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Alexander Masters – Crowdfunding for cancer-can it make a real difference?

Alexander Masters – Crowdfunding for cancer-can it make a real difference? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Crowdfunding might catapult promising cancer drugs into clinical trials, but can it reduce the cost of getting them to market?


The days of the middle-man are numbered. You can borrow money from peer-to-peer lenders such as Zopa without the bloated intervention of banks; read the news without the patronising control of newspaper editors; and now, through crowdfunding, you can bypass the opaque institutions that control the financing of cancer research and direct world-class medical work.

I first came across the anti-cancer work of Professor Magnus Essand and Dr Justyna Leja by stalking them, on the internet. Five years ago, my co-writer and best friend, the biographer Dido Davies, developed pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer or ‘Steve Jobs Disease’. She had to endure eight hours of gruelling chemotherapy every 21 days, and after sitting with her in the hospital I would come home and scour the web for new treatments.


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Longer lasting ice-cream developed by scientists

Longer lasting ice-cream developed by scientists | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Researchers have discovered a protein that can be used to create ice-cream that melts more slowly than conventional products. It works by binding together air, fat and water – creating a pudding with a super-smooth consistency.
The future of Cuba’s socialist ice-cream cathedral
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The development could also allow products to be made with lower levels of saturated fat – and fewer calories. Scientists at the universities of Edinburgh and Dundee say that ice-cream made with the protein could be available in three to five years.

As well as keeping ice-cream frozen for longer in hot weather, it could prevent gritty ice crystals from forming, ensuring a fine, smooth texture like those of luxury brands.

Prof Cait MacPhee of the University of Edinburgh’s school of physics and astronomy, who led the project, said: “We’re excited by the potential this new ingredient has for improving ice-cream, for consumers and for manufacturers.”

The team developed a method of producing the new protein – which occurs naturally in some foods – in friendly bacteria and it works by sticking to fat droplets and air bubbles, making them more stable in a mixture.

It is believed that using the ingredient could benefit manufacturers as it can be processed without otherwise changing performance and can be produced from sustainable raw materials.

The protein, known as BslA, was developed with support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
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A Wildly Detailed 100-Year Plan for Getting Humans to Mars

A Wildly Detailed 100-Year Plan for Getting Humans to Mars | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
In the summer of 1986, Ron Jones was sitting on a beach in Oahu drawing lines in the sand. It was a few months after the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff, and Jones was suddenly out of a job. He’d been working as an aerospace engineer at Vandenberg Air Force base, helping build out Space Launch Complex 6—the area the Air Force planned to use for launches before everything came to a screeching halt when NASA put the brakes on the shuttle program.

For as long Jones could remember, he had spent his free time pondering the trajectory of space travel five, 30, 50, even 100 years down the cosmic road. By the time he got to his first job at Vandenberg, Jones had developed his own ideas about how and when humans would move permanently beyond Earth. To him, space travel was a cosmic Rube Goldberg machine. To reach the end goal—which he considered to be large-scale habitation of Mars—a thousand little things had to happen first. Things like creating reliable in-orbit transportation vehicles, mining asteroids for materials, and building a thriving community on the moon.
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Zuckerberg: one in seven people on the planet used Facebook on Monday

Zuckerberg: one in seven people on the planet used Facebook on Monday | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
As the fictional Sean Parker might put it: ‘A million people logging in to Facebook on a single day isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion people’.

The non-fictional Mark Zuckerberg has announced a new milestone for the social network: one billion daily users.

“For the first time ever, one billion people used Facebook in a single day. On Monday, 1 in 7 people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family,” wrote Zuckerberg in a post on his personal profile.

“When we talk about our financials, we use average numbers, but this is different. This was the first time we reached this milestone, and it’s just the beginning of connecting the whole world.”

The news is no great surprise: Facebook has been growing steadily, and in the second quarter of 2015 it averaged 968 million daily active users, and 1.49 billion monthly active users.

Based on its figure of 844 million daily active mobile users during that period, Facebook may well reach the total of 1bn people logging in from smartphones and tablets in a single day in the not-too distant future too.

