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Showing posts from 2014

How birds lost their teeth, a theory...

In a recent publication of a landmark study where 40 species of birds DNA were sequenced and cross compared some really illuminating findings about probable evolutionary reasons for specific traits and relationships were revealed. One of the most interesting things is what was not realized about the origins of the birds beak.

"Although birds are descended from dinosaurs, they have no teeth. Most previous studies have suggested the common ancestor of modern birds lacked teeth, but other work has disagreed. The new findings add support to the idea of a toothless common ancestor, because all birds sampled share some mutations that turn off five genes for building teeth.
Researchers estimate that teeth, or at least enamel-covered teeth, disappeared about 116 million years ago in the ancestry of birds. They suggest beaks replaced teeth in a two-step process. But it's still not clear why beaks took over for teeth, said study author Robert Meredith, a biologist at Montclair State Univ…

AOW: Shooting for the Moon instead of the Mountain

A recent Medium article exposes some of the drawbacks inherent in the business model of the TaskRabbit service.

 TaskRabbit is very much in the space that my Action Oriented Workflow mines for all possible work interactions but only for the subset of physical labor of a temporary and nature. They are a subset of the much larger space that AOW enables harnessing with both physical and knowledge work (this being the much bigger piece of the pie that WorkNetz will primarily focus on)...that said, one of the key features of the AOW technology  is the ability for delegated agents to REJECT work they do not wish to do OR to even simply never get work in their cue at all if they are not electing to receive it.

I saw this as a critical requirement of the system for two reasons:

1) If you give them the ability to reject they retain that sense of ownership, they are indeed their own boss and work on their own schedule as most people want and with Taskrabbits pivot are not denied.

2) Allowing p…

Master the Meta

About 6 years ago I wrote a blog post titled Mastering Multiple Mountains where I spoke about the interesting dynamic of interaction that happens between people with different levels of understanding of any given concept.

The difficulties of engaging an exchange of knowledge between these different levels of understanding are what make the art of diplomacy and consensus building an art. The need to constantly gauge the state of knowledge of the others participating in the conversation is required and is made more efficient the more any given conversant has multiple mastery of different areas of potential conversational exploration.

A corollary to this skill that I've been considering is highlighted by the advantage to communication enabled by those who master multiple mountains of knowledge and that is being able to consider a meta analysis of a given discussion. Meta analysis is slightly different from simply gaining knowledge across different areas and being able to then illumi…

Accelerating Humanities race to zero.

It's interesting to me how often people confuse the idea of being supported by government systems with the idea that those people are "lazy" or not being productive or creative in any way.

This is the height of the stupidity of such views. Ultimately we WANT to build a society where more people are able to survive without having to work if indeed that is what they want. This situation benefits all humanity as it ALWAYS has.

It is freedom FROM work that got us out of the daily subsistence survival JOB when we learned how to harness the patterns we saw in the environment with regard to locations for water and other sources of natural resource and flora and fauna we needed to survival.

That freedom FROM work got us to think about writing literature, induced us to build surpluses of our now readily gathered natural resources, created the first builders and engineers and craftsmen.

As our ancient ancestors all over the world became good at these things they discovered metal …

New technique for in vivo gene modification, more like a CrispR-Cas9 supplement than a replacement

So some are cheerleading a new technique for inducing genetic modification.

The key issue that stands out with this new technique is indicated near the end of that article, it is NOT a permanent process.

First, the claim that the possibility of cancer formation exists with the process of Crispr / Cas9 is true but then the probability of formation is the same for a natural gene silencing operating which are constantly happening over the developmental life cycle of any organism.

That is why it is such an amazing technique to start, the mention of promoter addition as a possible bad thing doesn't make any sense to me (but I may not understand what they mean)...if you want to activate an inserted gene you need a promoter that is the switch activate the inserted gene or by being found in a silencing operation is methylated.

In the final analysis to do all the things we want to do.

1) Repair existing genes in vivo (permanently).
2) Add in new genes in vivo (permanently).

Dairy free "real" Milk on the way, thank GMO!


"Earlier this year, a synthetic dairy start-up called Muufri (pronounced “Moo-free") was founded by two bioengineers in California - Perumal Gandhi and Ryan Pandya. They’re working on perfecting an artificial cow's milk made from a special variety of yeast that has been genetically engineered to produce milk proteins.
Nicknamed an ‘out-of-body udder’, this system is designed to produce milk that retains the taste and health benefits of real milk, setting it apart from soy, rice, and almond milk varieties. Because as nice as soy-based ice-cream can be, it will never match the popularity of regular milk-based ice-cream, but what if Muufri ice-cream can get the taste just right?
"If we want the world to change its diet from a product that isn't sustainable to something that is, it has to be identical [to], or better than, the original product," Gandhi told Linda Qui at National Geographic. "The world will not switch from milk from a cow to the …

New Cognitive Flow Diagram and the possible need for artificial minds to sleep.

