Monday, June 20, 2016

Xenophiles Among Us

The potato is not indigenous to Ireland.

Just what you thought; almost all of our food comes from other places in the world. Here we find out that so many foods in the world are indigenous to somewhere else. I mean, you knew that already – tomatoes are not from Italy, and so on. Consider national identities via cuisine as similar to conceptions of self: you do not exist; you are instead a combination of others. What does it mean for a food to be Italian or Chinese. Ahh, to label and categorize.

Let us not forget that every atom in our little world was forged in a massive stellar furnace and propagated throughout the universe in a spacetime-crippling explosion. The very concepts of foreign, indigenous; of self and other; are all constructions of our minds, and like a rainbow that seems to get further away the closer we approach, they fall apart under increasing scrutiny., June 2016

Advancements in Paint

The Blue Morpho Butterfly; its color comes not from the pigments on its wings, but from the way the light refracts on the microstructures of its wings (see image below).

I really like the sound of plasmonic pixels. But let’s not forget the biomimetic method of structural color vs. chemicals and pigments. The Morpho butterfly is an example where the colors are not a matter of surface treatment but of the structure of the wings themselves. They refract light differently to create a colorful pattern, although the wing is really all the same “color.”, Jun 2016

This shows how the structures on the surface of the wings create the different colors.

Post Script:
Here’s a book about where color came from:
The Color Revolution, Regina Lee Blaszczyk, MIT Press 2012

And here’s my review

Microbial Collective Memory and the Future of Human Sociothermodynamics

stickers communicating with each other

I guess the easiest way to describe this is “distributed memory?” I’ll cut directly from the article:

“When an entire population is observed, rather than individual cells, the bacteria appear to develop a kind of collective memory. In populations exposed to a warning event, survival rates upon a second exposure two hours after the warning are higher than in populations not previously exposed. Using computational modelling, the scientists explained this phenomenon in terms of a combination of two factors. Firstly, salt stress causes a delay in cell division, leading to synchronization of cell cycles; secondly, survival probability depends on the individual bacterial cell's position in the cell cycle at the time of the second exposure. As a result of the cell cycle synchronization, the sensitivity of the population changes over time. Previously exposed populations may be more tolerant to future stress events, but they may sometimes even be more sensitive than populations with no previous exposure.”

So what this is saying is that the population has a memory. Not the individual cells, but the population as a whole. In other words, a collective memory, distributed, remembers what happened last time, and behaves accordingly. Behaves? Cells don’t behave, or at least we don’t normally say things like that. But alas, cells – plural – behave.

In the trendy field of sociothermodynamics, people are treated not even like cells but like molecules bouncing around. This idea of a collective memory changes the way we may think about these “molecules.” It seems kind of silly, we know humans have memory – individual memories inside our brains and a form of collective memory in the form of … cultural products, i.e., art, architecture, writing, etc.? – and we have theories about collective memory and the Noosphere, via Carl Jung and Tielhard de Chardin. But there’s no real metrics behind this stuff, it’s all theory. For now. Combining models of sociothermodynamics with the kind of work presented above may shed new light on human behavior, we’ll see.

March 2016,

Interlinks to things about the Noosphere and such:

Beyond the Physical Horizon

This is a visual representation of the internet. Image source, June 2016

Sometimes when I think about Kuhn’s paradigm shifts in science, I wonder if physics will ever be supplanted by something else, especially when considering that we are in the Information Age, one pivot away from the Industrial Age. Is information ultimately physical, or does it transcend the physical? Can information exist apart from the physical world?

Back on track, we have here in this mention of a quantum web is a glimpse of a potential future where network science (part graph science) is the new edge of science.

In this new study, thinking about quantum networks in light of abstract mathematical graphs really optimizes the architecture of the network. (A Scientist in the article declares that “a network is a physical system,” by the way.)

Albert-László Barabási, head of Barabási Labs and author of two major books on network science as well as a full textbook on the subject:
Network Science [the textbook]

Inter-links from Network Address:
-on Barabási’s Bursts

Current News in Network Science (aka Connection Science?)
April 2016,

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Flat Earth Hate

Extra sensory perception, screenshot search results

New Scientist, March 2016

“Rat brains quickly adapted to use data from four infrared sensors, allowing them to "see" in the dark and paving the way for augmenting the human brain.”

