Future

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  • How lizards regenerate their tails: researchers discover genetic ‘recipe’

    KurzweilAI » News
    22 Aug 2014 | 11:33 am
      Researchers have discovered the genetic “recipe” for how the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis) can grow back a lost tail (credit: Hutchins et al./PLoS ONE) Arizona State University scientists have discovered the genetic “recipe” for lizard tail regeneration, which may help develop future therapies for spinal cord injuries. The team studied the regenerating tail of the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis), which when caught by a predator, can lose its tail and then grow it back. The findings were published Aug. 20 in the journal PLOS ONE (open access).
  • Graphene rubber bands: flexible, low-cost body sensors

    KurzweilAI » News
    21 Aug 2014 | 2:18 am
    (E) Rubber band soaking in toluene. (F) An untreated rubber band. (G) a band section after soaking in toluene for 3.5 hours. (H) A graphene-infused band prepared by swelling in toluene then soaking in an N-methyl-pyrrolidone-water-graphene mixture for 4 hours followed by washing and drying. (Credit: Conor S. Boland et al./ACS NANO) Q: What do you get when you add graphene to a rubber band? A: A flexible sensor sensitive enough for medical use that can be made cheaply. So say researchers from the University of Surrey and Trinity College Dublin, who have done just that. Once treated, the rubber…
  • Delivery by drone: will it work?

    KurzweilAI » News
    21 Aug 2014 | 11:09 pm
    (Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT – photograph of quadrotor courtesy of the researchers) MIT researchers have devised computational solutions to reduce the chances that Amazon’s planned delivery drones will crash and burn — along with your stuff. It’s complicated. Drones have to deal with iffy factors like high winds, low fuel/power level, component failures, and even possible shooters in some locations. So with Boeing support, the researchers developed two fixes. An algorithm enables a drone to monitor aspects of its “health” in real time. An efficient way to…
  • Mirror, Mirror -- Science Fiction and Futurism

    Open the Future
    Jamais Cascio
    20 Mar 2014 | 10:31 am
    Futurism -- scenario-based foresight, in particular -- has many parallels to science fiction literature, enough that the two can sometimes be conflated. It's no coincidence that there's quite a bit of overlap between the science fiction writer and futurist communities, and (as a science fiction reader since I was old enough to read) I could myself as extremely fortunate to be able to call many science fiction writers friends. But science fiction and futurism are not the same thing, and it's worth a moment's exploration to show why. The similarities between the two are obvious. Broadly…
  • A low-cost water splitter that runs on an ordinary AAA battery

    KurzweilAI » News
    22 Aug 2014 | 5:22 am
    Stanford scientists have developed a low-cost device that uses an ordinary AAA battery (or a solar cell) to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas. Gas bubbles are produced by electrodes made of inexpensive nickel and iron. (Credit: Mark Shwartz/Stanford University) A cheap, emissions-free device that uses a 1.5-volt AAA battery to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis has been developed by scientists at Stanford University. Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in the Stanford device are made of inexpensive, abundant nickel and iron.
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    Blog of the Long Now

  • David Eagleman: Six Easy Steps to Avert the Collapse of Civilization — Seminar Flashback

    Mikl Em
    22 Aug 2014 | 4:32 pm
    In April 02010 author and neuroscientist David Eagleman proposed several internet-enabled ways to avoid the collapse of civilization. Eagleman is a Guggenheim Fellow known for his research on time perception and synesthesia; his books include the best-seller Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives. Twice a month we highlight a Seminar About Long-term Thinking (SALT) from our archives. Long Now members can watch this video here. The audio is free for everyone on the Seminar page and via podcast. Long Now members can see all Seminar videos in HD. Video of the 12 most recent…
  • Time Bottled in a Dozen 50-Milliliter Flasks

    Catherine Borgeson
    21 Aug 2014 | 3:27 pm
    Photo by Michigan State University For most living organisms, 60,000 generations is an extensive amount of time. Go back that many human generations, or about 1,500,000 years, and there are fossils suggesting Homo erectus were widespread in East and Southeast Asia at that time. Even for the fruit flies, which geneticists have studied for over a century because of their conveniently short lifespans, 60,000 generations equals about 3,750 years. But biologist Richard E. Lenski has observed 60,000 generations in under 27 years–all from a single strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli), the…
  • The NSA reaches out

    Andrew Warner
    19 Aug 2014 | 2:58 pm
    This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking. Inside the NSA Wednesday August 6, 02014 – San Francisco Video is up on the Neuberger Seminar page. Audio is up on the Neuberger Seminar page, or you can subscribe to our podcast. The NSA reaches out – a summary by Stewart Brand Of her eight great-grandparents, seven were murdered at Auschwitz. “So my family’s history burned into me a fear of what occurs when the power of a state is turned against its people or other people.” Seeking freedom from threats like that…
  • Daniel Kahneman: Thinking Fast and Slow — A Seminar Flashback

    Mikl Em
    16 Aug 2014 | 11:54 am
    In August 02013 Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman spoke for Long Now about two types of thinking he’s identified and their implications. The pioneer of behavioral economics gave an insightful and humor-filled presentation on how we think and make decisions. Kahneman contrasted his pessimism with Stewart Brand’s characteristic optimism in their on-stage conversation after the talk (which was ended prematurely by a fire alarm). Twice a month we highlight a Seminar About Long-term Thinking (SALT) from our archives. Video of the 12 most recent Seminars is free…
  • Drew Endy Seminar Tickets

    Andrew Warner
    14 Aug 2014 | 2:08 pm
      The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking Drew Endy presents “The iGEM Revolution” TICKETS Tuesday September 16, 02014 at 7:30pm SFJAZZ Center Long Now Members can reserve 2 seats, join today! General Tickets $15   About this Seminar: Drew Endy helped start the newest engineering major, bioengineering, at both MIT and Stanford. His research teams pioneered the redesign of genomes and invented the transcriptor, a simple DNA element that allows living cells to implement Boolean logic. In 02013 President Obama recognized Endy for his work with…
 
