Thursday, November 15, 2018

Friday Thinking 16 Nov 2018

Hello all – Friday Thinking is a humble curation of my foraging in the digital environment. My purpose is to pick interesting pieces, based on my own curiosity (and the curiosity of the many interesting people I follow), about developments in some key domains (work, organization, social-economy, intelligence, domestication of DNA, energy, etc.)  that suggest we are in the midst of a change in the conditions of change - a phase-transition. That tomorrow will be radically unlike yesterday.

Many thanks to those who enjoy this.

In the 21st Century curiosity will SKILL the cat.

Jobs are dying - Work is just beginning. Work that engages our whole self becomes play that works. Techne = Knowledge-as-Know-How :: Technology = Embodied Know-How  

“Be careful what you ‘insta-google-tweet-face’”
Woody Harrelson - Triple 9



In this Universe, there are very few fundamental properties that cannot be derived from something simpler. The rules governing biological systems are rooted in chemical interactions, bonds, and applied voltages. The rules of chemistry can be derived from more fundamental physical laws that govern all particles. And if you strip down the components of any physical system, you'll eventually arrive at the simplest descriptions of reality we know of: the particles and interactions that make up all of our known reality. While all the particles that exist have their own specific, unique properties, there are only a few that define them, such as mass, electric charge, color charge, and weak hypercharge. Yet why the particles have the properties they do is not fully understood; the values of the fundamental constants behind the Universe cannot be derived from anything presently known.

The Higgs may be responsible for the rest mass of these fundamental constituents of matter, but the whole of a single atom is nearly 100 times heavier than the sum of everything known to make it up.

At Last, Physicists Understand Where Matter's Mass Comes From

The fact that histories and futures rhyme so much, or as I like to think of it, are in rerun mode so much, allows us to inhabit escaped realities that are effectively outside of time. The sort of timeless time that the Greeks associated with their least-known third god of time: Aion. Unlike the better-known Chronos and Kairos, Aion personifies neither objective time, nor subjective time, but timelessness. Aion is the god of the nontemporal eternities, utopian and dystopian, golden and dark. He is the god of cyclicalities and finite games, symbolized by the ouroboros, a serpent biting its own tail. Asian time, arguably, is entirely the ahistorical shadow of an Aionic world. Karma is Aion in disguise.

When Aion is ascendant, you can choose to escape reality and live inside the rhymes of the past and future, inhabiting time via Fourier transform, rather than living in the present. In fact, when Aion is strongest, your escapes can be so complete, you even lose awareness of their being escapes. Because there’s nothing new in the present and everything can be found in the rhymes. You can check out completely.

Most humans spend much of their lives living in the commodity non-time of  the Aionic realms, inhabiting escaped realities. Time is something that happens to other people.

But when the future is not like the past, the present becomes unique, and you must actually live in it. At least for a while.

Such times are interesting times. Such times are epic times. And depending on the part you’re called upon to play, they may be cursed times, or blessed times.

May You Live in Epic Times

like the other leading firms of the world economy, Amazon produces and acts on new ideas rather than standardized products or services. And the best way to generate new ideas is to get talented people to interact with each other continuously and directly – keying off one another’s creativity, testing new concepts, quickly discarding those that don’t work, and building cumulative knowledge.

Technology isn’t a thing. It’s a process of group learning. And that learning goes way beyond the confines of any individual company, like Amazon. It now happens in geographic clusters. In America, those clusters are now mostly along the east and west coasts – in places like Seattle, New York, metropolitan Washington, Boston and Los Angeles. Indianapolis may be a nice place to live, but it doesn’t have nearly as big a cluster of talent as do these others.

The result is widening inequalities of place. Increasingly, bright young people from all over America, typically with college degrees, are streaming into these places, where the sum of their individual capacities for invention is far greater than they’d be separately.