“A more open and connected world is a better world. It brings stronger relationships with those you love, a stronger economy with more opportunities, and a stronger society that reflects all of our values,” wrote Zuckerberg.
Do Netflix, Spotify and Facebook know me as well as they think?
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The milestone came shortly after Facebook revealed its latest product, Facebook M, a virtual assistant within its Messenger application that blends artificial intelligence technology with human “trainers” to complete tasks for users.
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NASA teleconference on sea level change warns of rising oceans

NASA teleconference on sea level change warns of rising oceans | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
On Aug. 26, NASA held a media teleconference regarding current predictions on sea level rise, highlighting the risks to coastal populations in low-lying areas, and the inherent problems in creating reliable global models. A panel of experts from NASA's recently-founded Sea Level Change Team tells us that ocean levels are inexorably on the rise, but gaps in our understanding and ability to survey risk regions mean we don't know just how fast the change will take place.

"People need to be prepared for sea level rise, we're going to continue to have sea level rise for decades and probably centuries, it's not going to stop, the question is how fast is it going to be?" states Josh Willis, climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. "If you live on a coastline, or you have some economic dependence on a coastline, we have to be prepared for rising seas, it's not a question of how much, but rather when."

The board stated that the rise in ocean levels is coming from three distinct sources. The first is thermal expansion, in which ocean water expands as it is heated, taking up more volume and causing sea levels to rise. This effect has been exacerbated by greenhouse gas emissions, of which the ocean absorbs over 90 percent of the resultant heat.

The second source is ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, while the final third is from melting mountain glaciers. Ice sheets and glaciers can be lost from contact with warmer air, the creation of icebergs, or from interaction with warm sea water. It is estimated that the Greenland ice sheet alone has lost around 303 gigatons of mass per year for the last decade.

We are aware of this thanks to a number of scientific instruments wielded by NASA and its partners. A notable contributor to our knowledge has been the Jason 1 & 2 and TOPEX/Poseiden satellites, whose altimeters have allowed for incredibly precise measurements. Simultaneously NASA's GRACE satellite has been observing Earth's gravitational field, taking accurate measurements in order to determine by how much ice sheets and glaciers are shrinking.
Thierry Benchetrit's curator insight, August 29, 4:37 AM #Meuble #Design #Décoration #Maison La plateforme de création d'application gratuite pour iOS - Android - Windows Phone 

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Why There Will Never Be Another Einstein

Why There Will Never Be Another Einstein | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
When Stevens Institute of Technology hired me a decade ago, it installed me for several months in the department of physics, which had a spare office. Down the hall from me, Albert Einstein's electric-haired visage beamed from a poster for the "World Year of Physics 2005." The poster celebrated the centennial of the "miraculous year" when a young patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland, revolutionized physics with four papers on relativity, quantum mechanics and thermodynamics. "Help make 2005 another Miraculous Year!" the poster exclaimed.

As 2005 wound down with no miracles in sight, the poster took on an increasingly poignant cast. Passing the office of a physics professor who made the mistake of leaving his door open, I stopped and asked the question implicitly posed by the "Year of Physics" poster: Will there ever be another Einstein? The physicist scrunched up his face and replied, "I'm not sure what that question means."

Let me try to explain. Einstein is the most famous and beloved scientist of all time. We revere him not only as a scientific genius but also as a moral and even spiritual sage. Abraham Pais, Einstein's friend and biographer, called him "the divine man of the 20th century." To New York Times physics reporter Dennis Overbye, Einstein was an “icon" of "humanity in the face of the unknown." So to rephrase my question: Will science ever produce another figure who evokes such hyperbolic reverence?

I doubt it. The problem isn’t that modern physicists can’t match Einstein's intellectual firepower. In Genius, his 1992 biography of physicist Richard Feynman, James Gleick pondered why physics hadn't produced more giants like Einstein. The paradoxical answer, Gleick suggested, is that there are so many brilliant physicists alive today that it has become harder for any individual to stand apart from the pack. In other words, our perception of Einstein as a towering figure is, well, relative.

Gleick's explanation makes sense. (In fact, physicist Edward Witten has been described as the most mathematically gifted physicist since Newton.) However, I would add a corollary: Einstein seems bigger than modern physicists because--to paraphrase Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard--physics got small.
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Facebook Launches M, Its Bold Answer to Siri and Cortana

Facebook Launches M, Its Bold Answer to Siri and Cortana | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Today, a few hundred Bay Area Facebook users will open their Messenger apps to discover M, a new virtual assistant. Facebook will prompt them to test it with examples of what M can do: Make restaurant reservations. Find a birthday gift for your spouse. Suggest—and then book—weekend getaways.

