Continuing to post mostly items from the world:
The Hub which is the next phase in my favorite charity - Project Witness and its effort to use transparency to change the world. http://hub.witness.org/ Founder Peter Gabriel calls it “the first online global platform that offers you the tools you need to use media for advocacy - enabling you and millions of others worldwide to use camcorders, cell phones and cameras to upload, share, and discuss your human rights-related footage, as well as organize campaigns to create change.” Participate... or at least spread word.
Of course, there’s also fun stuff at the other end. An absolutely must-see YouTube by some British comedians offering biting insights into the financial scandals.
Almost as entertaining is another YouTube posting, Showing David Brin & Michael Whelan being wished fond farewell at closing ceremenies of Nippon2007, the World Science Fiction Convention in Yokohama. Heaps of fun. People were very nice, indeed. My speech at Opening Ceremonies would seem to imply I speak better Japanese than I do!
Case Western Reserve University researchers have bred a line of "mighty mice" (PEPCK-Cmus mice) that have the capability of running five to six kilometers at a speed of 20 meters per minute on a treadmill for up to six hours before stopping."They are metabolically similar to Lance Armstrong biking up the Pyrenees; they utilize mainly fatty acids for energy and produce very little lactic acid.".... These genetically engineered mice also eat 60 percent more than controls, but remain fitter, trimmer and live and breed longer than wild mice in a control group. Some female PEPCK-Cmus mice have had offspring at 2.5 years of age.... Most mice do not reproduce after they are one year old.... PEPCK-Cmus mice are seven times more active in their home cages than controls; in addition, the mice were also markedly more aggressive.
The transgenic mice, which now number nearly 500, were derived from six founder lines that contain a chimeric gene in which a copy of the cDNA for PEPCK-C was linked to the skeletal actin gene promoter, containing the 3'-end of the bovine growth hormone gene. The skeletal actin gene promoter directs expression of PEPCK-C exclusively to skeletal muscle. Various lines of PEPCK-Cmus mice expressed PEPCK-C at different levels, but one very active line of PEPCK-Cmus mice had levels of PEPCK-C activity of 9 units/gram skeletal muscle, compared to only 0.08 units/gram in the muscles of control animals.
This new mouse line also has an increased content of mitochondria and high concentrations of triglycerides in their skeletal muscles, which also contributed to the increased metabolic rate and longevity of the animals. "It is remarkable that the over-expression of a single enzyme involved in a metabolic pathway should result in such a profound alteration in the phenotype of the mouse," Hakimi and Hanson said.
Comment: This is the first animal genetic engineering that I have seen, that seems very likely to tempt rich parents and secretive techies to try on humans soon. And yet, in my trademark response to othjer mice-generated wonders -- like caloric-restriction leading to much greater lifespans -- I have to say that they may merely have found a “switch” that humans have already flicked, in the last million years in order to become the lavishly exaggerated creatures that we are, with three-times longer lifespans (more precisely, three times more heartbeats) and prodigiously expensive brains.
Look, mutations probably flick this mouse switch often, in nature. That is probably WHY it is so easily switched on, in the lab! In times of sudden and lush plenty, a mutant mouse with this trait can dominate all others and breed like md. But, once the prosperity crashes, so will this mouse, who cannot eke along on low calories. And so will all of his offspring who express the gene. BUT, those who express all his other genes (including genes preparatory or helpful to this one) WILL survive and remain hidden in the mouse population... till the next time of super-plenty.
Oh, the “Beyond Belief” conference was interesting, weird, irksome. A couple of Nobelists and Daniel Dennett ranted against God... talk about expressing a sense of privileged invulnerability that is a direct product of lavishly safe circumstances! There were many other talks that seemed less tendentiously and ironically sanctimonious, regarding the (far better) sub-theme of “Enlightenment 2.0: preserving and enhancing the Enlightenment.” I concentrated on that part, emphasizing that this is the moment when enemies of the Enlightenment HAVE TO act, or else see it become a permanent stable condition, perpetuated by super-educated and confident and knowing citizens who live under conditions of permanent and lavish plenty.
UK scientists have been granted £2.5 million to invent a nanomachine that can build materials molecule by molecule. Such a robot doesn't -- and may never -- exist, though it has been imagined for over half a century. But this autumn, researchers across the UK are starting work towards it, following the funding of three research projects by the Engineering and physical sciences research council. As a member of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, I will be (with my colleagues) be following this closely.
As a member of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, I help create position papers that peer ahear to the threats and promises of this rapidly advancing technological realm. Now you can read an important new book about the topic Military Nanotechnology: Potential Applications and Preventive Arms Control. See also a review.
Searching for God in the Brain Researchers are unearthing the roots of religious feeling in the neural commotion that accompanies the spiritual epiphanies of nuns, Buddhists and other people of faith.
The FUTURIST’s top ten forecasts for 2008.
While Popular Mechanics lists ten CUTTING EDGE BREAKTHROUGHS (some of these are WAY cool).
A composite plastic that's as strong as steel but lighter and transparent.
Malicious code could be embedded in online video players, according to a report on Internet threats released Tuesday by the Georgia Tech Information Security Center. One worm discovered in November 2006 launches a corrupt Web site without prompting after a user opens a media file in a player.
A new approach to "printing" living cells could make it easier to arrange them into precise structures without harming them.
The Arctic ice cap this summer dwindled to an extent unparalleled in a century or more.
Dusty Winds Bursting Out Of Black Holes May Have Seeded Planets, Life
A futuristic scheme to collect solar energy on satellites and beam it to Earth has gained a large supporter in the US military.
Virtual-worlds platform developer Multiverse Network is set to announce a partnership Tuesday that will allow anyone to create a new online interactive 3D environment with just about any model from Google's online repository of 3D models, its 3D Warehouse, as well as terrain from Google Earth.
Read “AI Meets the Metaverse: Teachable AI Agents Living in Virtual Worlds” by my friend Ben Goertzel “Online virtual worlds have the power to accelerate and catalyze the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI). As AGIs involved in this metaverse become progressively more intelligent from their interaction with the social network of human beings and reach human-level intelligence (the Singularity), they will already be part of the human social network. If we build them right and teach them right, they will greet us with open arms.”
Researchers have developed the world's first working radio system to use a nano-sized detector made of carbon nanotubes that receives radio waves wirelessly and demodulates them into sound signals.