Knowledge is Power
Sun., 06.13.04

House hit by 2.9lb asteroid -- worth only £3,500 - what gives?
according to the Scotsman "A GRAPEFRUIT-SIZED meteorite smashed through the roof of a house in New Zealand, hitting a couch and bouncing off the ceiling before coming to rest under a computer. The 2.9lb chunk of space debris dropped out of the sky and plummeted through the tiled roof of the Auckland home on Saturday. ... It is only the ninth meteorite found in New Zealand and the first to hit a home. ... . It is believed that the chunk of asteroid could be worth more than £3,500." What the %$^%? A known asteroid going for £3,500? Excuse me but how much did it cost to bring some of the moon back? Something's strange here .... well at least the Archers weren't hit. That's a small cosmic miracle.

posted by E. Moritz @ 11:07PM CST [link] [No Comments]

Thu., 03.11.04

Robot Scientist
Essential Facts Blog will be keeping track of progress in Artifical Intelligence, Robotics and Automation Advances.

posted by E. Moritz @ 09:25PM CST [link] [No Comments]

Sun., 03.07.04

Sargasso Genome Study Finds 1,800 New Species

FORGET THE HUNT FOR THE RED OCTOBER, CONCENTRATE ON THE HUNT FOR THE BLUE-GREEN PHOTORECEPTORS .... according to Maggie Fox, Reuters Health and Science Correspondent ... "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Genome experts who took on a patch of ocean for a mass gene-sequencing project said on Thursday they had discovered at least 1,800 new species of microbes and changed some of their fundamental ideas about ocean biology. .... Genome pioneer Craig Venter and other scientists analyzed the tiny organisms in a sample of water from the Sargasso Sea off Bermuda and then sequenced the genetic code. ... whole-genome shotgun sequencing, ... uses powerful computers to re-assemble the genetic code. ....found 1.2 million new genes and .... guess that represents at least 1,800 new species. ... "It is estimated that over 99 percent of species remain to be discovered. Our work in the Sargasso Sea, an area thought to have low diversity of species, has shown that there is much that we do not yet understand about the ocean and its inhabitants." .... Most surprising, they said, was the discovery of 800 new genes for photoreceptors -- structures used by creatures to collect light. To date, only about 150 photoreceptor genes have been found in all the known species. .... This suggests microbes in the area they analyzed use sunlight in unique ways, Venter said.

This is very exciting ...

posted by E. Moritz @ 11:23PM CST [link] [No Comments]

Sat., 02.21.04

New miniplanet, 2004 DW discovered by California Institute of Technology's Mike Brown and colleagues Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz; part of same survey that found Quaoar two years ago.
CNN Reports: Astronomers spy 'planetoid' half Pluto's size ... LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Astronomers said Thursday they have found a frozen object 4.4 billion miles from Earth that appears to be more than half the size of Pluto and larger than the planet's moon .... If confirmed, the so-called planetoid would become the largest object found in our solar system since the ninth planet was first spied in 1930.
[note, similar reports also appear in, and MSNBC]

Preliminary observations suggest the frozen celestial body is 10 percent larger than Quaoar, an 800-mile-diameter object found in 2002. .... Brown and colleagues Chad Trujillo, of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, and David Rabinowitz, of Yale University, discovered the object late Monday with a telescope at the Palomar Observatory outside San Diego. .... The object, dubbed 2004 DW, lies at the outer fringes of the Kuiper Belt, a swarm of frozen rock and ice beyond the orbit of Neptune. ... Pluto is the largest known Kuiper Belt object, although it's traditionally considered a planet. Its moon, Charon, is about 800 miles across. .... measurements suggest the object follows an elliptical orbit that takes it as close as 2.7 billion miles to the sun and as far out as 4.7 billion miles, and an estimated 252 years to orbit the sun ... (nearly 47 times as far from the Sun as Earth)]

[SC:'The finding was confirmed with observations by a team based at the Starkenburg Observatory in Germany and other sightings from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Table Mountain Observatory in southern California"; possible icy rock, 520-1,170 miles wide (840 to 1,880 kilometers).

by the way, NASA reports, New Clues About The Nature Of Dark Energy: Einstein May Have Been Right After All

posted by E. Moritz @ 01:48PM CST [link] [No Comments]

