Thursday, December 29, 2016

Friday Thinking 30 Dec. 2016 - Happy New Year

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


The Ghost of Christmas Future Imperfect

Organic film making requires you to keep your crew small and your footprint light. You start filming with one idea in mind, but the idea changes each day as elements you could never have anticipated inform the bigger picture. You make adjustments and pursue new storylines. You edit a few scenes, see what’s working and what’s not, then write new scenes. Shoot those, cut them in, then go back and write more. Each part of the process talks to the other. The movie teaches itself to be a better movie. Because organic is complicated, it can be tricky to defend and difficult to scale up, but because it’s cheap and low-resource, it’s easier to experiment. Learning about the self-organizing, living cities that I did on this project informed how we made the video. And looking at poorly planned urban projects reminded me of the broken yet prevailing model for making independent film in the U.S., where so many films are bound to fail — often in a way a filmmaker doesn’t recover from — before they even begin.

The Future of Cities

If every single car in America were electric then it would be awful for petroleum companies, disastrous for refiners and fatal for fuel retailers, but merely a challenge for electric utilities.

The Highly Charged Way to Play Electric Cars

The question in play here is: when did our world gain a quality that is uniquely human? Many species have had a major influence on the globe, but they don’t each get their own planetary transition in the geologic timescale. When did humans begin changing things in a way that no other species has ever changed Earth before? Making massive changes in landscapes is not unique to us. Beavers do plenty of that, for example, when they build dams, alter streams, cut down forests and create new meadows. Even changing global climate and initiating mass extinction is not a human first. Photosynthetic bacteria did that some 2.5 billion years ago.

What distinguishes humans from other world-changing organisms must be related to our great cleverness and adaptability; the power that comes from communicating, planning and working in social groups; transmitting knowledge from one generation to the next; and applying these skills toward altering our surroundings and expanding our habitable domains. However, people have been engaged in these activities for tens of thousands of years, and have produced many different environmental modifications proposed as markers of the Anthropocene’s beginning. Therefore, those definitions strike me as incomplete. Until now, the people causing the disturbances had no way of recognising or even conceiving of a global change. Yes, humans have been altering our planet for millennia, but there is something going on now that was not happening when we started doing all that world-changing.

To me, what makes the Anthropocene unprecedented and fully worthy of the name is our growing knowledge of what we are doing to this world. Self-conscious global change is a completely new phenomenon. It puts us humans into a category all our own and is, I believe, the best criterion for the real start of the era.

The mature Anthropocene begins when we acquire the ability to live sustainably, and become a lasting presence on this world.

What we are observing are the effects of not only a new geologic force, but a new type of geologic force. There has never before been a geological force aware of its own actions.

If we find other civilisations, it will be the ones who have made it through the bottleneck of technological adolescence

Welcome to Terra Sapiens

This is an excellent article and linked videos for several reasons - the 19 min video is a MUST SEE - entertaining, clear and collaboratively made. It outlines our problems and frames key approaches to solving them.

The Future of Cities

Organic Filmmaking and City Re-Imagining
What does “the future of cities” mean? To much of the developing world, it might be as simple as aspiring to having your own toilet, rather than sharing one with over 100 people. To a family in Detroit, it could mean having non-toxic drinking water. For planners and mayors, it’s about a lot of things — sustainability, economy, inclusivity, and resilience. Most of us can hope we can spend a little less time on our commutes to work and a little more time with our families. For a rich white dude up in a 50th floor penthouse, “the future of cities” might mean zipping around in a flying car while a robot jerks you off and a drone delivers your pizza. For many companies, the future of cities is simply about business and money, presented to us as buzzwords like “smart city” and “the city of tomorrow.”

I started shooting the “The Future of a Cities” as a collaboration with the The Nantucket Project, but it really took shape when hundreds of people around the world responded to a scrappy video I made asking for help.

Folks of all ages, from over 75 countries, volunteered their time, thoughts, work, and footage so that I could expand the scope of the piece and connect with more people in more cities. This strategy saved me time and money, but it also clarified the video’s purpose, which inspired me to put more energy into the project in order to get it right. I was reading Jan Gehl, Jane Jacobs, Edward Glaeser, etc. and getting excited about their ideas — after seeing what mattered to the people I met in person and watching contributions from those I didn’t, the video gained focus and perspective.

