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Knowmads, Infocology of the future
Exploring the possible , the probable, the plausible
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How to Feed the World in 2050

By 2050 the world’s population will reach 9.1 billion, 34 percent higher than today. Nearly all of this population increase will occur in developing countries. Urbanization will continue at an accelerated pace, and about 70 percent of the world’s population will be urban (compared to 49 percent today). Income levels will be many multiples of what they are now. In order to feed this larger, more urban and richer population, food production (net of food used for biofuels) must increase by 70 percent. Annual cereal production will need to rise to about 3 billion tonnes from 2.1 billion today and annual meat production will need to rise by over 200 million tonnes to reach 470 million tonnes.

This report argues that the required increase in food production can be achieved if the necessary investment is undertaken and policies conducive to agricultural production are put in place. But increasing production is not sufficient to achieve food security. It must be complemented by policies to enhance access by fighting poverty, especially in rural areas, as well as effective safety net programmes.

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Taxi drivers' brains rewired by 'The Knowledge' -new study shows their brains could have become hard-wired to prevent them from taking on new information Telegraph

Taxi drivers' brains rewired by 'The Knowledge' -new study shows their brains could have become hard-wired to prevent them from taking on new information Telegraph | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Cabbies who acquire "the knowledge", a stern test involving in-depth mastery of London's streets, suffer changes to their brains that could make them blinkered, research has shown.

Those who pass the test develop more grey matter in the posterior hippocampus, the part of the brain they use to recall a mental map and calculate the shortest route from A to B.

But this comes at a price because the tens of thousands of streets and landmarks they need to remember "fill up" their brain to its maximum capacity, researchers said.

This only applies to the hippocampus, which is concerned with memory and spatial navigation, but it backs up previous research which shows taxi drivers struggle more than most drivers to adapt to changes in the road network or to driving in unfamiliar cities.

Dr Katherine Woollett, one of the co-authors of the study from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London, said: "The posterior hippocampus is at its full capacity, it cannot incorporate any more of this same type of knowledge because it is full."
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Your Marriage of the Future: Seven Science Fiction Ideas about Relationships and Sex that Might Come True | Marriage 3.0 | Big Think

Your Marriage of the Future:  Seven Science Fiction Ideas about Relationships and Sex that Might Come True | Marriage 3.0 | Big Think | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

I’m not a big science fiction reader, but I admire how the genre has just enough of a toehold in reality that it feels plausibly weird. It stakes out the space of the uncanny: familiar, but disorienting.

Here are marital sci fi ideas that seem like they might come true. I’m choosing things that we already have marital “prototypes” for today, albeit in some cases on the edgy frontiers of that strange world known as Planet Relationship.

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» Are We Maxed Out on Intelligence? -why aren’t we smarter already?” Psych Central News

» Are We Maxed Out on Intelligence? -why aren’t we smarter already?” Psych Central News | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
A provocative new paper warns that our societal effort to do whatever it takes to improve intelligence may be misguided, as any increases in thinking ability are likely to come with problems.In other words, although we put a lot of energy into improving our memory, intelligence, and attention — smarter is not always better.

In a paper, published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, the authors looked to evolution to understand about why humans are only as smart as we are and not any smarter.

“A lot of people are interested in drugs that can enhance cognition in various ways,” said Thomas Hills of the University of Warwick, who cowrote the article with Ralph Hertwig of the University of Basel. “But it seems natural to ask, why aren’t we smarter already?”

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Theodor Holm Nelson: On the Information Superhighway, Destination Unknown

Theodor Holm Nelson: On the Information Superhighway, Destination Unknown | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
We are in a world nobody designed or expected, driving full tilt toward — a wall? a cliff? a new dawn? We must choose wisely, as if we could.
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Exoskeletons Will Be the Eyeglasses of the 21st Century | The Crux | Discover Magazine

Exoskeletons Will Be the Eyeglasses of the 21st Century | The Crux | Discover Magazine | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Health & Medicine | disability | We don't often realize it, but all fashion is predicated upon human beings' predilection for prostheses and augmentations.
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George Dyson: Looking Backward to Put New Technology in Focus

George Dyson: Looking Backward to Put New Technology in Focus | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
The science historian George Dyson, author of the new book “Turing’s Cathedral,” talks about the genius of Alan Turing and John von Neumann, and growing up in the birthplace of the H-bomb.
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Measured Motion: A Columbia Mind Brain Behavior Initiative Event

Thomas Jessell of Columbia University presented a lecture on November 16th about current therapy research for motor disease as part of Columbia’s Brain Mind Behavior Initiative.

The idea that someone who has become paralyzed from the waist down could regain the ability to walk fascinated me from the moment I learned it was possible.

Hybrid brain-machine interface (HBMI), also known as recurrent brain-computer interface, could make this a reality. Say you have a serious spinal cord injury. Reclaiming use of your legs is theoretically possible because the neurons that control motor function are still intact, as are the muscles themselves (although they atrophy over time).