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    KurzweilAI » News

  • How lizards regenerate their tails: researchers discover genetic ‘recipe’

    22 Aug 2014 | 11:33 am
      Researchers have discovered the genetic “recipe” for how the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis) can grow back a lost tail (credit: Hutchins et al./PLoS ONE) Arizona State University scientists have discovered the genetic “recipe” for lizard tail regeneration, which may help develop future therapies for spinal cord injuries. The team studied the regenerating tail of the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis), which when caught by a predator, can lose its tail and then grow it back. The findings were published Aug. 20 in the journal PLOS ONE (open access).
  • A low-cost water splitter that runs on an ordinary AAA battery

    22 Aug 2014 | 5:22 am
    Stanford scientists have developed a low-cost device that uses an ordinary AAA battery (or a solar cell) to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas. Gas bubbles are produced by electrodes made of inexpensive nickel and iron. (Credit: Mark Shwartz/Stanford University) A cheap, emissions-free device that uses a 1.5-volt AAA battery to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis has been developed by scientists at Stanford University. Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in the Stanford device are made of inexpensive, abundant nickel and iron.
  • Delivery by drone: will it work?

    21 Aug 2014 | 11:09 pm
    (Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT – photograph of quadrotor courtesy of the researchers) MIT researchers have devised computational solutions to reduce the chances that Amazon’s planned delivery drones will crash and burn — along with your stuff. It’s complicated. Drones have to deal with iffy factors like high winds, low fuel/power level, component failures, and even possible shooters in some locations. So with Boeing support, the researchers developed two fixes. An algorithm enables a drone to monitor aspects of its “health” in real time. An efficient way to…
  • Graphene rubber bands: flexible, low-cost body sensors

    21 Aug 2014 | 2:18 am
    (E) Rubber band soaking in toluene. (F) An untreated rubber band. (G) a band section after soaking in toluene for 3.5 hours. (H) A graphene-infused band prepared by swelling in toluene then soaking in an N-methyl-pyrrolidone-water-graphene mixture for 4 hours followed by washing and drying. (Credit: Conor S. Boland et al./ACS NANO) Q: What do you get when you add graphene to a rubber band? A: A flexible sensor sensitive enough for medical use that can be made cheaply. So say researchers from the University of Surrey and Trinity College Dublin, who have done just that. Once treated, the rubber…
  • Remote-controlled cyborg moth ‘biobots’ to monitor emergency-response operations

    21 Aug 2014 | 1:21 am
    Measuring moth’s muscle signals at it attempts to fly toward the LEDs (credit: Alper Bozkurt) North Carolina State University researchers have developed methods for electronically manipulating the flight muscles of moths and for monitoring the electrical signals that moths use to control those muscles. The goal: remotely-controlled moths, or “biobots,” for use in emergency response, such as search and rescue operations. “The idea would be to attach sensors to moths … to create a flexible, aerial sensor network that can identify survivors or public health hazards in the wake…
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    Open the Future

  • TEDx in Marin

    Jamais Cascio
    1 Aug 2014 | 11:32 am
    So, the second announcement can now be revealed: I'm one of the speakers at the 2014 TEDx Marin event on September 18. I'll be talking about the Magna Cortica, and will be speaking alongside my IFTF colleague Miriam Lueck Avery (talking about the microbiome), CEO of the Center for Investigative Reporting Joaquin Alvorado (talking about reinventing journalism), UC Berkeley Professor Ananya Roy (talking about patriarchy and power), and Kenyatta Leal, former San Quentin inmate (talking about how education and entrepreneurship can transform prison). TEDx events can be a bit of a gamble; there…
  • Climate Engineering in Berlin

    Jamais Cascio
    30 Jun 2014 | 11:22 am
    Okay, first of a few announcements (posting as they become public): In August, I'll be speaking in Berlin, Germany at the Climate Engineering Conference 2014. A major multi-day event, CEC2014 covers the gamut of climate engineering/geoengineering issues, from science to policy to media. I'm on two panels, and then a special extra event. On Tuesday August 19, I'll be part of the panel entitled CLIMATE ENGINEERING & HUMAN ENGINEERING: SOCIAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHALLENGES IN THE ANTHROPOCENE, talking about "From the Anthropocene to the Noöcene": Natural climate change is a well-understood…
  • Magna Cortica

    Jamais Cascio
    13 May 2014 | 12:33 pm
    One of the projects I worked on for the Institute for the Future's 2014 Ten-Year Forecast was Magna Cortica, a proposal to create an overarching set of ethical guidelines and design principles to shape the ways in which we develop and deploy the technologies of brain enhancement over the coming years. The forecast seemed to strike a nerve for many people -- a combination of the topic and the surprisingly evocative name, I suspect. Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic Monthly wrote a very good piece on the Ten-Year Forecast, focusing on Magna Cortica, and Popular Science subsequently picked up on…
  • Mirror, Mirror -- Science Fiction and Futurism

    Jamais Cascio
    20 Mar 2014 | 10:31 am
    Futurism -- scenario-based foresight, in particular -- has many parallels to science fiction literature, enough that the two can sometimes be conflated. It's no coincidence that there's quite a bit of overlap between the science fiction writer and futurist communities, and (as a science fiction reader since I was old enough to read) I could myself as extremely fortunate to be able to call many science fiction writers friends. But science fiction and futurism are not the same thing, and it's worth a moment's exploration to show why. The similarities between the two are obvious. Broadly…
  • Watching the World through a Broken Lens

