Martians Might Be Closer than We Imagined.

[Digest: BGR; theguardian; Observer/Innovation] The desire to reach beyond the bounds of our known world is inextricably wound up with the human condition, and movies like the recently-released The Martian feed directly into those desires. Based on a bestselling book by Andy Weir, director Ridley Scott’s The Martian, starring Matt Damon, has become an instant … Continued

“Wormholes” — Now Found in More Than Compost

[DIGEST: Nature, Physical Review Letters, Lab Manager, Fox News] Science fiction novels, television and movies are riddled with wormholes, places where a spaceship can fly through a mysterious field and wind up in a completely different place. While physicists have proposed theories for how we might generate such gravitational wormholes, current technology does yet not … Continued

A Breakthrough in the Search for a Cure for ALS Could Change Our Understanding of “Genetic” Diseases

[DIGEST: New York Times, Washington Post, Hopkins Medicine] We like to think that disease is simple. Medical researchers and molecular biologists know better, of course, but that rarely filters out into our broader cultural imagination. The popular press is filled with stories about toxins or disease-causing genes because we want simple answers to complicated questions. … Continued

Aliens? Comets? Alien megastructures in orbit? Unusual star provokes questions.

[DIGEST: Washington Post, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Universe Today, The Atlantic] The Internet has been alight with speculation about the existence of alien megastructures since the publication of a paper about the star KIC 8462852 in early September. The star is one of more than 150,000 being monitored by the Kepler Space … Continued

Artificial Life Just Got a Little More Real with Robot Mom

[DIGEST: News Daily, The Telegraph, Reuters] Scientists at the University of Cambridge have designed a robot “mom” that discovers how to build little walking baby robots out of blocks with motors in them. The “mom” robot, shaped like a mechanical arm, is not given any plans or instructions on how to design the children. She … Continued

The Science Behind Vampires: How Blood May Keep You Young.

[DIGEST: Stanford Medicine News, The Guardian] By year’s end, we may learn whether injecting old people with blood from young people can improve their memory and even reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Last year, the Stanford Medicine New Center reported that a team of medical researchers, led by neurologist Dr. Tony Wyss-Coray, infused old … Continued

Killer Robots Are Not The Problem: Humans Are.

SECOND NEXUS PERSPECTIVE A dramatic open letter was unveiled at The International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) last month, signed by a number of high-profile scientists and technological pioneers – including Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak – pleading with the powers of the world to ban autonomous war machines driven by artificial … Continued

The Largest Structure in Universe Discovered: One Ring to Rule Them All

SECOND NEXUS DIGEST: Royal Astronomical Society, Mother Nature Network, Discovery According to the Royal Astronomical Society, a team of American and Hungarian astronomers have found what appears to be a ring of nine galaxies that is five billion light years across. This pattern of galaxies would be a nearly impossible chance phenomenon, the odds being … Continued

The Fermi Paradox, Expanded

In a casual conversation in 1950, among a number of eminent physicists of the time, Enrico Fermi asked why we haven’t found evidence of extraterrestrial life. After all, with so many billions of stars out there in the vastness of space, and an even greater number of planets, even if the chances of a planet producing … Continued



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