Ultimately, HBMI researchers would like to create an implantable chip that could assume the role of the spinal cord and relay sensory and motor information between the brain and the affected limbs. Excited to learn more, I attended a lecture presented by Dana Alliance member Thomas Jessell of Columbia and hosted by the University’s Mind Brain Behavior Initiative, sponsored by The Dana Foundation.

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Daphne Koller: Technology as a Passport to Personalized Education

Daphne Koller: Technology as a Passport to Personalized Education | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Until now, it has been hard to see how to make individualized education affordable. But advances in technology may provide a path to this goal.
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The Internet: Triumph of human evolution The Web is more than just a powerful tool, it's our greatest adaptation

The Internet: Triumph of human evolution The Web is more than just a powerful tool, it's our greatest adaptation | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
The Internet allows us to do all kinds of things we never imagined possible. It lets us communicate with people across the world. We can learn whatever we want at the click of a button. We can navigate roads using our iPhones, and translate languages within seconds. It makes us smarter, and more versatile, and faster than ever. But the Web isn’t just a truly extraordinary invention, it is the apex of human evolution — and the ultimate evolutionary adaptation.
It may seem strange to think of the Web as part of the process of natural selection, but Raymond Neubauer, a professor at the University of Texas, doesn’t think so. In his far-reaching new book, “Evolution and the Emergent Self,” he argues that technology should be seen as part of our planet’s grand evolutionary narrative. He claims that two evolutionary strategies — one, emphasizing simplicity and rapid reproduction (as in bacteria), and the other, emphasizing complexity and hyper-intelligence (as in humans) — have been hugely successful in dominating the planet. The book charts the ways those strategies have managed to pop up everywhere from the animal kingdom to cellphones.
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Researchers use a 3-D printer to make bone-like material (12/4/2011)

Researchers use a 3-D printer to make bone-like material (12/4/2011) | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
It looks like bone. It feels like bone. For the most part, it acts like bone.

And it came off an inkjet printer.

Washington State University researchers have used a 3D printer to create a bone-like material and structure that can be used in orthopedic procedures, dental work, and to deliver medicine for treating osteoporosis. Paired with actual bone, it acts as a scaffold for new bone to grow on and ultimately dissolves with no apparent ill effects.

The authors report on successful in vitro tests in the journal Dental Materials and say they're already seeing promising results with in vivo tests on rats and rabbits. It's possible that doctors will be able to custom order replacement bone tissue in a few years, says Susmita Bose, co-author and a professor in WSU's School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

"If a doctor has a CT scan of a defect, we can convert it to a CAD file and make the scaffold according to the defect," Bose says.

The material grows out of a four-year interdisciplinary effort involving chemistry, materials science, biology and manufacturing. A main finding of the paper is that the addition of silicon and zinc more than doubled the strength of the main material, calcium phosphate. Theresearchers also spent a year optimizing a commercially available ProMetal 3D printer designed to make metal objects.

The printer works by having an inkjet spray a plastic binder over a bed of powder in layers of 20 microns, about half the width of a human hair. Following a computer's directions, it creates a channeled cylinder the size of a pencil eraser.

After just a week in a medium with immature human bone cells, the scaffold was supporting a network of new bone cells.

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Japan, Russia see chance to clone mammoth

Japan, Russia see chance to clone mammoth | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Scientists from Japan and Russia believe it may be possible to clone a mammoth after finding well-preserved bone marrow in a thigh bone recovered from permafrost soil in Siberia, a report said Saturday.
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Internet Access and the New Divide-Most Americans can get online. But too many can’t afford high-speed access.

Internet Access and the New Divide-Most Americans can get online. But too many can’t afford high-speed access. | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

 

Over the last decade, cheap Web access over phone lines brought millions to the Internet. But in recent years the emergence of services like video-on-demand, online medicine and Internet classrooms have redefined the state of the art: they require reliable, truly high-speed connections, the kind available almost exclusively from the nation’s small number of very powerful cable companies. Such access means expensive contracts, which many Americans simply cannot afford.

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Social Networking Is About to Get Exponentially More Annoying - Technology Review

Social Networking Is About to Get Exponentially More Annoying - Technology Review | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
If you're old enough to remember a time before the Internet, be prepared to reconsider your state's prohibition on the right to die.
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Nano-carving offers medical leaps-A process to "carve" highly complicated shapes into nanoparticles has been unveiled

Nano-carving offers medical leaps-A process to "carve" highly complicated shapes into nanoparticles has been unveiled | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
A new method to "carve" complex shapes out of nano-particles may create new medical tests and drugs delivery systems.
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Post-postcyberpunk: A Theory of Science Fiction

[...] Speculative fiction, I submit, is the genre of change: speculative fantasy suggests changes that are not likely to occur (vampires, little green men, “Blimey Harry! You’re a wizard!”), whereas speculative scifi is just a bit more probable (longer life, lives less lived, the creation of a post-scarcity world, fights over commodities that do not yet exist to be scarce). Neither are inherently less practicable to the world: the former simply in metaphor, the latter without interpretation. [...]

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DNA: The next big hacking frontier -The human genome has been mapped, but now it is possible to print DNA, ushering the new frontier of biocrime.