Here’s an interesting article from the OECD that speaks to the future of cities and their emerging geopolitical clout and possible shift in global governance.
... climate and equity policies must go hand in hand, and there are several exemplary cases to prove that such approaches work, from mobility projects in Rio de Janeiro to eco-friendly “circular economy” programmes in Paris.

Mayors Must Join Forces to Tackle Climate Change and Rising Inequalities Simultaneously

Cities around the world are taking impressive initiatives to tackle climate change and reduce inequalities, but more can be achieved by aligning these policy agendas in mutually beneficial ways.
Poorer populations suffer disproportionately from the effects of environmental degradation and the impacts of climate change. They are more likely to live in highly polluted, insalubrious neighbourhoods and to be more exposed to the likes of heat waves, mudslides and flooding, the risks of which will rise with climate change. Clearly policies that tackle poverty and inequality on the one hand and climate change on the other should go hand in hand.

Yet well-intended policies to address climate change can unwittingly undermine measures to promote more social equity. For instance, restrictive land-use regulations that are intended to reduce sprawl and the carbon footprint of the built environment can actually drive up housing costs. On the flip side, policies to promote inner city mobility can boost greenhouse gas emissions.

Cities are on the frontline of dealing with these twin challenges, and fortunately, there are potential “win-win” strategies that local authorities can pursue to deliver on both the climate and equity fronts. Well-planned public transit investments can open up new job opportunities for lower-income workers, just as local job strategies to promote skills and entrepreneurship in green economic activities can equip disadvantaged social groups with the skills needed for a greener economy. Similarly, measures to promote entrepreneurship and start-ups that tap into local public markets and resources can be devised not only in climate-friendly ways, but provide a channel for economic and social integration for everyone, not least marginalised groups.

Here’s is very interesting research finding about a shift in innovation hubs. This year Canada is on the top 10 map - with Toronto (including the Waterloo cluster) entering the scene.

Silicon Valley may be popular for innovation centers, but it’s losing ground to Asia

Although Silicon Valley is considered perhaps the most popular place for innovation, it’s slowly ceding ground to tech hubs outside of the U.S., namely in Asia. According to a new report from Capgemini and Altimeter Group, not only are companies creating more of these centers to be better aligned with local startups, investors, academia, and other communities — there are now more than 456 such centers globally, as of October 2016, a 51 percent increase from July 2015 — and they’re being established in areas such as India, London, Singapore, Paris, Bangalore, Tel Aviv, Toronto, and Shanghai.

“Between July 2015 and October 2016, [Silicon Valley’s] share in the world’s total innovation centers has fallen from 18 percent to 14 percent,” Solis wrote in the report. “This is a result of increasing competition from a diverse set of hubs across the world. In particular…the top three cities in Asia — Singapore, Bangalore, and Tokyo — together added more innovation centers (9) between March and October 2016 than…Silicon Valley.”

The reason behind the abandonment of Silicon Valley, and even Europe, is due to the supply of talent in Asia. Based on Solis’ research, 29 percent of all innovation centers are now located in the region. He cites the example of Canada-based insurance company Manulife, which opened its LOFT innovation center in Singapore, spurred by the startup culture in the country.

This is interesting as an indication of the potential for AI to undertake a new form of driverless navigation in a flow of data.
“The role of many remaining humans at the firm wouldn’t be to make individual choices but to design the criteria by which the system makes decisions, intervening when something isn’t working,” wrote the Journal, which spoke to five former and current employees.

World’s largest hedge fund to replace managers with artificial intelligence

Bridgewater Associates has a team of engineers working on a project to automate decision-making to save time and eliminate human emotional volatility
The world’s largest hedge fund is building a piece of software to automate the day-to-day management of the firm, including hiring, firing and other strategic decision-making.

Bridgewater Associates has a team of software engineers working on the project at the request of billionaire founder Ray Dalio, who wants to ensure the company can run according to his vision even when he’s not there, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Here’s an omen of employment to come.
“We find that 94% of net job growth in the past decade was in the alternative work category,” said Krueger. “And over 60% was due to the [the rise] of independent contractors, freelancers and contract company workers.” In other words, nearly all of the 10 million jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were not traditional nine-to-five employment.

