Posts tagged with "Futurism"

Erectile disfunction pills may be linked to reduced risk of heart attack, scientists say

January 20, 2023

Good news for dudes. Taking erectile dysfunction drugs may not just help you get your mojo back—it may, per a new study, be linked to lowered risk of heart problems, too, reports Futurism.

Published in the journal, Science Advances, the study—out of the Huntington Medical Research Institute in Pasadena, California—has found what appears to be a link between taking ED meds like Viagra and Cialis and reduced rates of heart problems, including heart disease and death from a heart attack.

Known as Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) Inhibitors or PDE-5i medications, this class of drugs—generally used to manage erectile dysfunction—has in the past been accused of leading to high blood pressure; but in the past 20 years, studies have suggested that they can both improve heart health and help with diabetes and cancer, too.

Looking at a large insurance and Medicare database, and drawing from prior research about ED drugs’ potentially cardioprotective effects, the HMRI team, along with researchers from the University of California-San Francisco, found that, compared to their ED-having counterparts who didn’t take medication for it, men who take PDE-5i drugs for their advertised purpose seemed to experience a 17%t lower rate of heart failure, a 15% lower need for angioplasty or heart stints, and a whopping 39% lower rate of death from heart disease-related complications.

What’s more, the researchers also observed a “25 [%] lower rate of death due to any cause” among men who take ED drugs than those who don’t take them, a press release about the study notes.

Drawing from anonymized patient records in an American private insurance and Medicare claims database, the researchers looked at a huge cohort of information gleaned from 2006 until 2020 — and of those claims viewed in retrospect, the researchers found that the greatest benefits seemed to be found in men who had heightened risk for cardiovascular problems, including those with diabetes. Part of the explanation, of course, may be related to the fact that sex, itself ,appears to be correlated with a longer life expectancy.

As with most data-based retrospective studies of this kind, the paper’s authors cautioned against declaring a direct correlation or cause between taking PDE-5i’s and lowering one’s risk for heart problems and advised further study on the subject. They also noted that they can’t name the exact nature of this link until more research is done on it.

All the same, this research is extremely promising—and, if nothing else, could reduce the stigma against taking ED medication.

Research contact@futurism

James Cameron says he commissioned a study on whether Jack could have survived in ‘Titanic’

December 29, 2022

Twenty-five years since its first release, director James Cameron‘s swooning epic, ‘Titanic,’ is still the third-highest-grossing movie of all time. Besides its storied legacy, it also has spawned an endless debate among fans on its ending: whether Jack, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, could have survived the freezing ocean if he’d climbed onto the floating door with Rose, played by Kate Winslet.

 

And now, Cameron — renowned for his obsession with minute cinematic details—says he’s finally put an end to the debate with an actual scientific study, reports Futurism.

 

“We have done a scientific study to put this whole thing to rest and drive a stake through its heart once and for all,” Cameron told The Toronto Sun while promoting his latest blockbuster sensation ‘Avatar: The Way of Water.’

 

He revealed, “We have since done a thorough forensic analysis with a hypothermia expert who reproduced the raft from the movie and we’re going to do a little special on it that comes out in February.”

 

“We took two stunt people who were the same body mass [as] Kate and Leo,” the acclaimed director explained, “and we put sensors all over them and inside them and we put them in ice water and we tested to see whether they could have survived through a variety of methods and the answer was, there was no way they both could have survived. Only one could survive.”

 

  For now, that’s all the details we have on the study, but this isn’t the first time Cameron has addressed the perennial, nagging question. In 2017, he debunked a theory posited on the TV show, ‘Mythbusters,’ that Jack could have survived by tying Rose’s life vest to the door for buoyancy.

“You’re underwater tying this thing on in 28-degree water, and that’s going to take you five to ten minutes, so by the time you come back up you’re already dead,” Cameron told The Daily Beast at the time. “So that wouldn’t work.”

 

And science aside, Cameron thinks Jack’s death was thematically integral to the story—so there’s no point getting hooked up on something he’s not going to change his mind on anyway.

 

“No, he needed to die,” Cameron explained during the recent press tour. “It’s like Romeo and Juliet. It’s a movie about love and sacrifice and mortality. The love is measured by the sacrifice.”

 

Research contact: @futurism

Experts warn of grim consequences of new cosmetic surgery trend

December 20, 2022

After actress Lea Michele dropped a couple photos on Instagram of her face looking suspiciously hollower than what people expected, social media—Twitter especially —became rife with speculation that she’d had the surgery known as “buccal fat removal,” which removes a pad of fat from the lower face, reports Futurism.

