Thursday, October 27, 2016

Friday Thinking 21 Oct. 2016

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.

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

Bad Robots

Vehicles and the ways they are used are expected to change more over the next two decades than in the last 100 years, propelled by the new mobility trends of vehicle electrification, shared mobility and autonomous driving. Additional factors, such as access to public transit, air quality concerns, urbanization and the decentralization of the energy system are also triggering changes in the mobility sector.

Cities Could See $45B Benefits From Electric, Shared and Autonomous Cars

“If I were asked to condense the whole of the present century into one mental picture,” the novelist J. G. Ballard wrote in 1971, “I would pick a familiar everyday sight: a man in a motor car, driving along a concrete highway to some unknown destination. Almost every aspect of modern life is there, both for good and for ill — our sense of speed, drama, and aggression, the worlds of advertising and consumer goods, engineering and mass-manufacture, and the shared experience of moving together through an elaborately signaled landscape.” In other words: Life is a highway. And the highway, Ballard believed, was a bloody, beautiful mess.

For Ballard, the car posed a beguiling paradox. How could it be such an erotic object, at once muscular and voluptuous, virginal and “fast,” while also being one of history’s deadliest inventions? Was its popularity simply a triumph of open-road optimism — a blind trust that the crash would only ever happen to someone else? Ballard thought not. His hunch was that, on some level, drivers are turned on by the danger, and perhaps even harbor a desire to be involved in a spectacular crash. A few years later, this notion would unfurl, like a corpse flower, into Crash, his incendiary novel about a group of people who fetishize demolished cars and mangled bodies.

Over the course of a century, Ballard wrote, the “perverse technology” of the automobile had colonized our mental landscape and transformed the physical one. But he sensed that the car’s toxic side effects — the traffic, the carnage, the pollution, the suburban sprawl — would soon lead to its demise. At some point in the middle of the 21st century, he wrote, human drivers would be replaced with “direct electronic control,” and it would become illegal to pilot a car. The sensuous machines would be neutered, spayed: stripped of their brake pedals, their accelerators, their steering wheels. ­Driving, and with it, car culture as we know it, would end. With the exception of select “motoring parks,” where it would persist as a nostalgic curiosity, the act of actually steering a motor vehicle would become an anachronism.

In Ballard’s grim reckoning, the end of driving would be just one step in our long march toward the “benign dystopia” of rampant consumerism and the surveillance state, in which people willingly give up control of their lives in exchange for technological comforts. The car, flawed as it was, functioned as a bulwark against “the remorseless spread of the regimented, electronic society.” “The car as we know it now is on the way out,” Ballard wrote. “To a large extent I deplore its passing, for as a basically old-fashioned machine it enshrines a basically old-fashioned idea — freedom.”

What Happens to American Myth When You Take the Driver Out of It?

The self-driving car and the future of the self.

In the 19th century the word for a strike was “taking tools out of the shop”. In the 20th century the management owned the tools. In the 21st century the tools are commonly owned, maintained and free.
Another way of understanding privatisation is to say: how can we do public services as expensively as possible?

Paul Mason - Postcapitalism and the city

Keynote at Barcelona Initiative for Technological Sovereignty

Here’s another weak signal - don’t let the failure fool you - it’s not over till the general will of the people holds the day. This is a 3 min video - well worth the view.

The astounding story of Iceland's constitution - and its government's failure

In 2012, more than two-thirds of Iceland's population ratified the most democratically crafted constitution in world history, written in public and drafted by a representative committee of 1,000 Icelanders; now in a stirring video in the leadup to the next national election, Icelanders are calling on one another to only vote for candidates who'll take action on the constitution the nation voted for.

The huge cognitive dissonance evident in neo-liberal economics’ rational agent and the huge role that marketing plays in our economy is stunning. Homo Economus knows what they want and rationally optimizes choices based on available information. The target of marketing is the object of incantations - the creation of a consumer is primary to create demand for what corporations determine is easy to manufacture - easy examples - bottled water and mass-produced sugar water over public drinking fountains and cheap tea. This is a 12 min video outlining science behind the incantations that produce desire in all of us for what’s easy to produce profit.

Science Of Persuasion

This animated video describes the six universal Principles of Persuasion that have been scientifically proven to make you most effective as reported in Dr. Cialdini’s groundbreaking book, Influence. This video is narrated by Dr. Robert Cialdini and Steve Martin, CMCT (co-author of YES & The Small Big).