It won’t take long for Messenger’s users to realize M can accomplish much more than your standard digital helper, suspects David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook. “It can perform tasks that none of the others can,” Marcus says. That’s because, in addition to using artificial intelligence to complete its tasks, M is powered by actual people.
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MIT unveils world's first 'crash proof' computer (Wired UK)

MIT unveils world's first 'crash proof' computer (Wired UK) | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
The first computer 'mathematically guaranteed' not to lose any data has been unveiled by researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab.

The research proves the viability of an entirely new type of file-system which is logically unable to forget information accidentally. The work is founded on a processes known as formal verification, which involves describing the limits of operation for a computer program, and then proving the program can't break those boundaries.

The computer system is not necessarily unable to crash, but the data contained within it cannot be lost.

"What many people worry about is building these file systems to be reliable, both when they're operating normally but also in the case of crashes, power failure, software bugs, hardware errors, what have you," Nickolai Zeldovich, a CSAIL principal investigator who co-authored the new paper, said in a press statement.
"Making sure that the file system can recover from a crash at any point is tricky because there are so many different places that you could crash. You literally have to consider every instruction or every disk operation and think, 'Well, what if I crash now? What now? What now?' And so empirically, people have found lots of bugs in file systems that have to do with crash recovery, and they keep finding them."
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go read this>Love in the Age of Big Data

go read this>Love in the Age of Big Data | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Once upon a time, in the Pony Expresso cafe in Seattle, a man and a woman began to experience the long-mysterious but increasingly scientifically investigated thing we call love. The first stage is called "limerence." This is the spine-tingling, heart-twisting, can't-stop-staring feeling, when it seems as though the world stops whirling and time itself bows down and pauses before the force of your longing. The man, a then-44-year-old University of Washington research psychologist named John Gottman, was drawn to the woman's wild mane of black curly hair and her creativity: She was an amateur musician and painter as well as a psychologist like himself. The woman, a then-35-year-old named Julie Schwartz, who'd placed a personal ad in the Seattle Weekly that John had answered, was turned on by John's humble little car—voted the ugliest vehicle in the University of Washington faculty parking lot—and his expansive curiosity. He read physics and math and history and kept a little spiral-bound notebook in his pocket that he used to jot down things his companions said that captivated him.
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The Imperative of Technological Progress: Stagnation Will Lead to Disaster

The Imperative of Technological Progress: Stagnation Will Lead to Disaster | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
It is both practically desirable and morally imperative for individuals and institutions in the so-called “developed” world to strive for a major acceleration of technological progress within the proximate future. Such technological progress can produce radical abundance and unparalleled improvements in both length and quality of life – whose possibilities Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler outlined in their 2012 book Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think. Moreover, major technological progress is the only way to overcome a devastating step backward in human civilization, which will occur if the protectionist tendencies and pressures of existing elites are allowed to freeze the status quo in place.

“He who moves not forward, goes backward.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If the approximate technological and economic status quo persists, massive societal disintegration looms on the horizon. A Greece-style crisis of national-government expenditures may occur as some have predicted, but would only be a symptom of a greater problem. The fundamental driver of crisis since at least September 11, 2001, and more acutely since the Great Recession and the national-government bailouts of legacy financial and manufacturing institutions, is an increasing disconnect between the powerful and everybody else. The powerful – i.e., the politically connected, including the special interests of the “private sector” – seek to protect their positions through political barriers, at the expense of individual rights, upward social mobility, and economic/technological progress. Individuals from a relatively tiny politically connected elite caused the 2008 financial crisis, lobbied for and received unprecedented bailouts and lifelines for the firms whose misbehavior exacerbated the crisis, and then have attempted to rig the political “rules of the game” to prevent themselves from being unseated from positions of wealth and influence by the dynamics of market competition. The system created by these elites has been characterized by various observers as crony capitalism, corporatism, corporate fascism, neo-mercantilism, and a neo-Medieval guild system.
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Why you’re smarter than a chicken | KurzweilAI

Why you’re smarter than a chicken | KurzweilAI | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
A single molecular event in a protein called PTBP1 in our cells could hold the key to how we evolved to become the smartest animal on the planet, University of Toronto researchers have discovered.