Tue., 02.10.04

2004 BV18 found by Spacewatch online volunteer
According to Lori Stiles [University of Arizona Press Release 1/21/2004] .... A volunteer who analyzes online images for the University of Arizona Spacewatch program has discovered a 60-to-120-foot diameter asteroid that will miss Earth by about 1.2 million miles tomorrow, Jan. 22. ... its discovery marks a milestone in a new project that relies on volunteers to spot fast-moving objects, or FMOs, in Spacewatch images. .... The asteroid appeared in images taken by Spacewatch astronomer Miwa Block with the 0.9-meter telescope at 1:49 UT on Jan. 19, which is 6:49 p.m. MST on Jan. 18. Volunteer Stu Megan reviewed the images on the Internet, and spotted the asteroid's light trail. Megan is part of a Web-based program that Spacewatch made public last October through a grant from the Paul G. Allen Charitable Foundation." ... awesome! see also Major News about Minor Objects for additional insight [From its brightness (H=26.1), 2004 BV18's size translates by standard formula to be in the range of 16 to 36 meters/yards wide, with about 20 as a best guess. The JPL Close Approaches page reports that it will pass Earth at 5.1 lunar distances on January 22nd.]

posted by E. Moritz @ 11:31PM CST [link] [No Comments]

Peter Y. Chou,'s Singularity Resources's Singularity Resources looks to be the most thorough yet ... MEGA BZs ... thanks Peter Y. Chou for putting this resource together.

posted by E. Moritz @ 11:20PM CST [link] [No Comments]

Sat., 12.13.03

Seeking information on ancient Rome
Eugene Volokh (The Volokh Conspiracy) is looking for ancient technologies that just didn't happen and should have ...

Consider this, in 60 AD - Roman Emperor, Nero, uses emerald lenses to view gladiator games. Magnifying glasses only became common in fourteenth century, where craftsmen in Venice make small disks of glass, convex on both sides, that could be worn in a frame--spectacles. (The earliest illustrations of spectacles date from about 1350).

So between Nero's emerald lens and the spectacle there's a gulf of about 1300 years. Pretty sad considering that many people could not contribute to their fullest potential because of 'vision' problems.

But this is not the end of the story. In fact, the Lanyard Lens, discovered at Nimrod by Lanyard, is datable to 721-705 BC. This lens is thought to be the first example of a plano-convex lens. So now we are really talking about 2000 years between the possibility of corrective lenses and their first wide use.
(from an earlier musing on creativity). So, while its not clear that the Romans were aware of the 'Lanyard Lens', clearly others were, and if the Romans in 150 BC paid attention, they might have stumbled into it but it hard to look for something when you don't know what you're lookin for.

posted by E. Moritz @ 06:18PM CST [link] [No Comments]

Thu., 09.04.03

Fewer Asteroids May Hit Earth Than Previously Expected
According to a story in Space Daily, Researchers from Imperial College London and the Russian Academy of Sciences have built a computer simulation that predicts whether asteroids with a diameter up to one kilometre (km) will explode in the atmosphere or hit the surface. -- The results indicate that asteroids with a diameter greater than 200 metres (the length of two football pitches) will hit the surface approximately once every 160,000 years - way down on previous estimates of impacts every 2,500 years. --- When small asteroids hit the atmosphere the two forces collide like two objects smashing together, which often breaks the asteroid into fragments. Until now, scientists have relied on the 'pancake' model of asteroid impact to calculate whether the asteroid will explode in the atmosphere. -- This treats the cascade of fragments as a single continuous liquid that spreads out over a larger area - to form a 'pancake'. But a new model known as the 'separate fragment' (SF) model, which was developed by co-author of the study, Dr Natalya Artemieva of the Russian Academy of Science, has challenged this approach.

Better! IN hindsight, its obvious the composition question needs to be asked ... and other questions (we're currently ignorant of) as well. Its great for the debates to rage ... maybe some increible illumination will result. We welcome the Asteroid on Steroid vs meteorites on marshmellows debate.

posted by E. Moritz @ 10:50PM CST [link] [No Comments]

Asteroid collision risk downgraded
Who do you believe and when? now states "Astronomers have dismissed the possibility that a large asteroid could collide with the Earth in the year 2014.

