As sea level rises higher over the next 15 to 30 years, tidal flooding is expected to occur more often, cause more disruption, and even render some areas unusable — all within the time frame of a typical home mortgage.
Thank you to Bjorn Grigholm, animation; Kristina Dahl, data analysis; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Tides and Currents, tide gauge data; and Climate Central Surging Seas Risk Finder, local sea level projections.
Image credits: Island Gazette Newspaper, Willard Killough III; Puddleduck Photo, Tim Hayes ; Virginian Pilot, Stephen M. Katz; and West 12th Block Road Association, Peter Mahoun.
In 1959 Tim Lehrer wrote The Elements song – one of the top songs about sciency things of all time! It was just a list of the then-known elements, sung to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan’s I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General. Yet it’s inspired millions of people over the years, and become an legend in the songbook of science engagement.
Great as Lehrer’s Elements Song is though, I must confess to being a little disappointed that it doesn’t say much about the science of risk. So over on the YouTube Risk Bites channel, I’m hatching a plan to video the song Lehrer would have recorded, if only he’d been thinking about risks rather than elements.
There’s only one problem – we’ve set ourselves the target of getting 10,000 YouTube subscribers before we record and release the Elements of Risk song. And we still have a long way to go.
Which is a polite way of saying please help us – subscribe to the RiskBites YouTube channel. Get your friends to subscribe, your family, your pets; even complete strangers. And spread the word that we need as much support as we can get.
Just in case you’re wondering how the song might go – if it ever does see the light of day – I can tell you that it might just contain a few chemical risks, and possibly some biological and chemical ones too. There’s a chance we may mention micromorts – and even microlives. And of course, dose and response are likely to find their way in somewhere.
More than that I can’t possibly tell – at least, not until we have a few more subscribers!
What I can do though is give you some trivia on Tom Lehrer’s Elements Song:
In 2009, Wired Magazine ranked it fifth in its list of Top Ten Scientific Music Videos;
A YouTube search for “The Elements Song” brings back over 12,000 results – the top ten account for over 30,000,000 views;
“The Elements song has probably done more for science education than any other single work. There are over 20 thousand separate recordings of it. It has been translated into other languages. It has been recorded by movie stars, scientists, professional musicians, and three-year-olds. It is a pop culture icon for everything science. If you compile views from all the many recordings of it, the total would be in the hundreds of millions.”
I can’t promise Risk Bites will reach these heady heights, but we’re willing to give it a respectable shot.
Digital technology is instead progressing very slowly when it comes to government: the link between the citizen and the politician is often just a “feedback form” on the politician’s website. Very little effort has been made to link the citizen and the decision making process in more effective and creative ways.
...and probably not for the reason you think. Outbreak is one of those movies people seem to either love or hate (or possibly love to hate); almost everyone I know who has anything to do with public health, infectious diseases, or virology tends to swear up a blue storm when the movie comes up.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence exhibited by machines or software. It is an academic field of study which studies the goal of creating intelligence, whether in emulating human-like intelligence or not. Major AI researchers and textbooks define this field as “the study and design of intelligent agents”, where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chances of success. John McCarthy, who coined the term in 1955, defines it as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines”.
AI research is highly technical and specialized, and is deeply divided into subfields that often fail to communicate with each other. Some of the division is due to social and cultural factors: subfields have grown up around particular institutions and the work of individual researchers. AI research is also divided by several technical issues. Some subfields focus on the solution of specific problems. Others focus on one of several possible approaches or on the use of a particular tool or towards the accomplishment of particular applications.
The central problems (or goals) of AI research include reasoning, knowledge, planning, learning, natural language processing (communication), perception and the ability to move and manipulate objects. General intelligence is still among the field’s long term goals. Currently popular approaches include statistical methods, computational intelligence and traditional symbolic AI. There are a large number of tools used in AI, including versions of search and mathematical optimization, logic, methods based on probability and economics, and many others. The AI field is interdisciplinary, in which a number of sciences and professions converge, including computer science, mathematics, psychology, linguistics, philosophy and neuroscience, as well as other specialized fields such as artificial psychology.
