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dawn ahukanna
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Sunday read.
Your body is a bunch of chemicals (physical), with a spirit/soul (meta-physical) influenced by genetics (inherited with evolutionary code) and our life experience/environment.
What bit of that is uniquely you?
 
The Ultimate Currency…

I am writing this at 3.00am after having put in a ten hour day writing and spent two hours at the gym depleting my body’s physical reserves and the day’s mental pressure so I am more than passingly aware of the fact that no matter how hard we try we cannot divorce our physiological processes from the digital ones, the body is still the instrument through which we sample the world and assess everything in it. 

The caffeine flowing through my system is holding the sleep response at bay, allowing my brain, a 3lb prisoner locked in the darkness of my skull, to free itself and make connections between things I have been reading and thinking about for weeks, usually when running on a treadmill (because it is monotonous and I need to occupy my brain) or getting to and from meetings, talks and presentations. 

Everything we do, the thoughts we dream of, the aspirations we have, the ambitions we aim for, arise out of a sense of hope, power or desperation of our physiology, meshing with our neurobiology. We forget that everything starts out as a mental construct deep within us, or it cannot start out at all. And what happens inside our heads is only a cell wall’s thickness away from what is happening to our bodies. 

It was Rudyard Kipling who rather inspirationally called prostitution “the most ancient profession in the world” (http://goo.gl/kjgXsC). He was referring to the transactional value of almost anything that crystallizes the moment we trade sex. At that human-to-human interface coalesce two ancient drives, that of engagement and interaction with the urge to mate. 

We use our bodies (and minds) their energy reserves and capabilities as tools to help us make our way in the world at every opportunity we get. The premium they command depends upon the twin principles most of economic theory rests upon: Scarcity (http://goo.gl/EuHq4e) and Marginal Utility (http://goo.gl/yWP1Ok). We pay a lot for beauty (http://goo.gl/kaakux) for that very reason and the transactional value of physical endowments, physical achievements and expected sustainability of the two, is spread by human economic behavior, across every area of human conduct which helps explain the inexcusable such as the odious cross-section of human society revealed by Carthon’s non-start of a boxing career: http://goo.gl/d7atZO or the very short career (just 3.5 years on average) enjoyed by NFL pro athletes: http://goo.gl/AYre63

Our bodies insinuate their needs into the mechanisms we create that allow us to build meaningful societal constructs by appealing to our morality (many times through religion) - http://goo.gl/2xpidw and even driving many of the innovations we enjoy: http://goo.gl/dLhRKa by appealing to what we think are the ‘worst’ of our instincts. 

Our technology is an abstraction of our physical and mental capabilities designed to help us amplify their effects, augment their strengths and overcome their limitations. So it’s not surprising to see Oculus Rift coming up in relation to sex (http://goo.gl/AdlVga) though the description will raise more giggles than concern. In our far more transparent, connected world, those who are active in the sex industry are never far from the mainstream: http://goo.gl/Lnjmuy

+Yonatan Zunger, very recently, posted on this same subject: http://goo.gl/Q4DcvT tackling sexuality, sex and feminism in a thread that sparked a lively debate all of its own, and he buttressed this further with a post that drew more connecting lines from the other side of the ‘divide’: http://goo.gl/8zIZTa. A study into why women get into porn: http://goo.gl/WIIFAl showed that predominantly this is led by economics. 

Economic behavior does not take place in a vacuum. Entire mechanisms spring up around it to sustain it and when those mechanisms are big enough they turn it from a ‘hobby’ to an industry where the Eurythmics’  Sweet Dreams anthem rings truer that ever: http://goo.gl/7yA6PB

Technology can short-circuit things a little because it provides neurobiological shortcuts as well as physical ones, as it does in online porn which is kept going by an ancient mammalian program in our brains called the Coolidge Effect: http://goo.gl/IobsDz

Extreme responses to it: http://goo.gl/YP8Ooi can have some interesting consequences: http://goo.gl/iBDp1d which are ringing alarm bells: http://goo.gl/ola1UT. The question whether technology can really wrongfoot an entire society this way: http://goo.gl/6zA3dZ or does it simply serve as a layer bringing the symptoms of much deeper causes to the surface is still being debated: http://goo.gl/OojjRb

The truth is that as the web changes our access to porn: http://goo.gl/Bh9urS as well as our understanding of the pathways through which our bodies and minds manifest their desires in the digital medium become key to understanding our human condition. 

The emphasis here is on “human”. Stripped of almost all the other markers of our identity we each become reduced to gendered beings, driven by physiology and neurobiology, forced to become more complex when we are grouped together into communities and societies. 