The asteroid, known as 2003 Q-Q 47, was spotted last month by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who gave it a 1 in 909,000 chance of hitting the Earth.

However, a circular distributed among the astronomy community this week has downgraded that risk and accused the media of hyping the scare.

NASA specialist Ron Baalke now says the potential impact in 2014 has been eliminated" The entire jpl statement is reproduced below for record purposes. Note though that the statement includes this part 'we could rule out any Earth impact possibilities for 2014." O.K., what risk does Q-Q pose for other years, or is this a headline exercise?

posted by E. Moritz @ 08:42 PM CST [more..] [3 Comments]

Tue., 09.02.03

Asteroid Impact Threat From Near Earth Objects
How do you feel about this statement? We know that since 1937, at least 22 asteroids have approached Earth more closely than did 2001 YB5, which missed by just twice the distance to the Moon. Five of those objects were larger than 100 yards in diameter. According to NASA, there may be as many as 100,000 NEOs with diameters of 100 yards or larger. Of those asteroids larger than 150 yards in diameter, about 250 are today estimated to be potentially hazardous. The United States has very limited capability to detect these smaller NEOs, which can nevertheless inflict substantial damage upon striking Earth. There is a significant probability (20%) of such an object colliding with the Earth during the next century. [From An Open Letter to Congress on Near Earth Objects - Re: The Imperative to Address the Impact Threat From Near Earth Objects (NEOs)] [Further Asteroid news and readings at Asteroid watch].

What about this story making the wires " 3:29 p.m. September 2, 2003 --- LONDON – An asteroid two-thirds of a mile wide has been spotted in distant space and will be closely studied for its possible future course while visible over the next two months, British astronomers said Tuesday.

The astronomers said that there was no cause for alarm because there was only about a one in a million chance that the asteroid, known as 2003 QQ47, could ever reach Earth.

"There is some uncertainty about where it is going. In all probability, within the next month we will know its future orbit with an accuracy which will mean we will be able to rule out any impact," said Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, a member of the expert team advising the UK Near Earth Objects Information Center, based in Leicester, England.

The asteroid's current orbit calculations are based on just 51 observations during a recent seven-day period, and the risk of a collision could decline further as its movements are tracked.

The astronomers gave a rough estimate of it reaching Earth at 1 in 909,000, adding that such an event couldn't occur for another 12 years."
SpaceRef gives it a Torino hazard 1 ... A potential asteroid impact on 21 March 2014 has been given a Torino hazard rating of 1, defined as "an event meriting careful monitoring". The newly discovered 1.2 km wide asteroid, known to scientists as 2003 QQ47, has a mass of around 2 600 billion kg, and would deliver around 350 000 MT of energy in an impact with Earth.

1 in 909,000? 21 March 2014? 350 000 MT of energy? [Thats Megatons in french]. A bit scary, and still would be if even a shard landed in the desert [of course, it depends which desert ... the big boys are discussing waterfall ... with big tsunamis ... I'd rather not see it at all]

posted by E. Moritz @ 10:50 PM CST [more..] [1 Comment]

Sun., 08.17.03

Credit Networks and Digital Money
We will be addressing these topics ... first stop, collect credit newtork references. If you have suggestions please add via comments.

posted by E. Moritz @ 11:39PM CST [link] [No Comments]

Blackout - Indicator of SocioTechnological Limits or Opportunity for Conceptual Rebirth?
Blackout 2003 is essentially over, but the implications are just beginning. The Blackout History Project has been documenting earlier megablackout events and causes. What about the implications. What does this all mean? Is the blackout a symptom of 'deregulation gone wild', technological overcomplexity (poor understanding of network emergence), aging plant, poor investments, human error, software bugs, or ...? The California blackouts should certainly have sensitized us all. They didn't since we had some 'early warnings' and could anticipate their occurence. The massive lights off was something that caught us by mass surprise. Surprise regarding its near instantaneous cascading occurence, and the extent of its occurence. No doubt the economic and personal security aspects were felt by those directly involved and those related to those involved. The national security implications surely are being digested by friends and foes. In fact, the first question on everyone's mind was whether this was a 9/11 replay? So now what? Beyond the near immediate, there are future issues associated with such a massive fluctuation of the normal. In our acclerating convergence on replacing the physical with informational, on replacing paper and coin money with digital bits -- what happens when you can't buy a bottle of water because you don't have change? what happens to your medical record encrypted on your smart card? These ofcourse are just samples of considerations, but these considerations need to be addressed. Should we treat national infrastructure as the franchise playground of the special interests, or do we need something a bit more sophisticated? The future is coming, and it isn't playing, its serious, and we need to invest some seriously deep thinking about what experiences we'd like to experience.

