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
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
Paul Dempsey song ‘Ramona Was a Waitress’ from Everything is True inspired by Kurzweil’s AI femme ‘Ramona’
January 15, 2011
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
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).
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
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
November 12, 2010 by David Despain
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
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.
“People… read more
November 19, 2010 by David Despain
Slashing stroke and heart disease risk, alcohol energy drinks, getting enough vitamin D in winter, and calorie restriction are among the topics covered in this week’s Health Tips.
Slashing stroke, heart disease risk with less stress and sleep: Too little sleep and poor sleep can bring high blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke [Emory University]; Women with high-stress jobs boost their heart… read more
Ever want to fly a remote-controlled plane over houses, recording cell-phone conversations and text messages at random and hacking into Wi-Fi networks and computers?
Well, first, click here and report yourself. Then check out the Defcon session (August 4–7, Las Vegas) by Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins on the latest version of their WASP (Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform).
“This session has everything… read more