Thursday, February 15, 2018

Friday Thinking 16 Feb. 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.

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




It is Kayfabe all the way down. The power of the Blue Church is premised on a sense of Authority and Seriousness. By pushing the entire conversation into the realm of the absurd (“really Fake News”), the Insurgency robs the Church of its simulacrum of legitimacy. If it is all just a game designed to manipulate your emotions and grab and hold your attention (say for advertising bucks or for political points), then pretenses of Authority and Seriousness are just that: pretenses. 4chan in particular has been playing with this game effectively in the past year — successfully causing the Blue Church to attend with Seriousness the notions that milk, the OK hand sign and a cartoon frog are deep symbols of a Serious alt-right conspiracy. Note — if what I just said here feels shocking, alarming or wrong, this would be a very good point to slow down and consider the frame that I am trying to examine. I am not, for example, saying that there isn’t an alt-right, nor that Pepe the Frog isn’t associated with the alt-right. What I am saying is that if you think Pepe the Frog is the symbol of the alt-right and that the alt-right exists as an ideology in the same way that symbols and ideologies worked under the 20th Century models of Broadcast media (e.g., like Uncle Sam and America or the Swastika and Nazism), then you are missing something unspeakably important. For the Insurgency, what matters is not the symbol or the ideology; what matters is who produces symbols and ideologies and how they hold them. To assume and rely on some Authority to produce them and to take them Seriously is always already to be playing the Blue Church game. Within the Insurgency, the shibboleth is style, not content; disposition, not ideology.

Velocity, velocity, velocity. The Blue Church is like a Battleship. Very slow moving and able to focus its efforts on only a very narrow set of targets. If you stand around long enough to get punched, it can still land some heavy blows. But if the conditions of the ground are changing faster than the Blue Church can Observe, Orient, Decide and Act, it is constantly caught flat footed and swinging at the wrong targets.The Insurgency, by contrast, is more like a swarm of Slaughterbots (go ahead and watch that video, it is a very good use of seven minutes): a whole lot of small pieces that can coordinate into a big punch when necessary but more often flow around the landscape taking opportunities when they arise. In this context, velocity is key. If you have been feeling disoriented by the pace and seeming complete disjunction of events in 2017, you are not alone. This is the point: the entire Blue Church approach to collective sensemaking and action requires a particular velocity of change. By moving the entire landscape into a much higher pace, the Insurgency is making it impossible for the Blue Church collective intelligence to maintain effective coherence.

I think it is important to recognize that most future scenarios have the balance of power continually shifting away from Broadcast/Television dominant and into Interactive/Digital dominant.

In this environment, for the first time ever in history, the ability to innovate is decisively superior to the ability to deploy power. Prior to today, the rule of “the battle goes to whoever gets there the first with the most” was a decent rule of thumb. Of course, this has never been strictly the case. Most of the great stories of history are built around moments of innovation where the smarter but less powerful group was able to outwit and undermine their opponent with superior technique, technology and strategy. Over time the balance has slowly but consistently moved in the direction of innovation. Ask Turing and Oppenheimer about the accelerating pace of innovation as it relates to war.

The conflict of the 21st Century is about forming a collective intelligence that can outwit and out innovate all of its competitors. The central challenge then is precisely to innovate a way of collaborating and cohering individuals that maximally deploys their individual perspectives, capabilities, understandings and insights with each-other. To achieve a decisive advantage in innovative capacity.

Have you been paying attention? Have you noticed the pace of change in, for example, drone warfare? Or in self-improving AI? Crispr Cas9? This is nothing compared to the pace of innovation that will be unlocked once a functional decentralized collective intelligence emerges.

In this exponential context, the intelligence amplifying implications of even a slightly positive exponent (i.e., scalable) collective intelligence — particularly one that can connect with and amplify any human being connected to the global Internet-is not comparable to anything that has been seen in human history. It is certainly more important than the innovation of writing. Likely more than the innovation of speech. Quite possibly, this transition will prove more significant than the transition from single cell to multi-cellular life two billion years ago. Everything that happens next is dependent on what happens here.

