Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Hope

After writing the previous post about the American Catholic Bishops, I need to recharge my batteries yet again. It's not so much that I'm worn down from moving the Mountain one teaspoonful at a time - I have oodles in reserve - more in need of a pause to wipe the sweat from my brow. To get away from a world of Evil Spirits and Superstition, Bigotry and Ignorance, and to look forward with hope.

Transistor merges man and machine - Innovation- msnbc.com
Man and machine can now be linked more intimately than ever, according to a new article in the journal ACS Nano Letters. Scientists have embedded a nano-sized transistor inside a cell-like membrane and powered it using the cell's own fuel.

The research could lead to new types of human-machine interactions where embedded devices could relay information about the inner workings of disease-related proteins inside the cell membrane, and eventually lead to new ways to read, and even influence, brain or nerve cells.

Jim Von Ehr says Zyvex will Achieve Digital Matter from Building Blocks by 2015 and Rudimentary Molecular Manufacturing by 2020
Question 2: Zyvex Performance Materials has developed a new composite. What is special about this material?
Answer 2
: We have developed a composite material that is loaded with carbon nanotubes, using our proprietary technology to achieve superior strength/weight ratios compared to other composites. We recently created a boat with this composite, with much better fuel efficiency and range than boats made from fibreglass or other composites. This material clearly has potential for aerospace applications, leading to Lockheed Martin investing in us to develop this area.
...
Question 13: When is your best assessment of when molecular manufacturing will emerge?
Answer 13
: We are confident that we will be able to create simple, blocklike objects within the next five years. From that point, capabilities should grow fairly rapidly. Once simple block objects are created, we can programmably assemble them to make more complex objects. Zyvex has already identified a number of market opportunities for these. Once we get the basic capability of creating these simple objects, we can expand their complexity and sophistication rapidly. From the first integrated circuit to an extremely valuable integrated circuit business ecosystem took a surprisingly short amount of time, compared to previous technological revolutions. I’d expect a Digital Matter ecosystem to also develop rapidly once the basics are in place. Although I don't feel comfortable making specific predictions as to when molecular manufacturing will emerge, by 2020 we should have rudimentary molecular manufacturing systems in operation. Once we can create these blocks, the technology of molecular manufacturing will advance exponentially. Digital matter will eventually change everything.


Porting Digital Memory : A feasibility analysis of neural interfaces and controllers
As human neural networks and electronic digital networks converge there is some debate over how to best move data from neural to digital formats. Since the human brain is equipped with high-resolution sensory organs, there are many obvious routes for digital-to-neural input, but organic systems lack sufficient neural outputs for porting thoughts, memories, and dreams directly to digital memory. A variety of methods have been pioneered to capture digital thought, including embedded sensor wires, embedded sensor grids, and non-invasive dermal sensors. Initial success with neural interfaces indicates that progress in this field is possible, but each method has distinct functional limitations and problems. Given the severity of modification needed for high-resolution neural-to-digital memory capture, analysis suggests a mix of invasive and non-invasive methods will be customized to meet specific end-user needs, and that the popular market will lean more towards minimally invasive “good-enough” technologies as opposed to radically invasive technologies for the high-end consumer.

And a long shot - from the "It's Life, Jim, but not as we know it" Department.
What is Consuming Hydrogen and Acetylene on Titan?
Two new papers based on data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft scrutinize the complex chemical activity on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. While non-biological chemistry offers one possible explanation, some scientists believe these chemical signatures bolster the argument for a primitive, exotic form of life or precursor to life on Titan's surface. According to one theory put forth by astrobiologists, the signatures fulfill two important conditions necessary for a hypothesized "methane-based life."

One key finding comes from a paper online now in the journal Icarus that shows hydrogen molecules flowing down through Titan's atmosphere and disappearing at the surface. Another paper online now in the Journal of Geophysical Research maps hydrocarbons on the Titan surface and finds a lack of acetylene.
I feel sorry for those who use their intellect on such issues as "theological pneumatics" or "timing of ensoulment". There's so much exciting out there in Reality, instead.

3 comments:

Cameron said...

What a fascinating collection of subjects...I couldn't help but giggle at the "organic systems lack sufficient neural outputs for porting thoughts, memories and dreams directly to digital memory" - i.e. we didn't come equipped with a computer jack in our brains! (over simplified) Knowing that you are a fan of Spider and Jeanne (bless her passing) Robinson, have you ever read his book, Mindkiller? Science Fiction, yes, but quite amazing...porting digital memory talks about downloading...what about uploading? And as for Titan - we know whats going on! Picking up more symbiote for the Stardancers!
The digital Matter got a little over my head, but what the heck - I am not a rocket scientist! ( way not stupid either, but...) The future looks bright in so many ways, hopefully the light will outshine the darkness. As for souls...I see no conflict between science and souls. And whether souls are "real" or not, the measuring stick is what we DO with knowledge, not that it exists...as long as we honor and respect the worth and dignity of each human being! Being able to download dreams and memories, or give knowledge to people would be huge and good - using it to brainwash, or torture would be bad. Our actions individually and collectively define our relationship to the world and others. Glad I found your blog!

Cynthia Lee said...

The idea of uploading memories brings back to my mind the concept of the cartesian demon.
If such a thing as memory implanting can we truely trust our senses? How can we know for sure if we are really here or perhaps a student in a university 1000 years from now downloading our homework assignments for the semester....

Anonymous said...

My luck, when I get to the pearly gates and I will get asked why I found time to study sociology but not theological pneumatics...

non believer