Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NASA Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes Observe Most Distant Galaxy Ever Seen?

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Newly discovered galaxy known as MACS 1149-JD (Image credit: NASA/ESA/STScI/JHU)

A Glimmer From a Dark Cosmic Era

WASHINGTON (NASA) -- With the combined power of NASA's Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes, as well as a cosmic magnification effect, astronomers have spotted what could be the most distant galaxy ever seen. Light from the primordial galaxy traveled approximately 13.2 billion light-years before reaching NASA's telescopes, shining forth from the so-called cosmic dark ages when the universe was just 3.6 percent of its present age.

Astronomers relied on gravitational lensing to catch sight of the early, distant galaxy. In this phenomenon, predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago, the gravity of foreground objects warps and magnifies the light from background objects.

In the big image at left, the many galaxies of a massive cluster called MACS J1149+2223 dominate the scene. Gravitational lensing by the giant cluster brightened the light from the newfound galaxy, known as MACS 1149-JD, some 15 times, bringing the remote object into view.

At upper right, a partial zoom-in shows MACS 1149-JD in more detail, and a deeper zoom appears to the lower right. In these visible and infrared light images from Hubble, MACS 1149-JD looks like a dim, red speck. The small galaxy's starlight has been stretched into longer wavelengths, or "redshifted," by the expansion of the universe. MACS 1149-JD's stars originally emitted the infrared light seen here at much shorter, higher-energy wavelengths, such as ultraviolet.

The far-off galaxy existed within an important era when the universe transformed from a starless expanse during the dark ages to a recognizable cosmos full of galaxies. The discovery of the faint, small galaxy opens a window onto the deepest, remotest epochs of cosmic history.

Hubble Space Telescope

NASA Telescopes Spy Ultra-Distant Galaxy Amidst Cosmic 'Dark Ages'

WASHINGTON (NASA) -- With the combined power of NASA's Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes, as well as a cosmic magnification effect, astronomers have spotted what could be the most distant galaxy ever seen. Light from the young galaxy captured by the orbiting observatories first shone when our 13.7-billion-year-old universe was just 500 million years old.

The far-off galaxy existed within an important era when the universe began to transit from the so-called cosmic dark ages. During this period, the universe went from a dark, starless expanse to a recognizable cosmos full of galaxies. The discovery of the faint, small galaxy opens a window onto the deepest, remotest epochs of cosmic history.

"This galaxy is the most distant object we have ever observed with high confidence," said Wei Zheng, a principal research scientist in the department of physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and lead author of a new paper appearing in Nature. "Future work involving this galaxy, as well as others like it that we hope to find, will allow us to study the universe's earliest objects and how the dark ages ended."

Light from the primordial galaxy traveled approximately 13.2 billion light-years before reaching NASA's telescopes. In other words, the starlight snagged by Hubble and Spitzer left the galaxy when the universe was just 3.6 percent of its present age. Technically speaking, the galaxy has a redshift, or "z," of 9.6. The term redshift refers to how much an object's light has shifted into longer wavelengths as a result of the expansion of the universe. Astronomers use redshift to describe cosmic distances.

Unlike previous detections of galaxy candidates in this age range, which were only glimpsed in a single color, or waveband, this newfound galaxy has been seen in five different wavebands. As part of the Cluster Lensing And Supernova Survey with Hubble Program, the Hubble Space Telescope registered the newly described, far-flung galaxy in four visible and infrared wavelength bands. Spitzer measured it in a fifth, longer-wavelength infrared band, placing the discovery on firmer ground.

Objects at these extreme distances are mostly beyond the detection sensitivity of today's largest telescopes. To catch sight of these early, distant galaxies, astronomers rely on gravitational lensing. In this phenomenon, predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago, the gravity of foreground objects warps and magnifies the light from background objects. A massive galaxy cluster situated between our galaxy and the newfound galaxy magnified the newfound galaxy's light, brightening the remote object some 15 times and bringing it into view.

Based on the Hubble and Spitzer observations, astronomers think the distant galaxy was less than 200 million years old when it was viewed. It also is small and compact, containing only about 1 percent of the Milky Way's mass. According to leading cosmological theories, the first galaxies indeed should have started out tiny. They then progressively merged, eventually accumulating into the sizable galaxies of the more modern universe.

These first galaxies likely played the dominant role in the epoch of reionization, the event that signaled the demise of the universe's dark ages. This epoch began about 400,000 years after the Big Bang when neutral hydrogen gas formed from cooling particles. The first luminous stars and their host galaxies emerged a few hundred million years later. The energy released by these earliest galaxies is thought to have caused the neutral hydrogen strewn throughout the universe to ionize, or lose an electron, a state that the gas has remained in since that time.

"In essence, during the epoch of reionization, the lights came on in the universe," said paper co-author Leonidas Moustakas, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.

Astronomers plan to study the rise of the first stars and galaxies and the epoch of reionization with the successor to both Hubble and Spitzer, NASA's James Webb Telescope, which is scheduled for launch in 2018. The newly described distant galaxy likely will be a prime target.