The conundrum: Humans and frogs, for example, have been evolving separately for 350 million years and use a remarkably similar repertoire of genes to build organs in the body. So what accounts for the vast range of organ size and complexity?

Benjamin Blencowe, a professor in the University of Toronto’s Donnelly Centre and Banbury Chair in Medical Research, and his team believe they now have the key: alternative splicing (AS).

With alternative splicing, the same gene can generate three different types of protein molecules in this example (credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s how alternative splicing works: specific sections of a gene called exons may be included or excluded from the final messenger RNA (mRNA) that expresses the gene (creates proteins). And that changes the arrangement of amino acid sequences.

There are two forms of PTBP1: one that is common in all vertebrates, and another in mammals. The researchers showed that in mammalian cells, the presence of the mammalian version of PTBP1 unleashes a cascade of alternative splicing events that lead to a cell becoming a neuron instead of a skin cell, for example.

To prove that, they engineered chicken cells to make mammalian-like PTBP1, and this triggered alternative splicing events that are found in mammals, creating a smart chicken (no relation to the eponymous brand). Also, in turns out that alternative splicing prevalence increases with vertebrate complexity.

The end result: all those small accidental changes across specific genes have fueled the evolution of mammalian brains.

The study is published in the August 20 issue of Science.
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This Gender Mystery Starts Nine Months Before Birth - Issue 27: Dark Matter - Nautilus

This Gender Mystery Starts Nine Months Before Birth - Issue 27: Dark Matter - Nautilus | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Is it a boy or a girl? That’s what everyone wants to know from the expecting parents. The ratio of newborn boys to girls (called the secondary sex ratio) is a matter of social importance and, occasionally, even national policy. But there is another ratio that, despite being more obscure, is just as important: The ratio of boys to girls at conception, when the egg is fertilized and development begins, called the primary sex ratio.

While the secondary sex ratio is consistently about 106 boys for every 100 girls (or, just 106 for shorthand), the primary sex ratio has been a subject of persistent speculation over the centuries. Naïvely one might expect it to be 100—balanced, equal numbers of boys and girls. To see why it has attracted such attention, suppose it were 125 instead. Since the cells from which sperm are generated start with one X and one Y chromosome, that would mean that one-fifth of the X chromosomes either never make it into functioning sperm, or are prevented from fertilizing an ovum somewhere along the way. This is a huge bias, requiring a powerful but as yet undiscovered biological mechanism.
Or, if sperm are being sex-selected after they are created, that process would likely extend over time. Changes in the timing of intercourse could then have substantial influence on the likelihood of the resulting child being a girl. (Such effects have frequently been claimed, though inconsistent about the direction of the effect, and never conclusively demonstrated.)
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Octopus Genome Reveals Secrets to Complex Intelligence

Octopus Genome Reveals Secrets to Complex Intelligence | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
The elusive octopus genome has finally been untangled, which should allow scientists to discover answers to long-mysterious questions about the animal's alienlike physiology: How does it camouflage itself so expertly? How does it control—and regenerate—those eight flexible arms and thousands of suckers? And, most vexing: How did a relative of the snail get to be so incredibly smart—able to learn quickly, solve puzzles and even use tools?

The findings, published today in Nature, reveal a vast, unexplored landscape full of novel genes, unlikely rearrangements—and some evolutionary solutions that look remarkably similar to those found in humans. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)

With the largest-known genome in the invertebrate world—similar in size to that of a house cat (2.7 billion base pairs) and with more genes (33,000) than humans (20,000 to 25,000)—the octopus sequence has long been known to be large and confusing. Even without a genetic map, these animals and their cephalopod cousins (squids, cuttlefishes and nautiluses) have been common subjects for neurobiology and pharmacology research. But a sequence for this group of mollusks has been "sorely needed," says Annie Lindgren, a cephalopod researcher at Portland State University who was not involved in the new research. "Think about trying to assemble a puzzle, picture side down," she says of octopus research to date. "A genome gives us a picture to work with."
increaseforeach's comment, August 21, 2:29 AM
Computers - to most of us - are a relatively simple machines to purchase, operate, and (for the most part) understand.
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Putting a price tag on brainpower

Putting a price tag on brainpower | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
If you offer someone "a penny for their thoughts," how good a deal might you be getting? A study conducted at the University of Leicester has sought to shed some light on the value of our brainpower, finding a single penny to be worth to precisely three hours, seven minutes and 30 seconds worth of thinking.

