stem cell

154 results back to index

pages: 294 words: 80,084

Tomorrowland: Our Journey From Science Fiction to Science Fact by Steven Kotler


Albert Einstein, Alexander Shulgin, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Burning Man, carbon footprint, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, epigenetics, gravity well, haute couture, interchangeable parts, Kevin Kelly, life extension, Louis Pasteur, North Sea oil, Oculus Rift, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, theory of mind, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

His work involves trying to decode how proteins, lipids, and organelles move through the neurons and brain cells, which is information that could help us cure Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease. But to get this information, he needs stem cells. Currently, much of Goldstein’s work involves nonhuman-derived stem cells, which are not technically a point of contention. “But five years from now,” he says, “if I want to actually cure these diseases, I’ll need access to human embryonic stem cells, and I want to make sure they’re available.” The issue of stem-cell availability is another front in this battle. In the summer of 2001, just after his first State of the Union, President Bush issued an executive order restricting federal research money to seventy-eight previously harvested lines of stem cells. These lines were cultivated between 1998, when human embryonic stem cells were first isolated, and that 2001 moment further research was nixed. “The problem,” explains Weissman, “is that all seventy-eight lines come from people who utilize in vitro fertilization clinics.

The second method is parthenogenesis, the Greek word for virgin birth, in which an unfertilized egg is tricked into cell division and then mined for stem cells. The third idea is hybridization, or using existing stem cell lines (meaning cell lines that researchers have already isolated) to create new cell lines via genetic manipulation. And while both of these notions are exciting, no one really knows if either will work. So, for now, both are off the radar. In the remaining two methods, fetal stem cells are culled from aborted fetuses or embryonic stem cells are removed from unused embryos taken from in vitro fertilization clinics. And it is these final two methods that have put stem cells into the middle of America’s reproductive rights debate. “Every year since Roe v. Wade, thousands of women have been having abortions,” explains Alta Charo.

Seated around a long table are Weissman’s guests, which tonight include his sister Lauren, once a Hollywood producer and now the executive director of Cures Now; Leroy Hood, another top scientist and the man who invented the DNA sorter that sequenced the human genome; and Ann Tsukamoto, a scientist with StemCells, Inc. The group has gathered to celebrate an announcement made the day prior at Stanford, when the institution declared its plans to capitalize on $12 million of anonymously donated seed money and build a $120 million Institute for Stem Cell Biology to be headed up by Weissman. In other words, in the war over stem cells, Stanford just declared itself the Western Front. And make no mistake, the research they plan to do there is much needed. Building on Weissman’s previous work with blood-forming stem cells, the Stanford institute will initially focus on discovering the stem cells that become the other major organs of the body — that way, if these organs become cancerous, they’ll have new ways to fight the disease.

pages: 357 words: 98,853

Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome by Nessa Carey


dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Downton Abbey, Drosophila, epigenetics, mouse model, phenotype, placebo effect, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs

The basic telomere length in an individual is set fairly early in development, at a time when there is an uncharacteristic spike in the telomerase activity.10 Telomerase activity is also high in germ cells, the cells that give rise to eggs and sperm.11 This is to ensure that our offspring inherit telomeres of a good length. Many human tissues contain cells known as stem cells. These are responsible for producing replacement cells when needed. When new cells are needed, a stem cell will copy its DNA and then split it between two daughter cells. Typically, one of these daughter cells will develop into a fully fledged replacement cell. The other will become a new stem cell, which can continue to create replacements in the same way. One of the ‘busiest’ cell types in the human body is the type of stem cell that gives rise to all the blood cells,f including red blood cells and those that we rely on to fight infection. These stem cells proliferate at an incredible rate. This is because we constantly need to replenish the immune cells that fight off the foreign pathogens we encounter every day of our lives.

They over-expressed a cluster of smallRNAs which had been shown to be highly expressed in normal embryonic stem cells. The scientists found that when they over-expressed these smallRNAs along with the original master regulators, adult cells changed back to pluripotent stem cells, as we would expect. But the percentage of cells that converted to stem cells was more than a hundred times greater than with just the master regulators alone. The process also happened much more quickly. Conversely, if they used the master regulators but knocked down the expression of the endogenous smallRNA cluster in the adult cells, the reprogramming efficiency dropped dramatically. This demonstrated that this particular cluster of smallRNAs does indeed play a critical role in helping to regulate the signalling networks that control cell identity.10,11 Adult tissues also contain stem cells. These are able to create cells for their specific tissues, rather than multiple cell types.

When scientists knocked out the scissors enzyme in all tissues of adult mice, they found defects in the bone marrow, but also in the spleen and the thymus. All three of these tissues produce cells required for fighting infection and were expected to have a large population of stem cells. This finding was consistent with the smallRNA systems having a role in stem cell control. The mice all died, but this was due to a massive deterioration of their intestinal tracts. This is also consistent with a role in stem cells. Our intestines are constantly losing cells that are sloughed off during the continuing activity of the digestive system. These cells have to be replaced every day so we would expect there to be a very active stem cell population.13 However, it wasn’t clear exactly how the loss of the scissors enzyme resulted in dramatic damage to the intestines, although it may have been related to abnormalities in the way the mice processed fats in their diet.

pages: 357 words: 98,854

Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease and Inheritance by Nessa Carey


Albert Einstein, British Empire, Build a better mousetrap, conceptual framework, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, life extension, mouse model, phenotype, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, stochastic process, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

We can’t grow a new lizard from a discarded bit of tail. This is because in most adult animals the only genuinely pluripotent stem cells are the tightly controlled cells of the germline which give rise to eggs or sperm. But active pluripotent stem cells are a completely normal part of a plant. In plants these pluripotent stem cells are found at the tips of stems and the tips of roots. Under the right conditions, these stem cells can keep dividing to allow the plant to grow. But under other conditions, the stem cells will differentiate into specific cell types, such as flowers. Once such a cell has become committed to becoming part of a petal, for example, it can’t change back into a stem cell. Even plant cells roll down Waddington’s epigenetic landscape eventually. The other difference between plants and animals is really obvious.

As the ES cells start to differentiate, these factors fall off the miRNA promoters, and stop driving their expression26. Just like the Lin28 protein, these miRNAs also improve reprogramming of somatic cells into iPS cells27. When we compare stem cells with their differentiated descendants, we find that they express very different populations of mRNA molecules. This seems reasonable, as the stem and differentiated cells express different proteins. But some mRNAs can take a long time to break down in a cell. This means that when a stem cell starts to differentiate, there will be a period when it still contains many of the stem cell mRNAs. Happily, when the stem cell starts differentiating, it switches on a new set of miRNAs. These target the residual stem cell mRNAs and accelerate their destruction. This rapid degradation of the pre-existing mRNAs ensures that the cell moves into a differentiated state as quickly and irreversibly as possible28.

In this case, the optimist who decided to test what everyone else had assumed was impossible was the aforementioned Shinya Yamanaka, with his postdoctoral research associate Kazutoshi Takahashi. Professor Yamanaka is one of the youngest luminaries in the stem cell and pluripotency field. He was born in Osaka in the early 1960s and rather unusually he has held successful academic positions in high profile institutions in both Japan and the USA. He originally trained as a clinician and became an orthopaedic surgeon. Specialists in this discipline are sometimes dismissed by other surgeons as ‘the hammer and chisel brigade’. This is unfair, but it is true that orthopaedic surgical practice is about as far away from elegant molecular biology and stem cell science as it’s possible to get. Perhaps more than any of the other researchers working in the stem cell field, Professor Yamanaka had been driven by a desire to find a way of creating pluripotent cells from differentiated cells in a lab.

pages: 346 words: 92,984

The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health by David B. Agus


3D printing, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, butterfly effect, clean water, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, Drosophila, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory,, epigenetics, Kickstarter, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, microcredit, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, publish or perish, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Thomas Malthus, wikimedia commons

But in all the years of debating the topic, we’ve forgotten one important part of the equation: the male versus female stem cell. Because one of the hallmarks of aging is the decline of stem cells’ functionality, we must ask whether the aging of stem cells differs between men and women, and whether this has consequences for disease and life span. Studies thus far have shown that some stem-cell populations in females are superior to those in males thanks to estrogen, the female sex hormone. Stem cells destined to be blood cells, for example, are more abundant in female mice than in male mice, an effect that is dependent on estrogen signaling. A similar paradigm has been described in neural stem cells where estrogen increases the proliferation of these cells in a transient manner that fluctuates throughout the menstrual cycle. Estrogen signaling is not the sole contributor to differences in stem-cell regulation between the sexes.

That observation motivated Tomasetti and Vogelstein to dig a little deeper and try to understand why, for example, the lifetime risk for cancer in the large intestine is 24 times higher than in the small intestine. What they found is that the large intestine houses more stem cells than the small intestine. Moreover, the large intestine’s stem cells divide four times more frequently than do the stem cells in the small intestine. This relationship between rates of stem-cell division and risk of cancer was also seen in many other tissues. Unfortunately, their analysis didn’t include two of the most common types of cancer—breast and prostate—because there wasn’t enough information on rates of stem-cell division in those tissues, an omission that was criticized by others upon their reporting. Interestingly, they noted that some cancers, such as those of the lung and skin, develop more often than would be expected from their rates of stem-cell division. But this makes sense when you consider the impact of environmental forces in the risk of those diseases, namely smoking and UV exposure from the sun, respectively.

And these dedicated people will keep asking the tough questions and exploring areas of biology doctors used to shy away from. Will Stem Cells Save the Day? I really do believe that the cures for many of our maladies are already inside us. In addition to learning more about our molecular and genetic brakes and switches, including those among cancer cells, we’re also gaining traction by discovering entirely new metrics, such as stem cells. These are unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves through cell division. They are the body’s reservoir of ground-zero cells that can develop into a distinct, specialized cell such as a muscle cell, red blood cell, or neuron (brain cell). When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or to become (“differentiate” to) another type of cell with a specific function. As adults, stem cells are largely dormant. For some reason, they are turned off and hibernate.

pages: 350 words: 96,803

Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution by Francis Fukuyama


Albert Einstein, Asilomar, assortative mating, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Columbine, demographic transition, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, impulse control, life extension, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, Scientific racism, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sexual politics, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Turing test

It is also hugely controversial as a result of its use of embryos as sources of stem cells—embryos which must be destroyed in the process.9 The embryos usually come from the extra embryos “banked” by in vitro fertilization clinics. (Once created, stem cell “lines” can be replicated almost indefinitely.) Out of concern that stem cell research would encourage abortion or lead to the deliberate destruction of human embryos, the U.S. Congress imposed a ban on funding from the National Institutes of Health for research that could harm embryos,10 pushing U.S. stem cell research into the private sector. In 2001 a bitter policy debate exploded in the United States as the Bush administration considered lifting the ban. In the end, the administration decided to permit federally funded research, but only on the sixty or so existing stem cell lines that had already been created.

., “Gene Expression Profile of Aging and Its Retardation by Caloric Restriction,” Science 285 (1999): 1390–1393. 8 Kirkwood (1999), p. 166. 9 For a sample of the discussion on stem cells, see Eric Juengst and Michael Fossel, “The Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cells—Now and Forever, Cells without End,” Journal of the American Medical Association 284 (2000): 3180–3184; Juan de Dios Vial Correa and S. E. Mons. Elio Sgreccia, Declaration on the Production and the Scientific and Therapeutic Use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells (Rome: Pontifical Academy for Life, 2000); and M. J. Friedrich, “Debating Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Research,” Journal of the American Medical Association 284, no. 6 (2000): 681–684. 10 Gabriel S. Gross, “Federally Funding Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research: An Administrative Analysis,” Wisconsin Law Review 2000 (2000): 855–884. 11 For some research strategies into therapies for aging, see Michael R.

The Geron Corporation has already cloned and patented the human gene for telomerase and, along with Advanced Cell Technology, has an active research program into embryonic stem cells. The latter are cells that make up an embryo at the earliest stages of development, before there has been any differentiation into different types of tissue and organs. Stem cells have the potential to become any cell or tissue in the body, and hence hold the promise of generating entirely new body parts to replace ones worn out through the aging process. Unlike organs transplanted from donors, such cloned body parts will be almost genetically identical to cells in the body into which they are placed, and so presumably free from the kinds of immune reactions that lead to transplant rejection. Stem cell research represents one of the great frontiers of contemporary biomedical research. It is also hugely controversial as a result of its use of embryos as sources of stem cells—embryos which must be destroyed in the process.9 The embryos usually come from the extra embryos “banked” by in vitro fertilization clinics.

pages: 381 words: 78,467

100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family And by Sonia Arrison


23andMe, 8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, attribution theory, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, Clayton Christensen, dark matter, East Village,, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, Googley, income per capita, indoor plumbing, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, post scarcity, Ray Kurzweil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Singularitarianism, smart grid, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Thomas Malthus, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, X Prize

Another FDA-approved trial is being conducted by Santa Monica–based Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) and is focused on treating patients with an eye disease called Stargardt’s macular dystrophy, which causes blindness, usually among youths.44 As we know, not all stem cell applications require embryonic cells. Dr. Bhatia’s cells were created from adult skin cells but have yet to reach the trial phase. Other researchers, however, are already testing adult stem cells to treat a number of diseases. In Italy, for example, researchers were able to cure blindness in humans resulting from burns. They took stem cells from the limbus in the patient’s own eye, cultured the cells, and then grafted them onto the eye. Seventy-seven percent of their patients were either cured or experienced partially restored sight. This work, which was conducted over ten years, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July 2010.45 Other trials that have been FDA approved in the United States include using adult stem cells to treat heart disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and limb ischemia.46 For those with little patience, it is frustrating to see all of this great work being conducted but not yet being made widely available to the general public.

., “Direct Conversion of Human Fibroblasts to Multilineage Blood Progenitors,” Nature 468 (November 25, 2010), 38 McMaster University, “McMaster Scientists Turn Skin into Blood,” November 7, 2010, 39 “Scientists Turn Skin Cells Directly into Blood Cells, Bypassing Middle Pluripotent Step,” ScienceDaily, November 8, 2010, 40 Daniel Schorn, “Scientist Hopes for Stem Cell Success,” 60 Minutes, February 26, 2006, 41 Hans S. Keirstead, Gabriel Nistor et al., “Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cell Transplants Remyelinate and Restore Locomotion After Spinal Cord Injury,” Journal of Neuroscience, May 11, 2005, 42 See two of the informative videos here: . 43 David Wright and Dan Childs, “Medical Milestone: Genetics Company Begins First Embryonic Stem-Cell Treatment on Patient,” ABC News, October 11, 2010,

Mick Bhatia, scientific director of McMaster’s Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute. 39 Being able to quickly create a specific type of cell for a patient would boost the efforts of regenerative medicine and move humanity closer to the day when replacing almost any body part when necessary will be possible. Dr. Bhatia was working with adult cells, which clearly show great promise for therapeutic purposes. More controversial, but very powerful types of cells, are those in the embryonic stem cell category. These cells naturally have the ability to turn into any type of adult cell, and one of their success stories to date is the ability to cure spinal injuries in rats. “I have never seen in my career a biological tool as powerful as the stem cells,” Dr. Hans Keirstead of UC Irvine told reporters at CBS.40 His work, which was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Neuroscience in 2005, detailed how he enabled rats with crushed spinal cords to walk again.41 In addition to his paper, he released amazing videos of the rats before and after.

pages: 465 words: 103,303

The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery by George Johnson


Atul Gawande, Cepheid variable, Columbine, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Gary Taubes, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Isaac Newton, Magellanic Cloud, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, phenotype, profit motive, stem cell

Just as normal stem cells generate skin, bone, and other tissues, the cancer stem cells would generate the variety of cells that form the rest of a tumor. But only the cancer stem cells would have the ability to replicate endlessly, metastasize, and seed another malignancy. How much easier that might make things for oncologists. Maybe chemotherapies fail because they spare the cancer stem cells. Remove these linchpins and the malignancy would collapse. It is a promising possibility, but the further I ventured into the subject, the more confusing it seemed. Do the other cells in the tumor perform functions like angiogenesis that would aid in sustaining the malignancy? Or are they just filler material? And where would the cancer stem cells come from? Do they begin as normal stem cells (like those that generate skin) that become damaged by mutations?

On the other hand, a few scientists have proposed that cancer actually begins with epigenetic disruptions, setting the stage for more wrenching transformations. Even more unsettling is a contentious idea called the cancer stem cell theory. In a developing embryo, stem cells are those with the ability to renew themselves indefinitely—they are essentially immortal—dividing and dividing while remaining in an undifferentiated state. They are agents of pure potentiality. When a certain type of tissue is needed, genes are activated in a specific pattern and the stem cells give rise to specialized cells with fixed identities. Once the embryo has grown into a creature, adult stem cells play a similar role, standing ready to differentiate and replace cells that have been damaged or reached the end of their life. Since healthy tissues arise from a small set of these powerful forebears, why couldn’t the same be true for some tumors?

Feinberg, Rolf Ohlsson, and Steven Henikoff, “The Epigenetic Progenitor Origin of Human Cancer,” Nature Reviews Genetics 7, no. 1 (January 2006): 21–33. [] 7. a contentious idea called the cancer stem cell theory: Piyush B. Gupta, Christine L. Chaffer, and Robert A. Weinberg, “Cancer Stem Cells: Mirage or Reality?” Nature Medicine 15, no. 9 (2009): 1010–12; [] Jerry M. Adams and Andreas Strasser, “Is Tumor Growth Sustained by Rare Cancer Stem Cells or Dominant Clones?” Cancer Research 68, no. 11 (June 1, 2008): 4018–21; [] and Peter Dirks, “Cancer Stem Cells: Invitation to a Second Round,” Nature 466, no. 7302 (July 1, 2010): 40–41. [] The basic idea was suggested as early as 1937 (J.

pages: 484 words: 131,168

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart by Bill Bishop, Robert G. Cushing


1960s counterculture, affirmative action, American Legislative Exchange Council, assortative mating, big-box store, blue-collar work, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, demographic transition, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial cluster, Jane Jacobs, knowledge economy, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, music of the spheres, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Ralph Nader, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, union organizing, War on Poverty, white flight, World Values Survey

When the religious right came out against embryonic stem cell research, however, it created "this reflexive response to that religious point of view. What's happened is fascinating." The opposition of the religious right and President George W. Bush turned stem cell research into a Democratic bugle call, but the sides could have been reversed. After all, without the opposition of the religious right, isn't it possible that the $3 billion California stem cell initiative would have been couched as a giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry and Frankenstein research? Instead, the stem cell initiative became a surrogate for the presidential contest between Bush and Kerry. In August 2004, a Field poll found that two-thirds of the people who supported Kerry also supported the stem cell initiative. Two-thirds of those who said they favored Bush said they would vote against the proposition.*45 California's position on stem cell research also sent a broader signal about the state's culture and the kind of people who would find comfort within its borders.

"State sovereignty, once the discredited viewpoint of segregationists, is now becoming the battle cry of mainstream liberals," wrote political scientist James Gimpel. "Conservatives, for their part, are now citing the constitutional views of government centralizers they once despised."44 After the federal government allowed only limited kinds of stem cell research and Congress was unable to resolve the dispute between researchers and the religious right, the states stepped in. California voted $3 billion for stem cell research, and other blue states—Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Connecticut—provided funding, too. Stem cell research is now clearly a Democratic cause, but that seems more a consequence of divided politics than of either ideology or biomedical research. After all, the first town to place limits on DNA research was Cambridge, Massachusetts. One of the most liberal cities in the United States nearly outlawed genetic research in 1977.

Everyone was too busy setting up parallel institutions in an arms race of political organization building. In 2003, liberals created ALICE, the anti-ALEC American Legislative Issue Campaign Exchange; now every state legislator could meet with lawmakers from other states and be ideologically "at home." Liberals created think tanks in states to match white papers with think tanks established by the conservative State Policy Network. Pro—stem cell research groups battled anti—stem cell groups. The National Center for Science Education, founded in 1981, set out to defend "the teaching of evolution in public schools." Its conservative doppelganger was the Discovery Institute, founded in 1990 to promote the teaching of "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolution.* Republican lawyers had the Federalist Society; Democrats had the American Constitution Society.

pages: 379 words: 108,129

An Optimist's Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson


23andMe, Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, augmented reality, bank run, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, clean water, computer age, decarbonisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, flex fuel, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Leonard Kleinrock, life extension, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, off grid, packet switching, peak oil, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, the scientific method, Wall-E, X Prize

It’s now possible, however, to take ordinary cells (say, from the skin on your hand) and ‘re-boot’ them back to their earlier stem cell selves, doing away with many ethical concerns altogether. But even that may not be necessary. Early in 2010, scientists at Stanford University in California announced they had managed to convert mouse skin cells directly into mouse brain cells (with no intermediate stem cell phase). A few months later a team from Harvard declared they could convert human blood cells to stem cells that may have the ability to grow into any kind of tissue. Castillo received a donated trachea that had been stripped of cells from the donor (leaving just a collagen pipe). This was then ‘seeded’ with stem cells harvested from her own body (and nurtured by a team at the University of Bristol) that grew into tissue.

These reduce your body’s desire to reject the new part, but at the same time can severely hamper its ability to combat infection. Instead, aged thirty, Castillo became a pioneer for ‘stem cell’ therapy – one of the most rapidly advancing areas of medical science. Stem cells are cells that are yet to pick a career – or to put it another way they are ‘blank’ cells, which can ultimately be ‘programmed to perform particular tasks.’ This is why human embryos naturally have a ready supply and is where researchers have often got them from (leading to all that controversy). But adults also carry around their own supply of ‘tissue-specific’ stem cells. These cells are also still waiting to be ‘programmed’ but have a smaller palette of career choices, based on their tissue of origin. That makes them less controversial (no baby parts) but less widely applicable (they can only turn into particular bits of you).

It sounds like science fiction, but the patient is out dancing.* Castillo isn’t the only person wandering around with a stem cell-grown body part. Kaitlyne McNamara’s doctors isolated healthy adult stem cells from the diseased bladder she was born with and used them to grow an entire, fully functioning (and healthy) replacement, which they then implanted. The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winton-Salem, North Carolina are working on more than twenty different organs and tissues including kidneys, livers, retinas and muscle. Doris Taylor, Harold Ott and colleagues at the Centre for Cardiovascular Repair at the University of Minnesota took the collagen shell of a rat’s heart, sprayed it with stem cells and it started beating. ‘When we saw the first contractions we were speechless,’ says Ott. In February 2010 the technology was licensed to a company called Miromatrix Medical, which hopes to revolutionise organ transplants with the technique.

pages: 523 words: 148,929

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku


agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter,, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mass immigration, megacity, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize

But because the brain is “plastic”—that is, it constantly rewires itself after it learns a new task—it might be able to integrate these new neurons so that they fire correctly. STEM CELLS One step beyond this is to apply stem cell technology. So far, the human organs were grown using cells that were not stem cells but were cells specially treated to proliferate inside molds. In the near future, it should be possible to use stem cells directly. Stem cells are the “mother of all cells,” and have the ability to change into any type of cell of the body. Each cell in our body has the complete genetic code necessary to create our entire body. But as our cells mature, they specialize, so many of the genes are inactivated. For example, although a skin cell may have the genes to turn into blood, these genes are turned off when an embryonic cell becomes an adult skin cell. But embryonic stem cells retain this ability to regrow any type of cell throughout their life.

But embryonic stem cells retain this ability to regrow any type of cell throughout their life. Although embryonic stem cells are more highly prized by scientists, they are also more controversial, since an embryo has to be sacrificed in order to extract these cells, raising ethical issues. (However, Lanza and his colleagues have spearheaded ways in which to take adult stem cells, which have already turned into one type of cell, and then turn them into embryonic stem cells.) Stem cells have the potential to cure a host of diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, even cancer. In fact, it is difficult to think of a disease in which stem cells will not have a major impact. One particular area of research is spinal cord injury, once thought to be totally incurable. In 1995, when the handsome actor Christopher Reeve suffered a severe spinal cord injury that left him totally paralyzed, there was no cure.

This is one of the main problems facing stem cell research: the fact that these stem cells, without chemical cues from the environment, might continue to proliferate wildly until they become cancerous. Scientists now realize that the subtle chemical messages that travel between cells, telling them when and where to grow and stop growing, are just as important as the cell itself. Nonetheless, slow but real progress is being made, especially in animal studies. Taylor made headlines in 2008 when her team, for the first time in history, grew a beating mouse heart almost from scratch. Her team started with a mouse heart and dissolved the cells within that heart, leaving only the scaffolding, a heart-shaped matrix of proteins. Then they planted a mixture of heart stem cells into that matrix, and watched as the stem cells began to proliferate inside the scaffolding.

pages: 260 words: 84,847

P53: The Gene That Cracked the Cancer Code by Sue Armstrong


Asilomar, discovery of DNA, discovery of penicillin, double helix, mouse model, stem cell, trade route

Researchers interested in the gene’s role in ageing believe that both apoptosis and senescence are significant to the process – senescence for all the reasons discussed above, and apoptosis because it gradually depletes the pool of stem cells our bodies need for repair and maintenance. ‘The simplest model would be that you’re born with a limited number of stem cells,’ explained David Lane. ‘Those stem cells are very easily killed off by DNA damage, so they’re the ones most tightly controlled by p53. If you set a stress-response threshold where they’re too easily killed, then you don’t get cancer but you run out of stem cells more quickly. If you set the threshold such that they’re hard to kill, then you could live a long time, but you’re more likely to get cancer.’ Age researchers also have a theory, drawn from evolutionary biology, to explain the paradox of why a system designed to preserve life by protecting us from cancer should also drive the mechanism that leads inexorably to our decline.

Imagine for a minute what would happen if, in the normal course of events, our biological clocks could go backwards in time; if our mature cells could revert to their original undifferentiated state as stem cells, complete with the potential to develop afresh into something new. It’s a nightmare scenario in which your liver cells might morph spontaneously into bone cells, gut into teeth, blood into kidney, and no bodies would be stable. It is p53’s job to ensure that such de-differentiation doesn’t happen; that biological time moves inexorably forward and that our bodily development cannot unravel (except, that is, in the deranged environment of cancer). Scientists creating what are known as ‘induced pluripotent stem cells’ (IPSs) – stem cells with the potential to become any kind of specialised cells that have been engineered in the lab from already differentiated body cells – are frustrating a fundamental law of nature, and they must overcome p53’s defences to do so.

(Polyps, he explained, are fleshy outgrowths of normal tissue in the wall of the colon that can eventually turn malignant, and the progression to cancer can take years and follow many different paths.) ‘But if a kid can be born with cancer it’s about as simple as it can get. That was my thinking.’ Retinoblastoma met this criterion; it was the ideal topic for research. A rare tumour of the retina, or light-detecting cells of the eye, retinoblastoma affects children almost exclusively below the age of five, because it starts in the stem cells of the developing retina that, like the stem cells of all organs of the body, experience an explosion of division and growth during gestation and the early years of life. An early sign of the disease is a milky-white appearance to the pupil of the eye which, left undiagnosed and untreated, as it often is in the developing world, will grow into a grotesque spongy-looking mass of red and white flesh that distorts the child’s whole face and will eventually kill.

pages: 1,294 words: 210,361

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee


Barry Marshall: ulcers, conceptual framework, discovery of penicillin, experimental subject, iterative process, life extension, Louis Pasteur, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, New Journalism, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, scientific mainstream, Silicon Valley, social web, statistical model, stem cell, women in the workforce, éminence grise

The human embryo and many of our adult organs possess a tiny population of stem cells that are capable of immortal regeneration. Stem cells are the body’s reservoir of renewal. The entirety of human blood, for instance, can arise from a single, highly potent blood-forming stem cell (called a hematopoietic stem cell), which typically lives buried inside the bone marrow. Under normal conditions, only a fraction of these blood-forming stem cells are active; the rest are deeply quiescent—asleep. But if blood is suddenly depleted, by injury or chemotherapy, say, then the stem cells awaken and begin to divide with awe-inspiring fecundity, generating cells that generate thousands upon thousands of blood cells. In weeks, a single hematopoietic stem cell can replenish the entire human organism with new blood—and then, through yet unknown mechanisms, lull itself back to sleep.

In the mid-1990s, John Dick, a Canadian biologist working in Toronto, postulated that a small population of cells in human leukemias also possess this infinite self-renewing behavior. These “cancer stem cells” act as the persistent reservoir of cancer—generating and regenerating cancer infinitely. When chemotherapy kills the bulk of cancer cells, a small remnant population of these stem cells, thought to be intrinsically more resistant to death, regenerate and renew the cancer, thus precipitating the common relapses of cancer after chemotherapy. Indeed, cancer stem cells have acquired the behavior of normal stem cells by activating the same genes and pathways that make normal stem cells immortal—except, unlike normal stem cells, they cannot be lulled back into physiological sleep. Cancer, then, is quite literally trying to emulate a regenerating organ—or perhaps, more disturbingly, the regenerating organism.

In each well, I have placed two hundred human leukemia cells, then added a unique chemical from a large collection of untested chemicals. In parallel, I have its “twin” plate—containing two hundred normal human blood-forming stem cells, with the same panel of chemicals added to every well. Several times each day, an automated microscopic camera will photograph each well in the two plates, and a computerized program will calculate the number of leukemia cells and normal stem cells. The experiment is seeking a chemical that can kill leukemia cells but spare normal stem cells—a specifically targeted therapy against leukemia. I aspirate a few microliters containing the leukemia cells from one well and look at them under the microscope. The cells look bloated and grotesque, with a dilated nucleus and a thin rim of cytoplasm, the sign of a cell whose very soul has been co-opted to divide and to keep dividing with pathological, monomaniacal purpose.

pages: 380 words: 104,841

The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us by Diane Ackerman


23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, airport security, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, carbon footprint, clean water, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Earth, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, Internet of things, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microbiome, nuclear winter, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, skunkworks, Skype, stem cell, Stewart Brand, the High Line, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog

Now that we have the technology to reach a steely hand into the machinery of cells and remodel the genes, even human ones, our powers are more disturbing, raising all kinds of ethical and legal challenges. In 2012, John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka shared the Nobel Prize for the breakthrough discovery of how to persuade adult skin cells to regress into jack-of-all-trades (“pluripotent”) stem cells capable of morphing into any type of cell in the body—heart, brain, liver, pancreas, egg. It’s as if Gurdon and Yamanaka had found a way to reset the body’s clock to early development, enabling it to mint wild-card cells that haven’t chosen their career yet—without using the fetal stem cells that cause so much controversy. Space may be only one of the final frontiers. The other is surely the universe of human imagination and creative prowess in genetics. “We are as gods and might as well get good at it,” Stewart Brand began his 1968 classic, The Whole Earth Catalog, which helped to inspire the back-to-the-land movement.

Suppose a wolf actually gave birth to a human? Or a sheep did? Almost ten years ago, Esmail Zanjani of the University of Nevada, Reno, announced that he had injected human stem cells into sheep embryos halfway through gestation, and the lambs emerged with human cells throughout their tissues. And not just a few cells. Some of the organs were nearly half human. Only the organs. No two-legged sheep with opposable thumbs emerged. Staring at them in photographs, I found they looked eerily human, with long faces, jelly roll falling over the forehead, and down-turned eyes. Would dogs detect an odor both human and sheep? What scientists still don’t know is if transplanted human stem cells would change an animal’s inherent behaviors, attributes, or personality. As bioethicists rightly argue, the last thing we need is the horror of humanized monkeys or other animals.

Today, instead of adapting to the natural world in which we live, we’ve created a human environment in which we’ve embedded the natural world. Our relationship with nature has changed . . . radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the bad. How we now relate to the land, oceans, animals, and our own bodies is being influenced in all sorts of unexpected ways by myriad advances in manufacturing, medicine, and technology. Many of nature’s mysterious stuck doors have shivered open—human genome, stem cells, other Earth-like planets—widening our eyes. Along the way, our relationship with nature is evolving, rapidly but incrementally, and at times so subtly that we don’t perceive the sonic booms, literally or metaphorically. As we’re redefining our perception of the world surrounding us, and the world inside of us, we’re revising our fundamental ideas about exactly what it means to be human, and also what we deem “natural.”

pages: 574 words: 164,509

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom


agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, bioinformatics, brain emulation, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, cosmological constant, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, delayed gratification, demographic transition, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk,, endogenous growth, epigenetics, fear of failure, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, iterative process, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Netflix Prize, new economy, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, prediction markets, price stability, principal–agent problem, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, social graph, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, Turing machine, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

There is, however, a complementary technology, one which, once it has been developed for use in humans, would greatly potentiate the enhancement power of pre-implantation genetic screening: namely, the derivation of viable sperm and eggs from embryonic stem cells.46 The techniques for this have already been used to produce fertile offspring in mice and gamete-like cells in humans. Substantial scientific challenges remain, however, in translating the animal results to humans and in avoiding epigenetic abnormalities in the derived stem cell lines. According to one expert, these challenges might put human application “10 or even 50 years in the future.”47 With stem cell-derived gametes, the amount of selection power available to a couple could be greatly increased. In current practice, an in vitro fertilization procedure typically involves the creation of fewer than ten embryos. With stem cell-derived gametes, a few donated cells might be turned into a virtually unlimited number of gametes that could be combined to produce embryos, which could then be genotyped or sequenced, and the most promising one chosen for implantation.

For comparison, a recent study (Rietveld et al. 2013) claims to have already identified 2.5% of the variance. 45. For comparison, standard practice today involves the creation of fewer than ten embryos. 46. Adult and embryonic stem cells can be coaxed to develop into sperm cells and oocytes, which can then be fused to produce an embryo (Nagy et al. 2008; Nagy and Chang 2007). Egg cell precursors can also form parthenogenetic blastocysts, unfertilized and non-viable embryos, able to produce embryonic stem cell lines for the process (Mai et al. 2007). 47. The opinion is that of Katsuhiko Hayashi, as reported in Cyranoski (2013). The Hinxton Group, an international consortium of scientists that discusses stem cell ethics and challenges, predicted in 2008 that human stem cell-derived gametes would be available within ten years (Hinxton Group 2008), and developments thus far are broadly consistent with this. 48.

Depending on the cost of preparing and screening each individual embryo, this technology could yield a severalfold increase in the selective power available to couples using in vitro fertilization. More importantly still, stem cell-derived gametes would allow multiple generations of selection to be compressed into less than a human maturation period, by enabling iterated embryo selection. This is a procedure that would consist of the following steps:48 1 Genotype and select a number of embryos that are higher in desired genetic characteristics. 2 Extract stem cells from those embryos and convert them to sperm and ova, maturing within six months or less.49 3 Cross the new sperm and ova to produce embryos. 4 Repeat until large genetic changes have been accumulated. In this manner, it would be possible to accomplish ten or more generations of selection in just a few years.

pages: 427 words: 30,920

The Autoimmune Connection by Rita Baron-Faust, Jill Buyon


Columbine, mouse model, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

It is given by intravenous infusion and has vasodilating and anticlotting effects but also may help heal endothelial cells and may prevent fibrotic changes in skin, says Dr. Mayes. The medication is currently used in Britain as a routine therapy for finger ulcers. High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue involves harvesting stem cells (the cells that grow into different kinds of cells, including white blood cells), purifying them and freezing them, and then destroying a patient’s abnormal immune system with high doses of chemotherapy. After the chemotherapy, the stem cells are infused back into the patient to reconstitute the immune system with lymphocytes that will not be autoreactive. Stem cell transplantation has a high mortality rate (20 percent) and is reserved for those people who have such severe disease that they’re at high risk of dying within the next five years or those women with early and rapidly progressive diffuse skin disease, who within the first year or so of diagnosis have some lung disease and heart disease, says Dr.

Affecting a single element in RA, while it can slow the disease and the destruction it causes, does not eliminate the disease itself, Dr. Kimberly points out. But what if a dysfunctional immune system could be replaced with a normal one? That’s the idea behind stem cell transplantation. In this still highly experimental treatment, the immune system is destroyed with high doses of chemotherapy drugs and then reconstituted with stem cells, the cells 36 The Autoimmune Connection that have the potential to grow into any kind of cell, including white blood cells. Before undergoing chemotherapy, patients have stem cells removed from their peripheral blood, purified, frozen, and then re-infused into the bloodstream to rebuild the immune system with “naïve” cells, immune cells that are not autoreactive. So far, it’s been tried in around 100 people with severe RA worldwide; most have responded, some with dramatic improvements.

“In our studies, after we gave the mice the insulin-based vaccine, we virtually eliminated diabetes for life. If we had not treated them, 85 percent of the female mice would have developed diabetes and died of it.” Dr. Maclaren hopes to test the vaccine in women newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes to see whether the destruction of beta cells can be halted. Another promising new treatment involves coaxing stem cells into becoming insulin-producing beta cells. The experiment, done with embryonic stem cells (which are known for their ability to transform into almost every cell type), might provide a better strategy for growing beta cells than merely transplanting normal beta cells. Scientists are also experimenting with transplanting beta cells from genetically modified pigs engineered so the cells would not be rejected. Potential gene therapy would infuse into the pancreas cells that lack genetic defects that lead to type 1 diabetes.

The Last Best Cure: My Quest to Awaken the Healing Parts of My Brain and Get Back My Body, My Joy, a Nd My Life by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

back-to-the-land, epigenetics, index card, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, place-making, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, stem cell

In a process scientists now refer to as neurogenesis, given the right cues, these immature nerve cells can divide and differentiate into either new, baby neurons, or they can become additional neural stem cells that integrate into and enhance the brain’s neural network. These new neurons often come to life in the areas of the brain associated with higher learning. As we age, however, these neural stem cells tend to become less able to transform. They’re there, but it’s as if they’ve shut down and aren’t responsive; think of them as being in something akin to a cellular coma. They aren’t getting the cue that tells them to wake up. This somnambulant state is caused by a protein found throughout the body known as bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), which inhibits cellular development. The more active BMP is in your brain, the less responsive your neural stem cells become, the less neurogenesis occurs, and the less vibrant your brain, your thinking, your state of mind, and your ability to learn new things.

Exercise awakens these quiescent neural stem cells. Exercise in general influences the rate of neurogenesis as well as the survival of new neurons after they are born, and it does so through multiple pathways. To give just one example, when we exercise we increase another protein, what we might think of as one antidote to the BMP-induced cellular coma, appropriately named Noggin (yes, Noggin). The more Noggin you have, the less BMP is able to suppress undifferentiated cells and keep them in twilight sleep. The more neural stem cells divide, the more neurogenesis you undergo. Brain activity becomes more vibrant and alive because there are literally more active brain cells to go to work. Exercise profoundly stimulates the production of Noggin and the division of undifferentiated neural stem cells into new neurons in the brain.

In a recent evaluation of a number of studies that show physical activity to be an effective treatment for depression, strong support emerged that the reason for patient recovery was, indeed, adult neurogenesis. And experts believe that yoga in particular may facilitate the potential for the brain to undergo these neuronal changes. *** PHYSICAL ACTIVITY ALSO helps generate stem cell growth and individual cell repair throughout the entire body. In animal studies, exercise increases the number of stem cells in muscle fiber by almost half. This increase in muscle stem cells makes rats more likely to demonstrate what researchers refer to as “spontaneous locomotion,” that feeling that signals our body to just get up and dance. A little like rats whose brains are on joy—or whatever the rat equivalent to joy might be. When we engage in physical activity, we also wake up something within our cells called mitochondria.

pages: 219 words: 63,495

50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson


23andMe, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, digital Maoism, digital map, Elon Musk, energy security, failed state, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Mark Shuttleworth, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peak oil, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Florida, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, smart transportation, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, supervolcano, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Turing test, urban decay, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, women in the workforce, working-age population, young professional

But if it were common to live to 110, 130 or 150, people might wait until they were 60, 70 or even 80 to have children. Future treatments Stem-cell medicine promises two radical future developments. The first is a series of treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The second is the production of genetically matching organs (farmed or printed using 3D fabricators) to replace those damaged by normal aging or disease, or by treatments for illness, for example, a liver damaged during cancer treatment. Historically, stem cells have been a difficult ethical area, because the process of stem-cell production for the most useful stem cells involved the destruction of human embryos. But this isn’t necessarily true for new techniques, such as the iPS cell developed at Kyoto University, which means that the area is likely to grow rapidly.