All of our old ways of collaborating with other people are either suspect or obsolete. You are going to have to (re)learn how to build real, faithful relationships. Get much better at making friends. I don’t mean casual acquaintances. And I definitely don’t mean social network contacts. I mean the kinds of people who ready willing and able to actually care for you — even at risk to themselves. Not because of shared ideology or even shared mission, but because of the deep stuff of human commitment. There is something new to be discovered here. Some renewal of the most ancient aspects of being human together combined with a new approach “from the future” as it were that enables us to combine meaningful relationship with effective collaboration on a global scale.
This is a MUST READ

Situational Assessment 2018: the Calm Before the Storm

Data portability is a new right under the EU-level General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) due to come into force in May 2018 and a version of which will be written into UK law through the Data Protection Bill currently going through parliament.

The data portability right is a version of the existing data access right (which gives you the right to get hold of data about you held by an organisation). It is both more powerful, in that it gives you the right to have that data given to you or a third party of your choice in a commonly used machine readable format, and has a narrower scope in that it doesn’t apply to everything the organisation captures about you. It only applies to data captured automatically, and when it is either explicitly provided by you (eg when you fill in a form on a website) or generated as part of your activity (eg the records of your bank transactions). It does not apply to data that is inferred about you based on this data (eg if they’ve guessed that you’re gay or pregnant) or that they’ve got about you from other sources (eg your credit rating).

There are three main reasons for the data portability right:
- Providing more transparency than is currently provided. At the moment, exercising your data access right can simply lead to receiving pages and pages of printed information. With data portability, people will be able to search within and analyse the data that organisations hold about them.
- Helping people to switch service providers without losing their histories. For example, if I wanted to switch from tracking my physical activity using Strava to using RunKeeper, the data portability right would guarantee I could get hold of the data held about my activities by Strava for import into RunKeeper.
- Supporting the growth of data analytics third party services that provide insights based on data. These include services oriented around providing deeper insights into particular types of activity (eg helping you to reduce your energy usage) or that link together different types of activity (eg bringing together your transport spend with the routes that you travel).

Data portability

Just when you thought quantum mechanics couldn’t get any weirder, a team of physicists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem reported in 2013 that they had successfully entangled photons that never coexisted. Previous experiments involving a technique called ‘entanglement swapping’ had already showed quantum correlations across time, by delaying the measurement of one of the coexisting entangled particles; but Eli Megidish and his collaborators were the first to show entanglement between photons whose lifespans did not overlap at all.

What on Earth can this mean? Prima facie, it seems as troubling as saying that the polarity of starlight in the far-distant past – say, greater than twice Earth’s lifetime – nevertheless influenced the polarity of starlight falling through your amateur telescope this winter. Even more bizarrely: maybe it implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than 9 billion years old.

You thought quantum mechanics was weird: check out entangled time

You may wonder why a science fiction writer like myself takes such obvious delight in hanging out with museum curators. It’s a paradox, like the one we heard in the name of this conference, “Preserving the Immaterial.” If it’s immaterial, why would it need preserving? And if you’re a futurist, then how come you’re in a museum?

Futurists and antiquarians both work with the nature of time. I have a passionate allegiance to my esteemed colleagues in museums. Because the future is just a kind of past that hasn’t happened yet. And obsolescence is innovation in reverse.

Bruce Sterling - “Digital Decay” (2001)

The evolution of Wikimedia (including Wikipedia) is stunning - and except for the Internet itself is an unprecedented knowledge commons. It may eventually absorb professional and scientific publications in a new form of peer-review and open access for science.

Wikipedia has become a science reference source even though scientists don’t cite it

Phrases from Wikipedia pages on hot scientific fields end up in published papers, a study finds
Wikipedia: The settler of dinnertime disputes and the savior of those who cheat on trivia night. Quick, what country has the Nile’s headwaters? What year did Gershwin write “Rhapsody in Blue”? Wikipedia has the answer to all your burning trivia questions — including ones about science.

