Published on Apr 24, 2014. Our first instinct with infection in the body is often to find it and get rid of it! But, engineer Liangfang Zhang had another idea. With support from the National Science Foundation, Zhang and his team at UC-San Diego have created a nanosponge to combat drug-resistant infections, such as those caused by Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
The nanosponge, made from biocompatible, biodegradable polymer nanoparticles, is camouflaged with a red blood cell membrane. It circulates in the bloodstream, absorbing the toxins produced by infection.
One red blood cell membrane can be used as a cloak for more than 3,000 of these stealthy nanosponges. Once the nanosponges are fully loaded with toxins, they are safely disposed of by the liver. They are designed to work with any type of infection or poison that attacks the cellular membrane.
Zhang is working closely with doctors and students at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center on this “nano” approach to healing infections. He has been testing his approach on mice, with nearly a 100% success rate against staph infections. Human clinical trials are the next step!
Published on Apr 17, 2014, Professor Nick Bostrom at the University of Oxford discusses the different paths to machine intelligence. Bostrom is the director of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute and the author of the forthcoming book “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies” from the Oxford University Press.
I’ve always credited ‘Beavis & Butt-head’ creator Mike Judge for bringing down MTV. The simple cartoon, originally a short segment on late-night Liquid Television, consisted mostly of two teenage boys watching rock videos, making commentary about them, and then rejecting them: “this sucks, change it.” For me, the show was armchair media criticism - a lesson in deconstructing television.
Forget inequality! Judging by the White House and the media, the real answer is sucking up to the wealthiest. Inequality is a burning topic among economists, especially since the release of Thomas Piketty’s recent book on the subject. Many are questioning whether this is a temporary period of runaway inequality, or whether we are on the verge of an irreversible collapse into extremes of wealth and poverty. (What would we call it? The Oligopolypse? Plutogeddon?)
IEET Fellow, David Brin is a scientist, best-selling author and tech-futurist. His novels include Earth, The Postman (filmed in 1997) and Hugo Award winners Startide Rising and The Uplift War. A leading commentator and speaker on modern trends, his nonfiction book The Transparent Society won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association. Published on Apr 1, 2014.
Brin’s newest novel Existence explores the ultimate question: billions of planets are ripe for life. So where is Everybody? David’s main thread: how will we shape the days and years ahead—and how will tomorrow shape us?
Google Hangout with IEET Fellow Ramez Naam, filmed by LeWeb’13 Paris. Ramez is asked a variety of questions including how to help teach people how to code their own computers and phones. He also discuses technological unemployment and the future of his writing. Streamed live on Dec 12, 2013.
By David Swanson - Posted on 23 April 2014. Charles Komanoff is an activist, economist and policy-analyst. He directs the Carbon Tax Center and develops traffic-pricing modeling tools for the Nurture Nature Foundation. His work includes books (Power Plant Cost Escalation, Killed By Automobile, The Bicycle Blueprint), computer models, scholarly articles, and journalism. He discusses the need for a carbon tax. See http://carbontax.org
Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.
Syndicated by Pacifica Network.
Charles Komanoff and Daniel Rosenblum launched the Carbon Tax Center (“CTC”) in January 2007 to give voice to Americans who believe that taxing emissions of carbon dioxide — the primary greenhouse gas — is imperative to reduce global warming. The two of us brought to CTC a combined six decades of experience in economics, law, public policy and social change. Though Dan has moved on, Charles remains as CTC director, while James Handley, a chemical engineer and attorney who previously worked for private industry and for U.S. EPA, serves as our Washington D.C. rep.
Our June 2008 newsletter, “A Convenient Tax” further describes CTC’s mission and strategy.
To donate to the Carbon Tax Center
Go to next page (“Contact”) by clicking this link. You may contribute electronically or via mail. Your donation will be tax-deductible in either case.
About our name
Considerable thought went into our choice of the name, Carbon Tax Center. Despite the obvious drawback — any bill packaged as a “tax” is flying into a stiff headwind — we felt it was more important to openly confront the tax issue. We also knew that given that we were proposing a tax, even a revenue-neutral one, others would be more than happy to stick us with the “T word” — and argue that we were duplicitous in trying to hide the fact.