Almost all the US jobs created since 2005 are temporary

The conventional full-time job is disappearing.
Survey research conducted by economists Lawrence Katz of Harvard University and Alan Krueger at Princeton University shows that from 2005 to 2015, the proportion of Americans workers engaged in what they refer to as “alternative work” jumped from 10.7% to 15.8%. Alternative work is characterized by being temporary or unsteady—such as work as an independent contractor or through a temporary help agency.

This is a worthwhile read - a nice easy summary from Pew Research with illustrative graphs. - Worth the view.

16 striking findings from 2016

Every year, we publish a collection of facts about the important events, issues and trends we documented in our wide-ranging research over the past 12 months. In 2016,  Pew Research Center examined an array of topics in America – from immigration to the growing divide between Republicans and Democrats – as well as many from around the globe. Here are 16 of our most striking findings.

Remember the days when online dating sites where outside the norm? According to some sources 20% of current committed relationships began online. Here’s an annual report from OK Cupid that some might find interesting.

What Flirting Looked Like in 2016

A data-driven report on how flirting changed over the past year.
Flirting is not like it used to be. In fact, how people flirt changes year after year. So we decided to take a look at how successful flirting evolved in 2016.

First, we looked through all of the messages between OkCupid users in the U.S. from January 1, 2015 to November 15, 2016. Then we sorted out the “good” conversations, or conversations that included at least four messages and a contact exchange. Finally, we compared the good conversations of 2015 to those of 2016 to see how messaging changed — which terms became more popular, which fell out of favor, and which managed to sustain their high usage frequency year after year. Because the more you know about what makes for a good message, the better you can connect with other daters on a deeper level. This is what we found:

Here’s is a wonderful 8 min TED Talk by Steven Johnson - “you’ll find the future where people are having the most fun”.

The playful wonderland behind great inventions

Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Well, not always. Steven Johnson shows us how some of the most transformative ideas and technologies, like the computer, didn't emerge out of necessity at all but instead from the strange delight of play. Share this captivating, illustrated exploration of the history of invention. Turns out, you'll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.

For anyone interested in video gaming domain called eSports - this is a wonderful 30 min video. The speaker is a delight to listen to and elaborates a rich comparison between games like chess, sports like basketball and the video game world of Pokemon - that can also be compared as a way to solve calculus equations.  Well worth the listen - it will educate on several levels and may well convince you to at least watch some eSports.

G4C15: Frank Lantz / eSports

Frank Lantz, director of the NYU Game Lab, highlights the social impact and further potential of eSports, which have transformed digital games into a massively popular spectator sport.

This is a long article about research related to gaming, VR - virtual reality, and it’s impact on our behavior. It is also about the changing nature of game design as an interactive art-experience - an evolution of writing narratives in traditional media for print or movies toward a research based co-development of narrative based on how potential players act. Well worth the read for anyone interested in gaming and behavior and art and cultural-mythos.
The video game writer also needs to consider the complex and active role of the player. Michael Chu, lead writer at Blizzard Entertainment for Overwatch, sees the medium as “kind of [melding] the player and the character [together].” This is why Chu, “Hero Designer” Scott Mercer and the rest of the Blizzard team create their characters through an iterative process, paying close attention to player feedback during Beta tests. This includes collecting data on survival times for different characters, watching while players react in real time, and soliciting reactions on Blizzard’s website.
Unlike traditional heroes, interactive heroes don’t always show up on time, or succeed when they arrive.
“Moments where the character synchronizes with what you as the player are experiencing … I think that is the magic of the interactive medium,” Chu says. These synchronicities can be fleeting, however, and are not guaranteed. The same elasticity that allows for a distinct hero experience permits the player to fail: To not, in fact, save the day. It’s a sense of risk-reward that changes our experience of being a hero. This time, we might lose. The potential to fail is a psychological carrot that motivates us to play more.

Video Games Are Changing the Hero

This is what happens when we can occupy our heroes’ bodies.
Videogame heroes take up a larger amount of people’s imaginations today than they ever have before. In the cultural economy they are as big a force as the heroes in books and movies. But as relatively new as videogame heroes are, some still question their ability to impact us on the level of more traditional art.

In 2010, the late great movie critic Roger Ebert argued that video games can never be art. “One obvious difference between art and games,” he wrote, “is that you can win a game.” By comparison, literature and movies emphasize the contemplation of their subjects. “Prose gives you the chance to do what no other medium can, which is dare to represent the contours of human consciousness,” says Tom Bissell, author of Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter, as well as short stories, narrative non-fiction books, and big-budget blockbuster games including Gears of War: Judgment and Battlefield: Hardline.