Young blood Research by Thomas Rando at Stamford University suggests that older people might recover from injuries faster if they were given drugs developed from the blood of young people. In an experiment, pairs of mice were joined together to create artificially conjoined twins. The result was that old mice who were connected to young mice regenerated muscle cells much faster than pairs of old mice. Apparently, the effect has nothing to do with stem cells contained in the young blood either. This suggests that older bodies repair themselves more slowly because of a lack of some signal or other—not because the stem cells lose their regenerative ability. This finding is likely to result in various “fast repair” products for older people in the future. What’s possible? In the more optimistic corner, are those who believe that aging is genetically determined and that the “death program” or process that causes aging can be switched off, or at least amended.

the condensed idea Genetic prophesy timeline 1997 Release of the movie Gattaca about genetic enhancement 2008 Knome offers genome sequencing to individuals for $350,000 2009 Knome drops its price to $99,500 2012 23andMe offers gene sequencing for $299 2018 Cost falls to $49 via Walmart 2020 Hospitals and insurers offer free genome profiling 2030 Google dating based upon ideal DNA profiles 2050 DNA database creates human underclass 22 Regenerative medicine Is it possible to prevent or reverse the aging process, perhaps by fiddling with tired tissues and cells, or even growing new organs inside a laboratory? Some people regard this as a pipe dream. Others see it instead as increasingly inevitable. Physician, heal thyself. What if you are an aging surgeon and parts of your body are worn out? Options may include stem-cell therapy, the transplant of an artificial organ (a kidney grown in vitro), the printing of replacement teeth or bones using a fabricator, general life extension, some more hair, or perhaps some new fingers? This last idea may seem a little far-fetched, but if newts can repair themselves why not human beings? One way to do so might be to persuade cells to return to a younger state—in other words, trick the body into believing that it’s a young child once again.

The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey Into the Dark Side of the Brain by James Fallon


Bernie Madoff, epigenetics, Everything should be made as simple as possible, meta analysis, meta-analysis, personalized medicine, phenotype, Rubik’s Cube, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, theory of mind

Collaborations with my clinical colleagues grew in scope in the early 1990s, and then they began to dominate my research interests by 2000, along with my studies of adult stem cells. Eventually this interest and involvement with human psychiatric studies led me to move my academic appointment to the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior. Based on these studies, starting in the early and mid-1990s, I started to give more and more scientific, and then public and lay, talks on personality, development, schizophrenia, addictions, male-female brain differences, emotional memory, and consciousness. By 1998, I was giving a mix of talks about stem cells and psychiatric research, and in 2000, our lab made a breakthrough discovery regarding how adult stem cells mobilize to repair brain injuries. The study was sent from the National Institutes of Health to the U.S. Congress as the first evidence that adult stem cells, as opposed to just embryonic stem cells, could be mobilized in the damaged adult brain, perhaps to cure Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

If you asked me what line of work I’m in, I’d say that I am a brain researcher, and if you pressed further I’d say I am a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and affiliated with the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine. I’d tell you how I’ve spent my career teaching medical students and residents and graduate students about the brain. If you seemed interested, I would then tell you about my research with adult stem cells and animal models of Parkinson’s disease and chronic stroke, and that the basic research from my lab has led to the creation of three biotech companies, one of which has been netting profits consistently for the past twenty-five years, and another that just won a national award from its peer biotech companies. If you still seemed interested, I might mention that I am also involved in organizations and think tanks that focus on the arts, architecture, music, education, and medical research, or that I have served as an adviser to the U.S.

And learn he does, temporarily becoming a genius after undergoing a new neurosurgical procedure, the same procedure done to his alter ego, a laboratory mouse. This prescient film on the biological and chemical basis of behavior provided a clear career direction for me. Throughout my career, I have studied many facets of the brain. Whereas most researchers tend to specialize in a relatively narrow field of study, my interests have covered all manner of territory—from stem cells to sleep deprivation. I started studying psychopathy in the 1990s, when I was asked by my colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of California, Irvine, to analyze PET scans of particularly violent murderers, including serial killers, who had just been convicted in court, and were subsequently starting the penalty phase of their trials. It is during this stage of the legal process that a murderer typically agrees to undergo a brain scan, often in the hope that a finding of brain damage will lead to a more lenient sentence.

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil


additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business intelligence,, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter,, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Mikhail Gorbachev, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

In addition to generating new connections between neurons, the brain also makes new neurons from neural stem cells, which replicate to maintain a reservoir of themselves. In the course of reproducing, some of the neural stem cells become "neural precursor" cells, which in turn mature into two types of support cells called astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, as well as neurons. The cells further evolve into specific types of neurons. However, this differentiation cannot take place unless the neural stem cells move away from their original source in the brain's ventricles. Only about half of the neural cells successfully make the journey, which is similar to the process during gestation and early childhood in which only a portion of the early brain's developing neurons survive. Scientists hope to bypass this neural migration process by injecting neural stem cells directly into target regions, as well as to create drugs that promote this process of neurogenesis (creating new neurons) to repair brain damage from injury or disease.71 An experiment by genetics researchers Fred Gage, G.

Celera has already demonstrated the ability to create synthetic viruses from genetic information and plans to apply these biodesigned viruses to gene therapy.37 One of the companies I help to direct, United Therapeutics, has begun human trials of delivering DNA into cells through the novel mechanism of autologous (the patient's own) stem cells, which are captured from a few vials of their blood. DNA that directs the growth of new pulmonary blood vessels is inserted into the stem cell genes, and the cells are reinjected into the patient. When the genetically engineered stem cells reach the tiny pulmonary blood vessels near the lung's alveoli, they begin to express growth factors for new blood vessels. In animal studies this has safely reversed pulmonary hypertension, a fatal and presently incurable disease. Based on the success and safety of these studies, the Canadian government gave permission for human tests to commence in early 2005.

Although regulation is a vital issue, it has actually had no measurable effect on the trends discussed in this book, which have occurred with extensive regulation in place. Short of a worldwide totalitarian state, the economic and other forces underlying technical progress will only grow with ongoing advances. Consider the issue of stem-cell research, which has been especially controversial, and for which the U.S. government is restricting its funding. Stem-cell research is only one of numerous ideas concerned with controlling and influencing the information processes underlying biology that are being pursued as part of the biotechnology revolution. Even within the field of cell therapies the controversy over embryonic stem-cell research has served only to accelerate other ways of accomplishing the same goal. For example, transdifferentiation (converting one type of cell such as a skin cell into other types of cells) has moved ahead quickly.

pages: 292 words: 94,324

How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman


affirmative action, Atul Gawande, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, fear of failure, framing effect, index card, iterative process, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, pattern recognition, placebo effect, stem cell, theory of mind

"Since the consensus is atypical SCID," Rachel said, "there's talk of doing a bone marrow transplant." Bone marrow transplantation is the most extreme measure in medicine to cure a disease. In essence, a person is given lethal doses of radiation and chemotherapy, doses that destroy the blood and immune system. Into this void, stem cells from the bone marrow of a compatible donor are seeded. These marrow stem cells have extraordinary biological potential. They grow and mature into all of the elements that have been destroyed: red blood cells, neutrophils, monocytes, platelets, T cells, and B cells. As the donor stem cells grow and mature, they begin to perform the chores that immune cells are programmed to do. Primary among these is to recognize foreign invaders, like microbes, and to purge them. That was precisely what Shira needed at this point: cells that could recognize, confront, and destroy Pneumocystis and Klebsiella and CMV and Candida and parainfluenzae.

There was a new case for the fellow to present, and after exchanging pleasantries, he began: "Max Bornstein is a fifty-nine-year-old gentleman who had a large-cell lymphoma successfully treated two years ago and now has MDS." MDS stands for myelodysplastic syndrome—a conglomerate term of Greek roots that signifies injury to the primitive cells of the bone marrow, the stem cells; the injured stem cells grow in a stunted, disorderly way and fail to produce enough blood. In Bornstein's case, it was the chemotherapy that cured his lymphoma two years before that had injured the marrow stem cells. "His white blood cell count is 1,900, his platelets 74,000, and his hemoglobin 9.8," the fellow said. "I calculated all of his parameters, including his marrow findings. His calculated score puts him at intermediate-II risk on the IPSS. Based on his score, I would just transfuse him and not do anything beyond such supportive measures."

But Nimer believed that the lack of any improvement, despite full doses of the regimen, demanded an immediate and radical change in therapy. Nimer outlined a strategy with Franklin. They would try different drugs in the hope that one or more would reduce the amount of lymphoma in his body to the point where he could undergo a bone marrow transplant. Because Franklin did not have a matched donor, Nimer would harvest the stem cells from Franklin's own bone marrow, treat him with what would be lethal amounts of chemotherapy, and then "rescue" him with his own stem cells. "It scares me," Franklin said to Nimer, "but I really don't have a choice, do I?" Nimer replied that everyone always has a choice, but that this was the most rational way to proceed, and the only chance of a cure. The way a physician phrases his recommendations can powerfully sway a patient's choices. For example, by phrasing results in the positive, patients are more likely to accept the recommendation.

pages: 226 words: 66,188

Adventures in Human Being (Wellcome) by Gavin Francis


Atul Gawande, Isaac Newton, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Ralph Waldo Emerson, stem cell, traveling salesman

There are no images representing multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or leukaemia, despite the companies’ claim that storing stem cells might be an insurance policy against these illnesses in later life. You can donate stem cells to a public bank, for use by anyone, or you can pay a private company to store your baby’s cord and stem cells for the sole use of your family. Some cultures maintain that a baby’s visceral connection to its umbilical cord is an association that lasts a lifetime, and for that reason the cord must always be handled with respect. These cryogenics companies agree: if you want a private cord-bank to store your baby’s umbilical cord you can arrange for a lab scientist to be on standby for the birth of your child in order to extract the stem cells within the critical time period in which they’re still viable. Your baby’s lifetime’s association with the cord can be maintained through regular payments from a credit card. The National Health Service in the UK now has a cord-blood storage service, preserving stem cells for research, and investigating their use in bone marrow transplants for whoever might need them.

These ‘undifferentiated’ cells are a type of ‘stem cell’ because, just as it’s possible to regrow a tree from a single cutting, they are stems from which other body parts can theoretically grow. The cells within the cord blood have the potential to develop into tissues such as bone marrow, while the cells within the jelly of the cord are related to the structural components of the body: bone, muscle, cartilage and fat. The leaflets advertising umbilical cryogenics have two types of picture on them: cute and smiling children at play, or radiation-suited scientists engaged in some challenging laboratory task. There are no images representing multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or leukaemia, despite the companies’ claim that storing stem cells might be an insurance policy against these illnesses in later life.

The National Health Service in the UK now has a cord-blood storage service, preserving stem cells for research, and investigating their use in bone marrow transplants for whoever might need them. Within a decade we’ve gone from throwing afterbirth out with the trash, to reinvesting it with a depth of significance that had almost been forgotten. There’s some debate as to whether the private banks can ever supply enough stem cells to treat an adult, and so it remains controversial whether the high costs of preserving a child’s cord for its own use are justified. While the East African might feel tied to his umbilical tree, rooting him to a particular patch of the earth, you’re unlikely to draw strength and a sense of belonging from regular visits to a cryogenics lab. The laboratories themselves share specimens, and your cord may end up being stored in another country altogether, inaccessible to you or your child.

pages: 692 words: 127,032

Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America by Shawn Lawrence Otto


affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Berlin Wall, Brownian motion, carbon footprint, Cepheid variable, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dean Kamen, desegregation, double helix, energy security, Exxon Valdez, fudge factor, ghettoisation, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, sharing economy, smart grid, Solar eclipse in 1919, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, University of East Anglia, War on Poverty, white flight, Winter of Discontent, working poor, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

The field of genetics has the potential to improve human health and nutrition, but many people are concerned about the effects of genetic modification both in humans and in agriculture. What is the right policy balance between the benefits of genetic advances and their potential risks? 8. Stem Cells. Stem cell research advocates say it may successfully lead to treatments for many chronic diseases and injuries, saving lives, but opponents argue that using embryos as a source for stem cells destroys human life. What are your positions on government regulation and funding of stem cell research? 9. Ocean Health. Scientists estimate that some 75 percent of the world’s fisheries are in serious decline and habitats around the world like coral reefs are seriously threatened. What steps, if any, should the United States take during your term to protect ocean health?

The earmark in question was secured by Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) for research into the olive fruit fly, a widespread problem in Europe that is threatening the rapidly growing US olive industry—I kid you not. Palin followed this with “going rogue” on McCain by appearing without permission on Christian conservative James Dobson’s radio show, where she contradicted McCain’s position on stem cell research as stated to Science Debate. Concerned that he might be losing Bible Belt conservatives, McCain swung to the right. During the second presidential debate he criticized science spending in particular, singling out such congressional science earmarks as $3 million “to study the DNA of bears in Montana. I don’t know if that was a criminal issue or a paternal issue, but the fact is that it was $3 million of our taxpayers’ money.

Observations tell us that these beings produced in nontraditional ways seem to be the same as any other creatures. We have to ask, then, is every one that remains of the roughly 1½ million eggs a woman has in her ovaries at birth a life with rights? When does life begin? Is it true, as the comedy troupe Monty Python sang in The Meaning of Life, that “Every sperm is sacred”? Is it a life if we transform adult skin cells into stem cells and those into sperm and egg and then fertilize one with the other? And is that a clone or something else? Is it a life if we design its genome on a computer, as scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute have done,8 buy a DNA synthesizer on eBay for $8,000 or so, use it to make fragments of the genome we designed, chemically stitch them together, inject the complete genome into a cell with an empty nucleus, and shock it into replicating?

pages: 220 words: 66,518

The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles by Bruce H. Lipton


Albert Einstein, Benoit Mandelbrot, correlation does not imply causation, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Mars Rover, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

For close to two decades I had been programming biology’s central dogma—the belief that life is controlled by genes—into the minds of medical students. On the other hand, my new understanding was not a complete surprise. I had always had niggling doubts about genetic determinism. Some of those doubts stemmed from my eighteen years of government-funded research on cloning stem cells. Though it took a sojourn outside of traditional academia for me to fully realize it, my research offered incontrovertible proof that biology’s most cherished tenets regarding genetic determinism are fundamentally flawed. My new understanding of the nature of life not only corroborated my stem cell research but also, I realized, contradicted another belief of mainstream science that I had been propounding to my students—the belief that allopathic medicine is the only kind of medicine that merits consideration in medical school. By finally giving the energy-based environment its due, it provided for a grand convergence uniting the science and practice of allopathic medicine, complementary medicine, and the spiritual wisdom of ancient and modern faiths.

Suffice it to say that after four months in paradise, teaching in a way that clarified my thinking about cells and the lessons they provide to humans, I was well on my way to an understanding of the New Biology, which leaves in the dust the defeatism of genetic and parental programming as well as survival-of-the-fittest Darwinism. CHAPTER 2 IT’S THE ENVIRONMENT, STUPID I will never forget a piece of wisdom I received in 1967, on the first day I learned to clone stem cells in graduate school. It took me decades to realize how profound this seemingly simple piece of wisdom was for my work and my life. My professor, mentor, and consummate scientist Irv Konigsberg was one of the first cell biologists to master the art of cloning stem cells. He told me that when the cultured cells you are studying are ailing, you look first to the cell’s environment, not to the cell itself, for the cause. My professor wasn’t as blunt as Bill Clinton’s campaign manager, James Carville, who decreed, “It’s the economy, stupid,” to be the mantra for the 1992 presidential election.

Epigenetics is the science of how environmental signals select, modify, and regulate gene activity. This new awareness reveals that our genes are constantly being remodeled in response to life experiences. Which again emphasizes that our perceptions of life shape our biology. Months after this book was first published, an article in one of the most prestigious journals, Nature, revealed exciting new epigenetic insights on how the environment controls gene activity in stem cells, which coincidently is the same subject and conclusion I offer in Chapter 2. I must admit that I was amused by the fact that my chapter is entitled “It’s the Environment, Stupid” while the more recent Nature article was titled “It’s the Ecology, Stupid.” (2005 Nature 435:268) Essentially, we are on the same page! Some scientists in reviewing this book asked, “So what’s new about this work?” Leading-edge scientists are familiar with the concepts proposed herein, and that’s a good thing.

The Future of Technology by Tom Standage


air freight, barriers to entry, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Clayton Christensen, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, creative destruction, disintermediation, distributed generation, double helix, experimental economics, full employment, hydrogen economy, industrial robot, informal economy, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, job satisfaction, labour market flexibility, Marc Andreessen, market design, Menlo Park, millennium bug, moral hazard, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, railway mania, rent-seeking, RFID, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart grid, software as a service, spectrum auction, speech recognition, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, technology bubble, telemarketer, transcontinental railway, Y2K

As yet, no one knows how to go about that. 267 THE FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY The second way is the Dolly-the-sheep method, which is to extract the nucleus of an adult cell and stick it in an egg from which the nucleus has been removed. That seems to trigger the desired reprogramming. Or instead of putting the nucleus into an egg cell, it might be put into a socalled stem cell from an early embryo. Embryonic stem cells can turn into any other sort of cell, so might possibly be persuaded to turn into entire people. Regardless of that possibility, embryonic stem cells have medical promise, and several firms are currently studying them. Geron, the most advanced of these firms, has worked out how to persuade embryonic stem cells to turn into seven different types of normal cell line that it hopes can be used to repair damaged tissue. Blood cells could be grown in bulk for transfusions. Heart-muscle cells might help those with coronary disease.

In case that does not work, though, the discussion has turned to the idea of transplanting adult nuclei into embryonic stem cells as a way of getting round the rejection problem. This idea, known in the trade as therapeutic cloning, has caused alarm bells to go off. The technique would create organs, not people, and no one yet knows whether it would work. But some countries are getting nervous about stem-cell research. This nervousness has not been calmed by the activities of Advanced Cell Technology, a firm based in Worcester, Massachusetts, which announced in November 2001 that it had managed the trick of transplanting adult nuclei into stem cells and persuading the result to divide a few times. In effect, act created the beginning of an embryo. In 2002 President George Bush issued a decree restricting federal funding in America to existing embryonic stem-cell lines. Attempts have even been made in Congress to ban it altogether.

Kearney 163, 189 AAAI see American Association of Artificial Intelligence ABB 287, 289 ABI Research 295, 296 Accenture 39, 118–20, 126, 129, 131–2, 134–5, 138, 145–6 ActivCard 69 Activision 186–7 Adobe 39 Advanced Cell Technology 268 Africa 251–2 agricultural biotechnology ix, 238–9, 251–7, 270–1 see also genetic modifications AI see artificial intelligence AIBO 332, 334, 338 AIDS 247, 250 airlines 37–8, 42 AirPort 211 airport approach, security issues 68–9 Airvana 140–1 Alahuhta, Matti 164 Albert 339–40 “always on” IT prospects 94–5, 203 10, 37, 91 AMD 85, 313 American Association of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) 337–8 American Express 22, 27, 126 American football 194–7 American Superconductor 288 amino acids 241–8, 253–5 analogues see late adopters Anderson, Roger 287 Anderson, Ross 61, 73–4, 76 Andreessen, Marc 8, 15 animal husbandry 256–7 anti-piracy systems 34–5 anti-virus software 50–1, 60, 67–8 antibodies 249–50, 256–7 AOL 93 Apache 10 Apple 95, 97, 99–101, 165–6, 172, 192, 198, 202–3, 204, 207–8, 211, 219–29 Applera 242–3 application service providers (ASPs) 19–20, 91–2, 109 Applied Molecular Evolution 246, 258 architects, green buildings 299–304 Archos AV 206 Argentina 319 Arima 156 Armand, Michel 281, 283 ARPU see average revenue per user Arthur, Brian 39 artificial intelligence (AI) x, 89, 102, 233, 336–40 artists 83–4 ASCII 96 Asian cultures 93, 142, 176 see also individual countries ASPs see application service providers AstraZeneca 312 AT&T 108, 110 ATMs see automated teller machines atoms, nanotechnology ix–x, 233, 263–4, 306–29 Atos Origin 123, 130, 134, 143 audits 44, 46 automated teller machines (ATMs) 61 autonomic computing 88–92, 335, 339 Avax office building 304 average revenue per user (ARPU), mobile phones 157, 162–3 B B2B see business-to-business computing Baan 30 Babic, Vasa 159 back-up systems 43–4 Bacon, Sir Francis 236, 271 Ballard, Geoffrey 290 Balliet, Marvin 28 Ballmer, Steve 98 Bamford, Peter 164–5, 167 banks 37, 42, 48, 61, 72, 80, 87, 115, 116–18, 121, 126, 146 Bardhan, Ashok 138 barriers to entry, mobile phones 155–6 Battat, Randy 140–1 batteries 233, 277–9, 280–4 Baumholtz, Sara 103, 105–6 Bayesian decision-making 338 BEA 21–2, 87 Bell 108 Bell, Genevieve 93 Bell, Gordon 13 Bell Labs 210 341 THE FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY Benioff, Marc 19, 22, 84, 92 Benjamin, Dan 295 BenQ 156–7 Berliner, Emile 82 Bernstein, Phillip 300, 304 Berquist, Tom 37 Bhattacharya, Arindam 131 Bhide, Amar 128 Big Brother 179–83 biological weapons 265–6 biometric systems 60, 64–5, 71, 74 biopolymers 259–64 biotechnology ix–x, 233, 236–71 agricultural biotechnology ix, 238–9, 251–7, 270–1 categorisations 238–9, 241 cloning 239, 256, 267–71, 329 clusters 240 concepts ix–x, 233, 236–71, 327 embryonic stem cells 268–9 enzymes 258–64 fuels ix–x, 233, 259–64, 271, 274–9, 314–15 funding problems 237–8 future prospects 236–48, 267–71 genomics 239, 241–8, 262–4, 308 GM ix–x, 233, 236–40, 251–5, 267–71, 318–20 historical background 241 industrial biotechnology 258–64 medical applications ix–x, 145, 233, 236–40, 247, 249–50, 256–7, 267–71 pharmaceutical companies 239–40, 241–50, 312 plastics 238–9, 259–64 problems 236–40 revenue streams 237–8, 241–2 RNA molecules 241–2, 249–50, 265 therapeutic antibodies 249–50, 256–7 virtual tissue 248 warfare 265–6 x-ray crystallography 247–8 BlackBerry e-mail device 152–3, 156, 171 Blade Runner (movie) 269 Bloomberg, Jason 91 Bluetooth wireless links 171–2, 173, 214–15, 218 BMG 222–3, 227, 229 BMW 159, 176 Boeing 69 Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) 287 boom-and-bust cycles, innovations vii–viii, 4–39, 82–3, 107, 134 Bosch 142 Boston Consulting Group 120, 131, 140, 142, 160, 203, 226 Bowie, David 19 Brazil 114, 309, 319 BREEAM standard 300–1 342 Breese, Jack 100, 102 Brenner, Sydney 242, 252–3 Brillian 112–14 Brin, David 179, 183 Brin, Sergey 9 British Airways 126–7 broadband ix, 34–5, 52–3, 93, 96–7, 103, 168–9, 203, 207, 209–13 Broockman, Eric 216 Brooke, Lindsay 297 Brown, Tim 101, 106 Buddhism 19 budgets 7, 9, 14, 28–31, 45–6, 71, 186 bugs, software 20–1, 54–6 built-in obsolescence 8–9, 29 Bull, Michael 220 Bush, George W. 35, 144, 268–9, 274–6 Business Engine 28, 30 business models ix, 10, 19–20, 36–40, 109 business plans 10 business units 28–31 business-process outsourcing (BPO) 118 business-to-business computing (B2B) 90 Byrnes, Chris 44, 46 byte’s-eye view, complexity problems 85–7 C Calderone, Tom 224 call centres 79, 121, 125–9, 136, 144 Cambridge University 61, 73, 76 camcorders 214 camera phones 156, 170–2, 179–83, 203 see also mobile phones Cameron, Bobby 28 Canada 152, 181, 290 cancer cells 249–50, 317, 329 canola 252–3 Canon 108 capitalism 28 Capossela, Chris 79, 94 car industry 5, 38–9, 82–4, 113, 114, 116, 118–19, 120–1, 134, 146, 158–9, 175–6, 284, 290–8 diesel cars 296–7, 314–15 electric cars 284, 290, 291–8 hybrid cars 233, 284, 291–8 mobile phones 158–9, 175–6 particulate filters 296–7 performance issues 291–8 Toyota hybrid cars 291–5, 297 CARB 296 carbon nanotubes 311–12, 322, 325, 328 carbon-dioxide emissions 275, 296, 300 Cargill 253–4, 259–60 Carnegie Mellon 44–5 Carr, David 194 Carr, Nicholas vii–viii, 83 Cato Institute 34 INDEX CBS 36, 225 CDMA2000-1XEV-DO technology 165, 168–9 CDs 207, 212–13, 223–8, 315 celebrity customers, mobile phones 173–4 Celera 241–2, 262 Cell chips 198–200 cell phones 172 see also mobile phones Celltech 243 Centrino 11 Cenzic 54, 68 CFOs see chief financial officers Chand, Rajeev 217–18 Chapter 11 bankruptcies 37 Charles, Prince of Wales 317 Charney, Scott 43, 47, 72–3 Chase, Stuart 136, 139 Chasm Group 12, 36 Check Point Software 52–3, 86 chemistry 239, 310–11 Chi Mei 156–7 chief financial officers (CFOs) 21, 28–31, 73–4 Chile 319 China 38–9, 109, 112–15, 120–1, 130, 136, 140, 142, 145, 154, 156, 160, 171, 269, 276, 301, 309, 319–20 Christensen, Clayton 9, 107–8 Chuang, Alfred 87 CIA 18, 33, 50, 56 Cisco 106, 110, 211 Citibank 30, 121, 126 civil liberties, security issues 74 civilisation processes 84 clamshell design, mobile phones 170–1 Clarke, Richard 43, 75–6 cleaner energy ix–x, 233, 274–6 climate change ix clocks 82 clones, IBM PCs 9 cloning, biotechnology 239, 256, 267–71, 329 Clyde, Rob 67 CMOS chips 313–14 co-branding trends, mobile phones 161 Coburn, Pip 80–1, 89 Cockayne, Bill 66 Code Red virus 45, 49, 50, 54–5 Cognizant 125, 131 Cohen, Ted 228 cold technologies 31, 80 Cole, Andrew 163–5, 167 Comber, Mike 222 commoditisation issues, concepts 6–7, 8–16, 25, 132–5, 159, 203 Compal 156 Company 51 45–6, 54 Compaq 38 competitive advantages viii, 30 complexity problems ASPs 91–2, 109 byte’s-eye view 85–7 concepts viii, 14–16, 78–81, 82–110, 117–22 consumer needs 93–7 costs 79 creative destruction 107–10, 200, 326 desktops 100–2 digital homes 95–7 disappearance 82–4 “featuritis” 83–4 filtering needs 101–2, 339 front-end simplicity needs 84, 88, 99–102 historical background 80–4 infrastructural considerations 85–7, 117–22 IT viii, 14–16, 78–81, 82–110, 117–22 mergers 87 metaphors 100–2 “mom” tests 98 outsourcing 118–22 simplicity needs 78–81, 84, 87, 88–92, 98–110 web services 88–92 wireless technology 95–7, 109–10 “ws splat” 90–1 computer chips 4–12, 32–4, 85–7, 93, 95, 109, 119, 158, 161, 198–200, 202–3, 216, 313–14, 325–7 see also processing power Cell chips 198–200 costs 10, 14 heat generation 11–12 nanotechnology 313–14, 325–7 types 199–200, 202–3, 313–14 UWB chips 216 Computer Security Institute (CSI) 50–2, 62 Comviq 109 Condé Nast Building 301 consumer electronics see also customers; digital homes; gaming; mobile phones Cell chips 198–200 concepts viii–ix, 94–7, 99–102, 119, 147, 198–200, 203, 338–9 hard disks 204–8 control systems see also security... cyber-terrorism threats 75–6 Convergys 121, 126–9 copyright ix, 34 Corn, Joe 82 Cornice 208 Corporate Watch 318 costs viii, 4–7, 10, 14–15, 29–31, 70–4, 79, 186, 275–6, 283, 295–8, 311, 332–6 calculations 30–1 complexity problems 79 computer chips 10, 14 343 THE FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY downward trends viii, 4–7, 14 energy alternatives 275–6 flat-panel displays 230–1 gaming budgets 186 hybrid cars 295–8 networks 14–15 outsourcing 112–24, 131–5, 140–3 performance links 29–30 robots 332–6 security issues 45–6, 50–1, 62, 70–4 storage costs 14–15 viruses 50–1 VOIP 104–6, 167 cotton 252–5 crashes, innovations vii, 4, 5–8, 39, 107, 134 creative destruction 107–10, 200, 326 credit cards 114, 117–18, 129, 338 Crick, Francis 236, 247, 271 crime fraud 52, 61–3, 181–3 mobile phones 180–3 CRM see customer relationship management crops, GM 251–5, 270–1 Crosbie, Michael 302 Cruise, Tom 64–5 Crystal Palace 299 CSI see Computer Security Institute CSM Worldwide 291–2, 297 CTC 288 cultural issues outsourcing 122, 142 technology 93–4 customer relationship management (CRM) 19, 47 customers see also consumer electronics complexity issues 93–7 cultural issues 93–4, 142 powers 26–7, 28–31, 36–40, 83–4 satisfaction 22, 24, 28–31 simplicity needs 78–81, 84, 87, 88–92, 98–110 vendors 94–7 cutting-edge economics 17 Cypress Semiconductor 32 Czech Republic 114, 120, 319 Czerwinski, Mary 100 D D-VARS 288 DaimlerChrysler 292, 295–6 Danger 152 data centres 17, 21, 84–92, 117–22 data services, mobile phones 164–5, 170–1 databases 17–18, 20–1, 35, 36–7, 56, 69, 101–2 Davidson, Mary Ann 56 Davies, Geoff 53, 72–4 de Felipe, Charles 87 344 de Vries, Pierre 55 Dean, David 160 deCODE 243–4 Dedo, Doug 67 Delacourt, Francis 143 Dell 8, 9, 85, 88, 109, 114–15, 131, 150, 202–3, 230 DeLong, Brad 36 Demos 318 Denman, Ken 212 Denmark 289 deployment period, revolutionary ideas 6 Dertouzos, Michael 78 desktops 100–2 Deutsche Bank 121, 126, 161, 164 diesel cars 296–7, 314–15 Diffie, Whitfield 43, 56 digital cameras 78, 95, 179–83, 203, 204 digital homes ix, 94–7, 147, 200, 202–32 see also flat-panel displays; TV; video...; wireless technology competitors 202–3 concepts 147, 200, 202–32 future prospects 202–3 hard disks 204–8, 219–20 iPod music-players ix, 99–100, 102, 172, 192, 203, 204, 207–8, 219–29 media hubs 202–3 music 204, 207–8, 219–29 PCs 202–3 UWB 96–7, 214–19 Wi-Fi 34–5, 66–7, 93, 95–7, 153, 203, 209–18 digital immigrants 81, 93, 109 digital natives 81, 93 digital video recorders (DVRs) 205–6 direct-sequence ultrawideband (DS-UWB) 215–17 disaster-recovery systems 43–4 Dish Network 205 Disney 168 disruptive innovations, concepts 107–10, 200, 326 Diversa 253–4 DNA 236–41, 243–4, 247, 250, 262, 265, 312, 328 Dobbs, Lou 144 Dobkin, Arkadiy 130, 142 Dolly-the-sheep clone 256, 268 Donaldson, Ken 317 Dorel Industries 140 dotcom boom vii, 19, 37–9, 66, 79–81, 90, 92, 162, 309, 322, 339 double-clicking dangers, viruses 59–60 Dow 259–60, 263 DreamWorks 186 Drexler, Eric 316 DS, Nintendo 191–3 DS-UWB see direct-sequence ultrawideband INDEX Dun & Bradstreet 126 DuPont 259–60 DVD technology 203, 214, 224, 315 DVRs see digital video recorders E E*Trade 37 e-commerce 14, 71, 113 see also internet e-homes see digital homes e-mail viii, 42–57, 59–60, 99, 101, 104–6, 150, 156–7, 180 see also internet historical background 106 eBay 37, 91 economics, cutting-edge economics 17 The Economist x, 7, 66 Edison, Thomas Alva 82–3, 289 eDonkey 229 EDS 19–20, 60, 88, 120, 126, 134 Eigler, Don 310 electric cars 284, 290, 291–8 Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) 285–9, 290, 295–6 electricity fuel cells 274–9, 280–1, 289–90, 297–8, 301, 315, 325 green buildings 233, 299–304 hybrid cars 233, 284, 291–8 hydrogen 233, 262–4, 271, 274–9, 289–90, 297–8 lithium-ion batteries 233, 280–4 micropower concepts 289 nanotechnology 314–15 power grids 233, 285–90 storage problems 275–6, 289–90 electrification age ix, 5, 19, 23, 39, 82, 83, 84, 134 Electronic Arts 187, 190 electronic-manufacturing services (EMS), mobile phones 155–6, 159–60 electrons 307 Eli Lilly 44 Ellison, Larry 5, 21–2, 38–40 embryonic stem cells 268–9 EMI 222–9 Emotion Engine chips 199–200 Empedocles, Stephen 321 employees future job prospects 136–9, 144–6 office boundaries 80–1, 94 outsourcing viii, 112–46 resistance problems 31 security threats 58–63, 69 VOIP 104–6 EMS see electronic-manufacturing services encryption 53–4, 86–7 energy internet 285–90 energy technology ix–x, 233, 274–304, 314–15 alternative production-methods 275–6, 286, 289 concepts 274–304, 314–15 demand forecasts 277–9 fuel cells 233, 262–4, 271, 274–9, 280–1, 289–90, 297–8, 301, 315, 325 green buildings 233, 299–304 hybrid cars 233, 284, 291–8 hydrogen 233, 262–4, 271, 274–9, 289–90, 297–8 lithium-ion batteries 233, 280–4 nanotechnology 314–15 power grids 233, 285–90 production costs 275–6 renewable energy 275–6, 286, 289, 300 Engelberger, Joe 334 enterprise consumers 94–7 enterprise software 20, 35 Environmental Defence 319 enzymes, biotechnology 258–64 Epicyte 256–7 EPRI see Electric Power Research Institute Eralp, Osman 225 Ericsson 155–6, 158, 171 ETC 317–18 Ethernet 210–11 Europe see also individual countries fuel cells 274 mobile phones 163–9, 174 outsourcing 140–6 EV-DO see CDMA...

pages: 52 words: 16,113

The Laws of Medicine: Field Notes From an Uncertain Science by Siddhartha Mukherjee


Atul Gawande, cognitive dissonance, medical residency, randomized controlled trial, retrograde motion, stem cell, Thomas Bayes

A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, Cell, The New England Journal of Medicine, and The New York Times. In 2015, Mukherjee collaborated with Ken Burns on a six-hour, three-part PBS documentary on the history and future of cancer. Mukherjee’s scientific work concerns cancer and stem cells, and his laboratory is known for the discovery of novel aspects of stem cell biology, including the isolation of stem cells that form bone and cartilage. He lives in New York with his wife and two daughters. Read the book and watch the talk. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s TED Talk, available online: Meet the authors, watch videos and more at: WATCH SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE’S TED TALK Siddhartha Mukherjee’s TED Talk, available for free at, is the companion to The Laws of Medicine.

pages: 412 words: 115,266

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris


Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Bayesian statistics, cognitive bias, end world poverty, endowment effect, energy security, experimental subject, framing effect, hindsight bias, impulse control, John Nash: game theory, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, ultimatum game, World Values Survey

But many fully developed human beings answer to this condition of utter dependency at some point in their lives (e.g., a kidney patient on dialysis). And embryos themselves are not viable unless placed in the proper conditions. Indeed, embryos could be engineered to not be viable past a certain age even if implanted in a womb. Would this obviate the ethical concerns of those who oppose embryonic stem-cell research? At the time of this writing, the Obama administration still has not removed the most important impediments to embryonic stem-cell research. Currently, federal funding is only allowed for work on stem cells that have been derived from surplus embryos at fertility clinics. This delicacy is a clear concession to the religious convictions of the American electorate. While Collins seems willing to go further and support research on embryos created through somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), he is very far from being a voice of ethical clarity in this debate.

The belief that the soul enters the zygote at (or very near) the moment of conception leads to spurious worries about the fate of undifferentiated cells in Petri dishes and, therefore, to profound qualms over embryonic stem cell research. Rather often, a belief in souls leaves people indifferent to the suffering of creatures thought not to possess them. There are many species of animals that can suffer in ways that three-day-old human embryos cannot. The use of apes in medical research, the exposure of whales and dolphins to military sonar92—these are real ethical dilemmas, with real suffering at issue. Concern over human embryos smaller than the period at the end of this sentence—when, for years they have constituted one of the most promising contexts for medical research—is one of the many delusional products of religion that has led to an ethical blind alley, and to terrible failures of compassion. While Collins appears to support embryonic stem-cell research, he does so after much (literal) soul searching and under considerable theological duress.

Multiculturalism, moral relativism, political correctness, tolerance even of intolerance—these are the familiar consequences of separating facts and values on the left. It should concern us that these two orientations are not equally empowering. Increasingly, secular democracies are left supine before the unreasoning zeal of old-time religion. The juxtaposition of conservative dogmatism and liberal doubt accounts for the decade that has been lost in the United States to a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research; it explains the years of political distraction we have suffered, and will continue to suffer, over issues like abortion and gay marriage; it lies at the bottom of current efforts to pass antiblasphemy laws at the United Nations (which would make it illegal for the citizens of member states to criticize religion); it has hobbled the West in its generational war against radical Islam; and it may yet refashion the societies of Europe into a new Caliphate.6 Knowing what the Creator of the Universe believes about right and wrong inspires religious conservatives to enforce this vision in the public sphere at almost any cost; not knowing what is right—or that anything can ever be truly right—often leads secular liberals to surrender their intellectual standards and political freedoms with both hands.

pages: 386 words: 114,405

The Death of Cancer: After Fifty Years on the Front Lines of Medicine, a Pioneering Oncologist Reveals Why the War on Cancer Is Winnable--And How We Can Get There by Vincent T. Devita, Jr., M. D., Elizabeth Devita-Raeburn

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, double helix, mouse model, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, stem cell

The reserve has an ample enough supply to last for about a week to ten days. If you did a blood count during this time, the cell count would appear normal, even though the stem cell factory (stem cells generate all the cells in the marrow) had been shut down. But the damage had been done, and the storage compartment would be emptying. However, a second dose of a drug that is toxic to the marrow during the first ten days isn’t as damaging as the first. There are two reasons for this. The more mature cells left in the storage compartment aren’t all that sensitive to chemotherapy in the first place. And the stem cells would have been rendered quiescent by the first dose. Cells that are going through a lot of cell division, as stem cells normally do, are most vulnerable to the toxic effects of chemotherapy. Inactive cells, however, aren’t dividing, so they’re less susceptible to damage.

Inactive cells, however, aren’t dividing, so they’re less susceptible to damage. From day 9 after a dose of chemotherapy until about day 18, patients are out of white blood cells and platelets. While the stem cells in the marrow are awakening, they are not making many cells. This is the period of greatest danger for acquiring an infection or bleeding. After day 18, the marrow wakes up again in earnest, and the stem cells begin furiously churning out more white blood cells and platelets, although few of them leave the marrow until the storage compartment is full again. If you give another big dose of drug between days 14 and 18, it will cause severe marrow toxicity that could be fatal to the freshly dividing cells. By day 21, the storage compartment is full again, and signs of recovery—in the form of brand-new white blood cells and platelets circulating in the bloodstream—are in evidence.

Together, we devised a plan, passing the paper back and forth on the ward when one of us had time to work on it. Pretty soon, we realized we had another problem. In childhood leukemia, the drug combinations were given intensively, every day, for as long as possible, with the intent to destroy every leukemic cell lingering in the bone marrow and circulating in the bloodstream. Then you stopped and prayed there were enough normal marrow stem cells left to regenerate the bone marrow. Often, there were. But in patients with solid tumors, we didn’t want to damage the marrow. In fact, we needed, as much as possible, to avoid damaging it, as our patients would become more fragile if their blood counts dipped. We needed a different dosing schedule, one that killed the Hodgkin’s cells but didn’t destroy our patients’ bone marrow. We had little information to go on, so we decided arbitrarily to give treatment cycles once every twenty-one days.

pages: 290 words: 87,084

Branded Beauty by Mark Tungate


augmented reality, Berlin Wall, call centre, corporate social responsibility, double helix, East Village, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, haute couture, invention of the printing press, joint-stock company, liberal capitalism, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, stem cell

We have 260 researchers, which may seem quite a small number compared to the likes of L’Oréal, but we also work with exterior partners, such as Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.’ Stem cell research has proved fertile terrain for skincare marketers. As stem cells have the power to renew themselves, the theory is that epidermal stem cells should be protected – or even boosted – in order to ensure that they do their job of keeping our skin looking fresh and radiant with maximum efficiency. Such is the thinking behind Dior’s best-selling Capture Totale anti-ageing line, long promoted with advertising images of an apparently ageless Sharon Stone. It defends stem cells with TP Vityl, a topical constituent derived from vitamin E. This is what skincare marketers mean when they talk about ‘active ingredients’ – elements that have a job to do, rather than simply being part of the delivery vector, such as a colouring agent or fragrance.