“What the fu*k is buccal fat,” quipped Internet funny person Trash Jones, and “how are they still inventing new flaws for us?”

Buccal fat removal isn’t anything new, but it has quietly gained favor among actors and influencers. And now, it’s getting an unexpected spotlight, too.

“The surgery has been around for many years, but with the advent of social media, I think it’s really seen a resurgence and popularity,” plastic surgeon and buccal fat expert Ira Savetsky recently told The Daily Beast. “The reason why buccal fat pad removal is so popular is because the jawline has become really popular. Everyone wants a snatched jawline, that’s what the kids are saying these days.”

Richard Swift, also a plastic surgeon, believes that Michele and fellow actress Zoë Kravitz have both gone through with the procedure.

“I think Lea and Zoë have much more definition than they had before,” Swift told the Beast. “Zoë Kravitz had more of a baby face, and if you look at the submalar area, that’s really well defined now.”

Buccal fat removal is also relatively cheap, quick, and easy—only taking 20 minutes and $5,000 in New York City, according to Savetsky— making it all the more enticing for influencers to give it a try, as well as their susceptibly insecure followers.

While it may give you those Robert Pattinson-worthy sunken cheeks you always desired in the short term, though, there can be some major downsides as time goes by.

For one thing, you’ll probably be happier if you make peace with how you already look. For another, the procedure may well actually backfire. “The drawback is that from an aesthetic standpoint, facial fat is very precious, and we learned from anatomy studies and studying how people age that as we get older we lose fat in the face,” Savetsky explained. If a patient goes through with the procedure even though they don’t have “excess” buccal fat, “you’re going to look overly hollow as you get older, he said, adding, “Out of every five people that walk into my office that want it, probably only one is a good candidate for it,” he added.

Furthermore, reversing the procedure by adding some healthy fat to the face is difficult and costly. “When I’m doing a facelift for an older woman I am putting fat back into her face,” Savetsky told the Beast, “but adding fat back into that space is very, very difficult, because it’s a deeper area. It’s almost irreversible.”

Unfortunately, that kind of forward thinking hasn’t stopped the surgery from latching on, primarily among young women. There’s even a whole corner of TikTok spotted by the Beast that’s dedicated to the practice of traveling to Mexico, where the procedure is even cheaper, to get buccal pads removed.

“I had mine done in Mexico, Mexicali specifically, and for both surgeries it was $1,735,” one 25-year-old woman told the outlet. “It was $1,400 for the neck/chin lipo and the buccal fat removal cost $300 to add on. $35 for a face garment.”

It’s cheap to buy in, but expensive to back out—so maybe buck this latest buccal trend.

Research contact: @futurism

NASA hires Icon to 3D-print U.S. base on the Moon

December 1, 2022

Mankind may not physically be back on the Moon just yet, but the Moon Economy is already booming. Case in point: Axios reports that an Austin-based three-dimensional printing firm called Icon just landed a $57.2 million cash infusion from NASA for its Project Olympus, an endeavor to create 3D-printed lunar shelters.

Icon plans to have its Moon huts ready for NASA use by 2026, assuming that the Artemis mission schedule remains intact. If the Moon is, indeed, to become a human outpost, durable and lightweight lunar housing will be essential — a reality that Icon CEO Jason Ballard doesn’t seem to be taking lightly.

“We feel real weight and responsibility — we’re not just doing this for ourselves,” Ballard said, according to a report by Futurism, adding that “we’re giving humanity the capability to build on other worlds.”

He added, “The final deliverable of this contract will be humanity’s first construction on another world,” he added, “and that is going to be a pretty special achievement.”

While Icon is best-known for its work building Earthly structures, it’s been hoping to build in space for some time now. Project Olympus was first launched in 2020, and the company also appears to have its eye on one day constructing a 3D-printed Mars colony.

Rather than bring a bunch of Earthly junk to the Moon’s relatively pristine surface, Icon’s goal is to build the lunar dwellings out of actual lunar materials — Moon dust, broken rocks, and the like, says Futurism.

According to Ballard, learning to build from the Moon’s natural regolith ensures the viability of long-term human tenure on the Moon. (After all, it would inconvenient if Moon miners had to receive a payload from Earth every time they needed to build a new road.)

