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When we cannot predict

March 29, 2011 by John Brockman

About a year ago, on Wednesday April 14th, I was on the way to London from JFK, when the pilot announced a slight delay into Heathrow in order to avoid the ash cloud coming out of the Icelandic volcano eruption. This was the first time I paid any attention to the subject. But once in London that is the only subject anybody talked about for a week.… read more

Are you ready for robots with sensitive skin?

June 30, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Robots have just taken another (slightly weird) step toward becoming our overlords.

Technische Universität München (TUM) scientists are developing an artificial skin for robots that will provide tactile information to the robot to supplement information from cameras, infrared scanners, and gripping hands.

The idea is to let the robot know when it touches an object so it can then visually search for whatever it… read more

Why do giraffes have long necks?

July 19, 2009 by L. Stephen Coles

ist1_7214210-zoo-animals

An article, “Why Do Dachshunds Have Short Legs? Science Has an Answer,” in R&D, July 17, 2009, reminds me of an observation. In the language of computer programming, a retrogene is a patch on a pre-existing piece of software. Could it be that the entire embryogenic/genomic network that dictates a creature’s morphology is nothing more than a set of onion-skin layers or patches on conserved coded-machinery that has worked before? If so, it’s going to take a lot of industrial-strength gene-insertion genomics to unravel it, since it has no real logic that would help us make sense of it and guide us to a proper reading frame. (This is more evidence that there’s no “intelligence” in the “Intelligent Design” of Darwinian evolution).… read more

Jabberwocky, AI, and aging

July 4, 2010 by L. Stephen Coles

cheshire

Seeing Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland in IMAX 3-D (which continues as No. 1 in box office sales for the second weekend in a row), I thought that the Jabberwocky poem came from the original Alice in Wonderland, but it didn’t. It came from the sequel, Through the Looking Glass.

Recall that Lewis Carroll was a professor of mathematics at Oxford University before he was more well-known as the… read more

comic | Map of online communities

October 13, 2010

Source: xkcd webcomics — October 11, 2010

Paul Dempsey song ‘Ramona Was a Waitress’ from Everything is True inspired by Kurzweil’s AI femme ‘Ramona’

January 15, 2011

Paul Dempsey Everything is True

Singer/Songwriter Paul Dempsey describes the inspiration for his track “Ramona Was a Waitress,” off his album Everything is True:

“It’s an unusual song, ‘Ramona Was a Waitress.’ It’s about a guy arguing with an artificial-intelligent robot waitress about mortality,” says Dempsey. ”Sort of an unusual subject for a pop song but that’s just what I was thinking about as I scrawled the lyrics. Artificial intelligence and conscious robots arguing about… read more

Julia Map generates fractals with just a browser

February 4, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Julia Map blue fractal

Google Labs has launched Julia Map, a fractal renderer in HTML 5. which lets you generate and explore fractals — specifically, the Julia set and Mandelbrot set — with just a browser (no need to launch a program).

It uses the Google Maps API to zoom and pan into the fractals. The images are computed with HTML 5 canvas. “Each… read more

Providing Low-cost Clean Water for a Billion People

September 6, 2010 by William Bing

A possible implementation of our Naishio solution.  The pressure from the water volume is sufficient to propel fresh water across the membrane (A), and photovoltaics (D) generate all the energy needed to pump water from the repository (C) to the water tank and circulator (E).  Sensors (B) communicate between the solar pump and membrane to regulate the water level and ensure it doesn’t become contaminated. (Image credit: Sarah Jane Pell)

This summer I attended Singularity University’s graduate studies program. Alongside 79 extraordinary entrepreneurs and scientists from around the globe, I had the opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in the world about a variety of rapidly advancing areas of technology. The context of these discussions was how we might use these technologies to implement solutions capable of affecting the lives of more than a… read more

We are Borg Pig, resistance is futile

March 19, 2010

borg pig

Source: James O'Neill — August 1, 2007

Borg Pig credited to artist James Kelsey in this blog post by James O’Neill as part of the City of Seattle’s “Pigs on Parade” public art show. Here’s a video interview with the artist.

Research breakthrough allows paraplegic man to stand on his own

May 21, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Rob Summers (credit: UCLA)

In a significant medical prothesis breakthrough, Rob Summers, 25, a pitcher for Oregon State University who was completely paralyzed below the chest five years ago after being struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run accident, can now stand on his own for up to four minutes at a time — without support — and up to 25 minutes with assistance provided only for balance.

What’s especially exciting about this… read more

Meetup and 9/11

September 9, 2011 by Scott Heiferman

meetup

Fellow Meetuppers,

I don’t write to our whole community often, but this week is special because it’s the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and many people don’t know that Meetup is a 9/11 baby.

Let me tell you the Meetup story. I was living a couple miles from the Twin Towers, and I was the kind of person who thought local community doesn’t matter much if we’ve got the… read more

announcement | Special invitation to apply to Singularity University, featuring full tuition grant

letter from Ray Kurzweil + Peter Diamandis
February 2, 2016

Singularity University - B1

A special invitation from the founders of Singularity University.

Dear readers,

We’re putting out the call for brilliant entrepreneurs, age 21 and older, who want to enroll in Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program — called GSP.

The GSP is where you’ll take your existing start-up idea, or a new one you create, and build it into a Ten to the Ninth plus company that can positively impact the lives of… read more

Health Tips | Stroke treatments, toxic chemicals in receipts, and new alcohol and sugar-drink risks

November 12, 2010 by David Despain

(credit: iStockphoto)

Welcome to our new weekly Health Tips column, covering breaking news of medical findings and other health-related information you can use now, or in the near future. This week: new stroke treatments, toxins in food packaging and cashier receipts, and new risks from alcohol and sugary drinks.

Three new stroke treatments: DHA, found in fish oil, protects the brain from damage and enhances recovery, even five hours… read more

Film Preview | Source Code movie combines mind-uploading, parallel universes, time travel, simulated reality

April 1, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

source-code3

In the science-fiction movie Source Code (April 1 release), a secret program called “Source Code” sends a pilot back in time to cross over into another man’s identity and relive the last eight minutes of the passenger’s life on a train.

The mission: find a bomb that exploded on the train, killing everyone on board, to prevent another terrorist attack in six hours.

“People… read more

comic | That only a nerd could love

March 31, 2010

nerd comic

Source: John Martz — June 15, 2009

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