With hundreds of thousands of scientific entries, Wikipedia offers a quick reference for the molecular formula of Zoloft, who the inventor of the 3-D printer is and the fact that the theory of plate tectonics is only about 100 years old. The website is a gold mine for science fans, science bloggers and scientists alike. But even though scientists use Wikipedia, they don’t tend to admit it. The site rarely ends up in a paper’s citations as the source of, say, the history of the gut-brain axis or the chemical formula for polyvinyl chloride.

But scientists are browsing Wikipedia just like everyone else. A recent analysis found that Wikipedia stays up-to-date on the latest research — and vocabulary from those Wikipedia articles finds its way into scientific papers. The results don’t just reveal the Wiki-habits of the ivory tower. They also show that the free, widely available information source is playing a role in research progress, especially in poorer countries.

Teachers in middle school, high school and college drill it in to their students: Wikipedia is not a citable source. Anyone can edit Wikipedia, and articles can change from day to day — sometimes by as little as a comma, other times being completely rewritten overnight. “[Wikipedia] has a reputation for being untrustworthy,” says Thomas Shafee, a biochemist at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

But those same teachers — even the college professors — who warn students away from Wikipedia are using the site themselves. “Academics use Wikipedia all the time because we’re human. It’s something everyone is doing,” says Doug Hanley, a macroeconomist at the University of Pittsburgh.

I bet most people would think there is no scientific concept that could be derived from the World of Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). This is a brilliant analysis -and the concept of Kayfabe can shed a great deal of light on the current media landscape - especially in the world of 'fake news' This is a short MUST READ - it's entertaining and insightful - an answer to the 2011 annual question asked of outstanding minds by Edge.Org.
In professional wrestling, kayfabe /ˈkeɪfeɪb/ is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as "real" or "true", specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or predetermined nature of any kind. - Wikipedia


The sophisticated "scientific concept" with the greatest potential to enhance human understanding may be argued to come not from the halls of academe, but rather from the unlikely research environment of professional wrestling.

Evolutionary biologists Richard Alexander and Robert Trivers have recently emphasized that it is deception rather than information that often plays the decisive role in systems of selective pressures. Yet most of our thinking continues to treat deception as something of a perturbation on the exchange of pure information, leaving us unprepared to contemplate a world in which fakery may reliably crowd out the genuine. In particular, humanity's future selective pressures appear likely to remain tied to economic theory which currently uses as its central construct a market model based on assumptions of perfect information.

If we are to take selection more seriously within humans, we may fairly ask what rigorous system would be capable of tying together an altered reality of layered falsehoods in which absolutely nothing can be assumed to be as it appears. Such a system, in continuous development for more than a century, is known to exist and now supports an intricate multi-billion dollar business empire of pure hokum. It is known to wrestling's insiders as "Kayfabe".

Were Kayfabe to become part of our toolkit for the twenty-first century, we would undoubtedly have an easier time understanding a world in which investigative journalism seems to have vanished and bitter corporate rivals cooperate on everything from joint ventures to lobbying efforts. Perhaps confusing battles between "freshwater" Chicago macro economists and Ivy league "Saltwater" theorists could be best understood as happening within a single "orthodox promotion" given that both groups suffered no injury from failing (equally) to predict the recent financial crisis. The decades old battle in theoretical physics over bragging rights between the "string" and "loop" camps would seem to be an even more significant example within the hard sciences of a collaborative intra-promotion rivalry given the apparent failure of both groups to produce a quantum theory of gravity.

What makes Kayfabe remarkable is that it gives us potentially the most complete example of the general process by which a wide class of important endeavors transition from failed reality to successful fakery.

This may be of interest to any Facebook user - it also provides an easy explanation of what a Virtual Private Network is - and how Facebook is using it.

Do Not, I Repeat, Do Not Download Onavo, Facebook’s Vampiric VPN Service

Facebook is not a privacy company; it’s Big Brother on PCP. It does not want to anonymize and protect you; it wants to drain you of your privacy, sucking up every bit of personal data. You should resist the urge to let it, at every turn.