    Jamais Cascio
    19 Mar 2014 | 3:23 pm
    It's often frustrating, as a foresight professional, to listen/read what passes for political discourse, especially during a big international crisis (such as the Russia-Ukraine-Crimea situation). Much of the ongoing discussion offers detailed predictions of what one state or another will do and clear assertions of inevitable outcomes, all with an overwhelming certainty of anticipatory analysis. Of course, these various prognostications will almost always be wrong; worse, they'll typically be wrong in a useless way, having obscured or confused our understanding of the world more than they've…
 
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    Next Big Future

  • UPower wants to make a container sized nuclear fission reactor with 2% of the development cost of small nuclear reactors and get regulatory approval by 2019

    23 Aug 2014 | 12:28 am
    UPower technology enables an always on, container-sized, truly carbon-free and emission-free nano-nuclear battery for remote and distributed generation where energy costs can exceed 30 cents/kWh, and power is needed 24/7. The generator is a containerized unit that provides over a decade of energy without refueling, and can generate electricity for 40% less than competing technologies in these markets. The UPower generator is powered by a unique compact, solid state, micro reactor that produces over 1 MW and can cogenerate process heat.The key to the UPower strategy is its truly modular…
  • The Economist magazine now expects China's economy to pass the USA in 2021

    23 Aug 2014 | 12:02 am
    The Economist updates their long term forecasts for the US and China economies and now expects China to pass the USA in 2021.When we first introduced the chart in 2010, we included a set of default assumptions for the following decade. We assumed that growth would average 7.75% in China over the subsequent ten years and 2.5% in America. We further assumed that inflation would average 4% in China and 1.5% in America. The yuan, we guessed, would strengthen by 3% a year on average. Based on this combination of assumptions, China would overtake America as early as 2019*. We are now four years…
  • Quantum annealing correction for random Ising problems

    22 Aug 2014 | 10:58 pm
    The performance of a quantum annealer on hard random Ising optimization problems can be substantially improved using quantum annealing correction (QAC). Our error correction strategy is tailored to the D-Wave Two device. They find that QAC provides a statistically significant enhancement in the performance of the device over a classical repetition code, improving as a function of problem size as well as hardness. Moreover, QAC provides a mechanism for overcoming the precision limit of the device, in addition to correcting calibration errors. Performance is robust even to missing qubits. We…
  • 25 years ago China chose political oppression, a market economy and globalization and for now it has worked

    22 Aug 2014 | 10:45 pm
    Wilson Quarterly describes China's economic transformation since 1989. In 1989, China made the choice to go with political repression, a market economy and globalization.China’s economy has grown to 24 times its size in 1989. The U.S. economy, by contrast — despite robust economic growth over the past 25 years — is slightly less than three times its 1989 size.Economists previously thought China would pull ahead by 2019, but the glacial US recovery has allowed the gap to narrow more quickly.A renowned Chinese economist Li Yining refuted the notion that China's economy is in…
  • Star Trek Feature Quality Film Funded by Kickstarter

    22 Aug 2014 | 9:37 pm
    Axanar is the independent Star Trek film which proves that a feature-quality Star Trek film can be made on a small budget.Their 20-minute short film, Prelude to Axanar, premiered Saturday, July 26th, 2014, at San Diego Comic Con and features Richard Hatch, Tony Todd, Kate Vernon, JG Hertzler and Gary Graham, who reprises his role of Soval from "Enterprise". The makeup was done by Academy Award winner Kevin Haney and Star Trek veteran Brad Look and Make Up Effects Lab. Top that off with the amazing visual effects of Tobias Richter and The Light Works, and sound by Academy Award…
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    the Foresight Institute

  • Recent cases of 'accessible' high-tech: Open source chips & Origami robots

    Stephanie C
    22 Aug 2014 | 11:45 am
    From MegaOm.com: "An origami robot transforming from flat to 3D. Photo courtesy of Seth Kroll, Wyss Institute." Nanotech promises more commonplace access to advanced technology as material and fabrication costs fall and traditional barriers to innovation are removed. Examples are already being seen globally: more access to laptops and cell phones in developing countries, desktop 3D printers, a surge in establishment of shared-use research facilities, etc. A couple recent cases getting attention on GigaOm.com include the latest release of RISC-based open source chip from UC Berkeley,…
  • Surprisingly real value from virtual reality

    Stephanie C
    21 Aug 2014 | 11:37 am
    Looks can be deceiving -- these gamers may be engaged in highly cooperative, albeit remote, team objectives. Credit: Reuters Speaking of big computation, cyberspace isn’t yet as potent as Neal Stephenson portrayed in Snow Crash and subsequent books, but it’s getting there. A new article in the Wall Street Journal online titled Can World of Warcraft Game Skills Help Land a Job? states that some job seekers are adding gaming skills to their resumes to indicate their ability to work productively in large, remote teams: Gamers’ ability to accomplish complex tasks across virtual teams…
  • Big computation brings your ideas into 3D

    Stephanie C
    14 Aug 2014 | 12:27 pm
    Hyve3D credit: University of Montreal What 3D printers are doing to facilitate fabrication, 3D drawing programs are surpassing to facilitate design. As described at ScienceDaily.com, two systems referred to as “powerful” and “spectacular” are being highlighted at the SIGGRAPH 2014 conference in Vancouver this week: True2Form (out of University of British Columbia) brings 2D sketches into 3D (excerpt from SD reprint): …”In line-drawings, designers and artists use descriptive curves and informative viewpoints to convey the full shape of an object,” says…
  • Tunable Assembly of Nanoparticles for (Photovoltaic) Devices

    Stephanie C
    13 Aug 2014 | 2:51 pm
    credit: Venkataraman et al., University of Massachusetts Amherst Photovoltaics are an interesting case where atomic precision is not necessary to achieve potentially dramatic global impacts. Even an “ok efficiency” device that is easy to manufacture with reduced environmental hazard could have significant beneficial effects on energy resources and on device fabrication processes (which could, in turn, contribute to developments toward APM). The struggle to balance ease of manufacture and device efficiency is a major driver behind current research efforts.  Two recent publications out of…
  • Nanotechnology-based next generation memory nears mass production

