Inventor, John Kanzius, has figured out a way to burn salt water. This could provide a clean, naturally available alternative fuel source. Salt water is one of the most abundant natural resources on our planet. Here's a video.
Through these goggles, the volunteers could see a camera
view of their own back - a three-dimensional "virtual own body" that
appeared to be standing in front of them.
When the researchers stroked the back of the volunteer
with a pen, the volunteer could see their virtual back being stroked
either simultaneously or with a time lag.
The volunteers reported that the sensation seemed to be
caused by the pen on their virtual back, rather than their real back,
making them feel as if the virtual body was their own rather than a
Even when the camera was switched to film the back of a
mannequin being stroked rather than their own back, the volunteers
still reported feeling as if the virtual mannequin body was their own.
And when the researchers switched off the goggles,
guided the volunteers back a few paces, and then asked them to walk
back to where they had been standing, the volunteers overshot the
target, returning nearer to the position of their "virtual self".
This has implications for next-generation video games and virtual reality. It also has interesting implications for consciousness studies in general.
Hi everyone. I've proposed a panel on Web 3.0 and what we are doing at Radar Networks at the next SXSW conference. As you may know, the panels are selected by popular vote. So if you find this interesting, please vote for my panel at this link. You have to sign in to vote. Much appreciated.
Whenever a scientist says something like, don't worry our new experiment could never get out of the lab, or don't worry the miniature black hole we are going to generate couldn't possibly swallow up the entire planet, I tend to get a little worried. The problem is that just about every time a scientist has said something is patently absurd, totally impossible or could never ever happen, it usually turns out that in fact it isn't as impossible as they thought. Now here's a new article about scientists creating new artificial lifeforms, based on new genetic building blocks -- and once again there's one of those statements. I'm guessing that this means that in about 10 years some synthetic life form is going to be found to have done the impossible and escaped from the lab -- perhaps into our food supply, or maybe into our environment. Don't get me wrong -- I'm in favor of this kind of research into new frontiers. I just don't think anyone can guarantee it won't escape from the lab.
I just heard about a very interesting new discovery in neuroscience:. The basic gist is that it appears that axons process information. Until now it has been thought that only the cell body of neurons was the part that processed information. Our present understanding of the brain, and also of psychopharmacology, is based completely on the dendrites and main body of the neuron. If it turns out that axons -- the "wires" that connect neurons -- are actually major contributors to how the brain computes, then it may point to both a new understanding of cognition, as well as a new frontier in treating mental and neurological disorders. (Thanks to Bram for letting me know).
Humans are just beginning to send trinkets of technology and culture
into space. NASA's recently launched Phoenix Mars Lander, for example,
carries a mini-disc inscribed with stories, art, and music about Mars.
I've been thinking for several years about Knowledge Networking. It's not a term I invented, it's been floating around as a meme for at least a decade or two. But recently it has started to resurface in my own work.
So what is a knowledge network? I define a knowledge network as a form of collective intelligence in which a network of people (two or more people connected by social-communication relationships) creates, organizes, and uses a collective body of knowledge. The key here is that a knowledge network is not merely a site where a group of people work on a body of information together (such as the wikipedia), it's also a social network -- there is an explicit representation of a social relationship within it. So it's more like a social network than for example a discussion forum or a wiki.
I would go so far as to say that knowledge networks are the third-generation of social software. (Note this is based in-part on ideas that emerged in conversations I have had with Peter Rip, so this also his idea):
First-generation social apps were about communication (eg.
messaging such as Email, discussion boards, chat rooms, and IM)
Second-generation social apps were about people and content (eg. Social networks, social media sharing, user-generated content)
Third-generation social apps are about relationships and knowledge (eg. Wikis, referral networks, question and answer systems, social recommendation systems, vertical knowledge and expertise portals, social mashup apps, and coming soon, what we're building at Radar Networks)
A new finding has discovered that the human genome may be highly networked. That is, genes do not operate in isolation, but rather they are networked together in a far more complex ecosystem than previously thought. It may be impossible to separate one gene from another in fact. This throws into question not only our understanding of genetics and the human genome, but also the whole genomics industry, which relies heavily on the idea that genes and drugs based on them can be patented:
The principle that gave rise to the biotech industry promised
benefits that were equally compelling. Known as the Central Dogma of
molecular biology, it stated that each gene in living organisms, from
humans to bacteria, carries the information needed to construct one
The scientists who invented recombinant DNA in 1973 built their
innovation on this mechanistic, "one gene, one protein" principle.
Because donor genes could be associated with specific functions,
with discrete properties and clear boundaries, scientists then believed
that a gene from any organism could fit neatly and predictably into a
larger design - one that products and companies could be built around,
and that could be protected by intellectual-property laws.
This presumption, now disputed, is what one molecular biologist calls "the industrial gene."
