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Today, we want to draw your attention to a recent study showing an association between the accumulation of Tau proteins, which are misfolded proteins that typically indicate Alzheimer’s disease and senescent cells.

Unfortunately, this journal paper is hidden behind a paywall, as is 70% of scientific data; this is an unacceptable situation for science and the sharing of knowledge. However, thanks to the work of Sci-Hub, a website that bypasses paywalls and offers free access to all scientific papers, you can read it without spending a dime.

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These campaigns could erode the base of the Legal Open Access movement: scientists’ awareness of their options for sharing research. Elbakyan, on the other hand, would be left unaffected. The legal campaigns against Sci-Hub have — through the Streisand effect — made the site more well-known than most mainstay repositories, and Elbakyan more famous than legal Open Access champions like Suber.

The threat posed by ACS’s injunction against Sci-Hub has increased support for the site from web activists organizations such as the EFF, which considesr the site “a symptom of a serious problem: people who can’t afford expensive journal subscriptions, and who don’t have institutional access to academic databases, are unable to use cutting-edge scientific research.”

In cramped quarters at Russia’s Higher School of Economics, shared by four students and a cat, sat a server with 13 hard drives. The server hosted Sci-Hub, a website with over 64 million academic papers available for free to anybody in the world. It was the reason that, one day in June 2015, Alexandra Elbakyan, the student and programmer with a futurist streak and a love for neuroscience blogs, opened her email to a message from the world’s largest publisher: “YOU HAVE BEEN SUED.”

It wasn’t long before an administrator at Library Genesis, another pirate repository named in the lawsuit, emailed her about the announcement. “I remember when the administrator at LibGen sent me this news and said something like ‘Well, that’s… that’s a real problem.’ There’s no literal translation,” Elbakyan tells me in Russian. “It’s basically ‘That’s an ass.’ But it doesn’t translate perfectly into English. It’s more like ‘That’s fucked up. We’re fucked.’”.

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I’m really excited to announce a 5-page feature spread on my #transhumanism work and Libertarian Governor campaign in today’s Times of London Magazine, one of England’s oldest and largest papers. There’s a paywall for digital but I think you can get two articles free without registering. If you have access to the print, it’s in the magazine:

Zoltan Istvan is launching his campaign to become Libertarian governor of California with two signature policies. First, he’ll eliminate poverty with a universal basic income that will guarantee $5,000 (£3,800) per month for every Californian household for ever. (He’ll do this without raising taxes a dime, he promises.) The next item in his in-tray is eliminating death. He intends to divert trillions of dollars into life-extending technologies – robotic hearts, artificial exoskeletons, genetic editing, bionic limbs and so on – in the hope that each Californian man, woman and AI (artificial intelligence) will eventually be able to upload their consciousness to the Cloud and experience digital eternity.

“What we can experience as a human being is going to be dramatically different within two decades,” he…

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The concept of repairing age-related damage to prevent diseases is now mainstream and openly talked about by most acadmics.

Earlier this year the second Scripps Florida Symposium was held and now this open access paper reports on the event. The title of of the event was ‘Advances in Therapeutic Approaches to Extend Healthspan’ and was held on January 22nd–25th, 2017 at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida.

It is once again very refreshing to see that the focus of the researchers here is now firmly on intervening on the various aging processes in order to prevent or treat age-related diseases. Less than a decade ago suggesting addressing the aging processes to treat disease as a preventative form of medicine would have jepordised the chances of funding, or even damaged a researcher’s career prospects. Now the majority of researchers are engaged in exploring the potential of increasing healthspan (the period of life spent free of age-related disease) with the aim of delaying or preventing age-related diseases.

The taboo of talking about doing something about aging

Whilst there is still resistance in academia to talk in public about the potential of these therapies leading to not only healthier but also longer lives, it is nonetheless a step in the right direction. The discussion has changed dramatically in the last decade and the taboo of targeting the aging process has largely been banished, this in our view is a good thing. Only the most conservative scientists cling to the idea that nothing can be done about aging despite the mountains of evidence suggesting otherwise.

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When we as a global community confront the truly difficult question of considering what is really worth devoting our limited time and resources to in an era marked by such global catastrophe, I always find my mind returning to what the Internet hasn’t really been used for yet—and what was rumored from its inception that it should ultimately provide—an utterly and entirely free education for all the world’s people.

In regard to such a concept, Bill Gates said in 2010, “On the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world […] It will be better than any single university […] No matter how you came about your knowledge, you should get credit for it. Whether it’s an MIT degree or if you got everything you know from lectures on the web, there needs to be a way to highlight that.”