There’s a new menu item in the Facebook app, first reported by TechCrunch on Monday, labeled “Protect.” Clicking it will send you to the App Store and prompt you to download a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service called Onavo. (“Protect” shows up in the iOS app. Gizmodo looked for it on an Android device and didn’t see it—though, presumably it is only a matter of time.)

VPNs work by forcing your laptop or mobile device to establish a connection to a third-party server before then connecting you to any websites or online services. Using an encrypted tunnel, a VPN can prevent your broadband or wireless provider (AT&T, Comcast, et al) from keeping track of the websites you visit. What’s more, a VPN service can mask your own IP address from those websites, helping you to traverse the net without surrendering locational data. VPNs also help users in authoritarian countries bypass censors by convincing websites their country of origin is, for example, the US or Switzerland, the latter of which has some of the world’s strictest privacy laws.

Facebook, however, purchased Onavo from an Israeli firm in 2013 for an entirely different reason, as described in a Wall Street Journal report last summer. The company is actually collecting and analyzing the data of Onavo users. Doing so allows Facebook to monitor the online habits of people outside their use of the Facebook app itself.
To put it another way, Onavo is corporate spyware.

This is an important signal - another example of the brittleness of formal systems of logic - especially when attempts are made to frame the complexity of living systems and their inherent paradoxes.

Why Ethical Robots Might Not Be Such a Good Idea After All

The risks that a robot's ethics might be compromised by unscrupulous actors raise doubts over the wisdom of embedding ethical decision making in real-world safety critical robots
With two NAO robots he set up a demonstration of an ethical robot helping another robot acting as a proxy human, then showed that with a very simple alteration of the ethical robot’s logic it is transformed into a distinctly unethical robot—behaving either competitively or aggressively toward the proxy human.

Here are our paper’s key conclusions:
The ease of transformation from ethical to unethical robot is hardly surprising. It is a straightforward consequence of the fact that both ethical and unethical behaviors require the same cognitive machinery with—in our implementation—only a subtle difference in the way a single value is calculated. In fact, the difference between an ethical (i.e. seeking the most desirable outcomes for the human) robot and an aggressive (i.e. seeking the least desirable outcomes for the human) robot is a simple negation of this value.

On the face of it, given that we can (at least in principle) build explicitly ethical machines* then it would seem that we have a moral imperative to do so; it would appear to be unethical not to build ethical machines when we have that option. But the findings of our paper call this assumption into serious doubt. Let us examine the risks associated with ethical robots and if, and how, they might be mitigated. There are three.

This is an interesting 7 min Youtube - exploring the state of current AI “Faceswaping” software. The implications for advertising, fake news and pornography - as quite significant.

Faceswapping, Unethical Videos, and Future Shock

I was going to tell a science fiction story about faceswapping, and mass blackmail. Then the news broke about unethical faceswapping videos, and software designed and marketed for creating them: and I realised the future had arrived faster than I thought.

(This was originally a talk given at An Evening of Unnecessary Detail earlier this week, but I managed to mangle the audio recording settings, so I rerecorded it in a muddy park! It's not the same without the audience, but hopefully it's close enough.)

New paradigms in science - this is a powerful signal of the phase transition is how science is done. - Watch the short video - well worth the view.

The Emerald Cloud Lab

At Emerald Cloud Lab our mission is to empower scientists to transcend the laboratory.
ECL was founded by scientists, for scientists. Our vision is to build a system that sweeps aside the daily grind scientists face in the laboratory and allows the day-to-day work to center on orchestrating science. There is transformative potential in a world where scientific ideas have a more direct route to realization and where progress in science and medicine is driven more by the strength of our ideas than our labor in the lab. Succeeding in this mission has the chance to provide unprecedented leverage and autonomy to scientists worldwide and in doing so to accelerate the rate of progress in pharmaceutical research, materials science, medical diagnostics, and agriculture.