About Robert Cialdini:
Dr. Robert Cialdini, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing, Arizona State University has spent his entire career researching the science of influence earning him a worldwide reputation as an expert in the fields of persuasion, compliance, and negotiation.

I think we will be seeing a lot more of this sort of analysis - despite efforts to provide only minimal information about the web of relationships that entangle all corporations - and in fact all of us - the data trails we leave in the digital environment eventually become transparent. This is a great 10 min read.
There’s no way for a user to simply download its entire database. “So we made a web crawler,” says Mizuno. “It’s a tool that goes to their website, searches for a company, and downloads that one company’s business relationship list. Then it repeats the searching and downloading for all the other companies. It was difficult.”

“This opens up a whole area of data science applied at a very large scale. Imagine building a map of connectivity in and among firms in Europe, then anticipating what that network would look like after the UK’s exit from the EU. A picture of how the continent’s trading relationships are going to evolve would speak volumes to [UK Prime Minister] May as to the consequences of the Brexit.”

But if his network could reveal the costs of an economic mistake like Brexit, thought Mizuno, what if he applied it to a genuine, humanitarian disaster?

The Physicist Who Sees Crime Networks

A lone Japanese scientist is discovering the shady ties that connect companies engaged in illegal trade.
Takayuki Mizuno is an econophysicist at Japan’s National Institute of Informatics, and an unlikely heir to Holmes’s deerstalker. His office overlooks the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, for centuries a symbol of stability and order. From it the young scientist surveys the world, applying the tools of physics to the study of economic and social systems. He has created a software to spot stock market bubbles, and a digital measuring stick for charting the progress of start-ups.

Now Mizuno believes he might be able to use the same technologies to unravel criminal networks and track the business ties of terrorists. Mizuno was surprised to find that companies behave rather like people. Like the urban myth of there being six degrees of separation between Kevin Bacon and any other actor, Mizuno found that 80% of the world’s firms could be connected to any other business via six customers or suppliers. For example, Elpitiya Plantations, a producer of fine teas in Sri Lanka, is linked to financial behemoth Western Union by hopping from a hotel chain to a fertilizer company to food giant Nestlé to bargain US retailer Dollar General.

Mizuno also found that companies naturally cluster together into communities, with stronger trading links within the community than without. Mizuno expected to see political and economic organizations, such as the EU or NAFTA, reflected in his data. Instead, he found nearly 3,500 communities with only loose geographic or industrial ties.

Mizuno is now also tracing the movements of arms parts and conflict oil in the global marketplace, using a massive networked analysis of blacklisted companies. “We cannot [directly] investigate smuggling using official supply chain data,” says Mizuno. “But some undesirable goods are distributed legally through third countries. Using my model and the data, we can find the good, clean companies and the bad ones.” He expects to publish a paper on this next year.

This is an old - 2010 essay by Bruce Sterling one of my most favorite sci-fi writers and a definitely acerbic journalist of the future. This is well worth the read - although it’s a 23 min one - for anyone interested in the past prognosis of crypto-approaches to the future of security.
So Wikileaks is a manifestation of something that has been growing all around us, for decades, with volcanic inexorability. The NSA is the world’s most public unknown secret agency. And for four years now, its twisted sister Wikileaks has been the world’s most blatant, most publicly praised, encrypted underground site.
Wikileaks is “underground” in the way that the NSA is “covert”; not because it’s inherently obscure, but because it’s discreetly not spoken about.
The NSA is “discreet,” so, somehow, people tolerate it. Wikileaks is “transparent,” like a cardboard blast shack full of kitchen-sink nitroglycerine in a vacant lot.

The Blast Shack

The Wikileaks Cablegate scandal is the most exciting and interesting hacker scandal ever. I rather commonly write about such things, and I’m surrounded by online acquaintances who take a burning interest in every little jot and tittle of this ongoing saga. So it’s going to take me a while to explain why this highly newsworthy event fills me with such a chilly, deadening sense of Edgar Allen Poe melancholia.

But it sure does.
Part of this dull, icy feeling, I think, must be the agonizing slowness with which this has happened. At last — at long last — the homemade nitroglycerin in the old cypherpunks blast shack has gone off. Those “cypherpunks,” of all people.

