See an interview on WorldChanging.com with Mike Treder & Chris Phoenix, the leaders of a task force group that I participate in, with the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology. These are very bright guys! (Showing a strong correlation of that trait with being bearded & balding, natch.) The interview was posted today by Jamais Cascio at the popular WorldChanging site.
From the Globalist, an exceptionally rich spate of interesting - if short - articles about the looming effects of globalization on world economies. With the rise of India as a giant in the services industry, equivalent to China’s role as mass producer of cheap products, there is now a question whether developed Western countries will much longer have anything at all to trade, a problem possibly reflected in stagnating wages and economic doldrums in Europe and North America.
* Exceptionally informative * Addressing a matter that was highlighted in the President’s SotU speech, will biofeuls really be the key to energy independence? In an oil-short world, what will be the economic and environmental effects of agriculture's emergence as a producer of transport fuels? Lester Brown examines the competitiveness and efficiency of different biofuels produced around the world and finds that agriculture's role in the global economy will only grow stronger in the future.
More misc items, mostly from the Arlington Institute...
Tokyo to Get World's First Maglev Elevator -- (CNN -- January 18, 2006)
The world's first elevators controlled by magnetic levitation will debut as early as 2008, a Tokyo-based company said Tuesday. Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corp. will employ so-called maglev technology, capable of suspending objects in mid-air through the combination of magnetic attraction and repulsion, to control the lifts, it said in a statement.
Who is Messing with Your Head? -- (New Scientist -- January 26, 2006)
For the past two years, a citizens' panel of 126 Europeans from different age groups and backgrounds has been considering the ethical dilemmas emerging from brain science research. They will be presenting their conclusions to the European Parliament. Topics include do we really want cognitive enhancement via surgery or medication, and if so how do we regulate it? It is already possible to detect a person's intention or perceptions regardless of whether they are aware of them, and even if they try to cover them up? How will we deal with issues such as privacy and responsibility? More fretful neo-luddism?
Scientists Predict What You'll Think of Next -- (Live Science -- January 18, 2006)
To recall memories, your brain travels back in time via the ultimate Google search, according to a new study in which scientists found they can monitor the activity and actually predict what you'll think of next. The work bolsters the validity of a longstanding hypothesis that the human brain takes itself back to the state it was in when a memory was first formed.
Strange New Object Found at Edge of Solar System -- (New Scientist -- January 18, 2006)
A large object has been found beyond Pluto traveling in an orbit tilted by 47 degrees to most other bodies in the solar system. Astronomers are at a loss to explain why the object's orbit is so off-kilter while being almost circular. Tentatively named 2004 XR190, the object appears to have a diameter of between 500 and 1000 kilometers, making it somewhere between a fifth and nearly half as wide as Pluto. It lies in a vast ring of icy bodies beyond Neptune called the Kuiper Belt, most of which orbit in nearly the same plane as Earth.
Is This Life? -- (The Scientist -- January 26, 2006)
The idea of creating life and thus peering into its possible origins, has always fascinated biologists. In the past decade individual labs have met each of these requirements but in quite different ways. Such an entity must meet 12 requirements for life, of which researchers have satisfied 10. With only two steps remaining, they might achieve a synthetic organism within this decade.
Note. Does this support “Intelligent Design” because it is clearly a case of ID in action? Or does it support Darwinism, because , if humans can do it, then it must be “easy”.... Or else, does it support a modified version of ID... that we are apprentices learning our craft? (More on this when I finally get to religion....
U2 star Bono used the pulpit of today's National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., to lobby politicians on both sides of the aisle to devote more funds to helping the world's poor. Bono used a faith themed argument to encourage the U.S. to give "an additional one percent of the federal budget" to the poor. President George W. Bush spoke immediately after, saying "He's a doer. The thing about this good citizen of the world is he's used his position to get things done. You're an amazing guy, Bono."
Finally, Can someone find out more about the PAC that Wesley Clark has started, to help nine Iraq and Afgh veterans run for Congress as Democrats? (Versus one as a Republican. Someone report back to us about this.