    Jim Lewis
    10 Aug 2014 | 1:41 pm
    This scanning electron microscope image and schematic show the design and composition of new RRAM memory devices based on porous silicon oxide that were created at Rice University. Credit: Tour Group/Rice University Investment in the ultimate promise of advanced or molecular nanotechnology, that is, molecular manufacturing or atomically precise manufacturing, may well rest upon the success of current nanoscale science and incremental nanotechnology. Computation represents a major area of investment for current nanotechnology. One researcher who has contributed greatly to both atomically…
 
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    Ultrafuture World

  • Potential basis for a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease

    Gabriel
    5 Aug 2014 | 4:25 am
    Parkinson’s disease affects the neurons in the brain region called the substantia nigra (black substance); mitochondrial activity ceases and the cells die. Researchers have now proven to provide D-lactate or glycolate, two products of the DJ-1 gene, can stop and even reverse this process. In their experiments, the team Teymuras Kurzchalia and Tony Hyman, the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Germany, found that adding substances to human HeLa cells, grown in the laboratory, and cells of the worm C. elegans, restoring mitochondrial activity and prevented the…
  • Why brain tumors are somewhat more common in men?

    Gabriel
    4 Aug 2014 | 12:44 am
    New research carried out by researchers from the University of Washington and published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation may help to explain why brain tumors occur more often in adult males, as well as, often are more aggressive than the same types of malignant neoplastic disease in adult females. An example is found in glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumors and are diagnosed twice more in men than in women. In addition, with this tumor, virtually incurable even quickly treated with surgery, men suffer major alterations cognitive than women, as they do not survive long.
  • They discover that oxytocin can also cause violent reactions

    Gabriel
    3 Aug 2014 | 12:48 am
    Probably none of us is able to associate with any negative oxytocin feeling fact; we see it as hormone welfare and pleasure, linked to petting, or sex addiction. As one study has shown that not only positive reactions it can cause, but may be associated with negative violent reactions. Oxytocin: A hormone also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. Studies have shown that aid facial recognition is associated with orgasm and physical contact and contributes to the attachment between mother and son. Has an important role in childbirth, breastfeeding and sexual patterns. Inhaling oxytocin…
  • Scan the eyes to detect Alzheimer’s

    Gabriel
    2 Aug 2014 | 2:44 am
    The eye care is very important, but until now had not linked directly to the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. A new study suggests that the eye care professionals could have a key role in the detection of Alzheimer’s disease in the future. Although the results are not yet decisive, yes they are very encouraging. Detecting Alzheimer’s disease thanks to the eyes The research was presented at the International Conference of the Association of Alzheimer in Copenhagen, Denmark, on July 15. The premise that part this research is that an optical scanner noninvasive (instead…
  • A simple blood test could detect the suicide in time

    Gabriel
    1 Aug 2014 | 2:26 am
    Identify persons at high risk of suicide is vital to avoid that finally end up with their lives. For this reason, with the passage of time a series of circumstances have been associated with having a greater chance of consummating the suicide. These circumstances are les called risk factors, such as having more than 40 years, being male, being widowed, separated, unemployed, etc. How to identify these high-risk individuals could radically change with a new and simple blood test, the results that have been obtained by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University, which have been published in…
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    The Technium

  • You Are Not Late

    Kevin Kelly
    5 Aug 2014 | 4:04 pm
    Can you imagine how awesome it would have been to be an entrepreneur in 1985 when almost any dot com name you wanted was available? All words; short ones, cool ones. All you had to do was ask for the one you wanted. It didn’t even cost anything to claim. This grand opportunity was true for years. In 1994 a Wired writer noticed that mcdonalds.com was still unclaimed, so with our encouragement he registered it, and then tried to give it to McDonalds, but their cluelessness about the internet was so hilarious it became a Wired story. Shortly before that I noticed that abc.com was not claimed…
  • Platforms Trump Products

    Kevin Kelly
    16 Jul 2014 | 1:39 pm
    The general trend in the technium is a long-term migration away from selling products to selling services. Jeff Bezos has long said the Kindle is not a product, but a service selling access to reading material. That distinction will be made even more visible very shortly when Amazon introduces an “all you can read” subscription to their library of ebooks. Readers will no longer have to purchase individual books, but will have the option to subscribe to all books (600,000 to begin with), like you do to movies on Netflix. As a paying subscriber you get access to any book in print…
  • The Least Resistance to New Ideas

    Kevin Kelly
    15 Jul 2014 | 10:05 am
    Many years ago the San Francisco Chronicle published a short column in which the writer mentioned that he had been traveling in India, and when he told the clerk at his hotel in New Delhi that he was from the San Francisco Bay Area the clerk responded, “Oh that is the center of the universe” Um, mumbled the traveller, and why do you say that? “Because the center of the universe is wherever there is the least resistance to new ideas.” I have not been able to come up with a better description of San Francisco’s special relation to futurism. In my experience this is…
  • The Technium Test

    Kevin Kelly
    14 Jul 2014 | 5:12 pm
    Beyond our tiny blue planet, the universe is filled with 100 billion galaxies, each containing 100 billion suns, and each of those stars some vast but unknown billion of inhabitable planets. Let’s say we had some means to inspect at least one other planet in the universe that sprouted sentient creatures who also developed their own advance technology. If we could see a complicated artifact on that planet do we have any test to determine whether that thing was alive or created? Could we tell whether a particular example was an organism born, or a supremely advanced machine made by ones who…
  • Soured Quotes 18

    Kevin Kelly
    23 Feb 2014 | 10:54 pm
    In terms of GDP, user-generated content involves unmeasured labor creating an unmeasured asset that is consumed in unmeasured ways to create unmeasured consumer surplus. — Erik and Andrew, The Second Machine Age, 2014, p. 114. I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA. I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it. — Edward Snowden, Edward Snowden Says His Mission’s Accomplished, Washington Post, December 24, 2013 Netflix has created a database of American cinematic predilections. The data can’t…
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    Existence is Wonderful

  • This blog is no longer active.