posted by E. Moritz @ 06:32 PM CST [more..] [No Comments]

Sun., 08.10.03

Idaho Gem, Prometea, and the Clone Wars.
In case you were snoozing ... the Clone Wars have started ... without George Lucas.

posted by E. Moritz @ 08:56AM CST [link] [No Comments]

Fri., 08.01.03

Stage 2 is sausages Stage 1 and is a real bust ... the sausagemakers need to return to the drawing boards. We'll return to this later ... lesson here ... its easy to be overoptimistic with the first data point.

posted by E. Moritz @ 06:53PM CST [link] [No Comments]

This is the start of an out-of-the box idempotency sausaging experiment. Stage 1 is sausaging of this site yields:

[1, 7] Crider Since the 1960s planetary scientists have considered the possibility that the Moon may harbor deposits of water ice in permanently shaded regions near the lunar poles. [1, 9] The authors explore how that ice came to be and suggest what information the study of lunar ice cores may one day provide to scientists interested in the ancient history of the Earth-Moon system. [1, 11] Moritz 08:59PM CST link No Comments Hayflick Limit Revisited In The Hayflick Limit TTAGGG Telomerase the end of Limits and Immortality we discussed the Hayflick Story ... [1, 15] J. F.Fries in a 1980 article in the New England Journal of Medicine - Aging natural death and compression of morbidity - placed the mean of genetically endowed lifespan at 85 years with a standard deviation of 9.1 years. [1, 16] Interestingly Manton in his paper New Biotechnologies and the limits of life expectancy Future Demographic Trends in Europe and North America : What Can We Assume Today suggests that Hayflick's experiments with data regarding cell division rates in humans are totally consistent with human life span of 200-300 years. [1, 18] No Comments Mon. 07.28.03 Watching the Singularity Watchers John Smart of SingularityWatch has a fascinating relevant site ... with lots and lots of information. [1, 27] A hundred years ago it seemed we could measure nature more and more precisely and that there were no limits on our knowledge says physicist Piet Hut of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton N.J. ... [1, 36] It's hard to get researchers interested in the question of what's unknowable since they are much more oriented to pushing the frontiers of knowledge he says. [1, 41] I hope they address Limits of Perception Limits of Memory Limits of explorable time viz. stuff we could know but there's so much out there we can't reach it as we'll run out of time. posted by E. [1, 49] Kass chairman of President Bush's Council on Bioethics who argues that cloning and stem cell research will alter our human nature so dramatically that we are no longer human but posthuman. [1, 52] No Comments Sat. 06.07.03 Grand Challenged Not Grand Challenged Not - I'm not hearing much of Grand Challenge Problems and Grand Challenge solutions these days. [1, 60] LISTEN TO THE MUSN'TS Listen to the MUSTN'TS child Listen to the DON'TS Listen to the SHOULDN'TS The IMPOSSIBLES THE WON'TS Listen to the NEVER HAVES Then listen close to me- Anything can happen child ANYTHING can be . [1, 61] Futurism Futurists: World Future Society FutureWeb Oricom Technologies Singularity: Singularity Watch Yudkowsky Institutions: Foresight Institute Institute for Advanced Studies Santa Fe Institute Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies World Bank Projects: Principia Cybernetica Special Topics: Climate Shift Colliding Galaxies Gamma Ray Bursts Dark Days Returning?

posted by E. Moritz @ 06:46PM CST [link] [No Comments]

Bay Area Futurists
Future is the Weblog of the Bay Area Futurists. Sausaging it (using the MEAD summarizer, 20% compression) yields:

