A wise man once said, “In order for us to understand the rat, we must become the rat.” Now, it’s quite possible that no one has ever actually said this, but that doesn’t matter. But what does matter is that it’s the driving sentiment behind a project that’s seeking to bridge the gap that’s separating us humans from rodents. By using telepresence, immersive virtual reality, and robotic technologies, researchers are hoping to see things from a rat’s point of view.
“In an emotionally charged talk, MacArthur-winning activist Majora Carter details her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx—and shows how minority neighborhoods suffer most from flawed urban policy.
Majora Carter redefined the field of environmental equality, starting in the South Bronx at the turn of the century. Now she is leading the local economic development movement across the USA.” - TED
“In an exciting twist, two companies have been announced as winners of EuropaBio’s Most Innovative Biotech SME Award 2012. Commission Vice President Tajani who presented the award, during the event hosted by Dr. Kay Swinburne MEP at the European Parliament on 19th September, named both Austrian healthcare biotech SME ProtAffin AG and Global Bioenergies a French industrial biotech SME- as joint winners of the award.” - EUXTV
Does your vote really count? Is your bio-region dominated by a far-away demographic? Is your community powerless? Is progress in your city halted by small-brained conservative dinosaurs hundreds of miles away?
What did IEET readers peruse most fervently in October? 3D Printing articles by L. S. McGill took the top two slots, followed by anything and everything, from apocalyptic forecasts to Buddhist cognitive enhancement. Here’s the cream of the crop below:
IEET Readers are split on the question “When Aspergers is curable, will parents be morally obliged to cure it in their children”? One reason readers may be split is because there is such a huge variety of personalities someone with Asperger syndrome can take on. It can affect how one acts towards others, however theres many cases where Asperger syndrome increases compassion. Who is to say what the social norm should be? There is such a broad “norm” for symptoms of Asperger syndrome that it takes great expertise to identify it in some people.
Therefore the “social norm” of everyday culture is not much different then some patients with Asperger syndrome. However, in the end modern culture can only learn from people who have been diagnosed who are proud that they have it and the benefits of having it. We might even want to add some aspects of the syndrome to ourselves for example the ability of some to focus just on one subject for a long period of time.
In a future world where every brain is enhanced however, someone born with a “normal” brain will be looked at like they have a “disability.” We may be more likely to learn from Asperger syndrome than to treat it.
Autistic people have advocated a shift in perception of autism spectrum disorders as complex syndromes rather than diseases that must be cured. Proponents of this view reject the notion that there is an “ideal” brain configuration. and that any deviation from the norm is pathological; they promote tolerance for what they call neurodiversity. There is a contrast between the attitude of adults with self-identified AS, who typically do not want to be cured and are proud of their identity, and parents of children with AS, who typically seek assistance and a cure for their children.
This may also explain the split between the IEET readers.
392 readers responded to this poll
From scientificamerican.com: “Coal-burning remains the single largest source of all the greenhouse gases dumped into Earth’s atmosphere. As a result, climate change continues to gather speed, and molecules of CO2 released into the atmosphere today will continue to trap heat for centuries. In order to mitigate global warming, the world needs to transition to energy technologies that emit dramatically reduced quantities of greenhouse gases as quickly as possible. Even with such an energy transition, it will take decades for the pace of climate change to slow noticeably, as this video explains.”
TED: James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change
Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future. - TED
Hurricane Sandy fizzled out over Quebec Wednesday morning, leaving a trail of devastation along the US East Coast and into southern Ontario. As I write this, Sandy’s death toll stands at 132 people – 71 in the Caribbean and 61 in the United States. Since making landfall in the US, it flooded the New York City subway system, left 8 million people without electricity (6.5 million of whom still lack it), destroyed the Atlantic City boardwalk, and shut down the New York Stock Exchange for 2 days. Estimates of its economic damage are up to $50 billion, making it the 2nd most expensive storm in US history, after Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans.