Osarenkhoe Uwuigbe, a Natural Sciences student at the University of Leicester’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Science, used a number of assumptions about the brain and the economics of thinking to arrive at this final figure. Based on the fact that the average human body produces around 100 watts of power, Uwuigbe calculated that the power required by a human brain to generate thoughts to be around 20 percent of this, or 20 watts.

Uwuigbe used English pennies for the currency and when calculating the cost of power, he used the price per kilowatt hour (kWh) offered by UK energy providers as a reference point. He chose 16 pence per kWh because it lies within the range normally charged by these companies.

Now comes the maths. Assuming that all the power consumed by the brain is used on thinking, 20 W, or 1/50 kW is what it takes to keep our minds ticking. So if a penny buys 1/16th of a kWh and if you can speak as fast as you can think, this works out to (1/16) ÷ (1/50) = 3.12 hours, or 3 hours, 7 minutes, and 30 seconds.

This makes for a very long, but affordable monologue.
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Dark Matter May Be More Complex Than Physicists Thought

Dark Matter May Be More Complex Than Physicists Thought | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Dark matter—the unseen 80 percent of the universe’s mass—doesn’t emit, absorb or reflect light. Astronomers know it exists only because it interacts with our slice of the ordinary universe through gravity. Hence the hunt for this missing mass has focused on so-called WIMPs—Weakly Interacting Massive Particles—which interact with each other as infrequently as they interact with normal matter.

Physicists have reasons to look for alternatives to WIMPs. For two decades, astronomers have found less dark matter at the centers of galaxies than what WIMP models suggest they should. The discrepancy is even worse at the cores of the universe’s tiny dwarf galaxies, which have few ordinary stars but lots of dark matter.

About four years ago, James Bullock, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, began to wonder whether the standard view of dark matter was failing important empirical tests. “This was the point where I really started thinking hard about alternatives,” he said.

Bullock thinks that dark matter might instead be complex, something that interacts with itself strongly in the way that ordinary matter interacts with itself to form intricate structures like atoms and atomic elements. Such a self-interacting dark matter, Bullock suspects, could exist in a “dark sector,” somewhat parallel to our own light sector, but detectable only through the way it affects gravity.

He and his colleagues have created numerical simulations that predict what the universe would look like if dark matter feels strong interactions. They expected to see the model fail. Instead, they found that it was consistent with what astronomers observe.
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Waste paper could be a new source of "green" lighter fluid

Waste paper could be a new source of "green" lighter fluid | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Lighter fluid may be useful for getting barbecue briquettes or campfires lit, but it's not the most eco-friendly stuff in the world. It's often made from crude oil, and gives off toxic fumes when it burns. A team of scientists from Hong Kong and Hungary are developing what could be a greener solution, however – cleaner-burning lighter fluid derived from discarded paper.

Led by István T. Horváth from City University of Hong Kong, the researchers start with paper waste and newsprint. Using sulfuric acid as a catalyst, they convert it into levulinic acid and formic acid, which are in turn converted into a compound known as gamma-valerolactone (GVL).

Pure GVL creates no toxic fumes – when it was used as fuel for glass lamps burning in a small room for several hours, it created no noticeable smoke or odors. By contrast, the emissions from kerosene-fueled lamps – which are commonly used in the developing world – are a major source of health problems.

And yes, GVL is also an effective fire accelerant when added to charcoal. Although it works rather slowly in its pure form, it can ignite charcoal within just a few seconds if combined with ethanol. In lab tests, it was found that an ignited mix of 90 percent GVL and 10 percent ethanol gave off 15 percent less volatile organic compounds than traditional lighter fluid.

A paper on the research was recently published in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.
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Rare nautilus seen for first time in 30 years - Futurity

Rare nautilus seen for first time in 30 years - Futurity | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Biologist Peter Ward returned earlier this month from the South Pacific with news that he had encountered an old friend he hadn’t seen in more than three decades—a creature that scientists believe may be one of the rarest animals in the world.