What Amazon HQ2 tells us about America's great divide

An account by Deloitte of the emerging ubiquity of AI in the next decade - much like the spread of the use of the Internet in the 2000s.
“Increasingly, machines will learn from experiences, adapt to changing situations, and predict outcomes,” according to the report. “Some will infer users’ needs and desires and even collaborate with other devices by exchanging information, distributing tasks, and coordinating their actions.”
In Pittsburgh, a smart traffic light with embedded AI was able to reduce travel times and idling times by 25 percent and 40 percent, respectively

Deloitte: ‘Pervasive’ AI promises to transform agriculture, health care, and manufacturing

The era of pervasive intelligence is drawing nigh, asserted Deloitte in new report published today. For proof, it continued, look no further than forecasts predicting more than half a billion smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices will sport chips with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) features by the end of 2018; that by 2023, roughly 43 percent of all AI inference (i.e., analysis) will be performed on-device; and that in the next four years, annual shipments of devices with embedded AI will increase from 79 million last year to 1.2 billion.

Those and other trends will drive the proliferation of AI-powered smart devices capable of recognizing and reacting to sights, sounds, and other patterns, Deloitte said, leading to untold levels of convenience and cost savings.

Already, AI software providers are tailoring models and algorithms for deployment on machines outside of datacenters, Deloitte noted. This year alone, companies have raised more than $1.5 billion to develop AI silicon that can perform complex computations while consuming “minute” amounts of power. Among them are MIT’s recently unveiled inference system-on-chip, which can perform inference 3 to 7 times faster than previous chips with 95 percent less power, and Esperanto Technologies‘ ET-Minion, a 64-bit 7-nanometer processor that packs thousands of custom-designed cores on a single die.

Some new signals concerning the shift in traditional business models.

SAP is buying Utah-based startup Qualtrics for $8 billion — days before it's scheduled to IPO

Qualtrics specializes in what it calls experience management, or XM, providing tools to help companies gather feedback and optimize their products.
SAP has announced its intent to buy Qualtrics for $8 billion.
Qualtrics is a Utah-based startup that helps companies gather feedback and refine their products.
Qualtrics, which was last valued at $2.5 billion, was just days away from its IPO.
That IPO could have valued the company at $5 billion or more, right out of the gate.

Qualtrics is something of an anomaly in the world of high-flying tech startups: Founded in 2002 by Smith and his father — a professor of marketing at Brigham Young University — the company didn't accept any venture funding until it had been in business for a decade. Qualtrics had raised $400 million in total venture capital funding from investors including Accel and Sequoia Capital.

This deal comes shortly after IBM announced its intent to purchase open source software provider Red Hat for $34 billion. Microsoft, too, just closed its $7.5 billion acquisition of code sharing service GitHub, making this a banner year for M&A action in the business-to-business tech sector.

Another signal of technology in progress - further transforming the digital environment.
"What we've managed to do is accurately transmit data via light at its highest capacity in a way that will allow us to massively increase our bandwidth."
Current state-of-the-art fiber-optic communications, like those used in Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), use only a fraction of light's actual capacity by carrying data on the colour spectrum.

"Our OAM nano-electronic detector is like an 'eye' that can 'see' information carried by twisted light and decode it to be understood by electronics. This technology's high performance, low cost and tiny size makes it a viable application for the next generation of broadband optical communications,"

Groundbreaking new technology could allow 100-times-faster internet by harnessing twisted light beams

Broadband fiber-optics carry information on pulses of light, at the speed of light, through optical fibers. But the way the light is encoded at one end and processed at the other affects data speeds.

This world-first nanophotonic device, just unveiled in Nature Communications, encodes more data and processes it much faster than conventional fiber optics by using a special form of 'twisted' light.

Dr. Haoran Ren from RMIT's School of Science, who was co-lead author of the paper, said the tiny nanophotonic device they have built for reading twisted light is the missing key required to unlock super-fast, ultra-broadband communications.
"Present-day optical communications are heading towards a 'capacity crunch' as they fail to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of Big Data," Ren said.

New broadband technologies under development use the oscillation, or shape, of light waves to encode data, increasing bandwidth by also making use of the light we cannot see.