This is what skincare marketers mean when they talk about ‘active ingredients’ – elements that have a job to do, rather than simply being part of the delivery vector, such as a colouring agent or fragrance. Beauty companies tend to promote active ingredients with language that reflects their brand DNA. For instance, La Prairie (owned, like Nivea, by Beiersdorf) makes much of its Swiss origins, equating the pure air and snows of its homeland with health and purity. Thus it assures us that its Cellular Power Infusion contains ‘the stem cells of Swiss red grapes and extract of Swiss snow algae’. This somehow explains why it costs almost 500 dollars a pot. Anyway, let’s return to Mauvais-Jarvis. ‘I believe a smaller team with exterior partners is more flexible than an enormous research department that is practically a company within a company,’ he says. ‘In this business, you have to be reactive, because it’s important to be first on to the market with a discovery.’

I understand why people buy skin creams, but what happens before they come on to the market? What’s the process?’ So I find someone to ask: a friend of a friend, who works as a product manager at a major beauty company that has already been mentioned in these pages. She spoke on condition of anonymity, but let’s call her Caroline. As we’ve established, skincare trends come and go almost as fast as fashion fads. Plant extracts, antioxidants, peptides, stem cells, bio-electricity: all of them have had their time in the sun. Beauty companies watch one another like hawks to ensure that they don’t miss out on a new active ingredient. ‘You constantly monitor what your competitors are doing,’ confirms Caroline. ‘You want to be sure you’re maintaining your fair share of the market, so you may find yourself launching a product to react to the competition or respond to a success story, but that’s by no means the only impetus.

pages: 281 words: 79,958

Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives by Michael Specter


agricultural Revolution, Anne Wojcicki, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Drosophila, food miles, invention of gunpowder, out of africa, personalized medicine, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh, Skype, stem cell, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Upton Sinclair, X Prize

Denialism must be defeated. There is simply too much at stake to accept any other outcome. Who doesn’t have a family member with diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, or some form of cancer? When faced with genuine solutions (not just promises) to such terrible fates, few will continue to question the value of stem cell research or cloning. Even Nancy Reagan, whose husband served as commander-in-chief of the American war against legal abortion, became an ardent and vocal supporter of stem cell research after watching him submit to the dark fog of Alzheimer’s disease. We have acquired more knowledge in the past decade than in the previous two centuries. Even bad news soon proves its worth. Look at avian influenza: bird flu may cause a devastating epidemic. Viruses, like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, will always be part of life on earth.

Obama has assembled a uniformly gifted team of scientific leaders, and when he speaks publicly about issues like swine flu or HIV, the president routinely makes a point of saying that he will be guided by their advice. That is quite a departure from the attitude of his predecessor, who, in one of his first major initiatives, announced that he would prohibit federal funding for research on new stem cell lines. George W. Bush encouraged schools to teach “intelligent design” as an alternative to the theory of evolution, and he all but ignored the destruction of our physical world. His most remarkable act of denialism, however, was to devote one-third of federal HIV- prevention funds to “abstinence until marriage” programs. The Bush administration spent more than $1 billion on abstinence-only programs, despite data from numerous studies showing that they rarely, if ever, accomplish their goals.

At the NIH workshop, Celeste Condit, a professor of speech communication at the University of Georgia, spoke about the way she thought Lahn’s study was framed. “The papers could be seen as having a political message,” Condit told Science magazine: in other words, the research might have implied that those genes contribute to differences in IQ. Lahn, who has since shifted the focus of his work to stem cell research in part because of the controversy, has repeatedly stated he had not meant to suggest that. During the bicentennial celebration of Darwin’s birth, in 2008, the journal Nature invited distinguished scientists to debate whether the subject of race and IQ was even worthy of study. The dispute was lively. “When scientists are silenced by colleagues, administrators, editors and funders who think that simply asking certain questions is inappropriate, the process begins to resemble religion rather than science,” Stephen Ceci and Wendy M.

The Techno-Human Condition by Braden R. Allenby, Daniel R. Sarewitz


airport security, augmented reality, carbon footprint, clean water, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, facts on the ground, friendly fire, industrial cluster, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, Peter Singer: altruism, planetary scale, prediction markets, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, smart grid, source of truth, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, Whole Earth Catalog

Nuclear-powergenerating technologies are much more diverse, safe, and reliable than they were 40 years ago, and one major reason for the improvement has been the dialectical relation between opponents and advocates of rapid deployment. (Such a dialectic was absent in the Soviet Union, and the result was Chernobyl.) Embryo research is telling a similar story. Advocates of embryonic stem cell research promise amazing benefits, at this point largely as a matter of faith, imagination, and the need to justify more research funding. Opponents, in their own creative space, see in the instrumental exploitation of embryos a cheapening of the value of life that will undermine civil society. One effect of these ignorance-based disputes has been to stimulate the search for alternative approaches to stem cell research that don't require destruction of the embryo. Option spaces are widening. The organizational challenge is to take these sorts of unbounded and often pathological disputes and mainstream them-move them into the institutions and activities where technological change is created-into laboratories, universities, government offices, corporate boardrooms-while ignorance is still rampant.

Until now, some are saying, our application of technology to enhancing our capabilities was largely external: we constructed tools that we could wield to increase our capacity to do A Long, Transhuman Trip 3 things, but as wielders we were essentially fixed in our capabilities. We controlled our external environment, not our internal selves. Even when we did things to enhance our inner capabilities, we did them with external interventions-eyeglasses, education, and the like. Now, we are told, with powerful new genetic technologies on the horizon, with the increasing fusion of human and machine intelligence, and with neuropharmaceuticals, artificial body parts, and stem cell therapies, we are beginning the business of transforming ourselves from the inside out, of exerting explicit and conscious control over our existing selves and our evolving selves in ways that create new opportunities, new challenges, and new ways of thinking about who we are and where we are going. The very notion of what it means to be human seems to be in play. For some people this is a thrilling and wonderful prospect indeed, while others are filled with dread and despair.

An assumption underlying all these ethical formulations is that decisions about ethics by individuals or by specific political entities are meaningful because they will lead toward the desired consequences. Recent history suggests otherwise: .neither the European Union's strong stance against agricultural genetically modified organisms nor the George W. Bush administration's efforts to limit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research has prevented the rapid advance of the science and technology in question-nor, for that matter, have anti-pirating laws prevented people from illegally downloading or copying software or music. Many technologies, including pharmaceuticals, supersonic air transport, and nuclear power generation, are limited by regulatory actions, but rarely has a society been able to forgo a powerful technological capability unless (as in the case of nuclear power, for example), there was an existing and economically feasible substitute.

pages: 460 words: 107,712

A Devil's Chaplain: Selected Writings by Richard Dawkins


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Desert Island Discs, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, Necker cube, out of africa, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method

Science cannot tell you whether stem cell cloning for ‘spare parts’ is wrong. But it can challenge you to explain how stem cell cloning differs morally from something that has long been accepted: tissue culture. Tissue culture has been a mainstay of cancer research for decades. The famous HeLa cell line, which originated in the late Henrietta Lacks in 1951, is now being grown in labs all over the world. A typical lab, at the University of California, grows 48 litres of HeLa cells per day, as a routine service to researchers in the university. The total daily worldwide production of HeLa cells must be measured in tons – all a gigantic clone of Henrietta Lacks. In the half century since this mass production began, nobody seems to have objected to it. Those who agitate to stop stem cell research today have to explain why they do not object to the mass cultivation of HeLa cells.

Though concerned for the happiness of the individual australopithecine reconstructed (this is at least a coherent ethical issue, unlike fatuous worries about ‘playing God’), I can see positive ethical benefits, as well as scientific ones, emerging from the experiment. At present we get away with our flagrant speciesism because the evolutionary intermediates between us and chimpanzees are all extinct. In my contribution to The Great Ape Project I pointed out that the accidental contingency of such extinction should be enough to destroy absolutist valuings of human life above all other life.72 ‘Pro life’, for example, in debates on abortion or stem cell research, always means pro human life, for no sensibly articulated reason. The existence of a living, breathing Lucy in our midst would change, forever, our complacent, human-centred view of morals and politics. Should Lucy pass for human? The absurdity of the question should be self-evident, as in those South African courts which tried to decide whether particular individuals should ‘pass for white’.

., (i) Einstein, Albert, (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) Eldredge, Niles, (i), (ii) Embryology (see also Development) ‘Computing’ a developing embryo, (i) Preformationistic vs. epigenetic, (i) Entropy, (i), (ii) Environment Ancestral, (i) Interaction of genes with, (i), (ii), (iii) Epidemiology In spread of scientific ideas, (i) Informational, (i) Of childhood crazes, (i), (ii) Of convictions, (i), (ii) Epigenesis, (i) Erectile organ, Mathematical significance of, (i) Essentialism, (i) Ethics Conjoined twins, (i) Human-centred view of, (i) Of abortion, (i), (ii) Of chimp/human hybrid, (i), (ii) Of human cloning, (i) Of stem cell research, (i), (ii) Reconstructing Lucy, (i) Science does not define, (i) Eucaryote, (i), (ii) Eugenics, (i) Evangelists, Television, (i) Evans, Christopher, (i) Ever Since Darwin, (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Evolution As art of the developable, (i) As central to education, (i) As progressive, (i), (ii) Does not violate Second Law, (i) Gradualistic, (i), (ii) Myth of progress to man, (i), (ii), (iii) Nonadaptive, 95 (see also Neutral theory) Nonrandom nature of Darwinian, (i) Of computer viruses, (i) Of evolvability, (i), (ii) Of vertebrate eye, (i), (ii) Positive feedback in, (i) Role of genes in, (i) Evolutionarily stable state, (i) Exam Pressure, Destructive effects of, (i), (ii) Syllabuses, Limited nature of, (i) Expression of the Emotions, The, (i), (ii) Extended phenotype, (i), (ii) Extinction, (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii), (viii) Fabre, Jean Henri, (i) Faith As symptom of infection by mind virus, (i) Exercised by belief in impossible things, (i) Intolerance to apostates, heretics, and rival faiths, (i) Respect for, (i), (ii), (iii) Spread of, compared to scientific ideas, (i) Suicide in the service of, (i), (ii) Feedback, Positive, (i), (ii) Female choice, see Sexual selection Feynman, Richard, (i) Fidelity in replication, see Gene, Meme Fisher, Kenneth, (i) Fisher, R.

pages: 901 words: 234,905

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Defenestration of Prague, desegregation, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, Hobbesian trap, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, long peace, meta analysis, meta-analysis, More Guns, Less Crime, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Rodney Brooks, Saturday Night Live, speech recognition, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the new new thing, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

The third doctrine, too, continues to make its presence felt in modern times. In 2001 George W. Bush announced that the American government will not fund research on human embryonic stem cells if scientists have to destroy new embryos to extract them (the policy permits research on stem-cell lines that were previously extracted from embryos). He derived the policy after consulting not just with scientists but with philosophers and religious thinkers. Many of them framed the moral problem in terms of “ensoulment,” the moment at which the cluster of cells that will grow into a child is endowed with a soul. Some argued that ensoulment occurs at conception, which implies that the blastocyst (the five-day-old ball of cells from which stem cells are taken) is morally equivalent to a person and that destroying it is a form of murder.16 That argument proved decisive, which means that the American policy on perhaps the most promising medical technology of the twenty-first century was decided by pondering the moral issue as it might have been framed centuries before: When does the ghost first enter the machine?

It would outlaw research on conception and early embryonic development that promises to reduce infertility, birth defects, and pediatric cancer, and research on stem cells that could lead to treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and spinal-cord injuries. And it flouts the key moral intuition that other people are worthy of moral consideration because of their feelings—their ability to love, think, plan, enjoy, and suffer—all of which depend on a functioning nervous system. The enormous moral costs of equating a person with a conceptus, and the cognitive gymnastics required to maintain that belief in the face of modern biology, can sometimes lead to an agonizing reconsideration of deeply held beliefs. In 2001, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah broke with his longtime allies in the anti-abortion movement and came out in favor of stem-cell research after studying the science of reproduction and meditating on his Mormon faith.

As the creationist advocate John West put it, “If human beings (and their beliefs) really are the mindless products of their material existence, then everything that gives meaning to human life—religion, morality, beauty—is revealed to be without objective basis.”30 The other moral doctrine (which is found in some, but not all, Christian denominations) is that the soul enters the body at conception and leaves it at death, thereby defining who is a person with a right to life. The doctrine makes abortion, euthanasia, and the harvesting of stem cells from blastocysts equivalent to murder. It makes humans fundamentally different from animals. And it makes human cloning a violation of the divine order. All this would seem to be threatened by neuroscientists, who say that the self or the soul inheres in neural activity that develops gradually in the brain of an embryo, that can be seen in the brains of animals, and that can break down piecemeal with aging and disease.

pages: 505 words: 142,118

A Man for All Markets by Edward O. Thorp


3Com Palm IPO, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, beat the dealer, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, buy low sell high, carried interest, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, compound rate of return, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Edward Thorp, Erdős number, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, George Santayana, German hyperinflation, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, High speed trading, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, Mason jar, merger arbitrage, Murray Gell-Mann, Myron Scholes, NetJets, Norbert Wiener, passive investing, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, publish or perish, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, statistical arbitrage, stem cell, survivorship bias, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Predators' Ball, the rule of 72, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, Works Progress Administration

Bush administration had severely restricted the allowed federal funding of stem cell research. Further, labs doing proscribed research had to be absolutely separate from federally funded facilities. Theoretically, if a pencil paid for by government funds was used for forbidden work, the entire federal grant could and would be revoked. The nation faced a delay in the development of lifesaving therapies, a massive brain drain as our scientists moved overseas to continue their work, and the loss of our lead in stem cell technology. California voters stepped in, approving a $3 billion bond issue to create CIRM, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The purpose was to provide ten years of support for stem cell research freed from the Bush restrictions. CIRM intended to fund five or six centers at university campuses throughout the state, each one of which would eventually get hundreds of millions of dollars.

CIRM intended to fund five or six centers at university campuses throughout the state, each one of which would eventually get hundreds of millions of dollars. The money would help construct research facilities entirely separate from any federal funding, as well as fund grants for faculty to develop new stem cell treatments for diseases. UCI already had an important group of stem cell experts and was strategically placed in biotech-rich Orange County. However, to qualify, the campus had to complete building the research center in two years, and significant portions of the funding had to come from both the university and private donors. Who in Orange County was rich enough and willing to be the lead private donor? The next part of the story begins back in 1966 when a senior at Duke University had a horrible automobile accident.

In the subsequent decades, he co-founded Pacific Investment Management Company, which would one day manage almost $2 trillion. The Duke senior had become a billionaire known worldwide as William H. Gross, the Bond King. Bill and his wife, Sue, had already donated tens of millions for medical causes, so a group at UCI arranged a lunch meeting with Bill to see if he and Sue would give $10 million and become the lead donors for a new CIRM-subsidized stem cell research center. In the course of the conversation, I mentioned that a $10 million gift would lead to as much as $600 million in the years to come, leveraging their donation sixty times. I saw an instant flash in Bill’s eyes and thought: Bill and Sue must value the chance to make an impact far greater than the value of the amount donated, just as Vivian and I do. After careful consideration, they said yes.

pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More


23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila,, endogenous growth, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, P = NP, pattern recognition, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

, Lynn Margulis brings us directly into body matter as an evolutionary conglomeration of bacterial strains where life is “the transmutation of energy and matter” in an autopoietic process (Margulis and Sagan 2000: 215).6 The theory of “symbiogenesis”7 suggests that we are comprised of a conglomerate of life forms – that as animals, humans are nucleated cells (Margulis and Sagan 2000) descended not just from a Darwinian theory of common ancestry (Darwin 1859), but from ancient bacteria, which are themselves comprised of different strains of bacteria (Margulis and Sagan 2000). The idea of a symbiogenesis is an underlying theme of life expansion,8 in relation to a “biotechnogenesis”9 of emerging and speculative technologies, which form the media of life expansion. The biotechnogenesis media of life expansion for the human and transhuman include biotechnology (genetic engineering, and methods of regenerative medicine, i.e., stem cell cloning and regenerative cells growing organs), nanotechnology (nanomedicine, nanorobotics, and molecular manufacturing) and human–computer interaction, including artificial intelligence (artificial general intelligence), and processes for whole brain emulation. The quintessence of being alive – that element of you, the psyche according to Aristotle, form the biotechnogenesis of matter as they repeatedly ­collapse and expand into each other.

Over the last 50 years biotechnology has provided insights into the workings of natural cells that have revolutionized our understanding of what biological systems are capable of. Manipulating these biological processes produces technologies that can directly or indirectly influence human enhancement. Increasingly, researchers are thinking of biological systems as a technology and applying them to address global challenges in the advancement of human development in areas such as stem cell research, cloning, genetic modification, in vitro fertilization, the science of aging, and tissue grafting. Human enhancement can be achieved by direct interventions where the body hosts the technology, such as in the case of neural implants. However, indirect methods in human enhancement are possible, although seldom considered in transhumanist discussions. They draw from the intrinsic relationship that exists between organisms and their environment, which was first described by Charles Darwin and later expressed as an iterative interaction by biologist Richard Lewontin.

One can potentially chart paths that ­transition from Narrow AI to AGI, and this may be a viable way to get to advanced AGI, but it’s certainly not the fastest or easiest way – and it’s different than what would happen if society were to explicitly fund AGI research in a big way. The relatively paltry funding of AGI isn’t just due to its speculative nature – society is currently willing to fund a variety of speculative science and engineering projects: billion-dollar particle accelerators, space exploration, the sequencing of human and animal genomes, stem cell research, and so forth. If these sorts of projects merit Big Science-level funding, why is AGI research left out? After all, the potential benefits should AGI proceed and get done right are obviously tremendous. There are potential dangers too, to be sure – but there are also clear potential dangers of particle physics research (discovering better bombs is arguably a hazardous pursuit), and that doesn’t stop us.

pages: 61 words: 16,429

Just Keep Calm & Take Some Magnesium - Why a "Boring" Mineral Is Suddenly Hot Property for Soothing Bodies and Calming Minds by James Lee


Albert Einstein, epigenetics, life extension, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

You can now add “increased SIRT1 deacetylase activity” to exercise’s long list of life-extending benefits. Don’t forget to tell your gym buddies this in the locker room. You will be quite the popular one. There is also considerable excitement regarding SIRT3, another sirtuin which is central to the process of mitochondrial function and the generation of stem cells. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, found that by up-regulating SIRT3 activity (which usually declines with age), they could reverse some of the markers of aging. Most importantly, increasing SIRT3 activity improves the ability of hematopoietic stem cells to regenerate. The researchers unambiguously said that “aging-associated degeneration can be reversed by a sirtuin”. A commercially available drug that targets either SIRT1 or SIRT3 is a while away, however sirtuin-related therapy appears to be one of the most promising areas of current research into delaying or reversing the aging process.

pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler


3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, Elon Musk,, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, ImageNet competition, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Making One Hundred Years Old the New Sixty While the bulk of this chapter has been concerned with the exploitation of individual technologies for their entrepreneurial possibilities, even more potential can be found at the intersection of multiple fields. In fact, along just these lines, in March of 2013, I joined forces with genetics wizard Dr. J. Craig Venter and stem-cell pioneer Dr. Robert Hariri to found perhaps my boldest venture ever: Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI).61 Venter, who serves as CEO, described HLI’s mission as “using the combined power of genomics, infinite computing, machine learning, and stem cell therapies to tackle one of the greatest medical, scientific, and societal challenges—aging and aging-related diseases.” Hariri, who pioneered the use of placental-derived stem cells, goes on to say: “Our goal is to help all of us live a longer and healthier life. By reenergizing our stem cells, the regenerative engine of our bodies, we can maintain our mobility, cognition, and aesthetics long into our later years.” Put simpler, HLI’s goal is to make one hundred years old the new sixty.

Part of the reason for this velocity is that the company sits at the intersection of many of the exponential technologies discussed in this chapter: robotics, which enables lightning-fast sequencing; AI and machine learning, which can make sense of petabytes of raw genomic data; cloud computing and networks for transmitting, handling, and storing that data; and synthetic biology for correcting and rewriting the corrupted genome of our aging stem cells. Couple that with the incredible value proposition of abundant, longer, and healthier lives—there is over $50 trillion locked up in the bank accounts of people over the age of sixty-five—and you understand the potential. And understanding this potential is critical if you’re going to succeed as an exponential entrepreneur. Consider that, twenty years ago, the idea that a computer algorithm could help companies with funny names (Uber, Airbnb, Quirky) dematerialize twentieth-century businesses would have seemed delusional.

pages: 416 words: 106,582

This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman


23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Satyajit Das, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, selection bias, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game

As another example, a federal judge recently issued an injunction blocking stem-cell research funding. The probability that stem-cell research will quickly lead to life-saving medicine is low, but if successful, the positive effects could be huge. If one considers outcomes and approximates the probabilities, the conclusion is that the judge’s decision destroyed the lives of thousands of people, based on probabilistic expectation. How do we make rational decisions based on contingencies? That judge didn’t actually cause thousands of people to die . . . or did he? If we follow the “many worlds” interpretation of quantum physics—the most direct interpretation of its mathematical description—then our universe is continually branching into all possible contingencies: There is a world in which stem-cell research saves millions of lives and another world in which people die because of the judge’s decision.

A fundamental obstacle remains: Nonscientists harbor deep-seated instincts concerning the management of uncertainty in their everyday lives—instincts that exist because they generally work but that profoundly differ from the optimal strategy in science and technology. And of course it is technology that matters here, because technology is where the rubber hits the road—where science and the real world meet and must communicate effectively. Examples of failure in this regard abound—so much so that they are hardly worthy of enumeration. Whether it be swine flu, bird flu, GM crops, or stem cells, the public debate departs so starkly from the scientist’s comfort zone that it is hard not to sympathize with the errors scientists make, such as letting nuclear transfer be called “cloning,” which end up holding critical research fields back for years. One particular aspect of this problem stands out in its potential for public self-harm, however: risk aversion. When uncertainty revolves around such areas as ethics (as with nuclear transfer) or economic policy (as with flu vaccination), the issues are potentially avoidable by appropriate planning.

., 310–11 Smith, John Maynard, 96 Smolin, Lee, 221–24 social microbialism, 16 social networks, 82, 262, 266 social sciences, 273 Socrates, 340 software, 80, 246 Solomon Islands, 361 something for nothing, 84 specialness, see uniqueness and specialness Sperber, Dan, 180–83 spider bites, 68, 69, 70 spoon bending, 244 stability, 128 Standage, Tom, 281 stars, 7, 128, 301 statistically significant difference, 378–80 statistics, 260, 356 stem-cell research, 56, 69–70 stock market, 59, 60–61, 151, 339 Flash Crash and, 60–61 Pareto distributions and, 199, 200 Stodden, Victoria, 371–72 stomach ulcers, 240 Stone, Linda, 240–41 stress, 68, 70, 71 string theories, 113, 114, 299, 322 subselves and the modular mind, 129–31 success, failure and, 79–80 sun, 1, 7, 11, 164 distance between Earth and, 53–54 sunk-cost trap, 121 sunspots, 110 Superorganism, The (Hölldobler and Wilson), 196–97 superorganisms, 196 contingent, 196–97 supervenience, 276, 363–66 Susskind, Leonard, 297 Swets, John, 391 symbols and images, 152–53 synapses, 164 synesthesia, 136–37 systemic equilibrium, 237–39 Szathmáry, Eörs, 96 Taleb, Nassim, 315 TANSTAAFL (“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”), 84 Tapscott, Don, 250–53 taste, 140–42 tautologies, 355–56 Taylor, F.

pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Robert J. Gordon


3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser,, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism, yield management

Moreover, even a proponent of the technology acknowledges that “it remains to be seen whether genomic medicine will actually improve health, when efforts to implement simpler clinical and preventive strategies have failed.”75 Nevertheless, molecular diagnostics have been growing rapidly and, it has been estimated, will soon account for a third of all diagnostic test costs. Another area that holds promise but that has had little mainstream effect to date is stem cell therapy. As a regenerative therapy, the field of stem cell transplantation provides a ray of hope in today’s age of chronic, degenerative diseases. However, though stem cell therapy has been practiced since the late 1980s for bone marrow transplants,76 its practical application has thus far failed to extend far beyond that. The very prevalence of the phrase “stem cell research,” compared to the relative absence of the phrase “stem cell therapy,” attests to the therapy’s limited practical implementation: In 2008, according to Google’s Ngram Viewer, the first phrase was used eleven times more often than the second in a sample of more than 5 million books.77 Skeptical investors have been hesitant to throw their support behind further research and development.

The very prevalence of the phrase “stem cell research,” compared to the relative absence of the phrase “stem cell therapy,” attests to the therapy’s limited practical implementation: In 2008, according to Google’s Ngram Viewer, the first phrase was used eleven times more often than the second in a sample of more than 5 million books.77 Skeptical investors have been hesitant to throw their support behind further research and development. Jeffrey O’Brien writes, “Long time horizons, regulatory hurdles, huge R&D costs, public sentiment, and political headwinds have all scared financiers. Wall Street isn’t interested in financing this particular dream.”78 In short, the realization of the stem cell therapy dream appears to lie relatively far in the future. Today, though bright ideas and human ingenuity abound—as exemplified by the concepts of genomic medicine and stem cell therapy—translation into practical, clinical applications are relatively rare. Part of this discrepancy stems from the ever-increasing costs of developing new medical innovations. As we noted in figure 14–2, new drug approvals have stagnated since the 1960s. A more basic measurement of drug industry innovation is to use new molecular entities (NMEs), which contain previously unused chemical functional groups and form the fundamental, chemical base for families of related drugs.

During the 1870–1940 interval covered in part I of this book, life expectancy improved at all ages but most rapidly at birth, because these years witnessed the near eradication of infant mortality. By several estimates, the value of reduced mortality, particularly of infants, was as great as the value of all the growth over the same period in market-purchased goods and services. Predictions of future economic progress from our current vantage point place major emphasis on continuing advances made possible by medical research, including the decoding of the genome and research using stem cells. It is often assumed that medical advances have moved at a faster pace since the invention of antibiotics in the 1930s and 1940s, the development from the 1970s of techniques of radiation and chemotherapy to fight cancer, and the advent of electronic devices such as the CT and MRI scans to improve diagnoses of many diseases. Many readers will be surprised to learn that the annual rate of improvement in life expectancy was twice as fast in the first half of the twentieth century as in the last half.

pages: 181 words: 52,147

The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future by Vivek Wadhwa, Alex Salkever

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk,, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Google bus, Hyperloop, income inequality, Internet of things, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, life extension, Lyft, M-Pesa, Menlo Park, microbiome, mobile money, new economy, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supercomputer in your pocket, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uranium enrichment, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

The new era of precision medicine and granular understanding of the interplay of all genetic material and environmental stimuli has enlivened quests for extreme longevity. Google, for example, has launched Calico, a new company focusing on radical life extension; and Craig Venter is one of the cofounders of a company called Human Longevity, which is working on extending the healthy human lifespan through genomics-based stem-cell therapies that mitigate the diseases of aging. Venter’s company is sequencing hundreds of thousands of genomes and incorporating data from functional-MRI scans that capture views of and data from processes inside a living human body in order to match genetic processes with in vivo biological ones. The next big medical frontier after genomics is also already on the horizon: the microbiome, the bacterial population that lives inside your gut.

Atala has also bio-printed bladders in clinical trials, and is working toward creating more-complex organs with detailed vascular structures, such as kidneys and livers. Adding the blood vessels necessary to feed the tissues or organs that metabolize or process nutrients and toxins remains elusive; that could be decades away. But, within the next decade, any relatively simple structure that you might need replaced—heart valve, bone, ear, or nose—will likely be grown using a mixture of bio-ink and, to minimize risk of rejection, your own stem cells. There are now nearly a dozen companies working toward bioprinting real body materials; and industrial design giants such as Autodesk, led by its visionary CEO, Carl Bass, are researching the fabrication of biological materials through additive printing. Of course, we will need doctors and surgeons to do all this; it is not like printing and installing a spare part in your car. But these are the technologies that our medical practitioners will commonly use.

As we gain the ability to grow tissues and print organs, we also gain an unprecedented ability to create hybrid materials and weave together biology and chemistry. Nanomaterials are of particular interest in this regard; for example, researchers are studying bone regeneration with nanostructured calcium phosphate biomaterials. The calcium phosphate acts as scaffolding and mimics crystallographic properties of inorganic components of bone. Early findings have shown that these nanostructured materials, when combined with stem cells, can accelerate bone regeneration. Alongside better-than-human materials will come sensor systems with miniature electronics that turn our bodies into minutely measured machinery. In August 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued Endotronix a patent for its wireless sensor reader for continuous monitoring of pulmonary-artery pressure. The tiny implanted biosensor is delivered to the artery via routine, minimally invasive, low-cost catheterization.

pages: 369 words: 153,018

Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane


Benoit Mandelbrot, clockwork universe, double helix, Drosophila, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, out of africa, phenotype, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, stem cell, unbiased observer

In contrast, if the mutation made the mitochondrion more alacritous in its response to an equivalent signal, we would expect to see an expansion of its DNA. At every signal to divide, the mutant mitochondria would leap into action, and so would eventually displace the ‘normal’ mitochondria from the population. And if the mutation occurred in a stem cell (which gives rise to Demise of the Self-Correcting Machine 293 replacement cells in a tissue) the mutants would be more likely to be passed on every time the stem cell divided, and so would finally take over the entire tissue. It’s important to note that such mutations are most likely to stage a tissue takeover if they’re not particularly detrimental to mitochondrial function. This is likely to be true, as there is nothing the matter with the respiratory complexes themselves.

As a result of such differing thresholds, the more serious mitochondrial diseases affect long-lived, energetically active tissues, especially muscle and brain. There are parallels with ageing here. We don’t inherit all of our defective mitochondria from the egg cell: some accumulate in adult life, due to free radicals formed by normal metabolism. This generates a mixed population of mitochondria in the cells affected. What happens next depends on the type of cell. If the cell is an adult stem cell (responsible for regenerating tissue), a possible outcome would be the clonal expansion of defective mitochondria. This happens in some muscle fibres, producing the ‘ragged red fibres’ characteristic of mitochondrial diseases, but also found in ‘normal’ ageing. Conversely, if the mutation affected a long-lived cell no longer capable of division, such as a heart-muscle cell or a neurone, then the mutation could not spread beyond the bounds of that single cell.

Our neurones, for example, are usually as old as we are ourselves: they are rarely, if ever, replaced, yet their function doesn’t spiral out of control in an error catastrophe, but rather declines imperceptibly. What isn’t possible though, is any return to the fountain of youth. While the most devastating mitochondrial mutations can be eliminated from cells, there is no way of restoring their pristine function, short of not using the mitochondria at all (which is how egg cells, and to a degree adult stem cells, do reset their clocks). The more a cell relies on defective mitochondria, the more oxidizing the intra-cellular conditions become (oxidizing means a tendency to steal electrons). When I say ‘oxidizing’, however, I don’t mean the cell loses control of its internal environment. It retains control by adapting its behaviour, establishing a new status quo. Most proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and DNA are not affected by the change—again, in disagreement with the predictions of the original mitochondrial theory, which anticipated evidence of accumulating oxidation.

pages: 285 words: 78,180

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life by J. Craig Venter


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, Barry Marshall: ulcers, bioinformatics, borderless world, Brownian motion, clean water, discovery of DNA, double helix, epigenetics, experimental subject, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing machine

This important piece of biological machinery has been adapted for synthetic biology by Boston University biomedical engineers Ahmad S. Khalil and James J. Collins. They have created novel zinc-finger designs that are intended to bind with new target sequences.27 The Boston team has engineered new circuits in yeast, a eukaryote, using modular, functional parts from the eukaryotes themselves and “wiring” them up with the help of zinc fingers.28 There are many immediate applications of this work, such as helping to develop stem cells for regenerative medicine, and in-cell devices and circuits for diagnosing early stages of cancer and other diseases. This method may also equip groups of cells to perform higher-order computational tasks for processing signals in the environment in sensing applications. Efforts by others are under way to extend and modify the existing genetic code, to code for new amino acids that don’t exist in nature.

I can envisage that, in the coming decades, we will witness many extraordinary developments of tangible value, such as crops that are resistant to drought, that can tolerate disease and thrive in barren environments, that provide rich new sources of protein and other nutrients, that can be harnessed for water purification in harsh and arid regions. I can imagine designing simple animal forms that provide novel sources of nutrients and pharmaceuticals, customizing human stem cells to regenerate a damaged, old, or sick body. There will be new ways to enhance the human body as well, such as boosting intelligence, adapting it to new environments such as the radiation levels encountered in space, rejuvenating worn-out muscles, and so on. Let’s keep our focus on the global problems that are affecting humanity. Many serious issues now threaten our fragile and overcrowded world, one that will soon be home to nine billion people, one that is running out of fundamental resources such as food, water, and energy, and one that is haunted by the specter of unpredictable and devastating climate change. 11 Biological Teleportation There was a sharp click and the man had disappeared.

This device has a number of names at present, including “digital biological converter,” “biological teleporter,” and—the preference of former Wired editor in chief Chris Anderson—“life replicator.” Creating life at the speed of light is part of a new industrial revolution that will see manufacturing shift away from the centralized factories of the past to a distributed, domestic manufacturing future, thanks to 3-D printers. This technology is already being used to assemble embryonic stem cells into tissues, grow bones, and to build planes or even entire buildings by “concrete printing.” Why stock warehouses with parts when entire designs can now be stored in virtual computer warehouses waiting to be printed locally and on demand? We might one day get to a point where individuals can make all the products they want, from door handles to smartphones, including the next generation of 3-D printer.

pages: 288 words: 76,343

The Plundered Planet: Why We Must--And How We Can--Manage Nature for Global Prosperity by Paul Collier


agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, business climate, Doha Development Round, energy security, food miles, information asymmetry, Kenneth Arrow, megacity, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shock, profit maximization, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stewart Brand

By 1821 the French-German Enlightenment philosopher Baron d’Holbach was writing, “Man is only unhappy because he does not understand nature.” If only we could get back to nature we could get off the psychiatrist’s couch.The more prosperity has distanced us from nature, the more we have demanded that governments protect it from science. And the more emotive the issue involved the more it is apparent, as with stem-cell research and genetically modified food. Agriculture, as the economic activity that most directly impinges on nature, has borne the brunt of these sentiments. But the misunderstandings of ordinary citizens offer fertile opportunities for special interests. Regulation not only protects, it redistributes. Regulations can be manipulated by interest groups to their advantage and in the rich countries the agricultural lobby has thrived on popular misunderstandings which, through our aid programs, have extended to Africa.

As the peasant and industrial lifestyles have further diverged, reflecting the growth of our economies and the stagnation of theirs, the peasant lifestyle has come to emblemize a harmonious life. The development NGOs, dedicated as they are to the eradication of poverty, also reflect the environmental concerns of the wealthy countries that fund them. Their attitude to a local farming economy can therefore border on the schizophrenic: they want both change and preservation. The victims of today’s curtailment of stem-cell research are tomorrow’s incurables. But the victims of the anti-science, pro-peasant regulation of agriculture are today’s poor. Curtailing technology and discouraging the commercialization of African agriculture have tended to increase the price of food, and food is the main item of expenditure for poor households. Here’s a final formula: nature + regulation – technology = hunger. Environmentalists versus Economists?

See also fisheries self-sufficiency, 213–14 September 11 terrorist attacks, 129 service activities, 180, 185 Shirky, Clay, 234–35, 239 Sierra Leone and capital goods, 149 and construction, 147–48 and diamonds, 37, 165 and oil, 126 prospecting in, 69 territorial waters of, 163 signature bonuses, 90, 91, 110 Singer, Peter, 24 slum dwellers, xiii smallholder agriculture, 214–15 smuggling, 89 social ownership, 160, 161 social value, 179 solar power, 181, 182, 194 Soludo, Chukwuma, 234 Somalia, 163–64 South Africa, 64, 75, 224 South America, 66 Southern hemisphere, 209 South Korea, 218 sovereignty issues, 239 Soviet Union, 49 special-interest lobby groups, 135 Spence, Michael, 111, 138, 233, 234 Stability Pact, 238 Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment, 137 Starved for Science (Paarlberg), 220 stem-cell research, 8 Stern, Nicholas, x, 9, 26, 140, 186, 202 Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change, 9, 140 stewardship, 32–33 Stiglitz, Joe, 5 structures, 131, 148 stunting, 211 subsidies, 164, 208, 223–24 subsistence agriculture, 213, 217 subsoil assets, 20, 64–68. See also specific assets, including coal and oil Sudan, 122, 218 sustainability and economic growth, 98 and extinction, 154, 161 and fisheries, 154, 161, 164, 168–71 of nonrenewable natural assets, 98, 100–102, 154 and Permanent Income, 103 and preservation of nature, 98 of renewable natural assets, 154, 155, 156, 161 Tanzania, 166 taxation and asymmetric information, 88–90 of carbon emissions, 185–88, 192, 198, 199, 241 and corruption, 51–52, 88 in decision chain, 127 excess-profits tax, 88–89 and extraction revenues, 84 of fisheries, 169–70 in low-income countries, 100 low-tax commitments, 85–87, 117 pan-European tax, 27 redistributive taxation, 24, 27, 28, 168 and rents and rent-seeking, 52, 88–89, 127, 143 and time-inconsistency, 85 and volatility in revenues, 117 technology and bottom billion countries, 5 and democratic power, 235 and discovery process, 68 fickleness of, 5 and fishing, 164–65 and modern agriculture, 216–17 and nature, 4 and ocean floors, 167 and oil demand, 106, 194 and prosperity, 4 and resource scarcity, 229 territorial waters, 162, 167 terrorism, 129–30 “Testing the Neo-con Agenda” (Collier and Hoeffer), 49 Thailand, 135 threshold effects, 60 tidal power, 181, 182 timber in Thailand, 135 time-inconsistency, 71–74, 85 Toxic Assets Recovery Program, 176 trade trade negotiations, 237 trade restrictions, 193, 194 trade wars, 237 tragedy of the commons, 161 transparency, 80–82, 94, 122–25, 129–30 Transparency International, 129 trees and custody principle, 157–59 of Eritrea, 158–59 of Haiti, 19 as natural assets, 160 See also forests Ukraine, 218 uncertainty, 18–19 unilateralism, 238 United Arab Emirates, 218 United Nations, 168–71, 218, 238, 240 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 215, 216 United Nations Industrial Development Organization, 184 United Nations Security Council, 238 United States anti-Americanism, 220, 225 and carbon emissions, 189–90, 195 and finders-keepers rule of assets, 46 and social cost of energy, 183 United States Congress, 176–77, 193 universalism, 24, 26, 27–28, 29, 31 urbanization, 209, 211, 217–18 Utilitarianism about, 23–25 and climate change, 200–201 and custody principle, 112 as ethical framework, 10, 25, 26 limitations of, 27 and Permanent Income, 102–3 and universalism, 24, 26, 27–28, 29, 31 value of natural assets, 83–84 vehicles, 182–83 Venables, Tony, xiv, 59, 111, 139 veto points, 135–36 violence and food crises, 211 Wall Street Journal, 128–29 Warnholz, Jean-Louis, 132 Welsh National Party, 30 West, American, 19, 21 West Africa, 94 wind power, 181, 182 worker productivity, 139 World Bank and Cameron, 81 Doing Business survey, 145 and ethanol subsidies, 224 evaluation of development projects, 141–42 and prospecting aid, 76 and subsoil assets, 20, 54, 65, 66 and Zambia, 87 world financial markets, 117, 128 World Food Programme, 170–71, 210–11 world interest rate, 104, 155 World Trade Organization, 164, 193, 219, 237 Wrong, Michaela, 159 Yamani, Ahmed Zaki, 106 Zambia and agriculture, 209 and copper mining, 5, 32, 64, 143 and private investment, 143 prospecting in, 76 and state-owned copper company, 93 and taxation, 86–87, 89 Zedillo, Ernesto, 6, 233–34 Zeufack, Albert, 81, 82 Zimbabwe, 199, 218

Longevity: To the Limits and Beyond (Research and Perspectives in Longevity) by Jean-Marie Robine, James W. Vaupel, Bernard Jeune, Michel Allard

computer age, conceptual framework, demographic transition, Drosophila, epigenetics, life extension, phenotype, stem cell, stochastic process

Springer-Verlag, New York 178 C. E. Finch: Longevity: Is Everything Under Genetic Control? Matsui Y, Zsebo K, Hogan BML (l992) Derivation of pluripotential embryonic stem cells from murine primordial germ cells in culture. Cell 70:841-847 Nelson JF, Felicio LS (l986) Radical ovarian resection advances the onset of persistent vaginal cornification but only transiently disrupts hypothalamic-pituitary regulation of cyclicity in C57BL/6J mice. BioI Reprod 35:957-964 Paganini-Hill A, Henderson VW (1994) Estrogen deficiency and risk of Alzheimer disease. Am J Epidemiol 140:256-261 Pesce M, Farrace MZ, Piacentini M, Dolci S, De Felici M (1993) Stem cell factor and leukemia inhibitory factor promote primordial germ cell survival by suppressing programmed cell death (apoptosis). Development 118:1089-1094 Phelan JP, Austad SN (1994) Selecting animal models of human aging: inbred stains often exhibit less biological uniformity than Fl hybrids.