The field was founded on the claim that a central property of humans, intelligence—the sapience of Homo sapiens—“can be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.” This raises philosophical issues about the nature of the mind and the ethics of creating artificial beings endowed with human-like intelligence, issues which have been addressed by myth, fiction and philosophy since antiquity. Artificial intelligence has been the subject of tremendous optimism but has also suffered stunning setbacks. Today it has become an essential part of the technology industry, providing the heavy lifting for many of the most challenging problems in computer science. “Artificial intelligence” - Wikipedia (Nov, 2014)
Two years ago, the Higgs Boson was discovered by the ATLAS and CMS experiments. But how precisely does it fill its role as the last missing piece in the Standard Model of particle physics?
Q&A - Mysteries of matter at the LHC
Dr Pippa Wells answers some of your questions on how the LHC will explore these mysteries of matter.
Why can the Brout-Englert-Higgs field give mass to particles? What is the difference between fields, vents and processes? What are the advantages and disadvantages of colliding electrons and positrons? Why are lead nuclei sometimes collided instead of protons? Is there any prospect for experimentalists to study dark matter?
Two years ago, the Higgs Boson was discovered by the ATLAS and CMS experiments. But how precisely does it fill its role as the last missing piece in the Standard Model of particle physics?
The Large Hadron Collider will restart in 2015 with almost double the collision energy to test just that. But even then, this theory only accounts for 5% of the Universe, and does not include gravity.Can the LHC shed light on the origin of dark matter? Why is gravity so much weaker than the other forces?
Pippa Wells was the Inner Detector System Project Leader on the ATLAS Experiment at CERN. ATLAS is one of two general-purpose detectors at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It investigates a wide range of physics, from the search for the Higgs boson to extra dimensions and particles that could make up dark matter.
On the last Sunday in September, fifty or so people tricked into an old classroom in North Seattle. Classic rock played in the background, and greeters pointed parents to a table at the back where young children could entertain themselves with art materials. They were there for the launch of Sunday Assembly Seattle, an experimental church community without gods, sacred texts or dogmas.
With a 3-D printer, an operator plugs in a virtual blueprint for an object, which the printer uses to construct the final product layer by layer. Several types of these printers exist, using a variety of materials as the “ink.” The most popular models work by extruding a filament of molten plastic. The print head makes repeated passes over the item being printed. It thus builds a 3-D structure.
Back in the early 19th century a novel was written that tells the story of humanity’s downfall in the 21st century. Our undoing was the consequence of a disease that originates in the developing world and radiates outward eventually spreading into North America, East Asia, and ultimately Europe. The disease proves unstoppable causing the collapse of civilization, our greatest cities becoming grave sites of ruin. For all the reader is left to know, not one human being survives the pandemic.
This is a story about the future of humanity. IEET Fellow Jamais Cascio, along with Mauricio Ageno and Kwame Assenyoh talk about the future of the human species either dying off or living on.
Selected by Foreign Policy magazine as one of their Top 100 Global Thinkers, Jamais Cascio writes about the intersection of emerging technologies, environmental dilemmas, and cultural transformation, specializing in the design and creation of plausible scenarios of the future. His work focuses on the importance of long-term, systemic thinking, emphasizing the power of openness, transparency and flexibility as catalysts for building a more resilient society.
Cascio’s work appears in publications as diverse as Metropolis, the Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Policy. He has been featured in multiple television programs discussing foresight and environmental issues, including National Geographic Television’s SIX DEGREES, its 2008 documentary on the effects of global warming, the History Channel’s SCIENCE IMPOSSIBLE, its 2009 series on emerging technologies, and the 2010 Canadian Broadcasting Company documentary, SURVIVING THE FUTURE.
Cascio speaks about future possibilities around the world, at a variety of venues. Recent appearances include the Fifth Astana Economic Forum in Astana, Kazakhstan, the 2012 National Geographic Aspen Environmental Forum, and Futuro e Sostanabilita in Rome. He was a featured speaker at the TED 2006 conference, “The Future We Will Create,” in Monterey, California.