But videogames do explore the consciousness of their players in ways that other media do not. Whereas literary or cinematic heroes are locked in place by the time you consume their tales, game heroes rely on your decisions. In Bioware’s Mass Effect trilogy, you inhabit Commander Shepard, a male or female super-soldier (your choice) who leads a resistance in the 22nd century against alien forces across the Milky Way galaxy. Over the course of the games, your decisions—how to respond to certain alien races or characters, when to fight or flee, who to save or kill—affect a long and complicated system of branching narratives, adding up to a final conclusion: Were you a force for good (Paragon, in the game’s terms) or not (Renegade)? As in life, good and evil walk very different paths. Certain characters in the game will talk to you very differently, if at all, if you hold a Paragon ranking. Your play determines your path; your hero’s quest is your own.

This 1 hr video presentation is well worth the view - the speaker is clear and accessible - if not highly exciting - he presents a very comprehensive discussion of the rights of property vs licensing of digital goods - something vitally important for all of us to understand as the digital environment emerges as an very different economic domain.

Case Downtown - The End of Ownership, Aaron Perzanowski, CWRU School of Law 3.18.2015

Aaron Perzanowski, Associate Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University, discusses copyright law and intellectual property in the 21st century.

I don’t often think of smart concrete - but it may actually be on it’s way to a construction project near you on the near-term horizon.
"We call it programmable cement," he said. "The great advance of this work is that it's the first step in controlling the kinetics of cement to get desired shapes. We show how one can control the morphology and size of the basic building blocks of C-S-H so that they can self-assemble into microstructures with far greater packing density compared with conventional amorphous C-S-H microstructures."

Programmable cement for greener concrete

Bringing order to disorder is key to making stronger and greener cement, the paste that binds concrete. Scientists at Rice University have decoded the kinetic properties of cement and developed a way to ‘program’ the microscopic, semi-crystalline particles within. Their process, described in a paper in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, turns particles from disordered clumps into regimented cubes, spheres and other forms that combine to make the material less porous and more durable.

This technique may lead to stronger structures that require less concrete – and less is better, said Rice materials scientist and lead author Rouzbeh Shahsavari. Worldwide production of more than 3 billion tons of concrete a year now accounts for as much as 10% of the carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, released into the atmosphere.

Well 2016 brought a lot of surprises - but this one is less surprising and is good news.

Year in review: Ozone hole officially on the mend

Montreal Protocol now covers climate-warming replacements too
In a rare bright spot for global environmental news, atmospheric scientists reported in 2016 that the ozone hole that forms annually over Antarctica is beginning to heal. Their data nail the case that the Montreal Protocol, the international treaty drawn up in 1987 to limit the use of ozone-destroying chemicals, is working.

The Antarctic ozone hole forms every Southern Hemisphere spring, when chemical reactions involving chlorine and bromine break apart the oxygen atoms that make up ozone molecules. Less protective ozone means that more ultraviolet radiation reaches Earth, where it can damage DNA and lead to higher rates of skin cancer, among other threats.

The Montreal Protocol cut back drastically on the manufacture of ozone-destroying compounds such as chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, which had been used in air conditioners, refrigerators and other products. It went into force in 1989 and phased out CFCs by 2010.

Earlier studies had hinted that the ozone hole was on the mend. The new work, reported in Science in June, is the most definitive yet. A team led by Susan Solomon, an atmospheric chemist at MIT, looked not only at the month of October, when Antarctic ozone loss typically peaks, but also at September, when the hole is growing. The healing trend was most obvious in September. Satellite measurements showed that from 2000 to 2015, the average extent of the September ozone hole shrank by about 4.5 million square kilometers, to approximately 18 million square kilometers. Soundings taken by weather balloons over Antarctica confirmed the findings.

On the frontier of domesticating DNA.

Year in review: ‘Minimal genome’ makes its debut

Synthetic cell may reveal what is necessary for life
One of biology’s biggest achievements of 2016 was intentionally as small as possible: building a bacterium with only 473 genes. That pint-size genetic blueprint, the smallest for any known free-living cell, is a milestone in a decades-long effort to create an organism containing just the bare essentials necessary to exist and reproduce. Such “minimal genome” cells might eventually serve as templates for lab-made organisms that pump out medicines, make innovative chemicals for industry and agriculture, or churn out other molecules not yet imagined. The project also identified genes crucial for the microbe’s survival yet largely unfamiliar to science, highlighting major gaps in researchers’ grasp of life’s playbook.