"The industrial gene is one that can be defined, owned, tracked,
proven acceptably safe, proven to have uniform effect, sold and
recalled," said Jack Heinemann, a professor of molecular biology in the
School of Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury in New
Zealand and director of its Center for Integrated Research in Biosafety.
In the United States, the Patent and Trademark Office allows genes
to be patented on the basis of this uniform effect or function. In
fact, it defines a gene in these terms, as an ordered sequence of DNA
"that encodes a specific functional product."
In 2005, a study showed that more than 4,000 human genes had already
been patented in the United States alone. And this is but a small
fraction of the total number of patented plant, animal and microbial
In the context of the consortium's findings, this definition now
raises some fundamental questions about the defensibility of those
If genes are only one component of how a genome functions, for
example, will infringement claims be subject to dispute when another
crucial component of the network is claimed by someone else?
Might owners of gene patents also find themselves liable for
unintended collateral damage caused by the network effects of the genes
And, just as important, will these not-yet-understood components of
gene function tarnish the appeal of the market for biotech investors,
who prefer their intellectual property claims to be unambiguous and
While no one has yet challenged the legal basis for gene patents,
the biotech industry itself has long since acknowledged the science
behind the question.
"The genome is enormously complex, and the only thing we can say
about it with certainty is how much more we have left to learn," wrote
Barbara Caulfield, executive vice president and general counsel at the
biotech pioneer Affymetrix, in a 2002 article on Law.com called "Why We
Hate Gene Patents."
"We're learning that many diseases are caused not by the action of
single genes, but by the interplay among multiple genes," Caulfield
said. She noted that just before she wrote her article, "scientists
announced that they had decoded the genetic structures of one of the
most virulent forms of malaria and that it may involve interactions
among as many as 500 genes."
Even more important than patent laws are safety issues raised by the
consortium's findings. Evidence of a networked genome shatters the
scientific basis for virtually every official risk assessment of
today's commercial biotech products, from genetically engineered crops
Peter Royal got me interested in GRDDL recently. It looks like something we may want to use here at Radar Networks for scraping data from the Web and turning it into RDF triples. After doing a little digging around lately, I'm wondering if there is a list of sites that support GRDDL yet? Or any apps that use GRDDL yet?
Recent research has found a way to reverse the Casimir force, which causes objects to stick together at nanoscales. This enables nanoscale levitation -- among other things it could dramatically reduce friction in nanodevices. It could also enable new kinds of nanodevices in which for example rotating parts are levitated and held in place using the reverse Casimir force rather than by nanoscale axles or housings. For example nanowheels on a nanobot could perhaps be held in place and could turn without an axle. This could simplify the geometry of nanodevices, reducing the cost of manufacturing of more complex devices while also reducing the number of parts that could break. In addition, reversing the Casimir force could eliminate the main cause of friction (called "stiction") in nandevices -- it causes parts to stick together such that they can't even move. The solution to this problem has traditionally been to test and discard a percentage of defective nanodevices after production. Eliminating stiction by reversing the Casimir force could perhaps reduce these costs and make the process of nanomanufacturing more efficient.
St Andrews scientists have discovered a new way of levitating tiny
objects - paving the way for future applications in nanotechnology.
Theoretical physicists at the University of St Andrews have created
`incredible levitation effects' by engineering the force of nature
which normally causes objects to stick together by quantum force. By
reversing this phenomenon, known as `Casimir force', the scientists
hope to solve the problem of tiny objects sticking together in existing
Professor Ulf Leonhardt and Dr Thomas Philbin of the University's
School of Physics & Astronomy believe that they can engineer the
Casimir force of quantum physics to cause an object to repel rather
than attract another in a vacuum.
Casimir force (discovered in 1948 and first measured in 1997) can be
demonstrated in a gecko's ability to stick to a surface with just one
toe. However, it can cause practical problems in nanotechnology, and
ways of preventing tiny objects from sticking to each other is the
source of much interest.
This just in. The Chinese Government, in their ongoing campaign against the Dalai Lama and Buddhism in Tibet, have announced a new law making it illegal for a Buddha to reincarnate without a state permit. This law is designed effectively to put an end to the form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet within one generation. The Tibetan monastic system is organized around reincarnated "tulkus" who are usually identified though a battery of tests at a young age and are then tutored and groomed to run monasteries and monastic schools when they grow up. This new law will make it a crime for anyone to be identified as a reincarnated lama without state approval -- meaning that from now on the Chinese government will be in a position to appoint or deny whoever they select to lead the Buddhists of Tibet. Of course the irony is that the Chinese state is atheistic and in making this law they seem to be contradicting themselves in admitting that Buddhas exist and can reincarnate. But furthermore, the notion that the Chinese state is qualified to identify or approve reincarnated Buddhas is patently absurd. This is one more unfortunate step in China's 50-year cultural genocide of the Tibetan people.
