Neurotechnology today: What’s real, what’s coming

A balanced discussion of the realities, the mythologies, and the concerns surrounding cutting-edge brain research.

Image source: Luca del Puppo
  • A new film, I AM HUMAN, takes a comprehensive look at the realities of neurotechnology today.
  • The film follows three patients for whom experimental treatment may be the best option.
  • Experts weigh in on the difficulties and the promise of neurotech.
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Drill, baby, Drill: What will we look for when we mine on Mars?

It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back

  • In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
  • Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
  • The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points
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How Exploring Our Universe Opens New Conceptions of Reality

It's an incredibly exciting time to be alive, especially if you're an explorer. We may have been to almost every point on the globe, but there is so much left to understand.

Scott Parazynski is the only person in history to have both flown to space and summited Mount Everest. He's seen more of this world than most, and some of what lies beyond it—so what is it about adventure that draws people like him in? Parazynski thinks it's innate curiosity that drives us, but that the more we explore the more we gain other reasons to keep going. Humanity has benefitted enormously from pursuing "moon shots"—like the Apollo missions—and NASA's research in particular has pushed our capacity for innovation, resulting in spin-off technologies that create new industries and change people's daily lives (3D printed food, invisible braces, memory foam, scratch resistant lenses, the DustBuster—come on!). Why keep your feet planted on Earth, or your mind planted in the known, when there could be life under the ice-encrusted oceans of Enceladus or Europa, a new home waiting for us on Mars, and technology on the horizon that will connect a surgeon in New York City with a person in danger in rural Nepal? Scott Parazynski is the author of The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space, and Speed.

Astronomers Just Discovered a New Kind of Galaxy

Astronomers have discovered a new kind of galaxy that raises many questions, and perhaps paves the way for answers about galaxy formation.

Astronomer Arthur Hoag chanced upon this unusual extragalactic object in 1950. (Photo: R. Lucas (STScI/AURA), Hubble Heritage Team, NASA)

Astronomers at the University of Minnesota Duluth and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences have just discovered a galaxy unlike any other in the observed universe. Its name is thoroughly unsexy: PGC 1000714, which is its catalog number, but the new find is a very remarkable and rare one: it's a ring galaxy. 

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