In early 2009, he released his first book, Hacking the Earth: Understanding the Consequences of Geoengineering. Subsequently, he served as technical advisor for the Australian Broadcasting Company’s 2010 alternate reality game about geoengineering, BLUEBIRD. In late 2010, he was invited to present on the subject at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC.
Cascio has worked in the field of scenario development for over a decade, and in 2010 was named a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for the Future, where he is a primary contributor to their annual Ten Year Forecast program. After several years as technology specialist at scenario planning pioneer Global Business Network, he went on to craft a wide array of scenarios on topics including energy (for an industry think tank), nuclear proliferation (for a political research non-profit), and sustainable development (for a multi-client project). Cascio is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.
In 2007, his work on calculating the carbon footprint of cheeseburgers went viral, appearing in dozens of newspapers and magazines, multiple radio programs, hundreds of websites, and even as part of a museum exhibit. Increasingly, the cheeseburger has become an icon of the surprising carbon impact of everyday life.
In 2003, he co-founded WorldChanging.com, the award-winning website dedicated to finding and calling attention to models, tools and ideas for building a “bright green” future. In his time at WorldChanging, Cascio wrote the plurality of the site’s content, covering topics including urban design, climate science, renewable energy, open source models, emerging technologies, social networks, “leapfrog” global development, and much more. In March, 2006, he started Open the Future as his online home.
Cascio has also applied his scenario development skills in the entertainment industry, advising multiple television and film projects, and designing several well-received science fiction game settings, including Transhuman Space: Broken Dreams (speculating on the future of the developing world) and Transhuman Space: Toxic Memes (examining future popular culture and political movements).
Cascio lives outside of San Francisco, California, with his wife, two cats, and too many computers.
Tony Dokoupil of NBC News discusses the policy debate of climate engineering with Director of Weather Modification Jeff Tilley and Professor of Science James R. Fleming who states “most anything can go wrong.”
Geoengineering, geological engineering, engineering geology, or geotechnical engineering deals with the discovery, development, and production and use of subsurface earth resources, as well as the design and construction of earth works. Geoengineering is the application of geosciences, where mechanics, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and geology are used to understand and shape our interaction with the earth. Geoengineers work in areas of mining, including surface and subsurface excavations, and rock burst mitigation; energy, including hydraulic fracturing and drilling for exploration and production of water, oil, or gas; infrastructure, including underground transportation systems and isolation of nuclear and hazardous wastes; and environment, including groundwater flow, contaminant transport and remediation, and hydraulic structures. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoengineering
The Transhumanist Wager, brainchild of noted transhumanist Zoltan Istvan, can be understood as follows. If one loves and values their life, then they will want (the option) to live as long and as well as possible. How do they achieve this?
I recently had the opportunity to be the closing speaker at the 5th annual TEDxTransmedia event, held in the iconic Radio Television Suisee building in Geneva, Switzerland. Organized by media pioneer Nicoletta Iacobacci, the event was opened by a two-foot tall robot that gave a short welcome speech. The theme of the event was exponential beauty, and over a dozen speakers, performers, and young change makers also made presentations. The event was an overwhelming success that was topped off by a festive farewell cocktail reception.
Bitcoin 1.0 is currency - the deployment of cryptocurrencies in applications related to cash such as currency transfer, remittance, and digital payment systems. Bitcoin 2.0 is contracts - the whole slate of economic, market, and financial applications using the blockchain that are more extensive than simple cash transactions like stocks, bonds, futures, loans, mortgages, titles, smart property, and smart contracts
There two basic types of ethical fact: (i) values, i.e. facts about what is good, bad, or neutral; and (ii) duties, i.e. facts about what is permissible, obligatory and forbidden. In this post I want to consider whether or not there is a defensible non-theistic account of values. In other words, is it possible for values to exist in the godless universe?
The creeping social inequality in Britain has become a source of growing concern to many. When strikes and despair over the income disparity within a single country or locale feature often in our politics, do we unjustly forget the scale of global wealth inequality? I am not writing this article to belie the social calamity of income inequality in Britain, nor to argue for more urgency in remedial foreign policies such as development assistance. This is purely an analysis of the long-term crisis represented by global disparities of wealth, and the historical choices it will force on many actors in the world-system, from states to activists.
