Thursday, January 31, 2019

Friday Thinking 1 Feb 2019

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

Many thanks to those who enjoy this.

In the 21st Century curiosity will SKILL the cat.

Jobs are dying - Work is just beginning.
Work that engages our whole self becomes play that works.
Techne = Knowledge-as-Know-How :: Technology = Embodied Know-How  
In the 21st century - the planet is the little school house in the galaxy.
Citizenship is the battlefield of the 21st  Century

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



Indeed, in certain organisations, the system can inhibit qualities specific to its components. In order to understand the apparent contradiction of a whole that is simultaneously more and less than the sum of its parts, I claim the heritage of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, from the 6th century BC: when you reach a contradiction, it doesn’t necessarily mean an error, but rather that you have touched on a fundamental problem. Therefore, I believe that these contradictions should be recognised and upheld, rather than circumvented. Fortunately, this has been the case in quantum physics—as it should also be in astrophysics, since we are told that the Universe emerged from the void. Obviously, there is a contradiction in terms there…

In complex thought you cannot make do with a conventional method, simply following a plan. In this case the strategy can change at any time, as you to discover new information, and think of new ideas along the way.

complex thought is not the ultimate, comprehensive conception of the Universe. It is, however, the best approximation.

The fact is that complex knowledge cannot eliminate uncertainty. We will never have an exhaustive grasp of everything! It’s a bit like chaos theory: in many deterministic systems, certain processes are unpredictable and uncontrollable.

the predominant modes of knowledge and of thinking, not only in the sciences but also in everyday life and in politics, are still based on disjunction, in other words compartmentalisation into isolated sectors. Our way of thinking remains binary, including among scientists.

Edgar Morin: In praise of complex thought

Change worker protections from a safety net to a trampoline
Our tax, healthcare, unemployment insurance and pension systems were all created for the industrial era, and they won’t serve anyone in the future if we can’t make significant reforms.

For decades, that system was aligned with how the majority of workers were employed. But as that has changed, and indeed, is quickly passing us by, all parties should “explore ‘decoupling’ benefits and protections from the status of full-time employment and distributing them more evenly across the productive workforce”

What the next 20 years will mean for jobs – and how to prepare

Overall, do you feel like creatives should feel optimistic about AI and the future of work?
A: Just being a creative is not a protection against a big 30 year-long trend to de-professionalize and drive labor costs down. The majority of employers and industries are going to follow that garden path toward zero labor cost. It’s a bit of a bait and switch, because we have one possible world where we can augment everybody, and we have another world in which we can substitute for them. I know which one I want.

The best thing you can do as an individual is dive deep into your creative instincts. We’re finally at the point where all that’s left is being human. I actually find it hopeful that, in this highly technologized world, the final story is “be all the more human.”

Vivienne Ming: High Stakes of AI Will Make Us All Explorers & Entrepreneurs

In the mid-1990s, Joseph Overton, a researcher at the US think tank the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, proposed the idea of a ‘window’ of socially acceptable policies within any given domain. This came to be known as the Overton window of political possibilities. The job of think tanks, Overton proposed, was not directly to advocate particular policies, but to shift the window of possibilities so that previously unthinkable policy ideas – those shocking to the sensibilities of the time – become mainstream and part of the debate.

Overton’s insight was that there is little point advocating policies that are publicly unacceptable, since (almost) no politician will support them. Efforts are better spent, he argued, in shifting the debate so that such policies seem less radical and become more likely to receive support from sympathetic politicians. For instance, working to increase awareness of climate change might make future proposals to restrict the use of diesel cars more palatable, and ultimately more effective, than directly lobbying for a ban on such vehicles.

Philosophy can make the previously unthinkable thinkable

Either or thinking in strategy and management arises from the Aristotelian logic, which requires a choice, the elimination of paradoxes and dilemmas. Examples of these dilemmas are competition and collaboration or saving money and creating more value — at the same time.

These dilemmas, if not resolved through choice and decision were seen as a sign of faulty thinking. As an alternative one could think of the problem of competition and collaboration or saving and providing a better service as a creative opportunity.

