food science and senior author of the research.

In the study, published in the Journal of Food Science, a total of 50 test subjects were given three samples of blue cheese which they tasted while wearing a virtual reality headset that placed them in three distinct digital environments: a sensory booth, a park bench, and a cow barn at Cornell University.

Unbeknownst to the participants, all three samples of cheese were identical, only the digital environment in which they ate the cheese changed. They were then asked to rate the taste and odor of the cheese and, as a control method, were also asked to rate its saltiness.

Microscope 1

Harvard Medical School determines that pioneer of cardiac stem cell treatment fabricated 31 studies

stem cell research
© Reuters / Gareth Watkins
Two prestigious US hospitals have concluded a prominent cardiologist whose research served as the foundation for cardiac stem cell therapy fabricated or falsified data in at least 31 published studies that should now be retracted.

Piero Anversa's research first made waves in 2001, when he published a paper in Nature suggesting that stem cells could regenerate damaged heart muscle. The revolutionary discovery sparked a massive clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health and led to the formation of numerous startup companies seeking to develop new treatments for heart attacks and stroke based on his research.

Anversa conducted his research at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. In April 2017, after reviewing his work for four years, Brigham and Women's paid $10 million to the federal government to settle allegations the doctor had secured research funding using fraudulent data.

Comment: Whether Anversa is guilty of conducting shoddy science, or was on a pathological quest to make a name for himself (or both), is unclear. What is clear is that stem cell research may be leading to a very promising path to healing - and now has something of a black mark because of this scientist's intentional or unwitting lack of rigor.

See also:


Nobel chemistry research validates intelligent design concept of irreducible complexity

michael behe

Michael Behe, in a scene from Revolutionary: Michael Behe and the Mystery of Molecular Machines
My Discovery Institute colleagues and I have observed that the recent Nobel Prize in chemistry, awarded to Drs. Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith, and Gregory P. Winter for the ingenious engineering of biomolecules, rewards research that is crucially dependent on the inference to design in biochemistry and to intelligent design as a method of science. The Nobel laureates (implicitly or explicitly) inferred design in cellular structure and function and used random genetic variation of molecules to design highly effective biomolecules. It's beautiful bioengineering - using random variation in biomolecules to design better molecules. It's beautiful work in intelligent design science.

Coyne Is Aghast

Predictably, Darwinists are aghast. At Why Evolution Is True, Professor Jerry Coyne is exasperated: "I have no words," he says. He then goes to write:
I presume that Egnor thinks that Frances Arnold [one of the Nobel laureates] is God. Either that, or he fails to understand that humans mimicking evolution in the lab isn't the same thing as a designer being humanlike and creating plants and animals.

And the first ID prize?

"Linus Pauling's groundbreaking work on protein structure in the early 20th century (for which he won the Nobel Prize) depended critically on his correct inference that the structure of a protein must account for the purpose the protein serves in cellular metabolism."

That all turns on the ambiguous meaning of "purpose", and this is a prime and a rare correct example of "begging the question". For Egnor, "purpose" presupposes a God rather than being shorthand for "what the protein does as well as the nature of the reproductive advantage conferred by evolutionary changes in that protein."

Comment: Coyne is an idiot. Purpose means purpose, something that is impossible in a materialistic - and thereby non-teleological - universe.

Coyne misunderstands design science. Intelligent design is two scientific inferences: 1) design is the most reasonable explanation for some aspects of biology, and 2) inference to design in biology is a powerful tool in scientific methodology. These Nobel laureates used the second inference - that inference to design is a powerful tool in biological science - to guide their research.


Camera captures light in slow motion: 10 trillion frames per second

light speed measurement
© Caltech Optical Imaging Laboratory
The trillion-frame-per-second compressed ultrafast photography system.
Light is the fastest thing in the universe, so trying to catch it on the move is necessarily something of a challenge. We've had some success, but a new rig built by Caltech scientists pulls down a mind-boggling 10 trillion frames per second, meaning it can capture light as it travels along - and they have plans to make it a hundred times faster.

Understanding how light moves is fundamental to many fields, so it isn't just idle curiosity driving the efforts of Jinyang Liang and his colleagues - not that there'd be anything wrong with that either. But there are potential applications in physics, engineering, and medicine that depend heavily on the behavior of light at scales so small, and so short, that they are at the very limit of what can be measured.