Over the years, we’ve received numerous notes from supporters urging us to change our name to de-emphasize the “tax” aspect and reframe carbon taxes as a a tax-shift or carbon-cutter or a refundable tax credit — anything but a “carbon tax. We value these notes, particularly the reminders to emphasize the revenue-neutral aspect of our carbon-tax advocacy.
We are also aware that FPL Group CEO Lewis Hay III, a carbon tax supporter, referred to it as a “fee,” and that Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd called for a “corporate carbon tax” in his unsuccessful 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. (We’ve posted statements by both Hay and Dodd on our Supporters pages.) While we welcome and support their advocacy, we intend to continue to play it straight with the American people and keep the name Carbon Tax Center.
Lessons from “Traffic Tax”
Several years back, as congestion pricing was being debated in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to charge a user fee for driving into the Manhattan Central Business District was commonly abbreviated to a “traffic tax.” (As in the headline for the May 29, 2007 lead article in the New York Sun, Spitzer Open to a Deal on Traffic Tax.)
Congestion pricing and carbon taxing emanate from the same overarching idea: that the most effective way to reduce a “negative externality” is to tax it. Of course, the mayor and his allies went to great lengths to frame the congestion charge as a fee, and he also pledged to dedicate the revenues to bus and subway improvements that would benefit lower-income New Yorkers, the vast majority of whom take mass transit into the CBD. None of that stopped opponents, and even some media supporters such as The Sun, from labeling the congestion charge as a tax. (Even the pro-congestion charge urbanist bible, Planetizen, did so; see New Yorkers Might Not Be Ready For Congestion Tax).
We’re open to new language
Nevertheless, we too are increasingly referring in our advocacy to a carbon fee. For one thing, climate scientist James Hansen, who since 2009 has been easily the most visible advocate of a carbon tax approach, has had much success in branding a federal carbon tax with 100% return of revenues to households as “fee-and-dividend.” There’s also the fact that, anti-tax rhetoric aside, “fee” connotes a user charge more directly than does “tax.” As Get Energy Smart Now blogger Adam Siegel pointed out via e-mail, “Charging a fee for dumping pollution into the commons” may appeal more broadly than a “tax which implies taking something away from people.” - http://www.carbontax.org
2.7-MW solar park in Neukirchen, Lower Saxony, on a former tar acid disposal site.
If we extended our lives by 200 years, or if we succeeded in uploading our minds to an artificial substrate, would we undermine our sense of personal identity? If so, would it be wiser to avoid such radical forms of enhancement? These are the questions posed in chapter 4 of Nicholas Agar’s book Truly Human Enhancement. Over the next two posts I’ll take a look at Agar’s answers. This is all part of my ongoing series of reflections on Agar’s book.
Published on Mar 26, 2014, Yeb Saño, head of the Filipino delegation, delivered an emotional speech at the UN climate negotiations last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SSXL.. Now he explains how climate change is making people hungry and exhorts the world to fight it together. Join the fight: http://www.oxfam.org/foodclimatejustice Note: Yeb mentions that "across the globe by the year 2020 at least 50 million more people are at risk of going hungry because of climate change." This statistic should refer to 2050, not 2020.
Lesotho is one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the world. More than half of its population live below the poverty line and the poorest people are the least likely to get the healthcare they need. A quarter of people living in rural areas have to travel more than three hours to reach their nearest heath facility.
The Boston Globe reported that enrollment in the UMass Boston undergraduate gerontology program has fallen by two-thirds, to a mere 13 students, over the last decade. A relaunch in 2010 failed to yield more students. For that reason, UMass Boston’s decision to suspend the gerontology undergraduate program was a bow to reality.
Historians place the beginning of culture about 10,000 years ago, when our early ancestors abandoned hunter-gathering in favor of settling into communities, cultivating crops, and domesticating live stock.
In this 42 min video of beautiful footage of earth from space, we also get a grim look at how fragile our world is and how people are negatively affecting it.
This is an educational video “IMAX: The Earth”, produced by the JPL and NASA. Uploaded for an introductory course on Astronomy. ASTR110 section 01, Ancilla College, Donaldson Indiana. Published under the Creative Commons License and in the Public Domain.
Producer: JPL/NASA. Published on Nov 14, 2013
Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren’t comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)
By 2050, Earth will likely be home to more than nine billion people. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. In a special eight-month series, “The Future of Food,” National Geographic investigates how to meet our growing need for nourishment without harming the planet that sustains us. Published on Apr 18, 2014
Lucy is a movie about a woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a mind enhanced genius.