“If you tried to plan a lunar settlement or a moon base and you had to bring everything with you, every time you wanted to build a new thing it’s like another $100M,” Ballard told Payload. “But once you’ve got a system that can build almost anything—landing pads, roadways, habitats—and it uses local material, you are probably two or three orders of magnitude cheaper to build a permanent lunar presence than you would be in any other way that we can think of.”

Research contact: @futurism

Left out in the rain: NASA says Hurricane Nicole peeled patch of insulation off Artemis

November 16, 2022

NASA’s uber-expensive Space Launch System (SLS) Moon rocket— each successful launch of Artemis will cost about $4.1 billion, according to the U.S. space agency—is still out on the pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, having survived hurricane-level wind gusts last week, reports Futurism.

The question is, why was the rocket left out in a tropical storm? Predictions for Hurricane Nicole were that it could bring 75 mph winds during its expected landfall as a Category 1 hurricane along Florida’s east coast. Forecasters said that the upper part of the rocket could see higher wind gusts, possibly above 85 mph.

Now, that its engineers have inspected the spacecraft for damage, Artemis Mission Manager Mike Sarafin says that a ten-foot-long piece of insulation peeled away from the rocket while Hurricane Nicole stormed by, and it’s too late to go in and fix it on the launch pad.

The piece of insulation is designed to minimize aerodynamic heating during ascent where the fairing of the rocket attaches to NASA’s Orion capsule. The strip, a caulk-like material called RTV, peeled off the base of the crew capsule’s protective nose cone.

In short, it’s news that nobody wanted to hear.

“It was an area that was about ten feet in length [on the] windward side where the storm blew through,” said Sarafin, as quoted by CBS News. “It is a very, very thin layer of RTV; it’s about .2 inches or less… in thickness.”

Additionally, according to  ABC News, one of the umbilicals, which attach to the rocket boosters, was exhibiting “erratic signals” and the team may switch to a backup harness.

NASA was forced to again postpone the launch date—this time, from Monday, November 14, to Wednesday, November 16.

NASA’s SLS rocket is currently scheduled to launch at around 1 a.m. (EST) early Wednesday morning, ferrying the capsule into orbit, and allowing it to journey on to the Moon and back.

Where the latest incident leaves that upcoming launch window remains to be seen. NASA’s teams are meeting today to discuss if the rocket is ready for launch.

The weather for a Wednesday launch, at least, is looking good.

“I feel good headed into this attempt on the 16th,” Sarafin told reporters. “The team is moving forward as one unit,” he added. “We’ve just got some work to do.”

Research contact: @futurism

Tall story: Short men are getting their legs broken to add 3-6 inches of height

September 20, 2022

Some short men are so insecure about their height that they are quite literally allowing doctors to break their bones during surgical leg-lengthening procedures, reports Futurism.

As GQ Magazine first  divulged, the excruciating surgery can involve a year of “relentless, ambient” pain during healing—although the orthopedic surgeons who do the leg-lengthening often give their patients pain medicine, per a man who got it done, which raises its own questions about medical ethics.

“They fill you with enough painkillers that it’s bearable,” said John Lovedale, a man in his mid-40s.” Lovedale, who was five-foot-eight-and-a-half prior to getting the surgery in the fall of 2021 and now stands about five-foot-eleven-and-a-half, told GQ that he stopped taking the medication earlier than he was supposed to out of fear of becoming addicted.

Described as a handsome and successful father of three, the cosmetic leg lengthening surgery recipient said that although he was not far from the average American male height of five-foot-nine, he was still striving to be above average.

“I noticed that taller people just seem to have it easier,” Lovedale said, reportedly while laughing. “The world seems to bend for them.”

As the report notes, that assessment is not wrong—a  2009 study of Australian men  found that they tend to make about $500 less annually for every inch shorter they are than their taller counterparts. To make the world bend to him, then, Lovedale allowed his legs to be broken.

While limb-lengthening surgeries have been documented in one form or another going back to the 19th century—and initially were used as a treatment to help people who had mismatched limb lengths— cosmetic leg lengthening is a relatively new field that has, per GQ, experienced a boom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although many short kings have expressed a desire to be taller, the steep cost of the surgery—roughly $75,000, in Lovedale’s case—paired with the brutality of the procedure itself and the lengthy and reportedly “excruciating” healing process makes for a hell of a barrier to entry.

In order to make patients taller, doctors like Kevin Debiparshad use the surgical equivalent of large handheld drill, which is aptly named a “reamer,” to break the recipients’ bones and hollow them out so that nails can be implanted in them. Those nails are technically what add to the patients’ height, but they must also undergo intensive physical therapy to build enough muscle to support the additional length.