There are many different definitions of a paradox. It may mean a contradiction, a situation in which two conflicting elements exist at the same time. A paradox in this sense can be removed by choosing one side instead of the other or by reframing the problem to remove the contradiction. A paradox may also mean a state in which two opposing needs are simultaneously present, neither of which should be eliminated. There is therefore no possibility of a choice between the opposing poles or possibility of locating them apart without destroying the possibility of a truly creative solution.

What is then required is a different kind of logic, such as the approach of Hegel instead of Aristotle. In Hegel’s thinking, the word paradox means the natural, and necessary, presence of conflicting ideas at the same time. A paradox is then the essential requirement for creativity and transformation.
Paradoxes are a requirement of life.

Esko Kilpi - Living with paradoxes

This is a fascinating development in the domain of AI - this is worth understanding.

A neural network can learn to organize the world it sees into concepts—just like we do

Generative adversarial networks are not just good for causing mischief. They can also show us how AI algorithms “think.”
GANs, or generative adversarial networks, are the social-media starlet of AI algorithms. They are responsible for creating the first AI painting ever sold at an art auction and for superimposing celebrity faces on the bodies of porn stars. They work by pitting two neural networks against each other to create realistic outputs based on what they are fed. Feed one lots of dog photos, and it can create completely new dogs; feed it lots of faces, and it can create new faces.

So the researchers began probing a GAN’s learning mechanics by feeding it various photos of scenery—trees, grass, buildings, and sky. They wanted to see whether it would learn to organize the pixels into sensible groups without being explicitly told how.

Stunningly, over time, it did. By turning “on” and “off” various “neurons” and asking the GAN to paint what it thought, the researchers found distinct neuron clusters that had learned to represent a tree, for example. Other clusters represented grass, while still others represented walls or doors. In other words, it had managed to group tree pixels with tree pixels and door pixels with door pixels regardless of how these objects changed color from photo to photo in the training set.

Not only that, but the GAN seemed to know what kind of door to paint depending on the type of wall pictured in an image. It would paint a Georgian-style door on a brick building with Georgian architecture, or a stone door on a Gothic building. It also refused to paint any doors on a piece of sky. Without being told, the GAN had somehow grasped certain unspoken truths about the world.

The team has now released an app called GANpaint that turns this newfound ability into an artistic tool. It allows you to turn on specific neuron clusters to paint scenes of buildings in grassy fields with lots of doors. Beyond its silliness as a playful outlet, it also speaks to the greater potential of this research.

Conventional wisdom holds that a true Generalized Artificial Intelligence remains an unpredictable distance in the future - that said AI continues to make ever newer breakthroughs.

AlphaStar: Mastering the Real-Time Strategy Game StarCraft II

Games have been used for decades as an important way to test and evaluate the performance of artificial intelligence systems. As capabilities have increased, the research community has sought games with increasing complexity that capture different elements of intelligence required to solve scientific and real-world problems. In recent years, StarCraft, considered to be one of the most challenging Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games and one of the longest-played esports of all time, has emerged by consensus as a “grand challenge” for AI research.

Now, we introduce our StarCraft II program AlphaStar, the first Artificial Intelligence to defeat a top professional player. In a series of test matches held on 19 December, AlphaStar decisively beat Team Liquid’s Grzegorz "MaNa" Komincz, one of the world’s strongest professional StarCraft players, 5-0, following a successful benchmark match against his team-mate Dario “TLO” Wünsch. The matches took place under professional match conditions on a competitive ladder map and without any game restrictions.

Although there have been significant successes in video games such as Atari, Mario, Quake III Arena Capture the Flag, and Dota 2, until now, AI techniques have struggled to cope with the complexity of StarCraft. The best results were made possible by hand-crafting major elements of the system, imposing significant restrictions on the game rules, giving systems superhuman capabilities, or by playing on simplified maps. Even with these modifications, no system has come anywhere close to rivalling the skill of professional players. In contrast, AlphaStar plays the full game of StarCraft II, using a deep neural network that is trained directly from raw game data by supervised learning and reinforcement learning.

This is another signal of the darker uses of platforms of the digital environment - the key response - I think is for regulation requiring greater transparency so users have real choice. The problem with the approach in the article is that it mines not only one personal data but also the data of a person’s network - who haven’t installed the data-mining app and so have not consented.
“The fairly technical sounding ‘install our Root Certificate’ step is appalling,” Strafach tells us. “This hands Facebook continuous access to the most sensitive data about you, and most users are going to be unable to reasonably consent to this regardless of any agreement they sign, because there is no good way to articulate just how much power is handed to Facebook when you do this.”