The newly engineered bacterium was praised as a technical triumph. In 2010, researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla, Calif., had stitched together a copy of the entire genome of the bacterium Mycoplasma mycoides and popped it into the cell of another bacterium whose genome had been removed. But that “synthetic cell,” dubbed JCVI-syn1.0, contained a full copy of an existing genome. With more than 1 million chemical building blocks of DNA, including 901 genes, it was far from minimal.

The latest version, JCVI-syn3.0, reported in March in Science, has roughly half that much DNA. It’s also the first cell built using human design principles: One segment of the genome has genes for various processes, such as DNA repair, grouped together rather than scattered willy-nilly. Abandoning the untidiness of evolution for a logic-driven blueprint enables a “plug and play” approach, says Daniel Gibson, a member of the JCVI team. To tinker with a metabolic process such as glycolysis, for example, “Rather than changing one gene, then another, then another, you could pop out a whole module and then pop in a new one.”

And this may be wonderful news for all of us that are part of the baby boomers entering ‘Elderhood’.

Year in review: Alzheimer’s drug may clarify disease’s origins

Treatment shows early promise in sweeping away amyloid brain plaques
A quarter century after scientists proposed an idea that profoundly influenced the arc of Alzheimer’s research, they might finally find out whether they are correct. A new antibody drug called aducanumab appears to sweep the brain clean of sticky amyloid-beta protein. The drug may or may not become a breakthrough Alzheimer’s treatment — it’s too soon to say — but either way it will probably answer a key question: Have researchers been aiming at the right target?

According to the proposal, called the amyloid hypothesis, Alzheimer’s disease, estimated to affect more than 5 million people in the United States alone, is caused by abnormal buildup of A-beta protein in the brain. The buildup chokes vital brain areas and destroys nerve cells. Despite amassing much support in recent decades, the proposal hasn’t managed to shake off its detractors. Aducanumab offers a seemingly reliable and safe way to lower A-beta levels and thus test the amyloid hypothesis.

Over the course of a year, aducanumab entered the brains of people with early Alzheimer’s disease and cleared out the A-beta, scientists reported in September in Nature. The trial was small — only 165 people. Yet in these people’s brains, amyloid-beta clearly declined. The higher the dose, the more A-beta cleanup.

There were hints that people on higher doses of the drug had cognitive improvements, too. If confirmed in larger studies, those cognitive benefits “would be a game changer for the field,” says Alzheimer’s researcher Eric Reiman of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix. But those results “need to be treated agnostically for now,” at least until the larger studies currently underway are completed, he cautions.

Here’s some very good news in light of one apocalyptic fear of a global pandemic.

Ebola vaccine gives 100% protection, trial shows

In a trial in Guinea, none of the 5,837 people vaccinated contracted the virus
After four decades of research, scientists have finally developed an effective vaccine in the fight against Ebola.
Research, published in The Lancet, describes a vaccine that provides complete protection against the disease. The trial was led by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

"Vaccine efficacy was 100 per cent," the scientists behind the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine wrote in their paper. While not yet approved by any regulatory authority for widespread use, in the trial of the vaccine in Guinea, West Africa, none of the 5,837 residents who received it contracted Ebola 10 or more days later. People who fell ill within the first nine days were discounted as it was assumed – given the incubation period of the disease – they had been infected before the vaccination was given.

Ebola is a devastating disease that during the 2013 to 2016 Ebola outbreaks in Africa took the lives of 11,300 people.

"While these compelling results come too late for those who lost their lives during West Africa's Ebola epidemic, they show that when the next Ebola outbreak hits, we will not be defenceless," Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO’s assistant director-general for Health Systems and Innovation, and the study’s lead author, said in a statement.
In the event of another Ebola outbreak, 300,000 samples of the vaccine have been stockpiled and more work is being done to ensure it is approved by regulators.

And portentous of the next stage of our efforts at the domestication of DNA.
When the CBD last met in South Korea in 2014, gene drives were a largely theoretical idea.