DNA: The next big hacking frontier -The human genome has been mapped, but now it is possible to print DNA, ushering the new frontier of biocrime. | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
COLUMN | The human genome has been mapped, but now it is possible to print DNA, ushering the new frontier of biocrime.

Imagine computer-designed viruses that cure disease, new bacteria capable of synthesizing an unlimited fuel supply, new organisms that wipe out entire populations and bio-toxins that target world leaders. They sound like devices restricted to feature-film script writers, but it is possible to create all of these today, using the latest advances in synthetic biology.

Just as the personal computer revolution brought information technology from corporate data centers to the masses, the biology revolution is personalizing science.

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Will You Live Forever—or until Your Next Software Release—by Uploading Your Brain into a Computer? | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

Will You Live Forever—or until Your Next Software Release—by Uploading Your Brain into a Computer? | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Neurons of the retina
Ray Kurzweil and other so-called transhumanists have promised that in coming decades we will be able to transfer a digital copy of ...
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How Exploratory Engineering Will Lead to Future Nanotechnologies - IEEE Spectrum

How Exploratory Engineering Will Lead to Future Nanotechnologies - IEEE Spectrum | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Eric Drexler outlines methodology for developing revolutionary technologies, including advanced nanotechnology...
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Cities on the ocean-Seasteading: Libertarians dream of creating self-ruling floating cities. But can the many obstacles, not least the engineering ones, be overcome?

Cities on the ocean-Seasteading: Libertarians dream of creating self-ruling floating cities. But can the many obstacles, not least the engineering ones, be overcome? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it





THE Pilgrims who set out from England on the Mayflower to escape an intolerant, over-mighty government and build a new society were lucky to find plenty of land in the New World on which to build it.
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The Future of Science, Technology & Well-Being: A Ten-Year View | Institute For The Future

The Future of Science, Technology & Well-Being: A Ten-Year View | Institute For The Future | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

We are pleased to release publicly our 2010 Health Horizons research materials: The Future of Science, Technology, and Well-Being.

Science and technology are always advancing. Over the next decade, technical improvements in fields ranging from neuroscience to 3-D printing will converge to create new capacities to treat illness and enhance well-being.

In 2010, the Health Horizons Program set out to systematically explore the future of science, technology, and well-being. The research was designed to inspire you to consider new possibilities, such as how technology can enable us to remake our bodies and minds; how social networks can be programmed to improve our individual and collective well-being; and how technology can provide us with high-resolution previews of the health risks and assets in our day-to-day environment. The 2010 Future of Science, Technology and Well-Being materials offer a guide to this landscape of possibilities, as well as tools to help you develop responses in light of these long-range possibilities.

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How Universal Is The Mind?

In fact, this conception of the mind is heavily influenced by a particular (Western) cultural background. Other cultures assign different characteristics and abilities to the psychological aspects of personhood. Wierzbicka (2005) delves into this problem in detail. She argues that speakers of a particular language make assumptions about what must be universal based on their own ability to imagine doing without a certain concept. Important cross-cultural differences in meaning become lost in translation.


Via Sakis Koukouvis
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Lie-Detection Software Is a Research Quest

Lie-Detection Software Is a Research Quest | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Researchers are teaching computers how to spot deception in people’s speech — using cues like loudness, changes in pitch, nervous laughs and ums and ahs.
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Battle of Ideas 2011 | session: Smart drugs: magic bullet or cheating ourselves?

Battle of Ideas 2011 | session: Smart drugs: magic bullet or cheating ourselves? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

It is estimated that around 16% of university students in the UK are taking ‘smart drugs’, medication available on prescription for conditions such as Alzheimer’s, that are now being used by healthy people to enhance memory, concentration and other cognitive abilities. Neither is it just students who are popping the pills, but their lecturers and a swathe of professionals eager to achieve that extra edge. Smart drugs inspired this year’s Hollywood film Limitless, with the tagline, ‘One pill. Anything is possible’. The scale of their use has also caused the UK’s leading expert on ‘cosmeceutical’ brain treatments, Barbara Sahakian, to speculate that students might soon have to take part in pre-exam drug tests to prevent wide-spread ‘cheating’.

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studentsforsmartdrugs's comment, December 12, 2011 10:14 AM
- I can't believe this is still considered controversial. Smart drugs are as much a part of students life as coffee or beer. The only controversy is that smart drugs are still labelled as prescription ADD/ADHD medication. Smart Drugs have become so popular that companies are beginning to see the light, and are now making over the counter supplements that are being called the <a href="http://www.profiderall.com">Adderall Alternative</a>. Smart Drugs help you function at a higher level, Learn more, retain more, focus better. They do not magically give you the answers. What is cheating about that? Smart Drugs should be as much a part of a healthy diet as multivitamins and exercise...
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Philosophical Futures

Philosophical Futures | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Philosophical speculation and science fiction are united in this: what is now obvious is most likely to be false, or at best a transient mode of being. In exploring future possibilities, the author introduces science fiction writers and contemporary philosophers alike to the riches of their twin traditions. What is the likely future of our species?


Via Robert Farrow
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