reflections on the technium

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” — Alan Kay

Brown Bag at the Movies – Selected technical topics(16)

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Greetings!

For this installment of Brown Bag at the Movies we will be viewing (abstract below):

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CEP COMMENT:

Amazing Timelapse Video from the Space Station
<http://www.universetoday.com/88998/amazing-timelapse-video-from-the-space-station/>
1:02
ABSTRACT

“Science educator James Drake built this amazing timelapse video from the perspective of the International Space Station as it flew over North and South America. He created this video by downloading a series of 600 photographs that were available online at the Gateway to Astronomy Photograph of Earth, and then stitching them together into a complete video. You can see more of James work at his blog: infinity imagined <http://infinity-imagined.tumblr.com/>.”

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CEP COMMENT: The six “killer apps”: science, medicine, protestant work ethic, competition, property rights, consumer society.

Niall Ferguson: The 6 killer apps of prosperity
<http://www.ted.com/talks/niall_ferguson_the_6_killer_apps_of_prosperity.html>
20:20
ABSTRACT

“Over the past few centuries, Western cultures have been very good at creating general prosperity for themselves. Historian Niall Ferguson asks: Why the West, and less so the rest? He suggests half a dozen big ideas from Western culture — call them the 6 killer apps — that promote wealth, stability and innovation. And in this new century, he says, these apps are all shareable.”

BIO

Niall Ferguson: Historian <http://www.niallferguson.com>
“History is a curious thing, and Niall Ferguson investigates not only what happened but why. (Hint: Politics and money explain a lot.)

“Why you should listen to him: Niall Ferguson teaches history and business administration at Harvard and is a senior research fellow at several other universities, including Oxford. His books chronicle a wide range of political and socio-economic events; he has written about everything from German politics during the era of inflation to a financial history of the world. He’s now working on a biography of former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

“Ferguson is a prolific and often controversial commentator on contemporary politics and economics. He frequently writes, reviews, and hosts for the British and American press. His latest book and TV series, Civilization: The West and the Rest, aims to help 21st-century audiences understand the past and the present. In it, he asks how, since the 1500s, Western nations have surpassed their Eastern counterparts and came to dominate the world (his answer: thanks to six “killer apps”: science, medicine, protestant work ethic, competition, property rights, consumer society). And he wonders whether that domination is now threatened by the rise of Asia. His theories have drawn criticism and prompted discussions, which he says was his intent. “It’s designed to be slightly annoying, so that you talk about it,” he told The Observer.

“He says: “If a majority of people subscribe to a particular view, it pays to question it. It pays to think: maybe this is wrong.”

Book: Civilization: The West and the Rest

Also see <http://www.valuewalk.com/consuelo-mack-wealthtrack/full-transcript-video-niall-ferguson-interview-consuelo-mack/>

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CEP COMMENT:

Richard Resnick: Welcome to the genomic revolution
<http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_resnick_welcome_to_the_genomic_revolution.html>
11:03
ABSTRACT

“In this accessible talk from TEDxBoston, Richard Resnick shows how cheap and fast genome sequencing is about to turn health care (and insurance, and politics) upside down.”

BIO

Richard Resnick: Entrepreneur <http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardresnick>
“Richard Resnick is on the front lines of the business of genomes, as CEO of GenomeQuest, a maker of genomic software.

“Why you should listen to him: Richard Resnick is CEO of GenomeQuest <http://www.genomequest.com/company/about/>, a company that builds software to support genomic medicine — research and individualized treatments that take advantage of cheap and accessible genome processing. He was previously CEO of Mosaic Bioinformatics; before becoming a bio-entrepreneur, he was a member of the Human Genome Project under Eric Lander at MIT.

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CEP COMMENT:

Lee Cronin: Making matter come alive
<http://www.ted.com/talks/lee_cronin_making_matter_come_alive.html>
15:11
ABSTRACT

“Before life existed on Earth, there was just matter, inorganic dead “stuff.” How improbable is it that life arose? And — could it use a different type of chemistry? Using an elegant definition of life (anything that can evolve), chemist Lee Cronin is exploring this question by attempting to create a fully inorganic cell using a “Lego kit” of inorganic molecules — no carbon — that can assemble, replicate and compete.”

BIO

Lee Cronin: Chemist <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leroy_Cronin>
“With his research group, Lee Cronin is investigating the emergence of complex self-organising chemical systems — call it inorganic biology.

“Why you should listen to him: Chemist Lee Cronin asks, “What is the minimum unit of life?” At the moment, it’s bacteria, the minimal chemical unit that can undergo evolution. But in Cronin’s emerging field, he’s thinking about forms of life that won’t be biological. To explore this, and to try to understand how life itself originated from chemicals, Cronin and others are attempting to create truly artificial life from completely non-biological chemistries that mimic the behavior of natural cells. They call these chemical cells, or Chells.

“Cronin’s research interests also encompass self-assembly and self-growing structures — the better to assemble life at nanoscale. At the University of Glasgow, this work on crystal structures is producing a raft of papers from his research group.

He says: “Basically one of my longstanding research goals is to understand how life emerged on planet Earth and re-create the process.”

“Working out how nano-particles are built is key to developing new ‘intelligent materials’, electronic devices, and understanding the bio-machinery that operates in living cells.”

Also see <http://www.kurzweilai.net/scientists-create-first-step-toward-creating-inorganic-life>

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CEP COMMENT:

Misha Glenny: Hire the hackers!
<http://www.ted.com/talks/misha_glenny_hire_the_hackers.html>
18:40
ABSTRACT

“Despite multibillion-dollar investments in cybersecurity, one of its root problems has been largely ignored: who are the people who write malicious code? Underworld investigator Misha Glenny profiles several convicted coders from around the world and reaches a startling conclusion.”

BIO

Misha Glenny: Underworld investigator <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misha_Glenny>
“Journalist Misha Glenny leaves no stone unturned (and no failed state unexamined) in his excavation of criminal globalization.

“Why you should listen to him:

“In minute detail, Misha Glenny’s 2008 book McMafia illuminates the byzantine outlines of global organized crime. Whether it’s pot smugglers in British Columbia, oil/weapons/people traffickers in Eastern Europe, Japanese yakuza or Nigerian scammers, to research this magisterial work Glenny penetrated the convoluted, globalized and franchised modern underworld — often at considerable personal risk.

“The book that resulted is an exhaustive look at an unseen industry that Glenny believes may account for 15% of the world’s GDP.

“Legal society ignores this world at its peril, but Glenny suggests that conventional law enforcement might not be able to combat a problem whose roots lie in global instability.

“While covering the Central Europe beat for the Guardian and the BBC, Glenny wrote several acclaimed books on the fall of Yugoslavia and the rise of the Balkan nations. He’s researching a new book on cybercrime, of which he says: “The key to cybercrime is what we call social engineering. Or to use the technical term for it, there’s one born every minute.”

Also see:

Behind the scenes of McMafia: Exclusive video Q&A with Misha Glenny
<http://blog.ted.com/2010/03/31/behind_the_scen_2/>

Misha Glenny investigates global crime networks
<http://www.ted.com/talks/misha_glenny_investigates_global_crime_networks.html>

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Written by Chuck Petras

October 18, 2011 at 18:31

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