With the many studies of neuron number that are ongoing, we may anticipate a brain map that gives the quantitative variations in different neuron populations and the thresholds of neuron loss during age-related neurological disease that are associated with different degrees of functional change. Some populations of neurons may prove to be strongly linked to life expectancy. Similar questions can be posed for the immune system, which depends on clonally lineages of cells that are derived from obscurely enumerated stem cells. A possible consequence is variations between individuals in immune responses at later ages that could be a determinant of resistance to infection or the proclivities to autoimmune disease. Thus it is likely that organ systems differ widely during aging between individuals in the stochastically determined numbers of cells above critical thresholds for irreversible loss of function that influence morbidity and mortality.

pages: 624 words: 180,416

For the Win by Cory Doctorow


barriers to entry, Burning Man, creative destruction, double helix, Internet Archive, inventory management, loose coupling, Maui Hawaii, microcredit, New Journalism, Ponzi scheme, Post-materialism, post-materialism, random walk, RFID, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, slashdot, speech recognition, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, union organizing, urban renewal, wage slave

Perry followed, because he had a professional interest in the kind of wares they carried. Most of them originated on one of his printers, after all. Plus, it was the gentlemanly thing to do. “What have we here?” he said as he pulled up alongside her. She was trying on a bracelet of odd, bony beads. “Ectopic fetuses,” she said. “You know, like the Christian fundies use for stem-cell research? You quicken an unfertilized egg in vitro and you get a little ball of fur and bone and skin and stem-cells. It can never be a human, so it has no soul, so it’s not murder to harvest them.” The vendor, a Turkish teenager with a luxurious mustache, nodded. “Every bead made from naturally occurring foetus-bones.” He handed one to Perry. It was dry and fragile in his hand. The bones were warm and porous, and in tortured Elephant Man shapes that he recoiled from atavistically.

The clinic was in St Petersburg, Russia, in a neighborhood filled with Russian dentists who catered to American health tourists who didn’t want to pay US prices for crowns. The treatment hadn’t originated there: The electromuscular stimulation and chemical therapy for skin-tightening was standard for rich new mothers in Hollywood who wanted to get rid of pregnancy bellies. The appetite-suppressing hormones had been used in the Mexican pharma industry for years. Stem-cells had been an effective substitute for steroids when it came to building muscle in professional athletic circles the world round. Genomic therapy using genes cribbed from hummingbirds boosted metabolism so that the body burned 10,000 calories a day sitting still. But the St Petersburg clinic had ripped, mixed and burned these different procedures to make a single, holistic treatment that had dropped Lester from 400 to 175 pounds in ten weeks.

The Europeans knew from textiles, and expert tailoring seemed to be in cheap supply here. She’d have to get someone to run her up a blue blazer and a white shirt and a decent skirt. It would be nice to get back into grown-up clothes after a couple years’ worth of Florida casual. She’d see Geoff after dinner that night, get more detail for the story. There was something big here in the medical tourism angle—not just weight loss but gene therapy, too, and voodoo stem-cell stuff and advanced prostheses and even some crazy performance enhancement stuff that had kept Russia out of the past Olympics. She typed her story notes and answered the phone calls. One special call she returned once she was sitting in her room, relaxed, with a cup of coffee from the in-room coffee-maker. “Hello, Freddy,” she said. “Suzanne, darling!” He sounded like he was breathing hard.

pages: 836 words: 158,284

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss


23andMe, airport security, Albert Einstein, Black Swan, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, correlation does not imply causation, Dean Kamen, game design, Gary Taubes, index card, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, lifelogging, Mahatma Gandhi, microbiome, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Buchheit, placebo effect, Productivity paradox, publish or perish, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, Thorstein Veblen, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, William of Occam

Platelets are packed with growth and healing factors and are part of the body’s normal tissue repair system. The PRP is prepared using a special centrifuge after whole blood is drawn from your arm, similar to getting blood drawn for lab work. Making platelet-rich plasma. PRP formed the base to which the following were added: Stem cell factor (SCF), flown in from Israel, which assists in blood cell production. Bone morphogenic protein 7 (BMP-7), which helps adult stem cells (mesenchymal) develop into bone and cartilage. In retrospect, I believe this to be the most dangerous substance in all of the cocktails I tried. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) IGF-1 has anabolic (tissue-building) effects in adults and is produced in the liver after stimulation by growth hormone. It is one of the most potent natural activators of cell growth and multiplication.

The wider world thinks I’m obsessed with time management, but they haven’t seen the other—much more legitimate, much more ridiculous—obsession. I’ve recorded almost every workout I’ve done since age 18. I’ve had more than 1,000 blood tests1 performed since 2004, sometimes as often as every two weeks, tracking everything from complete lipid panels, insulin, and hemoglobin A1c, to IGF-1 and free testosterone. I’ve had stem cell growth factors imported from Israel to reverse “permanent” injuries, and I’ve flown to rural tea farmers in China to discuss Pu-Erh tea’s effects on fat-loss. All said and done, I’ve spent more than $250,000 on testing and tweaking over the last decade. Just as some people have avant-garde furniture or artwork to decorate their homes, I have pulse oximeters, ultrasound machines, and medical devices for measuring everything from galvanic skin response to REM sleep.

Fat-Burning Fat Not all fat is equal. There are at least two distinct types: white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT). WAT is what we usually think of as fat, like the marbling on a steak. A WAT cell—an adipocyte—is composed of a single large fat droplet with a single nucleus. BAT, in contrast, is sometimes referred to as “fat-burning fat” and appears to be derived from the same stem cells as muscle tissue. A BAT cell is composed of multiple droplets that are brown in color because of a much higher volume of iron-containing mitochondria. Normally associated with muscle tissue, mitochondria are best known for producing ATP and oxidizing fat in muscle tissue. BAT helps dissipate excess calories as heat. These excess calories would otherwise be stored in the aforementioned WAT and end up in your beer gut or muffin top.18 In a nutshell: cold stimulates BAT to burn fat and glucose as heat.

pages: 561 words: 167,631

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson


agricultural Revolution, double helix, full employment, hive mind, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, Kuiper Belt, late capitalism, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, phenotype, post scarcity, precariat, retrograde motion, stem cell, strong AI, the built environment, the High Line, Turing machine, Turing test, Winter of Discontent

But you know that birds’ brains are organized on completely different lines than mammal brains?” “No.” “I thought everyone knew that. Some qube architecture is based on bird brains, so it got discussed for a while.” “I didn’t know.” “Well, the thinking that we mammals do in layers of cells across our cortex, birds do in clusters of cells, distributed like bunches of grapes.” “I didn’t know that.” “So you can take some of your own stem cells and introduce skylark song node DNA into them, and then you can introduce it through the nose to the brain, and it makes a little cluster in the limbic system. Then when you whistle, the cluster links into your already existing musical networks. All those are very old parts. They’re almost like bird parts of the brain already. So the new ones get hooked in, and off you go.” “You did this?” “Yes.”

In both, androgens and estrogens are supplied with hormone pumps such that the child is born with potential for both kinds of genital development in the body, awaiting the choices prenatally selected bisexuality has the strongest positive correlation with longevity. Hormonal treatments begun at puberty or during adulthood also have positive effects on longevity, but the psychological set will be hormonal treatments support the surgical addition of a functioning uterus in the abdominal wall above the penis alteration of the clitoris into a small functioning penis, with testicles grown using either conserved Wolffian ducts or stem cells from the subject. Gynandromorphs can ordinarily father only daughters, as the construction of a Y chromosome from an X chromosome involves problematic females adding functional reproductive masculinity are helped by a process imitating a natural 5-alpha-reductase deficiency principal categories of self-image for gender include feminine, masculine, androgynous, gynandromorphous, hermaphroditic, ambisexual, bisexual, intersex, neuter, eunuch, nonsexual, undifferentiated, gay, lesbian, queer, invert, homosexual, polymorphous, poly, labile, berdache, hijra, two-spirit, cultures deemphasizing gender are sometimes referred to as ursuline cultures, origin of term unknown, perhaps referring to the difficulty there can be in determining the gender of bears KIRAN ON VENUS The moment Kiran was alone with Shukra, Shukra said to him, “We’re going to have to put you through some tests, my boy.”

And Swan was going to keep getting mad at him until he helped to make it happen. But he thought perhaps he could. Extracts (13) certain metabolic actions accumulate lifetime damage, and each kind of damage has to be treated individually, and the treatments coordinated with each other as well as with the ordinary functioning of the organism cell loss or atrophy is ameliorated by exercise, growth factors, and directed stem cells cancerous mutations are identified by massively parallel DNA sequencing and transcriptome sequencing and dissolved by targeted gene therapies and telomerase manipulation; chemo and radiation therapies are now highly targeted, using monoclonal antibodies, avimers and designed proteins death-resistant cells that are senescent in their function must not be allowed to transform into harmful forms, but must rather be targeted by suicide genes and immune response undamaged mitochondria are introduced into cells suffering mitochondrial mutations lipofuscin is one kind of accumulated junk inside our cells that can’t be carried away by the immune system.

pages: 489 words: 148,885

Accelerando by Stross, Charles


call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, Conway's Game of Life, dark matter, dumpster diving, Extropian, finite state, Flynn Effect, glass ceiling, gravity well, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, packet switching, performance metric, phenotype, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, South China Sea, stem cell, technological singularity, telepresence, The Chicago School, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, web of trust, Y2K, zero-sum game

So the festival city's body shop goes to work turning out hacked stem cells and fabbing up incubators. It doesn't take very long to reincarnate a starshipful of relativity-lagged humans these days. First, City carves out skeletons for them (politely ignoring a crudely phrased request to cease and desist from Pamela, on the grounds that she has no power of attorney), then squirts osteoclasts into the spongy ersatz bone. They look like ordinary human stem cells at a distance, but instead of nuclei they have primitive pinpricks of computronium, blobs of smart matter so small they're as dumb as an ancient Pentium, reading a control tape that is nevertheless better structured than anything Mother Nature evolved. These heavily optimized fake stem cells – biological robots in all but name – spawn like cancer, ejecting short-lived anucleated secondary cells.

"You're thinking about the implants again," she says carefully. The cat remembers this as a sore point; from being a medical procedure to help the blind see and the autistic talk, intrathecal implants have blossomed into a must-have accessory for the now-clade. But the male is reluctant. "It's not as risky as it used to be. If they screw up, there're neural growth cofactors and cheap replacement stem cells. I'm sure one of your sponsors can arrange for extra cover." "Hush: I'm still thinking about it." He's silent for a while. "I wasn't myself yesterday. I was someone else. Someone too slow to keep up. Puts a new perspective on everything: I've been afraid of losing my biological plasticity, of being trapped in an obsolete chunk of skullware while everything moves on – but how much of me lives outside my own head these days, anyhow?"

pages: 270 words: 85,450

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande


Atul Gawande, Checklist Manifesto, clean water, delayed gratification, Skype, stem cell

And it happens to us: eventually, one too many joints are damaged, one too many arteries calcify. There are no more backups. We wear down until we can’t wear down anymore. It happens in a bewildering array of ways. Hair grows gray, for instance, simply because we run out of the pigment cells that give hair its color. The natural life cycle of the scalp’s pigment cells is just a few years. We rely on stem cells under the surface to migrate in and replace them. Gradually, however, the stem-cell reservoir is used up. By the age of fifty, as a result, half of the average person’s hairs have gone gray. Inside skin cells, the mechanisms that clear out waste products slowly break down and the residue coalesces into a clot of gooey yellow-brown pigment known as lipofuscin. These are the age spots we see in skin. When lipofuscin accumulates in sweat glands, the sweat glands cannot function, which helps explain why we become so susceptible to heat stroke and heat exhaustion in old age.

Farquhar, and W. M. Aubry, False Hope: Bone Marrow Transplantation for Breast Cancer (Oxford University Press, 2007). Ten states enacted laws: Centers for Diseases Control, “State Laws Relating to Breast Cancer,” 2000. Never mind that Health Net was right: E. A. Stadtmauer, A. O’Neill, L. J. Goldstein et al., “Conventional-Dose Chemotherapy Compared with High-Dose Chemotherapy plus Autologous Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplantation for Metastatic Breast Cancer,” New England Journal of Medicine 342 (2000): 1069–76. See also Rettig et al., False Hope. Aetna, decided to try a different approach: R. Krakauer et al., “Opportunities to Improve the Quality of Care for Advanced Illness,” Health Affairs 28 (2009): 1357–59. A two-year study of this “concurrent care” program: C. M. Spettell et al., “A Comprehensive Case Management Program to Improve Palliative Care,” Journal of Palliative Medicine 12 (2009): 827–32.

pages: 298 words: 95,668

Milton Friedman: A Biography by Lanny Ebenstein


affirmative action, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, labour market flexibility, Lao Tzu, liquidity trap, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price stability, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, stem cell, The Chicago School, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, zero-sum game

In each case, Friedman’s preferred policy is for government to give individuals money or credits rather than for government to provide services directly. With respect to stem cell research and gay marriage, Friedman writes in 2005 correspondence that on “stem cell research, I believe that it should be freely open but that the government should not be financing it. It does seem to me wrong for the government to be spending its citizens’ tax money on programs which a significant fraction of the population find morally abhorrent.” Regarding gay marriage, “I do not believe there should be any discrimination against gays....The only question is whether th[e] laws should have a special category for a family unit whose primary objective is childrearing.”13 On abortion, he believes that it should be legal, but, similar to his position on stem cell research, that government should not pay for abortions. Friedman believes that the current public school system operates largely like a monopoly, with the inefficiency and lack of innovation that monopoly invariably entails.

pages: 315 words: 92,151

Ten Billion Tomorrows: How Science Fiction Technology Became Reality and Shapes the Future by Brian Clegg

Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Brownian motion, call centre, Carrington event, combinatorial explosion, don't be evil, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, game design, gravity well, hive mind, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, silicon-based life, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Turing test, V2 rocket

At the time of writing there are at least two projects aiming to clone a mammoth, Akira Iritani at Kyoto University, who has been working in the area since 2011, with a target of success by 2016–2017, and Hwang Woo-Suk, a South Korean ventinarian who recently set out on a crash course in mammoth recovery. The fact that Hwang is involved is not in itself very encouraging, as he infamously fell from grace as a noted stem cell researcher when he was dismissed from a post at Seoul National University in 2006 for having forged data from imaginary research into stem cells. Yet he certainly had experience of cloning, (assuming the experiment was not faked), when he cloned a dog in 2014. Other scientists are both doubtful of the short-term chances of success, bearing in mind how many failures it took to get to the much less ambitious Dolly, and dubious that there is any scientific merit in bringing a mammoth back to life.

Perhaps the closest we have come to science fiction in real-world genetic engineering, raising visions of H. G. Wells’s dark tale The Island of Dr. Moreau, is the creation of human/animal chimeras where human cells and animal embryos are combined. Yet there is an important distinction that takes the impact out of the SF story line—where the fictional result is a monstrous crossover creature, in reality the result is not viable as a living organism, but results in the production of stem cells, which can then be used for medical purposes. Wells envisaged bizarre hybrids like the leopard-man, the satyr-man, and the dog-man on Dr. Moreau’s island. But he realized the impracticality of giving a human being wings. This hasn’t stopped science fiction writers from exploring one of humanity’s great dreams. What if the right technology could enable us to leave behind the airplane and soar solo into the sky?

pages: 299 words: 98,943

Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization by Stephen Cave

Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, back-to-the-land, clean water, double helix, George Santayana, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, life extension, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, stem cell, technoutopianism, the scientific method

They are summed up in his “Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence” (“senescence” being a term for the deterioration caused by aging), a paradigmatic example of the Engineering Approach to immortality. Like most people in his field, de Grey relies on technologies that are now in their infancy but whose promise seems immense—in particular genetics, stem cells and nanomedicine. Genetic engineering should enable us to rewrite our bodies’ instruction books, ensuring many diseases that are now fatal never arise. Stem cells, which have the ability to develop into any kind of tissue, from skin to neurons, hold out the promise of growing healthy tissue to replace that which is diseased or worn out—even whole organs. And nanotechnology (engineering on the scale of atoms or molecules) gives hope of the ability to repair our bodies from the inside out using billions of tiny, targeted machines.

And Francis Bacon pursued what he considered this “most noble goal” of life extension to his death—in 1626 from pneumonia, which he contracted when experimenting with the use of snow to preserve corpses. Throughout its history, science has sought to make life unending and death reversible. In chapter 3, we saw that scientific progress is driven forward by the Engineering Approach to mortality, the modern version of the Staying Alive Narrative, which attempts to break down the challenge of death into a list of potentially solvable problems like curing cancer, harnessing stem cells or stopping smoking. We can now see that this is part of a broader ideology of mastering nature—a belief that there are no natural limits that cannot in the end be overcome by reason. This belief extends beyond the hope of staying alive to encompass also its Plan B: resurrection. This drive to mastery of nature is often regarded as the very essence of modernity. As the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman has noted, with the advent of science, death came to be seen as an insult to our newfound powers—“the last, yet seemingly irremovable, relic of fate in a world increasingly designed and controlled by reason.”

pages: 239 words: 45,926

As the Future Catches You: How Genomics & Other Forces Are Changing Your Work, Health & Wealth by Juan Enriquez


Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, borderless world, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, creative destruction, double helix, global village, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, Howard Rheingold, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, personalized medicine, purchasing power parity, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, spice trade, stem cell, the new new thing

A cute rhesus monkey called ANDi (inserted DNA … spelled backward) … Showed that you could insert specific genes into animals very similar to humans …8 And begin to think about studying Alzheimer’s, cancer, blindness, Parkinson’s, vaccines, cancer … In a much more deliberate way. (Start-ups like Ximerex are beginning to engineer pig organs to include human enzymes in an attempt to someday transplant their hearts, kidneys, and livers into our bodies … Stem Cells has engineered mice that grow human brain cells to try to cure Alzheimer’s.) Which also raises the specter of eventually engineering human embryos.9 This should not surprise us. There used to be one way of getting pregnant … Now there are more than seventeen … Leading to test-tube babies, surrogate mothers, pregnant grandmothers, orphan embryos. Which gets lawyers like Lori Andrews to ask … Whether a child conceived from … A donated egg and anonymous sperm … Implanted in a surrogate mother … And brought up by an infertile couple … Has five parents.10 But I digress … Back to agribusiness.

Cambridge, Massachusetts March 2001 NOTES Chapter I: Mixing Apples, Oranges, and Floppy Disks … 1. “Stable Germline Transformation of the Malaria Mosquito Anopheles stephensi,” Nature 405 (2000): 959–62. 2. Britain was the first country to allow this. The measure passed in the House of Lords 212 to 92, despite the opposition of various religious leaders. The clones can grow only to 14 days. The objective is to create human stem cells (undifferentiated cells that can grow into any tissue), in an attempt to treat leukemia, Parkinson’s, and cancer. 3. Of course not everyone gets excited by new maps. During the presentation of the human genome at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meetings … folks were scrambling to get their hands on the first printed genome maps … One enterprising reporter snagged her copy … ripped it open … spread it out on the floor … and used it as a quilt to lie on during the press conference.

pages: 900 words: 241,741

Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Peter Petre


Berlin Wall, California gold rush, call centre, clean water, cleantech, Donald Trump, financial independence, Golden Gate Park, illegal immigration, index card, Maui Hawaii, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil shale / tar sands, pension reform, risk tolerance, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Y2K

In a presidential election year, journalists speculated about me as a future contender, although that would require a change in the Constitution that nobody really expected. My numbers stayed high all year, right through the November 2004 election, when California’s voters backed me on every ballot initiative on which I took a position. The most dramatic of these were measures to stop “shakedown” lawsuits against businesses and the landmark stem cell initiative, in which we put up $3 billion for groundbreaking scientific research after the Bush administration restricted federal funds. We also shot down two initiatives that would have increased the already outrageous privileges of the Indian gaming tribes. I was making such a splash that Republican leaders asked me to help in the push to get President Bush reelected. They invited me to give the prime-time keynote address at the Republican National Convention.

I joked about my approval rating, which by now had sunk further, to the low thirties, and the fact that people had started asking, “Don’t you wish you were back in the movie business?” But I said that I still thought this was the best job I ever had, and that I now stood before them happy, hopeful—and wiser. I bragged about things for which we all deserved credit, from balancing the budget without raising taxes, to banning soda and junk food in schools. I reminded them of the big things we had accomplished—the workers’ comp reform, the funding of stem-cell research, the refinancing of state debt, new laws to make government more transparent and accessible. And then I laid out the big numbers: the hundreds of billions of dollars of investment that we would need in order to support California’s growth in the future. As a first step, I presented the ten-year plan my team had scrambled to refine. We’d named it the Strategic Growth Plan. I asked the legislature to put before the voters the $68 billion in bonds we would need.

Time magazine put a picture of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and me on the cover in June over the headline “Who Needs Washington?” The point of the story was that Bloomberg’s city and my state were doing the big things that Washington failed to do. Washington had rejected the Kyoto Protocol to combat global warming, but in California we passed America’s first cap on greenhouse gases. The administration had rejected stem cell research, but in California we’d invested $3 billion to promote it. The administration turned down our request for money to repair our water system’s levees, but we’d pushed through billions of dollars in bonds to protect the levees and start rebuilding our infrastructure. I told Time, “All the great ideas are coming from local governments. We’re not going to wait for Big Daddy to take care of us.”

pages: 266 words: 67,272

Fun Inc. by Tom Chatfield


Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, credit crunch, game design, invention of writing, moral panic, publication bias, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, upwardly mobile

Perhaps at no other point in peacetime history have an older generation seen their experience and knowledge so decisively outdated within their own lifetimes, and while this is a larger phenomenon, games are an increasingly integral part of it. It’s especially troubling because many of the most profound questions video games raise have yet to be addressed. There is, for instance, the growing problem of how to determine the legal status of actions and transactions within virtual worlds. In some ways, the kinds of legal and ethical questions raised here resemble those seen in medical science. Stem cell research, for instance, is a field where what is technically possible has evolved faster than the growth of the legal and philosophical framework addressing it. What are the ethics of creating, destroying and using human embryos in potentially life-saving medical treatments? The questions thrown up by games may be considerably less challenging ethically, but they too confront our current laws and cultural frameworks with possibilities far outside the imaginations of legislators even half a century ago.

34 Huizinga, Johan 233 Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture 229–32 human behaviour, and video games 165–79 human motivators 4 humour 8 I Dig It 213–14 I wish I were the moon 129 id Software 188 improvement 4 in-game interactions 51 Inconvenient Truth, An (film) 186 Infocom x installation art 132 intellectual property 60 intelligent shared spaces 160–61 internationalism 2 internet 210, 224 browser 156 casual gaming 33–7, 210–12 computers’ unrestricted freedom to browse 24 importance to younger children 64 online pursuits 83 and pornography 83 social relationships 89–90 sub-culture 7 the world’s most important gaming arena 24 internet cafés 80–81 Invisible Threads 143 iPhones 212–14, 216 Iraq 191 invasion of (2003) 192, 195 Japan 221–2, 229 Japanese firms 21–3, 222 professionalism 21 rivalry between Nintendo and Sega 21–2 success of Sony 22–3 Jo Kim, Amy 163–4 Johnson, Boris 56, 57 jumping 39–40 keyboard 157, 158, 159 Kindle 219 Korea 80–81, 221, 222 Koster, Raph 7–10, 39, 49 A Theory of Fun for Game Design 7 Kretschmer, Tim 67, 68 Krishna (Indian deity) 44 Kubrick, Stanley 113–14 Kufeld, Albert W 17–18 laptops 210 Lazzaro, Nicole 49–50, 51 learning 4, 6–8, 49, 94, 150, 153, 157, 180, 181, 209 contexts from learning 203 experiential 9 see also education; training Learning and Teaching Scotland 200, 201 Lee, Johnny Chung 160 Legend of Mir 3, The 60 Legend of Sword and Fairy, The 120 Lehtonen, Liz and Ville 103–4 Levene, Simon 216–17 Lewitt, Adam 68 live art 131–4 Lord of the Rings series 113 Los Angeles Expo (2009) 13, 14 Lovell, Nicholas 215–16 Lucas, George 46 Lumière, Auguste and Louis 111 McKechnie, Craig 99–100 Macropedia 216 Macs 23 Magnavox Odyssey 19, 20 Marine Doom 188–9 Mario games 39, 40 market locations 171 mass print media 20 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 15–18 massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) 7, 48, 93, 103, 105, 106, 138, 140, 162, 176 Medal of Honor series 65 ‘meta-game’ 105 microphones 51, 97 Microsoft 14, 216, 217 enters console war 218 programs 155 Windows 42 military games 187–97 Mind Candy 63 Minesweeper 41–2 mobile phones 28, 34, 157–8, 210, 212, 221–2 monitor 157 Moshi Monsters 63, 64 motion capture 14, 29, 137 motion sensitivity 23, 158, 159 motivation 149–51, 163, 177, 179, 180, 184 mouse 156–9 MP3 players 28 MP3 recordings 136 MTV 37, 186 mtvU 186 MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) 45 M.U.L.E. 10–11 multi-player games online 89, 169 text-based 89 time spent playing 29 Murdoch, Rupert 218 music interactive 135–6 recorded 57, 228 MySpace 89, 155 Natal tracking box project 13–14 National Adviser for Emerging Technologies and Learning, Scotland 200, 202 National Parenting Publications Award 64 natural sciences 169 Negative Gamer 75 netbooks 220–21 neurological control 211 NeuroSky 158, 159 newspapers 227 Nielsen Games 63 Nintendo 21, 22, 23, 27, 31, 39, 76, 216 brain-training games 205 DS console 202, 205–8 Super Nintendo 200 Wii 37, 91, 138, 156, 158, 160, 215, 217–18 Nintendogs 83 Norrath (a virtual world) 167, 168 not-for-profit gaming 225 Novint Falcon controller 159 NP-hard problem (‘non-deterministic polynomial hard’ problem) 41–2 Oakdale Junior School, Essex 205–8 Olympics 2 online community management 224 online ‘counter-culture’ 110 online games creation of xi gaming community 29 motivating, co-operative social tools 108 players’ achievements in 29–30 profitability 221 reward distribution 177–9 OnLive service 220 OpenShaspa Home Energy Kit 161–2 OpenShaspa system 161 Overload series 119 Overload: Dark Legend 119 Overload: Minions 119 Overload: Raising Hell 119 Overload II 119 Pac-Man 20, 201 Pajitnov, Alexey 40, 41, 42 Palace, The 172 Pan European Game Information System (PEGI) 62–3 parents 63–4, 138 party games 91 Passage 126–8, 129 PCs 23 PDP-1 (Programmed Data Processor) 15, 16, 17 Pediatrics journal: ‘Longitudinal Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggression in Japan and the United States’ 67 pentominos 41 performance art 130, 133 performance games 91 persistence 154 personalisation 154 Pet Society 36–7 pets ‘pet’ games 83 in WoW 94 Pew Internet/MacArthur Report on Teens, Video Games and Civics (2008) 90, 108–9 Pictionary 3–4, 5 Pirate Bay website, The 109 Pirate Party 109 Pixar Studios 117 platform games 83 Plato: Phaedrus 55, 56 play, Huizinga on 229–30, 232 player motivations (Killer, Achiever, Explorer and Socialiser) 47–8, 49 Playfish 33–7 points 164 Pokémon series 83 political awareness 181 political issues 108–9 Pong 18–20 Poole, Steven 126 Trigger Happy 125 pornography 83 Posner, Judge Richard A 70–71 Pratchett, Rhianna 117–19 Pratchett, Terry 117–18 prefrontal cortex 72 primal response patterns 163 Psychiatric Quarterly journal 66 psychological science 153 Psychological Science journal 73 Psychonauts 119–20 Punchdrunk theatre company 133–4 radio 20, 57–8, 227 ‘raiding missions’ 97–8 RAM 157 Rama (Indian hero) 44 Ramayana 44 Ramis, Harold 137 ratings 63, 64, 65, 164 Rawlinson, Michael 64–5 reading 85 Real 216 real-time conversation 51 Reeves, Professor Byron 162–3 research organisations 225 Restaurant City 37 reward schedule 149–50 rewards 199, 206, 209 RiepI, Wolfgang 227 Riepl’s law 227 Robertson, Derek 199–206 robots, military use of 194–5 Rock Band games 91, 135–6 Rohrer, Jason 126, 127–8 role-playing games 29, 45, 83 Rothenberg, Stephanie 143 Russell, Stephen ‘Slug’ 15–16, 22 scarcity 172, 173 Scottish education 199–205 Scruton, Roger 91–2, 101 Second Life 90, 118, 142–6 Second World War 229 Sega 21, 22, 23, 31 Segerstråle, Kristian 34–7 Seggerman, Suzanne 181–2, 186, 187, 193 self-expression 4, 43, 51, 94 Serious Games Institute, Coventry University 153, 161 Shining, The (film) 113–14 Sims, The series 83 SingStar 136 sketching 115 smartphones 219 Smith & Jones Centre, Amsterdam 77 Smith, Michael 63–4 Snow, Linda 207–8 social awareness 181 social networks 14, 24, 34, 83, 89, 154, 212, 217, 218 social problems 78 social sciences 153, 169, 180 Sony 22–3, 31, 95, 103, 104, 168, 216, 217, 218 PlayStation 22 PlayStation III 215, 218 sound 20, 112, 116, 157 South-East Asia sector 222 Soviet Union 229 Space Invaders 20, 201 Spacewar! (world’s first true computer game) 16–18, 37 speakers 51 Spider-Man 3 (film) 29 Spielberg, Steven 14, 137–8 sports 2, 91 Star Trek series 113 Star Wars (film series) 7, 17, 46 Star Wars Force Trainer 159 Star Wars Galaxies 7, 139–40 Starcraft 81 stem cell research 59 Sundance Film Festival (2008) 143, 144 surface texturing 116 team games 100 television 58, 85, 114, 227 Baer and 19 console-based service 218–19 family entertainment 20, 59 and interaction 79, 136 user expectations 136 and virtual reality 160 and younger children 64 ‘tetriminoes’ 40 Tetris 40–42, 50, 122 text adventures x thatgamecompany 120 Thompson, Mark 226–7 Tolkien, J R R 45 Toy Story (film) 117 training 153, 157 emergency medicine games 197–9 military 188, 189, 190, 193 see also education; learning transnational relations 107–8 TripAdvisor 211 Triumph Studios 119 Trubshaw, Roy 45 Tunnel 228 show 133–4 Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London 132 Twitter 89, 208, 212 Ultima Online 7, 100, 148 universities 225 University of Southern California 121, 186 Up (film) 117 US Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS) 176 US Congress 182 US Department of Education 68 US Marine Combat Development Command 188 US Marines: First Recon unit 192 US military 187–8, 191, 194, 195 US Secret Service 68 value 151–2, 179–80 video arcades 87, 88 video game designer, as a career 37–8 video games addiction to 71–8 and art 117–34 big-budget 214, 222 born in a technology institute 15–18 a business devoted to miracles 14–15 and children 58, 62, 63–5 compared with other games 5–6 complexity 9, 11, 39, 42, 50, 72, 73, 130, 171, 214 consumers 61–2 creation of 114–17 education 199–208 equality 103 and the family 89, 91 feedback 9 and films 137 first icons 20 games-based vs. real-life interactions 91–3 the hero’s journey 46–7 and human behaviour 165–79 leadership in 98, 99, 101 as learning engines 6–7 as mainstream media activity 89 market for 22–3 military games 187–97 miniature games 126–9 mix of freedom and constraint in 102–3 moral panic 59 and music 135–6 nostalgia industry 52 perceived as played by adolescent males 87–8 players/non-players 59 power of 57–8, 223 progress by gaining experience 6 questions raised by 59–60 raising awareness 181–7 rapidly evolving 59 reviews 75 rules 6, 11 safety 58 as a social outlet 78–81 start of their commercial life 20 suitability for the digital age 28 teenage players (US) 90 time spent playing 29 two-player 88 and violence 60–61 and virtual theft 60–61 ‘visceral’ thrills 9–10 Villiers, Justin 112–13, 114 violence in games a minority interest 37, 82–3 regulation of 62, 224 and violence in life 65–71, 223 virtual currency 145–9 virtual economies 167, 169 virtual environments 142, 154, 172, 175 virtual epidemic 174–6 ‘virtual life’ simulations 83 virtual reality 14, 138 goggles 141 and the Wii 160 virtual screens 14 virtual voting system 225 virtual worlds 33, 45–7, 59, 95, 103, 141, 146, 154, 155, 160, 166, 168, 170–73, 210, 211, 223, 225, 226, 233 war games 188 watches 28 Watts, Peter 133 Wells, H G 45 Wii Play 83 WILL Interactive Inc. 196 wireless control 14 women players 61 word processing 155, 157 work virtual work 139–45 work/play separation 2–3, 5, 145 World of Warcraft (WoW) xii, 30, 93–102, 105, 147, 149, 174, 175, 176, 217 Wortley, David 153–4, 156, 157, 160, 161 Wright, Evan: Generation Kill 191–2 writing, origin of 57, 111, 228 Xbox 360 games console 14, 215 XEODesign 49 Yahoo!

pages: 274 words: 75,846

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You by Eli Pariser


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, A Pattern Language, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, borderless world, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, disintermediation, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, fundamental attribution error, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Netflix Prize, new economy, PageRank, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, RFID, Robert Metcalfe, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social software, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the scientific method, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

Even the number of results returned by Google differed—about 180 million results for one friend and 139 million for the other. If the results were that different for these two progressive East Coast women, imagine how different they would be for my friends and, say, an elderly Republican in Texas (or, for that matter, a businessman in Japan). With Google personalized for everyone, the query “stem cells” might produce diametrically opposed results for scientists who support stem cell research and activists who oppose it. “Proof of climate change” might turn up different results for an environmental activist and an oil company executive. In polls, a huge majority of us assume search engines are unbiased. But that may be just because they’re increasingly biased to share our own views. More and more, your computer monitor is a kind of one-way mirror, reflecting your own interests while algorithmic observers watch what you click.

pages: 238 words: 73,824

Makers by Chris Anderson


3D printing, Airbnb, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, business process, commoditize, Computer Numeric Control, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, factory automation, Firefox, future of work, global supply chain, global village, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, profit maximization, QR code, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, South of Market, San Francisco, spinning jenny, Startup school, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Y Combinator

Some 3-D printers extrude molten plastic in layers to make these objects, while others use a laser to harden layers of liquid or powder resin so the product emerges from a bath of the raw material. Yet others can make objects out of any material from glass, steel, and bronze to gold, titanium, or even cake frosting. You can print a flute or you can print a meal. You can even print human organs out of living cells, by squirting a fluid with suspended stem cells onto a support matrix, much as your inkjet printer squirts ink onto paper. MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 2) CNC MACHINE: While a 3-D printer uses an “additive” technology to make things (it builds them up layer by layer), a CNC (computer numerical control) router or mill can take the same file and make similar products with a “subtractive” technology, which is a fancy way of saying that it uses a drill bit to cut a product out of a block of plastic, wood, or metal.

Right now that requires a 3-D printer the size of the building, but it may someday be built into the cement truck itself, with a concrete that uses positional awareness to decide where to put down concrete and how much, directly reading and following the architect’s CAD plans. Meanwhile, researchers are working just as hard at moving in the other direction: 3-D printing at the molecular scale. Today there are “bio printers” that print a layer of a patient’s own cells onto a 3-D printed “scaffold” of inert material. Once the cells are in place, they can grow into an organ, with bladders and kidneys already demonstrated in the lab. Print with stem cells, and the tissue will form its own blood vessels and internal structure. Today’s vision for 3-D printing is grand in ambition. Carl Bass, the CEO of Autodesk, one of the leading companies making 3-D authoring CAD software, sees the rise of computer-controlled fabrication as a transformative change on the order of the original mass production. Not only can it change the way traditional consumer goods are made, but 3-D printing can also work on scales as small as biology and as large as houses and bridges.

pages: 291 words: 81,703

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen


Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deliberate practice, Drosophila,, endowment effect, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Myron Scholes, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra

If you compare it to health care as a world-altering, stagnation-ending breakthrough industry, regulatory obstacles are a far greater problem for pharmaceutical companies and for hospitals than for the likes of Google, Amazon, and Apple. Health care, with its physician licensing, Byzantine hospital regulations, and FDA approval process, also makes most of its changes quite slowly, for better or worse. It’s not just about the laws, but also because doctors and patients often have very conservative or moralistic views about how health care should be done; just look at the recent controversies over stem cell treatments and genetic engineering. Health care is an ethical minefield and arguably we should be especially cautious when evaluating new medical and institutional breakthroughs. In any case, we can expect slower progress. When it comes to mechanized intelligent analysis, patent law can be a problem but for the most part the paths forward are relatively free of regulatory obstacles. Some applications, such as driverless cars, do face potential lawsuits; for instance, imagine the first time an out-of-control driverless car runs down a child.