Facebook pays teens to install VPN that spies on them

Desperate for data on its competitors, Facebook  has been secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” VPN that lets the company suck in all of a user’s phone and web activity, similar to Facebook’s Onavo Protect app that Apple banned in June and that was removed in August. Facebook sidesteps the App Store and rewards teenagers and adults to download the Research app and give it root access to network traffic in what may be a violation of Apple policy so the social network can decrypt and analyze their phone activity, a TechCrunch investigation confirms.

Facebook admitted to TechCrunch it was running the Research program to gather data on usage habits.
Since 2016, Facebook has been paying users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 per month plus referral fees to sell their privacy by installing the iOS or Android “Facebook Research” app. Facebook even asked users to screenshot their Amazon order history page. The program is administered through beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest to cloak Facebook’s involvement, and is referred to in some documentation as “Project Atlas” — a fitting name for Facebook’s effort to map new trends and rivals around the globe.

We asked Guardian Mobile Firewall’s security expert Will Strafach to dig into the Facebook Research app, and he told us that “If Facebook makes full use of the level of access they are given by asking users to install the Certificate, they will have the ability to continuously collect the following types of data: private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps – including photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and even ongoing location information by tapping into the feeds of any location tracking apps you may have installed.” It’s unclear exactly what data Facebook is concerned with, but it gets nearly limitless access to a user’s device once they install the app.

This is a very good signal of the emerging model of ‘smart’ consumption in the digital environment - enabling a metabolic economy (all outputs become metabolized as inputs to the system or new niche opportunities), AI and robotics and mass-production-customization. Jeremy Rifkin’s concept of the ‘Internet of Logistics’ and the shift to subscription/access models as opposed to ownership models of economics.

A coalition of giant brands is about to change how we shop forever, with a new zero-waste platform

Loop will send you name-brand products, like Tide detergent, Crest mouthwash, or Häagen Dazs ice cream. When you’re done, you ship the empty container back, where it gets cleaned and reused for the next customer.
In the not-too-distant future–as soon as this spring, if you live in or near New York City or Paris–you’ll be able to buy ice cream or shampoo in a reusable container. When you’re done eating a tub of Haagen-Dazs, you’ll toss the sleek stainless steel package in your personal reuse bin instead of your trash can. Then it will be picked up for delivery back to a cleaning and sterilization facility so that it can be refilled with more ice cream for another customer.

Loop, a new zero-waste platform from a coalition of major consumer product companies, will launch its first pilots this year. “While recycling is critically important, it is not going to solve waste at the root cause,” says Tom Szaky, CEO and cofounder of TerraCycle, a company that is known for recycling hard-to-recycle materials, and one of the partners behind the project.

The Internet has been likened to a global nervous system - but that’s barely true - yet. This is a good signal of the internet going way beyond the last mile and infiltrating the emerging Internet-of-Things. In the following article imagine all the sensors that could be impeded in electric infrastructure.
“What is revolutionary is to have near real-time information about how people are moving,” Caldwell says. “That gives us the ability to see things we haven’t seen before. We can look at a baseball game at Petco Park downtown, and see how that affects people’s ability to move through the environment. We can see how a law enforcement event, like a traffic stop, impedes the ability to move.”

San Diego’s Smart Streetlights Yield a Firehose of Data

San Diego’s installation of 3,200 smart streetlights is slightly behind schedule, but the city has already ordered more
San Diego’s network of smart streetlights, which has been rolling out since early 2018, continues to grow. To date, some 2,000 of the sensor-laden devices have begun gathering pictures, sounds, and other data.

So far, the city has focused on the image data, using it to count pedestrians and cars as they move around the city. This data is only just starting to feed into the way the city designs and manages traffic flows, and any consumer applications remain far in the future, says Erik Caldwell, the city of San Diego’s interim deputy chief operating officer for smart and sustainable communities. Officials are still talking through all other possible applications, such as using the streetlights to locate gunshots, track airport noise, or monitor air quality.