[1, 1] Future Salon: Companion Weblog of the Bay Area Futurists Future Weblog of the Bay Area Futurists Tuesday Jul 29 2003 ACC2003 Discount Offer to Bay Area Futurists Celebrating the return of the good old Banner Ad. [1, 4] The people organizing the Accelerating Change Conference Full discloser I am actually one of them although this wasn't my idea have extended the early bird special: Save 100 25 on conference admission until August 4th for the Accelerating Change Conference 2003 Stanford University September 12-14. [1, 5] That is not all: People that frequent the Bay Area Futurist Salon or our web pages get an additional discount of 5 by using the special discount code ACC2003-BAFuture no quotations when registering. [1, 11] Calvin Howard Bloom Robert Wright and 17 other world-class minds will present to 300 attendees focusing on the profound risks and opportunities of business and society's accelerating pace of change. [1, 16] In this endeavor he has investigated self-organizing behavior of leaf cutter ants at Finca la Selva taught classes at UCLA's Anderson School of Business on scenario planning and analyzed sustainable agriculture at the Land Institute in Salina Kansas. [1, 21] Biochips that can perform the basic bio-analysis functions genomic proteomic biosimulation and microfluidics at a low cost will transform biological analysis and production in a very similar fashion as the microprocessor did for data. [1, 23] When data from advanced biochips and brain imaging are combined they will accelerate the development of neurotechnology the set of tools that can influence the human central nervous system especially the brain. [1, 24] Neurotechnology will be used for therapeutic ends and to enhance human emotional cognitive and sensory system performance. check out the rest in the PDF If you follow the link you get to his Corante blog that you should have on your radar screen. [1, 26] He will take a break from it for the next couple of weeks to finish his book but not without having some excellent writers from the field fill in his big boots at his blog. [1, 30] Update 1: John sais right book butdifferent chapters: Citizen Deliberative Councils The Canadian Experiment Citizens Deliberate About Public Issues Consent and Here's your issue by Doc Searl he also has two bonus links: Bonus link 1: Mitch Ratcliffe's Political advertising from the IRS . [1, 34] If you want to look deeper into where democracyis going and what you can do to guide it into the right direction come to our Futurist Salon this Friday the25th of July 7pm. [1, 36] To support her multimedia presentation we willhave it again at: SAP Labs North America Building D 3410 Hillview Avenue Palo Alto CA 94304 Driving directions to building D via Highway 101 Driving directions to building D via Highway 280 Sorry no munchies this time. [1, 49] To do that we need to treat the Net as two things: a public domain and therefore a natural habitat for markets In other words we need to see the Net as a marketplace that has done enormous good is under extreme threat and needs to be saved. [1, 51] Look up any product on a search engine and you'll see free markets at work all over the place with power growing on both the supply and the demand sides o every category you can name. [1, 54] That freedom is guaranteed by the end-to-end nature of the Net and the NEA principles it engenders: Nobody owns it Everybody can use it and Anybody can improve it. [1, 55] This may sound a bit like communism to conservative sensibilities unless it is made clear that the Net belongs to that class of things gravity the core of the Earth the stars atmosphere ideas that cannot be owned and that even thinking about owning it is ludicrous.... [1, 73] was founded to protest the impeachment of President Clinton but five years later the online organization has done everything but move on: It's now trying to serve as a power broker in the Democratic primary. [1, 74] Fits nicely to this weeks Futurist Salon theme : Future of Democracy . 12:04:33 AM comment Sunday Jul 20 2003 Some Pictures of Past Futurists Salons Troy was so kind to send me some pictures from three of our Salons. [1, 75] January Futurist Salon March Futurist Salon with Howard Rheingold June Futurist Salon with BJ Fogg 11:53:41 PM comment Saturday Jul 19 2003 Architecture is politics EFF founder Mitch Kapor This is especially true for software architecture. [1, 93] If you are going to see the Matrix Reloaded or T3 or any other blockbusters constantly playing at the Metreon don't forget to check out the interactive video display on the ground floor there. [1, 94] One of the developers from Reactrix the folks whocreated the visual display system as they call it on their websitewas at the last Futurist Salon and told me about it.

posted by E. Moritz @ 06:35PM CST [link] [1 Comment]

Tue., 07.29.03

Ice at the Lunar Poles?
I missed this somehow ... this month's American Scientist feature story: That the Moon harbors ice at high latitudes is well known. The source of that water, however, may come as something of a surprise [Richard R. Vondrak, Dana H. Crider] Since the 1960s planetary scientists have considered the possibility that the Moon may harbor deposits of water ice in permanently shaded regions near the lunar poles. In 1998, the Lunar Prospector mission largely confirmed the presence of water ice on the Moon. The authors explore how that ice came to be and suggest what information the study of lunar ice cores may one day provide to scientists interested in the ancient history of the Earth-Moon system. Columbus ... where are you when we need you?

posted by E. Moritz @ 08:59PM CST [link] [No Comments]

Hayflick Limit Revisited
In The Hayflick Limit; TTAGGG, Telomerase, the end of Limits, and Immortality, we discussed the Hayflick Story ... Leonard Hayflick suggested that the number of times a human cell can divide is limited. (Experimental Research, 37:614-636. The limited in vitro time of a human diploid cell strains.)

J. F.Fries, in a 1980 article in the New England Journal of Medicine - Aging, natural death, and compression of morbidity - placed the mean of "genetically endowed lifespan at 85 years with a standard deviation of 9.1 years." Interestingly Manton, in his paper New Biotechnologies and the limits of life expectancy Future Demographic Trends in Europe and North America : What Can We Assume Today, suggests that Hayflick's experiments with data regarding cell division rates in humans are totally consistent with human life span of 200-300 years.

We decided to run the memetic sausage maker (MEAD, see post before) on the bibliography on Hayflick in PUBMED ... so here't the sausage: [1, 4] Hayflick's findings were strongly challenged at the time and continue to be questioned in a few circles but his achievements have enabled others to make considerable progress towards understanding and manipulating the molecular mechanisms of ageing. [1, 9] Recent studies have indicated that telomere shortening is one of the important meters utilized by cells to determine the Hayflick limit and that activation of a mechanism to maintain telomere length is essential for cells to become immortal. [1, 13] This review discusses the research that led to the discovery of telomerase the characteristics of telomerase complex and how recent and future advances in the telomerase field may lead to better diagnostic and treatment protocols for many different cancer types. [1, 21] Cells of most but not all malignant tumours have been shown to reactivate the enzyme telomerase so that telomeres can be reconstructed Hayflick limit can be overcome and unlimited cell division can be established. [1, 33] Molecular Gerontology Unit School of Sciences University of Sunderland UK. malcolm.goyns The telomeres that occur at the end of chromosomes are maintained by the activity of telomerase and are thought to be important protective factors in maintaining the integrity of chromosomes. [1, 46] Department of Operational Research London School of Economics and Political Science Houghton Street London WC2A 2AE UK. p.sozou Human diploid fibroblast cells can divide for only a limited number of times in vitro a phenomenon known as replicative senescence or the Hayflick limit. [1, 53] Nevertheless the telomere hypothesis in its basic form has some difficulty in explaining the marked stochastic variations seen in the replicative lifespans of individual cells within a culture and there is strong empirical and theoretical support for the concept that other kinds of damage may contribute to cellular ageing. [1, 54] We describe a stochastic network model of cell senescence in which a primary role is played by telomere reduction but in which other mechanisms oxidative stress linked particularly to mitochondrial damage and nuclear somatic mutations also contribute. [1, 55] The model gives simulation results that are in good agreement with published data on intra-clonal variability in cell doubling potential and permits an analysis of how the various elements of the stochastic network interact. [1, 72] Here we describe nuclear transfer experiments in which donor cell lines at different ages and with different proliferative capacities were used to clone foetuses and animals from which new primary cell lines were generated. [1, 77] Hema-Quebec Recherche et Developpement Sainte-Foy Canada. djung Telomeres and telomerase the telomere lengthening enzyme have been shown to play a central role in the long-term ability of cells to proliferate and maintain viability. [1, 78] In opposition to transformed cells normal somatic cells express a low level of telomerase which results in the gradual shortening of their telomeres after each division and in cell senescence once a critical telomere length is reached. [1, 92] Due to deficiencies during DNA replication the telomeres continuously loose part of their sequences and it has been proposed that this loss is the liming factor for the replicative capacity of a cell i.e. telomeric loss is the counting mechanism - the internal clock of ageing. [1, 95] As telomerase is expressed in about 90 of all tumours while expression is absent in many somatic tissues it is not surprising that the causal role of telomere erosion is presently the most favoured hypothesis of cellular ageing. [1, 121] This replicometer in combination with the discovery of the enzyme telomerase has gone very far in explaining why most normal somatic cells have a finite capacity to replicate both in vivo and in vitro and how immortal cancer cells circumvent this inevitability. [1, 127] Department of Anatomy University of California San Francisco School of Medicine Sea Ranch USA. len During the first half of this century it was believed that because cultured normal cells were immortal aging must be caused by extracellular events. [1, 134] After performing the miracles that take us from conception to birth and then to sexual maturation and adulthood natural selection was unable to favor the development of a more elementary mechanism that would simply maintain those earlier miracles forever. [1, 152] In this review we give a detailed account of Weismann's theory and we reveal that his ideas were both more extensive in their scope and more pertinent to current research than is generally recognised. [1, 153] We also appraise the progress which has been made over the past hundred years in investigating the causes of ageing with particular emphasis being given to i the evolution of ageing and ii ageing at the cellular level. [1, 161] We show that while the Hayflick limit does not alter the dynamics of T-cell response to antigen over the short term it may have a profound effect on the long-term immune response. [1, 163] The eventual outcome is determined by the magnitude of the Hayflick limit the extent to which antigen reduces the input of T-cells from the thymus and the rate of antigen-induced proliferation of T-cells. [1, 170] Cancer Research Campaign MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology and Department of Biochemistry University College London Gower Street London WC1E 6BT UK. alison.lloyd It has long-been accepted that normal somatic cells have intrinsic mechanisms that limit their proliferative lifespan. [1, 175] Department of Physiology and the Sam and Ann Barshop Center for Longevity and Aging Studies University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio 78245 USA. hornsby A long-standing controversy concerns the relevance of cellular senescence defined and observed as a cell culture phenomenon to tissue aging in vivo. [1, 181] Fourth better and more comprehensive observations on aging human tissues are needed to answer the question of the occurrence of senescent cells in tissues and new experimental approaches are needed to elucidate the consequences of telomere shortening in tissues in aging.

there more ... here's the rest of the sausage

posted by E. Moritz @ 06:31 PM CST [more..] [No Comments]

Mon., 07.28.03

Watching the Singularity Watchers
John Smart of SingularityWatch has a fascinating relevant site ... with lots and lots of information. I am experimenting with the memetic sausage maker .. aka the MEAD Summarizer. The following is what happens with compression factor of 10:

[1, 37] Business leaders face the prediction wall acutely in technologically-dependent fields and what enterprise isn't technologically-dependent these days? where the ten-year business plans of the 1950's have been replaced with ten-week quarterly plans of the 2000's and where planning beyond two years in some fields can be unwise speculation. [1, 49] Many careful thinkers now suspect that our increasingly self-directing and self-stabilizing technological and computational systems will continue to speed up for the forseeable future apparently in the same manner that general developmental change has done for the last six billion years of universal history. [1, 61] The classic pattern is called logistic or sigmoidal S curve growth where population growth is initially exponential but matter energy or space limits and competitive species interaction another form of resource limits always slow down this growth leading to a saturation in a population size over finite time. [1, 64] Then there's the clever demand limit argument which suggests that we are rapidly approaching a period where human society is just not going to need all that extra computational capacity and as our demand for exponential price-performance slows down so will the exponentiation. [1, 83] MEMS micro-electro-mechanical systems SOC's systems on a chip such as the coming cellphone-on-a-chip molecular optical magnetic and even quantum computing are all dramatic ongoing examples of these much more interesting types of miniaturization once we start thinking beyond the die size circuit miniaturization paradigm. [1, 90] Furthermore Kurzweil's data demonstrate that the complexity doubling times are themselves slowly shrinking with each doubling e.g. the acceleration is a gently double exponential process a feature that had been suspected for decades by careful observers of the Moore's law phenomenon. [1, 91] On an even broader basis Carl Sagan in Dragons of Eden 1977 popularized the idea of accelerating universal-physical development with his Cosmic Calendar a.k.a. the accelerating cosmic timeline which highlights the ever-faster emergence of important physical-computational events throughout the last six billion years of universal history. [1, 93] The pioneering work of Sagan Kurzweil Chaisson and other systems theorists strongly implies that there is something about the construction of the universe itself something about the nature and universal function of local computation that permits and may even mandate continously accelerating computational development in local environments. [1, 99] In the known history of the universe the most computationally complex local information processing systems have always discovered ever-more-clever ways to rearrange themselves using less space less energy a greater energy rate density and less material resources during their ongoing evolutionary development. [1, 106] In other words trends in MEST compression efficiency or density since the birth of computational machines have made the growth rate of computation as a general process effectively matter-independent or free of the specific limits to growth which must affect each particular material substrate and computational paradigm. [1, 112] Consider our planet's history of accelerating creation of first pre-biological evolutionary computational systems galactic-atomic and planetary-molecular-based then genetic systems DNA and cell-based then neurologic systems neuron-based then memetic systems abstract mental pattern-based and presently technologic systems extra-cerebral pattern based. [1, 121] Surprisingly then beyond Moore's law or even Kurzweil's more generalized law of Accelerating Returns present data suggest an undiscovered law of Locally Asymptotic Computation an imminent post-nanotechnological environment where local computational capacity becomes essentially practically proximally though never infinitely unlimited within a sharply finite amount of future time. [1, 131] In fact since WWII and the advent of digital computers humans are better characterized not as controllers but as selective catalysts of accelerating technological development which increasingly internalizes the intelligence necessary to its own reproduction variation interaction and selection in the natural environment.
.... rest of the summary continutes in link ...

So what do YOU think about this summarization technology?

posted by E. Moritz @ 11:15 PM CST [more..] [No Comments]

Mon., 06.09.03

On the Limits of Knowledge: What does Ralph Gomory not know that we should not know even more?
Sharon Begley's Science Journal note Science's Big Query: What Can We Know, and What Can't We? is finally catching up. Well before the previous prime-radiant post, the issue of knowledge started gnawing. This is what was and is, and likely to continue to be on my mind:
1) what we know
2) what we don't know
3) what we know that we don't know
4) what we don't know that we know
5) what we don't know that we don't know
6) what is knowable
7) what is unknowable?

Before considering the discussion du jour about knowledge .. consider what Saki advises: In baiting a MOUSETRAP with cheese, always leave ROOM for the MOUSE.

In any case, back Begley's main story ... "A hundred years ago it seemed we could measure nature more and more precisely, and that there were no limits on our knowledge," says physicist Piet Hut of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. ...

But the last century also brought the first hints of fundamental, inherent limits on the knowable. Kurt Godel discovered, to everyone's shock, that some statements in mathematics can be neither proved nor disproved. And physicists showed that the laws of quantum mechanics prevent us from knowing simultaneously both the position and the momentum of a subatomic particle. Will the world continue to yield to man's curiosity, or will we encounter evermore Godelian limits? ...

"We grow up thinking more is known than actually is," says Ralph Gomory, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Because that belief can trigger misconceptions about the natural world, Mr. Gomory launched the foundation's program in Limits to Knowledge. ....

"It's hard to get researchers interested in the question of what's unknowable, since they are much more oriented to pushing the frontiers of knowledge," he says. Nevertheless, quite a few are taking the puzzle seriously.

What do we find in that story? References to Rockeffeler Institute, The Institute for Advanced Study at Princent, and the Sloan foundation. I am heartened to find out, and thrilled beyond measure, that the APSF has a formal program on the Limits of Knowledge. I hope they address Limits of Perception, Limits of Memory, Limits of explorable time (viz. stuff we could know, but there's so much out there we can't reach it as we'll run out of time).

posted by E. Moritz @ 05:37 PM CST [more..] [No Comments]

Francis Fukuyama ... the Future is not Over yet ...
Apparently, Fukuyama's 1989 announcement that human history had reached an end was premature. As Mark Twain used to remark about his obituary ... "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."
in any case ... Francis Fukuyama recent book Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution suggests that it is Fukuyama who really ought to study Twain ... Perhaps he should read Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge for Bioethics by Leon R. Kass, chairman of President Bush's Council on Bioethics, who argues that cloning and stem cell research will alter our human nature so dramatically that we are no longer human but posthuman.

This of course should be related to the emerging discussion on the Limits of Knowledge,which will get its own post.

posted by E. Moritz @ 03:26 PM CST [more..] [No Comments]

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