I remember in 1999 Motorola was presenting their plan for the Iridium Satellite System to provide global capacity for mobile phones. Here’s another important signal - this one more likely to be successful since more than half the world now has Internet access and the rest of the world is waiting eagerly. The interesting question is - not the digital divide - but rather what will the world be like when every person and many ‘things’ are connected globally.
“This move will help simplify the spacecraft design and enhance the considerable space safety attributes of SpaceX’s constellation by ensuring that any orbital debris will undergo rapid atmospheric re-entry and demise, even in the unlikely event that a spacecraft fails in orbit,” SpaceX said

SpaceX sets its sights on a lower orbit for Starlink broadband network’s first satellites

SpaceX wants to lower the bar for its first batch of Starlink broadband satellites, with the aim of beginning deployment by the end of 2019.

The revised plan is laid out for regulators at the Federal Communications Commission in filings that seek a lower orbit for 1,584 of the more than 4,400 satellites it envisions launching. The new target orbit would be 550 kilometers (342 miles) in altitude, as opposed to the 1,150-kilometer (715-mile) orbit described in SpaceX’s initial round of filings.

Having the satellite in low Earth orbit as opposed to a much higher geostationary orbit reduces the lag time, or latency, for data transmissions. In May, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the response time for the Tintin satellites was “pretty good,” with latency amounting to 25 milliseconds. “Good enough to play fast-response video games,” he tweeted.

When the low-orbit constellation is fully deployed, latency could be reduced to as little as 15 milliseconds, “at which point it would be virtually unnoticeable to almost all users,” SpaceX said in today’s filing.

This is a signal worth tracking - evidence of possible new forms of computation that meet the demands of ongoing Moore’s Law acceleration and enabling whole new complex adaptive systems based on ubiquitous nanosensors.
“We had already written a paper last year showing theoretically that MEMS AI could be done,” said Julien Sylvestre, a professor at Sherbrooke and coauthor of the research paper detailing the advance. “Our latest breakthrough was to demonstrate a device that could do it in the lab.”

It’s difficult to compare the processing power of this MEMS device with a known quantity, like a desktop computer, according to Sylvestre. “The computer and our MEMS work very differently,” he explained. “While a computer is big and consumes lots of power (tens of watts), our MEMS could fit on the tip of a human hair, and runs on microwatts of power. Still, they can do fancy tricks, like classifying spoken words—a task that would probably use 10 percent [of the resources] of a desktop computer.”

AI on a MEMS Device Brings Neuromorphic Computing to the Edge

For the first time, artificial intelligence has been integrated into a MEMS device
In order to achieve the edge computing that people talk about in a host of applications including 5G networks and the Internet of Things (IoT), you need to pack a lot of processing power into comparatively small devices.

The way forward for that idea will be to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) computing techniques—for so-called AI at the edge. While some are concerned about how technologists will tackle AI for applications beyond traditional computing—and some are wringing their hands over which country will have the upper hand in this new frontier—the technology is still pretty early in its development cycle.

But it appears that still-too-early-yet status is about to change a bit. Researchers at the Université de Sherbrooke in Québec, Canada, have managed to equip a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) device with a form of artificial intelligence, marking the first time that any type of AI has been included in a MEMS device. The result is a kind of neuromorphic computing that operates like the human brain but in a microscale device. The combination makes it possible to process data on the device itself, thus improving the prospects for edge computing.

Talking about alternative computational paradigms this is another signal worth tracking. While based on modeling biological systems - the knowledge developed in this initiative can also contribute to developing computational DNA systems. There is a short video demonstrating.

Watch an AI Modeled After a Worm's Brain Park a Tiny Car Like a Pro

Researchers created a machine learning model loosely inspired by the brain of C. elegans to create a more interpretable kind of AI.
The humble nematode, also known as C. elegans, is the only organism on Earth to have its entire nervous system and brain mapped out like a wiring schematic. We understand this little worm so well, in fact, that scientists are now trying to digitize its peabrain for use in machine learning experiments—in other words, creating worm-inspired AI.

Recreating a worm brain with a series of interconnected computational nodes, referred to as neural networks, is often an exercise in minimalism. Most recently, a team of researchers led by Ramin Hasani at TU Wein in Vienna succeeded in training a network made up of just 12 digital neurons—loosely inspired by the well-understood “tap withdrawal” neural circuit in C. elegans, which controls a physical reflex to touch—to park a tiny RC car outfitted with sensors.