Turning this vision into reality is what has brought us all together at Emerald. Our mission drives us to do the kind of work we are proud to tell our friends and families about, and the grand ambition of the endeavor presents each of us with the kinds of challenges that can inspire the most creative work of our careers.

It seems that the blockchain is only beginning - even NASA is innovating with the distributed ledger. I believe that this evolving technology represents a new open protocol that will emerge as an ‘Institution of Records’ and more and Moore.

What Does NASA’s Blockchain Research Mean for Businesses on Earth?

With distributed ledgers emerging as technological solutions across a wide range of sectors, it’s no surprise that NASA is now considering the applications of blockchain technology.
A NASA presentation titled “Bitcoin, Blockchains and Efficient Distributed Spacecraft Mission Control,” noted that blockchain technology could have useful applications in distributed spacecraft missions involving multiple elements.

A Brave New World
In particular, smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain could be used in NASA’s SensorWeb program, which develops an interoperable environment for a diverse set of satellite sensors. Artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies could be further integrated to make space-based sensor networks more efficient and responsive.

In September, NASA awarded a $333,000 grant to University of Akron (UA) Assistant Professor Jin Wei (also known as Jin Kocsis or Jin Wei Kocsis) to research how to make space hardware smarter and more autonomous. This is an important requirement for deep space missions, where the communication lag makes it impossible to monitor and telecommand space probes in real time. Deep space probes, and planetary missions such as those by the Mars rovers, must be equipped with onboard AI for autonomous operation.

Another great signal of emerging fundamental science - this one could lead to the alchemy of turning light into matter.
"This will be completely new physics," Sergeev says. He adds that the gamma ray photons would be energetic enough to push atomic nuclei into excited states, ushering in a new branch of physics known as "nuclear photonics"—the use of intense light to control nuclear processes.

Physicists are planning to build lasers so powerful they could rip apart empty space

Inside a cramped laboratory in Shanghai, China, physicist Ruxin Li and colleagues are breaking records with the most powerful pulses of light the world has ever seen. At the heart of their laser, called the Shanghai Superintense Ultrafast Laser Facility (SULF), is a single cylinder of titanium-doped sapphire about the width of a Frisbee. After kindling light in the crystal and shunting it through a system of lenses and mirrors, the SULF distills it into pulses of mind-boggling power. In 2016, it achieved an unprecedented 5.3 million billion watts, or petawatts (PW). The lights in Shanghai do not dim each time the laser fires, however. Although the pulses are extraordinarily powerful, they are also infinitesimally brief, lasting less than a trillionth of a second. The researchers are now upgrading their laser and hope to beat their own record by the end of this year with a 10-PW shot, which would pack more than 1000 times the power of all the world's electrical grids combined.

The group's ambitions don't end there. This year, Li and colleagues intend to start building a 100-PW laser known as the Station of Extreme Light (SEL). By 2023, it could be flinging pulses into a chamber 20 meters underground, subjecting targets to extremes of temperature and pressure not normally found on Earth, a boon to astrophysicists and materials scientists alike. The laser could also power demonstrations of a new way to accelerate particles for use in medicine and high-energy physics. But most alluring, Li says, would be showing that light could tear electrons and their antimatter counterparts, positrons, from empty space—a phenomenon known as "breaking the vacuum." It would be a striking illustration that matter and energy are interchangeable, as Albert Einstein's famous E=mc2 equation states. Although nuclear weapons attest to the conversion of matter into immense amounts of heat and light, doing the reverse is not so easy. But Li says the SEL is up to the task. "That would be very exciting," he says. "It would mean you could generate something from nothing."

This is a great 14 min TED Talk. Architecture colonizes our future for good or ill depending on our design principles and the inherent ‘evolvability of our architecture. We need to ensure that our design principles enable us to live in a better today and tomorrow - not just sustainably but more vital is that our cities, homes are generative.

