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Scientists Use Stem Cells to Create the World’s First Living Robots

“These are entirely new lifeforms. They have never before existed on Earth.”

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Living Robots
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(TMU) — The way we interact with robots is changing every day. We are facing an enormous shift in the way we live our lives influenced by these new “creatures” and the benefits we can get from their applications in a variety of scientific fields. And now, tiny living robots that can “heal” themselves are among us.

Exoskeletons, disinfectant bots, robotic nurses, and even companion bots are all inventions that have been accomplished in the last few years that have led to more effective and precise treatment and assistance both in and out of hospitals.

Life may be the key to create more life. This very well may be the reason why researchers in the U.S. have created the first living machines by turning cells from African clawed frogs into minuscule robots that can move around on their own.

Scientists are aiming to use “living systems” in these tiny robots because most technologies made from materials such as steel, concrete, chemicals, and plastics degrade over time and can produce harmful ecological and health side effects. The method presented by Sam KriegmanDouglas BlackistonMichael Levin, and Josh Bongard allows for robots to be designed as completely biological machines.

“These are entirely new lifeforms. They have never before existed on Earth,” said Michael Levin, director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University in Massachusetts. “They are living, programmable organisms.”

Computers automatically design new machines in simulation and the best designs are built by combining together different biological tissues. As you may conclude, different combinations may be done using this method and the usage of this work could migrate to additional fields as well.

These are very small, but ultimately the plan is to make them to scale,” said Levin. These Xenobots might be built with blood vessels, nervous systems, and sensory cells to form rudimentary eyes. They could also live on dry land.

Traces left by xenobots as they move through a field of particulate matter

Traces left by xenobots as they move through a field of particulate matter. Photograph: Douglas Blackiston

But despite all of the benefits these beings may have, ethical issues may arise.

What’s important to me is that this is public, so we can have a discussion as a society and policymakers can decide what is the best course of action,” Sam Kriegman a PhD student on the team at the University of Vermont said.

If humanity is going to survive into the future, we need to better understand how complex properties, somehow, emerge from simple rules,” Levin said. “This study is a direct contribution to getting a handle on what people are afraid of, which is unintended consequences.”

There are interesting ethical questions about the moral status of these xenobots. At what point would they become beings with interests that ought to be protected? I think they’d acquire moral significance only if they included neural tissue that enabled some kind of mental life, such as the ability to experience pain… But some are more liberal about moral status. They think that all living creatures have interests that should be given some moral consideration. For these people, difficult questions could arise about whether these xenobots should be classified as living creatures or machines.”

Some of the future applications for these “living robots” may be to safely deliver drugs inside the human body, help with environmental remediation, or even broaden our understanding of the diverse forms and functions life may adopt.

By Manuel García Aguilar  | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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FBI Seizes Capitol Building LEGO Set From Alleged Rioter’s House

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Many of us know, either from our childhood or even our adulthood, that building and collecting LEGO can be a fun hobby that allows us to tap into our creativity in a relaxing, stress-free way.

But what if someone’s LEGO hobby is something much more nefarious – or even seditious in the eyes of the government?

Such may have been the case when special agents with the FBI confiscated a fully completed LEGO set of the U.S. Capitol Building from the home of Robert Morss, 27, whom they allege participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, according to court documents published by The Smoking Gun.

The large LEGO set is comprised of 1,032 pieces and was released in 2016 and is no longer available for retail. The agents seized the finished set along with other items matching those they believe Morss had in his possession when he allegedly stormed the building – including a neck gaiter, a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, a military-style satchel, a black tourniquet, and military battle dress uniforms.

The documents also note that he “had three different firearms including a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle” in his possession.

According to LEGO, the United States Capitol Building setfocuses on the structure’s neoclassical style facade, steps and lawns” and is “finished with a decorative ‘US Capitol’ nameplate.” In 2019, the product was “retired” – which has less to do with politics and more to do with the limited availability of the company’s unique product lines.