., 234 Russia, 20 Rybka (chess program) and computer chess matches, 72 and evaluation of chess play, 203, 224–25 and Freestyle chess, 47 and human collaboration, 135, 168 and human intuition, 114–15 and performance evaluation, 104 power of, 68 and training human chess players, 102, 106–7, 120, 124, 192–93 Santa Cruz, California, 9–10 Scholes, Myron, 203 Schwarzenegger, Arnold, 134 science, engineering, and math majors (STEM), 21, 22, 27 scientific research and bureaucracy, 210 economics, 221–28 and impossible problems, 211–17 increasing complexity of, 205–6 machine science, 217–20 specialization in, 206–11, 219 screening systems, 121 searching skills, 151–55 Second Life, 145 self-awareness programs, 135 self-education, 188–94, 202 self-employment, 59–63 self-scrutiny, 14 self-service, 113, 118 service sector, 22, 62, 169 Shannon, Claude, 68–69 shanty towns, 245–46 Shogun (game), 135 short-run spending hypothesis, 53–54 Shredder (chess program), 78, 81–82, 105 Sicily, 174–75 Simon, Herbert, 75–76 simulation, 200, 210 “singularity” hypothesis, 137–38 Siri, 7, 17, 72, 119, 121, 149 Siu, Henry, 55 sketches, 146, 147 “Skynet,” 134 Skype, 146 “slackers,” 51, 246 smart phones, 92, 152 Smith, Adam, 28–29, 215 Smith, Vaughan, 26 Snow, Peter, 187 social contract and the fiscal crunch, 231–51 and inequality, 229–31 and political trends, 251–59 social interactions, 12–13, 73, 142 social networks, 188, 209–10, 223 social safety net, 231 social sciences, 224, 227 Social Security, 233, 234–35, 237, 247 social unrest, 253–55, 257 South Korea, 8 Southeast Asia, 171 Soviet Union, 168, 189, 252 Spain, 173–74 Spark (chess program), 70–72, 155–56 specialization in the sciences, 206–11, 219 spelling bees, 187–88 Spence, Michael, 176 spending trends, 54 standardization, 126–31 Stanford University, 193 state budgets, 237 stem-cell research, 17 Stephen, Zackary, 78 stock trading, 74 Stockfish (chess program), 68, 70–72, 155–56 string theory, 212–14 structural unemployment, 37, 55 Sunstein, Cass, 105 supermarkets, 118 supply and demand, 234 support service, 169 Sweden, 161 Switzerland, 161 Tang, Hangwi, 89 taxes and tax policy and the fiscal crunch, 232–34, 236 and political trends, 254, 256, 258 progressive taxation, 256–57 “tax incidence,” 234 TCEC Stage 2a (chess tournament), 156 Tea Party Movement, 251, 256 teaching schools, 196 team-orientation, 28, 36, 207 technical support, 111–13 Technique 2011, 140, 142–43 technological progress, 133 The Terminator (1984), 134 Texas, 239, 241, 247 textile mills, 8 Thaler, Richard, 105 Thatcher, Margaret, 235 theory development, 221–22, 223, 225–26 therapy, online, 145 Thoresen, Martin, 155–56 threshold earners, 202 Thrun, Sebastian, 189, 191 time management, 81 Toiletgate, 149–50 Topalov, Vaselin, 149 tourism, 174, 175 transparency in business, 130 Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), 10 Trefler, Daniel, 164 TripAdvisor, 16 Turing, Alan, 68–69, 141, 143–44 Turing test, 83, 139–51 “tutor kings,” 200–201 Twitter, 154 underemployment, 50, 164 unemployment and freelancing, 59–63 gender disparity in, 31 and geographic trends, 172 and the Great Recession, 54–59 and immigration, 163–71 and in-flow rate, 58 and intelligent machines, 45–50 labor force participation rate, 46 recent trends, 50–54 structural, 37 unskilled labor, 19, 56 US Air Force, 20–21 US Congress, 255 US military, 57 US Supreme Court, 238 USA Memory Championships, 152 utopian visions, 136 Vancouver, British Columbia, 241 Venezuela, 171 Vidal, Gore, 257 video games, 185–88 Virginia Tech, 183–84 virtual schools, 181 vision systems (robotic), 116 visual arts, 146, 147 voice recognition, 119 Vonnegut, Kurt, 126, 247–48 wages and the fiscal crunch, 236 and freelancing, 59–60 and gender, 52–53 and geographic trends, 171–73 and immigration, 163–71 impact of intelligent machines, 136 wages (cont.)

pages: 302 words: 74,878

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer, Charles Fishman


4chan, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Asperger Syndrome, Bonfire of the Vanities,, game design, Google Chrome, Howard Zinn, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Norman Mailer, out of africa, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple

Army general Ned Preble: former executive, Synectics creative problem-solving methodology Ilya Prigogine: chemist, professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Nobel laureate in chemistry, author of The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos, and the New Laws of Nature Prince: musician, music producer, actor Wolfgang Puck: chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur Pussy Riot: Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, the two members of the Russian feminist punk rock group who served time in prison Steven Quartz: philosopher, professor at California Institute of Technology, specializing in the brain’s value systems and how they interact with culture James Quinlivan: analyst at the RAND Corporation, specializing in introducing change and technology into large organizations William C. Rader: psychiatrist, administers stem cell injections for a variety of illnesses Jason Randal: magician, mentalist Ronald Reagan: president of the United States, 1981–1989 Sumner Redstone: media magnate, businessman, chairman of CBS, chairman of Viacom Judith Regan: editor, book publisher Eddie Rehfeldt: executive creative director for the communications firm Waggener Edstrom David Remnick: journalist, author, editor of the New Yorker, winner of the Pulitzer Prize David Rhodes: president of CBS News, former vice president of news for Fox News Matthieu Ricard: Buddhist monk, photographer, author of Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill Condoleezza Rice: U.S. secretary of state, 2005–2009, former U.S. national security advisor, former provost at Stanford University, professor of political economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business Frank Rich: journalist, author, former columnist for the New York Times, editor at large for New York magazine Michael Rinder: activist and former senior executive for the Church of Scientology International Richard Riordan: mayor of Los Angeles, 1993–2001, businessman Tony Robbins: life coach, author, motivational speaker Robert Wilson and Richard Hutton: criminal defense attorneys Brian L.

Rugby Foundation Kenneth Watman: analyst at RAND Corporation specializing in strategic defense and nuclear deterrence James Watson: molecular biologist, geneticist, zoologist, codiscoverer of the structure of DNA, Nobel laureate in medicine Andrew Weil: physician, naturopath, teacher, writer on holistic health Jann Wenner: cofounder and publisher of Rolling Stone, owner of Men’s Journal and US Weekly Kanye West: musician, music producer, fashion designer Michael West: gerontologist, entrepreneur, stem cell researcher, works on regenerative medicine Floyd Red Crow Westerman: musician, political activist for Native American causes Vivienne Westwood: fashion designer who developed modern punk and new wave fashions Peter Whybrow: psychiatrist, endocrinologist, researches hormones and manic-depression Hugh Wilhere: spokesman for the Church of Scientology Pharrell Williams: musician, music producer, fashion designer Serena Williams: professional tennis player Willie L.

pages: 91 words: 26,009

Capitalism: A Ghost Story by Arundhati Roy


activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Bretton Woods, corporate governance, feminist movement, Frank Gehry, ghettoisation, Howard Zinn, informal economy, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, megacity, microcredit, neoliberal agenda, Occupy movement, RAND corporation, reserve currency, special economic zone, spectrum auction, stem cell, The Chicago School, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks

Capitalism, he said, “has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, that it is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the netherworld whom he has called up by his spells.”3 In India the 300 million of us who belong to the new, post–International Monetary Fund (IMF) “reforms” middle class—the market—live side by side with spirits of the netherworld, the poltergeists of dead rivers, dry wells, bald mountains, and denuded forests; the ghosts of 250,000 debt-ridden farmers who have killed themselves, and of the 800 million who have been impoverished and dispossessed to make way for us.4 And who survive on less than twenty Indian rupees a day.5 Mukesh Ambani is personally worth $20 billion.6 He holds a majority controlling share in Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), a company with a market capitalization of $47 billion and global business interests that include petrochemicals, oil, natural gas, polyester fiber, Special Economic Zones, fresh food retail, high schools, life sciences research, and stem cell storage services. RIL recently bought 95 percent shares in Infotel, a TV consortium that controls twenty-seven TV news and entertainment channels, including CNN-IBN, IBN Live, CNBC, IBN Lokmat, and ETV in almost every regional language.7 Infotel owns the only nationwide license for 4G broadband, a high-speed information pipeline which, if the technology works, could be the future of information exchange.8 Mr.

pages: 414 words: 123,666

Merchants' War by Stross, Charles


British Empire, dumpster diving, East Village, indoor plumbing, offshore financial centre, packet switching, peak oil, stem cell

But anyway, what we've got next door is a bunch of cell tissue cultures harvested from JAUNT BLUE carriers. We keep them alive and work on them through here. We're using a 2D field-effect transistor array from Infineon Technologies. They're developing it primarily as an artificial retina, but we're using it to send signals into the cell cultures. If we had some stem cells it'd be easier to work with, but, well, we have to work with what we've got." "Right." The president's opinion on embryonic stem-cell research was well known; it had never struck Eric as being a strategic liability before now. He leaned towards the contraption behind the glass shield of the laminar-flow cabinet. "So inside that box, you've got some live nerve cells, and you've, you've what? You've got them to talk to a chip? Is that it?" "Yup." Hu looked smug.

"We figured out that the mechanosomes respond to the intracellular cyclic-AMP signaling pathway," Hu offered timidly. "That's what preparation fourteen is about. They're also sensitive to dopamine. We're looking for modulators, now, but it's on track. If we could get the nerve cells to grow dendrites and connect, we hope eventually to be able to build a system that works-that can move stuff about. If we can get a neural stem-cell line going, we may even be able to mass-produce them-but that's years away. It's early days right now: all we can do is make an infected cell go bye-bye and sneak away into some other universe-explaining how that part of it works is what the quant group are working on. What do you think?" Eric shook his head, suddenly struck by a weird sense of historical significance: it was like standing in that baseball court at the University of Chicago in 1942, when they finished adding graphite blocks to the heap in the middle of the court and Professor Fermi told his assistant to start twisting the control rod.

pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay


3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, digital map, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kangaroo Route, knowledge worker, kremlinology, labour mobility, Marchetti’s constant, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel,, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

That may sound like sacrilege, but the bar is set lower than you think: more than one hundred thousand people die each year in U.S. hospitals from preventable errors alone, more than those who fall to AIDS, breast cancer, and car crashes combined. At Bangkok Hospital’s five-year-old heart clinic— really a hospital in its own right, treating some fifteen thousand outpatients a year—stem-cell therapy is part of the standard tool kit for treating battered hearts that might otherwise demand a transplant. “Most of the patients have been ill for a long time,” the clinic’s director, Dr. Kit Arom, told me in his art-strewn office. “By the time they come here, they are all but incapacitated. They are waiting for a transplant or waiting to die.” After receiving stem-cell injections straight into cardiac muscle tissue—a treatment too controversial to be offered yet in the United States—most patients recovered enough to leave under their own power. On Arom’s watch, the clinic has also retired open-heart surgery in favor of a new, decidedly less invasive approach using small incisions.

A few additions have been announced since, none of which were ideal: warehouses, a hotel, a cancer radiation lab (since shelved), and an organic produce nursery. That’s all well and good for the tax rolls, but if Detroit is going to win this war of all against all that’s raging, it again begs the question: What is the aerotropolis for? The answer, given by everyone from Ficano on down, is anything and everything: batteries, biofuels, windmills, and smart grid-building software consultancies. Two years ago, Ficano announced Wayne County would build a Stem Cell Commercialization Center—adding genetic engineering to the list. When we met, practically the first word off his lips was The Graduate’s punch line, plastics—but in this case a biodegradable kind derived from wheat. Imagine the Big Three supplanted by Big Green. That may sound desperate, but they’re being pragmatic. Detroit dead-ended the last time its leaders—Henry Ford, Alfred P. Sloan, and Walter P.

Unnerved by the speed and severity of the recession, Beijing rolled back some of these reforms, while many factory bosses simply chose to ignore them. But the Delta’s upward trajectory is set. As exports were falling off a cliff at the end of 2008, China’s highest-ranking think tank unveiled plans for the “reform and development” of the Delta through 2020. Their wish list included a new Big Three of “superautomakers” led by the electrified BYD. The Delta would also dominate wind power, “environmental protection,” stem-cell research, “bio-breeding,” and a grab bag of electronics, including the shining symbol of Americans’ home equity hangover: the flat-screen TV. Not by coincidence, their list matches one by Harvard’s Willy Shih of the bleeding-edge technologies America is most at risk of losing, which also includes “electronic ink,” LEDs, and thin-film solar cells. If they get their way, a decade from now there will be twenty more companies the size of Li & Fung, only they’ll be “globally recognized brands” instead of hiding in the shadows.

pages: 614 words: 176,458

Meat: A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, call centre, carbon footprint, Community Supported Agriculture, deindustrialization,, food miles, Food sovereignty, Haber-Bosch Process, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Just-in-time delivery, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, megacity, Northern Rock, Panamax, peak oil, refrigerator car, scientific mainstream, sexual politics, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, University of East Anglia, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Part of the instinctual legacy from our Pleistocene past that Shepard so values is our taste for meat, and one suspects that his global game park would encounter the same problems with poachers as its aristocratic and colonial predecessors – particularly since his education system is focussed around teaching youngsters the skills of hunting. Shepard rejects laboratory meat culture in favour of microbial stews only because he considers that it is not technologically feasible ‘because growth-control processes soon deteriorate when only part of an organism is cultured’. But with recent advances in stem cell technology this seems less likely to be a barrier. If the controllers of Shepard’s high rise settlements want to keep their part-time hunters satisfied they would be wise, like Lovelock, to include lab-cultured flesh in the diet. The idea of growing meat in laboratory conditions has been around for some time. In 1932, Winston Churchill remarked ‘50 years hence…[we] shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium’ and the idea has been developed by generations of science fiction writers, most recently Margaret Atwood, whose bio-engineered Chickie Nobs, in her novel Oryx and Crake, have eight breasts and no brains.

The NASA researchers claimed that their achievement held out the prospect of growing meat in industrial quantities from the muscle cell lines of various animals or fish. The gruesome method employed did not prevent project leader Morris Benjaminson claiming that ‘this could save you having to slaughter animals for food’.35 In the years since then, lab-grown meat has shown signs of becoming a sunrise industry. The technology is similar to the stem cell techniques that have resulted in the growing of organs, such as human windpipes, outside the human body under laboratory conditions. In June 2005 the magazine Tissue Engineering published what it claimed was ‘the first peer-reviewed discussion of the prospects for industrial production of cultured meat.’36 Two methods were described: growing cells either as flat sheets on thin membranes, or growing them on small three-dimensional beads.

At a time when the organic sector of the green movement is campaigning for slow food, real meat and fresh local produce, the vegan/vegetarian camp has been nudging the industry in the very opposite direction: towards factory farming and factory food. Cultured muscle tissue is the dream product that lies at the end of this road. The secret longing of some vegans for Chickie Nobs came out into the open in 2008 when Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) offered a $1 million prize to whoever can scale up stem cell techniques to grow edible animal tissue for a mass market. The New York Times reported ‘near civil war’ within PETA, with members leaving in protest. Jim Thomas, of the ETC group, picked up on the licentiousness inherent in allowing vegans to eat synthetic meat: ‘Culturing exotic meats opens new markets: Anyone for lion? A panda burger? What about ethical human cannibalism?’37 But when PETA issued its challenge, veteran animal rights philosopher Peter Singer was not slow to voice his support: I always thought it would be a good thing, the same way that I think it’s good that the abuse of horses for pulling loads has ended. … I think it would be good if the abuse of animals for raising them for meat were to end, because we had a technological solution to that.

pages: 669 words: 210,153

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss


Airbnb, Alexander Shulgin, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cal Newport, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, Firefox, follow your passion, future of work, Google X / Alphabet X, Howard Zinn, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, life extension, lifelogging, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, phenotype, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, post scarcity, premature optimization, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Wall-E, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Patrick has published papers on a mechanism by which vitamin D is able to regulate the production of serotonin in the brain and the various implications this may have for early-life deficiency and relevance for neuropsychiatric disorders. The Tooth Fairy Might Save Your Life (Or Your Kids’ lives) Dr. Patrick introduced me to using teeth for stem-cell banking. If you are having your wisdom teeth removed, or if your kids are losing their baby teeth (which have a particularly high concentration of dental pulp stem cells), consider using a company like StemSave or National Dental Pulp Laboratory to preserve them for later use. These companies will send your oral surgeon a kit, and then freeze the biological matter using liquid nitrogen. Costs vary, but are roughly $625 for setup and then $125 per year for storage and maintenance. Mesenchymal stem cells can later be harvested from the dental pulp of teeth for useful (e.g., bone, cartilage, muscle, blood vessels, etc.), life-changing (e.g., motor neurons for repairing damaged spinal cord), or potentially life-saving (e.g., traumatic brain injury) treatments using your own biological raw materials.

Per Dom: “If you don’t have cancer and you do a therapeutic fast 1 to 3 times per year, you could purge any precancerous cells that may be living in your body.” If you’re over the age of 40, cancer is one of the four types of diseases (see Dr. Peter Attia on page 59) that will kill you with 80% certainty, so this seems like smart insurance. There is also evidence to suggest—skipping the scientific detail—that fasts of 3 days or longer can effectively “reboot” your immune system via stem cell–based regeneration. Dom suggests a 5-day fast 2 to 3 times per year. Dom has done 7-day fasts before, while lecturing at the University of South Florida. On day 7, he went into class with his glucose between 35 and 45 mg/dL, and his ketones around 5 mmol. Then, before breaking the fast, he went to the gym and deadlifted 500 pounds for 10 reps, followed by 1 rep of 585 pounds. Dom was inspired to do his first 7-day fast by George Cahill, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, who’d conducted a fascinating study published in 1970* wherein he fasted people for 40 days.

pages: 387 words: 105,250

The Caryatids by Bruce Sterling


carbon footprint, clean water, failed state, impulse control, negative equity, new economy, nuclear winter, semantic web, sexual politics, social software, stem cell, supervolcano, urban renewal, Whole Earth Review

She is worse than her warlord husband, and he was terrible.” Herbert smiled at this bleak threat, imagining that he was being brave. “Vera, let me make something clear to you. Your fellow cadres and I: We care for you deeply. We always want to spare your feelings. But: Everybody here on Mljet knows all about those criminal cloning labs. We know. Everybody knows what your mother was doing with those stem cells, up in the hills. They know that she was breeding super-women and training them in high technology—the ‘high technology’ of that period, anyway. That foolishness has all been documented. There were biopiracy labs all over this island. You—you and your beautiful sisters—you are the only people in the world who still think that local crime wave is a secret.” Herbert smacked his fist into his open hand.

These toys never got anywhere and never saw a thing, for the hairdressing lab was the single most secure locale that Radmila knew. Radmila had spent a great deal of the Family’s money at the hair designers’—for the Family partly owned the lab. This fact didn’t make the local hair designers treat Radmila any better. On the contrary. Presented with a fresh surge of Family capital, they had simply and brusquely ripped out all of her hair. The new implants, their roots soaked in fresh stem cells, were state-of-the-art: radiant blond filaments that were genuine human hair, but with a much-enhanced ability to behave. Radmila’s damaged scalp was soaked with hot, wet, antiseptic foam. Her head was locked by a stainless fume hood where robot surgical arms whirred on tracks, took unerring aim, and deftly pierced her scalp. Implanting fresh hair took forever, like being tattooed. And, of course, it hurt a great deal.

pages: 471 words: 109,267

The Verdict: Did Labour Change Britain? by Polly Toynbee, David Walker


banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, call centre, central bank independence, congestion charging, Corn Laws, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Etonian, failed state, first-past-the-post, Frank Gehry, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, high net worth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, market bubble, mass immigration, millennium bug, moral panic, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, Right to Buy, shareholder value, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, University of East Anglia, working-age population, Y2K

Labour, as a quid pro quo to the free-speech lobby and as a sop to faiths that resented Christianity’s unique protection, used the 2008 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act to abolish the offence of blasphemy in England and Wales. The courts had already discarded it; after the BBC broadcast Jerry Springer: The Opera in January 2005, the fundamentalist group Christian Voice failed to persuade the judges to convict. And on such religious totems as abortion and stem cell research, rationalism ruled OK among Labour ministers. The worldwide scare over the Y2K millennium bug has become a classic of media hype and public gullibility – there was panicky talk of machines stopping and planes falling out of the sky. Ministers kept their cool and in October 1999, a couple of months before the witching hour, the NAO reported that the non-profit company Action 2000 set up by Whitehall to check IT systems had flashed only a couple of amber risks.

., 1 Rosetta Stone, 1 Rosyth, 1 Rotherham, 1, 2, 3 Royal Opera House, 1 Royal Shakespeare Company, 1 Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, 1 Rugby, 1 rugby union, 1 Rumsfeld, Donald, 1 rural affairs, 1, 2 Rushdie, Salman, 1 Russia, 1, 2 Rwanda, 1 Ryanair, 1, 2 Sainsbury, Lord David, 1 St Austell, 1 St Bartholomew’s Hospital, 1, 2 St Pancras International station, 1 Salford, 1, 2, 3, 4 Sanchez, Tia, 1 Sandwell, 1 Sarkozy, Nicolas, 1, 2 Savill, Superintendent Paul, 1 Saville, Lord, 1 savings ratio, 1 Scandinavia, 1, 2, 3 Scholar, Sir Michael, 1 school meals, 1, 2 school uniforms, 1 school-leaving age, 1 schools academies, 1, 2, 3, 4 building, 1 class sizes, 1 comprehensive schools, 1, 2 faith schools, 1, 2, 3, 4 grammar schools, 1, 2, 3 and inequality, 1 nursery schools, 1 and PFI, 1, 2, 3 police in, 1, 2, 3 primary schools, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 private schools, 1, 2 secondary schools, 1, 2, 3 in special measures, 1 special schools, 1 specialist schools, 1 and sport, 1 science, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Scotland, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and children, 1 devolution, 1 electricity generation, 1 and health, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Scottish parliament, 1, 2 Section 1, 2 security services, 1 MI5, 1, 2, 3 Sedley, Stephen, 1 segregation, 1 self-employment, 1 Sellafield, 1 Serious Organized Crime Agency, 1 sex crimes, 1 Sex Discrimination Act, 1 Shankly, Bill, 1 Sharkey, Feargal, 1 Shaw, Liz, 1 Sheen, Michael, 1 Sheffield, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Sheringham, 1 Shetty, Shilpa, 1 Shipman, Harold, 1 shopping, 1 Short, Clare, 1 Siemens, 1 Siena, 1 Sierra Leone, 1, 2 Skeet, Mavis, 1 skills councils, 1 slavery, 1 Slough, 1 Smith, Adam, 1 Smith, Chris, 1 Smith, Jacqui, 1, 2 Smith, John, 1, 2 Smithers, Professor Alan, 1, 2 smoking ban, 1, 2 Snowden, Philip, 1 social care, 1, 2, 3 Social Chapter opt-out, 1 social exclusion, 1, 2 Social Fund, 1 social mobility, 1, 2 social sciences, 1 social workers, 1 Soham murders, 1, 2, 3, 4 Solihull, 1, 2 Somalia, 1, 2 Souter, Brian, 1 South Africa, 1 South Downs, 1 Spain, 1, 2, 3 special advisers, 1 speed cameras, 1 Speenhamland, 1 Spelman, Caroline, 1 Spence, Laura, 1 sport, 1, 2 see also football; Olympic Games Sri Lanka, 1, 2 Stafford Hospital, 1 Staffordshire University, 1 Standard Assessment Tests (Sats), 1, 2, 3 Standards Board for England, 1 statins, 1, 2, 3 stem cell research, 1 STEM subjects, 1 Stephenson, Sir Paul, 1 Stern, Sir Nicholas, 1, 2 Stevenson, Lord (Dennis), 1 Stevenson, Wilf, 1 Steyn, Lord, 1 Stiglitz, Joseph, 1 Stockport, 1 Stonehenge, 1 Stoppard, Tom, 1 Straw, Jack, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 student fees, 1 Stuff Happens, 1 Sudan, 1, 2 Sugar, Alan, 1 suicide bombing, 1 suicides, 1 Sun, 1, 2 Sunday Times, 1, 2 Sunderland, 1, 2 supermarkets, 1, 2 Supreme Court, 1, 2 Sure Start, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 surveillance, 1, 2 Sutherland, Lord (Stewart), 1 Swansea, 1 Sweden, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Swindon, 1 Taliban, 1, 2 Tallinn, 1 Tanzania, 1 Tate Modern, 1 Taunton, 1 tax avoidance, 1, 2, 3 tax credits, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 council tax credit, 1 pension credit, 1, 2, 3 R&D credits, 1 taxation, 1, 2 10p tax rate, 1 capital gains tax, 1, 2 corporation tax, 1, 2, 3, 4 council tax, 1, 2 fuel duty, 1, 2, 3 green taxes, 1, 2 and income inequalities, 1 income tax, 1, 2, 3, 4 inheritance tax, 1, 2 poll tax, 1 stamp duty, 1, 2, 3 vehicle excise duty, 1 windfall tax, 1, 2, 3 see also National Insurance; VAT Taylor, Damilola, 1 Taylor, Robert, 1 teachers, 1, 2, 3 head teachers, 1, 2 salaries, 1, 2 teaching assistants, 1, 2 teenage pregnancy, 1, 2, 3 Teesside University, 1 television and crime, 1 and gambling, 1 talent shows, 1 television licence, 1, 2, 3 Territorial Army, 1 terrorism, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Terry, John, 1 Tesco, 1, 2, 3, 4 Tewkesbury, 1 Thames Gateway, 1 Thameswey, 1 Thatcher, Margaret, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Thatcherism, 1, 2, 3 theatre, 1 Thornhill, Dorothy, 1 Thorp, John, 1 Tibet, 1 Tilbury, 1 Times, The, 1 Times Educational Supplement, 1, 2 Timmins, Nick, 1 Titanic, 1 Tomlinson, Mike, 1 Topman, Simon, 1, 2 torture, 1, 2 trade unions, 1, 2, 3 Trades Union Congress (TUC), 1, 2, 3 tramways, 1 transport policies, 1, 2 Trident missiles, 1, 2, 3 Triesman, Lord, 1 Turkey, 1, 2 Turnbull, Lord (Andrew), 1 Turner, Lord (Adair), 1, 2, 3 Tweedy, Colin, 1 Tyneside Metro, 1 Uganda, 1 UK Film Council, 1 UK Sport, 1 UK Statistics Authority, 1 unemployment, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 United Nations, 1, 2, 3 United States of America, 1, 2 Anglo-American relationship, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and child poverty, 1 and clean technologies, 1 economy and business, 1, 2, 3 and education, 1, 2, 3 and healthcare, 1, 2 and income inequalities, 1 and internet gambling, 1 and minimum wage, 1 universities, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and migration, 1 and terrorism, 1 tuition fees, 1 University College London Hospitals, 1 University for Industry, 1 University of East Anglia, 1 University of Lincoln, 1 Urban Splash, 1, 2 Vanity Fair, 1 VAT, 1, 2, 3 Vauxhall, 1 Venables, Jon, 1 Vestas wind turbines, 1 Victoria and Albert Museum, 1 Waitrose, 1 Waldfogel, Jane, 1 Wales, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and children, 1 devolution, 1 Walker, Sir David, 1 walking, 1, 2 Walsall, 1 Wanless, Sir Derek, 1 Wanstead, 1 Warm Front scheme, 1 Warner, Lord Norman, 1 Warsaw, 1 Warwick accord, 1 water utilities, 1 Watford, 1 welfare benefits child benefit, 1, 2 Employment Support Allowance, 1 and fraud, 1, 2, 3, 4 housing benefit, 1 incapacity benefit, 1, 2 Income Support, 1 Jobseeker’s Allowance, 1, 2, 3 and work, 1, 2 Welsh assembly, 1, 2 Wembley Stadium, 1 Westfield shopping mall, 1 Wetherspoons, 1 White, Marco Pierre, 1 Whittington Hospital, 1 Wiles, Paul, 1 Wilkinson, Richard, and Kate Pickett, 1 Williams, Professor Karel, 1 Williams, Raymond, 1 Williams, Rowan, 1 Wilson, Harold, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Wilson, Sir Richard, 1 wind turbines, 1, 2 Winslet, Kate, 1 winter fuel payments, 1 Wire, The, 1 Woking, 1, 2 Wolverhampton, 1 Woolf, Lord, 1 Wootton Bassett, 1, 2 working-class culture, 1 working hours, 1, 2 World Bank, 1 Wrexham, 1 Wright Robinson School, 1, 2, 3 xenophobia, 1 Y2K millennium bug, 1 Yarlswood detention centre, 1 Yeovil, 1 Yiewsley, 1 York, 1, 2, 3, 4 Young Person’s Guarantee, 1 Youth Justice Board, 1 Zimbabwe, 1, 2 About the Author Polly Toynbee is the Guardian’s social and political commentator.

pages: 353 words: 98,267

The Price of Everything: And the Hidden Logic of Value by Eduardo Porter


Alvin Roth, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Credit Default Swap, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Glaeser, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, happiness index / gross national happiness, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joshua Gans and Andrew Leigh, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, new economy, New Urbanism, peer-to-peer, pension reform, Peter Singer: altruism,, placebo effect, price discrimination, price stability, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superstar cities, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, ultimatum game, unpaid internship, urban planning, Veblen good, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, young professional, zero-sum game

Donors can only recover out-of-pocket costs plus “reasonable expenses” of up to £55.19 per day—to a maximum of £250—to cover their forgone earnings. It makes a difference what the eggs will be used for. In California it is legal for a woman to sell her eggs for fertilization but not for research. If she wants to provide them for research, she must offer them for free. In New York, by contrast, the Empire State Stem Cell Board authorizes using state research funds to pay up to $10,000 to egg donors. Many transactions that are perfectly normal in one part of the world or at one point in time are considered repugnant in another. Indentured servitude, once a common way for Europeans to buy passage to America, today is banned across the world. Usury, an old sin of the Catholic Church, is today called credit. Dwarf tossing, which used to be an everyday bar sport, was banned in France in the 1990s despite opposition from a dwarf, who took his case all the way to the United Nations, accusing the French government of discriminating against him by denying his right to employment.

demand democracy Deng Xiaoping Denmark, Danes Denver shoppers deregulation Descartes, René Desperate Housewives (TV show) developing world climate change in garbage dumps in sex in Dickens, Charles Digital Rights Management technologies (DRM) discount rate discrimination divorce finances and dogs, as food bubble dowries drivers drugs abuse of Duke University Dunkin’ Donuts dwarf tossing Easter Island Easterlin, Richard Eastern Europe, former Soviet satellites in Eastman, George Eastman Kodak Company economic growth happiness and economics for a new world “Economics of Superstars, The” (Rosen) education of children wages and of women efficient markets eggs Egypt, Egyptians Ehrlich, Paul R. Eisenhower, Dwight D. elderly people/senior citizens elections U.S. electricity elephant-seal cows Elías, Julio Jorge e-mail, spam and Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act (1974) Empire State Stem Cell Board encyclopedias, free energy engagement rings engineers England environment see also climate change; pollution Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Epson ESP printers Essay on the Principle of Population, An (Malthus) Ethiopia Ethnographic Atlas (Murdock) eToys Eurobarometer surveys Europe Catholic Church in decline of polygamy in happiness in lack of sprawl in U.S. compared with work hours in see also Western Europe European Climate Exchange European Union evangelical Christianity executive pay ExxonMobil faith benefits of cheap cost of Fallaci, Oriana families changes to culture and income of of 9/11 victims size of Fanning, Shawn (the Napster) Federal Communications Commission Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Delaney Clause to (1958) Federal Reserve Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “Feeding the Illusion of Growth and Happiness” (Easterlin) Feinberg, Kenneth fertility decline in female file sharing film financial crises financial services fines fire departments fishing floors Florence foeticide food culture and faith and preparation of price increases for surpluses of Food and Agriculture Organization Food Quality Protection Act (1996) Ford Ford, Henry Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Fourier, Charles France happiness in work hours in Frank, Robert Free (Anderson) Freedom Communications free lunch, use of term free rider problem free things broadcast TV and movies music and Napstering the world and profiting from ideas freeware Freud, Sigmund fuel see also gas Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints future ethics of mispricing nature and price of Gabaix, Xavier Gallup polls Gandhi garbage gas price of General Motors (GM) General Social Survey General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, The (Keynes) genetics, genes Germany happiness in Germany, Nazi Gershom ben Judah Ghosts I-IV (album) gifts Glass-Steagall Act (1933) GlaxoSmithKline globalization global warming Goa God Goldin, Claudia goods Google Google News Gore, Al Gorton, Mark government hostility toward intervention of resource allocation of Great Britain bubbles in gas prices in happiness in politics in Great Depression Greece, ancient green revolution (1960s and 1970s) Greenspan, Alan gross national happiness (GNH) index Haiti Hammurabi Hanna, Mark happiness faith and genetics and life-cycle curve of loss aversion and money and problems with defining of right-left gap in U.S. trade-off and Hare Krishna Society Harvard University Haryana health health care health insurance Health Ministry, New Zealand Healthway Heinrich, Armin Hindus, Hinduism HIV homeland security, U.S.

pages: 422 words: 113,525

Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand


agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, back-to-the-land, biofilm, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, glass ceiling, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, land tenure, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, microbiome, New Urbanism, out of africa, Paul Graham, peak oil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, William Langewiesche, working-age population, Y2K

—Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962 I daresay the environmental movement has done more harm with its opposition to genetic engineering than with any other thing we’ve been wrong about. We’ve starved people, hindered science, hurt the natural environment, and denied our own practitioners a crucial tool. In defense of a bizarre idea of what is “natural,” we reject the very thing Rachel Carson encouraged us to pursue—the new science of biotic controls. We make ourselves look as conspicuously irrational as those who espouse “intelligent design” or ban stem-cell research, and we teach that irrationality to the public and to decision makers. We also repel the scientists whose help we most need to develop a deeply sustainable agriculture: the agronomists, ecologists, microbiologists, and geneticists who are fulfilling Rachel Carson’s dream. • When genetic engineering first came along in the 1970s as recombinant DNA research, I was surprised by the hysteria it inspired.

I would say yes, but for political reasons rather than scientific. The guidelines set by the scientists were far more specific and appropriate than politicians would have set, and those guidelines could be adjusted annually in response to real experience in the world, whereas political regulations not only resist fine-tuning, they defy any change at all. The recent simplistic legislation banning most human stem-cell research in the United States was a classic case. The Asilomar scientists forestalled that kind of folly by taking public responsibility themselves, early and adaptively. • One particularly ingenious early adopter of the new genetic technology was Bruce Ames, a biochemist at the University of California-Berkeley. The problem he wanted to solve concerned the tens of thousands of novel chemicals that industry routinely creates and releases into the environment without much testing for their toxicity.

Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers by David Perlmutter, Kristin Loberg


epigenetics, Gary Taubes, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mouse model, phenotype, publication bias, Ralph Waldo Emerson, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

Although scientists have long proven neurogenesis in various other animals, it wasn’t until the 1990s that scientists began focusing exclusively on trying to demonstrate neurogenesis in humans.3 In 1998, the journal Nature Medicine published a report by Swedish neurologist Peter Eriksson in which he claimed that within our brains exists a population of neural stem cells that are continually replenished and can differentiate into brain neurons.4 And indeed, he was right: We all experience brain “stem cell therapy” every minute of our lives. This has led to a new science called neuroplasticity. The revelation that neurogenesis occurs in humans throughout our lifetimes has provided neuroscientists around the world an exciting new reference point, with implications spanning virtually the entire array of brain disorders.5 It also has instilled hope among those searching for clues to stopping, reversing, or even curing progressive brain disease.

pages: 317 words: 100,414

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, availability heuristic, Black Swan, butterfly effect, cloud computing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, drone strike, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, forward guidance, Freestyle chess, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, hindsight bias, index fund, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Arrow, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, obamacare, pattern recognition, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, prediction markets, quantitative easing, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Following best practices improves their odds of winning but less reliably so than in games where chance plays smaller roles.15 Even with a growth mindset, the forecaster who wants to improve has to have a lot of what my colleague Angela Duckworth dubbed “grit.” Elizabeth Sloane has plenty of grit. Diagnosed with brain cancer, Elizabeth endured chemotherapy, a failed stem-cell transplant, recurrence, and two more years of chemo. But she never relented. She volunteered for the Good Judgment Project to “re-grow her synapses.” She also found an article by a top oncologist that described her situation perfectly, leading to a promising new stem-cell transplant. “And here I am about to be cured,” she e-mailed GJP project manager Terry Murray. “It is amazing that I have a second chance.” Grit is passionate perseverance of long-term goals, even in the face of frustration and failure. Married with a growth mindset, it is a potent force for personal progress.

pages: 315 words: 99,065

The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership by Richard Branson


barriers to entry, call centre, carbon footprint, Celtic Tiger, clean water, collective bargaining, Costa Concordia, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, friendly fire, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, index card, inflight wifi, Lao Tzu, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Northern Rock, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, trade route, zero-sum game

‘Give Stuff’ is based on the old saying that ‘One man’s junk is another man’s treasure’ and we ask people to do a quick raid of their old clothes, linens, furniture – anything they no longer use – and bring it all in for central collection. ‘Give Life’ encourages people to go and sign up for blood donations, the organ donor register and (in the UK) the Anthony Nolan stem cell and bone marrow register. Virgin Media also introduced a policy that gives anyone called up for stem cell or bone marrow donations one week’s paid leave to recuperate. The internal (tongue in cheek named) ‘Give a Shout’ programme allows people to recognise the efforts of their peers with a message on their personal homepage – also entering them into a draw to win one of many £50 vouchers each month. ‘Give a Pat on the Back’ also allows colleagues to recognise each other (even bosses!)

pages: 362 words: 97,862

Physics in Mind: A Quantum View of the Brain by Werner Loewenstein


Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, complexity theory, dematerialisation, discovery of DNA, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, informal economy, information trail, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Norbert Wiener, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, stem cell, trade route, Turing machine

That sort of simple topographic arrangement is repeated at the pyramidal-cell layer of the cortex—alike connects to alike. Buck and colleagues more recently took the analysis a step further in mice. They genetically engineered mice that would express a marker protein in the olfactory sensory cells. The gene for the marker was inserted into embryonic stem cells next to the coding region of the gene for the sensory protein, and from those stem cells mice developed that expressed the marker concurrently with the sensory protein. The marker passed transynaptically from neuron to neuron, outlining the information channels from stem to stern. Two such channels are schematically represented in figure 7.2, illustrating how the corresponding domains at the sensory periphery map on the olfactory bulb and cortex.

pages: 437 words: 105,934

#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media by Cass R. Sunstein

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Sanders, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, Donald Trump, drone strike, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, friendly fire, global village, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, obamacare, prediction markets, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, stem cell, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds

The correction turned out to increase people’s commitments to the proposition in question: “Conservatives presented with evidence that tax cuts do not increase government revenues ended up believing this claim more fervently than those who did not receive a correction.”55 Liberals are hardly immune to this effect.56 In 2005, many liberals believed, wrongly, that President Bush imposed a ban on stem cell research. Presented with a correction from the New York Times or, liberals continued to believe what they did before. By contrast, conservatives accepted the correction. Hence the correction produced an increase in polarization. Importantly but not surprisingly, it mattered, in terms of the basic effect, whether the correction came from the New York Times or Fox News: conservatives distrusted the former more, and liberals distrusted the latter more.

See also specific service solidarity goods, 58, 141–44 Somalia, 239 sound bites, 43, 151, 224, 268n19 sovereignty: absolute, 203; Brandeis on, 52–57; communications and, 260; consumer, 30, 52–58, 89, 124, 134, 145, 157, 159, 167–69, 193–96, 199, 202–3, 212, 253, 260; “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” and, 178; democratic institutions and, 167–69; filtering and, 134 (see also filtering); freedom and, 44, 53, 55–56, 58, 145, 157, 159, 260; Holmes on, 52–57; Internet and, 52, 55; political, 52–55, 203; republicanism and, 44–45; self-government and, 54; social media and, 52–53; technology and, 188 Soviet Union, ix, 164, 189 special-interest intermediaries, 20 speech market, 26, 73, 89, 111, 190, 195, 253 sports, 18 Stalin, Joseph, ix, 180 Stanford University, 61, 133 status quo, 151, 165, 170, 233 stem cell research, 94 Stengel, Richard, 238 Stewart, Jon, 77 Stewart, Potter, 22 street corners, 25–26, 36, 142 subsidies, 35, 44, 183, 210–12, 215, 225–26 Syria, 18, 79, 242, 246, 283n22 tabloidization, 223–24 technology: automobiles, 8, 26, 186, 267n2; communications and, 26, 146 (see also communications); conveniences of, 31–32; cultural cognition and, 129–30; hacking, 109, 178, 184, 186, 188, 201; ILOVEYOU virus and, 176–78, 186, 191, 207; innovation and, 5, 133, 183, 243; legal issues and, 184–88; nanotechnology, 95–96, 129; net neutrality and, 29; newspapers and, 152–53; sovereignty and, 188; V-chip and, 219; virtual reality and, 13, 33, 71, 140, 243 Telecommunications Act, 219–20 television: ABC, 152, 179, 181, 198; advertising and, 28; bias and, 64, 151–52; Broadcasting Authority and, 140; CBS and, 19, 152, 179–81, 185, 197–98, 228; citizens and, 158, 165–66, 169, 173; CNN and, 62, 64–65, 115, 126, 228–29; Daily Me and, 1–2, 10; disclosure policies and, 215, 218–22; educational programming and, 170, 181, 197–99, 202, 204–5, 210–11, 221, 226; educational programming for children and, 170, 181, 197–99, 202, 204–5, 210–11, 221, 226; fairness doctrine and, 84–85, 207, 221, 227; filtering and, 1, 25–26 (see also filtering); First Amendment and, 196–99; forms of neutrality and, 207–10; Fox, 22, 61–62, 64–65, 72, 94–95, 115–16, 120, 152, 162, 180, 222, 228–29; freedom of speech and, 194–99, 202–5, 209–10; improving, 213, 215, 219–27; isolation and, 116; must-carry rules and, 226–29; National Association of Broadcasters and, 197–98; NBC, 61–62, 152, 179–80, 198; one-channel policies and, 140–41; particular histories of, 20; PBS, 179, 225–26; polarization and, 62, 64, 66, 71–73, 75, 77, 83–84; politics and, 64; President’s Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters and, 196–98; public forums and, 41, 43; public sphere and, 153; Putnam on, 267n2; ratings system for, 219–20; Red Lion Broadcasting v.

pages: 637 words: 128,673

Democracy Incorporated by Sheldon S. Wolin


affirmative action, Berlin Wall, British Empire, centre right, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, illegal immigration, invisible hand, mass incarceration, money market fund, mutually assured destruction, new economy, offshore financial centre, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, single-payer health, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen

The imbalance between, on the one hand, constitutionally limited state power and, on the other, the relatively unconstrained power of science, technology, and corporate capitalism makes little difference to the Republican Party. It is content with an ancillary role of encouraging capitalism and allowing it to shape the directions of science and technology. By relying on corporate capital to provide major funding for the other two powers, the party can then even adopt a mildly disapproving stance toward public subsidies of some forms of scientific research (e.g., on stem cells) or of some technologies. The Democratic Party mirrors the problem more acutely. As the party with a history of both favoring state regulation of economic activity, especially of large corporations, and being well disposed toward subsidizing science and technological innovations, it would appear to be well positioned to use state authority to redirect the dynamic powers that are driving American imperialism.