7 principles for building better cities

More than half of the world's population already lives in cities, and another 2.5 billion people are projected to move to urban areas by 2050. The way we build new cities will be at the heart of so much that matters, from climate change to economic vitality to our very well-being and sense of connectedness. Peter Calthorpe is already at work planning the cities of the future and advocating for community design that's focused on human interaction. He shares seven universal principles for solving sprawl and building smarter, more sustainable cities.

Smart cities, regions, nations are all facing an energy transition and a distributed paradigm in the next few decades likely to be accelerated with the transition to electric transportation. Another paradigm transition will also be integral - the revolution in accounting - the blockchain as an emerging new institution records.

Grid complexity is increasing exponentially. Is blockchain the answer?

As more distributed resources are connected to the grid, the size of energy transactions is shrinking while the volume explodes.
Visions for the utility grid of tomorrow often include armies of smaller resources connected and helping balance supply and demand. For example, grid services that might be supplied by an electric vehicle.

As EV adoption picks up speed and utilities learn to incorporate them as grid management resources, the sheer volume of data moving around will grow exponentially. A home charging station might participate in demand response programs, provide services to the grid, and purchase energy from a nearby solar generator. Each of those tiny transactions has a cost, and it takes time to settle the ledger.

Regardless of the size of the grid — whether a microgrid with a few hundred users or a regional grid with millions of users — grid complexity is about to rise.

Enter, Blockchain, which has been widely touted for its ability to revolutionize everything from currency and financial transactions to balancing the grid and energy trading. Blockchain is essentially a distributed ledger technology that allows for validation of transactions rapidly, cheaply and publicly, helping reduce data risks and speeding the authentication process. It can eliminate the need for a centralized approach to market clearing and trusted third parties, opening the way for a transactive energy environment where balancing is constant and security inherent.

This is an strong signal of the emerging surveillance society - and better real time news, sports coverage and disaster response - among many other possibilities.

Drones that dodge obstacles without guidance can pursue you like paparazzi

A skilled autopilot function will make drones far more ubiquitous and useful.
Artificially intelligent drones are coming—and they’re going to shoot some really sick snowboarding videos along the way.

A startup called Skydio is launching the first drone capable of visually imprinting on a person, a bit like a needy duckling, and then following him or her around, deftly navigating around trees, pylons, and other obstacles while shooting video. In other words, your very own robotic, airborne paparazzo.

The new drone, called R1, will be marketed as an easy way to capture action like biking, skiing, or rafting in high-quality video. But Adam Bry, founder and CEO of Skydio, says his company is thinking about how it could be used to inspect roofs for damage and to patrol properties.

Aerial vehicles are already being used to inspect buildings, perform security patrols, and tally inventory inside warehouses. But to navigate a complex and unfamiliar environment, a drone typically needs to be controlled by an expert pilot on the ground, or else its surroundings must be mapped in great detail.

This is an important signal about how strong intellectual property rights actually impede innovation and new forms of technology - plus it’s fun. Also it’s an important signal in anticipating what the CPTPP really will enact.

The Catalog of Missing Devices

There’s a whole catalog of devices that are missing from our world. Things we’d pay money for — things you could earn money with — don’t exist thanks to the chilling effects of an obscure copyright law: Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA 1201). That law makes selling a device that bypasses access controls on copyrighted works illegal, with criminal penalties of 5 years in prison (for a first offense!), and potential civil penalties in the millions.

It’s hard to notice what isn’t there. We’re aiming to fix that, with this work of “design fiction” — a collection of devices, services, products, and tools. These things could have been, and should have been, but never were.

Thanks to DMCA 1201, manufacturers of products as varied as phones, game consoles, insulin pumps, and cars have locked down the software in those products — all in order to control you and the gadgets you own. They can threaten you with lawsuits and felony prosecution for ordinary things like using your own mechanic instead of the one with the company's official, $70,000 tool. They force you to buy additional copies of movies you want to watch on your phone, instead of just allowing you to rip the DVD you already own.  And they block your printer from using anything but their official ink cartridges, conning you into spending more

Here a signal of the emerging technology that could be used not just to restore human capacity but to enhance human capacity.