Professor Janet Wiles on consciousness in artificial life.
This presentation was delivered as a part of a workshop: “Consciousness - here, there, everywhere? The prospects for panpsychism”, held in Byron Bay, Australia. The workshop was a satellite event for the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness.
“Approaches to reducing [global] suffering have traditionally been political or communitarian in nature. However, something has been changing in recent decades; technological development has been accelerating making new approaches to old problems possible.” This is particularly true when it comes to education and training in areas like Africa.
On Wednesday we spoke with Celinda Lake, a leading strategist for Democrats and progressive organizations, about the election’s results. Her key observations:
● It was a “wave” election. That can be seen in the Democrats’ devastating gubernatorial, as well as senatorial, losses.
● The wave began forming years ago, with perceptions about the effectiveness of Washington’s leadership.
● Turnout shaped the results.
● Given current economic conditions, and lacking a coherent plan for changing them, Democratic candidates were waging an all-but-impossible struggle in many states.
“There was not a rejection of the Democratic agenda,” she points out, noting that when voters had an opportunity to vote directly on policy issues like the minimum wage – “when voters could take matters into their own hands” – they supported progressive positions.
The link above goes to a portion of the discussion which occurs about midway through the interview, but it is all worth hearing.
Confused about “Obamacare?” We can help! Health insurance used to be too expensive for many people. But now, under the health care law—also know as “Obamacare”- plans will be more affordable. Find out what to consider in a plan as a woman, and how to get enrolled. Check out the video and visit our website PlannedParenthoodHealthInsuranceFacts.org to learn more.
Prior to the twentieth century, humans had primarily one route to transcendence of the physical universe, namely supernatural religion. Over the millennia, this central institution of traditional cultures had evolved, but not yet fully unraveled. Early in human history, the distinction between religion and magic was blurred, and priests pretended to cure people of physical diseases, a job gradually given over to physicians. Even in ancient days, legislatures were the primary source of laws in many societies, but religion sanctified the state, and some societies were theocracies.
C.M. Chan, legal counsel at Sir Elly Kadoorie & Sons Limited in Hong Kong and MPA/MC ‘15; William C. Kirby, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies, and Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration, HBS; and Heather Pickerell, Harvard College ‘15, all joined moderator Anthony Saich, Director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and Daewoo Professor of International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, in a discussion on the 2014 protests in Hong Kong. The panelists considered the relationship between the Chinese government and Hong Kong, the options that Hong Kong has to make elections more representative, and the potential of the student-led protests to succeed.
The new movie “Interstellar” explores a longstanding fascination, but UA astrophysicists are using cutting-edge technology to go one better. They’re working on how to take pictures of the black hole at the center of the galaxy.
In 1985, The University of Arizona established an interdisciplinary Theoretical Astrophysics Program to foster scientific and academic links amongst the Physics, Astronomy, and Planetary Sciences departments, as well as the Applied Mathematics program and the NOAO. This program administers a colloquium series, a matching grants program, and prizes for student research.
There are serious thinkers—Ray Kurzweil, Hans Moravec, Michio Kaku, Marshall Brain, Aubrey de Grey and others—who foresee that technology may enable humans to defeat death. There are also dissenters who argue that this is exceedingly unlikely. And there are those like Bill Joy who think that such technologies are technologically feasible but morally reprehensible.
We are entering the age of robotics. Robots will soon be assisting us in our homes; stacking our warehouses; driving our cars; delivering our Amazon purchases; providing emergency medical care; and generally taking our jobs. There’s lots to ponder as they do so. One obvious question — obvious at least to lawyers — is whether the age of robotics poses any unique challenges to our legal system?