In 1999 I flew to the edge of space with the Russian air force, with Space Adventures. I made it to an altitude of just under 100,000 feet and flew at Mach 3 in a Mig-25 piloted by one of Russia's best test-pilots. These pics were taken by Space Adventures from similar flights to mine. I didn't take digital stills -- I got the whole flight on digital video, which was featured on the Discovery Channel.
In 1999 I was invited to Russia as a guest of the Russian Space Agency to participate in zero-gravity training on an Ilyushin-76 parabolic flight training aircraft. It was really fun!!!! Among other people on that adventure were Peter Diamandis (founder of the X-Prize and Zero-G Corporation), Bijal Trivedi (a good friend of mine, science journalist), and "Lord British" (creator of the Ultima games). Here are some pictures from that trip...
Peter F. Drucker Peter F. Drucker was my grandfather. He was one of my principal teachers and inspirations all my life. My many talks with him really got me interested in organizations and society. He had one of the most impressive minds I've ever encountered. He died in 2005 at age 95. Here is what I wrote about his death. His foundation is at http://www.pfdf.org/
Mayer Spivack Mayer Spivack is my father; he's a brilliant inventor, cognitive scientist, sculptor, designer and therapist. He also builds carbon fiber trimarans in his spare time, and studies animal intelligence. He is working on several theories related to the origins of violence and ways to prevent it, new treatments for learning disabilities, and new theories of cognition. He doesn't have a Web site yet, but I'm working on him...
Marin Spivack Marin Spivack is my brother. He is the one of the only western 20th generation lineage holders of the original Chen Family Tai Chi tradition in China. He's been practicing Tai Chi for about 6 to 10 hours a day for the last 10 years and is now one of the best and most qualified Tai Chi teachers in America. He just returned from 3 years in China studying privately with a direct descendant of the original Chen family that created Tai Chi. The styles that he teaches are mainly secret and are not known or taught in the USA. One thing is for sure, this is not your grandmother's Tai Chi: This is serious combat Tai Chi -- the original, authentic Tai Chi, not the "new age" form that is taught in the USA -- it's intense, physically-demanding, fast, powerful and extremely deadly. If you are serious about Tai Chi and want to learn the authentic style and applications, the way it was meant to be, you should study with my brother. He's located in Boston these days but also travels when invited to teach master classes.
Louise Freedman Louise specializes in art-restoration. She does really big projects like The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Gardner Museum and Harvard University. She's also a psychotherapist and she's married to my dad. She likes really smart parrots and she knows how to navigate a large sailboat.
Kris Thorisson Kris has been working with me for years on the design of the Radar Networks software, a new platform for the Semantic Web. He has a PhD from the MIT Media Lab. He designs intelligent humanoids and virtual realities. He is from Iceland, which makes him pretty cool.
Kimberly Rubin Kim is my girlfriend and partner, and also a producer of 11 TV movies, and now an entrepreneur in the pet industry. She is passionate about animals. She has unusual compassion and a great sense of humor.
Kathleen Spivack Kathleen Spivack is my mother. She's a poet, novelist and creative writing teacher. She was a personal student of Robert Lowell and was in the same group of poets with Silvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop and Anne Sexton. She coaches novelists, playwrites and poets in France and the USA. She teaches privately and her students, as well as being published, have won many of the top writing prizes.
Josh Kirschenbaum Josh is a visual effects whiz, director and generalist hacker in LA. We have been pals and collaborators since the 1980's. Josh is probably going to be the next Jim Cameron. He's also a really good writer.
Joey Tamer Joey is a long-time friend and advisor. She is an expert on high-tech strategic planning.
Jim Wissner Jim is among the most talented software developers I've ever worked with. He's a prolific Java coder and an expert on XML. He's the lead engineer for Radar Networks.
Jerry Michalski I have been friends with Jerry for many years; he's been advising Radar Networks on social software technology.
Chris Jones Chris is a long-time friend and now works with me in Radar Networks, as our director of user-experience. He's a genius level product designer, GUI designer, and product manager.
Bram Boroson Bram is an astrophysicist and college pal of mine. We spend hours and hours brainstorming about cellular automata simulations of the universe. He's one of the smartest people I ever met.
Bari Koral Bari Koral is a really talented singer songwriter. We co-write songs together sometimes. She's getting some buzz these days -- she recently opened for India Arie. She worked at EarthWeb many years ago. Now she tours almost all year long and she just had a hit in Europe. Check out her video, on her site.
Adam Cohen Adam Cohen is a long-term friend; we were roommates in college. He is a really talented composer and film-scorer. He doesn't have a Web site but I like him anyway! He's in Hollywood living the dream.