    17 Aug 2014 | 10:02 am
    Dear anyone who used to read this blog, or who has randomly stumbled upon it,I plan on leaving "Existence is Wonderful" up as an archive for the time being, but I don't plan on adding new content here.I may eventually start writing regularly in public again, but trying to post here makes me feel...claustrophobic, somehow, like I'm stuck having the same conversations I was having in 2007-2008, etc. Nothing is wrong, it's just time to move on. Despite all the awful things in the news, ultimately I do still think existence is wonderful, and I hope everyone reading this manages to keep finding…
  • Existence is Wonderful is officially on hiatus.

    12 Sep 2012 | 1:28 pm
    Technically I suppose it's been on hiatus for a while now, in the sense that regular updates have not been forthcoming since, um, 2009ish? But I wanted to put up an "official" announcement in case anyone coming across this page was expecting it to be current. Sometimes I encounter people (through work, etc.) who've been introduced to me on the basis of my having this blog, and I've gotten to the point of feeling a little weird about that, given the paucity of recently-posted new content. All that said, I'm keeping the existenceiswonderful.com domain and at some point I may come back and…
  • Fluorescence microscopy is awesome

    4 Apr 2012 | 9:54 pm
    One of the things I've been doing recently (yes, lots of life happens even when I'm not blogging about it) is optimizing an older Zeiss microscope for fluorescence imaging at the lab where I work. A picture of the microscope appears below:It's an Axiovert S 100 inverted scope with trinocular head. I didn't even know what an inverted microscope was before I started working with this one, but it's pretty obvious when you see it in person: it's called "inverted" because the objectives point up from the base of the scope. This is very useful when looking at, say, liquid contents of Petri…
  • Under (Re)construction

    19 Mar 2012 | 3:29 pm
    I'm alive, just haven't updated in ages. If anyone is still reading, template updates are in process and updates to links, lists, etc. should follow. EDIT: No, the colors won't all be this dark when I'm finished. I also expect to be mucking around with templates / formatting a fair bit. Don't freak out.
  • DIY Files: Industrial(ish) Kitchen Shelf

    11 Jul 2011 | 4:59 pm
    So, there's this little no-man's-land strip of floor between my house's kitchen and living-room zones (the front area of the structure is "open floorplan"). The wire "storage cube" tower was never intended to be permanent, as it's both very wobbly and prone to collecting cat-hair tumbleweeds. Nonetheless, until recently it was the only thing keeping random fruits, root vegetables, small dishtowels, compost bucket, and bottled beverages in any semblance of an organized configuration.(above photo: the "before" -- vaguely functional, but thoroughly rickety)We could have easily gone and purchased…
 
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    Broader Perspective

  • Intracortical Recording Devices

    18 Aug 2014 | 11:22 pm
    A key future use of neural electrode technology envisioned for nanomedicine and cognitive enhancement is intracortical recording devices that would capture the output signals of multiple neurons that are related to a given activity, for example signals associated with movement, or the intent of movement. Intracortical recording devices will require the next-generation of more robust and sophisticated neural interfaces combined with advanced signal processing, and algorithms to properly translate spontaneous neural action potentials into command signals [1]. Capturing, recording, and…
  • Escaping the Totalization of my own Thinking

    10 Aug 2014 | 7:43 pm
    One of the highest-order things that we can do for ourselves and others is try to escape our own thinking style. Each of us has a way of thinking, a default of which we may not even be aware. Even if we are aware that we each have a personal thinking style, we may not think to identify it and contrast it with other thinking styles, consider changing our own style, and even what it might mean to be portable between thinking styles. This is a form of the totalization problem, that being completely within something, it is hard to see outside of the totality of that thing. If we are thinking…
  • Machine Ethics Interfaces

    3 Aug 2014 | 9:50 pm
    Machine ethics is a term used in different ways. The basic use is in the sense of people attempting to instill some sort of human-centric ethics or morality in the machines we build like robots, self-driving vehicles, and artificial intelligence (Wallach 2010) so that machines do not harm humans either maliciously or unintentionally. This trend may have begun with Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. However, there are many different philosophical and other issues with this definition of machine ethics, including the lack of grounds for anthropomorphically assuming that a human ethics would be…
  • Enterprise Bitcoin and the Brain as a CryptoCurrency Network

    20 Jul 2014 | 11:58 pm
    If Dell, New Egg, and TigerDirect now accept Bitcoin, and Paypal's CEO contemplates the same, eBay and Amazon might also accept Bitcoin in the not too distant future, and this would start to really push cryptocurrency into the mainstream. Faster still if Google Wallet were to join. Bitcoin seems to be 'going enterprise' (= key step to mainstream) as fast as the Internet-of-things (Enterprise IOT: Microsoft, Ernst & Young, etc. offering connected POS (point of sale) networks and all 'devices' as an IOT service to businesses). However, even though Bitcoin in its entirety is a radically new…
  • Prediction Markets Round-Up

    14 Jul 2014 | 7:55 pm
    Prediction Markets are a tool for collecting group opinion using market principles. The price is usually based on a conversion of an opinion of the percent likely an event is to happen (i.e., the probability), for example there is a 40% change that Candidate X will win the election. The premise is that there is a lot of hidden information that can be sharable but there are not mechanisms to share it because information-holders either cannot or do not wish to share it (for example that a current work team project may not finish on time). Some research has found that prediction markets may beat…
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    Andart