The whole procedure sounds fascinating, if not somewhat macabre. What’s perhaps more interesting, however, is why anyone would take on such a huge medical and financial cost to experience the world as a tall person, rather than figure out what it is that makes them insecure about their height in the first place.

Research contact: @Futurism

Scientists are working on a gene-hacking drug that could treat baldness

September 15, 2022

Using gene modification techniques, a team of researchers has come up with a new treatment for balding, Wired reports — a condition experienced to varying degrees by two-thirds of American men by age 35.

The team members—associated with the University of California-Irvine and a biotech company called Amplifica—believe they’ve identified the signaling pathway that drives hair growth to find new ways to stop stem cells from giving up on producing hair follicles.

Experiments with mice—as detailed in a new paper published in the journal Developmental Cell last month—have been promising. The mice were genetically modified to have the hair growth signaling pathway turned on permanently.

The result, according to a report in Futurism:The mice rapidly grew hair, in a promising first step towards a potentially groundbreaking treatment for an incredibly common condition—especially considering that current treatment options like hair transplants and hair growth drugs are invasive and expensive.

Using RNA sequencing, the team found that a molecule called SCUBE3, which appears to hack follicles into producing hair again, was being expressed by the mice that had their genes modified.

In an especially promising twist, the technique even worked in mice that had human hair follicles grafted to their skins.

There’s much work to do before the treatment could be used on people. But UCLA professor and Amplifica chief scientific officer Maksim Plikus has no problems envisioning a future in which SCUBE3 is a simple, Botox injection-like treatment for balding patients.

“You have a patient sitting in a dentist-like chair, they close their eyes, and then you go tch, tch, tch, tch,” Plikus told Wired.

The molecule would simply be injected into the scalp less than a millimeter into the skin, a procedure that would take less than 20 minutes, according to Plikus.

The system does have one major flaw: what if patients don’t have hair follicles to begin with? In that case, they’ll be stuck with the option of having new follicles transplanted.

Despite that limitation, scientists are investigating new ways of addressing an issue faced by the majority of the male population—and a large chunk of the female population as well—with options that are far less invasive and potentially much cheaper.

Research contact: @futurism

This $7.7 million Miami mansion comes with a metaverse ‘twin’

September 7, 2022

A $7.77 million luxury chateau, dubbed Reflection Manor, currently is listed for sale on the coveted Miami Shores. With six bedrooms and six-and-a-half baths, it clocks in at 6,000 square feet and is situated on a 12,975 square foot lot. It boasts a game room, wellness wing, covered terrace, and more.

But all of those features, while lovely, aren’t what set it apart—at least not in a town like Miami, reports Futurism.

Instead, what’s been drawing headlines is that it comes with a digital replica attached to an NFT — albeit in a metaverse called Alpha City, which hasn’t actually launched yet. Still, the people trying to sell the mansion insist, it’s going to be worth a fortune.

“It’s not only a $7 million house, but I mean, you bought virtual real estate,” said Jorge Guinovart, a real estate developer and crypto entrepreneur behind the project, adding, “Two to three years from now, when alpha is fully open… you have virtual property that could be worth one million, two million dollars as well.”

Sure, anything’s possible. But selling a digital house in a digital world that doesn’t exist yet—well, you’d be forgiven for getting a certain type of magic bean vibes, notes Futurism.

In the event that the magic beans really do deliver, though, the pitch is expansive. Alpha City says it’ll offer shopping, events, and dating; you’ll be able to start a small business, host your own event, or do some virtual consultations. Of course, there’ll be a lot of billboards, but how different is that from Web2, let alone the real world?

That’s what both Guinovart and the property’s realtor, South Florida-based Juliet Silver, believe that Reflection Manor and its digital twin embody. Unlike gaming-focused metaverses that already exist, like Fortnite, they’ve chosen a ‘Zuckerbergian’ approach — albeit with a luxe Miami flair—to the future of the Internet: realism.

They want Alpha City to feel like an elevated extension of the real world, a digital environment that blends effortlessly into real life.

“This is really much more of a seamless connection between the real world and the virtual world,” said Silver. “And the aesthetics are really not gaming, or… hero avatar based. They’re really based on the aesthetics of, you know, a beautiful modern city.”

It’s important to note that neither virtual houses nor virtual real estate is anything new. Virtual property has been bought and sold for years.

