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dawn ahukanna
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The somersault was free. {>_<}
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This is spookily close to some work I've been doing recently but for computing - IoT(sense) + Big data (feedback/signal) + AI (perception/analysis/insight). Even though AI initially based on logic, global empirical data + analysis eventually reveal deep insight (computers neither tire nor suffer from ennui).
 
Understanding the Attention Economy

There are deep implications in how you capture someone's attention on the web when even our own conscious attention levels mislead us in terms of how we decide to pay attention to something, make a purchase or visit a particular website. There is an implied responsibility here to not just work to develop ourselves but also work hard to develop our audience. Then the connections and conversations we have would take place in a shared, possibly even co-created, space. What we more formally would call framework. 
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+dawn ahukanna we're facing challenges on both fronts then. Should we hope for the aliens to come and rescue us? ;) (Really interesting work you're doing by the sound of it, incidentally).
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Sunday science read.
 
SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 35/2016.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2016/08/dopamine-gene-therapy-remyelination.html

Dopamine gene therapy, Remyelination cell therapy, Algebraic brain topology, Ginko custom microbes, Ultrasound protein imaging, MegaMIMO bandwidth boost, Thought activated DNA-bots, Light controlled CRISPR, Whole transparent organisms, Massively multicore chips.

1. Gene Therapy for Dopamine Production
A new treatment for Parkinson’s Disease is currently entering human clinical trials that involves genetically engineering the neurons of patients by administering large amounts of viruses that carry genes to better enable the brain to produce and manage dopamine https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602193/manufacturing-dopamine-in-the-brain-with-gene-therapy/. Early results with initial patients show promise, not only for restoring cognitive function, but also for circumventing the main drawback to conventional L-Dopa and dopamine treatments which is the development of resistance and the need for ever greater amounts of drug that has less effect. There are currently 48 human clinical trials underway for brain and CNS gene therapies and cell treatments.

2. Cell Therapy Boosts Remyelination in Brain
A cell therapy product incorporating macrophages and microglia is showing promise in animal studies for remyelinating neurons in the brain and actively reversing the demyelination associated with many diseases including Multiple Sclerosis https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2016/08/development-of-a-cell-therapy-to-increase-remyelination-in-the-brain/. Such a treatment might not only be used in treating various neurological diseases but administered on a routine basis to restore myelin levels to youthful states as desired.

3. Understanding the Brain with Algebraic Topology
Mathematical tools from the field of algebraic topology are being used to better characterise and understand the structure and function of the brain and its connectome https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602234/how-the-mathematics-of-algebraic-topology-is-revolutionizing-brain-science/. These new tools provide a different way of classifying nodes and loops, and for identifying these features at small and large scales. It should only be a matter of time before these additional tools and insights are incorporated into artificial machine learning systems.

4. Ginkgo Bioworks’ Custom Engineered Microbes
Synthetic biology company Ginkgo Bioworks continues to grow and develop custom genetically engineered yeasts that metabolise standard feedstocks under standard fermentation conditions to produce a range of different fragrances, flavours, cosmetics, and pesticides http://news.mit.edu/2016/startup-ginkgo-bioworks-engineered-yeast-0825. The company has scaled up, building a large automated foundry dedicated to rapid prototyping and rapidly generating custom yeasts to design specifications. These industrial synthetic biology facilities are starting to proliferate and at some point we can expect their capabilities to distributed to end users.

5. Engineered Proteins for Ultrasound Imaging
Newly engineered protein-shelled nanostructures known as gas vesicles, which reflect sound waves, can now give off far more distinct signals, target specific types of cells, and be used to generate “colour” ultrasound images https://www.caltech.edu/news/designing-ultrasound-tools-lego-proteins-51834. Swapping and modifying different proteins on the surface of the vesicles alters cell targeting, molecule targeting, and sensitivity to different ultrasound frequencies. Such devices can be injected wholesale into an animal for medical imaging purposes, or a gene therapy could deliver the code to cells needed to produce the vesicles from scratch. Applications include e.g. using ultrasound to produce overlapping images showing tumour cells, the immune cells attacking them, and the vascular cells supplying nutrients. I also wonder if these vesicles might be co-opted to facilitate respirocytes.

6. MegaMIMO Boosts Network Bandwidth
The MegaMIMO wireless data system has recently demonstrated three times faster bandwidth and twice the wireless range of conventional Multiple-Input Multiple-Output systems http://news.mit.edu/2016/solving-network-congestion-megamimo-0823. The system manages to synchronise transmitter phases to coordinate multiple access points at the same time on the same frequency without creating interference and in order to maximise the efficient utilisation of the available spectrum. Such a system should provide needed boosts to both cellular and WiFi communications.