  • Andart evolves into... Andart II

    Anders3
    11 Aug 2014 | 2:01 am
    This blog is now moving to Andart II! Andart has been running on a movable type back-end for ages, and it is starting to show its age. Plus, spam made me turn off comments years ago. So it is time...
  • Monoliths... Mmm... Monoliths

    Anders3
    22 Jul 2014 | 4:03 pm
    I gush about 2001: The Spark: 2001, artificial intelligence and the future of humanity The interview made me re-recognize how absolutely awesome the movie is. It is in many ways *the* movie to watch to understand what our institute tries...
  • Roadmap for physics greatness

    Anders3
    20 Jul 2014 | 2:55 pm
    Gerard 't Hooft has written an excellent set of pages on How to become a GOOD Theoretical Physicist - essentially his sketch of what a person ought to know before they can actually do any relevant work in theoretical physics....
  • Panel of the Clones

    Anders3
    10 Jul 2014 | 2:58 pm
    A while ago I participated in a discussion at the Hay-on-Wye philosophy festival about cloning. Now the footage is online: Planet of the Clones: The future of human cloning. Hilary Rose, Anders Sandberg, Ian Wilmut. Barnaby Martin hosts We had...
  • If nature doesn't do containment, why should I?

    Anders3
    2 Jul 2014 | 4:57 pm
    Earlier this week I attended an excellent talk by Simon Wain-Hobson from the Pasteur Institute about gain of function (GOF) experiments on flu viruses. They are controversial because they involve making viruses more pathogenic or more transmissible; I have blogged...
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    Overcoming Bias

  • Regulating Infinity

    Robin Hanson
    17 Aug 2014 | 11:20 am
    As a professor of economics in the GMU Center for the Study of Public Choice, I and my colleagues are well aware of the many long detailed disputes on the proper scope of regulation. One the one hand, the last few centuries has seen increasing demands for and expectations of government regulation. A wider range of things that might happen without regulation are seen as intolerable, and our increasing ability to manage large organizations and systems of surveillance is seen as making us increasingly capable of discerning relevant problems and managing regulatory solutions. On the other hand,…
  • Neglecting Win-Win Help

    Robin Hanson
    15 Aug 2014 | 4:35 pm
    Consider three kinds of acts: S. Selfish – helps you, and no one else. A. Altruistic – helps others, at a cost to you. M. Mixed – helps others, and helps you. To someone who is honestly and simply selfish, acts of type A would be by far the least attractive. All else equal such people would do fewer acts of type A, relatives to other types. Because they don’t care about helping others. To someone who is honestly and simply altruistic, in contrast, acts of type M should be the most attractive. All else equal, such a person should more often do acts of type M, relative to…
  • Why Do We So Seek Synch?

    Robin Hanson
    12 Aug 2014 | 9:00 am
    We economists are known for being “imperial” in trying to apply economics to almost everything. And that’s a goal I can get behind, in the sense of trying to find an integrated view of the social world, where all social phenomena have a place and some candidate explanations within a common framework. Of course many parts of this integrated view may start first in fields outside economics. In pursuit of such an integrated view, I’ve been making a special effort to learn more about social phenomena that economists don’t talk much about. And since a lot of these phenomena are often…
  • Automation vs. Innovation

    Robin Hanson
    10 Aug 2014 | 8:05 am
    We don’t yet know how to make computer software that is as flexibly smart as human brains. So when we automate tasks, replacing human workers with computer-guided machines, we usually pay large costs in flexibility and innovation. The new automated processes are harder to change to adapt to new circumstances. Software is harder to change than mental habits, it takes longer to conceive and implement software changes, and such changes require the coordination of larger organizations. The people who write software are further from the task, and so are less likely than human workers to notice…
  • Part Of Something Big

    Robin Hanson
    9 Aug 2014 | 5:30 am
    A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. Joseph Campbell Most Twitter talk reminds me of the movie Ridicule, wherein courtiers compete to show cruel wit and cynicism. This makes me crave a simple direct conversation on something that matters. So I pick this: being part of something larger than yourself. This is a commonly expressed wish. But what does it mean? Here are some clues: Judging from Google-found quotes, common satisfactory “things” include religions, militaries, political parties, and charities. For most people “the universe” seems…
 
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    The Fourth Revolution Blog

  • Why the Job Market Transformation Requires You to Develop Your Online Reputation

    Jeremie Averous
    23 Aug 2014 | 4:30 am
    The value of inter-mediation for job search is moving towards reputation management. While before it was mainly making the job or the applicant visible and creating the connection, today’s platforms allow the potential employer to check the applicant’s reputation. This explains why once-major site posting players such as Monster.com etc are now being overtaken by sites that add reputation measurement. Old-fashioned inter-mediation: a job posting board That is one of the most interesting conclusions from Valeria Maltoni’s excellent post where she summarizes what is happening…
  • How We Will Need Specialists to Make Sense of the Authenticity of Big Data Correlations

    Jeremie Averous
    21 Aug 2014 | 4:30 am
    Here is a fine example of the spurious correlations that Big Data can create (ref. my post on “How Big Data Will not Help our Understanding of Complexity”). This and many other great stupid examples are accessible on the spurious correlations page maintained by Tyler Vigen, More data means the possibility of far more spurious correlations, and no doubt will it be difficult sometimes to figure out whether they are believable or not. More than ever, longer time scales will allow to distinguish spurious correlations or pure luck from real relationships. No doubt that in the…
  • How the Fourth Revolution Dramatically Accelerates Finding Community and Cure for Rare Diseases

