First, any of you in the San Diego area, I will be among 30+ visionary speakers at TedX Del Mar... a spin off TED conference to be held in the beautiful seaside village of Del Mar on June 2. Speakers will do 18 minute flash presentations on all types of science, hyper-new technology, art, society... from noon to 9pm. There will be a charge for attending, since the audience is limited to 100 or so. Or see TEDxDelMar.com
Uplift fans. Now you can show your visionary belief in the future by wearing the meme! Order T-shirts, caps, mugs etc emblazoned with logos of the Galactic Institutes. Or get a tot-bag with the crest of the the Earthclan Uplift Project (featuring a brash neochimp and neo-dolphin). Or wear the proud emblem of the Terragens Marines.
Most recent issue of New Scientist focuses on Climate Denialists with articles by Michael Shermer and others.
My special feature on “How the Net Ensures Our Cosmic Survival” has appeared in Communications of the ACM, the June 2010 issue.
For my predictions Registry: Jeff Robbins recently stumbled upon an article in the New York Times about a hedge fund that provides upfront payments for IRS whistle-blowers. They are essentially agreeing to buy a percentage of those future payouts in exchange for a smaller amount upfront to the whistle-blowers. “This could hopefully be the start of realizing a whistle-blowers reward system as you envisioned in Kiln People.”
Fascinating. I had hoped that a philanthropist would get behiond this, as I portray at Horizons and Hope: The Future of Philanthropy. But capitalist drive can be good, too.
=== Accumulated Science Stuff ====
A new Chinese train innovation allows people to get on & off a bullet train without the train stopping. No time is wasted. If there are 30 stations between Beijing and Guangzhou , just stopping and accelerating again at each station will waste both energy and time.
The new, second tallest building in New York is amazingly green.
Alternative future passenger jets.
EcoMotors is currently developing an engine prototype that could improve fossil-fuel economies by up to 60 percent (achieving 100 miles per gallon), while halving the weight and size of standard gas and diesel-powered engines.
"There are lakes and seas that make Titan the only other place, other than the Earth, in the solar system with large, stable bodies of liquid on its surface," says Zarnecki. "There are also river channels; great stretches of dunes; weather and meteorology; complex hydrocarbons; and – most excitingly – powerful signs that Titan has a subsurface ocean that could provide a home for primitive life. Titan turns out to be an incredible place. It's a moon that would be a planet."... "It turns out that those rivers, lakes and seas on the surface are not watery affairs but are made of methane."
Bill Gates, the Microsoft billionaire, is funding research into machines to suck up ten tonnes of seawater every second and spray it upwards. This would seed vast banks of white clouds to reflect the Sun’s rays away from Earth. (Um, but you get the power to drive the pumps from... oil, right?)
An interesting TedX riff about the importance of resilience in any ecosystem. The fellow’s specific - somewhat barter-based - alternative currency proposal is much less important than his insight offered at the start of his talk.
Smart guy Marc Millis talks about future tech in space.
New experiments with photosynthetic light-harvesting protein found in green sulfur bacteria show that solar photons generate coherent, wavelike oscillations in the protein complexes. These "quantum beating" signals enable the donor and acceptor molecules to sample all potential energy pathways at once, and choose the most efficient.
Martin Gardner, Puzzler and Polymath, Dies at 95; amazing fellow.
YIPE! Talk about a politically incorrect theory: "A Farewell to Alms discusses the divide between rich and poor nations that came about as a result of the Industrial Revolution in terms of the evolution of particular behaviors originating in Britain. Prior to 1790, Clark asserts, man faced a Malthusian trap: new technology enabled greater productivity and more food, but was quickly gobbled up by higher populations. In Britain, however, as disease continually killed off poorer members of society, their positions in society were taken over by the sons of the wealthy, who were less violent, more literate, and more productive. This process of "downward social mobility" eventually enabled Britain to attain a rate of productivity that allowed it to break out of the Malthusian trap."
A transparency setback. Andre Hansson writes in: “Swedish income tax records were subject to public scrutiny. This will now change with the motivation that it violates the privacy of ordinary citizens. Hence, it will also be more difficult for citizens and journalists to scrutinize individuals in public office or in any other position of power. Let's just hope it won't cause a snowball effect on other transparency laws.” Amen
=== MORE GREAT SNIPS (some of them c/o Cheryl) ===
Little Dog Robot: Very cool video of a miniature quadruped robot. Watch how it assesses where to put its foot on uneven surfaces, as it climbs stairs, crosses a gap, walks over a see-saw – and recovers/learns from errors. Developed by researchers at USC. Let’s send a larger one to Mars…and let it fetch some nice samples. -- Oh, see the earlier "BIG dog" robot from Boston Scientific! The growling sound is from the onboard generator, since the big version could not carry enough battery power.
Then see the parody!
Leonardo would have been proud: A model butterfly that flies nearly as elegantly as its real world cousin. A rubber band drives a crank that flaps thin plastic wings. First time that a free-flying replica has been made with the same size, shape & weight as a real insect. Tests showed that veined wings created more lift that veinless ones….as chosen by natural selection.
Testosterone makes people suspicious of one another.
Humans: Why They Triumphed: "The answer lies in a new idea, borrowed from economics, known as collective intelligence: the notion that what determines the inventiveness and rate of cultural change of a population is the amount of interaction between individuals. Even as it explains very old patterns in prehistory, this idea holds out hope that the human race will prosper mightily in the years ahead—because ideas are having sex with each other as never before.
Could companies that toss out copiers become targets for corporate theft? The hard drive of copiers retains copies of all documents copied; tax documents, research papers, employee records.
Five ways to monetize the future of news media
1. Erect a paywall
2. Erect a semi-permeable paywall ( a percentage of articles are free)
3. Implement a metered system (redress users can read a set number of articles a day
4. Remain free (generate lots of inexpensive output)
5. Create better value for advertisers
Can bacteria make you smarter? Specific bacteria in the environment not only have anti-depressant qualities, but can increase learning behavior
New study shows that the number of books in a home is as important to a child’s success as the parent’s education level. A bookless home is equivalent to having parents who are barely literate. A book-filled home – equivalent to having university-educated parents. In China, having 500 or more books in the home propels children over 6 yrs further in their education; in the U.S. the effect is 2.4 years.
“You can’t beat doubt as a corporate strategy – especially if your product is life-threatening when used as directed”. New Scientist’s latest issue focuses on the Age of Denial. In particular how corporations manufacture doubt through PR campaigns, ads, slogans, hiring scientists & phony grass roots groups….all extensively used by tobacco, coal, chemical, fossil fuel industries.
What will the city of the future look like? Here’s a gallery of past notions with many failed hopes and dreams: Glass-domed cities, plastic pod-houses, an underground metropolis, orbiting space structures, multi-level streets & swooping walkways, rooftop landings for dirigibles, robot-controlled farms.