7. DNA Robots Activated by Thoughts
This is an interesting if somewhat convoluted proof of concept for triggering the activation of DNA nanobots in a living animal just by thinking http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2016/08/thought-controlled-nanoscale-dna-robots.html. In this system (i) an EEG headset records and recognises particular mind states, (ii) particular mind states influence the strength of an electromagnetic field, (iii) the strength of the electromagnetic field heats up metal nanoparticles injected into an animal (the subject themselves or another), and (iv) past a certain threshold the heated metal nanoparticles cause programmed DNA origami structures on their surface to reversibly activate. In this case they proved that the DNA nanobots were able to induce a cellular effect.

8. Modified CRISPR Controlled by Light
On the topic of controllable nanobots, the CRISPR system is being further engineered and modified to produce versions that can be controllably switched on and off in different ways http://news.mit.edu/2016/using-light-control-genome-editing-0825. Some approaches modify the Cas9 enzyme itself to achieve this, but the present work builds on earlier approaches that engineered light-activated RNA interference in order to produce modified RNA guide strands that are only activated in the presence of certain wavelengths of light. This allows precision experiments for controlling the precise timing of gene editing and other cellular signalling events. Next steps are exploring therapeutic applications and improving the design with a more universal system.

9. Making Whole Organisms Transparent for Imaging
Continual improvements and refinements in imaging and chemical techniques for making organs transparent have resulted in methods that can now make entire organisms transparent while labelling almost any desired internal structure for imaging and analysis http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/press-services/press-releases/2016/ertuerk_imaging.html. In this work with the new uDISCO technique whole rats were rendered transparent and their nervous systems labelled with fluorescent tags in order to produce high resolution images and maps of entire neuronal networks with subcellular detail while still embedded in their original tissues.

10. Massively Multicore Chips
The KiloCore chip contains 1,000 independently programmable processors was fabricated by IBM https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/worlds-first-1000-processor-chip/. The chip can process 115 billion instructions per second while dissipating just 0.7 Watts and has a number of novel features for applications including encoding/decoding, video processing, encryption. In related news a 25 core chip called Piton that is designed to more efficiently power massive cloud computing architectures https://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S47/19/67G69. Piton is designed to be scalable and so chips with thousands of cores and data centres with half a billion cores are envisaged.

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Lookr.
 
[ DD - 28 August 2016 ] 50 Plank Knee-to-Elbows http://buff.ly/2bpYz8f #darebee #dailydare #fitness
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Sunday science read.
 
SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 33/2016.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2016/08/engineering-biological-machines-neural.html

Engineering biological machines, Neural dust developments, Tailored AFM probes, BEC optical computer, Faceless recognition systems, Propelled liquid metals, Nanobead optical superlens, Custom ion pores, Optogenetic neural networks, Proton size discrepancy.

1. Engineering Biological Machines
An interesting advance in synthetic biology involved engineering a light-driven cell membrane proton-pump in order to enable it to be further controlled by being chemically switched on and off http://www.unibe.ch/news/media_news/media_relations_e/media_releases/2016_e/media_releases_2016/synthetic_biology_engineering_a_chemical_switch_into_a_light_driven_proton_pump/index_eng.html. The interesting thing here is the use of two types of the protein, each of which is oriented facing-in or facing-out from the cell, driven by light to create or remove proton gradients across the cell wall that is crucial for driving many cellular processes. One or the other of these processes can then be controlled at will in order to control the gradient that is needed for driving a particular process or application.

2. Latest Developments in Neural Dust
Neural dust has taken the next step with a 3mm long batteryless implantable device for implantation against muscles and peripheral nerves, and most recently demonstrated in animal experiments http://news.berkeley.edu/2016/08/03/sprinkling-of-neural-dust-opens-door-to-electroceuticals/. The devices are powered by external ultrasound to detect, process, and transmit neural signals for remote control of devices and prosthetics for example. The roadmap includes coating with materials able to last more than a decade in the body, commercialising applications for these larger peripheral devices, and further miniaturising towards 50 microns for genuine brain-computer interfaces.

3. Tailored AFM Probes
New 3D confocal laser lithography techniques allow custom atomic force microscope probes to be fabricated on demand depending on the required purpose http://www.kit.edu/kit/english/pi_2016_111_tailored-probes-for-atomic-force-microscopes.php. Custom probes are usually made manually and expensive; this new approach allows researchers to design the shape of the probe they need then have the system automatically sculpt a probe tip that can then be placed on any commercially available AFM measurement needles to begin working straight away. Nice example of the benefits of modularity in technology.