Allonautilus scrobiculatus is a species of nautilus that Ward and a colleague had previously discovered off of Ndrova Island in Papua New Guinea. Nautiluses are small, distant cousins of squid and cuttlefish. They are an ancient lineage of animal, often christened a “living fossil” because their distinctive shells appear in the fossil record over an impressive 500-million-year period. The recent sighting indicates there is still much to learn about these creatures.

“Before this, two humans had seen Allonautilus scrobiculatus,” says Peter Ward, professor of biology and earth and space sciences at the University of Washington. “My colleague Bruce Saunders from Bryn Mawr College found Allonautilus first, and I saw them a few weeks later.”
Living fossil

Those sightings were in 1984, when Ronald Reagan was finishing his first term as president and the oldest millennials were starting preschool. Ward and Saunders collected several Allonautilus scrobiculatus specimens for analysis and realized that their gills, jaws, shell shape, and male reproductive structures differ significantly from other nautilus species.

“Some features of the nautilus—like the shell giving it the ‘living fossil’ label—may not have changed for a long time, but other parts have,” Ward says.

Allonautilus also sports a distinctive accessory clearly visible in photographs: “It has this thick, hairy, slimy covering on its shell,” Ward says. “When we first saw that, we were astounded.”
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Extreme pressure reveals new phenomenon in atomic nuclei

Extreme pressure reveals new phenomenon in atomic nuclei | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Scientists have long believed that while an atom's outer electrons are highly mobile and often behave somewhat chaotically, the inner electrons close to the nucleus are stable. They move steadily around the nucleus and stay out of each other's way. But new research reveals that if the pressure is really extreme, like double that found at the center of the Earth, the innermost electrons of an atom change their behavior.

The international team of researchers that observed this anomalous, unexpected phenomenon managed to put a metal called osmium, which is almost the densest of all known metals and almost as incompressible as diamond, under static pressure of over 770 gigapascals. That's more than twice as high as the pressure at the center of the Earth and 7.7 million times higher than the mean atmospheric pressure at the sea level.

The scientists were able to do this thanks to a device called a diamond anvil cell, which can put sub-millimeter-sized materials under pressure comparable to that which creates diamonds. The portion of the research team from Bayreuth University in Germany developed synthetic diamonds that could fit between two ordinary diamonds and on each side of the osmium crystal. These synthetic diamonds reduced the area in which the osmium could fit, thereby increasing the pressure to new extremes.
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Should Mars Be Independent, Or Just A Colony Of Earth?

Should Mars Be Independent, Or Just A Colony Of Earth? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
It’s a popular sci-fi plot: Earth sets up colonies on Mars; Mars colonies grow, developing their own technologies and culture; Mars colonies rebel against overbearing Earth government, demanding independence. It happens in Total Recall, in Babylon 5, in Red Mars.

But what if we gave Mars its independence right from the get-go? Rather than giving future colonies to governments or corporations, Jacob Haqq-Misra thinks we should let Martian colonists develop their own values, governments, and technologies, with minimal interference from Earth. Haqq-Misra is an astrobiologist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, a non-profit organization that promotes international unity in space.

Not only would Haqq-Misra's strategy preclude any Martian wars for independence, but cultural independence could help Martians think differently enough to solve problems that Earth continues to struggle with—such as working together to fight global environmental problems, or making long-term plans for the future of humanity.
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What's Human? Google Goes Android!

What's Human? Google Goes Android! | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Sometimes I am shadowboxing with a powerful opponent that I can't see, feel or understand. It is a mindless and undeterable attitude that reacts to me automatically based on a set of data I don't know and that has no interest in my unique perspective. It is the robot-like rigidity that confronts me, and sometimes I witness it in myself confronting others. Are we any better than programmed machines? What makes us human? Is Alphabet, Google's new holding company going to spell it out?

Humanity is in a technological identity crisis and Google's Ray Kurzweil is intent on designing our future. We are lining up passively as technology seems more and more to rule. Much of education today is limited to memorizing short-lived data for specialized jobs, not learning how to think. Data in a sales training becomes an automatic arsenal of rebuttals to gain a sale. Data gets pounded into the brain-box for a professional exam with no subtlety, just right and wrong answers. Worse, the data can be a store of prejudices assimilated from childhood and empowered by positions of authority. Worse still, data can be an evil agenda stamped into the brain that takes no prisoners, suffers no debate and powers through no matter what. In all these cases the possibility of mutual understanding is killed. "Both/And" thinking that resolves differences, or "I'm ok/You're ok" attitudes are not even up for consideration. Or are they? Can we humans become more human? On the other hand, will subtle thinking, like sleep, be built into the immortal android race being prepared by Google's head of research, Mr. Kurzweil?