That may sound like an idealistic stretch to the uninitiated, but the fact of the matter is universities like MIT, Harvard, Yale, Oxford, The European Graduate School, Caltech, Stanford, Berkeley, and other international institutions have been regularly uploading entire courses onto YouTube and iTunes U for years. All of them are entirely free. Open Culture, Khan Academy, Wikiversity, and many other centers for online learning also exist. Other online resources have small fees attached to some courses, as you’ll find on edX and Coursea. In fact, here is a list of over 100 places online where you can receive high quality educational material. The 2015 Survey of Online Learning revealed a “Multi-year trend [that] shows growth in online enrollments continues to outpace overall higher ed enrollments.” I. Elaine Allen, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group points out that “The study’s findings highlight a thirteenth consecutive year of growth in the number of students taking courses at a distance.” Furthermore, “More than one in four students (28%) now take at least one distance education course (a total of 5,828,826 students, a year‐to‐year increase of 217,275).” There are so many online courses, libraries of recorded courses, pirate libraries, Massive Open Online Courses, and online centers for learning with no complete database thereof that in 2010 I found myself dumping all the websites and master lists I could find onto a simple Tumblr archive I put together called Educating Earth. I then quickly opened a Facebook Group to try and encourage others to share and discuss courses too.

The volume of high quality educational material already available online is staggering. Despite this, there has yet to be a central search hub for all this wonderful and unique content. No robust community has been built around it with major success. Furthermore, the social and philosophical meaning of this new practice has not been strongly advocated enough yet in a popular forum.

There are usually a few arguments against this brand of internet-based education. One of the most common arguments being that learning online will never be learning in a physical classroom setting. I will grant that. However, I’ll counter it with the obvious: You don’t need to learn everything there is to learn strictly in a classroom setting. That is absurd. Not everything is surgery. Furthermore, not everyone has access to a classroom, which is really in a large way what this whole issue is all about. Finally, you cannot learn everything you may want to learn from one single teacher in one single location.

Another argument pertains to cost, that a donation-based free education project would be an expensive venture. All I can think to respond to that is: How much in personal debt does the average student in the United States end up in after four years of college? What if that money was used to pay for a robust online educational platform? How many more people the world over could learn from a single four-year tuition alone? These are serious questions worth considering.

Here are just a few major philosophical points for such a project. Illiteracy has been a historic tool used to oppress people. According to the US Census Bureau an average of one billion more people are born about every 15 years since 1953. In 2012 our global population was estimated at 7 billion people. Many of these individuals will be lucky to ever see the inside of a classroom. Today nearly 500 million women on this planet are denied the basic freedom to learn how to read and write. Women make up two-thirds of total population of the world’s illiterate adults. It is a global crime perpetuated against women, pure and simple.

Here is another really simple point: If the world has so many problems on both a local and a global scale, doesn’t it make sense to have more problem solvers available to collaborate and tackle them? Consider all these young people devising ingenious ways to clean the ocean, or detect cancer, or power their community by building windmills; don’t you want many orders of magnitude more of all that going on in the world? More people freely learning and sharing what they discover simply translates to a higher likelihood of breakthroughs and general social benefit. This is good for everyone. Is this not obvious?

Here is one last point: In terms of moral, social, and philosophical uprightness, isn’t it striking to have the technology to provide a free education to all the world’s people (i.e. the internet and cheap computers) and not do it? Isn’t it classist and backward to have the ability to teach the world yet still deny millions of people that opportunity due to location and finances? Isn’t that immoral? Isn’t it patently unjust? Should it not be a universal human goal to enable everyone to learn whatever they want, as much as they want, whenever they want, entirely for free if our technology permits it? These questions become particularly deep if we consider teaching, learning, and education to be sacred enterprises.

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Knowledge is Power and soon it’s going to be free and available to all. #Awesome

As university students we often take for granted the massive luxury of having access to unprecedented amounts of scientific articles. But accessing journals and papers can be prohibitively expensive for individuals or small organizations.

In the coming decade, science will become increasingly open-sourced. This will further democratize science and pave the way for powerful innovation.

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— WiredIt’s taken close to half a decade. But WikiLeaks is back in the business of accepting truly anonymous leaks.

On Friday, the secret-spilling group announced that it has finally relaunched a beta version of its leak submission system, a file-upload site that runs on the anonymity software Tor to allow uploaders to share documents and tips while protecting their identity from any network eavesdropper, and even from WikiLeaks itself. The relaunch of that page—which in the past served as the core of WikiLeaks’ transparency mission—comes four and a half years after WikiLeaks’ last submission system went down amid infighting between WikiLeaks’ leaders and several of its disenchanted staffers. Read more


How will you positively impact billions of people?

At Singularity University, this question is often posed to program participants packed into the classroom at the NASA Research Park in the heart of Silicon Valley. Since 2009, select groups of entrepreneurs and innovators have had their perspective shifted to exponential thinking through in-depth lectures, deep discussions, and engagement in workshops.

Yet in that time, only a few thousand individuals from around the world have had the opportunity to transform SU’s insights on accelerating technologies into cutting-edge solutions aimed at solving humanity’s greatest problems. But not anymore.

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Quoted: “IBM has unveiled its proof of concept for ADEPT, a system developed in partnership with Samsung that uses elements of bitcoin’s underlying design to build a distributed network of devices – a decentralized Internet of Things. The ADEPT concept, or Autonomous Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Telemetry, taps blockchains to provide the backbone of the system, utilizing a mix of proof-of-work and proof-of-stake to secure transactions.”

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