4. BEC Optical Computer
For the first time a Bose-Einstein Condensate has been harnessed to work as an optical computer http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/semiconductors/optoelectronics/a-polariton-boseeinsten-condensate-for-switching-and-storing-optical-data. BECs can be induced to form quasiparticles comprised of photons and electron-hole pairs (called exciton polaritons) that are able to store information in a couple of ways. When this type of BEC is trapped between thin layers of semiconductor low-energy voltage pulses can be used to read and write data in the BEC. This appears to be one of the first times a practical device has been built with a BEC, a good fundamental advance.

5. Faceless Recognition Systems
Automated face recognition systems have now reached the point of being faceless recognition systems, at least as far as this new prototype neural network system is concerned http://motherboard.vice.com/read/faceless-recognition-system-can-identify-you-even-when-you-hide-your-face. The system predicts the identity of obscured faces by examining other salient features in the scene; recognition accuracy rises from 70% with just 1.25 instances of a fully-visible face, to 92% for 10 instances of the person’s face. While the system is particular to certain situations and does have some weaknesses, it does constitute a privacy concern for those seeking to remain anonymous.

6. Self-Propelled Liquid Metals
Work with liquid metals including non-toxic alloys of gallium promises malleable, self-propelled liquid metal systems for electronics and other applications https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2016/august/liquid-metals-propel-future-electronics. These latest materials were tested in microfluidic systems in which tweaks to the pH and salt of the surrounding fluid induced controllable movements and shape changes of liquid metal droplets, and used to create moving objects, switches, and pumps. The end-goal here in future might be things like reconfigurable electronic circuits, displays, and other devices.

7. Nanobead Optical Superlens
Titanium dioxide nanoparticles have been used to fabricate a 3D superlens that uses the refractive properties of the nanoparticles to achieve super-resolution optical microscopy with conventional microscopes, and appearing to resolve surface features below 60nm http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/bu-sti080816.php. As a proof of concept the group used the lens with a conventional microscope to image the groves and information stored on the surface a Blu-Ray disc, something that is impossible with conventional microscopes. Cheap, easy, and versatile extension to any optical microscopy system.

8. Custom Ion-Selective Pores
A new synthetic ion-recognition system has been developed for selective ion transport that can be customised and fine-tuned depending on the ion that needs to be isolated http://www.research.a-star.edu.sg/research/7539/ringing-the-changes. The basic architecture consists of a macrocycle ring molecule whose internal cavity is adjusted in order to pick out particular metal ions from many different others. The current prototypes are selective for Cs, Ag, and K, but the platform provides many avenues for further engineering to capture other metal ions. Applications will include molecular sensing, water purification, microfluidics, and even synthetic biology.

9. Reprogram Brain Networks with Optogenetics
The latest work on optogenetics in mice demonstrates that neural networks in the brain trained to fire together can be reactivated later if just one neuron is stimulated, and also lending direct support to Hebbian learning http://datascience.columbia.edu/researchers-reprogram-network-brain-cells-light. The work involved stimulating just 20 neurons out of the mouse’s 100 million and was achieved by using two-photon stimulation and two-photon calcium imaging. The optogenetically-treated and stimulated neurons were located in the mouse’s visual cortex and the group propose behavioural tests to determine if stimulating the network with light induces an image or visual artifact in the animal’s awareness.

10. Better Measurements of Proton and Deuteron
Another excellent article by Natalie Wolchover covering recent work investigating measurements of the size of fundamental particles including the proton and deuteron suggests that fundamental theories may need to be updated https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160811-new-measurement-deepens-proton-radius-puzzle/. The proton is measured to be slightly larger when orbited by an electron than when orbited by a (much heavier) muon. New work shows that a deuteron (proton plus neutron) is also slightly larger when orbited by an electron than when orbited by a muon, an effect that appears to scale compared to the proton and offering interesting avenues to explore.

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Fish tail slapped.
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Jupiter dancing.
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Belgian Grand Prix 2016 results.
 
#F1 Rosberg wins the Belgian GP ahead of Ricciardo. Hamilton third after taking advantage of early red flag
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Belgian Grand Prix 2016 qualifying results.
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Sunday read.
 
Violence

Five thousand, three hundred years ago a man most of us know as “the Iceman” who has now been called, Otzi (https://goo.gl/e5nWJD) had a meal consisting of red deer (https://goo.gl/1QVHT2), several different types of breads and fruit and, after packing his belongings, took up his weapons and set off on a journey he was to never complete.

His past was catching up with him. His journey from the populous valley, where he lived, to somewhere else via the lonely and treacherous mountain path through the Austrian Alps was cut short by a hidden assailant lying in wait with bow and arrow- (http://goo.gl/hQNufS). The single shaft that struck Otzi on the back did sufficient damage to kill him within minutes but that wasn’t enough (http://goo.gl/1ji5xu). His assailant, trying to hide the crime and safeguard his identity snapped off the arrow shaft, struck Otzi one more blow at the back of the head for good measure. Moved his body into a gulley, positioned it carefully and then covered it with snow and ice. He was careful to not take anything of the belongings of the murdered man, thus further reducing the likelihood that he would ever be found. (http://goo.gl/1ji5xu).

