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David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
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Bryan Cranston
Actor
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Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
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Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Brain Implant Will Recover Lost Memories

In just four years, the experimental research wing of the US military, named DARPA, plans to market a medical device that can recover lost memories.

In just four years, the experimental research wing of the US military, named DARPA, plans to market a medical device that can recover lost memories. Intended for soldiers suffering from brain injury as a result of combat, the device will also work on other neurological disorders like epilepsy and Parkinson's. Lead researcher Michael Kahana, director of the Computational Memory Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, uses modern technological metaphors to describe how memory functions in the brain:


"The memory is like a search engine. In the initial memory encoding, each event has to be tagged. Then in retrieval, you need to be able to search effectively using those tags."

Locating those tags, i.e. finding memories that are no longer accessible to the conscious mind, depends on identifying electrical signals associated with memory encoding and retrieval. Once these signals are found, DARPA's research team will use neural stimulation devices to amplify them, making them easier to detect and bring to the conscious mind. 

While the last two decades have seen massive pharmaceutical investment in drug discovery efforts, industry observers have recently seen those levels fall off dramatically. In the near-term, electrical neuro-modulation devices show greater promise when it comes to treating neurological disorders. 

And while memory retrieval may benefit those with degenerative neurological disorders, devices which disable active memories could be of more use to those suffering from PTSD. In his Big Think interview, NYU bioethics professor Matthew Liao describes such a device:

Read more at IEEE Spectrum

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

Videos
  • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
  • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
  • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.

Coronavirus
  • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
  • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
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Better reskilling can future-proof jobs in the age of automation. Enter SkillUp's new coalition.

Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.

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