We have a unique opportunity here. Whether we discuss sex (and violence) as responses that are coming into mainstream acceptance: http://goo.gl/2jzuq4 or are arguing about how they shouldn’t be: http://goo.gl/rpr8zc the fact remains that we are becoming aware of the mechanisms that drive our behavior and shape what we do and who we are at a very fundamental level. 

Awareness begets responsibility. Responsibility calls for acceptance and change. We can only do that as people, talking to people, rather than labels of nationality, profession, creed or ethnicity hurling hypocritical blame unto each other. Our bodies dictate that we each use all we have to get somewhere. We start out all alone. A biological machine 'fighting' against the world. It doesn’t mean we have to continue this way, forever.

This has been a somewhat adult edition that’s been coming together for some time. Of also adult pleasure are all the sugary treats (donuts, croissants, cookies and chocolate cake) and caffeine stimulants you ought to have bought aplenty for the edification of the ‘prisoner’ inside your head. Have one awesome Sunday, wherever you are. 

PS. If you want to be added to the Sunday Read notification circle, please let me know in the comments below. 

#davidamerlandsundayread  
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+dawn ahukanna yeah, we do self-honesty rather badly. 
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🎶it's a kind of magic! 🎶
Ayoub Khote originally shared:
 
How Cell Phones Work (By a Non-Engineer)

Ignoring the spelling mistakes, this is pretty funny, and semi accurate, metaphorically speaking :P

Via http://clk.ie/YNmG5C
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Constructors standings 2015 so far.
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Chinese 2015 Grand Prix results.
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Sunday Science reading.
Kidney membrane story is interesting.
 
SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 15/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/artificial-kidney-membrane-nanoscale-3d.html

Artificial kidney membrane, tissue engineered gonads, nanotube computing, 3D imaging chip, Nanoscale 3D imaging, Simpler CRISPR, Maintaining youthful stem cells, Tactile manipulators, Acoustic cell isolation, Acoustic metamaterials. 

1. Living Artificial Kidney Membrane.
In a similar vein to recent efforts in microfluidics to develop “organs on a chip” artificial membranes can now be produced that are coated by a living monolayer of kidney cells http://phys.org/news/2015-04-kidney-membrane.html. The primary application the group is pursuing relates to kidney transplants and dialysis treatments by ultimately scaling the device up to achieve clinical relevance. One can imaging rolling layers of membranes with relevant cells into tubes to form an artificial kidney or other organ system - artificial organs and tissue engineering needn’t be limited to conventional biological architectures. I also like the idea of controlled cell membranes in general; they might be programmed to mass produce any biological product of interest. 

2. Tissue Engineering: Artificial Testicles.
In related tissue engineering news we had an interesting article this week about the ongoing development of artificial testicles capable of producing functional sperm http://www.vice.com/read/the-science-of-artificial-testicles. The current (complex) device is designed to mimic the complex inner structure of testicles and the primary applications in mind are for aiding men struggling with infertility for a range of reasons to have children via IVF. The key here is engineering the right environment to naturally stimulate stem cells - convincing them that they are part of a testicle - to divide and differentiate into sperm cells, to take tissue engineering to the point of creating a sperm-making machine. 

3. Carbon Nanotube Computing.
Circuits made of carbon nanotubes take another step closer to fruition with a simple, scalable method to remove metallic carbon nanotubes from arrays and leaving the desired semiconducting nanotubes behind to do work http://phys.org/news/2015-04-purify-arrays-single-walled-carbon-nanotubes.html. Making defined arrays of nanotubes into circuits can already be done but until now making these circuits functional by removing metallic carbon nanotubes has not been possible. In related news carbon nanotube and polymer composites, inherently disordered bulk materials, can nevertheless be trained to produce a desired electronic output (mimicking a particular electronic circuit) as part of a process of materials evolution http://phys.org/news/2015-04-single-walled-carbon-nanotube-composites-great.html; understanding how these structures form might be very useful http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2015/0409-engineers-now-understand-how-complex-carbon-nanostructures-form/.   

4. Chip-Based 3D Imaging for Devices.
A new millimeter-scale silicon chip incorporates a nanophotonic coherent imager - in which each pixel is an independent interferometer able to measure both intensity and distance information - that works as part of a LIDAR system to generate 3D images of objects in realtime http://www.caltech.edu/news/new-camera-chip-provides-superfine-3-d-resolution-46425. These are just begging to be incorporated into smartphones, Kinect / Leap Motion devices, and autonomous vehicles to name a few; remember one of the major expenses on an autonomous vehicle is the LIDAR system - chips like this will slash these costs. I wonder if the chip might be used in a different set-up to emit rather than capture 3D images? 