‘Gene drive’ moratorium shot down at UN biodiversity meeting

Freeze on genetic technology would have been a disaster, say scientists, but activists plan to renew the fight.
World governments at a United Nations biodiversity meeting this week rejected calls for a global moratorium on gene drives, a technology that can rapidly spread modified genes through populations and could be used to engineer entire species. But environmental activists’ appeals for a freeze on gene-drive field trials, and on some lab research, are likely to resurface in the future.

“I’m very relieved,” says Andrea Crisanti, a molecular parasitologist at Imperial College London, who is part of an effort that seeks to use gene drives to control malaria. He and others worry that a moratorium would make research on the technology more difficult, scare away funders and prevent field tests. “It would have been a disaster for developing the technology,” he says.  But the calls for a ban, discussed at the meeting of the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in CancĂșn, Mexico, on 4–17 December, are not going to go away, he says. “Those who are opposed to this technology will be more organized next time.”

The idea of a moratorium found support among some countries. But a final agreement released on 16 December merely urged caution in field-testing the products of synthetic biology, including gene drives, while supporting better risk-assessment of the products’ potential effects.

This is a fascinating finding - one that may also have some significance in climate change models - and one that changes our view of how life has flows that we have yet to understand.
The word migration applied to arthropod movements doesn’t mean one animal’s roundtrip, Chapman says. Instead, the term describes leaving the home range and undertaking a sustained journey, maybe cued by seasons changing or food dwindling. A return trip, if there is one, could be the job of a future generation.
Biologist Martin Wikelski of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell, Germany, who wasn’t part of the study, calls these migrants “aerial plankton.”

Long-ignored, high-flying arthropods could make up largest land migrations

Each year, 3.5 trillion aphids, moths, flies and their kin fly over southern United Kingdom
Forget honking Vs of geese or gathering herds of wildebeests. The biggest yearly mass movements of land animals may be the largely overlooked flights of aphids, moths, beetles, flies, spiders and their kin.

About 3.5 trillion arthropods fly or windsurf over the southern United Kingdom annually, researchers say after analyzing a decade of data from special entomological radar and net sweeps. The larger species in the study tended to flow in a consistent direction, suggesting that more species may have specialized biology for seasonal migrations than scientists realized, says study coauthor Jason Chapman, now at the University of Exeter in Penryn, England.

The creatures detected in the study may be little, but they add up to roughly 3,200 metric tons of animal weight, Chapman and colleagues report in the Dec. 23 Science. That’s 7.7 times the tonnage of U.K. songbirds migrating to Africa and equivalent to about 20,000 (flying) reindeer.

These are “huge flows of biomass and nutrients,” Chapman says. “One of the things we hope to achieve in this work is to convince people who are studying terrestrial ecosystems that they cannot ignore what’s happening in the skies above them.”

On an even smaller scale this 1 hr video by Philip Ball is  well worth the view for anyone interested in Quantum biology - a field that is rapidly emerging as a fundamental contributor to understand both the domestication of DNA as well as possibly understanding some key aspects of consciousness.

Quantum Biology: An Introduction

In this guest curated event on quantum biology, Jim Al-Khalili invited Philip Ball to introduce how the mysteries of quantum theory might manifest themselves at the biological level. Here he explains how the baffling yet powerful theory of the baffling yet powerful theory of the subatomic world might play an important role in biological processes.

Philip Ball is a science writer, writing regularly for Nature and having contributed to publications ranging from New Scientist to the New York Times. He is the author of many popular books on science, including works on the nature of water, pattern formation in the natural world, colour in art, and the cognition of music, and he has also broadcast on many occasions on radio and TV.

Jim Al-Khalili is Professor of Theoretical Physics and Professor of Public Engagement in Science at University of Surrey. He is author of several popular science books and appears regularly on radio and television. In 2007, he was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for Science Communication.

For Fun
Language is a living complex adaptive system - despite the discipline of gramarians.

The Ghost of Christmas Future Imperfect

I am the ghost of Christmas Future Imperfect Conditional - said the spirit.
I bring news of what would have been going to happen if you were not to have been going to change your ways

I am the ghost of Christmas Future Perfect Subjunctive - I will show you what would have happened to you, were you not to have changed your ways.

The ghost of Christmas Future Perfect Passive - Ebenezer you will have been disappointed with your life.