This contemporary version of the old struggle between “enclosure” and the “commons,” between exploitation and commonality, pretty much sums up the stakes: not what new powers we can bring into the world, but what hard-won practices we can prevent from disappearing. Notes PREFACE 1. There are numerous instances, such as in the practice of torture or of elevating political or ideological considerations to limit or override scientific findings (e.g., in the areas of birth control, stem cell research, and environmental pollution), wherein the Bush administration approximates totalitarian practice. Throughout this volume I try to avoid the mistake of claiming that in a particular matter inverted totalitarianism “substitutes” one of its policies for a particular policy of the Nazis—for example, racism. That would be to presuppose that inverted totalitarianism and classical totalitarianism have the same structures.

pages: 542 words: 161,731

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle


Albert Einstein, Columbine, global village, Hacker Ethic, helicopter parent, Howard Rheingold, industrial robot, information retrieval, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, Loebner Prize, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rodney Brooks, Skype, stem cell, technoutopianism, The Great Good Place, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, women in the workforce

Blogging is part of his brother’s intimate life. It is how he and his wife celebrated the most important milestone in their life as a family. In a very different example of our new genres of online intimacy, a friend of mine underwent a stem cell transplant. I felt honored when invited to join her family’s blog. It is set up as a news feed that appears on my computer desktop. Every day, and often several times a day, the family posts medical reports, poems, reflections, and photographs. There are messages from the patient, her husband, her children, and her brother, who donated his stem cells. There is progress and there are setbacks. On the blog, one can follow this family as it lives, suffers, and rejoices for a year of treatment. Inhibitions lift. Family members tell stories that would be harder to share face-to-face.

pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley


23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser,, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

But imagine if they had not been. Imagine if the entire world had turned its back on the catallaxy then. Imagine if the globalised world of the twenty-first century allows a globalised retreat from reason. It is a worrying thought. The wrong kind of chiefs, priests and thieves could yet snuff out future prosperity on earth. Already lords don boiler suits to destroy genetically modified crops, presidents scheme to prevent stem-cell research, prime ministers trample on habeas corpus using the excuse of terrorism, metastasising bureaucracies interfere with innovation on behalf of reactionary pressure groups, superstitious creationists stop the teaching of good science, air-headed celebrities rail against free trade, mullahs inveigh against the empowerment of women, earnest princes lament the loss of old ways and pious bishops regret the coarsening effects of commerce.

Kung people 44, 135, 136–7 Kuznets curve 106 Kwakiutl people 92 Lagos 322 Lagrange Point 346 lakes, acidification of 305–6 Lamalera people 87 Lancashire 214, 217, 232, 263 Landes, David 223, 406 Lang, Tim 392 language: and exchange 58; genes for 55; Indo-European 129; and isolationism 73; Neanderthals 4, 55; numbers of languages 73; as unique human development 4 Laos 209 lapis lazuli 162, 164 Lascaux caves, France 6 lasers 272 Lassa fever 307 Laurion, Attica 171 Law, John 29, 259 Lawson, Nigel, Baron 331 Lay, Ken 29, 385 Layard, Richard 25 lead 167, 174, 177, 213 Leadbetter, Charles 290 Leahy, Michael 92 leather 70, 122, 167, 176 Lebanon 167 LeBlanc, Steven 137 LEDs (light-emitting diodes) 21–2 lentils 129 Leonardo da Vinci 196, 251 Levy, Stephen 355 Liang Ying (farm worker) 220 liberalism 108, 109–110, 290 Liberia 14, 316 libertarianism 106 Libya 171 lice 68 lichen 75 life expectancy: in Africa 14, 316, 422; in Britain 13, 15, 284; improvements in 12, 14, 15, 17–18, 205, 284, 287, 298, 316; in United States 298; world averages 47 Life (magazine) 304 light, artificial 13, 16, 17, 20–22, 37, 233, 234, 240, 245, 272, 368 light-emitting diodes (LEDs) 21–2 Limits to Growth (report) 303–4, 420 Lindsey, Brink 102, 109 linen 216, 218 lions 43, 87 literacy 106, 201, 290, 353, 396 Liverpool 62, 283 local sourcing (of goods) 35, 41–2, 149, 392; see also food miles Locke, John 96 Lodygin, Alexander 272 Lombardy 178, 196 Lomborg, Björn 280 London 12, 116, 186, 199, 218, 222, 282; as financial centre 259 longitude, measurement of 261 Longshan culture 397 Los Angeles 17, 142 Lothal, Indus valley 162, 164 Louis XI, King of France 184 Louis XIV, King of France 36, 37, 38, 184, 259 Lowell, Francis Cabot 263 Lübeck 180 Lucca 178, 179 Lunar Society 256 Luther, Martin 102 Luxembourg 331 Lyon 184 Macao 183 MacArthur, General Douglas 141 Macaulay, Thomas Babington, 1st Baron 11, 285–7, 359 McCloskey, Deirdre 109, 366–7 Mace, Ruth 73 McEwan, Ian 47 Machiguenga people 87 MacKay, David 342 McKendrick, Neil 224 McKibben, Bill 293 Macmillan, Harold, 1st Earl of Stockton 16 McNamara, Robert 203 mad-cow disease (vCJD) 280, 308 Madagascar 70, 299 Maddison, Angus 180 Maddox, John 207 Madoff, Bernard 28–9 Maghribis 178, 180 magnesium 213 maize 126, 146–7, 153, 155, 156, 163; for biofuel 240, 241 malaria 135, 157, 275, 299, 310, 318, 319, 331, 336, 353, 428, 429 Malawi 40–41, 132, 316, 318 Malawi, Lake 54 Malay Peninsula 66 Malaysia 35, 89, 242, 332 Mali 316, 326 Malinowski, Bronislaw 134 malnutrition 154, 156, 337 Maltese Falcon, The (film) 86 Malthus, Robert 139, 140, 146, 191, 249, 303 Malthusianism 141, 193, 196, 200, 202, 401 mammoths 68, 69, 71, 73, 302 Manchester 214, 218, 283 Mandell, Lewis 254 manganese 150, 213 mangoes 156, 327, 392 Manhattan 83 manure 147, 150, 198, 200, 282 Mao Zedong 16, 187, 262, 296, 311 Marchetti, Cesare 345–6 Marcuse, Herbert 291 Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France 199 markets (in capital and assets) 9, 258–60 markets (in goods and services): and collective betterment 9–10, 36–9, 103–110, 115–16, 281; disdain for 102–3, 104, 291–2, 358; etiquette and ritual of 133–4; and generosity 86–7; global interdependence 42–3; market failure 182, 250; ‘perfect markets’ 249–50; and population control 210–211; and preindustrial economies 133–4; and trust 98–100, 103; and virtue 100–104, 105; see also bartering; exchange; trade Marne, River 234 Martu aborigines 62 Marx, Karl 102, 104, 107–8, 291, 406 Marxism 101, 217–18, 319, 356 Maskelyne, Nevil 221 Maudslay, Henry 221 Mauritius 187, 316 Mauryan empire 172–3, 201, 357 Maxwell, James Clerk 412 measles 14, 135, 310 meat eating 51, 60, 62, 68–9, 126, 147, 156, 241, 376 Mecca 177 Mediterranean Sea: prehistoric settlements 56, 68–9, 159; trade 89, 164, 167–8, 169, 171, 176, 178 meerkats 87 Mehrgarh, Baluchistan 162 Mehta, Suketa 189 Meissen 185 memes 5 Menes, Pharaoh of Egypt 161 mercury 183, 213, 237 Mersey, River 62 Merzbach valley, Germany 138 Mesopotamia 38, 115, 158–61, 163, 177, 193, 251, 357; see also Assyrian empire; Iraq metal prices, reductions in 213 Metaxas, Ioannis 186 methane 140, 329, 345 Mexico: agriculture 14, 123, 126, 142, 387; emigration to United States 117; hurricanes 335; life expectancy 15; nature conservation 324; swine flu 309 Mexico City 190 Meyer, Warren 281 Mezherich, Ukraine 71 mice 55, 125 Michelangelo 115 Microsoft (corporation) 24, 260, 268, 273 migrations: early human 66–70, 82; rural to urban 158, 188–9, 210, 219–20, 226–7, 231, 406; see also emigration Milan 178, 184 Miletus 170–71 milk 22, 55, 97, 135 Mill, John Stuart 34, 103–4, 108, 249, 274, 276, 279 Millennium Development goals 316 Miller, Geoffrey 44, 274 millet 126 Mills, Mark 244 Ming empire 117, 181–4, 260, 311 Minoan civilisation 166 Mississippi Company 29 Mittal, Lakshmi 268 mobile phones 37, 252, 257, 261, 265, 267, 297, 326–7 Mohamed (prophet) 176 Mohawk Indians 138–9 Mohenjo-Daro, Indus valley 161–2 Mojave Desert 69 Mokyr, Joel 197, 252, 257, 411, 412 monarchies 118, 162, 172, 222 monasteries 176, 194, 215, 252 Monbiot, George 291, 311, 426 money: development of 71, 132, 392; ‘trust inscribed’ 85 Mongolia 230 Mongols 161, 181, 182 monkeys 3, 57, 59, 88; capuchins 96–7, 375 monopolies 107, 111, 166, 172, 182 monsoon 174 Montesquieu, Charles, Baron de 103 moon landing 268–9, 275 Moore, Gordon 221, 405 Moore, Michael 291 Morgan, J.P. 100 Mormonism 205 Morocco 53, 209 Morse, Samuel 272 mortgages 25, 29, 30, 323; sub-prime 296 Moses 138 mosquito nets 318 ‘most favoured nation’ principle 186 Moyo, Dambisa 318 Mozambique 132, 316 Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus 267 Mugabe, Robert 262 Mumbai 189, 190 murder 14, 20, 85, 88, 106, 118, 201 Murrays’ Mills, Manchester 214 music 70, 115, 266–7, 326 Myceneans 166 Nairobi 322 Namibia 209, 324 Napoleon I 184 NASA 269 Nashville 326 Nassarius shells 53, 56, 65 National Food Service 268 National Health Service 111, 261 nationalisation (of industry) 166, 182 nationalism 357 native Americans 62, 92–3, 138–9 Natufians 125 natural selection 5–6, 27, 49–50, 350 nature conservation 324, 339; see also wilderness land, expansion of Neanderthals 3, 4, 53, 55, 64, 65, 68, 71, 79, 373, 378 Nebuchadnezzar 169 needles 43, 70 Nehru, Jawaharlal 187 Nelson, Richard 5 Nepal 15, 209 Netscape (corporation) 259 New Deal 109 New Guinea: agriculture 123, 126, 387; languages 73; malaria 336; prehistoric 66, 123, 126; tribes 87, 92, 138 New York 12, 16, 83, 169, 190 New York Times 23, 295, 305 New Zealand 17, 35, 42, 70 Newcomen, Thomas 244, 256 newspapers 270, 295; licensing copyrights 267 Newsweek (magazine) 329 Newton, Sir Isaac 116, 256 nickel 34, 213 Niger 208–9, 210, 324 Nigeria 15, 31, 99, 117, 210, 236, 316 Nike (corporation) 115, 188 Nile, River 161, 164, 167, 171 nitrogen fertlisers 140, 146, 147, 149–50, 155, 305 nitrous oxide 155 Nobel Peace Prize 143, 280 ‘noble savage’ 43–4, 135–8 Norberg, Johann 187 Nordau, Max 288 Nordhaus, William 331 Norte Chico civilisation 162–3 North, Douglass 324, 397 North Carolina 219–20 North Korea 15, 116–17, 187, 333 North Sea 180, 185 North Sentinel islanders 67 Northern Rock (bank) 9 Northumberland 407 Norton, Seth 211 Norway 97–8, 332, 344 Norwich 225 nostalgia 12–13, 44, 135, 189, 284–5, 292 Novgorod 180 Noyce, Robert 221, 405 nuclear accidents 283, 293–4, 308, 345, 421 nuclear power 37, 236, 238, 239, 245, 246, 343, 344, 345 nuclear war, threat of 280, 290, 299–300, 333 Obama, Barack 203 obesity 8, 156, 296, 337 obsidian 53, 92, 127 occupational safety 106–7 ocean acidification 280, 340–41 ochre 52, 53, 54, 92 octopi 3 Oersted, Hans Christian 272 Oetzi (mummified ‘iceman’) 122–3, 132–3, 137 Ofek, Haim 131 Ohalo II (archaeological site) 124 oil: and ‘curse of resources’ 31, 320; drilling and refining 242, 343; and generation of electricity 239; manufacture of plastics and synthetics 237, 240; pollution 293–4, 385; prices 23, 238; supplies 149, 237–8, 280, 281, 282, 296, 302–3 old age, quality of life in 18 olive oil 167, 169, 171 Olson, Ken 282 Omidyar, Pierre 99 onchoceriasis 310 open-source software 99, 272–3, 356 Orang Asli people 66 orang-utans 60, 239, 339 organic farming 147, 149–52, 393 Orinoco tar shales, Venezuela 238 Orma people 87 ornament, personal 43, 52, 53, 54, 70, 71, 73 O’Rourke, P.J. 157 Orwell, George 253, 290, 354 Ostia 174 otters 297, 299 Otto I, Holy Roman emperor 178 Ottoman empire 161 Oued Djebanna, Algeria 53 oxen 130, 136, 195, 197, 214–15 oxytocin (hormone) 94–5, 97–8 ozone layer 280, 296 Paarlberg, Robert 154 Pacific islanders 134 Pacific Ocean 184 Paddock, William and Paul 301 Padgett, John 103 Page, Larry 114 Pagel, Mark 73 Pakistan 142–3, 204, 300 palm oil 57–8, 239, 240, 242, 339 Pan Am (airline) 24 paper 282, 304 Papin, Denis 256 papyrus 171, 175 Paraguay 61 Pareto, Vilfredo 249 Paris 215, 358; electric lighting 233; restaurants 264 parrots 3 Parsons, Sir Charles 234 Parthian empire 161 Pasadena 17 Pataliputra 173 patents 223, 263, 264–6, 269, 271, 413–14 patriarchy 136 Paul, St 102 PayPal (e-commerce business) 262 peacocks 174 peanuts 126 peat 215–16 Peel, Sir Robert 185 Pemberton, John 263 pencils 38 penicillin 258 Pennington, Hugh 308 pensions 29, 40, 106 Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, The 174 Persia 89, 161, 171, 177 Persian Gulf 66, 164, 340, 429 Peru 97–8, 126, 162–3, 320, 387; silver 31, 132, 183–4 pessimism: and belief in turning points in history 287–9, 301, 311; natural pessimism of human nature 294–5; in nineteenth century 283–8; in twentieth century 281, 282, 288–91, 292–4, 296–308, 328–9; in twenty-first century 8–9, 17, 28, 281–2, 291–2, 308–311, 314–15; ubiquity of 280–85, 291–2, 294–7, 341, 352 pesticides 151–2, 154, 155, 336; DDT 297–8, 299; natural 298–9 Peto, Richard 298 Petty, Sir William 185, 199, 254, 256 pharmaceutical industry 260, 266 philanthropy 92, 105, 106, 295, 318–19, 356 Philip II, King of Spain 30–31 Philip II of Macedon 171 Philippines 61–2, 89, 234 Philistines 166, 170, 396 Phillips, Adam 103, 292 Phoenicians 166–70, 177 photography 114, 283, 386 physiocrats 42 pi, calculation of 173 pig farming 135, 145, 148, 197 Pinnacle Point, South Africa 52, 83 Pisa 115, 178 plagues 135, 176, 195–6, 197; forecasts of 280, 284, 307–310; see also Black Death plastics 237, 240, 270 Plate, River 186 platinum 213 Plato 292 Plautus 44 ploughing 129–30, 136, 145, 150, 195, 197, 198, 215 pneumonia 13, 353 Polanyi, Karl 164–5 polar bears 338–9 polio 261, 275, 310 political fragmentation 170–73, 180–81, 184, 185 pollution: effects on wildlife 17, 297, 299, 339; and industrialisation 218; pessimism about 293–4, 304–6; reduction in 17, 106, 148, 279, 293–4, 297, 299 polygamy 136 Pomeranz, Kenneth 201–2 Ponzi, Charles 29 Ponzi schemes 28–9 population control policies 202–4, 210–211 population growth: and food supply 139, 141, 143–4, 146–7, 192, 206, 208–9; global population totals 3, 12, 14, 191, 206, 332; and industrialisation 201–2; and innovation 252; pessimism about 190, 193, 202–3, 281, 290, 293, 300–302, 314; population explosions 8, 139, 141, 202, 206, 281; and specialisation 192–3, 351; see also birth rates; demographic transition; infant mortality; life expectancy porcelain 181, 183, 184–5, 225, 251 Porritt, Jonathan 314 Portugal 75, 183, 184, 317, 331 Post-it notes 261 Postrel, Virginia 290–91 potatoes 199 Potrykus, Ingo 154 pottery 77, 158, 159, 163, 168, 177, 225, 251 Pound, Ezra 289 poverty: and charitable giving 106; current levels 12, 15, 16–17, 41, 316, 353–4; and industrialisation 217–20; pessimism about 280, 290, 314–15; reduction in 12, 15, 16–17, 290; and self-sufficiency 42, 132, 200, 202, 226–7; solutions to 8, 187–8, 316–17, 322, 326–8, 353–4 Prebisch, Raul 187 preservatives (in food) 145 Presley, Elvis 110 Priestley, Joseph 256 printing: on paper 181, 251, 252, 253, 272; on textiles 225, 232 prisoner’s dilemma game 96 property rights 130, 223, 226, 320, 321, 323–5 protectionism 186–7, 226 Ptolemy III 171 Pusu-Ken (Assyrian merchant) 165–6 putting out system 226, 227, 230 pygmy people 54, 67 Pythagoras 171 Quarterly Review 284 quasars 275 Quesnay, François 42 racial segregation 108 racism 104, 415 radioactivity 293–4, 345 radios 264–5, 271 railways 252; and agriculture 139, 140–41; opposition to 283–4; speed of 283, 286; travel costs 23 rainforests 144, 149, 150, 240, 243, 250–51, 338 Rajan, Raghuram 317 Rajasthan 162, 164 Ramsay, Gordon 392 rape seed 240 Ratnagar, Shereen 162 ravens 69 Rawls, John 96 Read, Leonard 38 recession, economic 10, 28, 113, 311 reciprocity 57–9, 87, 95, 133 Red Sea 66, 82, 127, 170, 174, 177 Rees, Martin 294 Reformation 253 refrigeration 139 regress, technological 78–84, 125, 181–2, 197–200, 351, 380 Reiter, Paul 336, 428 religion 4, 104, 106, 170, 357, 358, 396; and population control 205, 207–8, 211; see also Buddhism; Christianity; Islam Rembrandt 116 Renaissance 196 research and development budgets, corporate 260, 262, 269 Research in Motion (company) 265 respiratory disease 18, 307, 310 restaurants 17, 37, 61, 254, 264 Rhine, River 265–6 rhinoceroses 2, 43, 51, 68, 73 Rhodes, Cecil 322 Ricardo, David 75, 169, 187, 193, 196, 249, 274 rice 32, 126, 143, 146–7, 153, 154, 156, 198 Rifkin, Jeremy 306 Riis, Jacob 16 Rio de Janeiro, UN conference (1992) 290 risk aversion 294–5 Rivers, W.H.R. 81 Rivoli, Pietra 220, 228 ‘robber-barons’ 23–4, 100, 265–6 Rockefeller, John D. 23, 281 Rocky Mountains 238 Rogers, Alex 340 Roman empire 161, 166, 172, 173–5, 184, 214, 215, 259–60, 357 Rome 158, 175 Romer, Paul 269, 276–7, 328, 354 Roosevelt, Franklin D. 109 Roosevelt, Theodore 288 Rosling, Hans 368 Rothschild, Nathan 89 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques 43, 96, 104, 137 Royal Institution 221 rubber 220 rule of law 116–18, 325 Rumford, Benjamin Thompson, Count 221 rural to urban migration 158, 188–9, 210, 219–20, 226–7, 231, 406 Ruskin, John 104 Russia, post-Soviet 14; oil and gas production 31, 37; population decline 205 Russia, prehistoric 71, 73 Russia, Tsarist 216, 229, 324 Rwanda 14, 316 rye 124, 125, 199, 224, 286 Sachs, Jeffrey 208 Saddam Hussein 161 Sahel region 123, 334 Sahlins, Marshall 133, 135 Sahul (landmass) 66, 67 Salisbury, Wiltshire 194 Salk, Jonas 38, 261 salmon 297 Salmon, Cecil 142 saltpetre 140 Sanger, Frederick 412 Sanskrit 129 São Paulo 190, 315 Sargon of Akkad 164 SARS virus 307, 310 satellites 252, 253 satnav (satellite navigation systems) 268 Saudi Arabia 238 Saunders, Peter 102 Schumpeter, Joseph 113–14, 227, 260, 276, 302 science, and innovation 255–8, 412 Scientific American 280 Scotland 103, 199–200, 227, 263, 315 scrub jays 87 scurvy 14, 258 sea level, changes in 128, 314, 333–4 Seabright, Paul 93, 138 seals (for denoting property) 130 search engines 245, 256, 267 Second World War 289 segregation, racial 108 Seine, River 215 self-sufficiency 8, 33–5, 39, 82, 90, 133, 192, 193, 351; and poverty 41–2, 132, 200, 202, 226–7 selfishness 86, 87, 93–4, 96, 102, 103, 104, 106, 292 Sematech (non-profit consortium) 267–8 Sentinelese people 67 serendipity 257, 346 serfs 181–2, 222 serotonin 156, 294 sexism 104, 136 sexual division of labour 61–5, 136, 376 sexual reproduction 2, 6, 7, 45, 56, 271; of ideas 6–7, 270–72 Sforza, house of 184 Shady, Ruth 162 Shakespeare, William 2; The Merchant of Venice 101, 102 Shang dynasty 166 Shapiro, Carl 265 sheep 97, 176, 194, 197 Shell (corporation) 111 shellfish 52, 53, 62, 64, 79, 92, 93, 127, 163, 167 Shennan, Stephen 83, 133 Shermer, Michael 101, 106, 118 ship-building 185, 229; see also boat-building shipping, container 113, 253, 386 Shirky, Clay 356 Shiva, Vandana 156 Siberia 145 Sicily 171, 173, 178 Sidon 167, 170 Siemens, William 234 Sierra Leone 14, 316 Silesia 222 silicon chips 245, 263, 267–8 Silicon Valley 221–2, 224, 257, 258, 259, 268 silk 37, 46, 172, 175, 178, 179, 184, 187, 225 Silk Road 182 silver 31, 132, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 171, 177, 183–4, 213 Silver, Lee 122–3 Simon, Julian 83, 280, 303 Singapore 31, 160, 187 Skhul, Israel 53 slash-and-burn farming 87, 130 slave trade 167, 170, 177, 229, 319, 380; abolition 214, 221 slavery 34, 214–15, 216, 407; ancient Greece 171; hunter-gatherer societies 45, 92; Mesopotamia 160; Roman empire 174, 176, 214; United States 216, 228–9, 415; see also anti-slavery sleeping sickness 310, 319 Slovakia 136 smallpox 13, 14, 135, 310; vaccine 221 smelting 131–2, 160, 230 smiling 2, 94 Smith, Adam 8, 80, 96, 101, 104, 199, 249, 272, 350; Das Adam Smith Problem 93–4; Theory of Moral Sentiments 93; The Wealth of Nations vii, 37–8, 39, 56, 57, 93, 123, 236, 283 Smith, Vernon 9, 90, 192 smoke, indoor 13, 338, 342, 353, 429 smoking 297, 298 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act 186 soap 176, 215 social networking websites 262, 268, 356 socialism 106, 115, 357, 406 software, computer 99, 257, 272–3, 304, 356 solar energy 216, 243, 244 solar power 234–5, 238, 239, 245–6, 343, 344–5, 408 solar wind 346 solid-state electronics 257 Solomon, Robert 94 Solow, Robert 276 Somalia 14, 316, 337, 353 songbirds 55 Sony (corporation) 261 sorghum 126, 156 South Africa: agriculture 154; economy 316, 322; life expectancy 316; pre-historic 52, 53, 54, 83 South Korea 15, 31, 116–17, 187, 212, 322 South Sea Company 29 Southey, Robert 284–5 Soviet Union 16, 107, 109, 289, 299, 318, 324 soybeans 147, 148, 155, 156, 242 space travel 268–9, 275, 282 Spain: agriculture 129; climate 334; Franco regime 186, 289; Peruvian silver 30–31, 183–4; tariffs 222 spears 6, 43, 48, 50, 52, 70, 80, 81, 91 specialisation: by sex 61–5, 136, 376; and division of labour 7, 33, 38, 46, 61–5, 175; and exchange 7, 10, 33, 35, 37–8, 46, 56, 58, 75, 90, 132–3, 350–52, 355, 358–9; and innovation 56, 71–2, 73–4, 76–7, 119, 251; and population growth 192–3, 351; and rule of law 116, 117–18 speech 2, 55; see also language Spencer, Herbert 108 Spengler, Oswald 289 sperm counts 280, 293, 329 spice trade 167, 175, 176, 177, 179, 185 Spinoza, Baruch de 116 Sputnik 282 squashes (vegetables) 126, 163 Sri Lanka 35, 38, 66, 205, 208, 299 Stalin, Joseph 16, 262 stamp seals 130 Stangler, Dane 294 steam engines 126, 214, 221, 228, 231–2, 244, 256, 258, 270, 271, 413–14 steamships 139, 253, 283 Stein, Gil 159 Stein, Herb 281 stem-cell research 358 Stephenson, George 256, 412 Steptoe, Patrick 306 sterilisation, coerced 203–4 Stern (magazine) 304 Stern, Nicholas, Baron 330–31, 332, 425 Stiner, Mary 64, 69 storms 314, 333, 335 Strabo 174 string 70 strokes (cerebral accidents) 18 Strong, Maurice 311 Subramanian, Arvind 317 subsidies: farming 188, 328; renewable energy supplies 344 subsistence farming 87, 138, 175–6, 189, 192, 199–200 substantivism 164–5 suburbia 108, 110, 190 Sudan 316 suffrage, universal 107 sugar 179, 202, 215 sugar beet 243 sugar cane 240, 241, 242 Sun Microsystems (corporation) 259 Sunda (landmass) 66 sunflowers 126 Sungir, Russia 71, 73 superconductivity, high-temperature 257 Superior, Lake 131 supermarkets 36, 112, 148, 268, 292, 297 surfboards 273 Sussex 285 Swan, Sir Joseph 234, 272 Swaziland 14 Sweden 17, 184, 229, 305, 340, 344 Swift, Jonathan 121, 240 Switzerland 264 swords, Japanese 198–9 Sybaris 170–71 symbiosis 75, 351 synergy 6, 101 Syria 124, 130, 164, 174 Szilard, Leo 412 Tahiti 169 Taiwan 31, 187, 219, 322 Talheim, Germany 138 Tanzania 316, 325, 327–8; Hadza people 61, 63, 87 Tapscott, Don 262 Tarde, Gabriel 5 tariffs 185–7, 188, 222–3 taro (vegetable plant) 126 Tartessians 169 Tasman, Abel 80 Tasmania 78–81, 83–4 Tattersall, Ian 73 Taverne, Dick, Baron 103 taxation: carbon taxes 346; and charitable giving 319; and consumption 27; and declining birth rates 211; early development of 160; and housing 25; and innovation 255; and intergenerational transfer 30; Mauryan empire 172; Roman empire 184; United States 25 Taylor, Barbara 103 tea 181, 182, 183, 202, 327, 392 telegraph 252–3, 257, 272, 412 telephones 252, 261; charges 22–3, 253; mobile 37, 252, 257, 261, 265, 267, 297, 326–7 television 38, 234, 252, 268 Telford, Thomas 221 Tennessee Valley Authority 326 termites 75–6 terrorism 8, 28, 296, 358 Tesco (retail corporation) 112 Tesla, Nikola 234 text messaging 292, 356 Thailand 320, 322 Thales of Miletus 171 Thames, River 17 thermodynamics 3, 244, 256 Thiel, Peter 262 Thiele, Bob 349 Thoreau, Henry David 33, 190 3M (corporation) 261, 263 threshing 124, 125, 130, 153, 198; machines 139, 283 thumbs, opposable 4, 51–2 Thwaites, Thomas 34–5 Tiberius, Roman emperor 174, 259 tidal and wave power 246, 343, 344 Tierra del Fuego 45, 62, 81–2, 91–2, 137 tigers 146, 240 timber 167, 216, 229; trade 158, 159, 180, 202 time saving 7, 22–4, 34–5, 123 Timurid empire 161 tin 132, 165, 167, 168, 213, 223, 303 ‘tipping points’ 287–9, 290, 291, 293, 301–2, 311, 329 Tiwi people 81 Tokyo 190, 198 Tol, Richard 331 Tooby, John 57 tool making: early Homo sapiens 53, 70, 71; machine tools 211, 221; Mesopotamian 159, 160; Neanderthals 55, 71, 378; Palaeolithic hominids 2, 4, 7, 48–51; technological regress 80 Torres Strait islanders 63–4, 81 tortoises 64, 68, 69, 376 totalitarianism 104, 109, 181–2, 290 toucans 146 Toulouse 222 Townes, Charles 272 ‘toy trade’ 223 Toynbee, Arnold 102–3 tractors 140, 153, 242 trade: and agriculture 123, 126, 127–33, 159, 163–4; early human development of 70–75, 89–93, 133–4, 159–60, 165; female-centred 88–9; and industrialisation 224–6; and innovation 168, 171; and property rights 324–5; and trust 98–100, 103; and urbanisation 158–61, 163–4, 167; see also bartering; exchange; markets trade unions and guilds 113, 115, 223, 226 trademarks 264 traffic congestion 296 tragedy of the commons 203, 324 Trajan, Roman Emperor 161 transistors 271 transport costs 22, 23, 24, 37, 229, 230, 253, 297, 408 transport speeds 22, 252, 253, 270, 283–4, 286, 287, 296 trebuchets 275 Tressell, Robert 288 Trevithick, Richard 221, 256 Trippe, Juan 24 Trobriand islands 58 trust: between strangers 88–9, 93, 94–8, 104; and trade 98–100, 103, 104; within families 87–8, 89, 91 Tswana people 321, 322 tungsten 213 Turchin, Peter 182 Turkey 69, 130, 137 Turnbull, William (farm worker) 219 Turner, Adair, Baron 411 turning points in history, belief in 287–9, 290, 291, 293, 301–2, 311, 329 Tuscany 178 Tyneside 231 typhoid 14, 157, 310 typhus 14, 299, 310 Tyre 167, 168–9, 170, 328 Ubaid period 158–9, 160 Uganda 154, 187, 316 Ukraine 71, 129 Ulrich, Bernd 304 Ultimatum Game 86–7 unemployment 8, 28, 114, 186, 289, 296 United Nations (UN) 15, 40, 205, 206, 290, 402, 429 United States: affluence 12, 16–17, 113, 117; agriculture 139, 140–41, 142, 219–20; biofuel production 240, 241, 242; birth rates 211, 212; civil rights movement 108, 109; copyright and patent systems 265, 266; credit crunch (2008) 9, 28–9; energy use 239, 245; GDP, per capita 23, 31; Great Depression (1930s) 31, 109, 192; happiness 26–7; immigration 108, 199–200, 202, 259; income equality 18–19; industrialisation 219; life expectancy 298; New Deal 109; oil supplies 237–8; pollution levels 17, 279, 304–5; poverty 16–17, 315, 326; productivity 112–13, 117; property rights 323; rural to urban migration 219; slavery 216, 228–9, 415; tax system 25, 111, 241; trade 186, 201, 228 Upper Palaeolithic Revolution 73, 83, 235 urbanisation: and development of agriculture 128, 158–9, 163–4; global urban population totals 158, 189, 190; and population growth 209–210; and trade 158–61, 163–4, 167, 189–90; see also rural to urban migration Uruguay 186 Uruk, Mesopotamia 159–61, 216 vaccines 17, 287, 310; polio 261, 275; smallpox 221 Vandals 175 Vanderbilt, Cornelius 17, 23, 24 vCJD (mad-cow disease) 280, 308 Veblen, Thorstein 102 Veenhoven, Ruut 28 vegetarianism 83, 126, 147, 376 Venezuela 31, 61, 238 Venice 115, 178–9 venture capitalists 223, 258, 259 Veron, Charlie 339–40 Victoria, Lake 250 Victoria, Queen 322 Vienna exhibition (1873) 233–4 Vietnam 15, 183, 188 Vikings 176 violence: decline in 14, 106, 201; homicide 14, 20, 85, 88, 106, 118, 201; in pre-industrial societies 44–5, 136, 137–9; random 104 Visby, Gotland 180 vitamin A 353 vitamin C 258 vitamin D 129 Vivaldi, Antonio 115 Vladimir, Russia 71 Vogel, Orville 142 Vogelherd, Germany 70 voles 97 Voltaire 96, 103, 104, 256 Wagner, Charles 288 Wal-Mart (retail corporation) 21, 112–14, 263 Wales 132 Wall Street (film) 101 Walton, Sam 112–13, 263 Wambugu, Florence 154 war: in Africa 316; in hunter-gatherer societies 44–5; threat of nuclear war 280, 290, 299–300; twentieth-century world wars 289, 309; unilateral declarations of 104 water: contaminated 338, 353, 429; pricing of 148; supplies 147, 280, 281, 324, 334–5; see also droughts; irrigation water snakes 17 watermills 176, 194, 198, 215, 216–17, 234 Watson, Thomas 282 Watt, James 221, 244, 256, 271, 411, 413–14 wave and tidal power 246, 343, 344 weather forecasting 3, 4, 335 weather-related death rates 335–6 Wedgwood, Josiah 105, 114, 225, 256 Wedgwood, Sarah 105 weed control 145, 152 Weiss, George David 349 Weitzman, Martin 332–3 Welch, Jack 261 welfare benefits 16, 106 Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of 89 Wells, H.G. 65, 313, 352, 354 West Germany 289–90 West Indies 202, 216, 310 Western Union (company) 261 Westinghouse, George 234 whales 6, 281, 302 whaling 87, 185, 281 wheat 42, 71, 124, 125, 129, 139, 140, 146–7, 149, 153, 156, 158, 161, 167, 300–301; new varieties 141–3 Wheeler, Sir Mortimer 162 wheels, invention of 176, 274 Whitehead, Alfred North 255 Wikipedia (online encyclopedia) 99, 115, 273, 356 Wilberforce, William 105, 214 Wilder, Thornton 359 wilderness land, expansion of 144, 147, 148, 239, 337–8, 347, 359 wildlife conservation 324, 329 William III, King 223 Williams, Anthony 262 Williams, Joseph 254 Williams, Rowan, Archbishop of Canterbury 102 Wilson, Bart 90, 324 Wilson, E.O. 243, 293 Wiltshire 194 wind power 239, 246, 343–4, 346, 408 wolves 87, 137 women’s liberation 108–9 wool 37, 149, 158, 167, 178, 179, 194, 224 working conditions, improvements in 106–7, 114, 115, 188, 219–20, 227, 285 World Bank 117, 203, 317 World Health Organisation 336–7, 421 World Wide Web 273, 356 World3 (computer model) 302–3 Wrangham, Richard 59, 60 Wright brothers 261, 264 Wright, Robert 101, 175 Wrigley, Tony 231 Y2K computer bug 280, 290, 341 Yahgan Indians 62 Yahoo (corporation) 268 Yangtze river 181, 199, 230 Yeats, W.B. 289 yellow fever 310 Yellow river 161, 167 Yemen 207, 209 Yir Yoront aborigines 90–91 Yong-Le, Chinese emperor 183, 184, 185 Yorkshire 285 Young, Allyn 276 young people, pessimism about 292 Young, Thomas 221 Younger Dryas (climatic period) 125 Yucatan 335 Zak, Paul 94–5, 97 Zambia 28, 154, 316, 317, 318, 331 zero, invention of 173, 251 zero-sum thinking 101 Zimbabwe 14, 28, 117, 302, 316 zinc 213, 303 Zuckerberg, Mark 262 Acknowledgements It is one of the central arguments of this book that the special feature of human intelligence is that it is collective, not individual – thanks to the invention of exchange and specialisation.

pages: 436 words: 124,373

Galactic North by Alastair Reynolds


back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, hive mind, information retrieval, risk/return, stem cell, trade route

“Not everyone who came aboard Nightingale could be saved, obviously—the ship was no more capable of working miracles than any other hospital. Wherever practicable, the dead would donate intact body parts for future use. Useful, certainly, but such a resource could never have supplied the bulk of Nightingale’s surgical needs. For that reason the ship was also equipped to fabricate its own organ supplies, using well-established principles of stem-cell manipulation. The organ factories would have worked around the clock, keeping this library fully stocked.” “It doesn’t look fully stocked now,” I said. Martinez said: “We’re not in a war zone anymore. The ship is dormant. It has no need to maintain its usual surgical capacity.” “So why is it maintaining any capacity? Why are some of these flasks still keeping their organs alive?” “Waste not, want not, I suppose.

Once we figure a way to wake Remontoire safely, he can help us fix the ship; make it faster too." "You've got this all worked out, haven't you?" "More or less. Something tells me you aren't absolutely ready to start trusting me, though." "Sorry, Mirsky, but you don't make the world's most convincing turncoat." She reached up with her free hand, gripping the box on the side of her head. "Know what this is? A loyalty-shunt. Makes simian stem cells; pumps them into the internal carotid artery, just above the cavernous sinus. They jump the blood-brain barrier and build a whole bunch of transient structures tied to primate dominance hierarchies; alpha-male shit. That's how Seven had us under his command -- he was King Monkey. But I've turned it off now." "That's supposed to reassure me?" "No, but maybe this will." Mirsky tugged at the box, ripping it away from the side of her head in curds of blood.

pages: 458 words: 134,028

Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes by Mark Penn, E. Kinney Zalesne


affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, big-box store, call centre, corporate governance, David Brooks, Donald Trump, extreme commuting, Exxon Valdez, feminist movement, glass ceiling, God and Mammon, Gordon Gekko, haute couture, hygiene hypothesis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, index card, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, labor-force participation, late fees, life extension, low skilled workers, mobile money, new economy, RAND corporation, Renaissance Technologies, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Rubik’s Cube, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, the payments system, Thomas L Friedman, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, white picket fence, women in the workforce, Y2K

But as deafness climbs among the boomers, and among vocal young people, there’s bound to be a great deal more. Look for bionic ear processors, single-chip implants that can be placed in a body and run without battery replacements for fifteen years. Look for the development of antioxidant drugs, which reduce the presence of free radical oxygen molecules that kill the delicate hair cells of the inner ear. Look for stem cell researchers to tout the possibility of regenerating damaged inner ear cells. And look for a public health campaign against noise. Like tobacco addiction and sun damage, if it gets you when you’re young, you will probably never recover. It’s a ripe issue for public activism—except, of course, for the challenge of being heard in Washington without shouting. Already, the hard-of-hearing and deaf community has moved quite mainstream.