A Brain Implant Improved Memory, Scientists Report

Scientists have developed a brain implant that noticeably boosted memory in its first serious test run, perhaps offering a promising new strategy to treat dementia, traumatic brain injuries and other conditions that damage memory.

The device works like a pacemaker, sending electrical pulses to aid the brain when it is struggling to store new information, but remaining quiet when it senses that the brain is functioning well.

In the test, reported Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, the device improved word recall by 15 percent — roughly the amount that Alzheimer’s disease steals over two and half years.

The implant is still experimental; the researchers are currently in discussions to commercialize the technology. And its broad applicability is unknown, having been tested so far only in people with epilepsy.

We are learning that the notion of a self - is really a construct based on being an ecology of becoming selves. The question of health is also a question of enabling a flourishing world.
“I can’t guarantee you these bacteria will be the holy grail of colon cancer, but they should be high on the list” of possible culprits, said Christian Jobin, a professor of medicine at the University of Florida who studies bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

Gut Microbes Combine to Cause Colon Cancer, Study Suggests

Two types of bacteria commonly found in the gut work together to fuel the growth of colon tumors, researchers reported on Thursday.

Their study, published in the journal Science, describes what may be a hidden cause of colon cancer, the third most common cancer in the United States. The research also adds to growing evidence that gut bacteria modify the body’s immune system in unexpected and sometimes deadly ways.

The findings suggest that certain preventive strategies may be effective in the future, like looking for the bacteria in the colons of people getting colonoscopies.

This is an important signal for a number of reasons - the huge problem of sleep - how to get good sleep regularly - and how to be truly awake. Also as a signal of emerging domestication of DNA and the looming enacting of gene sequencing surveys.
“It’s amazingly massive,” says Stuart Ritchie, a psychologist involved with genetics research at the University of Edinburgh. On Twitter, scientists let loose with superlatives: “Holy cr*p,” “mammoth,” and “Wow!”

A search for insomnia genes involving 1.3 million people is the largest genetic study ever

The quest to understand common diseases takes on unprecedented scope.
In a genetic study of unprecedented size, scientists have searched for inherited causes of insomnia in the DNA 1,310,010 people.

They found 956 different genes linked to the sleep disorder, drawing closer to an explanation of what causes it and, perhaps, to new ways to treat it.
The study appears to be the first gene search to involve DNA collected from more than one million people.

The project involved crunching genetic and medical information collected from the UK Biobank and the consumer DNA testing company 23andMe. It was led by Danielle Posthuma, a neuroscientist specializing in statistical genetics at Vrije University, in Amsterdam.

Not only supporting the “Moore’s Law is Dead - Long Live Moore’s Law” developments - but also contributing to the ever better cheaper genome sequencing that is emerging as a platform for the domestication of DNA

Geneticists are using laser-powered chips to search through DNA faster

Performing some calculations with light is 10 times quicker and uses a quarter as much energy. Biologists are testing a new way to efficiently sift through mountains of genomic data: lasers.
As Moore’s Law collapses and we reach the limits of what normal processors can do, unconventional techniques—often dismissed in the past as too complex—start looking like feasible ways to bite off niche computing problems and gain speed advantages. A UK startup called Optalysys thinks optical computing, which has failed to live up to its promise for years, could be used to spot similarities in large data sets like genomes (see “Computing with lasers could power up genomics and AI”).

Unlike regular chips, the processor Optalysys has developed uses laser beams to perform mathematical functions known as Fourier transforms. By encoding data onto light beams that can be made to interfere with each other, it executes some calculations in one shot that a regular computer would do in many stages. The results then feed back into regular chips. Nick New, CEO of Optalysys, says the technique is particularly well suited to tasks that identify regions of similarity in data.

The company’s first product puts the optical hardware required to perform such calculations on a PCI express card that fits into regular desktops or servers. Optalysys says the device performs Fourier transform calculations 10 times faster than an Nvidia P6000 graphics card, commonly employed for high-performance computation, using just 25 percent of the power.