Way back in 1992, a brainy American hacker called Timothy C. May made up a sci-fi tinged idea that he called “The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto.” This exciting screed — I read it at the time, and boy was it ever cool — was all about anonymity, and encryption, and the Internet, and all about how wacky data-obsessed subversives could get up to all kinds of globalized mischief without any fear of repercussion from the blinkered authorities. If you were of a certain technoculture bent in the early 1990s, you had to love a thing like that.

This is an amazing but brief demonstration of Google’s new deep learning voice simulator - there is both an explanation and samples. It won’t be long before we can access any book we want with a text to speech function that sound entirely human. This is definitely worth the view and the listen.

WaveNet: A Generative Model for Raw Audio

This post presents WaveNet, a deep generative model of raw audio waveforms. We show that WaveNets are able to generate speech which mimics any human voice and which sounds more natural than the best existing Text-to-Speech systems, reducing the gap with human performance by over 50%.

We also demonstrate that the same network can be used to synthesize other audio signals such as music, and present some striking samples of automatically generated piano pieces.

Allowing people to converse with machines is a long-standing dream of human-computer interaction. The ability of computers to understand natural speech has been revolutionised in the last few years by the application of deep neural networks (e.g., Google Voice Search). However, generating speech with computers  — a process usually referred to as speech synthesis or text-to-speech (TTS) — is still largely based on so-called concatenative TTS, where a very large database of short speech fragments are recorded from a single speaker and then recombined to form complete utterances. This makes it difficult to modify the voice (for example switching to a different speaker, or altering the emphasis or emotion of their speech) without recording a whole new database.

This belongs to the ongoing development of AI as well as to the ‘Moore’s Law is Dead - Long LIve Moore’s Law’ file.

Self-Learning AI: This New Neuro-Inspired Computer Trains Itself

A team of researchers from Belgium think that they are close to extending the anticipated end of Moore’s Law, and they didn’t do it with a supercomputer. Using an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm called reservoir computing, combined with another algorithm called backpropagation, the team developed a neuro-inspired analog computer that can train itself and improve at whatever task it’s performing.

Reservoir computing is a neural algorithm that mimics the brain’s information processing abilities. Backpropagation, on the other hand, allows for the system to perform thousands of iterative calculations that reduce error, which lets the system improve its solution to a problem.

“Our work shows that the backpropagation algorithm can, under certain conditions, be implemented using the same hardware used for the analog computing, which could enhance the performance of these hardware systems,”Piotr Antonik explains.
Antonik, together with Michiel Hermans, Marc Haelterman, and Serge Massar at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium, published their study on this self-learning hardware in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Here is another signal of the emerging domain of Big Data Science - one that both incorporates Algorithm learning and is likely to emerges as part of the ubiquitous Noosphere of knowledge. There is Too Much To Know - and we all need ways to enhance our minds - if the Internet is the global nervous system - Algorithmic learning is the new global neocortex.
EOL might be able to change that by applying state-of-the-art computational power to disparate collections of biological data. The project is a free and open digital collection of biodiversity facts, articles and multimedia, one of the largest in the world. Headquarted at the Smithsonian Institution and with its 357 partners and content providers including Harvard University and the New Library of Alexandria in Egypt, EOL has grown from 30,000 pages when it launched in 2008 to more than 2 million, with 1.3 million pages of text, maps, video, audio and photographs, and supports 20 languages.

Big Data Just Got Bigger as IBM's Watson Meets the Encyclopedia of Life

An NSF grant marries one of the world's largest online biological archives with IBM's cognitive computing and Georgia Tech's moduling and simulation
After 2,000 years, the ultimate encyclopedia of life is at the cusp of a new data-driven era. A grant from the National Science Foundation has been awarded to The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), IBM and Georgia Institute of Technology. The grant will enable massive amounts of data to be processed and cross-indexed in ways that will allow groundbreaking science to be done.

In the year 77 AD, Pliny the Elder began writing the world's first encyclopedia, Natural History. It included everything from astronomy to botany to zoology to anthropology and more. Pliny attempted to put everything he could personally gather about the natural world into a single written work. For the last 2,000 years, a long succession of scientists inspired by Pliny have pursued the same vision.

Pliny included 20,000 topics in 36 volumes but ran into the limitations of what a single person can discover, record and process within a human lifespan. He died during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius before he could finish a final edit of his magnum opus. Even in his own era, it wasn't possible for one person to read all the books, learn all the things, and explain it all to the world.