The city is also getting ready to use the parking data to help people find a parking space. “We’ve had a couple of pilot applications built,” he says, “but haven’t launched a consumer-facing version yet.”
More useful to city planners than parking will be what Caldwell calls “mobility” data—information on how people and vehicles move through the city.

This is a good signal for the emerging transformation of transportation and energy geopolitics.

Making Structural Batteries Robust

Biomaterials provide inspiration for a new kind of solid electrolyte.
One of the problems with batteries is that they tend to be heavy. Another is that they take up space. An idea that has been floating around is to make the battery a part of the structure of the device that it powers. No more casings and housings formed into bulky battery packs. Instead, the cover of a laptop, the wings of a drone, or the fenders and bumpers of a car could be made from electrochemical materials that can also provide structural strength. That’s the concept behind a recent development described by the University of Michigan in a news release.

Battery as a Structure
“A battery that is also a structural component has to be light, strong, safe, and have high capacity. Unfortunately, these requirements are often mutually exclusive,” said Nicholas Kotov, the Joseph B. and Florence V. Cejka Professor of Engineering, who led the research at the U of M.

Anything to do with quantum is inherently difficult to grasp. But despite the difficulty progress is being made in the real world of know how. This may be a stronger signal that it seems - perhaps both weak and strong?

An entangled atom-light state realizes a paradoxical thought experiment by Erwin Schrödinger

An old thought experiment now appears in a new light. In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. A group of researchers led by Gerhard Rempe, Director of the Department of Quantum Dynamics at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, has now realized an optical version of Schrödinger's thought experiment in the laboratory. In this instance, pulses of laser light play the role of the cat. The insights gained from the project open up new prospects for enhanced control of optical states, that can in the future be used for quantum communications.

"According to Schrödinger's idea, it is possible for a microscopic particle, such as a single atom, to exist in two different states at once. This is called a superposition. Moreover, when such a particle interacts with a macroscopic object, they can become 'entangled', and the macroscopic object may end up in superposition state.

"We have succeeded in generating flying optical cat states, and demonstrated that they behave in accordance with the predictions of quantum mechanics. These findings prove that our method for creating cat states works, and allowed us to explore the essential parameters," says Ph.D. student Stephan Welte.

"In our experimental setup, we have succeeded not only in creating one specific cat state, but arbitrarily many such states with different superposition phases – a whole zoo, so to speak. This capability could in the future be utilized to encode quantum information," adds Bastian Hacker.

"Schrödinger's cat was originally enclosed in a box to avoid any interaction with the environment. Our optical cat states are not enclosed in a box. They propagate freely in space. Yet they remain isolated from the environment and retain their properties over long distances. In the future we could use this technology to construct quantum networks, in which flying optical cat states transmit information," says Gerhard Rempe. This underlines the significance of his group's latest achievement.

This is still a weak but significant signal of emerging capabilities to extend our senses to image the very very small in safer ways.
"We expect that the combination of quantum sensors and dynamical decoupling techniques allows NMR imaging of single biomolecules," write authors Dr. Jorge Casanova and Ikerbasque Professor Enrique Solano. This quantum-enhanced NMR "will be able to resolve chemical shifts in tiny picoliter samples, producing biosensors with unparalleled sensitivity and providing new insights into the structure, dynamics, and function of biomolecules and biological processes."

Quantum sensors providing magnetic resonance with unprecedented sensitivity

A study by the Quantum Technologies for Information Science (QUTIS) group of the UPV/EHU's Department of Physical Chemistry, has produced a series of protocols for quantum sensors that could allow images to be obtained by means of the nuclear magnetic resonance of single biomolecules using a minimal amount of radiation. The results have been published in Physical Review Letters.

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) has a variety of applications, such as medical imaging, neuroscience and detection of drugs and explosives. With the help of quantum sensors, NMR has been adapted to work in the nanoscale regime, where it has the potential to impact disciplines such as life sciences, biology and medicine, and to provide measurements of incomparable precision and sensitivity.

This is a very important signal - despite its weakness - the inevitable known and unknown surprises that lurk in our future. The status quo is not safer than the explorations we engage in.

