Tag Archives: video

The Edge Synthetic Biology MasterClass

George and Craig

George and Craig

I am currently watching and listening to “A Short Course on Synthetic Genetics”. Being as it is all the rage now to be masterclassed by the super elite in science and technology, (see The Singularity University at NASA AMES post) The Edge recently ran a SynBio masterclass in Hollywood. Presented in July this year by Craig Venter (Founder of Synthetic Genomics, Inc. and President of the J. Craig Venter Institute and the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation) and George Church( Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Director, Center for Computational Genetics, and Science Advisor to 23 and Me) it was organized by John Brockman who publishes the website forum www.edge.org dedicated to scientists & technologists and their ideas.

This masterclass consisting of six hours of lectures discussed synthetic biology and “how the world will be changed by the ability to routinely read genetic sequences into computing systems and then store, replicate, alter and insert them back into living cells.” Topics included “What is life, origins of life, in vitro synthetic life, mirror-life, metabolic engineering for hydrocarbons & pharmaceuticals, computational tools, electronic-biological interfaces, nanotech-molecular-manufacturing, biosensors, accelerated lab evolution, engineered personal stem cells, multi-virus-resistant cells, humanized-mice, bringing back extinct species, safety/security policy.

Those present to listen and absorb all they could about the emerging potential of the synbio age were there by invite and included many members of America’s technological/intellectual/cultural/scientific/economical elite, including:

Stewart Brand, Biologist, Long Now Foundation; Whole Earth Discipline
Larry Brilliant, M.D. Epidemiologist, Skoll Urgent Threats Fund
John Brockman, Publisher & Editor, Edge
Max Brockman, Literary Agent, Brockman, Inc.; What’s Next: Dispatches on the Future of Science
Jason Calacanis, Internet Entrepreneur, Mahalo
George Dyson, Science Historian; Darwin Among the Machines
Jesse Dylan, Film-Maker, Form.tv, FreeForm.tv
Arie Emanuel, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment
Sam Harris, Neuroscientist, UCLA; The End of Faith
W. Daniel Hillis, Computer Scientist, Applied Minds; Pattern On The Stone
Thomas Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Salar Kamangar, Vice President, Product Management, Google
Lawrence Krauss, Physicist, Origins Initiative, ASU; Hiding In The Mirror
John Markoff, Journalist, The New York Times; What The Dormouse Said
Katinka Matson, Cofounder, Edge; Artist, katinkamatson.com
Elon Musk, Physicist, SpaceX, Tesla Motors
Nathan Myhrvold, Physicist, CEO, Intellectual Ventures, LLC, The Road Ahead
Tim O’Reilly, Founder, O’Reilly Media, O’Reilly Radar
Larry Page, CoFounder, Google
Lucy Page Southworth, Biomedical Informatics Researcher, Stanford
Sean Parker, The Founders Fund; CoFounder Napster & Facebook
Ryan Phelan, Founder, DNA Direct
Nick Pritzker, Hyatt Development Corporation
Ed Regis, Writer; What Is Life
Terrence Sejnowski, Computational Neurobiologist, Salk; The Computational Brain
Maria Spiropulu, Physicist, Cern & Caltech
Victoria Stodden, Computational Legal Scholar, Yale Law School
Nassim Taleb, Essayist & Risk Engineer, The Black Swan
Richard Thaler, Behavioral Economist, U. Chicago; Nudge
Craig Venter, Genomics Researcher; CEO, Synthetic Genomics, A Life Decoded
Nathan Wolfe, Biologist, Global Virus Forecasting Initiative
Alexandra Zukerman, Edge

Clifford Stoll and how the best futurists are kindergarten teachers

This man defines himself an astronomer but could quite easily talk about anything else in the universe. As he says so himself..[I am a scientist] “Once I do something, I want to do something else.”

One thing that did light up my buttons was when he spoke of how he is asked quite alot about the future and actually the best people to talk to our kindergarten teachers who spend their days with children..children of today will be voting tomorrow. I have also been reading a book about the history of the future and one person that springs to mind who also has been quoted with a similar way of thinking was a british journalist called John Langdon-Davies (he was also known as a Cassandra, someone who foretells predictions that do not come true, allegedly that is a bad thing but is their a bad prediction?) .He was sent to boarding school when he was a child and he recalls sitting in a chapel with 400 boys all of whom “like myself had come to be trained for a future about which certain guesses had been made.” So children are actually a self fulfilling prophecy, a product of what they are told what could be their possible multiple futures.

Spray On Condoms

And an interesting way to make condoms fit better!. A diagram to show a new product that will spray on a uniquely fit to purpose condom. The Institute for Condom Consultancy is in co-operation with Vinico and Qualo Design plan to launch a spray-on condom tailor-made for all sizes. According to Jan Vinzenz Krause, from the Institute for Condom Consultancy, “Our team is developing a type of spray can into which the man inserts his penis first. At the push of a button it is then coated in a rubber condom. It works by spraying on latex from nozzles on all sides. We call it the ’360 degree procedure’ — once round and from top to bottom. It’s a bit like a car wash. The plan is to make the product ready for use in about five seconds.” The high-tech condom will be available in a variety of colours and strengths by 2008.


The Century of the Self documentary

The documentary by filmmaker Adam Curtis released in 2002 describes the impact of Freud’s theories on the perception of the human mind, and the ways public relations agencies, first founded by Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays, and politicians have used this during the last 100 years for their “engineering of consent”

Along these general themes, The Century of the Self asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of modern consumerism, representative democracy and its implications. It also questions the modern way we see ourselves, the attitude to fashion, taste, valus and lifestlyes and superficiality. Including the beginning of focus groups, and how SRI the stanford research institute applied maslow’s hierachy of needs to the first questionnaire and created VALS (Values and Lifestyles) types.