And what's next? Gravity sensors? jk


April 2016,

Though the method currently only supports painting on flat surfaces, one potential benefit of the new technique over standard printing is that it may be usable on more complicated, curved painting surfaces.

The Flesh Engine Revs Up

distributed artificial intelligence, aka the swarm

Watch out Skynet, the Flesh Engine is starting to flex its wet muscles. Or should I say - watch out future, because we're about to know the shit out of you.

A swarm AI predicted the Kentucky Derby. The overall field of predictive analysis is taking strides. First there was the guy who predicted the Obama election, over at Nate Silver's 538.

His was all-algorithm though. Good algos, but not this good. As expected, it turns out that people are still better. James Surowiecki, in his book The Wisdowm of Crowds (2004), asserts that large groups of regular people are better at making decisions, and at predictions, than anything. They're better than a small group of experts, and they're better than anything an algorithm can do. As individuals, we're fallible, but as a group, we cross-cancel each other. In Surowiecki's opening example, taken from statistician Francis Galton, a large group of people were asked to guess the weight of an ox. Nobody got it right, but the average of every person's guess was the correct weight.

Surowiecki points out that the stock market predicted the culprit behind the Challenger disaster way before anyone else, because the day after the accident, the stocks in a company that made rubber O-rings went way down. Not until famed scientist Richard Feynman dropped one of those O-rings in a glass of water during a high profile testimony did the groupthinking stock market's "prediction" come true.

China has been plugging in the flesh engine for some time now.

What is the value of living, breathing humans? Stinking, thinking humans? Hopefully we will find out before it's too late, before they're all gone.

Post Script
Yahoo Finance, April 2016

Ahh Headlines

 Mar 24, 2016 report:

(—A female cichlid hybrid fish has been observed to have grown male reproductive organs, impregnate itself and then to have offspring, a team of researchers in the U.K. are reporting in a paper published in the ...

And in other news:

BBC News, March 2016

BBC News, March 2016


Finally A User Manual for Being Human

How to be Human
There is a new approach to stalling the takeover of human civilization by Artificial Intelligence. That’s right, we’re going to teach it right from wrong – using crosscultural metamanual moralgorithms.

Taken from
“Researchers Mark Riedl and Brent Harrison from the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology believe the answer lies in "Quixote"—to be unveiled at the AAAI-16 Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. (Feb. 12 - 17, 2016). Quixote teaches "value alignment" to robots by training them to read stories, learn acceptable sequences of events and understand successful ways to behave in human societies.”

And this is where sh** starts to get real, folks.
“"The collected stories of different cultures teach children how to behave in socially acceptable ways with examples of proper and improper behavior in fables, novels and other literature," says Riedl, associate professor and director of the Entertainment Intelligence Lab.”

feb 2016,

I’m Not Fkkking Flat You’re Fkkking Flat

image source

Because here at network address, we just love all things conspiracy.

Something about gravity waves got the Flat-Earthers mad pissed.

Anyway, I have an idea for a board game where you get ahead by disproving flat earth theories, but instead of a flat game board, it’s a globe, and the first person to get to the center of the earth wins. In the meantime, test the prototype – watch an extensive doc on flat earth conspiracy and try to articulate why the theories don’t add up. Some are easier to disprove than others, but overall, they cover a wide range of disciplines, so there’s a chance for everyone.

gizmodo, feb 2016

Quantum Surrealism

Mutual Metaphors, MARS1, Fecal Face show 2010

Can't wait to see this one come up more often, feb 2016


Exciplexes perhaps

And other words that make me excited, that’s all.

These exciplexes are tunable just by changing the distance between the molecules, even by a few nanometers., feb 2016

Majorana Fermions Strike Again

The Majorana fermion. Love it.

How could you not? The thing is its own anti-particle. So technically, it doesn’t even exist, right?, feb 2016