Capt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—an endless floating waste of plastic trash. Now he’s drawing attention to the growing, choking problem of plastic debris in our seas.
The NPR arts and culture show Studio 360 profiled Natasha and Greg Stock this week:
Everything we’re able to do today to enhance humans — from genetic engineering to artificial limbs — simply improves on the base model we were born with. But for some people, that doesn’t go far enough. They think we shouldn’t be stuck with the factory-installed settings in our DNA. And they’re not satisfied with a lifespan that tops out at 100 years.
Natasha Vita-More is an artist who imagines a future in which humans are freed from the constructs dictated by nature — a transhumanist. “It seems rather ridiculous that we back up our computers but as far as our minds are concerned, we just leave it up to whatever happens,” she says.
Among her early transhumanist-themed artworks is Primo Posthuman, a prototype human incorporating imagined — but potentially feasible — technological enhancement. The high concept computer-generated image looks a little like the instruction manual to The Bionic Woman, with replaceable genes, enhanced intelligence, and a lifespan listed as “ageless.” A label that points to the kneecap says, “Solar protected skin with tone-texture changeability.”
Dr. J. chats with John Robb, a former USAF pilot in special operations and author of Brave New War. He writes the blog Global Guerrillas at globalguerrillas.typepad.com. (Originally broadcast Dec 19, 2009)
An interview with PETA shows that the group is helping with the destruction of current technologies contributing to the suffering of animals worldwide while embracing emerging technologies that will help the fight for animal rights.
If you could take a pill that would instantly improve your memory or increase your ability to make sense of complex ideas, perhaps even make discoveries worthy of a Nobel prize, would you? What if you could enhance your capacity to assimilate new languages in a fraction of the time than would otherwise be necessary to become fluent? Answers to these questions may now become more urgent as a range of cognitive enhancements are quickly becoming available via pharmaceutical research.
Surfing the Waves of Change is an animation exploring the idea of community resilience using the metaphor of a surfer to explain how communities can make themselves more resilient in these changing times. This project is supported by The Carnegie UK Trust, Comhar Media Fund and Trocaire.
As the fragile global systems we relied on in the last century begin to crumble, community resilience offers a localised and sustainable response to the challenges we face both as individuals and as inhabitants of a shared planet. Get started by downloading a free copy of Carnegie Trust’s Exploring Community Resilience HERE.
A video by Richard Curtis and Bill Nighy about the Robin Hood Tax, a tiny tax on bank transactions that could raise hundreds of billions for public services and to tackle poverty and climate change at home and around the world.
‘Occupy Wall Street’ is furious that the nation’s largest banks grossly mismanaged the citizenry’s funds but were rewarded anyway with a bail-out by the government. Today many of those frivolous financiers are thriving with obscene salaries while millions of their victimized clientele have lost their homes to foreclosure and are under-or-unemployed.
DARPA, the Pentagon’s advanced concepts think-tank, is looking to take propaganda to the next level, and they’re hoping to do so by controlling the very way their targets perceive and interpret the flow of incoming information.
Two Mormons—Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney—are campaigning as Republicans for President of the United States, with Romney currently favored to nab the nomination. In recent days their faith has been derided by some as a “cult.” Although Mormonism is an ‘indigenous’ American creed, and has over 14 million followers internationally, the average American knows little about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
One of the most fascinating developments in science today is the ability to sequence DNA from old bones. Research in this field is called paleogenomics — the study of ancient genomes. Recent data reveals what scientists have long suspected — that our prehistoric ancestors exchanged genes with Neandertals.
This video explains how we met our closest evolutionary relatives, Neandertals, about 50,000 years ago, and what happened next.
The liberation of people through technology, and the liberation of technology from the oppressive forces that want to control it, is part of the pirate DNA. This will be reflected at some point in actual policies of the Pirate Party, the party of the future.
In the U.S., bipartisan group of scientists and national security experts has recommended further research and testing of extreme geoengineering projects, or climate remediation, to assertively lessen the effects of global warming before it “reaches a tipping point.”
Like the spokesmen for Arab dictators feigning bewilderment over protesters’ demands, mainstream television news reporters finally training their attention on the growing Occupy Wall Street protest movement seem determined to cast it as the random, silly blather of an ungrateful and lazy generation of weirdos. They couldn’t be more wrong and, as time will tell, may eventually be forced to accept the inevitability of their own obsolescence.
Even the sympathizers don’t always get it. I’m sure I get a lot of things wrong too, but here’s one thing I do understand: Change doesn’t begin with policy. It begins with perception. And you don’t change things by asking. You change them by acting.
While watching the Occupy Wall Street movement gain momentum and challenge the status quo, we in the transhumanist and technoprogressive communities should take note of differences between this movement and those earlier in the 20th century that were in direct opposition to some set of conservative policies.
The longer a telescope spends looking at a target, the more sensitive the observations become, and the deeper we can look into space. But to get the full picture of what’s happening in the Universe, astronomers also need observations at a range of different wavelengths, requiring different telescopes. These are the key ideas behind the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey, or GOODS for short.
Robots and computers have made astonishing progress at acquiring what we’ve long considered fundamentally human capabilities. Machines are beginning to understand language. They can listen, they can speak, they can read, and they may even be able to write. They’re getting better at visual pattern recognition; computers can tell the difference between your face and your dad’s face, and they may be able to look at a biopsy slide and tell the difference between a cancerous cell and a healthy one. Computers might even be able to “reason” the way humans can. Perhaps they’ll soon sit in judgment when you appeal your traffic ticket.
We’ve seen robots take over many jobs that require routine activities and manual labor, but what impact will they have on high-skilled workers, including medical professionals, lawyers, scientists, and journalists? Which jobs are most vulnerable to the “robot invasion,” and which jobs will the robots be unable to touch? (Hint: not many.) Should we be happy about the robots—after all, they’ll probably make our jobs easier—or should we be worried? And if the robots are coming, should we try to stop them?
At this September 2011 event, Slate technology columnist Farhad Manjoo and a panel of experts explored these questions and more.
For more about this event, visit: http://www.newamerica.net/node/57814/edit