According to a paper describing the work published to the Arxiv preprint server in September, the point wasn’t to see if a worm can drive a car but to create an AI model that is simple for humans to understand. A big problem with neural networks right now is that the more complex they are—sometimes containing millions of nodes and even more connections between them—the less interpretable their decisions are to their human creators. This is less than ideal, especially if AI systems help to make immensely consequential decisions like who gets bail.

I think this is an early but strong signal of an emerging role for AI - not just as media talking heads - but as full-fledged interfaces with a large range of diverse systems.

Chinese news agency adds AI anchors to its broadcast team

They’re modeled after human anchors and are animated to speak.
China's state-run news agency Xinhua has unveiled the latest additions to its team of reporters -- two AI anchors. The two anchors, one that speaks in English and another in Chinese, have the likeness of some of Xinhua's human anchors, but their voices, facial expressions and mouth movements are synthesized and animated using deep learning techniques. "AI anchors have officially become members of the Xinhua News Agency reporting team," the agency said. "They will work with other anchors to bring you authoritative, timely and accurate news information in both Chinese and English."
China's South China Morning Post reports that the AI anchors are available through Xinhua's English and Chinese apps, its TV webpage and its WeChat public account. The technology behind the anchors is being provided by search engine company Sogou.

Xinhua says its AI anchors can deliver the news with the "same effect" as that of human reporters. But if you watch the video, that isn't exactly true. It's pretty clear you're watching a non-human anchor as the mouth movements and facial expressions aren't quite human-like, and the voice can come off as a little robotic. But as recent research has shown, manipulating video to make images say what you want while still looking shockingly natural, is within reach. And maybe future AI anchors, if there are more, won't be stuck in the uncanny valley.

An interesting signal from an interesting site - it’s worth checking out who the sponsors are and what companies have donated access to their products. Another interesting signal - replace where they use ‘energy concepts’ with ‘energy metaphors’ and you have a fundamental similarity with the work of George Lakoff and his claim that metaphor is how we reason and is a  foundation of cognition.

Learning Concepts with Energy Functions

We’ve developed an energy-based model that can quickly learn to identify and generate instances of concepts, such as near, above, between, closest, and furthest, expressed as sets of 2d points. Our model learns these concepts after only five demonstrations. We also show cross-domain transfer: we use concepts learned in a 2d particle environment to solve tasks on a 3-dimensional physics-based robot.

Many hallmarks of human intelligence, such as generalizing from limited experience, abstract reasoning and planning, analogical reasoning, creative problem solving, and capacity for language require the ability to consolidate experience into concepts, which act as basic building blocks of understanding and reasoning. Our technique enables agents to learn and extract concepts from tasks, then use these concepts to solve other tasks in various domains. For example, our model can use concepts learned in a two-dimensional particle environment to let it carry out the same task on a three-dimensional physics-based robotic environment - without retraining in the new environment.

This is an important signal to watch - as progress in transforming the global energy geopolitics and how we live. While this is still a work in progress - it is in progress.

New solar cell generates hydrogen and electricity at the same time

It's a double duty win for renewable energy.
In the ongoing pursuit of abundant, renewable alternatives to fossil fuels, scientists have produced hydrogen for fuel cells through artificial photosynthesis, which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. Traditional processes have struggled to use optical, electronic and chemical properties in a way that makes this method efficient, but now researchers from Berkeley Lab have created a recipe that could completely bypass the limitations in current materials.

The team has created an artificial photosynthesis device called a "hybrid photoelectrochemical and voltaic (HPEV) cell," that turns sunlight and water into two types of energy: hydrogen fuel and electricity. Existing artificial photosynthesis devices can only make use of small percentages of the sunlight that hits them. As lead author of the study, Gideon Segev, says, "It's like always running a car in first gear. This is energy that you could harvest, but because silicon isn't acting at its maximum power point, most of the excited electrons in the silicon have nowhere to go, so they lose their energy before they are utilized to do useful work."

