Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for February 9, 2020

in rsslog •  5 months ago 

IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos; An argument that science is not complete until a good idea has achieved practical adoption; A Stem cell procedure may reduce or eliminate the need for heart transplants; The economics of bitcoin in light of the upcoming halving that's expected in May; and a Steem essay describing an AI effort to find Wuhan coronavirus treatments


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First posted on my Steem blog: SteemIt, SteemPeak*, StemGeeks.

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  1. Video Friday: UBTECH's Walker Robot Serves Drinks, Does Yoga - In this week's weekly selection of awesome robot videos, IEEE Spectrum embeds videos on these subjects: At CES2020, Walker, an "intelligent, humanoid, service robot" from UBTECH, performs some tasks including carrying a basket, opening a bottle, poring a drink, and even balancing on one leg and doing some yoga poses; Cruzr, another UBTECH service robot, also made the rounds at CES2020; A bot and Costello - A comedy skit by a human, Naomi Fitter, and a small humanoid robot; An autonomous and adjustable mobile platform that was part of a CSIRO PhD project; A robot arm from Soft Robotics that can grab a football; and more...

    Here is a video of Promobot screening for coronavirus and dancing in New York's Bryant Park
    (Unfortunately, the robot was quickly ejected from the park because it lacked a permit.):

  2. Research should not stop with the research paper - In this essay, Daniel Lemire argues that researchers are responsible for seeing their own ideas through to adoption. In contrast to a common perspective where researchers point at the existence of publications and citations as evidence of their contribution to science, Lemire says,
    Your actual goal is “transfer”. That is, someone, somewhere, must put your ideas in practice beyond the publication of your paper. It does not mean “industrial applications” though it can be that. If your idea is worthwhile and you let it end with a research paper, you have failed.
    From there, he goes on to argue that incentives in academia are currently arranged in a way that tends to prevent that outcome, clarifying that point by saying that uptake of good ideas would be more likely if academia rewarded scholarship instead of novelty.

  3. Lab-grown heart muscles transplanted into a human for the first time - This clarifies an article that was included in Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for February 3, 2020. My previous understanding was that researchers had implanted sheets of stem cells into a patient with heart disease in hopes that the stem cells would grow into heart cells. According to this article, however, the researchers reprogrammed adult stem cells back into their embryonic state, and from there coaxed them into sheets of heart muscle cells, all in the lab. It was the sheets of heart muscle cells that were implanted into a patient with heart disease. As previously noted, this is expected to be the first of ten patients in a three-year trial, and if the effort is successful, this technique may reduce the need for heart transplants because it is easier than finding a donor heart, and believed to be less likely to result in rejection.

  4. Digital Gold, Scarcity, and Bitcoin Halvings - This article from coinbase describes the Bitcoin economic rules in light of the upcoming "Halving", expected on or around May 14. Points of note are that: (i) Bitcoin's value in terms of gold grew from 0.01 ounces to 5.5 ounces between 2013 and today; (ii) When the halving happens, Bitcoin's inflation rate will drop from 3.6% to 1.8%, with the reward dropping from 12.5 BTC per block to 6.25; and (iii) Bitcoin has a number of advantages over gold, including - auditability, low fees for international transfers, privacy (pseudonymity), portability, divisibility, and predictibility.

  5. STEEM AI vs. Wuhan Coronavirus - As the coronavirus continues to grab headlines and an effective vaccine is probably still years away, researchers are also seeking to identify existing drugs that might be useful against the virus. In this post, @kralizec tells us about an effort by researchers from "the Deargen company, the Korean Dankook University, and the American Emory University" who used artificial intelligence to identify some drugs that might be useful in the effort. The team searched through commercially available anti-viral drugs in order to find candidates for treating Wuhan coronavirus infections, and the results are published in Predicting commercially available antiviral drugs that may act on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Wuhan, China through a drug-target interaction deep learning model. According to the AI, the top candidates - in order of likely effectiveness - are: Atazanavir, favirenz, ritonavir, and dolutegravir. If any of these candidates pan out, they will have the advantage that safety testing has already been completed. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been assigned to this post for @kralizec.)


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