Spitzer Space Telescope

For more information about Spitzer, visit:

For more information about Hubble, visit:

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Consciousness and Reality: The Mind - Matter Connection

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Reality and the Extended Mind by Adrian D. Nelson

Reality and the Extended Mind: Consciousness in an Interconnected Universe

Psi researchers Herb Mertz, Dean Radin, Brenda Dunne, Roger Nelson, Robert Jahn, Garret Moddel, York Dobyns, Adam Michael Curry, Rupert Sheldrake, John Valentino, and Larry Dossey discuss anomalies of consciousness, mind - matter interactions. Our consciousness extends out into the world and is not contained just within our brains.

The world and our consciousness intermix and interact. The physiology of our body is in a dialog with future states of ourselves. Our awareness is spread out across time. Further, when focused, our consciousness can coalesce with other minds. Is there an observer-driven component to reality?

Robert Jahn says the evidence obtained are not just superficial curiosities but is erupting from very deep and very consequential characteristics of the human mind. Brenda Dunne notes that if we are going to understand reality, we have to look at the subjective side as well as the objective side.

Psi Phenomena is defined as anomalous properties associated with consciousness unanticipated by widely accepted modern theories. These events include precognition (presentiment), telepathy, distant mental influence, etc. in both normal and altered states of consciousness. Dean Radin describes these events, and the evidence, as meaningful, important, and interesting.

Documentary - Reality and the Extended Mind (1 of 2) Reality and the Extended Mind is a non-profit documentary by Adrian Nelson. As an increasing number of academics acknowledge the findings erupting from psi research, quantum mechanics and many other areas of science, thinkers are coalescing on a new description of reality. This new description of reality signals paradigm shifts in several scientific fields, and notably the necessity for a new model of consciousness. My book, Reality and the Origins of Consciousness dives into these mysterious new waters, attempting to give a lucid account of these ideas, following a skeptical, open-minded and secular approach. The insights awaiting us will be profound, corresponding with dramatic shifts in the way we see and interact with the world.

Documentary Reality and the Extended Mind (2 of 2)

Institute of Noetic Sciences | Consciousness | Science | Spirituality | Wisdom

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dmitry Itskov and Project Immortality 2045: Transplanting a Human Brain into an Avatar

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Dmitry Itskov is leading the Project 2045

We all have dreams in life and some have big dreams. A few have visions. A handful of people have visions that change the world. Dmitry Itskov is one of them. A vision as in transforming humanity completely and forever. A vision of transplanting the human brain into an artificial body, a robot, an avatar. A transbiological vision of the future of humanity. As Ray Kurzweil says, "Prepare to Evolve".

The goal is to preserve human personality and prolong life. That is, transfer a human's individual consciousness to an artificial carrier. Dmitry Itskov wants to do this himself at the first opportunity, which he believes could be as soon as 10 years!

Dmitry Itskov's premise, and motivation, is that humanity is too divided by race and religion. These differences, these divisions and the resulting conflicts are irreconcilable. Therefore, humanity must physically change to survive and hopefully leave these differences behind. Further, humanity is destroying the planet and avatars won't need to eat or even require houses! Diseases and death will be defeated.

Avatar-A: Scientists Prepare for Human Brain Transplant Following the steps of James Cameron, a young Russian media mogul has launched his own Avatar project. Dmitry Itskov does not want to explore a new planet, though: he just plans to make a human brain immortal by transplanting it into a robot's body.

Dmitry Itskov on Project Immortality 2045 The Singularity Summit 2011 was a TED-style two-day event at the historic 92nd Street Y in New York City. The next event will take place in San Francisco, on October 13 & 14, 2012. For more information, visit:

Project 2045

The Dalai Lama has endorsed Dmitry Itskov's Project 2045

International Manifesto of the "2045" Strategic Social Initiative (Partial)

Mankind has turned into a consumer society standing at the edge of a total loss of the conceptual guidelines necessary for further evolution. The majority of people are almost exclusively absorbed in merely maintaining their own comfortable lives.

Modern civilization, with its space stations, nuclear submarines, iPhones and Segways cannot save mankind from the limitations in the physical abilities of our bodies, nor from diseases and death.

We are not satisfied with modern achievements of scientific and technical progress. Science working for the satisfaction of consumer needs will not be able to ensure a technological breakthrough towards a radically different way of life.

We believe that the world needs a different ideological paradigm. Within its framework it is necessary to form a major objective capable of pointing out a new direction for the development of all mankind and ensuring the achievement of a scientific and technical revolution.

Global Future and the Technological Singularity: A New Era for Humanity

Russia 2045 Strategic Social Initiative

Global Future 2045 International Congress

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tom Campbell: Who Are We In This Reality?

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Are humans "Virtual Reality Rovers" that have evolved in, been inserted into, this Universe?

