28 December 2009


We need to shed our prehistoric policymaking practices and turn to evolution for guidance, argues David Sloan Wilson.

For almost everyone, evolution is about fossils, dinosaurs and human origins. But it should also be about governance, education, health, peace and virtually every other public policy issue relevant to human welfare.

Why is evolutionary theory missing from the toolkit of politicians and their expert advisers?


The Evolution Institute

27 December 2009

This Cyborg Life

Aimee Mullins asks: Racing on Carbon Fiber Legs, How Abled Should We Be?

Advantage is just something that is part of sports. No athletes are created equal. They simply aren't, due to a multitude of factors including geography, access to training, facilities, health care, injury prevention, and sure, technology.

"It makes me twitch when we talk about 'a level playing field.' No two athletes are the same genetically and environmentally, and the mental and emotional factors they've endured in their life are relevant in their performance, too. The only reason athletes today are better than those of decades ago is because of science and technology: We know exactly what and when to feed our bodies for maximum energy, we have lighter shoes and better bikes and new rubberized track surfaces and (legal) supplements and altitude training. We are upping the ante each Olympic year with 'smarter' design of an athlete's tools, both inside and outside the body."

"Let's think about Tiger Woods having not one, but two LASIK surgeries to achieve 20/15 vision, when what we consider the best of natural vision to be is a mere 20/20. Before his first LASIK surgery, Woods had lost 16 straight tournaments. Immediately following the surgery, he won 7 of his next 10. Advantage through technology, or not?"

Maybe our acceptance of Tiger's LASIK super vision is really answered in the question, "Can everyone have access to it?" In other words, perhaps because the average citizen out there on the street can get laser surgery, it's okay for Tiger to get it, too, whereas the nature of a bionic prosthetic is still viewed as exclusive

The Human SuperOrganism

Bugs Inside: What Happens When the Microbes That Keep Us Healthy Disappear?

The human body has some 10 trillion human cells, but 10 times that number of microbial cells. Some researchers think of our bodies as superorganisms.

With rapid changes in sanitation, medicine and lifestyle in the past century, some of these indigenous species are facing decline, displacement and possibly even extinction. In many of the world's larger ecosystems, scientists can predict what might happen when one of the central species is lost, but in the human microbial environment - which is still largely uncharacterized - most of these rapid changes are not yet understood.

21 December 2009

To Be or Not To Be

Buckminster Fuller said:

I know that I am not a category.

I am not a thing — a noun.

I seem to be a verb...

16 December 2009


Alan Alda is credited as saying....

"Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself."

07 December 2009


"Amidst the attention given to the sciences and how they can lead to the cure of all diseases and daily problems of mankind, I believe that the biggest breakthrough will be the realization that the arts, which are conventionally considered 'useless,' will be recognized as the whole reason why we ever tried to live longer or live more prosperously."

John Maeda, via Jason Silva's essay
"Why Science Needs To Bring Sexy Back"

"...the scientific community was failing to elicit a sense of awe and wonder out of people. You can't win the hearts and minds of the masses unless you inspire them -- you must lift their spirits and enliven their hearts. We have to give people emotional experiences. Science can always use better art direction: scientific progress and discovery must be presented to the world in a way that excites and titillates people's sense of what is possible."

plus: from the archives