Now the team has the basics down, it says it plans to continue improving the device as well as investigate real-world applications for it. Of course, the design does beg the question, why not just store the extra energy in a battery instead of making hydrogen? Batteries are expensive, is one answer, but fuel cells aren't cheap either. Regardless, hydrogen is going to play a big role in the world's future energy mix, so any steps to improve the efficiency of its harvesting now is good news for later on.

And another form of energy storage transforms the concept of battery.

Scientists Develop Liquid Fuel That Can Store The Sun's Energy For Up to 18 Years

Scientists in Sweden have developed a specialised fluid, called a solar thermal fuel, that can store energy from the sun for well over a decade.
"A solar thermal fuel is like a rechargeable battery, but instead of electricity, you put sunlight in and get heat out, triggered on demand," Jeffrey Grossman, an engineer works with these materials at MIT explained to NBC News.

The fluid is actually a molecule in liquid form that scientists from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden have been working on improving for over a year.
This molecule is composed of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, and when it is hit by sunlight, it does something unusual: the bonds between its atoms are rearranged and it turns into an energised new version of itself, called an isomer.

Like prey caught in a trap, energy from the sun is thus captured between the isomer's strong chemical bonds, and it stays there even when the molecule cools down to room temperature.
When the energy is needed - say at nighttime, or during winter - the fluid is simply drawn through a catalyst that returns the molecule to its original form, releasing energy in the form of heat.

"The energy in this isomer can now be stored for up to 18 years," says one of the team, nanomaterials scientist Kasper Moth-Poulsen from Chalmers University.
"And when we come to extract the energy and use it, we get a warmth increase which is greater than we dared hope for."

This signals our progress in harnessing ways to emulate artificial photosynthesis.

New material cleans and splits water

Researchers have developed a photocatalytic system based on a material in the class of metal-organic frameworks. The system can be used to degrade pollutants present in water while simultaneously producing hydrogen that can be captured and used further.
Some of the most useful and versatile materials today are the metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). MOFs are a class of materials demonstrating structural versatility, high porosity, fascinating optical and electronic properties, all of which makes them promising candidates for a variety of applications, including gas capture and separation, sensors, and photocatalysis.

This is definitely a signal to track - not only the uptake of renewables energy productions - but the decline in the use of fossil fuels.

UK renewable energy capacity surpasses fossil fuels for first time

Renewable capacity has tripled in past five years, even faster growth than the ‘dash for gas’ of the 1990s
The capacity of renewable energy has overtaken that of fossil fuels in the UK for the first time, in a milestone that experts said would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

In the past five years, the amount of renewable capacity has tripled while fossil fuels’ has fallen by one-third, as power stations reached the end of their life or became uneconomic.

The result is that between July and September, the capacity of wind, solar, biomass and hydropower reached 41.9 gigawatts, exceeding the 41.2GW capacity of coal, gas and oil-fired power plants.

This is a not ready for prime time innovation but is an important signal for new types of solutions to generate and save energy.

Stanford researchers develop a rooftop device that can make solar power and cool buildings

A new rooftop device under development will be able to produce electricity from sunlight while also beaming heat directly into space to cool buildings.
Stanford electrical engineer Shanhui Fan wants to revolutionize energy-producing rooftop arrays.

“We’ve built the first device that one day could make energy and save energy, in the same place and at the same time, by controlling two very different properties of light,” said Fan, senior author of an article appearing Nov. 8 in Joule.

The sun-facing layer of the device is nothing new. It’s made of the same semiconductor materials that have long adorned rooftops to convert visible light into electricity. The novelty lies in the device’s bottom layer, which is based on materials that can beam heat away from the roof and into space through a process known as radiative cooling.

Fan’s cooling technology takes advantage of the fact that this thick atmospheric blanket essentially has holes in it that allow a particular wavelength of infrared light to pass directly into space. In previous work, Fan had developed materials that can convert heat radiating off a building into the particular infrared wavelength that can pass directly through the atmosphere. These materials release heat into space and could save energy that would have been needed to air-condition a building’s interior. That same material is what Fan placed under the standard solar layer in his new device.