Lucy is set in a world that is run by the mob, street gangs, drug addicts, and corrupt cops. Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), a woman living in Taipei, Taiwan, is forced to work as a drug mule for the mob. The drug implanted in her body inadvertently leaks into her system, changing her into a superhuman. She can absorb knowledge instantaneously, is able to move objects with her mind and can’t feel pain and other discomforts.
Ian Morris has stuck his dog's ear in his mouth, snapped a selfie, and proclaimed "Man Bites Dog." His new book War: What Is It Good For? Conflict and Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots is intended to prove that war is good for children and other living things. It actually proves that defenders of war are growing desperate for arguments.
I recently published an article in the Journal of Evolution and Technology on the topic of sex work and technological unemployment (available here, here and here). It began by asking whether sex work, specifically prostitution (as opposed to other forms of labour that could be classified as “sex work”, e.g. pornstar or erotic dancer), was vulnerable to technological unemployment. It looked at contrasting responses to that question, and also included some reflections on technological unemployment and the basic income guarantee.
How might the Obama Administration best respond to wave after wave of "NSA revelations" that roil and cloud the political waters? Ironically, almost none of Edward Snowden's leaks—or those of Julian Assange—revealed anything that was illegal per se. What they have done is stir a too-long delayed argument over what should be legal!
There’s a new study out which, press outlets are telling me, shows that the United States is now an oligarchy, ruled by the rich and powerful, and perhaps that the US has been sliding in this direction for decades.
Martin Telefont explains how the famous BlueBrain project is starting to use Semantic MediaWiki to store the information about cells. Martin is talking about their use case and challenges they have faced. Published on Nov 17, 2013
Martin is responsible for collecting and evaluating biomedical information used by the Blue Brain Project, with a special focus on proteomics. He also heads the project’s efforts in automatic information classification and extraction as well as in-house ontology creation, curation and matching to public ontologies. Before joining BBP, Martin worked in neuroscience and proteomics at the University of South Dakota.
His last research project focused on tracking changes in protein expression in female rats associated with the presence or absence of steroid hormones. In this work he had to link lists of proteins from high throughput experiments to existing knowledge in the literature. This prompted him to invest time on automatic information classification and extraction. He also has an active interest in ontology as applied to the representation, storage and processing of knowledge present in the biomedical literature.
In this video, using high-speed-cameras, The National Science Foundation explains how fish can help scientists understand how to create new materials that can go faster and be more flexible. They also want to develop new “smart materials” to adapt to the environment. Published April 17, 2014.
Their research is revealing more about what it takes to truly swim like a fish
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), aerospace engineer Michael Philen and his team at Virginia Tech are investigating the biomechanics of fish locomotion, in hopes of contributing to the next generation of robotic fish and underwater submersibles.
The researchers are studying how fish use their muscles to swim efficiently and execute underwater maneuvers, such as darting around in perfectly synchronized schools.
Philen and his team also are developing new smart materials, such as a bioengineered hair that is modeled after the hair cell sensors on the side of fish that allow it to detect minute changes in water flow.
The research in this episode was funded by NSF award #0938043, EFRI-BSBA: Multifunctional materials exhibiting distributed actuation, sensing, and control: Uncovering the hierarchical control of fish for developing smarter materials.
Published on Apr 14, 2014, Blaire Morriss, Vanderbilt Center for Integrative Health, explains how people can increase their health.
Blaire Morriss is a Nurse Practitioner at the Vanderbilt Center for Integrative Health and an Instructor in Clinical Nursing at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. At VCIH, Blaire provides Integrative Health Consultations and Mindfulness Based Health Coaching. She received her graduate degree in nursing from Vanderbilt University and because of her passion for integrative heath and mind/body healing also attended Duke University’s program in Integrative Health Coaching. Blaire has training and extensive experience in multiple healing modalities and has lectured on facets of Integrative Health for over five years.
Has human evolution and progress been propelled by war? The question is not an easy one to ask, not least because war is not merely one of the worst but arguably the worst thing human beings inflict on one another comprising murder, collective theft, and, almost everywhere but in the professional militaries of Western powers, and only quite recently, mass, and sometimes systematic rape.