How Nearby Stellar Explosions Could Have Killed Off Large Animals

A new study suggests that subatomic particles called muons streamed through the atmosphere and fatally irradiated megafauna like the monster shark megalodon.
Even though Earth is floating in the void, it does not exist in a vacuum. The planet is constantly bombarded by stuff from space, including a daily deluge of micrometeorites and a shower of radiation from the sun and more-distant stars. Sometimes, things from space can maim or kill us, like the gargantuan asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. More often, stellar smithereens make their way to Earth and the moon and then peacefully settle, remaining for eternity, or at least until scientists dig them up.

This is a great article outlining the current state of our capacity to domesticate DNA via the control and use of ‘gene drives’. Worth the read.

Gene Drives Work in Mice (if They’re Female)

Biologists have demonstrated for the first time that a controversial genetic engineering technology works, with caveats, in mammals.
Conservationists and bioethicists often regard the packages of engineered DNA called “gene drives” with a mixture of wonder, excitement and dread. Gene drives violate the normal rules of inheritance by making sure they get passed down to all of their host organism’s offspring, not just to half of them; they therefore have the unnerving potential to rapidly and irrevocably alter a population. Much of the controversy about gene drives has centered on the practicality (and hubris) of using them to control dangerous insect pests, since insects were about the only animals in which gene drives had been shown to work.

That has now changed. In a paper appearing today in Nature, biologists at the University of California, San Diego demonstrate for the first time that current gene drive technology also works — at least up to a point — in a mammal: the mouse. Their findings highlight the potential, but also the significant limitations, of putting gene drives to work in the real world. For at least some time to come, these kinds of “active genetics” technologies may be more useful as laboratory tools than as instruments for remaking nature.

The enthusiasm expressed by Bruce Conklin, a geneticist at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco who wrote a commentary on Cooper’s study for Nature, is more measured. “It’s valuable, but with CRISPR, we can [already] make really complicated models really quickly,” he said. Still, he hails the work for highlighting overlooked differences in male and female cell biology, and he thinks the active genetics approach it champions might aid understanding of DNA repair and other fundamental mechanisms in molecular biology.

It seems that in the last decade a widespread recognition of the importance of our microbiome to our mental and physical health. Just as we are deeply familiar with blood transfusions, organ donation, stem cell therapy and other forms of medical intervention - now a new source of sharing for health emerges.
O’Sullivan and his team did their research by analyzing more than 100 fecal transplant trials, conducted mostly in the past decade, and found evidence not only that super donors exist, but also data that could explain why.

A New Study Supports the Idea That Some People Are “Super Poopers.” You Could Be One of Them.

All the more reason to donate your stools—for science!
There’s nothing charming about poop. And most people, I assume, don’t want to spend any time beyond what’s necessary thinking—let alone talking—about defecation. But here’s the deal: Poop saves lives. Through fecal transplants (which are exactly what they sound like), patients with ailments like C. difficile infection, inflammatory bowel disease, or diabetes can, in many cases, cure or treat their condition with a fresh set of gut bacteria. And now, a new study bolsters the theory that some people may be “super poopers,” or fecal donors whose gut bacteria transplants are more successful in treating disease than the average donor.

“[Super donors] have been observed in a lot of different studies for different disorders,” says Justin O’Sullivan, an associate professor at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and an author on the new study, published Monday in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. “And what people have observed is that there’s a propensity for some individuals to have microbiomes which make a greater impact on the clinical features and the characteristics of the recipients.”

In some cases, according to O’Sullivan, super-donor transplants have achieved clinical remission rates of about double the average.

Here’s another signal - indicating possible causes and prevention of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative neurocognitive diseases.

We may finally know what causes Alzheimer’s – and how to stop it

If you bled when you brushed your teeth this morning, you might want to get that seen to. We may finally have found the long-elusive cause of Alzheimer’s disease: Porphyromonas gingivalis, the key bacteria in chronic gum disease.

That’s bad, as gum disease affects around a third of all people. But the good news is that a drug that blocks the main toxins of P. gingivalis is entering major clinical trials this year, and research published today shows it might stop and even reverse Alzheimer’s. There could even be a vaccine.

Alzheimer’s is one of the biggest mysteries in medicine. As populations have aged, dementia has skyrocketed to become the fifth biggest cause of death worldwide. Alzheimer’s constitutes some 70 per cent of these cases and yet, we don’t know what causes it.