Morss, who is from Pennsylvania, was arrested last month on a range of federal charges. According to the Department of Justice, his alleged crimesinclude assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; civil disorder; and robbery of personal property of the United States.”

An FBI investigator’s affidavit notes that Morss joined rioters in direct confrontations with officers guarding the Lower West Terrace doors of the Capital in “an intense and prolonged clash between rioters and law enforcement.”

Law enforcement officers claim that they also found a notebook in Morss car that had instructions on a “Step by Step to Create Hometown Militia” that included a list of names, equipment, and sections on “ambush,” “battle drills,” and “formations.” The notebook also contained notes that said “bring assault rifle,” “4 magazines,” and “bring kit/body armor.”

However, the court documents do not indicate whether the LEGO set was deployed in tactical drills prior to the botched uprising.

The DOJ says that roughly 465 individuals have been arrested on charges related the events of Jan. 6.

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Neptune, the Roman God of Water, ‘Emerges’ From Waves in Photo During UK Storm

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If we were to believe our eyes, it would seem that the ancient Roman god of water himself made an appearance on the shores of New Haven, England, on a day of especially rough surf.

What appears to be the “face” of Neptune was captured on Tuesday when photographer Jeff Overs of the BBC was taking photos of waves crashing over the harbor wall in the port city.

Of course, one is free to believe that the ferocious deity emanated from the depths of the sea to remind us puny humans of his wrath.

But alas, it was likely a simple example of pareidolia – the phenomenon of seeing faces and figures in otherwise random or ambiguous everyday objects.

The photographer snapped the shot amid high tide and winds exceeding 50 miles per hour (80km/h), namely because of the violent nature of the shore.

“It’s become a popular location for photographers because the sea ‘boils’ in high wind against the sea wall,” Overs explained.

“The waves splash into the high wind and when blown back occasionally make patterns that look like ghoulish faces.”

Overs added that one of the small foreground waves even resembles a hand – albeit a pareidolic one.

“It’s a straight shot and I haven’t manipulated the image at all,” he added.

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Lunar New Deal: GOP Lawmaker Suggests Altering Moon & Earth’s Orbit to Stop Climate Change

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Texas Republican Congressman Louise Gohmert raised the eyebrows of his Congressional colleagues on Tuesday after seemingly suggesting that climate change could be combatted by changing the orbit of the moon, or even altering “Earth’s orbit around the sun.”

Gohmert, who has been decried as the “dumbest member of Congress” for his past absurdly anti-scientific comments regarding the ongoing pandemic and a number of other issues, has been a vocal opponent of progressive legislators’ attempts to put a “Green New Deal” on the government’s agenda.

However, his apparent suggestion of a “Lunar New Deal” to mitigate global warming could take the cake as his most hare-brained idea yet.

The comments came during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on four pending bills while questioning Jennifer Eberlien of the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, reports NBC.

“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the B.L.M. [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” the Texas congressman began.

“I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” he continued.

“We know there’s been significant solar flare activity,” Gohmert said. “And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or B.L.M. can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun?”

“Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate,” the lawmaker added.

Responding, Eberlein said with a smile: “I would have to follow up with on you on that one, Mr. Gohmert.” 

“If you figure out there’s a way in the forest service you could make that change, I’d like to know,” Gohmert responded, without any trace of irony.

Longtime critics of the conservative legislator were besides themselves with bewilderment and mockery over the out-of-this-world suggestion.

On the opposite side of the aisle California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu suggested that perhaps Marvel Comics superheroine Captain Marvel was up to the task.

“She can alter planetary orbits with her superpowers. I’m going to work on a bipartisan resolution asking for her help,” Lieu wrote on Twitter.

According to NASA, the Earth’s climate has changed throughout history for various reasons, including small variations in the planet’s orbit.

However, the agency’s website notes that this doesn’t discount the fact that anthropogenic or human-caused activities are the culprit of the current warming.

“The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over millennia,” the site says.

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