Helpful articles on the future of treatments for the hard-of-hearing include Linda Marsa, “Auditory Achilles’ Heel,” Los Angeles Times, January 16, 2006; “Antioxidants May Sound Hope for Hearing Loss,” Associated Press, October 12, 2003; “UB, Military Collaborate on Design, Testing of First Drug to Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss,” December 2003, accessed April 2007, at; and “Stem Cells May Be Key to Deafness Cure,” CBS News, August 7, 2006. For more on the mosquitotone, see Paul Vitello, “A Ring Tone Meant to Fall on Deaf Ears,” New York Times, June 12, 2006. V. Family Life Old New Dads The birth rate data in this chapter come largely from the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Mark O’Keefe, “The Joys and Pitfalls of Late-Life Fatherhood,” New House News Service,, accessed September 2006; and Joyce A.

pages: 467 words: 114,570

Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science by Jim Al-Khalili


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Book of Ingenious Devices, colonial rule, Commentariolus, Dmitri Mendeleev, Eratosthenes, Henri Poincaré, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Joseph Schumpeter, liberation theology, retrograde motion, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, trade route, William of Occam

The whole infrastructure of the research environment needs to be addressed, from laboratory technicians who understand how to use and maintain the equipment to the exercise of real intellectual freedom and a healthy scepticism and the courage to question experimental results, something that we found in abundance in Baghdad’s House of Wisdom and that was preached unambiguously by Ibn al-Haytham. Just spending vast sums of money will not be enough to reignite and rebuild a scientific culture in the Muslim world. In addition to this, a clear separation of science from theology must be ensured. On a recent visit to Iran, I visited the Royan Institute in Tehran where research in genetics, infertility treatment, stem-cell research and animal cloning is carried out in an atmosphere of openness that was quite dramatically at odds with my expectations. Much of the work at the Royan is therapeutic and centred on infertility treatment, but it was clear that their basic research in genetics was of a high standard. What struck me in particular was the way the authorities overseeing the research seem to have dealt with the ethical minefields of parts of the work.

He explained that every research project proposed must be justified to his committee to ensure that it does not conflict with Islamic teaching. Thus, while issues such as abortion are still restricted (it is allowed only when the mother’s life is in danger), research on human embryos is allowed. According to Islamic teaching, the foetus becomes a full human being only when it is ‘ensouled’ between forty and a hundred and twenty days from the moment of conception, and so the research at Royan on human embryonic stem cells is not seen as playing God, as it takes place at a much earlier stage. It is of course quite understandable that areas of science that touch upon ethical issues must be considered carefully and sensitively, and, in an Islamic state like Iran, ethical values and moral issues are guided by religious teaching. Nevertheless, for those of us in the secular West, a process whereby the science that can or cannot be pursued is decided by religion is viewed with foreboding, for it is not religion that should be guiding science, and religion should certainly not be seen to hold a monopoly on ethics and morality.

pages: 506 words: 152,049

The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene by Richard Dawkins


Alfred Russel Wallace, assortative mating, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, epigenetics, Gödel, Escher, Bach, impulse control, Menlo Park, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, selection bias, stem cell

Species M’s runner was said to be a broad-fronted meristem, while species S’s runner narrowed down to a one-celled bottleneck at the base of each new plant. But what if there was an intermediate species with a two-celled bottleneck at the base of each new plant? There are two main possibilities here. If the pattern of development is such that it is unpredictable which cells in the daughter plant will be descended from which of the two stem cells, the point I have made about developmental bottlenecks will simply be weakened quantitatively: genetic mosaics may occur in the population of plants, but there will still be a statistical tendency for cells to be genetically closer to fellow members of the same plant than to cells in other plants. Therefore we may still talk meaningfully about vehicle selection between plants in a population of plants, but the inter-plant selection pressure may have to be strong to outweigh selection among cells within plants.

But he must show the same circumspection in this difficult theoretical field as Fisher (1930a), Williams (1975) and Maynard Smith (1978a) brought to the analogous suggestions about sexual reproduction being there because it speeds up evolution. The organism has the following attributes. It is either a single cell, or if it is multicellular its cells are close genetic kin of each other: they are descended from a single stem cell, which means that they have a more recent common ancestor with each other than with the cells of any other organism. The organism is a unit with a life cycle which, however complicated it may be, repeats the essential characteristics of previous life cycles, and may be an improvement on previous life cycles. The organism either consists of germ-line cells, or it contains germ-line cells as a subset of its own cells, or, as in the case of a sterile social insect worker, it is in a position to work for the welfare of germ-line cells in closely related organisms.

pages: 589 words: 147,053

The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life When Robots Rule the Earth by Robin Hanson


8-hour work day, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, business process, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, demographic transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, experimental subject, fault tolerance, financial intermediation, Flynn Effect, hindsight bias, information asymmetry, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, lone genius, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, new economy, prediction markets, rent control, rent-seeking, reversible computing, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, statistical model, stem cell, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

Similarly, while more complex and higher quality business products tend to become better adapted to circumstances, and to sell for higher prices, simpler cheaper products tend to have more descendants in new products, at least for products sold to firms (Christensen 1997; Thompson 2013). In multi-cellular animals, flexible generic stem cells create other more varied cells that are better adapted to particular body tasks. Yet new organisms descend mostly from generic stem cells, which have far more descendant cells in the long run. All of these examples suggest that as systems become better adapted in detail to particular situations, they become more fragile and less able to adapt in detail to very different situations. Human brains tend to have slower responses as they age, in part because brain hardware degrades (Lindenberger 2014), and in part because such brains need to sort through a larger experience base (Ramscar et al. 2014).

pages: 467 words: 116,094

I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That by Ben Goldacre


call centre, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Desert Island Discs,, experimental subject, Firefox, Flynn Effect, jimmy wales, John Snow's cholera map, Loebner Prize, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, placebo effect, publication bias, selection bias, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Simon Singh, statistical model, stem cell, the scientific method, Turing test, WikiLeaks

Maybe the cognitive effort of mounting a defence against the incongruous new facts entrenches you even further. Maybe you feel marginalised and motivated to dig in your heels. Who knows? But these experiments were then repeated, in various permutations, on the issue of tax cuts (or rather, the idea that tax cuts had increased national productivity so much that tax revenue increased overall) and stem-cell research. All the studies found exactly the same thing: if the original dodgy fact fits with your prejudices, a correction only reinforces these even more. If your goal is to move opinion, this depressing finding suggests that smears work; and what’s more, corrections don’t challenge them much, because for people who already disagree with you, it only make them disagree even more. Why Cigarette Packs Matter Guardian, 12 March 2011 This week our government committed itself to the removal, albeit slowly, of cigarette displays in shops.

‘Is it possible that all that exercise is doing nothing to make us slimmer?’ Please, let the answer be yes. The Telegraph produced three lines of research for this claim. Firstly, more people are spending more money on more exercise than before, but there is also more obesity around in the UK than before: explain that with your science. Then there was some speculative laboratory research about interfering with brown fat in animal models, using stem cells and things: interesting to read, but very far from the headline claim. To properly examine whether exercise really will make you fat, the paper described two trials. The first one, I can tell you right now, is cherry-picked. The Cochrane Library is a non-profit collaboration of academics who produce unbiased, systematic reviews of the medical literature, and they have a systematic review of all the forty-three trials that have been done on exercise for weight loss.

pages: 464 words: 139,088

The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking and the Future of the Global Economy by Mervyn King

Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, distributed generation, Doha Development Round, Edmond Halley, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, German hyperinflation, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, large denomination, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market clearing, Martin Wolf, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satoshi Nakamoto, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Great Moderation, the payments system, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, yield curve, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

In 1798, the English cleric and scholar Thomas Malthus wrote that ‘with regard to the duration of human life, there does not appear to have existed, from the earliest ages of the world, to the present moment, the smallest permanent symptom, or indication, of increasing prolongation’.10 That past experience was to prove a poor predictor of the future. In 1798, life expectancy in Britain was around forty. Today it is over eighty, and even higher for women. We simply do not know how life expectancy will change in the future.11 Developments in medical science, especially the results of stem-cell research, may enhance the prospects for life expectancy radically, and new infectious diseases may have the opposite effect. Good judgement rather than statistical extrapolation is key to making assessments about changes not only in longevity but in many economic and social variables. Economists typically think about risk rather than radical uncertainty. They see the future as a game of chance in which we know all the outcomes that might emerge and the odds of each of them, even though we cannot predict the roll of the dice.

Is there good cause for pessimism about the rate at which economies can grow in future? There are three reasons for caution about adopting this new-found pessimism. First, the proposition that the era of great discoveries has come to an end because the major inventions, such as electricity and aeroplanes, have been made and humankind has plucked the low-hanging fruit is not convincing. In areas such as information technology and biological research on genetics and stem cells we are living in a golden age of scientific discovery. By definition, ideas that provide breakthroughs are impossible to predict, so it is too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the future will generate fewer innovations than those we saw emerge in the past. When Alvin Hansen proposed the idea of ‘secular stagnation’ in the 1930s, he fell into just this trap. In fact the 1930s witnessed significant innovation, which was obscured by the dramatic macroeconomic consequences of the Great Depression.

Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris


big-box store, call centre, desegregation, illegal immigration, index card, Maui Hawaii, remote working, stem cell

One after another, they all threatened the same thing: “If McCain doesn’t win, I’m leaving the country.” “Oh, right,” I’d say. “You’re going to leave and go where? Right-wing Europe?” In the Netherlands now, I imagine it’s legal to marry your own children. Get them pregnant, and you can abort your unborn grandbabies in a free clinic that used to be a church. The doctor might be a woman who became a man and then became a woman again, all on taxpayers’ dollars, but as long as she saves the stem cells, she’ll have the nation’s blessing. That’s just me, though, being insensitive. Certain people might brand me “mean-spirited,” though I think that’s the pot calling the kettle black. States vote to take away my marriage rights, and even though I don’t want to get married, it tends to hurt my feelings. I guess what bugs me is that it was put to a vote in the first place. If you don’t want to marry a homosexual, then don’t.

pages: 200 words: 60,987

The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America by Steven Johnson


Albert Einstein, Chance favours the prepared mind, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, Danny Hillis, discovery of DNA, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kevin Kelly, planetary scale, side project, South Sea Bubble, stem cell, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, zero-sum game

Fields like information theory, ecosystem science, and evolutionary theory rank among the most influential and generative scientific fields of the past fifty years, spawning debates that have unavoidable consequences for the spheres of politics and of faith (even if the presidential candidates usually try to avoid them). Priestley would have grasped immediately how so many of today’s discoveries are bound up in social and political affairs: global warming, stem-cell research, intelligent design, neuroscience, atomic energy, the genomic revolution, not to mention the massive social disruptions introduced by computer science in the form of the Internet. Building a coherent theory of the modern world without a thorough understanding of that science would have struck Priestley as a scandal of the first order. To be sure, the rising peaks of scientific progress means that specialization is an unavoidable reality: the facts are so much more complex than they were in Priestley’s day, thanks to two centuries of empirical research.

pages: 338 words: 62,714

Code Red: Know Your Flow, Unlock Your Super Powers and Create a Bloody Amazing Life. Period. by Lisa Clark


Skype, stem cell

Inhale and lift the head and torso up by pushing the hip points down, toward the floor. Lead with your heart to come up and drop forward into Child’s Pose for a few breaths. The guide to herbal healing for the menstrual cycle: Pre-ovulation After our monthly bleed, now is the time to support the body’s process of cleansing. And because of the endometrial blood loss with all of its life sustaining goodness and stem cells, it is important to replace minerals and nutrients to the system. The herbs below are the cornerstone for feminine health. Forget diamonds, these green treasures are a girl’s best friend! Nettle (Urtica dioica) highly nutritious, dense with vitamins and minerals including chlorophyll, iron, vitamin C, K, folic acid, protein, serotonin, acetyl-choline (both feel good endorphins) potassium, silica and calcium, Balances blood sugar levels, convalescence, anaemia, relieves fluid retention, reduces heavy menstrual blood flow, brings on delayed or absent menses, excellent menopause restorative, blood cleanser, increases energy, increase or decrease breast milk flow, lymphatic cleanser, kidney and adrenal tonic, whole body strengthening for conception, pregnancy, post partum, menstruation and menopause.

pages: 193 words: 11,060

Ethics in Investment Banking by John N. Reynolds, Edmund Newell


accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, banking crisis, capital controls, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, discounted cash flows, financial independence, index fund, invisible hand, light touch regulation, margin call, moral hazard, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, quantitative easing, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, stem cell, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, zero-sum game

There are obvious shortcomings to this approach, not least the clear gap between legally prohibited activities and those avoided by ethical investment organisations, both secular and religious. A number of religious groups set out detailed views on investment restrictions from an ethical perspective. The Church of England, through the EIAG, advises a multi-billion pound portfolio of equity investments, and sets out its investment restrictions in a series of policy documents.8 These cover: defence, pornography, stem cell research, gambling, weekly collected home credit (seen as usurious) and alcohol. Each of these policies restricts the Church of England’s investment in these areas. Restrictions are based on a threshold of revenue (such as 10% or 25% of revenue derived from a specific proscribed activity), although the policy papers do not explain the rationale in detail for specific thresholds. In addition, the EIAG’s “Statement of Ethical Investment Policy” (July 2010) states that the Church of England’s investment bodies may “avoid investment in companies whose management practices they judge to be unacceptable”.

Exploring Everyday Things with R and Ruby by Sau Sheong Chang


Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, business process, butterfly effect, cloud computing, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Debian, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Gini coefficient, income inequality, invisible hand, p-value, price stability, Ruby on Rails, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, text mining, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, We are the 99%, web application, wikimedia commons

Eventually the realization sets in that taking care of your own health is important, after all. So what does taking care of yourself have to do with programming? There is no medicine for old age (at least not yet), and spending time programming is hardly the means to improve your health. Today’s healthcare technologies, however, have vastly improved our chances of growing old with fewer health problems. Research into genetics, stem cell transplants, advanced drugs, and information technology has enabled us to live longer and healthier. Naturally, in this book the main thing we’re interested in is the information technology bit. We can’t explore many of these advances in information technology (there are just too many), but we’ll take a simple example and do some poking around. My Beating Heart What we’ll be exploring in this chapter is your heart, including your heart rate and your heartbeat.

pages: 224 words: 64,156

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier


1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, digital Maoism, Douglas Hofstadter, Extropian, follow your passion, hive mind, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, social graph, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

At any rate, the effect is repeatable and is widely held to be one of the foundations of both market economies and democracies. People have tried to use computing clouds to tap into this collective wisdom effect with fanatic fervor in recent years. There are, for instance, well-funded—and prematurely well-trusted—schemes to apply stock market-like systems to programs in which people bet on the viability of answers to seemingly unanswerable questions, such as when terrorist events will occur or when stem cell therapy will allow a person to grow new teeth. There is also an enormous amount of energy being put into aggregating the judgments of internet users to create “content,” as in the collectively generated link website Digg. How to Use a Crowd Well The reason the collective can be valuable is precisely that its peaks of intelligence and stupidity are not the same as the ones usually displayed by individuals.

pages: 209 words: 80,086

The Global Auction: The Broken Promises of Education, Jobs, and Incomes by Phillip Brown, Hugh Lauder, David Ashton


active measures, affirmative action, barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, glass ceiling, global supply chain, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market design, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, post-industrial society, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, winner-take-all economy, working poor, zero-sum game

It may also force Americans and Europeans to up their game as the complacency of past decades evaporates, but there is a major shift in power away from America and Europe that will have profound implications for rich economies. We have described a process in which China is rapidly closing the gap in technological know-how in key fields, including nanotechnology, Knowledge Wars 45 supercomputers, genomics, and stem cell research. Some universities in Asia now rival the capabilities of those in the West, and no doubt more will do so. We are likely to see more partnerships between American universities and those in Asia develop technologies that may not benefit U.S. workers as much as those in China or India. This applies equally to American corporations, as we will go on to discuss in the next chapter. The speed of change will in part depend on the quality of graduates in East Asia and across the developing world.

pages: 220 words: 74,713

Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir by Wednesday Martin Ph.d.


delayed gratification, haute couture, McMansion, stem cell

The way we always have for the forever which we’ve lost our babies. The social worker asked if I wanted a funeral and I said no. The high-risk doctor had already asked, and had told me that if we didn’t, she would have a “hospital burial,” explaining that basically she would be dispensed of as medical waste. “Which she isn’t,” he was quick to add, and I said, “Well, I guess she is,” since we hadn’t been able to donate any stem cells or use her tissues in any other way. Now the social worker asked if I wanted a memorial box. It had a baby hat inside, she explained, and the death certificate, and a little hand and footprint, and I grimaced, I think, feeling that was outrageous somehow, and ridiculous. I imagined what I might do with such a box—shove it into a dark spot high in a closet? Put it in the storage unit? What? We talked about how I felt singled out—who the hell loses the baby just into the sixth month?

pages: 208 words: 67,582

What About Me?: The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society by Paul Verhaeghe


Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, deskilling, epigenetics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, invisible hand, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Louis Pasteur, market fundamentalism, Milgram experiment, new economy, post-industrial society, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, The Spirit Level, ultimatum game, working poor

The so-called loss of norms and values has generated an unstoppable proliferation of different types of ethics: bioethics, media ethics, medical ethics, contract ethics, care ethics, etc. Most of us are left cold by these mini-ethics, regarding them as a form of occupational therapy for old codgers in dusty offices, churning out directives that no one really feels a need for. Even the word ‘ethics’ sounds passé. Does anyone care about it, apart from lunatics who want to ban stem-cell research and erase Darwin from school textbooks? As a result of the above proliferation, a Kafkaesque bureaucracy has sprung up from which no one can escape, and codes and regulations are running rampant. Take my university’s exam regulations, which for many years consisted of one-and-a-half sheets of paper. Suddenly, they ballooned into a 50-page document that had to be constantly updated and amended.

pages: 258 words: 77,601

Everything Under the Sun: Toward a Brighter Future on a Small Blue Planet by Ian Hanington


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Bretton Woods, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, energy security, Enrique Peñalosa, Exxon Valdez, Google Earth, happiness index / gross national happiness, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hydraulic fracturing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), oil shale / tar sands, stem cell, sustainable-tourism, the scientific method, University of East Anglia, urban planning, urban sprawl

The reality is that the most powerful force shaping our lives today is science, whether it’s in industry, medicine, or the military. We cannot control the ideas and inventions unleashed by science if we, as a society, are scientifically illiterate. We elect our politicians to represent us and lead us into the future, and they must make decisions to deal with climate change, overpopulation, endocrine disrupters, stem cells, cloning, genetically modified organisms, pollution, deforestation, and a host of other issues that require some understanding of science. The lesson we should take from people like Portman, who also created an environmental video in her childhood, is that it’s fine to be entertained and to entertain, but that shouldn’t preclude us from taking an interest in the world around us and in the science that shapes so much of our place in that world and helps us to understand it.

Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge by Cass R. Sunstein


affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, availability heuristic, Build a better mousetrap,, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Edward Glaeser,, feminist movement, framing effect, hindsight bias, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, market bubble, market design, minimum wage unemployment, prediction markets, profit motive, rent control, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, slashdot, stem cell, The Wisdom of Crowds, winner-take-all economy

Maybe many investors will lack a great deal of information on such questions, but it is most unlikely that the market prediction will turn out to be self-defeating. Of course, any Policy Analysis Market itself raises many questions. The only point is that in many domains, prediction markets have worked extremely well, and they are likely to outperform both statistical means and the products of group deliberation. / Feasible Futures / Prediction markets face a pervasive problem of feasibility. Suppose that Congress is deciding whether to authorize stem cell research. That decision calls for judgments of value, not merely of fact, and no information market can make judgments of value. How could a political leader submit questions about abortion, capital punishment, and preemptive war to a prediction market? For many of the most important questions that societies face, prediction markets will not be adequate, even if they incorporate the views of many minds and hence produce a ton of information.

pages: 235 words: 62,862

Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek by Rutger Bregman


autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Branko Milanovic, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Graeber, Diane Coyle, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Gilder, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, income inequality, invention of gunpowder, James Watt: steam engine, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, precariat, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wage slave, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey

In recent decades, dirt-cheap vaccines against measles, tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria, and polio have saved more lives each year than world peace would have saved in the 20th century.14 Obviously, there are still plenty of diseases to go – cancer, for one – but we’re making progress even on that front. In 2013, the prestigious journal Science reported on the discovery of a way to harness the immune system to battle tumors, hailing it as the biggest scientific breakthrough of the year. That same year saw the first successful attempt to clone human stem cells, a promising development in the treatment of mitochondrial diseases, including one form of diabetes. Some scientists even contend that the first person who will live to celebrate their 1,000th birthday has already been born.15 All the while, we’re only getting smarter. In 1962, 41% of kids didn’t go to school, as opposed to under 10% today.16 In most countries, the average IQ has gone up another three to five points every ten years, thanks chiefly to improved nutrition and education.

pages: 272 words: 76,089

Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium by Carl Sagan


Albert Einstein, anti-communist, clean water, cosmic abundance, dark matter, demographic transition, Exxon Valdez, F. W. de Klerk, germ theory of disease, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Mikhail Gorbachev, pattern recognition, planetary scale, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, zero-sum game

went to the doctor to have some routine blood tests. 260 • Billions and Billions We heard from him a few days later when we were in Austin, Texas. He was troubled. There clearly was some lab mixup. The analysis showed the blood of a very sick person. "Please," he urged, "get retested right away." I did. There had been no mistake. My red cells, which carry oxygen all over the body, and my white cells, which fight disease, were both severely depleted. The most likely explanation: that there was a problem with the stem cells, the common ancestors of both white and red blood cells, which are generated in the bone marrow. The diagnosis was confirmed by experts in the field. I had a disease I had never heard of before, myelodysplasia. Its origin is nearly unknown. If I did nothing, I was astonished to hear, my chances were zero. I'd be dead in six months. I was still feeling fine—perhaps a little lightheaded from time to time.

pages: 1,261 words: 294,715

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky

autonomous vehicles, Bernie Madoff, biofilm, blood diamonds, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Brownian motion, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate personhood, corporate social responsibility, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, desegregation, double helix, Drosophila, Edward Snowden,, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, framing effect, fudge factor, George Santayana, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, John von Neumann, Loma Prieta earthquake, long peace, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mohammed Bouazizi, mouse model, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, publication bias, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Rosa Parks, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game

Plant “stress” such as drought induces transpositions in particular cells, where the plant metaphorically shuffles its DNA deck, hoping to generate some novel savior of a protein. Mammals have fewer transposons than plants. The immune system is one transposon hot spot, in the enormous stretches of DNA coding for antibodies. A novel virus invades; shuffling the DNA increases the odds of coming up with an antibody that will target the invader.* The main point here is that transposons occur in the brain.11 In humans transpositional events occur in stem cells in the brain when they are becoming neurons, making the brain a mosaic of neurons with different DNA sequences. In other words, when you make neurons, that boring DNA sequence you inherited isn’t good enough. Remarkably, transpositional events occur in neurons that form memories in fruit flies. Even flies evolved such that their neurons are freed from the strict genetic marching orders they inherit.

Make a conservative more detached about something viscerally disturbing, and they become more liberal.46 Thus political orientation about social issues reflects sensitivity to visceral disgust and strategies for coping with such disgust. In addition, conservatives are more likely to think that disgust is a good metric for deciding whether something is moral. Which recalls Leon Kass, the bioethicist with the ice cream–licking issues. He headed George W. Bush’s bioethics panel, one that, thanks to Kass’s antiabortion ideology, greatly restricted embryonic stem cell research. Kass has argued for what he calls “the wisdom of repugnance,” where disgust at something like human cloning can be “the emotional expression of deep wisdom, beyond wisdom’s power completely to articulate it.” The visceral level, with or without post-hoc rationalization, is all you need in order to know what’s right. If it makes you puke, then you must rebuke.47 The monumental flaw is obvious.

To metaphorically appropriate a concept from chapter 1, this seems a case of neuronal pathological altruism—beware when freshly minted neurons that may not yet know feces from Shinola want to lend a helping hand. * Listing these various factors that “enhance” or “inhibit” neurogenesis glosses over lots of detail. The number of new neurons that are integrated into circuits reflects (a) the number of new cells that are formed from stem cells in the brain; (b) the percentage of new cells that differentiate into neurons (as opposed to glial cells); and (c) the rate at which new neurons survive and form functional synapses. Each of these manipulations—learning, exercise, stress, etc.—targets different steps. Complicating things further is the fact that not all stressors are equal. If a rodent secretes glucocorticoids because it thinks there is a predator around and the fight-or-flight sirens are going off, neurogenesis is inhibited.

pages: 623 words: 448,848

Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Foods and Food Additives by Dean D. Metcalfe


active measures, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, epigenetics, hygiene hypothesis, impulse control, life extension, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, statistical model, stem cell

Simon Abbreviations AA AAF AAP ACCD Arachidonic acid Amino acid-based formula American Association of Pediatrics 1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid deaminase ACD Allergic contact dermatitis AD Atopic dermatitis ADA Americans with Disabilities Act AE Atopic eczema AEC Absolute eosinophil count AERD Aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease AFP Antifreeze protein AGA Anti-gliadin antibodies AI Adequate intake ALA Alimentary toxic aleukia ALDH Aldehyde dehydrogenase ALS Advanced Life Support ALSPAC Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children AMDR Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges AMP Almond major protein APC Antigen-presenting cell APT Atopy patch test ASCA Anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae ASHMI Anti-asthma Herbal Medicine Intervention ASP Amnesic shellfish poisoning AZA Azaspiracid AZP Azaspiracid shellfish poisoning BAL Bronchoalveolar lavage BAT Basophil activation test BCR B-cell receptor BER Bioenergy regulatory BFD Bioelectric functions diagnosis BHA Butylated hydroxyanisole BHR Basophil histamine release BHT Butylated hydroxytoluene BLG β-lactoglobulin BMI Body mass index BN Brown–Norway BP Blood pressure BPRS Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale BTX Brevetoxins CAS Chemical Abstract Society CCD CCP CDC CFA CFR CGRP CIU CIUA CLA CLSI CM CMA CMF CMP CMV CNS COX CRH CRP CRS CSPI CSR CTL CTX CU DAO DBPC DBPCFC DC DHA DMARD DoH DRI DSP DTH DTT DTX EAR EAV ECP EDN EDS Cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants Cyclic citrullinated peptide Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Chemotactic factor of anaphylaxis Code of Federal Regulations Calcitonin gene-related peptide Chronic idiopathic urticaria Chronic idiopathic urticaria/angioedema Cutaneous lymphocyte-associated antigen Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute Cow’s milk Cow’s milk allergy Cow’s milk formula Cow’s milk protein Cucumber mosaic virus Central nervous system Cyclo-oxygense Corticotropin-releasing hormone C-reactive protein Chinese restaurant syndrome Center for Science in the Public Interest Class-switch recombination Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte Ciguatoxins Cholinergic urticaria Diamine oxidase Double-blind, placebo-controlled Double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge Dendritic cell Docosahexaenoic acid Disease modifying anti-rheumatic agent Department of Health Dietary reference intakes Diarrhetic shellfish poisoning Delayed-type hypersensitivity Dithiothreitol Dinophysistoxins Estimate average requirement Electroacupuncture according to Voll Eosinophil cationic protein Eosinophil-derived neurotoxin Electrodermal screening xiii xiv Abbreviations EE EEG EER EFA EFSA EGID EIA ELISA EMA EMT EoE EoG EoP EPA EPO EPSPS Eosinophilic esophagitis Electroencephalogram Estimated energy requirement Essential fatty acid European Food Safety Authority Eosinophil-associated gastrointestinal disorders Enzyme immunoassay Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays Anti-endomysial Emergency Medical Technical Eosinophilic esophagitis Eosinophilic gastroenteritis Eosinophilic proctocolitis Eicosapentaneoic acid Eosinophilic peroxidase Enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase EPX Eosinophil protein X ESR Erythrocyte sedimentation rate FAAN Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network FAE Follicle-associated epithelium FAFD Food-additive-free diet FALCPA Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act FAO Food and Agricultural Organization FASEB Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology FDA Food and Drug Administration FDDPU Food-dependent delayed pressure urticaria FDEIA Food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis FEC Food-and-exercise challenge FEIA Fluorescent-enzyme immunoassay FFQs Food Frequency Questionnaires FFSPTs Fresh food skin prick tests FPIES Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome FSIS Food Safety Inspection Service GALT Gut-associated lymphoid tissue GBM Glomerular basement membrane GER Gastroesophageal reflux GERD Gastroesophageal reflux disease GFD Gluten-free diet GH Growth hormone GHRH Growth hormone releasing hormone GI Gastrointestinal GINI German Infant Nutritional Interventional GOX Glyphosate oxidoreductase GrA Granzymes A GRAS Generally recognized as safe GrB Granzymes B GRS Generally regarded as safe GSH Glutathione GVHD Graft-versus-host disease HACCP Hazard analysis and critical control point HAQ Health Assessment Questionnaire HBGF HCN HE HEL HEV HKE HKL HKLM HLA HMW HNL HPF HPLC HPP HRFs HRP HSP HVP IAAs ICD IDECs IEC IEI IgA IgE IgG IgM ISB ISS IST ITAM ITIM IUIS JECFA KA KGF KLH LA LCPUFA LCs LFI LGG LLDC LMW LOAELs LOX LP LPL LPS LRTIs LSD LT LTP MALDI Heparin-binding growth factors Hydrogen cyanide Hen’s egg Hen’s egg lysozyme High endothelial venules Heat-killed Esherichia coli Heat-killed Listeria monocytogene Heat-killed Listeria monocytogenes Human leukocyte antigen High molecular weight Human neutrophil lipocalin High-powered field High-performance liquid chromatography Hydrolyzed plant protein Histamine releasing factors Horseradish peroxidase Hydrolyzed soy protein Hydrolyzed vegetable protein Indispensable amino acids Irritant contact dermatitis Inflammatory dendritic epidermal cells Intestinal epithelial cells Idiopathic environmental intolerances Immunoglobulin A Immunoglobulin E Immunoglobulin G Immunoglobulin M Isosulfan blue Immunostimulatory sequences Intradermal skin test Immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif Immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif International Union of Immunological Societies Expert Committee on Food Additives Kainic acid Keratinocyte growth factor Key-hole limpet hemocyanin Linoleic acid Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids Langerhans cells Lateral flow immunochromatographic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG Langerhans-like dendritic cell Low molecular weight Lowest observed adverse effect level Lipoxygenase Lamina propria LP lymphocytes Lipopolysaccharide Lower respiratory tract infections Lysergic acid diethylamide Leukotrienes Lipid-transfer protein Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization Abbreviations xv MALT MAO MAPK MAS MBP MC MCS MED MFA MHC MIP MMP MMPI MMR MPO MSG MTX MUFA MWL NADPH NASN NCHS NDGA NIAID NIOSHA NK NLEA NOEL NPA NPIFR NPV NSAID NSBR NSP OAS ODN OFC OPRA OT OVA PAF PAMP PBB PBMC PBT PCB PEF PEFR PFS PFT PHA PK PKC Mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue Monoamine oxidase Mitogen-activated protein kinase Multicenter Allergy Study Major basic protein Mast cell Multiple chemical sensitivity Minimal eliciting dose Multiple food allergies Major histocompatibility complex Macrophage inflammatory protein-1 Matrix metalloproteinase Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Measles–mumps–rubella Myeloperoxidase Monosodium glutamate Maitotoxins Monounsaturated fatty acids Mushroom worker’s lung Nicotinamide dinucleotide phosphate National Association of School Nurses National Center for Health Statistics Nordihydroguaiaretic acid National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Natural killer National Labeling and Education Act No observable effect level Negative predictive accuracy Nasal peak inspiratory flow Negative predictive values Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs Non-specific bronchial responsiveness Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning Oral allergy syndrome Oligodeoxynucleotides Oral food challenge Occupational Physicians Reporting Activity Oral tolerance Ovalbumin Platelet-activating factor Pathogen-associated molecular pattern Polybrominated biphenyls Peripheral blood mononuclear cell Peripheral blood T-cells Polychlorinated biphenyls Peak expiratory flow Peak expiratory flow rate Pollen–food syndrome Pulmonary function testing Phytohemagglutinin Prausnitz-Küstner Protein kinase C PMN PPA PPI PPs PPT PPV PR PSP PST PTX PUFA PUVA RADS RAST RBA RBL RDA RDBPC RF RIA ROS SBPC SC SCF SCIT SCN SFAP SGF SHM SIF SIgA SIgM SIT SLIT SPECT SPT STX SVR TCM TCR TLP TLR TNF TPA TSA TTG TTX UGI UL USDA VAR VIP WHO YTX Polymorphonuclear leukocytes Positive predictive accuracy Protein phosphatase inhibition Peyer’s patches PP-derived T-cells Positive predictive value Pathogenesis-related Paralytic shellfish poisoning Prick skin test Pectenotoxins Polyunsaturated fatty acids Psoralen ⫹ ultraviolet A radiation Reactive airways dysfunction syndrome Radioallergosorbent test Receptor-binding assay Basophilic leukemia Recommended dietary allowances Randomized double–blind, placebo-controlled Rheumatoid factor Radioimmunoassay Reactive oxygen species Single-blinded placebo-controlled Secretory component Stem cell factor Subcutaneous immunotherapy Soybean cyst nematode School Food Allergy Program Simulated gastric fluid Somatic hyper mutation Simulated intestinal fluid Secretory IgA Secretory IgM Specific immunotherapy Sublingual immunotherapy Single photon emission computed tomography Skin prick test Saxitoxins Sequential vascular response Traditional Chinese medicine T-cell receptor Thaumatin-like protein Toll-like receptor Tumor necrosis factor Tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate Transportation Security Administration Tissue transglutaminase Tetrodotoxin Upper GI Upper intake level United States Department of Agriculture Voice-activated audiotape recording Vasoactive intestinal peptide World Health Organization Yessotoxin This page intentionally left blank PA RT 1 Adverse Reactions to Food Antigens: Basic Science Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Foods and Food Additives, 4th edition Edited by Dean D.

In enterocytes, CD23 facilitates the bidirectional transport of IgE–antigen complexes and thus may participate in antigen sampling from the intestinal lumen [36]. Mast cells Mast cells are widely distributed throughout the body, frequently found around blood vessels, attached to nerves and at mucosal surfaces. Bone marrow-derived mast cell progenitors migrate via the peripheral blood into the tissue, where they undergo final maturation under the influence of local microenvironmental factors. Stem cell factor (SCF), produced either in a soluble or membrane-bound form by fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and stromal cells, is the essential factor for both mast cell maturation and survival of mature mast cells [81]. The importance of SCF and its receptor KIT is stressed by the fact that KIT-deficient mice basically lack mast cells. Mature mast cells are long-living cells that maintain the capability to grow.

Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1999;96:8080–5. 83 Gebhardt T, Sellge G, Lorentz A, et al. Cultured human intestinal mast cells express functional IL-3 receptors and respond to IL-3 by enhancing growth and IgE receptor-dependent mediator release. Eur J Immunol 2002;32:2308–16. 84 Matsuzawa S, Sakashita K, Kinoshita T, et al. IL-9 enhances the growth of human mast cell progenitors under stimulation with stem cell factor. J Immunol 2003;170:3461–7. 85 Bryce PJ, Mathias CB, Harrison KL, et al. The H1 histamine receptor regulates allergic lung responses. J Clin Invest 2006;116:1624–32. 86 Valent P, Sillaber C, Baghestanian M, et al. What have mast cells to do with edema formation, the consecutive repair and fibrinolysis? Int Arch Allergy Immunol 1998;115:2–8. The Immunological Basis of IgE-Mediated Reactions 27 87 Maurer M, Wedemeyer J, Metz M, et al.

pages: 924 words: 198,159

Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill


air freight, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, business climate, business intelligence, centralized clearinghouse, collective bargaining, Columbine, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Naomi Klein, private military company, Project for a New American Century, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, school choice, school vouchers, stem cell, urban planning, zero-sum game

For a time, Betsy and Dick lived down the street from the Prince family, including Erik, who is nine years younger than his sister.34 In 1988, Gary Bauer and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson began building what would become the Family Research Council (FRC), the crusading, influential, and staunchly conservative evangelical organization that has since taken the lead on issues ranging from banning gay marriage to promoting school vouchers for Christian schools to outlawing abortion and stem-cell research. To get it off the ground, though, they needed funding, and they turned to Edgar Prince. “[W]hen Jim Dobson and I decided that the financial resources weren’t available to launch FRC, Ed and his family stepped into the breach,” wrote Bauer. “I can say without hesitation that without Ed and Elsa and their wonderful children, there simply would not be a Family Research Council.”35 Young Erik would go on to become one of Bauer’s earliest interns at the FRC.36 It was one of many right-wing causes that the Princes would join the DeVoses in bankrolling, leading to what would be known as the Republican Revolution in 1994, which brought Newt Gingrich and a radical right-wing agenda known as the Contract with America to power in Congress, wrestling control from the Democrats for the first time in forty years.

