Friday Futures: Sahara-like Earth, AI+CRISPR vs COVID-19

Sahara heat
Image credit | Galyna Andrushko

Welcome to Friday Futures, our regular guide to the latest visions of The Future from around the web. This week: Sahara like heat could cover 20% of earth; massive radio burst from our own galaxy; AI, CRISPR working on COVID-19; very close black hole and a drive thru’ strip joint.

In 50 years, 20% of Earth could be like the Sahara

According to a new study, extreme heat now only found in parts of the Sahara could spread to nearly 20% of the globe (and nearly a third of humanity) if carbon emissions aren’t curtailed. The paper, published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, makes a pretty compelling case to cut carbon emissions and not fry the world. Read more…

We just had a massive radio burst from our own galaxy

On 28 April 2020, the dead star – sitting just 30,000 light-years away – was recorded by radio observatories around the world, seemingly flaring with a single, millisecond-long burst of incredibly bright radio waves that would have been detectable from another galaxy. Read more…

Arthur C. Clarke made some amazing predictions – in 1964

Self-healing habitats will make colonising the Moon so much easier

A team of engineers is developing smart lunar habitats that could serve as homes in a settlement on the surface of the Moon. The ultimate goal is for these structures to be able to autonomously adapt to hazards like meteorite impacts or seismic activity. They would also use robots to repair any damage without putting humans in harm’s way — all in a bid to make settling the Moon less perilous. Read more…

Apparently MIT is using CRISPR to create COVID-19 tests

Because there are still too few tests to go around, a pair of MIT researchers set out to build something to be as low-cost and self-contained as possible, The New York Times reports. The result is a two-step test that uses CRISPR to scan a patient’s saliva or nasal swab for signs of the coronavirus’ genetic code. Read more…

Here’s how AI is being used to fix the COVID-19 problem

Eyes communicate with the brain in unexpected ways

For decades, biology textbooks have stated that eyes communicate with the brain exclusively through one type of signalling pathway. But a new discovery shows that some retinal neurons take a road less travelled. Read more…

A black hole is close (and there may be many more)

Black holes might be black, but they are not necessarily invisible. They come in a variety of sizes, from minuscule to supermassive, with a key common feature: a boundary known as the event horizon, beyond which light cannot escape. Read more…

The funny side of responding to spam

And – obviously – there is now a drive-thru strip club in America

Customers slowly drive through a tent that contains four dancers and a DJ. The first 50 cars get a free roll of toilet paper. “You pull in and you get one or two songs with the gogos, then we bring your food out to you and then you go on your way,” explained Lucky Devil Lounge owner Shon Boulden in a video report uploaded by The Oregonian. Read more…

Other Friday Futures to educate and entertain – here and here.

(Compiled by Alex Leslie and edited by Tony Poulos)

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