5. Nanoscale Optical 3D Imaging.
In related 3D imaging news, but this time at the nanoscale, a new imaging technology combining cathodoluminescence and tomography allows the use of visible light to generate nanometer resolution three-dimensional images of nanoscale objects http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/april/nano-3d-imaging-040715.html. The technique takes many 2D images at many angles and uses algorithms to stitch these together to generate and identify the 3D structure of the object. There is a nice embedded video overview of the process. This is a nice new imaging platform that I’d expect to see used in many fundamental research investigations over time; the team quote applications in producing optimised and more efficient LEDs and photovoltaic materials. 

6. Simpler Mini CRISPR.
As if CRISPR couldn’t get any easier. The CRISPR gene editing toolkit has been expanded with a new Cas9 enzyme that is encoded by a gene that is only 75% of the size of the conventional Cas9 gene http://www.nature.com/news/mini-enzyme-moves-gene-editing-closer-to-the-clinic-1.17234. This makes the overall genetic package require to be inserted into cells that much smaller and that much easier / more effective to insert. This is particularly important for gene therapy approaches in which you typically need to package genes into a small virus particle. In proof-of-concept experiments the team used the new technique to successfully transfect the livers of mice and get a test gene into 40% of liver cells in one go - a pretty good result for somatic cell genetic modification. 

7. Maintaining Youthful Stem Cell Activity with Age.
New experiments in mice show that removing just two factors known as TIMP1 and TIMP3 (Tissue Inhibitors of MetalloProteinases) was enough to maintain tissue (breast tissue in this demonstration) in a youthful state in aged mice https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2015/04/loss-of-timp1-and-timp3-maintains-youthful-stem-cell-activity-in-aging-mice.php. With age tissue loses its ability to develop and repair due to a decline in the stem cell population. Removal of TIMP1 & 3 led to an expansion in the pool of stem cells, the maintenance of consistently high levels, and their remaining functional throughout the life of the mice, and all without an increased predisposition to cancer (which was originally predicted). I wonder when we might see the results of, e.g., RNAi knock-down of TIMP1 & 3 in humans?

8. Sensitive Robot Manipulators.
A couple of interesting advances in robotic hands enabling more sensitive manipulations this week. First, engineering new robotic hands that are much more touch sensitive by using touch sensors interacting with myriad different materials to build a “language” of touch that both a computer and human can understand and interpret http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_nation/robotictouch.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_51, with the hope this results in prosthetics that provide a genuine human touch experience to amputees. Second, the use of shape-memory alloys (wires) as muscle fibers in lightweight robotic and prosthetic hands and limbs http://www.kurzweilai.net/an-artificial-hand-that-can-respond-sensitively-thanks-to-muscles-made-of-shape-memory-wires and leveraging useful properties such as the highest energy density of all known drive mechanisms. 

9. Isolating Circulating Tumour Cells with Sound.
Building on work first demonstrated last year a group has developed an even better (20 times faster) microfluidic cell sorting chip powered by two acoustic transducers that produce a standing wave along the microchannel http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/sound-waves-detect-rare-cancer-cells-0406. It turns out that cancer cells and normal cells respond differently to the sound gradient due differences in compressibility and other factors. In tests 83% of cancer cells were isolated samples with as few as 1 cancer cell per 100,000 and blood samples from real cancer patients were successfully analysed. The order-of-magnitude improvement from last year makes the device clinically relevant. 

10. Acoustic Metamaterials.
On the topic of acoustic technology there were two interesting acoustic metamaterial advances this week http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/04/new-industrial-bubble-wrap-material-and.html. First, a bubble metascreen comprised of a 4mm thick rubber film with embedded bubbles can dampen sound and especially reflected sonar signals by 10,000 times - 100 times better than thought possible. Second, another acoustic metamaterial dubbed a phononic crystal can, when coated onto an object, cause sound waves hitting that object to flow around its surface without being reflected. 

Archive:_ http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/04/artificial-kidney-membrane-nanoscale-3d.html
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Been there, had this happen, done that!
Via +Mara Rose.
 

No Explanation Is Necessary
          (continued from http://goo.gl/w5nrvt)
         
.
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Even scientists have a sense of humour.
 
Scientists are funny ... doesn't this look like cartoon dogs ;)
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#F1 2015 Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying Results

[pic via @F1]
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Drivers podium.
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Ha ha look at Rosberg's face compared to Hammy's!
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Drivers standings 2015 so far.
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Sunday read.
David Amerland originally shared:
 
Egocentric

Way back when, before I was busy synthesizing business principles and technology I used to apply my scientific training to look at other areas. In a book, revealingly titled Revelations (pun unintended) - http://goo.gl/oDh5Xq I looked (amongst other things) at the work of a rather mediocre philosopher and wizard named Bolus of Mendes, an Egyptian who lived in Hellenistic Greece in 200 BC, who had written best-selling book trying to answer man’s role in the universe. 

The message of Bolus’ book was so intuitive and so simple that it probably predated its formal statement by several hundred thousand years. What Bolus wrote was that man was a microcosm or ‘little world’ and that within him he contained, on a somewhat smaller scale, all the levels of being in the Universe. 

Wizards in Bolus’ time visualized the Universe as being spherical, comprised of an almost endless array of ever narrowing concentric spheres that began with the gods and narrowed down to planet Earth. Now Bolus placed man squarely in the center of that fixture, able to influence anything he chose to direct his attention to.

It’s apt as we once again direct our gaze at the universe beyond us willing to explore the question of whether everything, indeed, exists, just for us. The fact that within just ten years we may find evidence of life evolving beyond our current constraints (http://goo.gl/2YYrUR) opens the door to an entirely new set of questions not least those involving religion, philosophy and even why life appears to be such a persistent force in itself that it can take place even in the most extreme of environments: http://goo.gl/bLVJ07

If life is so persistent that we barely understand it consider that we have only just started to plumb intelligence in species other than ourselves: http://goo.gl/y8bz9i. Our discoveries are showing that first we may not be quite as unique as Bolus wanted us to be and second that our very approach comes with ‘blinders’ attached, themselves created by the very limits of our biology. 

The question why we are not happy to let things be and try to live our short lives on this 3rd rock from the sun (http://goo.gl/SUpXY) lies in the concept of transcendence: http://goo.gl/OvkUY. Whether we look outside ourselves or inside ourselves we feel something greater calling to us. Something just beyond our ability to hear it, or understand it. We find evidence of it in the mathematical languages we use to describe the universe: http://goo.gl/HCyYH and we sense it in our every endeavor that takes us to the very edge of the horizon of our capabilities: http://goo.gl/e4StKy

Self-transcendence, the sense that, somehow, we can become more than we are through our own efforts lies at the core of many human disciplines: http://goo.gl/LGDVuh. While the answers we seek contain hints of the personal constructs we use to define who we are, it is also a drive to get past all that, to lose ourselves in something other than us. It’s a drive that raises all sorts of interesting questions as Jonathan Haidt says in his TED talk on the subject: http://goo.gl/fcmJUo

In many ways we are like giant statues with feet of clay. We reach for what’s just beyond our grasp just as we struggle to get the very basic details of our lives right. The lofty ideas that drive us form a compensatory mechanism for the very basic deficiencies we experience within the social constructs we create. There is a constant struggle taking place within us. One that we can never really solve alone. 

The three pound prisoner confined within our skulls (http://goo.gl/uTigx) rattles the boundaries of his cage and pushes outwards and inwards seeking to escape. Seeking to find meaning, understanding and a semblance of peace in something a little more absolute than the ephemera of life. Seeking, in other words, to do what Bolus so easily told us in his book such a long time ago: to get a sense that we matter. That our existence has meaning. That our struggles and passage actually are not part of a cosmic joke. Should we succeed in making contact, at some point, with civilizations other than ours the potentially shattering disruption we feel will come from it, is so only from our current, still, very anthropocentric perspective. 

There is nothing wrong thinking we are the center of the universe of course, provided we can contextualize it. Provided we understand that it’s just another means to an end. A ploy we use to make ourselves venture outside the confines of our modern ‘cave walls’ and look at the universe beckoning and say with confidence: “Yeah, we can do this.”. 

Until we do get to meet ET and exchange outwardly coffee and donut recipes, we have to make do with our Terran-based delights. I hope you have had the foresight to stock-up on yours so that the coffee pot will not run dry and you will have enough donuts, cookies and croissants to last at least until this day is over. Have a great Sunday wherever you are. 

#davidamerlandsundayread  
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Looking forward to summer picnics.
 
Mid Night Pic Nic
#pascalcampion 
You and your midnight pic nics

..yes..?
..Always a good idea!
Isn’t it?
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Wow
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Software Alchemist - Turning base code into precious applications. Devsigner == 'Dev'eveloper + De'signer'
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