Understandably, Otzi has become the focus of our efforts to understand the world of five millennia ago (https://goo.gl/a3DN9w) and new technology has allowed us to discover what he sounded like (http://goo.gl/TQOHHG) and even what he looked like at the time of his death: https://goo.gl/5lEZwj. There are two things of direct interest to us in this story. The first and most obvious one is how we romanticize our findings about the past until technology, using data, reveals a more realistic, underlying picture: http://goo.gl/dFT5wR.

The second and far more serious is our propensity for violence is very, very old: http://goo.gl/sol5yT. The Royal Armories Museum in Leeds, UK (https://goo.gl/FgGnG3) does a brilliant job at documenting our ingenuity and the amount of effort and energy we have poured into fashioning means via which we could end each other’s lives: https://goo.gl/lbWtfc.

Violence, of course, is not something which we just accept. As a species we are unique in trying to understand why we are how we are: http://goo.gl/bJEOSy and what we may be able to do about it: http://goo.gl/8Mis8o. Despite the apparent neurobiological simplicity that leads us to choose violence when clearly it is not the most logical or desirable option we also spend a lot of time, effort and energy trying to mitigate the effects of our innermost drives: https://goo.gl/JXOkL.

By understanding these drives we do something remarkable. We reduce an issue into its basics, strip it of its emotive value and look at it more dispassionately, at a more abstract level where we can apply more innovative solutions: https://goo.gl/FIltTP. Because violence is driven by an emotion and emotions are contagious: http://goo.gl/wlnhBt its treatment as an epidemic makes a lot of sense.

Emotional contagion is an evolutionary adaptive mechanism (just like our need for violence) - https://goo.gl/jo2H8k. But tempting as it may be to accept things as they are, to say “Hey, that’s it! We are designed to be this bad.” We have also evolved to adapt and change. While our brains do see the bad things around us, we can also make them see the good: https://goo.gl/8e3pH2.

We actually have the power to make ourselves and, by association, all those around us and then the world into a better, more productive, happier place, provided we change our selves: http://goo.gl/ZIETh4. We possess remarkable cognitive processes inside our heads. We are not always aware of them: https://goo.gl/TM0tbN.

Here’s the thing. Inside our heads, the mechanisms we use to feel ‘fake’ emotions is the same as the one we use to feel real ones. This, as Amy Cuddy, suggests: https://goo.gl/4mCTTh gives us the opportunity to not “fake it ‘till we make it” but “fake it ‘till we become it”.

There is more. Smiling, apparently predicts how successful and happy we can become: http://goo.gl/XomZGY, how long we will live: http://goo.gl/9bkEP and the kind of world we create: http://goo.gl/QPhxYd.

There is one obvious question that arises out of all this. If we can truly change ourselves and the world for the better, why don’t we? Why are we content to accept things as they are? Why do we feel that we don’t count? That we cannot do anything? That we truly are small and powerless?

We tend to accept the notion that we truly cannot do anything for two distinct reasons: first, the systems we put in place fail to fully take into account the complexities of our human nature. Second, we fail to step up and take full responsibility for our becoming. Sure, we work hard at augmenting and perfecting our hard skills. We take courses in management and learn about computer programs and we update what we can do so we can do things better and make more money which we exchange for the things we need in order to survive; but we don’t take courses in being better humans.

You might argue no such courses exist, but that’s not true. We swim in data. We see, every day ways in which our current systems are failing (and why) and the means through which we could better run ourselves, becoming more focused, more aware and more productive in the process. As Frank Herbert has his characters say in Dune: “Anything outside yourself, this you can see and apply your logic to it. But it’s a human trait that when we encounter personal problems, these things most deeply personal are the most difficult to bring out for our logic to scan. We tend to flounder around, blaming everything but the actual, deep-seated thing that’s really chewing on us.” - http://goo.gl/mD9v0g.

Whether we like it or not, we are the architects of ourselves and within the contacts we make: each other. Unless we learn to take this responsibility seriously and act within the bounds it presents us with, we shall continue to experience the helplessness of mollusks, firmly attached to our rock. Wonderful eyes of rock (http://goo.gl/LT8Oz) allowing us to see but not understand, remaining completely helpless to the tides that wash over us.

Hopefully you have been rewiring your cravings so that you get to drink more coffee, enjoy more donuts, have more cookies, croissants and chocolate cake on this day. Have an awesome Sunday wherever you are.



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Software Alchemist - Turning base code into precious applications. Devsigner == 'Dev'eveloper + De'signer'
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