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Capturing an Asteroid, De-extinction and Other Mind Memes


1. The Secret of Musical Pleasure

“Without music,” Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “life would be a mistake.” And yet, we still don’t know why listening to music, which doesn’t seem to have any evolutionary value like sex or food, is such a rewarding experience. 

These neuroscientists are trying to find the answer

2. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was…

“In the past 10 years, sequencing has gotten approximately 500,000 times more efficient. Nothing in the history of civilization or technology has ever gotten that much more efficient that fast.”

That is Johns Hopkins Biostatistician Steven Salzberg, quoted in Wired, and this is the reason why the movement to use genetic sequencing to bring back extinct species has taken off. 

A recent development includes the revival and reactivation of the genome of an extinct Australian frog. Read more here

3. How to Catch an Asteroid

The Obama administration’s space goals call for NASA to “improve detection and characterization of asteroids, pursue solar electric propulsion demonstration, develop a mechanism to capture an asteroid and redirect it to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system and begin designing a mission to send humans to it using the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft.”

Here’s how NASA plans to do it:

“We’re on the threshold of being able to tell my kids and my grandkids that we’re almost there,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden said.


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