Telecoms firm Orange collaborating with Google to lay private undersea cable between France and US

The 6,600km undersea cable will open in 2020 and is one of seven Google is building over the next two years

undersea cable US France

The cable will provide Orange alone with a capacity of ‘more than 30 terabits per second, per [fibre] pair’ – enough, the company says, ‘to transfer a 1GB movie file in 30 microseconds’.
Telecoms firm Orange has teamed up with Google to work on a private undersea cable connecting the Atlantic coasts of France and the United States.

Measuring 6,600km in length, the undersea cable will be named Dunant after Henry Dunant, the first Nobel peace prize winner and founder of the Red Cross. When it comes online in 2020, it will provide Orange alone with a capacity of "more than 30 terabits per second, per [fibre] pair" - enough, the company says, "to transfer a 1GB movie file in 30 microseconds". Neither Orange nor Google released information about the total capacity of the cable, nor how they would allocate it between them.

The cable will be the first new submarine cable between the US and France in 15 years. It's Google's fourth completely private undersea cable, following two short-distance tests, named Alpha and Beta, and the long-distance Curie cable - named after the famed physicist Marie Curie - that links the US west coast to Chile. That cable, which will come online in 2019, will make Google the first major non-telecom company to build a private intercontinental cable. It is also the first subsea cable to land in Chile in almost 20 years, and will be the largest single data pipe connecting the country to the rest of the world.


Milky way could be spreading life from star to star

milky way
For almost two centuries, scientists have theorized that life may be distributed throughout the Universe by meteoroids, asteroids, planetoids, and other astronomical objects. This theory, known as Panspermia, is based on the idea that microorganisms and the chemical precursors of life are able to survive being transported from one star system to the next.

Expanding on this theory, a team of researchers from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) conducted a study that considered whether panspermia could be possible on a galactic scale. According to the model they created, they determined that the entire Milky Way (and even other galaxies) could be exchanging the components necessary for life.

The study, "Galactic Panspermia", recently appeared online and is being reviewed for publication by the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The study was led by Idan Ginsburg, a visiting scholar at the CfA's Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC), and included Manasvi Lingam and Abraham Loeb - an ITC postdoctoral researcher and the director of the ITC and the Frank B. Baird Jr. Chair of Science at Harvard University, respectively.

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's:


Cosmic uncertainty: Scientists wondering is the speed of light really constant?

speed of light physics
© Henrik Sorensen/Getty
The universe's ultimate speed limit seems set in stone. But there's good reason to believe it might once have been faster - and may still be changing now

The speed of light in a vacuum is the ultimate cosmic speed limit. Just getting close to it causes problems: the weird distortions of Einstein's relativity kick in, so time slows down, lengths go up, masses balloon and everything you thought was fixed changes. Only things that have no mass in the first place can reach light speed - photons of light being the classic example. Absolutely nothing can exceed this cosmic max.

We have known about the special nature of light speed since an experiment by US physicists Albert Michelson and Edward Morley in the 1880s. They set two beams of light racing off, one parallel and one at right angles to the direction of Earth's rotation, assuming the different relative motions would mean the light beams would travel at different speeds - only to find the speed was always the same.


Fireball 5

Earth just narrowly dodged bulk of Draconids meteor storm


Here it is, showing Earth shooting the gap between two filaments of comet dust
On Oct. 8-9, Europeans outdoors around midnight were amazed when a flurry of faint meteors filled the sky. "It was a strong outburst of the annual Draconid meteor shower," reports Jure Atanackov, a member of the International Meteor Organization who witnessed the display from Slovenia. Between 22:00 UT (Oct. 8) and 01:00 UT (Oct. 9), dark-sky meteor rates exceeded 100 per hour. In eastern France, Tioga Gulon saw "1 to 2 meteors per minute," many of them shown here in an image stacked with frames from his video camera:

"It was a rare and impressive event," says Atanackov.

It could easily have been 10 times more impressive. In fact, Earth narrowly dodged a meteor storm.

The European outburst occurred as Earth skirted a filament of debris from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. If that filament had shifted in our direction by a mere 0.005 AU (~500,000 miles), Earth would have experienced a worldwide storm of 1000+ meteors per hour. These conclusions are based on a computer model of the comet's debris field from the University of Western Ontario's Meteor Physics Group.

Comment: We've been relatively lucky up until this point, but there will become a time when the meteor threat will become very real indeed: