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March 08 2012

02mydafsoup-01
[...]

One possible strategic response to human-created risks is the slowing or halting of our technological evolution, but you have been a critic of that view, arguing that the permanent failure to develop advanced technology would itself constitute an existential risk. Why is that?
Bostrom:

Well, again I think the definition of an existential risk goes beyond just extinction, in that it also includes the permanent destruction of our potential for desirable future development. Our permanent failure to develop the sort of technologies that would fundamentally improve the quality of human life would count as an existential catastrophe. I think there are vastly better ways of being than we humans can currently reach and experience. We have fundamental biological limitations, which limit the kinds of values that we can instantiate in our life---our lifespans are limited, our cognitive abilities are limited, our emotional constitution is such that even under very good conditions we might not be completely happy. And even at the more mundane level, the world today contains a lot of avoidable misery and suffering and poverty and disease, and I think the world could be a lot better, both in the transhuman way, but also in this more economic way. The failure to ever realize those much better modes of being would count as an existential risk if it were permanent. Another reason I haven't emphasized or advocated the retardation of technological progress as a means of mitigating existential risk is that it's a very hard lever to pull. There are so many strong forces pushing for scientific and technological progress in so many different domains---there are economic pressures, there is curiosity, there are all kinds of institutions and individuals that are invested in technology, so shutting it down is a very hard thing to do. What technology, or potential technology, worries you the most? Bostrom: Well, I can mention a few. In the nearer term I think various developments in biotechnology and synthetic biology are quite disconcerting. We are gaining the ability to create designer pathogens and there are these blueprints of various disease organisms that are in the public domain---you can download the gene sequence for smallpox or the 1918 flu virus from the Internet. So far the ordinary person will only have a digital representation of it on their computer screen, but we're also developing better and better DNA synthesis machines, which are machines that can take one of these digital blueprints as an input, and then print out the actual RNA string or DNA string. Soon they will become powerful enough that they can actually print out these kinds of viruses. So already there you have a kind of predictable risk, and then once you can start modifying these organisms in certain kinds of ways, there is a whole additional frontier of danger that you can foresee.

[...]
We're Underestimating the Risk of Human Extinction | Ross Andersen - The Atlantic - 20120306

March 02 2012

Can The Human Brain See Quantum Images? - Technology Review

Nobody knows whether humans can access exotic images based on quantum entanglement.

See it on Scoop.it, via The virtual life


// oAnth - source URL - technologyreview.com
Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

February 27 2012

02mydafsoup-01

[...]

Dix ans de retard. "Si on décale les courbes de la consommation du tabac, c'est-à-dire si on place en 1954 le début de fléchissement constaté à partir de 1964, on voit que 8 000 milliards de cigarettes "en trop" ont été consommées aux Etats-Unis. Elles n'auraient pas été fumées si le public avait su la vérité dix ans plus tôt, explique Robert Proctor. Cela représente environ huit millions de morts dans les décennies suivantes." Les mensonges d'une demi-douzaine de capitaines d'industrie provoquant la mort de plusieurs millions de personnes ? Une fiction qui mettrait en scène une conspiration de cette ampleur serait taxée d'irréalisme ou de loufoquerie...

Tout ne commence pas en décembre 1953. D'autres manoeuvres sont plus anciennes. Le plan Marshall, par exemple. Le grand programme d'aide à la reconstruction de l'Europe dévastée par la seconde guerre mondiale a également été "mis à profit par les cigarettiers américains pour rendre les populations européennes accros au tabac blond flue-cured, facilement inhalable". Tout est là. Le flue-curing est une technique de séchage des feuilles de tabac qui se répand largement aux Etats-Unis à la fin du XIXe siècle, et qui permet de rendre la fumée moins irritante, donc plus profondément inhalable. Or jusque dans la première moitié du XXe siècle, on fume encore, dans une bonne part de l'Europe continentale, du tabac brun, très âcre, beaucoup moins dangereux et addictif. Car plus la fumée peut pénétrer profondément dans les poumons, plus l'afflux de nicotine dans l'organisme est rapide, plus l'addiction qui se développe est forte. Et plus les dégâts occasionnés sur les tissus pulmonaires sont importants. "Au cours de la réunion de Paris (le 12 juillet 1947) qui a mis en mouvement le plan Marshall, il n'y avait aucune demande des Européens spécifique au tabac, raconte Robert Proctor. Cela a été proposé et mis en avant par un sénateur de Virginie. Au total, pour deux dollars de nourriture, un dollar de tabac a été acheminé en Europe."

[...]

Parfois, ce qu'on retrouve dans les cigarettes n'a pas été ajouté par les chimistes de l'industrie, mais par les caprices de la nature. Ainsi du polonium 210. Pour des raisons non encore éclaircies, la feuille de tabac a une détestable propriété : elle fixe et concentre cet élément radioactif naturellement présent dans l'environnement à des teneurs infimes. Les "tobacco documents" montrent que, dès les années 1950, l'industrie a découvert cette vérité qui dérange. Elle ne divulguera rien. Les premières publications indépendantes sur le sujet n'interviendront qu'au milieu des années 1960...

Golden Holocaust raconte par le menu comment les cadres de l'industrie ont réagi à ce "petit souci" de qualité du produit fini. Et le luxe de détails prodigués par les "tobacco documents" fait basculer dans un univers sidérant. Dans un premier temps, les cigarettiers cherchent à se débarrasser de cet élément radioactif. Ils font mener des travaux qu'ils gardent secrets. Car les publier pourrait "réveiller un géant endormi" ("waking a sleeping giant", dans le texte), écrit un cadre de Philip Morris à son patron, en 1978, ajoutant : "Le sujet va faire du bruit et je doute qu'il faille fournir des faits."

Plusieurs solutions sont découvertes. Changer d'engrais ? Traiter les feuilles de tabac à l'aide d'un bain d'acide ? Sélectionner les feuilles les moins chargées en polonium ? Aucune de ces solutions ne sera, semble-t-il, retenue. Car résoudre ce problème ne procure pas d'"avantage commercial ", selon l'expression d'un haut cadre de RJ Reynolds, consignée dans les documents. Le passage des feuilles de tabac par un bain acide, par exemple, contraindrait à une "gestion spécifique" d'effluents radioactifs. Cela coûte de l'argent.

[...]

Les conspirateurs du tabac | LeMonde.fr 2012-02-25

February 21 2012

Play fullscreen
iLaw 2011: Interoperability

yt permalink

This week the Berkman Center and the Research Center for Information Law, St. Gallen released the latest study on the state of interoperability: “Breaking Down Digital Barriers.” This joint report follows the Roadmap to Open ICT Ecosystems released in 2005, as it navigates the nuanced territory of consumer, corporate, and governmental interests in the benefits and roadblocks to interoperable ICT systems.

The report and accompanying case studies on DRM-protected music, Digital Identity, and Mashups are available for download on the project website. The presentation and discussion of the report and its findings, took place in Washington, DC. Runtime: 01:04:20


Download the MP3 (time: 01:03:50)

February 11 2012

02mydafsoup-01

They're doing a biology course too ! Well, this one is more about chemistry...

Water: Liquid awesome by Crash Course

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVT3Y3_gHGg







The parable of the farmers and the Teleporting Duplicator

Imagine a world where food is cheap and freely available, thanks to the amazing Teleporting Duplicator. What could go wrong?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/feb/10/parable-farmers-teleporting-duplicator






A Russian photographer with very good photographic eye and excellent embedding of color in her photos

http://www.evgeniaarbugaeva.com/




Thomas Brasch 1977

Web-Fundstück mit Thomas Brasch und seine Meinung über die Medien, nach seiner Übersiedlung nach Westberlin. Ausschnitt aus dem Film "Annäherung an Thomas Brasch" von Georg Stefan Troller:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LMwVxBv9wk

Dazu passt auch seine Auseinandersetzung mit den widersprüchlichen deutsch-deutschen Verhältnissen oder der Politik von Franz-Josef Strauss, bei seinem Auftritt zum Erhalt des Bayrischen Filmpreises 1981, der dann auch für einen gewissen Eklat sorgte. Über die Familie Brasch (sein Bruder war ebenfalls Schriftsteller, sein Vater stellvertretender Minister für Kultur der DDR) erscheint im Februar das Roman-Debüt "Ab jetzt ist Ruhe"von Marion Brasch, seiner Schwester die Ende der 80er DT64-Redakteurin wurde und heute bei Radio Eins moderiert.







Tous les évènements de demain par pays. Il y en a forcément un près de chez vous.The #ACTA Action Center https://www.accessnow.org/policy-activism/press-blog/acta-protest-feb-11


oAnth - at Diaspora* 2012-02-10 via Evernote
Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

January 31 2012

Little Ice Age was caused by volcanism

Some of the iconic winter landscapes by Pieter Bruegel the Elder are more than just fine examples of sixteenth-century Dutch art. Paintings such as Bruegel’s Hunters in the Snow (1565) also serve as vivid evidence for the ‘Little Ice Age’, a period of cold climate conditions and glacier advances in Europe and elsewhere that lasted from the late Middle Ages until the nineteenth century.

There has been quite some debate over the years about the precise onset and the physical causes of this extended cold spell, with one school of thought favouring low solar activity during the ‘Maunder Minimum’ and another the cooling effect of big volcanic eruptions.

A paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters may put the solar-trigger hypothesis at rest. Gifford Miller of the University of Colorado in Boulder and his colleagues suggest that the Little Ice Age began abruptly between 1275 and 1300 AD following four large sulfur-rich explosive eruptions, most likely in the tropics, over a mere 50-year period.

Sulfate particles hurled high up into the atmosphere by the massive eruptions would have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching the ground and caused a series of cold summers. The found that ice-growth records from Baffin Island and Iceland indicate that glaciers and Arctic sea ice did advance abruptly at the time.  The resulting climate feedbacks seem to have maintained cold conditions for centuries.

“What is new in this study is that the authors have data on the growth of small icecaps in Canada and Iceland, showing a rapid increase in ice volume at the end of the thirteenth and close to the middle of the fifteenth century,” says Georg Feulner, a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research in Germany.

“These periods coincide with phases of strong volcanic eruptions, but a mechanism is required to produce cooling on longer timescales as the temperature drop after volcanic eruptions typically last only for a few years. In climate model simulations, the authors find that the persistent cooling observed in the climate records can be explained by expanded sea ice resulting in cooling by the ice-albedo feedback mechanism, and cooling in large parts of the North Atlantic by sea-ice export from the Arctic.”

Over at the New York Times DotEarth blog, Jennifer Francis, a climate and sea-ice researcher at Rutgers University in New Jersey, comments on the importance of the findings:

During the past several decades we have seen the enhanced warming of the Arctic owing to a variety of feedbacks involving snow, sea ice, and water vapor, but Arctic Amplification also works in the reverse direction, as in the case of the little ice age.

If a similar series of strong volcanic eruptions were to happen in the next few decades, we would likely experience global cooling with an amplified response at high latitudes. As long as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere, however, the cooling can only be temporary.

Reposted fromSigalontech Sigalontech

January 29 2012

Le volcan qui allait exploser : l'itinéraire fou d'une info débile

3 janvier 2012. Gros titre sur la page d’accueil de Yahoo : "Un énorme volcan menace l’Europe !" Le site joue souvent l'aguicheur, mais, intrigué, je clique...

------------------------

// oAnth: Deutschsprachiger Artikel von 2007 auf Spiegel-online zum Vulkanismus in der Eifel.



Reposted fromsigalonfrance sigalonfrance

January 18 2012

The Man of Numbers: How Fibonacci Changed the World | brainpickings.org

What Medieval mathematics have to do with remix culture, publishing entrepreneurship, and gamification.

 

----------------------------

 // oAnth

 "The change in society brought about by the teaching of modern arithmetic was so pervasive and all-powerful that within a few generations people simply took it for granted. There was no longer any recognition of the magnitude of the revolution that took the subject from an obscure object of scholarly interest to an everyday mental tool. Compared with Copernicus’s conclusions about the position of Earth in the solar system and Galileo’s discovery of the pendulum as a basis for telling time, Leonardo’s showing people how to multiply 193 by 27 simply lacks drama.” ~ Keith Devlin

Original URL -


January 17 2012

02mydafsoup-01

[...]

This is the moment academic publishers gave up all pretence of being on the side of scientists. Their rhetoric has traditionally been of partnering with scientists, but the truth is that for some time now scientific publishers have been anti-science and anti-publication. The Research Works Act, introduced in the US Congress on 16 December, amounts to a declaration of war by the publishers.

The USA's main funding agency for health-related research is the National Institutes of Health, with a $30bn annual budget. The NIH has a public access policy that says taxpayer-funded research must be freely accessible online. This means that members of the public, having paid once to have the research done, don't have to pay for it again when they read it – a wholly reasonable policy, and one with enormous humanitarian implications because it means the results of medical research are made freely available around the world.

A similar policy is now being adopted in the UK. On page 76 of the policy document Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth the government states that it is "committed to ensuring that publicly funded research should be accessible free of charge". All of this is great for the progress of science, which has always been based on the free flow of ideas, the sharing of data, and standing on the shoulders of giants.

But what's good for science isn't necessarily good for science publishers, whose interests have drifted far out of alignment with ours. Under the old model, publishers become the owners of the papers they publish, holding the copyright and selling copies around the world – a useful service in pre-internet days. But now that it's a trivial undertaking to make a paper globally available, there is no reason why scientists need yield copyright to publishers.

[...]

Academic publishers have become the enemies of science | Dr Mike Taylor | Science | guardian.co.uk 2012-01-16

January 04 2012

World-first hybrid shark found off Australia | uk.news.yahoo.com

Scientists said on Tuesday that they had discovered the world's first hybrid sharks in Australian waters, a potential sign the predators were adapting to cope with climate change.

 --------------------------------------

 // quotation by oAnth:

 [...]

 

The Australian black-tip is slightly smaller than its common cousin and can only live in tropical waters, but its hybrid offspring have been found 2,000 kilometres down the coast, in cooler seas.

 

It means the Australian black-tip could be adapting to ensure its survival as sea temperatures change because of global warming.

 

"If it hybridises with the common species it can effectively shift its range further south into cooler waters, so the effect of this hybridising is a range expansion," Morgan said.

"It's enabled a species restricted to the tropics to move into temperate waters."

 

Climate change and human fishing are some of the potential triggers being investigated by the team, with further genetic mapping also planned to examine whether it was an ancient process just discovered or a more recent phenomenon.

 [...]

 

- original Url: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/world-first-hybrid-shark-found-off-australia-070347259.html



02mydafsoup-01
Play fullscreen
Vi Hart and Khan Academy Join Forces!

YAY. Perfect match.
Reposted fromantifuchs antifuchs

January 03 2012

02mydafsoup-01
via Eifel - Vulkane in Deutschland


Es ist gerade einmal 10.000 Jahre her, als die sanft geschwungene Hügellandschaft der Eifel ein Gebiet mit äußerst aktiven Vulkanismus war. Eruptionen, die selbst den gewaltigen Ausbruch des Mt. St. Helens an Heftigkeit übertrafen, sind bekannt. Die frühen Siedler Deutschlands müssen Augenzeugen -und Leittragende- dieser gewaltigen Eruptionen gewesen sein, die bis zum Ende der letzten Eiszeit andauerten. Heute scheint die Eifel ruhig und friedlich zu sein, fern von den Naturkräften, die sie einst formten. Doch wer genauer hinsieht entdeckt noch die Spuren des Vulkanismus - ja, eigentlich verfolgen sie den Interessierten auf Schritt und Tritt.
Selbst wer die Eifel auf der Autobahn durchquert, fährt an zahllosen Vulkanen vorbei. Viele der niedrigen Hügel und Kuppeln der Eifel sind Vulkanbauten. Sie unterscheiden sich von den bekannten Vulkanen anderer Regionen aufgrund ihrer besonderen Entstehungsgeschichte. Bei den Vulkanen der Eifel handelt es sich überwiegend um Schlackenkegel und Maare. Letztere sind große Vertiefungen, die von einem Ringwall aus klastischen Material umgeben sind. Sie entstanden durch phreatomagmatische Eruptionen, bei denen das aufsteigende Magma kurz unter der Erdoberfläche auf Grundwasser trifft. Dieses verdampft schlagartig und verursachte gewaltige