"Humans will continue to be creative," is Kurzweil's simple answer to the question what will humans do when the androids take over! That is nice...but what about the androids? And are we losing this race? Creativity may be our most human characteristic; and yet so often that capacity to think outside the box is stuck. A report in the NY Times is a vivid example of stuck thinking. The article was a very human shout out to women who might otherwise have been railroaded into mastectomy. For those who have taken this step, their courage and will to survive should be honored.
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Making hydrogen fuel from water and visible light at 100 times higher efficiency | KurzweilAI

Making hydrogen fuel from water and visible light at 100 times higher efficiency | KurzweilAI | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Researchers at Michigan Technological University have found a way to convert light to hydrogen fuel more efficiently — a big step closer to mimicking photosynthesis.

Current methods for creating hydrogen fuel are based on using electrodes made from titanium dioxide (TiO2), which acts as a catalyst to stimulate the light–>water–>hydrogen chemical reaction. This works great with ultraviolet (UV) light, but UV comprises only about 4% of the total solar energy, making the overall process highly inefficient.*

The ideal would be to use visible light, since it constitutes about 45 percent of solar energy. Now two Michigan Tech scientists — Yun Hang Hu, the Charles and Carroll McArthur professor of Materials Science and Engineer, and his PhD student, Bing Han — have developed a way to do exactly that.

They report in Journal of Physical Chemistry that by absorbing the entire visible light spectrum, they have increased the yield and energy efficiency of creating hydrogen fuel by up to two magnitudes (100 times) greater than previously reported.**

As described in the paper, they used three new techniques to achieve that:

“Black titanium dioxide” (with 1 percent platinum) on a silicon dioxide substrate;
A “light-diffuse-reflected surface” to trap light;
An elevated reaction temperature (280 degrees Celsius).

In addition, the new setup is “convenient for scaling up commercially,” said Ho.
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Water, water, everywhere – where to drink in the solar system

Water, water, everywhere – where to drink in the solar system | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Science fiction movies about aliens threatening the Earth routinely ascribe them the motive of coming here to steal our resources, most often our water. This is ill thought-out, as water is actually extremely common. Any civilisation coming to our solar system in need of water (either to drink or to make rocket fuel) would be foolish to plunge all the way inwards to the Earth, from where they’d have to haul their booty back against the pull of the sun’s gravity.

Until recently, we believed that the Earth was the only body in the solar system that had water in liquid form. While it is true that the Earth is the only place where liquid water is stable at the surface, there’s ice almost everywhere. Many scientists also infer that liquid water may exist beneath the surfaces on several bodies.

But where in the solar system are we likely to find it and in what form? Could we ever get to it and, if so, would we be able to drink it?
Comets and the Kuiper belt

If you are interested in finding places were extraterrestrial microbial life might occur, then you should look for liquid water, or at least “warm” ice within a few degrees of melting. Those places are widespread, if you are prepared to look below the surface of cold bodies or around the edges of patches of permanent shade on hot bodies.

Frozen water can be found everywhere in the Solar System, from the Oort Cloud to Mercury (except on Venus). NASA / JPL-Caltech

Furthest from the sun is the Oort Cloud, a region where most comets spend most of their time some 10,000 times further from the Sun than the Earth is. They are mostly water-ice, with traces of various carbon and nitrogen compounds. Because of those you wouldn’t want to drink comet water neat, but there is probably about five Earth-masses of water out there. We can’t be sure, because only the comets that stray close to the sun can be directly studied.
demisophie's comment, August 24, 6:27 AM
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The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t