This is awesome - The traditional text book - and chalk board are dead (they most likely don't know it - so I should say they are Zombies).
I wonder what my education would have been if this is the way math was taught when I was in grade and high school. This is simply an example of the emerging new paradigm of education - wait until this includes the interactive immersive environment (that is the real content of the digital environment - rather than the printing press which many still hang-on to for dear life).
What this also means is a very important shift in the nature of our ‘literacy’ in order to both grasp and express increasingly complex ideas - this is definitely new media that enhances our capacity to think in new ways.
Even if you aren’t at all interested in the Fourier Transform - everyone can be enabled to better grasp the concept in an intuitive manner - understanding the inextricable reliance on metaphor to formulate new mathematical insights.

But what is the Fourier Transform? A visual introduction.

An animated introduction to the Fourier Transform, winding graphs around circles
3blue1brown is a channel about animating math, in all senses of the word animate.  The collection of video by these creators can be seen here

This is an interesting signal of how new technologies reveal new history creating new forms of future.

Sprawling Maya network discovered under Guatemala jungle

Researchers have found more than 60,000 hidden Maya ruins in Guatemala in a major archaeological breakthrough.
Laser technology was used to survey digitally beneath the forest canopy, revealing houses, palaces, elevated highways, and defensive fortifications.
The landscape, near already-known Maya cities, is thought to have been home to millions more people than other research had previously suggested.

The researchers mapped over 810 square miles (2,100 sq km) in northern Peten.
Archaeologists believe the cutting-edge technology will change the way the world will see the Maya civilisation.

"I think this is one of the greatest advances in over 150 years of Maya archaeology," said Stephen Houston, Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology at Brown University.

This is a wonderful signal of the emerging energy paradigm and phase transition in energy geopolitics.

Tesla is installing Powerwalls and solar power on 50,000 homes to create biggest virtual power plant in the world

Tesla has been making big moves on the energy storage market in Australia, but they are now all being dwarfed by this new project that will see them install solar arrays and Powerwalls on 50,000 homes to create the biggest virtual power plant in the world.

The company’s main project has been the 100MW/ 129MWh Powerpack project in South Australia, the largest in the world for now.
But now instead of being a large centralized battery system using Tesla’s Powerpacks, the new project announced today is using Tesla’s residential battery system, the Powerwall, to create decentralized energy storage, which basically results in creating a massive virtual power plant.

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill announced the deal today – the biggest of its kind by far.
The 50,000 homes in the state will be fitted with 5 kW solar arrays and 13.5 kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery systems.

It will result in at least 650 MWh of energy storage capacity distributed in the state.

This is a good news signal - one that gives humans more time to transform the way we live on earth - 50 years is a long time in these days of accelerating science and technology - including time to complete the phase transition in global energy geopolitics, materials science and the domestication of DNA.

Longer winters are coming in reality and will partially blunt global warming for 50 years

Reduced sunspot activity has been observed and indicates the sun is heading into a 50 year reduced solar activity similar to what happened in the mid-17th century.
Comparison to similar stars indicates the reduced activity will cause 0.25% less UV for 50 years.

Modeling indicates that this will cause a few tenths of a degree of cooling.
This will counteract global warming for 50 years.

The cooldown would be the result of what scientists call a grand minimum, a periodic event during which the Sun’s magnetism diminishes, sunspots form infrequently, and less ultraviolet radiation makes it to the surface of the planet. Scientists believe that the event is triggered at irregular intervals by random fluctuations related to the Sun’s magnetic field.

Scientists have used reconstructions based on geological and historical data to attribute a cold period in Europe in the mid-17th Century to such an event, named the “Maunder Minimum.” Temperatures were low enough to freeze the Thames River on a regular basis and freeze the Baltic Sea to such an extent that a Swedish army was able to invade Denmark in 1658 on foot by marching across the sea ice.

A team of scientists led by research physicist Dan Lubin at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego has created for the first time an estimate of how much dimmer the Sun should be when the next minimum takes place.

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