This is an interesting development - not just for restorative prosthetics for people who have lost a limb - but ultimately for both robotics and more importantly for extending any person’s mind into a smart environment that includes robotics - autonomous or otherwise.
Of course, mind-controlled robots are still years away from consumer applications, McLoughlin says. At the moment, they are still too expensive, too bulky and too finicky to be used outside a laboratory setting. And there's no good way to control them without implanting electrodes in the brain.

Brain Implant Restores Sense Of Touch To Paralyzed Man

Twelve years ago, a car wreck took away Nathan Copeland's ability to control his hands or sense what his fingers were touching.

A few months ago, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center gave Copeland a new way to reach out and feel the world around him. It's a mind-controlled robotic arm that has pressure sensors in each fingertip that send signals directly to Copeland's brain.

The scientists published details of their work online Thursday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
"It's a really weird sensation," Copeland, now 30, says in a video made shortly after he first tried the system. "Sometimes it feels, kind of, like electrical and sometimes it's more of a pressure." But he also describes many of the sensations coming from his robotic hand as "natural."

Here is a potential future of brain implants for repair - and maybe later for enhancement - They are also prime for accelerating technology evolution. The brain-machine interface or maybe the brain-brain interface as well. The images are worth the view.
Electronic brain interfaces like these could someday be crucial for people with neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s. The disease causes a group of neurons in one area of the brain to begin dying off, triggering uncontrollable tremors and shakes. Sending targeted electrical jolts to this area can help whip the living neurons back into shape and stop Parkinson’s symptoms.

Injectable Wires for Fixing the Brain

Novel treatments for neurological diseases might be possible with a flexible mesh that can prod individual brain cells.
In a basement laboratory at Harvard University, a few strands of thin wire mesh are undulating at the bottom of a cup of water, as if in a minuscule ribbon dance. The meshes—about the length of a pen cap—are able to do something unprecedented: once injected into the brain of a living mouse, they can safely stimulate individual neurons and measure the cells’ behavior for more than a year.

Charles Lieber, a Harvard chemist and nanomaterials pioneer, had a different idea: a conductive brain interface that mirrors the fine details of the brain itself. Just as neurons connect with each other in a network that has open spaces where proteins and fluids pass through, the crosshatches in Lieber’s bendable mesh electronics leave room for neurons to fit in, rather than being pushed to the side by a boxy foreign object. “This device effectively blurs the interface between a living system and a non-living system,” says Guosong Hong, a postdoc in Lieber’s lab.

The extremely flexible mesh, made of gold wires sandwiched between layers of a polymer, easily coils into a needle so it can be injected rather than implanted, avoiding a more extensive surgery. Part of the mesh sticks out though the brain and a hole in the skull so that it can be wired up to a computer that controls the electric jolts and measures the neurons’ activity. But eventually, Lieber says, the controls and power supply could be implanted in the body, as they are in today’s systems for deep brain stimulation.

Here’s another possible breakthrough - the onset of gene therapies.
This week, the company presented Phase III data at the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s annual meeting showing that 27 of 29 subjects who were virtually blind experienced an increase in vision function for more than a year following the procedure. No patients have had any serious adverse events associated with with the treatment, according to the company. High said the therapy is administered in a 45-minute surgical procedure under anesthesia, and a change in vision can be seen within 30 days.

Gene Therapy in U.S. Is On Track for Approval as Early as Next Year

Spark Therapeutics is within striking distance of a landmark green light from the FDA for its treatment for certain forms of blindness.
The first gene therapy for an inherited disease in the U.S. is closer to reality than ever before.
Spark Therapeutics is only the second company to pursue an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for such a treatment, but it’s likely to be the first to hit the market.

Speaking at EmTech MIT 2016 on Tuesday, Katherine High, Spark’s cofounder, confirmed that the company is on track to launch its first product next year. The gene therapy, known as SPK-RPE65, targets mutations in people’s eyes that often lead to blindness. Currently, there are no drugs available to treat these disorders, known as inherited retinal dystrophies.

Spark plans to complete its FDA application by early 2017. If approved next year, the therapy would become the first for an inherited disease to be given the green light in the U.S. Two such gene therapies, Strimvelis and Glybera, have already been approved in Europe.