This is a major signal of the transformation of global energy geopolitics - well worth tracking. What can happen when a superpower invests in large infrastructure projects rather than traditional military dominance.

China’s giant transmission grid could be the key to cutting climate emissions

But are the country’s next-generation power lines a clean-power play or a global power move?
The workers were erecting a critical component of the world’s first 1.1-million volt transmission line, at a time when US companies are struggling to build anything above 500,000 volts. Once the government-owned utility, State Grid of China, completes the project next year, the line will stretch from the Xinjiang region in the northwest to Anhui in the east, connecting power plants deep in the interior of the country to cities near the coast.

facilitating the greater use of renewables clearly isn’t China’s only, or even primary, motivation. Transmission infrastructure is a strategic piece of the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s multitrillion-dollar effort to build development projects and trade relationships across dozens of nations. Stretching its ultra-high-voltage wires around the world promises to extend the nation’s swelling economic, technological, and political power.

23,000 miles of wires
State Grid is probably the biggest company you’ve never heard of, with nearly 1 million employees and 1.1 billion customers. Last year, it reported $9.5 billion in profits on $350 billion in revenue, making it the second-largest company on Fortune’s Global 500 list.

State Grid is already the biggest power distributor in Brazil, where it built its first (and still only) overseas ultra-high-voltage line. The company has also snapped up stakes in national transmission companies in Australia, Greece, Italy, the Philippines, and Portugal. Meanwhile, it’s pushing ahead on major projects in Egypt, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Pakistan and continues to bid for shares in other European utilities.

This is a lovely signal of the coming transformation in transportation and energy geopolitics - you have to see the image to appreciate.

Harley-Davidson debuts its first electric motorcycle, coming 2019

After toying with the idea for the better part of four years, Harley-Davidson this week showed off its first electric motorcycle at the Milan Motorcycle Show. The electric bike drops in 2019, but the company is holding back on to all the important specs about speed, range, and charging for now.

The bike will carry the same “LiveWire” name used when it was still a prototype, but it otherwise looks like a much more complete design and, frankly, a refreshing new vision for what a Harley-Davidson motorcycle should look like in 2019. The company could use some help, too. While the motorcycle industry as a whole has struggled since the 2008 financial crisis, Harley-Davidson in particular has suffered a number of losses and layoffs.

The domestication of DNA may be taking another step forward.

New platform discovered at City of Hope poised to be next generation of genetic medicines

The novel tool has the potential to treat a variety of genetic diseases
A City of Hope scientist has discovered a gene-editing technology that could efficiently and accurately correct the genetic defects that underlie certain diseases, positioning the new tool as the basis for the next generation of genetic therapies.

"Our editing platform provides a new tool for the precise correction of genetic mutations in this rapidly growing field," said Chatterjee, senior author of the new study and a professor in the Department of Surgery at City of Hope. "Think of it as swapping out a mutated gene for a healthy gene to correct genetic mutations."

The proof-of-concept study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on July 16, spotlights a promising new gene-editing platform that may eventually be used to treat diseases such as sickle cell disease, hemophilia (a condition that reduces the ability of blood to clot) and other genetic disorders, Chatterjee said.

This genome-editing platform, tested using human blood and tissue as well as in preclinical models, is based on a family of nondisease-causing viruses known as adeno-associated viruses (AAV).
"Although injecting viruses into humans may sound alarming, a large portion of the population already has been exposed to AAV with no harmful consequences in their normal life," Chatterjee said.

Chatterjee's research group isolated a subgroup of AAV known as AAVHSCs, which originate from human blood stem cells. The team discovered that AAVHSCs have the ability to efficiently deliver corrective DNA sequences to the nuclei of targeted cells in the body. Through a process called homologous recombination, these corrective sequences replace disease-causing genetic mutations in the genome. Since the therapeutic correction is at the genome level, it should lead to lifelong correction.

This is an important signal to watch - it’s not ready for primetime - but it is getting ever closer to being part of our lives. There is a 5 min video as well as the article list various potential barriers.