Tom Campbell expands on his Theory of Everything (My Big TOE) and how we humans interface with this reality, the Universe, which is virtual. We are a free will awareness unit. This is a subset of our higher individuated unit of consciousness, outside of this reality, this Universe. That in turn is a subset of the ultimate consciousness, a larger consciousness system, also known as God and also outside of this reality, this Universe.

Bruce Lipton describes us humans as "Earth Rovers", similar to a Mars Rover. The rover is you in this Universe on planet Earth while our higher consciousness is the controller back at NASA. Taking this idea further, you could also consider humans as "Virtual Reality Rovers" or even "Players" in this Universe, this virtual reality, this game.

Tom Campbell: Who Are We In This Reality? As Consciousness, we are an Information System. Reality is Information. R = I is an identity for the 21st century.

We are part of, but not separate from, the Larger Consciousness System. This may sound like the more familiar phrase "we are made in the image of God". If you are a physicist, a Consciousness researcher, and an evolved spiritual being such as Tom, the descriptions are one and the same.

The eternal question "Who are we"? will be answered in a way you have never heard before. Such subjects as free will, the difference between what we know ourselves to be here as consciousness and what we are as Consciousness outside this learning lab we call earth, and past lives will be discussed within the context of a computer analogy by a physicist who has researched this from outside this virtual reality.

As this interview unfolds, you will get a glimpse of why Tom's My Big TOE encompasses all aspects of our reality into one scientifically derived theory of everything. (For in-depth theory see the Calgary presentation on his twcjr44 YouTube channel).

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Ray Kurzweil: Technological Singularity, Immortality, Bringing Back the Dead

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Ray Kurzweil: Biological and non-biological intelligence and thinking will merge

Prepare to evolve as Ray Kurzweil takes us for a fast ride into the future where both reality and human thinking change! A series of 3 interviews with Ray Kurzweil covers the singularity, his immortality cocktail, and bringing back the dead. He begins with a discussion of the already existing impact of technology in our daily lives, both externally and internally, both outside and inside our bodies. This integration of humans and technology will continue, at an increasing rate, to ultimately merge "man and machine".

Human reality itself will change through the implementation and integration of both augmented reality and virtual reality into our everyday, objective reality. The stream of information we receive through our consciousness via our senses that is processed by our brain will literally be enhanced and expanded by technology.

Not only will our reality change but humans will have two sets of intelligence and thinking: biological and non-biological. The non-biological intelligence and thinking is technology interfacing with our bodies and especially our brains.

First the non-biological intelligence has and will continue more and more to augment our biological intelligence. Next the non-biological intelligence will increase our biological intelligence until finally completely merging into a transhuman, transbiological intelligence. Further, first the non-biological intelligence will be backed up, just like any software. Kurzweil believes ultimately the non-biological intelligence will be able to model and back up the biological intelligence - "us humans". Of course, at that point you could generate the merged transbiological intelligence in another reality such as a virtual reality. An immortality, a continuity of consciousness, could then be achieved for a transhuman.

Futurist Ray Kurzweil on Singularity Author, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil talks with economics correspondent Paul Solman about what Kurzweil has dubbed 'the singularity': the melding of man and machine to the point where one can't tell the difference between the two.

Watch Futurist Ray Kurzweil on Singularity on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Ray Kurweil's Immortality Cocktail The second of our interview outtakes with inventor/author/futurist Ray Kurzweil. In our broadcast story, Kurzweil explained that his recipe to combat aging entails taking 150 pills a day. You can find more details at a supplements business he runs,, which features, we were excited to see, items like "healthy chocolates."

Ray Kurzweil on Bringing Back the Dead This outtake with Mr. Immortality: does Kurzweil believe that an avatar of his dead father -- created with artificial intelligence and a lifetime's worth of data and mementos -- is, well, his actual father, the guy who died when Ray was 22? We asked him how that quest influenced his goal of "immortality today."

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Algorithms That Learn: The Rise of Artificial Intelligence

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A system is intelligent if it is more useful to talk about in terms of goals than in terms in mechanisms. ~ Richard Sutton

The above quote that an intelligent system has goals is skirting the edges of the definition and discussion of consciousness. Reaching the point when software, an algorithm or even a network, "wakes up" and has consciousness has been the subject and speculation of many a technician and philosopher. This is the ultimate line to be crossed to achieve artificial or transhuman intelligence.

How do you reach this line to be crossed? Lukasz Kaiser begins with describing the existing deterministic "agents" as receiving an input stream, then a program that produces an output stream. This is the mechanistic view. Another view is to think of developing software in terms of the program having goals, as noted in the quote above. Kaiser then presents a higher-level model to achieve goal-oriented results, an algorithm that learns by observing.

Lukasz Kaiser: Playing General Structure Rewriting Games Dr. Kaiser’s research presentation at the Third Conference on Artificial General Intelligence. This is a joint work with Lukasz Stafiniak.

It’s a Bright Future If You Are an Algorithm, the New Evolutionary Force

Proposed Sign for "Dangerous Artificial Intelligence"

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Seeking Alpha