With marriage equality battles in front of the voters in four states, the faithful are out in flocks to defend traditional matrimony. I don’t know exactly what traditional means in this context. It certainly doesn’t mean biblical, or it would include captive virgins and sex slaves and fathering children for your deceased brothers. It certainly doesn’t mean Mitt Romney’s version of traditional, since his great grandfather had five wives and his great-great grandfather had twelve.
In just ten years, many of today’s older citizens might look in the mirror and ask, “Who is that gorgeous person?” Their reflection would reveal a revitalized body overflowing with enthusiasm, sporting a dazzling smile, wrinkle-free skin, perfect vision, natural hair color, real teeth, and an amazing mind and memory.
Ben Hyink was a passionate transhumanist and secular activist, and an intern and intern coordinator with the IEET. He helped organize and lead the Humanity+ Student Network (H+SN) and the Chicago chapter of Humanity+, co-wrote the “Humanity+ Student Leadership Guide,”, and was the recipient of the 2007 JBS Haldane award for outstanding Transhumanist Student of the year. Having struggled with depression he ended his life last week.
What exactly is ‘nano’? It’s become a buzzword, spawning many gimmicky products over the recent years, but what role will the real nano technology play in our lives? From smart metro tickets to futuristic flexible electronics, RT’s Technology Update’s got the future covered.
As of this morning millions of people in the Northeast of the United States are still without power, and many are stranded in homes damaged by flooding with transportation blocked by fallen trees. We hope you are all safe and restored as soon as possible.
Interviewer: What would you think it’s worth telling future generations about the life you’ve lived and the lessons you’ve learned from it?
Russell: “I should like to say two things, one intellectual and one moral. The intellectual thing I should want to say is this: When you are studying any matter, or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed. But look only, and solely, at what are the facts. That is the intellectual thing that I should wish to say.
The moral thing I should wish to say… I should say love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world which is getting more closely and closely interconnected we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way and if we are to live together and not die together we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.”
“Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these in any profound sense. He was born in Monmouthshire, into one of the most prominent aristocratic families in Britain.
Russell led the British “revolt against idealism” in the early 20th century. He is considered one of the founders of analytic philosophy along with his predecessor Gottlob Frege and his protégé Ludwig Wittgenstein. He is widely held to be one of the 20th century’s premier logicians. He co-authored, with A. N. Whitehead, Principia Mathematica, an attempt to ground mathematics on logic. His philosophical essay “On Denoting” has been considered a “paradigm of philosophy.” His work has had a considerable influence on logic, mathematics, set theory, linguistics, computer science (see type theory and type system), and philosophy, especially philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics.
Russell was a prominent anti-war activist; he championed anti-imperialism and went to prison for his pacifism during World War I. Later, he campaigned against Adolf Hitler, then criticised Stalinist totalitarianism, attacked the United States of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and was an outspoken proponent of nuclear disarmament. In 1950 Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, “in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought.”
Paul Andersen takes you on a tour of the cell. He starts by explaining the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. He also explains why cells are small but not infinitely small. He also explains how the organelles work together in a similar fashion.
David Brin here, coming back for one of my infrequent guest blogs. Amid the election, I’ll alternate political posts (also to be found at http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/) with others about science, fiction and the future. And so, for relief, let’s have a miscellany of cool techie stuff!
The Fermi Paradox is the question of why we seem to be alone in our neck of the universe. Why don’t we observe any blatant signs of intelligent life in the cosmos, including the great works that our own descendants may begin to build, if we give them a good start in the right direction?
I want to share with you an excerpt from a conversation I recently had with a woman I very much respect. Lenore Ealy is one of America’s premier theoreticians on the nature and prospects for enlightened philanthropy.
Konza Technology City is a project planned to create an African Silicon Valley in Nairobi,Kenya. Dubbed the Silicon Savannah the vision for the city includes a strong emphasis on Information Technology and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES); and a wide range of commercial and support activities.