Here is a recent advance in Google’s deepmind - wonder where we will be in another decade.
"These models... can learn from examples like neural networks, but they can also store complex data like computers,"

Google's AI can now learn from its own memory independently

The DeepMind artificial intelligence (AI) being developed by Google's parent company, Alphabet, can now intelligently build on what's already inside its memory, the system's programmers have announced.

Their new hybrid system – called a Differential Neural Computer (DNC) – pairs a neural network with the vast data storage of conventional computers, and the AI is smart enough to navigate and learn from this external data bank.

What the DNC is doing is effectively combining external memory (like the external hard drive where all your photos get stored) with the neural network approach of AI, where a massive number of interconnected nodes work dynamically to simulate a brain.

At the heart of the DNC is a controller that constantly optimises its responses, comparing its results with the desired and correct ones. Over time, it's able to get more and more accurate, figuring out how to use its memory data banks at the same time.

The advent of the self-driving car may emerge sooner than we expect - here an account of trials in Singapore. There’s a 16 min video presentation as well.
...riders seem to experience a steep acceptance curve: a few minutes of nervousness quickly turns into complacency and eventually boredom. Still, they seem unnerved by driving behavior that strikes them as particularly unhuman. “Our first iteration of driverless cars kind of drove like trolleys on a track,” Iagnemma said. “This uncanny notion threw people off. We now appreciate that it’s vitally important.”

Novelty of Driverless Cars Wears Off Quickly for First-Timers

NuTonomy is conducting “the world’s largest, most expensive focus group” with self-driving taxis in Singapore.
How humanlike should self-driving cars be?

It’s a question that nuTonomy, a company that’s launched a self-driving taxi service in Singapore, is trying to answer. It appears that some version of the “uncanny valley”—a visceral negative response people feel to robots that seem almost human, but not human enough—also applies to automated vehicles.

“For better or worse, we have to bridge this divide between developing cars that drive by the book and cars that drive how you and I drive,” Karl Iagnemma, CEO of nuTonomy, said today at EmTech MIT 2016, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “It’s an open question where on the continuum you want to drive—and it’s something we’re researching.”

The electric car will certainly enable a faster uptake of the driverless car - owners could let anyone in the family ‘use the car’. There’s been lots of talk about the social implications - this article discusses the potential economic implications.
Battery prices fell 35 percent last year and are on a trajectory to make electric vehicles as affordable as their gasoline counterparts over the next six years, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Batteries May Trip ‘Death Spiral’ in $3.4 Trillion Credit Market

Battery technologies starting to disrupt the electricity and automobile industries may also emerge as a trillion-dollar threat to credit markets, according to Fitch Ratings.
A quarter of outstanding global corporate debt, or as much as $3.4 trillion, is linked to the utility- and auto-industry bonds that rely on fossil fuel activities, the ratings agency wrote in a report published Tuesday.

Batteries have the potential to “tip the oil market from growth to contraction earlier than anticipated,” according to Fitch. “The narrative of oil’s decline is well rehearsed -- and if it starts to play out there is a risk that capital will act long before” and in the worst case result in an “investor death spiral.”

While hybrid and battery-only cars are making slow progress in denting sales of gasoline and diesel-driven vehicles, their growth trajectory may be grossly underestimated, said the authors of the study. The clean-energy research unit of Bloomberg LP estimates that battery-electric vehicles, which only run on power from a plug, will displace 13 million barrels of oil a day by 2040.

This is an interesting signal for the transformation of the operating room - and operating staff.
“Surgery is more than just hand-eye coördination,” said Garcia. “It’s about how well you perceive anatomy—tumors, nerves, and vessels—and your strategy [during an operation].” When asked to comment on Verb's observations about its technology, Intuitive's VP of global public affairs, Paige Bischoff, said that "many" of the 3.5 million da Vinci procedures to date were for cancer or complex surgeries.

The Recipe for the Perfect Robot Surgeon

Alphabet and Johnson & Johnson say dexterous robots equipped with artificial intelligence will make surgeons more productive.
Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robot is a technical marvel. Nearly half a million operations were performed in the U.S. by surgeons controlling its large, precise arms last year. One in four U.S. hospitals has one or more of the machines, which perform the majority of robotic surgeries worldwide and are credited with making minimally invasive surgery commonplace.

But when executives from Verb Surgical, a secretive joint venture between Alphabet and Johnson & Johnson, presented at the robotics industry conference RoboBusiness late last month, they made the da Vinci sound lame.