Chicken nuggets lab-grown from feathers to go on sale by end of year, company says

Imagine if instead of raising a whole chicken for slaughter, it was possible to pop a feather in a machine, and grow a chicken nugget.
That's basically what a San Francisco-based company says it has figured out how to do. It claims the process - from feather to nugget - takes about two days.
It also says it will make its first commercial sale of the product by the end of 2018.

On Wednesday, the company's CEO and co-founder tweeted: "Lay down your spears. 400,000 years ago, meat became part of the human diet, and throughout time, human beings have needed to kill the animal to enjoy their meat. First, with spears. Then, with industrial machines.

"Get ready for that paradigm to change."
How does it taste? Earlier this month, a BBC reporter visited the company's SF headquarters and found the prototype chicken nuggets "impressive".
"The skin was crisp and the meat flavoursome although its internal texture was slightly softer than you would expect from a nugget at, say, McDonalds or KFC," the reporter wrote.

This is an interesting signal of the use of biotechnology, AI and Robotics to meet the challenges of managing a planet.
“We aim to have two or three robots ready for the November spawn. One will carry about 200,000 larvae and the other about 1.2 million,” Matthew Dunbabin, a professor of science and engineering at Australia’s Queensland University of Technology, said in a statement on Thursday.

This Underwater Robot Will ‘Squirt’ Coral Larvae onto the Great Barrier Reef to Save It

The LarvalBot is an experimental technology that could revive damaged and dying parts of the Great Barrier Reef.
Millions of tiny corals on the Great Barrier Reef have a new mommy—an underwater robot christened the “LarvalBot.”

The black-and-yellow submersibles, which are roughly the length of a skateboard, are part of an ambitious project to conserve the Great Barrier Reef by seeding it with coral larvae, which can grow and help to regenerate damaged areas. The iconic ecosystem has suffered numerous coral bleaching events over the last two decades, overwhelmingly attributed to climate change.

scientists, along with experts from the Queensland University of Technology and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, are using similar IVF (in vitro fertilization) techniques to robotically fertilize the endangered reef. Robots, the team claims, can fertilize reefs more efficiently than human divers. For example, the robots allow for “up to a 100-times increase” over previous methods, they said in a news release.

This is for the coffee (and possibly tea) lovers.

Do you love or loathe coffee? Your genes may be to blame.

Scientists are teasing out how jitters, sleeplessness, and even bitter taste are all influenced by tiny variations in your genetic code.
for some sleep-deprived souls, a cup of coffee is never the answer. No matter the delivery method, even a small amount of caffeine may give these people the jitters or keep them up all night. Why is it that caffeine affects people in such dramatically different ways? The answer, in part, lies in your genes.

“What we’re finding is that we have built-in genetic factors that help us with self-regulating our caffeine intake,” says Marilyn Cornelis, a caffeine researcher at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. “It’s interesting how strong of an impact our genetics have on that.”

It all starts with how your body deals with the caffeine floating around in your system. That’s the job of your metabolism, and when it comes to caffeine, just two genes handle most of the work. CYP1A2 produces a liver enzyme that metabolizes roughly 95 percent of all ingested caffeine. AHR controls how much of that enzyme you produce. Together, these genes control how much caffeine circulates in your bloodstream, and for how long.

One of my personal rant-ables is the privateering scam of bottled water - this is a lovely concept that could be adapted to many conditions. You have to view the images to grasp the utility of providing for dogs, bottle filling and public fountains.

New Public Hydrant would let New Yorkers drink from city water mains

New York designers Agency-Agency and Chris Woebken have created a series of bright blue plumbing fixtures that could turn the city's fire hydrants into public drinking fountains or showers.

The conceptual project, dubbed New Public Hydrant, was developed over summer 2018 in response to a brief from the Water Futures research programme organised by Brooklyn creative space A/D/O. Curated by Jane Withers, the initiative aims to find design responses to the world's increasingly pressing water scarcity issues.

"Water Futures aims to inspire the creative community to take action in reimagining our toxic drinking water culture," according to the dedicated website.
New Public Hydrant proposes three devices that use standard plumbing parts to plug in to New York City hydrants.