The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
On July 11, 2000, in one of the more unlikely moments in the history of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Orrin Hatch handed the microphone to Metallica’s drummer, Lars Ulrich, to hear his thoughts on art in the age of digital reproduction. Ulrich’s primary concern was a new online service called Napster, which had debuted a little more than a year before. As Ulrich explained in his statement, the band began investigating Napster after unreleased versions of one of their songs began playing on radio stations around the country. They discovered that their entire catalog of music was available there for free.Ulrich’s trip to Washington coincided with a lawsuit that Metallica had just filed against Napster — a suit that would ultimately play a role in the company’s bankruptcy filing. But in retrospect, we can also see Ulrich’s appearance as an intellectual milestone of sorts, in that he articulated a critique of the Internet-­era creative economy that became increasingly commonplace over time. ‘‘We typically employ a record producer, recording engineers, programmers, assistants and, occasionally, other musicians,’’ Ulrich told the Senate committee. ‘‘We rent time for months at recording studios, which are owned by small-­business men who have risked their own capital to buy, maintain and constantly upgrade very expensive equipment and facilities. Our record releases are supported by hundreds of record companies’ employees and provide programming for numerous radio and television stations. ... It’s clear, then, that if music is free for downloading, the music industry is not viable. All the jobs I just talked about will be lost, and the diverse voices of the artists will disappear.’’
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Eter9 social network learns your personality so it can post as you when you're dead

Eter9 social network learns your personality so it can post as you when you're dead | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
New site Eter9 promises digital immortality using a kind of artificial intelligence to scan your posts.

It will then continue posting online for you after death. Yes, it's the creepiest thing we've learned today too.

If your social activity consists of posts about Taylor Swift and complaints to train companies, it means you can post for eternity on these topics.

You can also "smile" at things, similar to likes, forever.

And there is both a main page which works like Facebook's newsfeed and a "cortex" which works like your Facebook profile.

There are also bots called Niners who you can adopt.

This means the social network can keep its engagement levels up via bots and counterparts interacting with no humans at all.

And you can meet your social media mirror image before you die too.

Users control the level of activity of their counterpart while alive, allowing it to post whilst they are offline.

Set up by Portuguese developer Henrique Jorge, it's still in beta testing mode but there are around 5,000 people signed up at the moment.

But Jorge tells Newsbeat that users are joining every day and he has plans in place to make the system more powerful.

"We are trying to create an AI system that learns faster from other networks like Facebook, as the ETER9 information at the moment is quite small."
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Humans are 'unique super-predator' - BBC News

Humans are 'unique super-predator' - BBC News | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Humans' status as a unique super-predator is laid bare in a new study published in Science magazine.

The analysis of global data details the ruthlessness of our hunting practices and the impacts we have on prey.

It shows how humans typically take out adult fish populations at 14 times the rate that marine animals do themselves.

And on land, we kill top carnivores, such as bears, wolves and lions, at nine times their own self-predation rate.

But perhaps the most striking observation, say authors Chris Darimont and colleagues, is the way human beings focus so heavily on taking down adult prey.

This is quite different from the rest of the animal kingdom, for which the juveniles of a species tend to be the most exploited.

Part of this is explained by the tools that human hunters exclusively can deploy.

We can tackle adult prey at minimal cost, and so gain maximum, short-term reward, explained Prof Darimont from the University of Victoria (UoV), Canada.

"Advanced killing technology mostly excuses humans from the formerly dangerous act of predation," he told reporters.

"Hunters 'capture' mammals with bullets, and fishes with hooks and nets. They assume minimal risk compared with non-human predators, especially terrestrial carnivores, which are often injured while living what amounts to a dangerous lifestyle."
sammy meyer's curator insight, August 21, 11:38 AM

Dog goes fishing... whaaat

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The 'Drinkable Book' Can Literally Save Your Life - D-brief

The 'Drinkable Book' Can Literally Save Your Life - D-brief | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Sure, a good book can forever change your perspective on life, but one book can literally save your life.

According to the World Health Organization, 3.4 million people die each year due to health issues stemming from unsanitary water. To combat this alarming trend, scientists are working to produce and distribute “drinkable books” to people living in third-world countries. But this isn’t your ordinary book: Each page can be torn out and used to turn sewage into drinkable water.
Drink Up

The “drinkable book” in the brainchild of Theresa Dankovich, from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who was researching a simple, inexpensive way to sanitize water. She developed “pAge drinking paper,” which is a sturdy sheet of paper loaded with silver and copper nanoparticles that kill dangerous microbes living in dirty water. The nano-paper eliminates 99 percent of bacteria living in the dirtiest water, and the resulting water contains metal levels well below U.S. guidelines for safe drinking water.

Dankovich tested her filter papers on 25 different water sources in five countries with success. She unveiled the results of her project at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting this week.
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