In 1999 he contributed $25,000 to Catholic Answers, a San Diego-based Catholic evangelical organization founded by the Catholic fundamentalist Karl Keating. Keating dedicated his life to apologetics and defending Catholicism at all costs. During the 2004 and 2006 elections, the group promoted a “Voters Guide for Serious Catholics,” which listed five “non-negotiable” issues that it said are never morally acceptable under Catholic teaching: abortion, homosexual marriage, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, and human cloning.97 Issues that were identified as “Not Non-Negotiable” included “the questions of when to go to war and when to apply the death penalty.”98 When Prince’s wife was dying of cancer, he e-mailed Keating, who in turn asked his followers to pray for the Princes.99 The following year, Prince provided funding to the right-wing Catholic monthly magazine Crisis.100 He also gave generously to several Michigan churches, including $50,000 to Holy Family Oratory, a Kalamazoo Catholic Church, and $100,000 to St.

pages: 287 words: 86,919

Protocol: how control exists after decentralization by Alexander R. Galloway


Ada Lovelace, airport security, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, computer age, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, packet switching, phenotype, post-industrial society, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, semantic web, SETI@home, stem cell, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, the market place, theory of mind, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Review, working poor

Individual subjects are not only civil subjects, but also medical subjects for a medicine increasingly influenced by genetic science. The ongoing research and clinical trials in gene therapy, regenerative medicine, and genetic diagnostics reiterate the notion of the biomedical subject as being in some way amenable to a database. In addition to this bio-informatic encapsulation of individual and collective bodies, the transactions and economies between bodies are also being affected. Research into stem cells has ushered in a new era of molecular bodies that not only are self-generating like a reservoir (a new type of tissue banking), but that also create a tissue economy of potential biologies (lab-grown tissues and organs). Such biotechnologies often seem more science fiction than science, and indeed health care systems are far from fully integrating such emerging research into routine medical practice.

pages: 309 words: 101,190

Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward


Buckminster Fuller, computer age, Drosophila, Fellow of the Royal Society, industrial robot, invention of radio, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, phenotype, Robert X Cringely, stem cell, trade route

In fact, many cell lineages drop out of the doubling game earlier on, when they have finished building a particular part of the body, say the liver. Other cell lineages go on doubling for longer. So a blue whale in fact consists of a number of cell lineages of different length, building different parts of the whale. Some of these lineages go on dividing for more than fifty-seven cell generations. Others stop dividing after fewer than fifty-seven cell generations. In practice there are ‘stem-cells’, subsets of cells that are set aside for the purpose of running off copies of cells like themselves. You can roughly calculate the minimum number of cell generations it would take, under ideal doubling conditions, to grow any animal, given its weight. You can assume that big animals don’t have especially big cells, they just have more of the same kinds of cells as small animals. A naïve calculation suggests that it would take a minimum of forty-seven cell-doubling generations to grow an adult human and only about ten more cell generations to grow a blue whale.

pages: 300 words: 65,976

The Gospel of Food: Everything You Think You Know About Food Is Wrong by Barry Glassner


Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, Gary Taubes, haute cuisine, income inequality, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Urbanism, placebo effect, profit motive, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Saturday Night Live, stem cell, urban sprawl, working poor

Quotes are from materials from the California Olive Industry and the Olive Oil Source. 13. See also “General Mills Touts Sugary Cereal as Healthy Kids Breakfast,” Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2005. 14. Almond ad appeared in Stagnito’s New Products Magazine, (May 2004). 15. Testimony at the Food Guidance System meeting (see n. 11, p. 294). 16. Keith Seiz, “Promoting Grain Based Foods,” Baking Management (August 2004). 17. Lisa M. Krieger and Paul Jacobs, “Stem Cell Panelists Show Holdings,” San Jose Mercury News, January 19, 2005; Benjamin Rosenthal, Michael Jacobson, and Marcy Bohm, “Professors on the Take,” Progressive (November 1976): 42–47. 18. Paul Griffo, “The Great VNR Debate,” Public Relations Tactics (June 2004); “Shaping the News: The Public Relations Industry and Journalism,” available at; and reports at

pages: 362 words: 104,308

Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson


bioinformatics, business intelligence, double helix, experimental subject, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, Ronald Reagan, stem cell, the scientific method, zero-sum game

In other words, the hell with them. Easier to destroy the world than to change capitalism even one little bit. All this had become quite blatant since Strengloft’s appointment. He had taken over the candidate lists for most of the federal government’s science-advisory panels, and very quickly candidates were being routinely asked who they had voted for in the last election, and what they thought of stem-cell research and abortion and evolution. This had recently culminated in a lead industry defense witness being appointed to the panel for setting safety standards for lead in children’s blood, and immediately declaring that seventy micrograms per deciliter would be harmless to children, though the EPA’s maximum was ten. When his views were publicized and criticized, Strengloft had commented, “You need a diversity of opinions to get good advice.”

pages: 320 words: 97,509

Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician by Sandeep Jauhar


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, delayed gratification, illegal immigration, income inequality, Induced demand, medical malpractice, moral hazard, obamacare, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, source of truth, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Yogi Berra

The conference, a colossal affair with roughly five thousand cardiologists in attendance from all over the world, took place at the Georgia World Congress Center near Centennial Olympic Park. There were dozens of talks—mostly standing room only—going on concurrently throughout the ninety-acre complex. PowerPoint slides flashed arcane analyses on subjects ranging from mitral valve repair to the genetics of heart failure to stem cell therapy after myocardial infarctions. I attended one talk on the use of left atrial size as a predictor of heart failure. How to interpret the findings? How do you critically evaluate a study whose methodology (Kolmogorov-Smirnov goodness-of-fit tests, proportional hazard models, propensity scores) you don’t understand? I leafed through the four-hundred-page monstrosity that was the conference program book.

pages: 294 words: 81,292

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat


3D printing, AI winter, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Automated Insights, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, drone strike, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

Even accounting for increased population and energy demands two decades hence, that should be enough solar power to cover it and then some. And so, according to Kurzweil and Page, global warming will be solved. And so will, um, mortality. According to Kurzweil, the means are almost in reach for extending life indefinitely. “We now have the actual means of understanding the software of life and reprogramming it; we can turn genes off without any interference, we can add new genes, whole new organs with stem cell therapy,” Kurzweil said. “The point is that medicine is now an information technology—it’s going to double in power every year. These technologies will be a million times more powerful for the same cost in twenty years.” Kurzweil believes that the shortest route to AGI is to reverse engineer the brain—intricately scanning it to yield a collection of brain-based circuits. Represented in algorithms or hardware networks, these circuits will then be fired up on a computer as a unified synthetic brain, and taught everything it needs to know.

pages: 301 words: 86,278

Women and Autoimmune Disease by Robert G. Lahita


medical residency, stem cell, the new new thing, Yogi Berra

Bone Marrow Transplant The use of bone marrow transplants for the treatment of autoimmune diseases is fairly new and considered somewhat risky. Bone marrow transplantation is not as complicated a procedure as it used to be, however, and it is gaining acceptance around the world. The procedure is as follows: With the patient under anesthesia, small portions of bone marrow, the breeding ground of stem cells, are removed from several sites in the patient’s own body (this is called an autologous transplant) or from a genetically identical person (this is an allogenic 231 Wo m e n a n d A u t o i m m u n e D i s e a s e transplant). Bone marrow may also be taken from someone who does not have the identical genetic makeup, but then the recipient’s immune system has to be turned off in order to keep the donor’s bone marrow from being rejected.

pages: 336 words: 93,672

The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World's Leading Neuroscientists by Gary Marcus, Jeremy Freeman


23andMe, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, bitcoin, brain emulation, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Glasses, iterative process, linked data, mouse model, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, speech recognition, stem cell, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, Turing machine, web application

Identification of specific mutations allows the generation of cellular and animal models of direct etiological validity, which can be analyzed to elucidate the cascading effects of mutations, from molecular and cellular levels to the ultimate effects on neural circuits and systems. Combined with neuroimaging and other analyses of genetically defined subgroups of patients, these investigations may reveal the nature of the emergent pathophysiological states and suggest possible therapeutic strategies, which can be tested in animal models and, eventually, in clinical trials in defined cohorts. Stem cell panel courtesy of Jamie Simon and Fred H. Gage, Ph.D., Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Human brain network panel courtesy of NITRC; BrainNet Viewer. Cell types panel reproduced from Mitchell et al. BMC Biology 2011, 9:76. But that program is vulnerable. It involves the products of many thousands of genes—proteins that specify where cells will migrate, where their nerve fibers project, which cells they will connect with, and how those connections will change with use.

pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford


3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, debt deflation, deskilling, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

These initial efforts would produce organs for research or drug testing. Organs suitable for transplant likely remain at least a decade in the future, but if the technology arrives, the implications would be staggering for the roughly 120,000 people awaiting organ transplants in the United States alone.4 Aside from addressing the shortage, 3D printing would also allow organs to be fabricated from a patient’s own stem cells, essentially eliminating the danger of rejection after a transplant. Food printing is another popular application. Hod Lipson suggests in his 2013 book Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing that digital cuisine may turn out to be 3D printing’s “killer app”—in other words, the application that motivates huge numbers of people to go out and buy a home printer.5 Food printers are currently used to produce designer cookies, pastries, and chocolates, but they also have the potential to combine ingredients in unique ways, synthesizing unprecedented tastes and textures.

pages: 299 words: 19,560

Utopias: A Brief History From Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities by Howard P. Segal


1960s counterculture, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, complexity theory, David Brooks, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, deskilling, energy security, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, liberation theology, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, Nicholas Carr, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban planning, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

There were never any plans to clone Dolly herself.53 The contemporary cloning of animals has obviously suggested the prospect of cloning humans in the not-too-distant future and has led to endless debates about the nature and morality of technological “progress” that rival, if not surpass, those debates of past decades regarding the use of nuclear weapons. (For that Growing Expectations of Realizing Utopia 125 matter, witness the enormous controversies in recent years merely about the possible use of stem cells to develop cures for some major diseases.) For years now mice have been created to be research tools. But mice are quite different genetically from humans and so do not provide adequate models for investigating diseases, for instance. Recently, however, biotechnology has created the first generation of genetically modified monkeys that are much closer to humans and that are capable of passing on genetic attributes to their offspring.

pages: 337 words: 93,245

Diaspora by Greg Egan


conceptual framework, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, Fermat's Last Theorem, gravity well, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, stem cell, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing machine

Since each seed was embedded in different terrain, each local version of this landmark was situated differently, and the womb began reading instructions from a different part of every seed. The seeds themselves were all still identical, but each one could now unleash a different set of shapers on the space around it, preparing the foundations for a different specialized region of the psychoblast, the embryonic mind. The technique was an ancient one: a budding flower's nondescript stem cells followed a self-laid pattern of chemical cues to differentiate into sepals or petals, stamens or carpels; an insect pupa doused itself with a protein gradient which triggered, at different doses, the different cascades of gene activity needed to sculpt abdomen, thorax, or head. Konishi's digital version skimmed off the essence of the process: divide up space by marking it distinctively, then let the local markings inflect the unwinding of all further instructions, switching specialized subprograms on and off-subprograms which in turn would repeat the whole cycle on ever finer scales, gradually transforming the first roughhewn structures into miracles of filigreed precision.

pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr


Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Airbus A320, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, digital map, Donald Trump, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

Having achieved some prosperity, and gained some disposable income, we began to crave technologies of leisure: consumer goods and services, entertainments, tourism, radios and TVs, stylish cars and clothes. Now, having accumulated enough stuff to fulfill our material needs, our desires are turning to self-actualization and self-expression. What we now want are technologies of the self. Think Xanax and Viagra. Think cosmetic surgery and stem-cell-infused antiaging creams. Think Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. Think Fitbit. As with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the hierarchy of innovation is not a rigid one. Innovation today continues at all five levels. But the rewards, both monetary and reputational, are greatest for inventors and entrepreneurs who focus on technologies of the self, and that’s why so much investment and entrepreneurial activity has moved in that direction.

pages: 338 words: 92,385

NeoAddix by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

8-hour work day, double helix, pirate software, Silicon Valley, stealth mode startup, stem cell

There’d been a lot of fuss at the start of biotek about whether something simple like a blood transfusion could alter a DNA profile. But it wasn’t long before most people understood that the very nature of blood production meant transfused blood lacked almost all of its red-cell DNA anyway, and what there was fragmented once it was in the new body. No DNA change would, or could ever happen without a significant transfer of bone marrow, which was where the essential stem cells originated. Transplanted organs were different, however. The biochems needed to force the body not to reject the new organs also allowed the DNA blood profile to change. And when major bones were transplanted, with their ability to create new blood cells in the medulary cavity, then the picture was complicated still further. But not so much that a good police lab couldn’t identify what was original and what was not.

pages: 331 words: 104,366

Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins by Garry Kasparov

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business process, call centre, clean water, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, Freestyle chess, Gödel, Escher, Bach, job automation, Leonard Kleinrock, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nate Silver, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, rising living standards, rolodex, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

Before that, the concept of the brain was more metaphysical than physical, with Roman-era arguments about “animal spirits” and where, exactly, the soul resided. Souls aside, it is generally agreed today that the mind is not greater than the sum of a being’s physical parts and experiences. The mind goes beyond reasoning to include perception, feeling, remembering, and, perhaps most distinctively, willing—having and expressing wishes and desires. Brains grown in petri dishes from stem cells are interesting for experiments, but without any input or output they could never be called minds. WHEN YOU LOOK BACK at the history of computers it seems like as soon as a machine is invented, the next step is to turn it into a chess player. For the first decades of computing, chess was always near the forefront. Along with the reputation of the game, many of the founding fathers of computation were dedicated chess players, so they were quick to see the game’s potential as a challenging test bed for their programming theories and electronic inventions.

pages: 1,199 words: 332,563

Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition by Robert N. Proctor


bioinformatics, carbon footprint, clean water, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, facts on the ground, friendly fire, germ theory of disease, index card, Indoor air pollution, information retrieval, invention of gunpowder, John Snow's cholera map, language of flowers, life extension, New Journalism, optical character recognition, pink-collar, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, publication bias, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, speech recognition, stem cell, telemarketer, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Upton Sinclair, Yogi Berra

The Council for Tobacco Research was shuttered in 1998 as part of the Master Settlement Agreement reached between cigarette manufacturers and the attorneys general of forty-six states. By this time, however, the body was already moribund. The CTR had stopped accepting grant proposals on June 20, 1997, with the last grant going to Judith A. Shizuru, a physician at Stanford’s School of Medicine, for work on a project titled “Bone Marrow Stem Cell Transplants for the Treatment of Autoimmune Disease.” The Council did not disappear but by the terms of the MSA was no longer allowed to offer grants. Staffing was stripped down to a skeleton crew of four, having as their sole purpose to respond to litigation. James F. Glenn, president and CEO of the expiring body, in 1998 wrote to Stanford’s Judith F. Swain, the first and only woman ever to serve on the Scientific Advisory Board, lamenting how the CTR had been “stripped of its benevolent and productive enterprise.”

None of this work implicated tobacco in any kind of illness.63 Kenneth Moser at San Diego was exploring a causal role for fungi in lung disease; Joseph Post at NYU was studying hormone therapies for breast cancer; and Hidesaburo Hanafusa at Rockefeller was probing “certain virus-induced cancers in fowl.” Seitz knew that “only a few human cancers seem to be linked to virus infections,” but he also informed his paymaster that research along these lines had produced a “detailed working model of a cancer-causing system at the molecular level.” Seitz reviewed other work funded by Reynolds: on cellular membranes and stem cells at Colorado’s School of Medicine, on chromosomal markers for genetic diseases at Rockefeller, on viral diseases at the Wistar Institute, and similar work at Duke, the University of Utah, the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute for Cancer Research in Denver, and so forth. All perfectly respectable science, and perfectly irrelevant (or worse) to the problem of tobacco and disease. Seitz characterized Reynolds-funded work at the Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio) on pedigreed baboons as showing “high promise of adding to our store of information regarding the relative influence of diet and genetics on the development of arteriosclerosis,” deflecting attention from tobacco.

pages: 824 words: 268,880

Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson


anthropic principle, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, dark matter, epigenetics, gravity well, James Watt: steam engine, land tenure, new economy, phenotype, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

“A very literal demonstration of emergence theory,” Vlad said with a small smile. Nadia saw by that smile that he had been instrumental in designing the procedure. “It works?” she asked him directly. “It works. We make what is in effect a new finger bud over your stump. It’s a combination of embryonic stem cells with some cells from the base of your other little finger. The combination functions as the equivalent of the homeobox genes you had when you were a fetus. So you’ve got the developmental determiners there to make the new stem cells differentiate properly. Then you ultrasonically inject a weekly dose of fibroblast growth factor, plus a few cells from the knuckle and the nail, at the appropriate times . . . and it works.” As he explained Nadia felt a little glow of interest spread through her. A whole person.

pages: 476 words: 118,381

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil Degrasse Tyson, Avis Lang


Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, carbon-based life, centralized clearinghouse, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, dark matter, Gordon Gekko, informal economy, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Karl Jansky, Kuiper Belt, Louis Blériot, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Pluto: dwarf planet, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, space pen, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, trade route, V2 rocket

And by the way, science literacy is not simply how many chemical formulas you can recite, nor whether you know how your microwave oven works. Science literacy is being plugged into the forces that power the universe. There is no excuse for thinking that the Sun, which is a million times the size of Earth, orbits Earth. CS: This is particularly troubling because so much political debate has a basis in science: global warming, stem cell research. What do we do about this? NDT: I can only tell you what I do about it. I hate to say this, but I’ve given up on adults. They’ve formed their ways; they’re the product of whatever happened in their lives; I can’t do anything for them. But I can have some influence on people who are still in school. That’s where I, as a scientist and an educator, can do something to help teach them how to think, how to evaluate a claim, how to judge what one person says versus what another says, how to establish a level of skepticism.

pages: 481 words: 120,693

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland


activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, assortative mating, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, call centre, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, double helix, energy security, estate planning, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, global village, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, high net worth, income inequality, invention of the steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liberation theology, light touch regulation, linear programming, London Whale, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, NetJets, new economy, Occupy movement, open economy, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Solar eclipse in 1919, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, the new new thing, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

Bill Gates, likewise, devotes most of his energy and intellect today to his foundation’s work on causes ranging from supporting charter schools to combating disease in Africa. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has yet to reach his thirtieth birthday, but last fall he donated $100 million to improving Newark’s public schools. Insurance and real estate magnate Eli Broad has become an influential funder of stem cell research and school reform; Jim Balsillie, a cofounder of BlackBerry creator RIM, has established his own international affairs think tank; the list goes on and on. It is not without reason that Bill Clinton has devoted his postpresidency to the construction of a global philanthropic “brand.” The super-wealthy have long recognized that philanthropy, in addition to its moral rewards, can also serve as a pathway to social acceptance and even immortality.

pages: 482 words: 122,497

The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule by Thomas Frank


affirmative action, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, edge city, financial deregulation, full employment, George Gilder, guest worker program, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, P = NP, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Telecommunications Act of 1996, the scientific method, too big to fail, union organizing, War on Poverty

This traditional Republican strategy was rendered obsolete almost overnight following the September 15 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the sale of Merrill Lynch, the bailout of the gigantic insurance firm AIG, and the failure of IndyMac and Washington Mutual, each act played out against a backdrop of plummeting stock prices. Suddenly the only issues that mattered were the big economic ones that insurgency and culture war were supposed to blur: Government’s role in the economy. Deregulation. The political power of private industry. The country’s distorted distribution of wealth. After all, when your mortgage is under water and your neighbors are being laid off, the need to take up the sword against arrogant stem-cell scientists becomes considerably less urgent. It was not a good time to be a laissez-faire believer, as Senator McCain repeatedly said he was, and the Democratic candidate, Senator Barack Obama, insisted on putting economic fairness at the center of the discussion. The right did make several halfhearted efforts to blame the ongoing disaster on government or liberalism, however. TV commentators blamed “minorities” for the disaster, others zeroed in on the government-backed mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and country singer Hank Williams Jr., traveling with Mrs.

pages: 394 words: 118,929

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg


A Pattern Language, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall,, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook,, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Larry Wall, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

The rooms would heat up after an hour, and the dry-marker fumes would get stifling, but the group was determined to motor through the open issues and clear a way for Denman to start coding. Yin explained the latest thinking on items. Most PIM programs required users to decide up front, when they created a new item, what it was: Were you creating a new email? A calendar event? A to-do task? Chandler would instead let you sit down, start typing a note, and decide later what kind of item it was. Like the human body’s undifferentiated stem cells, notes would begin life with the potential to grow in different directions. This design aimed to liberate the basic act of entering information into the program from the imprisoning silos. It also made room for Yin’s proposed solution to the item mutability problem: The mechanism users would employ to specify the “kind-ness” of an item would be called stamping. Say you had typed a note—a couple of sentences about a meeting—and then wanted to put the meeting on the calendar.

pages: 538 words: 147,612

All the Money in the World by Peter W. Bernstein


Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, currency peg, David Brooks, Donald Trump, estate planning, family office, financial innovation, George Gilder, high net worth, invisible hand, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Martin Wolf, Maui Hawaii, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, Norman Mailer, PageRank, Peter Singer: altruism, pez dispenser, popular electronics, Renaissance Technologies, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, school vouchers, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the new new thing, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, traveling salesman, urban planning, wealth creators, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

Milken still dabbles in investing, but most of his time is devoted to PCF and his other philanthropies: the Milken Family Foundation and FasterCures. The list of megamillionaires funding research for cures of ailments and diseases, some of which afflict them or family members, goes on and on: Eli Broad; real-estate tycoon Mort Zuckerman; and California billionaires Ray Dolby (sound pioneer) and William Gross (Pimco investment firm), who are both backing stem-cell research. But are they seeing returns on their investments? Not if they are looking for medical miracles, say philanthropy experts. That’s partly due to the time-intensive nature of medical research. Broad, for one, is convinced that the $200 million he has given in the past two years to the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard is already showering him with rewards. “One week doesn’t go by that a scientific journal doesn’t write about our research,” he says.

pages: 496 words: 154,363

I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 by Douglas Edwards


Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, barriers to entry, book scanning, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, business intelligence, call centre, commoditize, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Googley, gravity well, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, John Markoff, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, microcredit, music of the spheres, Network effects, P = NP, PageRank, performance metric,, Ralph Nader, risk tolerance, second-price auction, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, stem cell, Superbowl ad, Y2K

Coders suddenly warmed up to cold calls from recruiters, and Urs began collecting résumés that matched the profile of a good Google engineer. "Nobody had experience with search engines," Urs recalls. "What was most important was what else they had done, how good they were technically, and how quickly they could learn." He dictated a mantra to Google's HR staff: "Hire ability over experience."* Brilliant generalists could reprogram themselves like stem cells within the corporate body: they would solve a problem, then morph and move on to attack the next challenge. "The key thing," Urs said, "was that they be able to independently make progress, because there wasn't much room for babysitting. They had to have good judgment about whether to coordinate or not." Google generalists needed a firm grasp, not just of coding, but of the hardware and performance issues essential to scaling the search engine.

pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman


3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, functional fixedness, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

So far, the procedure hasn’t been very successful. But we’re getting far better at vascular surgery—bypassing, stitching, and grafting both big and microscopic vessels. There have been similar advances in rebuilding muscles and damaged vertebrae. Even the reattachment of severed spinal cords in mice and primates is progressing. Partial brain transplants are likely a long way off. Other than in certain stem-cell procedures, attaching parts of one brain to another is a highly complex undertaking, given the consistency of most brain mass and the trillions of connections. But as extreme operations—reattachment of fingers, limbs, even faces—become commonplace, the question of whether we could, or should, transplant an entire human head looms closer. Partly reattaching a human head is already a reality. In 2002, a drunk driver hit Arizona teenager Marcos Parra so hard that Parra’s head was almost entirely detached; only the spinal cord and a few blood vessels kept it from coming off.

pages: 564 words: 163,106

The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine by M. D. James le Fanu M. D.


Barry Marshall: ulcers, clean water, cuban missile crisis, discovery of penicillin, double helix, experimental subject, Gary Taubes, Isaac Newton, meta analysis, meta-analysis, rising living standards, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, telerobotics, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, V2 rocket

It is possible that the biological therapies just considered might further improve the prognosis in the common age-determined cancers of the breast, lung, gut and so on. But that, as suggested, will pose a substantial financial strain on the health services of the Western world. Similar considerations apply to the more distant and yet unfulfilled promises of ‘regenerative medicine’ with the prospect that customised stem cells from foetal tissue or bone marrow might repair, for example, damaged nerve cells to become a viable treatment for multiple sclerosis or brain disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. While the everyday practice of medicine, whether in hospital or general practice, is likely to remain much the same, the two driving forces of intellectual enquiry and therapeutic advance, the Big Science that medical research has become and Big Pharma, can scarcely survive in their present form.

pages: 506 words: 146,607

Confessions of a Wall Street Analyst: A True Story of Inside Information and Corruption in the Stock Market by Daniel Reingold, Jennifer Reingold


barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, corporate governance, estate planning, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fixed income, George Gilder, high net worth, informal economy, margin call, mass immigration, new economy,, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Telecommunications Act of 1996, thinkpad, traveling salesman

Today, he remains on the boards of Citigroup, Hospital Corporation of America, and the Parsons Corporation. He’s also taken to academia—he’s a visiting professor at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, and he was recently named to a volunteer position at Johns Hopkins Medicine that oversees cooperation between the noted medical school and teaching hospitals in Baltimore. He has become a champion of stem cell research. He splits time between Darien, Connecticut, and Naples, Florida, with his wife, Anne.3 Jim Crowe—The former CEO of MFS has been CEO of Level 3 Communications since 1997.4 He’s still going strong, though Level 3’s stock price has never recovered from its dot-com collapse. Carol Cutler—Left the investment profession and is now working at Calvin Klein in Manhattan as a gift registry specialist.

Jennifer Morgue by Stross, Charles


call centre, correlation does not imply causation, disintermediation, dumpster diving, Etonian, haute couture, interchangeable parts, Maui Hawaii, mutually assured destruction, planetary scale, RFID, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, stem cell, telepresence, traveling salesman, Turing machine

As you probably already figured out, we apply a transference-contagion glamour to the particulate binding agent in the foundation powder, maintained by brute force from our headquarters operation in Milan, Italy. Unlike most of the cosmetics on the market, it really does render the wrinkles invisible. The ingredients are a bit of a pain, but she's got that well in hand; instead of needing an endless supply of young women just to keep one old bat pretty we can make do with only about ten parts per million of maid's blood in the mix. It's just one of the wonders of modern stem cell technology. Shame we can't find a replacement for the stress prostaglandins, but those are the breaks." He clicks his mouse. "Here's the other end of the operation." It's a room full of skinny, suntanned guys in short-sleeved shirts hunched over cheap PCs, row upon row of them: "My floating offshore programmer ranch, the SS Hopper. You've probably read about it, haven't you? Instead of offshoring to Bangalore, I bought an old liner, wired it, and flew in a number of Indian programmers to live on board.

pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier


3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, automated trading system, barriers to entry, bitcoin, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism, Douglas Engelbart,, Everything should be made as simple as possible, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

All thoughts about consciousness, souls, and the like are bound up equally in faith, which suggests something remarkable: What we are seeing is a new religion, expressed through an engineering culture. What I would like to point out, though, is that a great deal of the confusion and rancor in the world today concerns tension at the boundary between religion and modernity—whether it’s the distrust among Islamic or Christian fundamentalists of the scientific worldview, or even the discomfort that often greets progress in fields like climate change science or stem-cell research. If technologists are creating their own ultramodern religion, and it is one in which people are told to wait politely as their very souls are made obsolete, we might expect further and worsening tensions. But if technology were presented without metaphysical baggage, is it possible that modernity would make people less uncomfortable? Technology is essentially a form of service. Technologists work to make the world better.

pages: 382 words: 120,064

Bank 3.0: Why Banking Is No Longer Somewhere You Go but Something You Do by Brett King


3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbus A320, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, asset-backed security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bitcoin, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, disintermediation,, fixed income, George Gilder, Google Glasses, high net worth, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Infrastructure as a Service, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, London Interbank Offered Rate, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, mass affluent, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, peer-to-peer, performance metric, Pingit, platform as a service, QR code, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, self-driving car, Skype, speech recognition, stem cell, telepresence, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, underbanked, US Airways Flight 1549, web application

Figure 9.3: 3D printers are a reality today 3D printers are advancing in capability rapidly. Already 3D printers today can print wearable fabrics, integrated circuits, blood vessels, cells and organs (a kidney, a bladder and an ear have recently been printed, for example9), engine components, model aircraft, etc. It currently takes around six hours to print a human kidney using a 3D bioprinter, starting with a scaffold and adult stem cells from the patient’s own body so that the new organ is not rejected. While still largely in development, imagine what the 3D printer will do to the world’s manufacturing sector. There will be a huge business in manufacturing 3D printers at least! Well, that is, until we can print a new 3D printer using your old one . . . A great quote to illustrate the concept of the realisation of such technological advancement is one from the late science fiction author, Arthur C.

pages: 464 words: 121,983

Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing Out of Catastrophe by Antony Loewenstein


activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, Corrections Corporation of America, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, failed state, falling living standards, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, full employment, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Julian Assange, mandatory minimum, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, open borders, private military company, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, Scramble for Africa, Slavoj Žižek, stem cell, the medium is the message, trade liberalization, WikiLeaks

“This industry hasn’t changed for over 100 years,” he told me; it was run “by men who didn’t see any need to do so. But new technology is forcing these shifts, and my generation is at the forefront of it.” Scott worked for the British company Call Sense. With only seven staff in America, it was a small operation with good growth prospects. It sold a metal detector that was highly sought after in prisons for finding mobile phones, knives, and guns. Scott told me that he had previously worked in stem-cell research but was attracted to a business that allowed him to travel. He loves “the corrections business because it was friendly and helped people.” It was a revealing evening, where individuals in profitable businesses socialized and talked shop. Everyone I spoke to said that they attended every ACA conference, always twice a year in two different cities, to share ideas and meet colleagues with whom they sometimes competed in the market.

pages: 436 words: 123,488

Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine by John Abramson


germ theory of disease, Louis Pasteur, medical malpractice, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, p-value, placebo effect, profit maximization, profit motive, publication bias, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

New York Times, October 3, 1999. 52 found that his data were fraudulent: Denise Grady, “More Deception Is Suspected in Cancer Study,” New York Times, March 10, 2000. 52 The researcher’s article was retracted: Eric Nagourney, “National briefing: Cancer Study Retracted,” New York Times, April 27, 2001. 52 failed to show any benefit: Stadtmauer E. A., O’Neill A., Goldstein L. J., et al., “Conventional-Dose Chemotherapy Compared with High-Dose Chemotherapy Plus Autologous Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplantation for Metastatic Breast Cancer,” New England Journal of Medicine, 342(15): 1069–1076, 2000. 52 “this form of treatment for women: Lippman M. E., “High-Dose Chemotherapy Plus Autologous Bone Marrow Transplantation for Metastatic Breast Cancer,” New England Journal of Medicine, 342:1119–1120, 2000. 53 “One thing is for certain: George W. Bush, “President Bush’s Vision for More Health Care Choices,” speech before the Illinois State Medical Society, June 11, 2003.

pages: 478 words: 142,608

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins


Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Brownian motion, cosmological principle, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, double helix,, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, invisible hand, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, unbiased observer

But, for slippery slope reasons, the absolutist taboo against cannibalism is too valuable to lose.’ Slippery slope arguments might be seen as a way in which consequentialists can reimport a form of indirect absolutism. But the religious foes of abortion don’t bother with slippery slopes. For them, the issue is much simpler. An embryo is a ‘baby’, killing it is murder, and that’s that: end of discussion. Much follows from this absolutist stance. For a start, embryonic stem-cell research must cease, despite its huge potential for medical science, because it entails the deaths of embryonic cells. The inconsistency is apparent when you reflect that society already accepts IVF (in vitro fertilization), in which doctors routinely stimulate women to produce surplus eggs, to be fertilized outside the body. As many as a dozen viable zygotes may be produced, of which two or three are then implanted in the uterus.

pages: 405 words: 130,840

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt


crack epidemic, delayed gratification, feminist movement, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Lao Tzu, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Peter Singer: altruism, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Waldo Emerson, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, the scientific method, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel, zero-sum game

T h e philosopher E d m u n d Pincoffs14 has argued that consequentialists and deontologists worked together to convince Westerners in the twentieth century that morality is the study of moral quandaries and dilemmas. Where the Greeks focused on the character of a person and asked what kind of person we should each aim to become, m o d e m ethics f o c u s e s on actions, asking when a particular action is right or wrong. Philosophers wrestle with life-and-death dilemmas: Kill one to save five? Allow aborted fetuses to be used as a source of stem cells? Remove the feeding tube from a w o m a n who has been unconscious for fifteen years? Nonphilosophers wrestle with smaller quandaries: Pay my taxes when others are cheating? Turn in a wallet full of money that appears to belong to a drug dealer? Tell my s p o u s e about a sexual indiscretion? This turn from character ethics to quandary ethics has turned moral education away from virtues and toward moral reasoning.

pages: 433 words: 125,031

Brazillionaires: The Godfathers of Modern Brazil by Alex Cuadros


affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, big-box store, BRICs, cognitive dissonance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, family office, high net worth, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, NetJets, offshore financial centre, profit motive, rent-seeking, risk/return, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, We are the 99%, William Langewiesche

Not only that—he’d found investors who still believed in him. He’d never stopped dreaming up new projects. Even as he renegotiated his debts, he’d flown to South Korea and met with another fallen star, a scientist named Hwang Woo-suk. Once known as the “Pride of Korea,” Hwang had lost his job at Seoul National University after it was discovered that data had been faked in a study in which he claimed to have cloned human stem cells. The two men now planned to set up a Brazilian lab to clone cattle and rare animals. Eike was well received in South Korea. He was also teaming up with a South Korean pharmaceuticals company to make generic Viagra that dissolves under your tongue. But he’s got more mundane projects too. Working with the energy expert Roberto Hukai, an old friend of his dad’s, he’s trying to raise money for a biofuels venture and a wind park in Rio.

How I Became a Quant: Insights From 25 of Wall Street's Elite by Richard R. Lindsey, Barry Schachter


Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business process, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized markets, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, diversification, Donald Knuth, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman,, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, implied volatility, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, John von Neumann, linear programming, Loma Prieta earthquake, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market friction, market microstructure, martingale, merger arbitrage, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, performance metric, prediction markets, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, sorting algorithm, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, stochastic process, systematic trading, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, transfer pricing, value at risk, volatility smile, Wiener process, yield curve, young professional

Despite Poincare’s famous maxim that one doesn’t really understand a mathematical theorem until one can explain it to the first person one meets on the street, most mathematicians can’t even explain their theorems to other mathematicians! And they are proud of it! There is a discipline to science and mathematics that is different from other human endeavors. When you write a scientific paper, you have to prove what you say. If there is a hole in your proof or a flaw in your experiment, your competitors will shoot you down. Cold fusion and stem cell cloning didn’t survive long. But quantitative finance is also subject to a discipline—the discipline of making money. If your idea is wrong or not implemented properly, a lot of money, not to mention your job, may be lost. The old jibe “if you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” is appropriate in a financial institution. Some quants overcome dysfunctional attitudes learned in academia, play JWPR007-Lindsey 238 May 7, 2007 17:9 h ow i b e cam e a quant important roles in their businesses, and become rich.

pages: 479 words: 144,453

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari


23andMe, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, call centre, Chris Urmson, cognitive dissonance, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, drone strike, European colonialism, experimental subject, falling living standards, Flash crash, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, glass ceiling, global village, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, mutually assured destruction, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, ultimatum game, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

(A famous – and probably apocryphal – anecdote tells of a meeting in 1923 between Nobel Prize laureate Anatole France and the beautiful and talented dancer Isadora Duncan. Discussing the then popular eugenics movement, Duncan said, ‘Just imagine a child with my beauty and your brains!’ France responded, ‘Yes, but imagine a child with my beauty and your brains.’) Well then, why not rig the lottery? Fertilise several eggs, and choose the one with the best combination. Once stem-cell research enables us to create an unlimited supply of human embryos on the cheap, you can select your optimal baby from among hundreds of candidates, all carrying your DNA, all perfectly natural, and none requiring any futuristic genetic engineering. Iterate this procedure for a few generations, and you could easily end up with superhumans (or a creepy dystopia). But what if after fertilising even numerous eggs, you find that all of them contain some deadly mutations?

The America That Reagan Built by J. David Woodard


affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, colonial rule, Columbine, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, friendly fire, glass ceiling, global village, Gordon Gekko, gun show loophole, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, laissez-faire capitalism, late capitalism, Live Aid, Marc Andreessen, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Neil Kinnock, new economy, postindustrial economy, Ralph Nader, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, stem cell, Ted Kaczynski, The Predators' Ball, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, Y2K, young professional

Does a woman have a right to choose an abortion, or does an unborn child have rights in the womb? Are government programs for health and welfare destructive of individual rights and liberties, or are they helpful to those who need them? Is the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment, or is it necessary for social order? Should same-sex unions have the same rights as traditional heterosexual marriage or be outlawed? Should embryonic stem cells be cloned to prevent disease, or is such a project the harvesting of human uniqueness for genetic engineering? The culture of a country is defined by the overt and understood patterns of behavior for those who live in a particular place and time. Every human subgroup has some ideals that are historically derived and are an embodiment of its essential beliefs. At America’s founding, many of these original ideals were embodied in the Judeo-Christian ethic, but in the last half of the twentieth century those convictions were redefined or abandoned.

pages: 486 words: 148,485

Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz


affirmative action, anti-communist, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, car-free, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, conceptual framework, cosmological constant, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, desegregation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, lake wobegon effect, mandatory minimum, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ronald Reagan, six sigma, stem cell, Steven Pinker, Tenerife airport disaster, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route

Background information on the Bromgard case comes from my interview with Neufeld; I am grateful to him as well for providing me with a copy of the deposition, from which the direct quotations are taken: “The deposition of Michael McGrath in the United States Judicial District Court for the District of Montana Billings Division, Jimmy Ray Bromgard, plaintiff, v. State of Montana, County of Yellowstone, Chairman Bill Kennedy, Commissioner John Ostlund, Commissioner Jim Reno, Arnold Melnikoff, and Mike Greely, defendants,” Sept. 29, 2006. Chimerism. Clive Niels Svendsen and Allison D. Ebert, eds., The Encyclopedia of Stem Cell Research (Sage Publications, 2008), 96. When other forensic scientists reviewed his work. John O. Savino, Brent E. Turvey, and John J. Baeza, The Rape Investigation Handbook (Academic Press, 2005), 32. “‘I saw murder in his eyes.’” This story was told to me by Peter Neufeld. The next story in this paragraph, about Calvin Johnson, was mentioned by Neufeld in our interview and appears as well in Scheck et al., 193–210.

The Science of Language by Noam Chomsky


Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Alfred Russel Wallace, British Empire, Brownian motion, dark matter, Drosophila, epigenetics, finite state, Howard Zinn, phenotype, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Pinker, theory of mind

Page 42, On canalization: likely the third factor Chomsky seems to treat canalization as a third factor matter. It is not entirely clear what exactly Waddington had in mind by way of an explanation of canalization, although one dominant theme is his appeal to “buffering” due to epigenetic ‘networks’ – intuitively, interactions between alleles and the environment. A prominent example is the transformation of stem cells (which can be ‘made into anything,’ as the popular press puts it) into cells of a specific sort: their DNA remains the same, and the environment ‘specializes’ them. Are epigenetic factors “third factor” contributions? Plausibly, yes: they involve more than DNA coding. The phenomena themselves are in general obvious enough. ‘Canalization’ captures the remarkable fact that despite genetic variation and mutation within a genome and considerable environmental variation, plus a lot of variation in specific ‘input,’ the result of development is a stable and clearly distinct phenotype.

pages: 405 words: 117,219

In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence by George Zarkadakis


3D printing, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, anthropic principle, Asperger Syndrome, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, British Empire, business process, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, continuous integration, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Snowden, epigenetics, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, millennium bug, Moravec's paradox, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, off grid, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, post-industrial society, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

We will acquire the power to engineer virtually everything: from new drugs to predicting markets and solving the problems of economic scarcity, to terraforming planets. Artificial Intelligence could make us virtually omnipotent. As citizens of a free society, we have a duty to come to terms with this future, and to understand and debate its moral, legal, political and ethical ramifications today. Heated arguments about stem cells or genetics will pale in comparison to what Artificial Intelligence will allow us to do in a few years’ time. Artificial Intelligence will define and shape the twenty-first century. It will determine the future of humanity in the centuries beyond. Or it may be the cause of our demise, for there is a darker scenario at play. Many in the field of AI are convinced that whenever more powerful computers become conscious they will take over the world, and exterminate us.

The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community by David C. Korten


Albert Einstein, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, British Empire, clean water, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, death of newspapers, declining real wages, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, God and Mammon, Hernando de Soto, Howard Zinn, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, joint-stock company, land reform, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Monroe Doctrine, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, new economy, peak oil, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Project for a New American Century, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sexual politics, source of truth, South Sea Bubble, stem cell, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, trade route, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, World Values Survey

The public debate in the United States over intelligent design versus mechanism and chance discussed in chapter 15 brings such questions relating to human origin and purpose to the fore and challenges the more extreme and doctrinaire fundamentalism of both the scientific and religious establishments. Another development in the United States with important implications for the cultural turning is the claim by media pundits that Christian voters decided the outcome of the 2004 U.S. presidential election based on moral values relating to abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research. This announcement stunned members of the broader faith community — including a great many Evangelicals — who consider war, poverty, and environmental destruction to be far more pressing moral issues. They vowed they would no longer allow a fringe minority with an extremist political agenda at odds with scripture to be the arbiters of Christian morality. Leading from Below 325 Groups from across the spectrum of Christian denominations reached out to one another and to those of other faiths to engage in a discourse on basic moral questions such as: What did Jesus teach?

pages: 387 words: 120,092

The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge by Ilan Pappe


affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, double helix, facts on the ground, feminist movement, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, mass immigration, New Journalism, one-state solution, postnationalism / post nation state, stem cell, urban planning, Yom Kippur War

The goal of these efforts was to ‘show Americans that there was another Israel behind the gloomy headlines’ and convey an image of Israel as a ‘productive, vibrant, and cutting-edge culture’, as Gary Rosenblatt of Jewish Week put it. He summarised the blueprint for the next few years this way: Think of Israel as a product undergoing an overhaul to make it more competitive in the marketplace. What’s called for are fewer stories explaining the rationale for the security fence, and more attention to scientists doing stem-cell research on the cutting edge or the young computer experts who gave the world Instant Messaging.26 It was not only American PR and branding wizards who were recruited. The government also asked for deeper involvement from the public. In a show of total mistrust in its professional diplomats, it recruited commercial Israeli television to seek alternative messengers for the new idea of Israel through a reality show called The Ambassador.

pages: 537 words: 158,544

Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order by Parag Khanna


Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, flex fuel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Islamic Golden Age, Khyber Pass, knowledge economy, land reform, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Monroe Doctrine, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pax Mongolica, Pearl River Delta, pirate software, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Potemkin village, price stability, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, special economic zone, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Thomas L Friedman, trade route, trickle-down economics, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce

“America is third-world compared to us,” Singaporeans frequently joke. “Singapore is virtually synonymous with globalization,” a multinational businessman reminded, pointing out how frequently he has changed jobs with the times. For decades it has constantly shifted its place in the global supply chain, becoming a center of oil-refinery and oil-rig construction even though it has no oil. Its new Biopolis for life sciences (including stem cell) research attracts Western scientists seeking hassle-free employment. The world-class port management, controlled prostitution, casinos, and simplified citizenship for professionals that Dubai envies are all already a reality in “Singapore, Inc.” In the precious little space of Singapore, acreage is zoned years in advance to anticipate future housing and industry needs; high-tech industrial areas are referred to as “estates.”

pages: 461 words: 125,845

This Machine Kills Secrets: Julian Assange, the Cypherpunks, and Their Fight to Empower Whistleblowers by Andy Greenberg


Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, computerized markets, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, domain-specific language, drone strike,, fault tolerance, hive mind, Jacob Appelbaum, Julian Assange, Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammed Bouazizi, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Richard Stallman, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social graph, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Vernor Vinge, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, X Prize, Zimmermann PGP

A letter from the group’s lawyer asked WikiLeaks to remove the documents immediately. Assange, needless to say, did not. And instead of merely holding an eleven-person protest as he had in his cypherpunk days, this time he fired back with both barrels. “WikiLeaks will not comply with legally abusive requests from Scientology any more than WikiLeaks has complied with similar demands from Swiss banks, Russian off-shore stem cell centers, former African kleptocrats, or the Pentagon. WikiLeaks will remain a place where people of the world may safely expose injustice and corruption,” read a letter sent back to the church’s lawyer. “In response to the attempted suppression, Wikileaks will release several thousand additional pages of Scientology material next week.” Today, the site has a special Scientology section in its archives.

pages: 410 words: 119,823