    Jeremie Averous
    19 Aug 2014 | 4:30 am
    This long but interesting article in the New Yorker, ‘One of a kind, what do you do if your child has a condition that is unknown to science‘ tells the intriguing story of how social media and our new communications capabilities have allowed the family of a baby who had an unknown condition to find a community of similar children. They managed to figure out it was a rare genetic disorder (thanks to the latest progress in genetic sequencing). Through a post that went viral, they managed to find other children that had the same symptoms, showing to the world that it was not an…
  • Why We Would Have Smartphones Today Even Without Steve Jobs – and the Inevitability of the Fourth Revolution

    Jeremie Averous
    16 Aug 2014 | 4:30 am
    We do hail Steve Jobs for inventing the smartphone in the shape of an iPhone (and other marvels of modern technology). Yet today we see that this technology is becoming mainstream and ubiquitous. So, would this invention have happened even without Steve Jobs’s genius? The answer is yes, and probably not too late after it happened thanks for Apple. What has Steve Jobs really invented? There are a lot of pointers in the form of past inventions occurring simultaneously (such as for example, the telephone, the theory of evolution etc) described for example in the excellent book ‘What…
  • Why Difficult Conversations are Key to Success in Change Initiatives

    Jeremie Averous
    14 Aug 2014 | 4:30 am
    In the book ‘Difficult Conversations‘ written by members of the Harvard Negotiation Group, the authors state: “We believe a major reason change efforts so often fail is that successful implementation eventually requires people to have difficult conversations. The ability to manage difficult conversations effectively is foundational to achieving almost any significant change.” It is quite true that real change – either personal or at the level of an organization always require to address existing issues in an open and straightforward manner, while making sure the…
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    XYZ University

  • Come see us at #ASAE14!

    XYZ University
    5 Aug 2014 | 2:44 pm
    We are gearing up for a fun-filled weekend of networking with association professionals as part of the ASAE Annual Meeting and Expo in Nashville, August 9-12. We’re so excited that we thought we’d give you a sneak peek at some of the great reasons to come visit XYZ University at this year’s event (Booth #1713). Don’t miss it! And don’t forget to grab a copy of Sarah Sladek’s latest book at the ASAE Bookstore or talk to us about custom book orders at our booth! See you in Nashville!
  • Why you don’t understand those young’uns

    Amanda Kaiser
    22 Jul 2014 | 2:57 pm
    Copyright: andresr / 123RF Stock Photo “When I was your age I used to walk to school five miles through three feet of snow uphill both ways.” How many of you have a statement similar to this from someone of an older generation? We like to laugh about this statement but there’s a bit of truth to it. Every generation feels the next generation is softer and more pampered. We also misremember the past, framing the events in our minds as either much better than or much worse than they really were. For these reasons, drawing on your young member or young professional experiences won’t help…
  • What’s trending in talent development?

    Shannon Neeser
    16 Jul 2014 | 5:45 am
    We need talent to survive. We all know that. What you might not know is how to attract, develop and retain the top talent. That’s where XYZ University comes in. There’s a talent war currently happening and even if you can get the talent you need, keeping it looks different than it did even a few years ago. One of the best ways to ensure your company has the right talent and a solid foundation for retention, is to develop talent from within. You know what you need and many times you know which employees are best equipped to provide those needs to you. At the same time, your employees…
  • What members want: The new meaning of value

    Shannon Neeser
    10 Jul 2014 | 1:47 pm
      Copyright: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo The problem with your young association members is that they’re always changing. Each generation is a little bit different; they value experiences differently. How you attracted young members a decade ago probably isn’t working for you today; Gen X is not Gen Y is not Gen Z. And even if your association gets these generations in the door, keeping them there is just as challenging. If your association is going to be around to worry about the next generation of membership, you need to know what the next generation of member values now. Real…
  • Finding your niche

    Shannon Neeser
    3 Jul 2014 | 7:23 am
    Your association isn’t for everyone. You serve a specific industry and a specific type of professional within your industry. The better you understand your audience and your own purpose, the better you will be able to serve your members. Recognizing your own niche will also help you properly market your association. You’re unique; you are not actually competing with all the other associations in your industry out there. You’re best at being what you are, and that’s exactly what you need to focus on. Stand out Generation Y doesn’t want to blend in with the crowd, they want to…
 
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    Singularitarian

  • Scientists Found a Way to Email Brain Waves

    21 Aug 2014 | 9:21 am
    Scientists Found a Way to Email Brain Waves: Researchers have successfully communicated words from one brain to another over the internet.
  • 3D-printed wind turbine puts 300W of power in your backpack

    20 Aug 2014 | 8:45 pm
    3D-printed wind turbine puts 300W of power in your backpack: For the most part, portable energy generators are intended for modest uses. They can charge your phone, but they won’t drive high-powered laptops or small appliances. That might change if Omni3D gets its crowdfunded AirEnergy 3D off the ground. The 3D-printed wind turbine should fit into a backpack, yet produce up to 300W of power — enough that you can keep a whole slew of devices running, including those that wouldn’t run at all on solar or thermoelectric systems. It will be open source, too, since part of the goal is to let…
  • An Eye Phone to Fight Blindness

    15 Aug 2014 | 12:30 pm
    An Eye Phone to Fight Blindness: Did you know that 285 million people suffer from blindness or poor eyesight? More shocking: Many times, all they need is a pair of glasses or simple cataract surgery. The problem is that 90 percent of those affected live in developing countries that have only a handful of ophthalmologists, who often work in major cities and are impossible to reach from remote villages.
  • Cannabis-Based Batteries Could Charge Your Phone in Seconds—And Change the Way We Store Energy

    15 Aug 2014 | 6:42 am
    Cannabis-Based Batteries Could Charge Your Phone in Seconds—And Change the Way We Store Energy : On top of its vast medicinal benefits and a “high” that’s safer and mellower than alcohol, what if cannabis could also power a cheap, sustainable super battery and forever change the energy game? It sounds like a far-fetched dream cooked up by Cheech and Chong after a bong rip or three, but it’s possible, according to a team of researchers at the University of Alberta.
  • Boeing’s Figuring Out How to Make Jet Fuel From Tobacco