Intuitive’s machine, with an average selling price of $1.54 million, is too expensive and bulky, they grumbled. Pablo Garcia Kilroy, Verb’s vice president of research and technology, complained that while da Vinci is an impressive tool, it’s a dumb one that hasn’t widely transformed surgery. He said that while it enables surgeons to perform very delicate movements, it doesn’t assist with the cognitive skills that set the best surgeons apart.

Beyond enhanced and new senses with be new forms of sensibles anticipated by many science fiction writers. The 4 min video is gives a hint of what augmented reality will be able to offer.
If another Hololens user was to use their headset at the exhibition, they, too, would be able to see the floating text and even edit it — since Park made the sculpture interactive. That is something that could be a real hallmark of augmented reality in the future, with successive people adding to art exhibits over time.


As the world starts to get its first taste of augmented reality technology through smartphones and developer headsets, not only do we have whole new virtual worlds to enjoy, but there is a new virtual veneer over the real one that can be exploited. No doubt it will eventually be used to put obnoxious advertising everywhere, but then artists can always hit back — with digital graffiti.

In fact, the first example of this has already made a real (virtual) world appearance, at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington state. Visitors with a Microsoft Hololens headset would have seen all of the same sculptures as everyone else, but also one that is entirely digital.

It is entitled Holographic Type Sculpture and was placed inside the museum by Microsoft user experience designer DongYhoon Park as a demonstration of what Hololens can do. As if getting a jump start on the question of whether graffiti is art, placing it within an art museum seemed quite apt.

Here’s a fascinating possibility for drones. There’s 2 min video.

Autonomous robotic garden drives itself around the city in search of sun

You've probably heard about autonomous cars by now - but what about a self-driving garden? University College London’s (UCL) Interactive Architecture Lab designed and built a nomadic, self-driving, and self-cultivating garden that they’ve named Hortum machina, B (the ‘B’ is short for Buckminster ‘Bucky’ Fuller). Encased in a large geodesic sphere, the modular garden is wrapped around a robotic aluminum core that monitors the plants’ responses to the environment and is able to propel the structure towards sunlight to best satisfy the garden’s needs.

And the role of drones is expanding into a global sensorium.
Argo is hardly the only fleet of scientific tools collecting data on ocean warming. But much of what scientists do know about the extent of the ocean’s heat-trapping ability is because of this international program, which has collected more than 1.5 million measurements.

How Much Heat Does the Ocean Trap? Robots Find Out

3,500 aquatic robots descend a mile below the surface and back, every 10 days
A fleet of robots, trolling the oceans and measuring their heat content, has revolutionized scientists’ ability to study how climate change is affecting the seas.
Now the aquatic machines called Argo floats are going into the deepest ocean abyss.

“We know a lot from Argo now that we have over a decade’s worth of temperature data,” said Gregory Johnson, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. “We now know a lot about the upper ocean and how much heat it’s taking up, but we know less about the deep ocean heat uptake.”

A report released last month at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress concluded that oceans have taken up 93 percent of the warming created by humans since the 1970s. To put that in perspective, if the heat generated between 1955 and 2010 had gone into the Earth’s atmosphere instead of the oceans, temperatures would have jumped by nearly 97 degrees Fahrenheit (E&ENews PM, Sept. 7).

Here is something Cool and Fun

Pixar and Khan Academy’s Free Online Course for Aspiring Animators

Up there with being an astronaut, comic book artist, or the President, there’s one job that your average kid would probably love to snag: Working at Pixar. Animation and Pixar enthusiasts of all ages, take note! Pixar in A Box (or PIAB) is a collaboration between Khan Academy and Pixar Animation Studios that focuses on real-Pixar-world applications of concepts you might usually encounter in the classroom. The latest batch of Pixar in a Box gives Makers a rare peek under the hood so that you can get a whiff of the warm engine that keeps those Pixar pistons pumping. There’s no need to register for the course, nor a requirement to watch the lessons in order — just head to their site and start exploring!

For Fun
For anyone familiar with the Canadian comedy program - ‘Just For Laughs - Gags’ and similar candid camera approaches to comedy here’s one that involves the emerging world of ‘smart machines’. This made me continuously laugh out loud. - Maybe that says more about me. :)

Bad Robots

Hidden camera show in which technology acts up, much to the bemusement of unsuspecting members of the public