But where Reflection Manor does differ from those projects is that you do actually get a real, tangible house. As such, it’s one part promise, one part bet, and one part sweetener. Instead of hinging the worth of a digital asset on sheer hype alone, the folks behind this project have attached it to one of the safest investment bets in history: real estate.

To that point, though, the state of the real-world housing market does raise the frustrating specter of a virtual world as inaccessible as the physical one. If you have to be able to afford a multimillion-dollar mansion to get your hands on any worthwhile chunk of metaverse land, it’s hard to envision much room in the digital world for upward economic mobility. But, well, if the goal is realism, sounds like Alpha City’s gonna nail it.

Is Reflection Manor a sign of things to come? What will it end up selling for, and if Alpha City ever launches, will its future owners actually hang out there? Only time will tell. Still, Futurism expounds, it’s intriguing to see a blockchain project that’s grounded—literally in reality.

“I think a lot of time and thought has gone into how can we bring extra value to the buyer,” Silver concluded. “I think this is a pretty rare piece of inventory.”

Research contact: @futurism

Ahoy there! Walrus keeps climbing on small boats and sinking them

July 22, 2022

Europeans are on the alert for a well-traveled walrus: Freya—Sinker of Ships and solo travel icon, reports Futurism.

This colossal walrus—easily distinguished by an adorable pink spot on her nose—has been on a grand European tour, slumbering and sunbathing on a number of seaborne vessels as she has traveled. She’s been spotted off the coasts of Germany, Denmark, and Scotland, as well as the Netherlands, where—we kid you not—she took to snoozing on the roof of a “Walrus-class” Dutch submarine.

But now, upon arriving at harbors in Norway, this massive mammal has chosen chaos: Nordic outlet  NH Nieuws  reports that , in her endless pursuit of sunny naps, the 1,500-pound Freya has been sinking comparatively tiny Nordic boats left and right.

As you can imagine, some boat owners who dock at Freya’s new Nordic digs are pretty ticked off. “I don’t want her on the dock or on my boat,” one angry marina goer told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

But now, local authorities and marine scientists have hatched a plan: As  NBC News reports, Freya will be gifted a floating dock worthy of her magnificent heft. Once she’s taken to it, officials say they’ll gently carry her to a new home along the coast.

Freya has developed quite the celebrity status, as walruses are exceedingly uncommon in these regions. Normally found in the Arctic circle, she’s about 400 miles from home, and it’s unclear why she has ended up down South.

We know boats aren’t cheap, and we sympathize with folks whose crafts have been damaged or destroyed by the famous walrus’ blubbery mass. Fans of Freya hope she likes the custom-made floating dock and that the plot to diffuse the situation goes according to plan.

Research contact: @futurism

Down the hatch: We’re ingesting a staggering amount of plastic per week

April 4, 2022

The more experts learn about microplastics and their impact on human bodies, the less good news we get. Just this week researchers at the Medical University of Vienna published a new study in the journal, Exposure and Health, that summarizes all the current knowledge about micro- and nanoplastic particles (MNPs), and how they end up in our guts.

Spoiler alert : It’s almost 100,000 particles per year, if you drink from plastic bottles, reports Futurism.

MNPs are small, but they aren’t all the same. According to a press blurb about the study published on the school’s website, microplastics are 0.001 to 5 millimeters in size and can sometimes be invisible to the naked eye, while nanoplastics are defined as being less than 0.001 millimeters in size.

Thus, people who drink the recommended daily 50 ounces of water from plastic bottles ingest almost 90,000 plastic particles every year. Depending on where they live, people who drink tap water could reduce that by as much as 50,000 fewer particles—or about half.

Professor and study co-author Lukas Kenner told the university’s press office that there’s no shortage of ill effects from consuming microplastics, but that it’s even worse for people who already struggle with chronic disease.

“A healthy gut is more likely to ward off the health risk,” Kenner said in the blurb. “But local changes in the gastrointestinal tract, such as those present in chronic disease or even negative stress, could make them susceptible to the harmful effects of MNPs.”

The team believes that addressing global plastic consumption is necessary, but complicated. The health care industry uses plastic so much because it’s safer and more sterile in surgical and hospital environments. Protheses, examination gloves, sterile syringes, adhesive bandage strips, blood bags and tubes, and heart valves are all made with plastic.

Exactly where the most prevalent types of MNPs come from, how much plastic is excreted later by the body, how doctors can track them in bodies, and whether there are natural processes that could digest plastic are all top concerns for the authors.

Research contact: @futurism