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Space

Submission + - Aerogel Hailed As New Wonder Material (timesonline.co.uk) 1

Twinbee writes: "The amazing properties of the space-age material aerogel have been known for some time, but only now is it beginning to be manufactured for widespread use. Highlights of the news article include resistance from a blowtorch at more than 1,300C, and how "6mm of aerogel was left almost unscathed by a direct dynamite blast". Perhaps the most obvious use for the 'super-sponge' like material is for insulation, whether we're talking about mountain boots, house insulation, or any winter wear.

Quote: "However, it has failed to convince the fashion world. Hugo Boss created a line of winter jackets out of the material but had to withdraw them after complaints that they were too hot.""

Biotech

Submission + - Scientists Join Futurists: Seeking Life Definition

tetrahedrassface writes: According to Chron.com recent advances in the scientific world have pushed researchers to join philosphers and futurists in searching for what defines life. Some thinkers like futurist Ray Kurzweil believe that anything with feelings is alive while most scientists belieive that the answers will never be easily found. As technology marches forward and the rise of self replicating machines and artificial intelligence are further developed the questions may become even more complicated. Religious beliefs may become strained and the oft quoted "playing god" may become a reality. As genetic material and indeed completely novel fabricated life forms become the patented assets of corporations, machines gain the ability to replicate and computers evolve to think and possibly feel, the question may become even more important. From the article: '"We are doing things which were thought to be the province, in some quarters, of God _ like making new forms of life,". "Life is very powerful, and if we can get it to do what we want ... there are all kinds of good things that can be done. "Playing God is a good thing to do as long as you're doing it responsibly.

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