Michael Fossel‘s dream is to reverse human aging and since 1996 he has been a strong and vocal advocate of experimenting with telomerase therapy as a potential way of intervention in a wide variety of medical conditions related to aging. In addition, Fossel is one of those unique people who are a real pleasure to not only see speaking from the stage but also to meet in person. And having done both of these, I can honestly say that Michael is as much an impassioned expert speaker as he is a compassionate human being. Not only that but he is also a generous host, who loves entertaining guests visiting his fabulous house near Rapid Falls, Michigan and I have to admit I had tons of fun socializing with him both in front and behind camera. So, all in all, it was a lot of fun meeting and interviewing Dr. Fossel for my Singularity 1 on 1 podcast.
During our 1 hour discussion with Michael we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: his dream to reverse aging and the desirability and feasibility thereof; the Hayflick limit of cell division and Aubrey de Grey’s concerns that telomerase therapy may cause cancer; the distinction between reversing aging and living forever; his “non-sexy” tips on healthy living; his take on cryonics and transhumanism…
My favorite quotes that I will take away from this interview with Michael Fossel are:
“Ageing is dynamic, not static”
“Never mind the low-hanging fruit. [...] Go for the important one!”
“The reason to do this [reverse aging] is not to double somebody’s lifespan. The reason to do this is because people out there are hurting. They are frightened. They are terrified by the things that happen to them when they get disease. The reason to do this is because we are human and we should be working at this. It’s not playing God, it is working at being human. It’s compassion. It’s not a matter of living longer, it is a matter of making people healthy again.”
Author of a major upcoming book on Telomerase Therapy and working to bring telomerase therapy to human trials, Michael Fossel, M.D., Ph.D. (born 1950, Greenwich, Connecticut) was a professor of clinical medicine at Michigan State University for almost 30 years and still teaches a course on the Biology of Aging as a university professor.
Founder and former editor-in-chief of Rejuvenation Research, he is best known for his views on telomerase therapy as a possible treatment for cellular senescence and human age-related disease. Dr. Fossel has appeared on many major news programs to discuss aging and regularly on National Public Radio (NPR). He is also a respected lecturer, author, and physician.
Prior to earning his M.D. at Stanford Medical School, Fossel earned a joint B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. in psychology at Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in neurobiology at Stanford University. He is also a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy. After graduating from medical school in 1981, he was awarded a National Science Foundation fellowship and taught at Stanford University Medical School.
Dr. Fossel has lectured at the National Institute for Health, the Smithsonian Institution, and at various other universities and institutes around the world. Fossel is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Gerontological Society of America, the American Society on Aging, and the American Geriatrics Society, and served on the board of directors for the American Aging Association, as well as their executive director.
Fossel has written numerous articles on aging and ethics for the Journal of the American Medical Association and In Vivo, and he published a book titled Reversing Human Aging in 1996. The book garnered favorable reviews from mainstream newspapers as well as Scientific American and has since been published in six languages. His magisterial academic textbook Cells, Aging, and Human Disease was published in 2004 by Oxford University Press. His latest book, Electronic Health Records: Strategies for Long-Term Success was published in 2013 by Health Administration Press. His new book, tentatively titled Telomerase Therapy, is now in press and due for publication in 2015.
Since his days teaching at Stanford University, Fossel has studied aging from a medical and scientific perspective with a particular emphasis on premature aging syndromes such as progeria, and since at least 1996 he has been a strong and vocal advocate of experimenting with telomerase therapy as a way of treating diseases, disorders, and syndromes such as progeria, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, cancer, AIDS, and organ senescence (i.e., aging). However, he is careful to qualify his advocacy of telomerase therapy as being a potential treatment for these conditions rather than a “cure for old age” and a panacea for age-related medical conditions, albeit a potential treatment that could radically extend the maximum human life span and reverse the aging process in most people. Specifically, Fossel sees the potential of telomerase therapy as being a highly effective point of intervention in a wide variety of medical conditions.
What kind of emotional reactions do you have to robots? Until not very long ago, this question was the stuff of science fiction. But the recent proliferation of robots in the home, workplace and healthcare world, bring the question squarely into everyday life. As a psychologist interested in exploring human-robot interaction, I’ve coined the term RoboPsych as an umbrella for our cognitive, emotional and behavioral reactions to the wide range of robots in our daily lives.