    9 Aug 2014 | 11:44 am
    Boeing’s Figuring Out How to Make Jet Fuel From Tobacco: You can’t use tobacco while flying, but your plane can. Boeing is working with South African Airways to power the carrier’s planes with biofuel derived from a new breed of tobacco plant.
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    Thought Infection

  • Corporations are not people, but soon they could be.

    andrea2z
    3 Aug 2014 | 1:24 pm
    There has been a fair amount of talk lately about the nature of corporate personhood and the destructive effects it can have on the political process. The WolfPAC, a political action organization which is (somewhat ironically) collecting money in order to lobby governments to create limits for the amount of money that can be donated to political causes. I agree that there exists a desperate need for some kind of counterbalance for the undue influence that money has on the political process, but I also recognize that this is a complex issue. In particular I am concerned that the way in…
  • Lay-Offs Should be Good News

    @ThoughtInfected
    20 Jul 2014 | 10:19 am
    I would like to preface this post by pointing out that I very much sympathize with those who must endure the stress, uncertainty and general hardship that unemployment brings upon people and families that must live through it. The purpose of this post is not meant to suggest that the human costs of job loss are negligible or unimportant, but instead to encourage deeper thought on the too often forgotten pluses of job cuts. If we wish to live in an efficient and fair society then we must seek means to maximize the pros and diminish the cons of eliminating jobs. …
  • The Speech – Part 5 of Isaac’s Escape

    @ThoughtInfected
    8 Jun 2014 | 4:25 am
    This is a work in progress for the next part of Isaac’s Escape. Go here for the first, second, third, and fourth parts. ———————————- “We stand at a turning point in history.” The man (or at least the projection of a man) stood above the crowd gathered at the steps of the congress. He was sharply dressed, but not too sharply. He was wearing a loose fitting business which produced that newly fashionable wrinkled look. The suit gave the man a slight impression of innocence, like a boy arriving for his first…
  • It’s Time to Start Believing Again – Why Basic Income Could and Should be the Next Global Political Movement

    @ThoughtInfected
    1 Jun 2014 | 1:55 pm
    If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know that I am a big fan of basic income as the best solution to fix the current international ills of modernize capitalism. Whether it is in the form of a guaranteed minimum income (GMI), negative income tax (NIT), or Universal Basic Income (UBI), I believe that some form of non-means tested mechanism to distribute minimal income to everyone in society is going to become a must as we enter an increasingly automated world. In this post I will attempt to explore something that I have not yet seen addressed in discussions about basic…
  • We Are Running Out of Time To Build A Better World

    @ThoughtInfected
    25 May 2014 | 6:28 am
    Sometimes people ask me why I get so excited about the kind of stuff that I talk about here. It seems that most people simply accept the hardship, inequity, and unfairness of the world as if it were a law of nature. “Your life is pretty good, why do you get so worked up about this stuff?” A simple question, but one which probes surprisingly deep into my beliefs about the world and its future. Yes, I am lucky enough to have been born into a society which can deliver the opportunity for someone of a rather peculiar and bookish demeanor to embrace their academic proclivity and…
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    Getting Through High School

  • How Body Language Can Change Your Lifestyle

    22 Aug 2014 | 11:30 am
    Take a second an assess yourself, right now. Are you slouching? Are you sitting erect? Are you making yourself smaller by crossing your legs or your arms? Are you making yourself larger by spreading out? If you said yes to any of the above, you are human.All creatures adopt of posture/pose/stance in their everyday life, and this is something a group of researchers studied.This post is based off of a TED Talk episode I saw on Netflix. I'll just summarize the basis of the episode for you guys. I apologize if the pictures aren't formatted correctly; I tried my best.A researcher (Amy Cuddy) at…
  • 5 Ways to Pass Math Class

    20 Aug 2014 | 10:30 am
    Witchcraft!I can imagine that for most people, math class is the equivalent to large bowl of Brussels sprouts. What do I mean by that? Basically, math class is stinky; we don't like it; it shouldn't exist. (For those of you who like Brussels sprouts, I commend you for your bravery). Anyway, having that attitude toward math class won't really help you. Last week, I spoke about changing your attitude about math class. Maybe you felt that you needed more concrete help.That's what this post is for. Here are five surefire ways to pass that math class!The Five Steps To PassingDo your homework. I…
  • Ice Bucket Challenge

    18 Aug 2014 | 12:00 pm
    You've all heard of this crazy fad, "the ice bucket challenge." Well, in order to show my appreciation for ALS/ Lou Gehrig's disease patients, I have accepted the challenge! See the video on my Facebook page or Twitter account!
  • You'll Be Speaking Spanish In No Time!

    18 Aug 2014 | 11:30 am
    So remember how I said that I'd be including some foreign language segments on Mondays? Well, here it is! This post won't take long because I'm going to refer you to a website that will significantly help you in your Spanish studies.I present to you http://www.studyspanish.com! I can attest to its helpful set up. This site has saved me many times when I was confused about certain verb conjugations and the like. If you are truly interested in passing your Spanish class with an A, check out the site. You won't regret it.Follow me on Twitter @DomsterOnee or like my Facebook page!
  • The Battle Is Over... For Now

    15 Aug 2014 | 12:30 pm
    First week of school is over! Yay! We can now relax! I hope this week was too bad. You met your friends again, you met teachers, got your assignments. It's not too unbearable. I'd like to keep this post short, so you can go back to enjoying your Friday.Since this is the first week of school, I think it'd be best to reassess your classes and what you plan to do for the rest of the year. You don't want your classes to get the best of you. Remember to treat the classes that are difficult with caution.Other than that, Congratulations! This week of school is over!Follow me on…
 
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