However evidence has been growing that the function of amyloid proteins may be as a defence against bacteria, leading to a spate of recent studies looking at bacteria in Alzheimer’s, particularly those that cause gum disease, which is known to be a major risk factor for the condition.

Multiple research teams have been investigating P. gingivalis, and have so far found that it invades and inflames brain regions affected by Alzheimer’s; that gum infections can worsen symptoms in mice genetically engineered to have Alzheimer’s; and that it can cause Alzheimer’s-like brain inflammation, neural damage, and amyloid plaques in healthy mice.

This is a good signal of the possible - if we focus on changing the energy geopolitics toward renewables and enact new forms of protections (which will have the added benefit of incentivizing other new more suitable technologies).

State-of-the-art climate model shows how we can solve crisis

Now, after two years of research and modelling, scientists have come up with a groundbreaking new framework for achieving – and even beating – the target of limiting warming to 1.5°C.

The research by leading scientists at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the German Aerospace Center and the University of Melbourne, has been funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) as part of its new One Earth initiative.

Welcoming the framework, LDF founder Leonardo DiCaprio says: "With the pace of urgent climate warnings now increasing, it's clear that our planet cannot wait for meaningful action. This ambitious and necessary pathway shows that a transition to 100% renewable energy and strong measures to protect and restore our natural ecosystems, taken together, can deliver a more stable climate within a single generation."

This new research has produced the most detailed energy model to date – and the first to achieve negative emissions through natural climate solutions. Its proposed transition to 100% renewables by mid-century, along with steps such as reforestation, would not only have benefits for the climate but would also create millions of permanent jobs. The researchers say this could be achieved at about a quarter of the cost of current subsidies for fossil fuels.

And there an increasing number of good signals that the shift to renewable sources of energy is accelerating.

Renewables In Britain To Overtake Fossil Fuels By 2020

Renewable electricity is on track to overtake fossil fuels to become the dominant source of electricity generation in Britain by 2020 according to a new report from British power analysts EnAppSys.

EnAppSys published its annual market review and forecast earlier this month in which it outlined power figures from Great Britain’s electricity sector for 2018 (where Great Britain differs from the United Kingdom in excluding Ireland). Coal and gas-fired power stations produced a total of 130.9 terawatt-hours (TWh) while renewable energy sources generated 95.9 TWh in 2018.

The renewable energy sector in Britain also saw levels of generation increase by 12.7 TWh (15.2%) in 2018, subsequently impacting levels of conventional power generation fell by 6.7% from 140.3 TWh in 2017.

Developing new forms of monitoring can help us save significant amounts of money and resources - which in turn can help us accelerate the shift to renewables and make our systems more robust and last longer.

RoadBotics’ AI Could Change the Way Cities Maintain Roads

By automating assessments of road conditions, RoadBotics could help cities save time and money
When temperatures drop, the expansion and contraction of water that seeps into cracks in asphalt can create giant tire-chompers. But these problem spots are too often the final result of damage that has been brewing for a while.

“There are things you can do 5 or even 10 years before that happens to push the lifespan of a road,” says Benjamin Schmidt, CTO of RoadBotics in Pittsburgh.
RoadBotics is using state-of-the-art computer-vision techniques to help local governments better manage roads. The company’s machine-learning algorithms process images of the road collected via smartphone. Then, it uses these images to produce an in-depth online map of road conditions that officials can use to make maintenance and repair decisions.

Since launching in December 2016, the Carnegie Mellon University spinoff has assessed roads for more than 90 cities, towns, and counties around the United States. Detroit will soon become the latest city to use RoadBotics’ technology to inspect its 4,200-kilometer (2,600-mile) network.

This is very is so fun and mindblowing - imagine if this is what can happen to 2 dimensional space? You won’t regret the 4 min view.


Historical Note: This video is based on a true story. Arthur H. Stone really did invent the hexaflexagon after playing with the paper strips he'd cut off his too-wide British paper, and really did start a flexagon committee (which we'll hear more about in the next video). The details and dialogue, however, are my own invention.

This video is based on, and in honor of, Martin Gardner's first Mathematical Games column from 1956, "Hexaflexagons,"

Hexaflexagons 2

Oct. 21st is the annual Celebration of Mind, in honor of Martin Gardner. Maybe you'd like to host or attend a flexagon party sometime around then, or learn about other awesome Martin Gardnery things.