Bei den Schlackenkegeln handelt es sich um Vulkane mit einem einfachen Aufbau, der davon zeugt, dass sie nicht lange aktiv waren. Viele sind sogar monogenetisch, d.h. sie entstanden in nur einer Eruptionsphase. Diese Schlackenkegel sind typisch für kontinentale Intraplattenvulkane und bilden ganze Vulkanfelder. Im Fall der Eifel entstanden seit dem Tertiär zwei Vulkanfelder. Das der Westeifel und das der Osteifel. Sie gehören zum Riftsystems des Oberrheingrabens und liegen auf den sich hebenden Riftschultern.
Die Herkunft des Magmas ist noch nicht eindeutig geklärt. Umstritten ist die Hypothese einiger Wissenschaftler, die unter der Eifel einen "hot-spot", bzw. eine Zone kleindimensionierter "Mantel Plumes" vermuten. Diese ortsstabilen Fördersysteme transportieren das Magma aus den Tiefen des Erdmantels an die Oberfläche. Während die Tektonischen-Platten über diese Plumes hinwegwandern, entsteht eine Vulkankette abnehmenden Alters, wie es zum Beispiel auf Hawaii beobachtet wird. Im Falle der Eifel soll sie das jüngste Glied in der Kette der mitteleuropäischen Vulkanzonen darstellen, die sich von Schlesien über die Oberpfalz, dem Vogelsberg, dem Westerwald bis eben in die Eifel erstreckt.

[...]
Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

December 29 2011

Urbanism: When it bends the rules and breaks the law.

Getting ready for a TEDx talk in a few weeks, I’ve once again been noticing how the places that I love the most usually break the law. The contemporary development codes and bylaws, that is, whic...
// oAnth: original www-site: https://placeshakers.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/urbanism-when-it-bends-the-rules-and-breaks-the-law/

December 05 2011

Einstein an Gandhi



Verehrter Herr Gandhi

Ich benutze die Anwesenheit Ihres Freundes in unserem Hause, um Ihnen diese Zeilen zu senden. Sie haben durch Ihr Wirken gezeigt, dass man ohne Gewalt Grosses selbst bei solchen durchsetzen kann, welche selbst auf die Methode der Gewalt keineswegs verzichtet haben. Wir dürfen hoffen, dass Ihr Beispiel über die Grenzen Ihres Landes hinaus wirken und dazu beitragen wird, dass an die Stelle kriegerischer Konflikte Entscheidungen einer internationalen Instanz treten, deren Durchführung von allen garantiert wird.

Mit den Ausdruck aufrichtiger Bewunderung

Ihr

(Gezeichnet, ‘A. Einstein’)

Ich hoffe, dass ich Sie noch einmal von Angesicht sehen werde.

Gandhis Antwort:

LONDON, October 18, 1931

DEAR FRIEND,

I was delighted to have your beautiful letter sent through Sundaram. It is a great consolation to me that the work I am doing finds favour in your sight. I do indeed wish that we could meet face to face and that too in India at my Ashram.

Yours sincerely,

(Gezeichnet, ‘M. K. Gandhi’)

(Gefunden bei lettersofnote)



Reposted fromglaserei glaserei

November 18 2011

02mydafsoup-01

Quantum theorem shakes foundations | Nature News & Comment 2011-11-17

The wavefunction is a real physical object after all, say researchers.


At the heart of the weirdness for which the field of quantum mechanics is famous is the wavefunction, a powerful but mysterious entity that is used to determine the probabilities that quantum particles will have certain properties. Now, a preprint posted online on 14 November1 reopens the question of what the wavefunction represents — with an answer that could rock quantum theory to its core. Whereas many physicists have generally interpreted the wavefunction as a statistical tool that reflects our ignorance of the particles being measured, the authors of the latest paper argue that, instead, it is physically real.

“I don't like to sound hyperbolic, but I think the word 'seismic' is likely to apply to this paper,” says Antony Valentini, a theoretical physicist specializing in quantum foundations at Clemson University in South Carolina.

Valentini believes that this result may be the most important general theorem relating to the foundations of quantum mechanics since Bell’s theorem, the 1964 result in which Northern Irish physicist John Stewart Bell proved that if quantum mechanics describes real entities, it has to include mysterious “action at a distance”.

[...]


Reposted byscience science

November 12 2011

02mydafsoup-01
Play fullscreen
RSA Animate - The Divided Brain

Uploaded by theRSAorg on Oct 21, 2011 In this new RSAnimate, renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist explains how our 'divided brain' has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society. Taken from a lecture given by Iain McGilchrist as part of the RSA's free public events programme. To view the full lecture, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbUHxC4wiWk
Reposted byadamski adamski

November 11 2011

02mydafsoup-01

Researchers develop insulin substitute for treating diabetes orally | Biotechnology | Discover Sigalon Valley - Where the Tags are the Topics | Scoop.it

The World Diabetes Foundation estimated that some 285 million people, or around 6 percent of the world's adult population, were living with diabetes in 2010. For type 1 diabetics and up to 27 percent of type 2 diabetics, that means daily insulin injections, which can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. Since most people would rather pop a pill than get a shot, researchers have been trying to develop an oral form of insulin. However, this has proven difficult because insulin is a protein that is broken down in the stomach and gut. Now a team of researchers from Australia's Curtin University has found an insulin substitute to treat diabetes orally that they hope could help take the needle out of diabetes for many people.

In an effort to find a compound that emulates the molecular map of insulin, Professor Erik Helmerhorst and his colleagues at Curtin University in research undertaken with Australian pharmaceutical company Epichem searched the structures of three million compounds.

[...]

-----------------------------

original www-site at www.zeitnews.org, here.

October 30 2011

02mydafsoup-01

Friedrich Kittler 1943 - 2011 | in memoriam - obituaries - Nachrufe

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/10/21/1319210577734/Friedrich-Kittler-003.jpg


Friedrich Kittler obituary | guardian.co.uk 2011-10-21

Philosopher and media theorist known as the 'Derrida of the digital age'


For Friedrich Kittler, both technology and education should be open and free | guardian.co.uk 2011-10-29

The late German theorist was a great admirer of Bletchley Park – and championed an approach that valued arts and science

  




Zum Tod von Friedrich Kittler | leitmedium.de 2011-10-18

Zum Tod von Friedrich Kittler sind heute im Laufe des Tages die ersten Nachrufe erschienen. Es folgte eine Zusammenstellung der interessantesten Artikel, ganz subjektiv absteigend gewichtet:

October 24 2011

02mydafsoup-01

j-node: the network of global corporate control - revisited | James Glattfelder - 2011-10-03

complex systems, vast amounts of data and self-organization...
We spend billions of dollars trying to understand the origins of the universe, while we still don't understand the conditions for a stable society, a functioning economy, or peace.
(D. Helbing quoted from here)

The upcoming publication The Network of Global Corporate Control has gained some attention in the news (sciencenews.org, newscientist.com) and the blogosphere (for instance, planetsave.com, physorg.com and johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com). Because some reactions have been particularly hostile, for instance Ms. Yves Smith from Naked Capitalism (see also our responses here and in their comment section), or have inspired the conspiracy theory camp, please let me recapitulate what our paper is and isn't and address some of the voiced concerns, in order to avoid misconceptions.

[...]
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