What would dinner be like with these two?
'Most of the things we have been told to do might make us feel better - don't use plasticity shopping bags, turn off your lights, insulate the house, etc - but they won't make any difference. Global warming has passed the tipping point, and catastrophe is unstoppable.'
Inventor of the Gaia Hypothesis.
'At the onset of the twenty-first century, humanity stands on the verge of the most transforming and the most thrilling period in its history. It will be an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged, as our species breaks the shackles of its genetic legacy and achieves inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress, and longevity.'
Thursday, 27 August 2009
In biology new species evolve by slow changes over a long time. Humans, for example have emerged from Apes through a long process of adaptation and variation over a long period.
But new, and radically new technology does not emerge out of slow adaptations and variations alone, but through the combination of older, existing technologies.
Brain Arthur's new book 'The Nature of Technology' examines and explains this process in some detail. In fact, it is being offered up as an equivalent explanation for technological evolution, as Darwin's explanation is to biological evolution: technological Darwinism!
By interconnecting (combining in Brian's words) existing technologies in multidimensional ways can and does create novel technologies to again interconnect to create even more new technology, ad'infinitum.
Click on above title to review Brian's book. A must read for all technologists (which every human is).
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Wizz..... A real automative innovation.
Aptera Motors is an IdeaLab company building lightweight, low cost, composite, electric hybrid vehicles that are safe and reliable.
By combining patent pending low cost composite manufacturing methods and cutting edge computational fluid dynamics, the company's first car, the Aptera typ-1 will be available for under $30,000 (c.£18,000).
At Aptera conservation and efficiency is central to the design approach to ensuring sustainability.
By entering into every issue with the question of 'how to be more efficient' they maximize the value of every component combined, be they tangible or intangible.
For example, the seats and carpet were born of old plastic bottles and cups, and the fabrics throughout the vehicle use natural dyes.
And the 100 miles per plug-in (as in fill her up) you get costs a mere $0.50. Now that's something!
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
IBM research is looking to the building blocks of life -- DNA -- to become the structure of next-generation of microchips.
As chipmakers compete to develop ever-smaller chips at cheaper prices, designers are struggling to cut costs. Artificial DNA nanostructures, or "DNA origami" may provide a cheap framework on which to build tiny microchips, according to a paper published on Sunday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
"This is the first demonstration of using biological molecules to help with processing in the semiconductor industry," says IBM research manager Spike Narayan.. "Basically, this is telling us that biological structures like DNA actually offer some very reproducible, repetitive kinds of patterns that we can actually leverage in semiconductor processes."
The research was a joint undertaking by IBM's Almaden Research Center and the California Institute of Technology. Right now, the tinier the chip, the more expensive the equipment. Narayan said that if the DNA origami process scales to production-level, manufacturers could trade hundreds of millions of dollars in complex tools for less than a million dollars of polymers, DNA solutions, and heating implements.
"The savings across many fronts could add up significantly," he said. But the new processes are at least 10 years out. Narayan said that while the DNA origami could allow chipmakers to build frameworks that are far smaller than possible with conventional tools, the technique still needs years of experimentation and testing.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Jobs that don’t yet exist.
Future Jobs R Us.
What kinds of jobs will be created in 10-20 years time through advances in science and technology? On initial research I've identified and defined 10 new job roles that could become reality within a decade or 2.
1. Personal Entertainment Programmers: Designers of in-person or electronic activities that meet the needs of individualised services.
2. Genomics Baby Designer: With the unravelling of the human genome, new roles emerge to design personalised enhancements and select the genetic make-up of unborn children.
3. Resource Use Consultant: As environmental awareness rises, roles emerge for advisors who help citizens grade the impact of every action / purchase / item and manage down the ecological footprint of our lifestyles and purchases.
4. Personal Enhancement Advisors: Advances in hypermaterials, productive nanotechnologies, cognitive science, natural therapies and pharmaceuticals will offer an increasingly broad range of legal (and illegal) personal enhancements. These could be used to give sports people a competitive edge, enhance our memory capacity when studying for exams or increase the strength and endurance of soldiers in the field. Roles emerge professionals who take a holistic approach advising across a full range of possible enhancements.
5. Psycho-Customiser: Future generations of mobile phones could offer a range of applications to help monitor and manage stress levels and counsel us on key decisions. Tomorrow's retail assistant could perform behavioural assessments to help customise our devises to match our personality type.
6. Nano-Medic: Advances in nanotechnology offer the potential for a range of sub-atomic 'nanoscale' device inserts and procedures that could transform personal healthcare. A new range of nano medicine specialists will be required to administer these treatments.
7. Vertical Farmers: There is growing interest in the concept of city based vertical farms, with hydroponically-fed food being grown in multi-storey buildings. These offer the potential to dramatically increase farm yield and reduce environmental degradation. The managers of such entities will require expertise in a range of wide scientific disciplines, engineering and commerce.
8. Spaceline Pilots: With Virgin Galactic and others pioneering space tourism the need for space trained pilots will arise.
9. Climate Change Reversal Specialist: As the threats and impacts of climate change increase, a new breed of engineer-scientists will be required to help reduce or reverse the effects of climate change on particular locations. They will need to apply multi-disciplinary solutions ranging from filling the oceans with iron filings to erecting giant umbrellas that deflect the sun's rays.
10. Hydrogen Fuel Station Manager: Hydrogen will be cost-competitive with gasoline if refuelling stations were mass-produced. The hydrogen would be produced on-site, so managers would need an entirely different set of skills than those required in today's gas stations.
In addition to the jobs described above, I've also identified a further 20 possibilities:
1. Professional VR Citizen
2. Second Life Lawyer
3. Nano Design Engineer
4. Machine Linguist
5. Complexity Manager / Gaiantologist
6. Robot Mechanic
7. Chief Health Officer
8. Telemedicine Technician
9. Pharmer of Genetically Engineered Crops and Livestock
10. Spaceport Designer
11. Space Tour Guide
12. Terraformer of the Moon and Other Planets
13. In-Company Gene Screener
14. Drowned City Specialist
15. Quarantine Enforcer
16. Biorefinery Operative
18. Virtual Reality Actor
20. Dirigible Pilot