The Simple Dynamic Cognition Cycle flow diagram above is topologically identical to this one:

I published with an earlier post on the Salience theory of dynamic cognition and consciousness but this one shows the multiple feedback lines from the salience node as all left facing. The only one that is right facing feeds to Action. 
This is important because it shows that Salience evaluations directly modulate Action while also bypassing action for continued Sensation, some times a prediction is incorrect and is bypassed for continued approximation of stored memory with new sensation in the Comparison node which takes feedback from salience itself (emotional and autonomic). I posit that cognition (the mind) happens between Sensation and Salience nodes and some times bubbles up Action, the "self" and consciousness are emergent reflections of this sea of comparisons in real time.

When we sleep the outer red flow arrows from salience to action are minimally triggered but subconsci…

On evil AI and one type of "uploading"

The latest noise in the AIosphere particularly from the sector of people who call themselves  transhumanists is much shock and confusion over Elon Musk's statement at a recent MIT conference that he feels that AI done wrong could lead to an existential crisis. He said:

"“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out. “

If you've been reading my blog you know I've been sounding this alarm for at least 5 years but the opprobrium coming at Musk from transhumanists is particularly hilarious. Some are calling him a luddite and questioning his statement because in their view he doesn't know anything about AI (I'd listen to Elon before even considering views on the matter from yet another "futurist".)

Why I care about this subject...

In this article at H+ an anonymous author even goes so far as to comp…


The Fermi Paradox has been a puzzling question for 50 years now and many answers have been given as to why it is that it seems that we are alone in the silence of a Galaxy teeming with not just stars but stars with billion of planets that can support life like our own.

In the past I've explained that the likely possibility is that we are one of a few species evolved sufficiently in intelligence to be able to ponder and soon engage the task of physically leaving our solar system. A great filter exists which has made it incredibly difficult for life forms to evolve to our present level until this time in galactic history. This idea mirrors the Universal concept of anthropomorphism which states that we exist at all because if the Universal constants were any different we simply wouldn't and that there is no actual "fine tuning" to the Universe. I propose the same is true about Galactic evolution and that we may be among the first set of civilizations that have survived…

iPSC: Embryonic "base class" generation method found.

In another ground breaking advance to the science of stem cell pluripotent modification a team of researchers has succeeded in inducing a cell to change into the earliest known embryonic state.

This is great news as it is exactly what would need to be possible so that full comparative analysis between different cell lines induced into creation can be had. Comparative analysis will then enable the key genes that differentiate different stem cell types for different tissues to be genetically characterized and once that happens the ability to point genetically shift cells from type to type (even post differentiation) will be possible.

This is a hugely important feat because it isolates an ability to identify from the zoo of genes the specific pathway expressions that crystalize the cells that constitute living organisms and enable their macroscopic functions.

The sequencing of any given genome gives one a book filled with words but no chapter titles or division labels. All the words bei…

Illusion of continuity: consciousness vs quantum electro dynamics

You know one thing I've been thinking about in the last few days....

It is of the solution that Feynman came up with for describing quantum electrodynamics and resolving a whole host of problems which up to that time were intractable.

The integration of renormalization into the theory and the first class representation of histories of evolution for particle dynamics that spanned the present the future and the past in the wave function description.

I asserted a few days ago that so far as enabling the mathematical resolution there is no proof that any real particles can travel backward in time...some mathematical tools are just that and despite being useful should never be expected to be "realized".

A good example of this from mathematics and engineering is the complex plane and the astonishing landscape of possibility it opened up. What is "i" ??

In the same way that a particles history can be seen as a present position that emerged from an infinite set of pos…

Big Business: Where Innovation goes to starve.

A recent medium post contained the following quote:

"I promise you, my reaction to the project’s cancelation wasn’t “Too bad, let me find my next longshot!” It was more like grief that a year of my life had been wasted, guilt that I’d wasted the efforts of my team, fear of reputation damage, and determination to work on something next time that would actually matter.

As individuals, we have no portfolio strategy — so those 10% odds are no longer palatable. When we fail, most rational people respond by trying to avoid dumb ideas and pick smart bets with clear impact the next time. People who happen to have a hit in their first few tries are even more vulnerable to the belief that they have to succeed every time (and take it harder when subsequent failures inevitably occur.) And that’s it — the dead-end for innovation.

I’ve met a few people who don’t seem to have this reaction (serial entrepreneurs every one of them) and I can’t tell you what makes them react differently or how to le…

The death of the drug deal is nigh

These type of discoveries in a subtle way describe the long game on why the idea of drug prohibition is as extinct as the dodo.

You won't have to traverse dark alley ways to buy impure product trafficked from far away lands. Instead you will sit in your basement bio lab with elemental components and code together the necessary little functionality that you wish to have your host of living beasties produce for you. From heroine to vanilla, oil to alcohol.... when every one can bio synthesize what ever they want from scratch ...what need for outside suppliers?

Drug dealing will go extinct  and in it's
place will spring up a wide industry where templates for production of all kinds of inebriating or mind dulling agents will emerge....the same way maker 3D files are shared online for use in 3D printers...or modeling files are shared for rendering CGI.

As people will be able to clandestinely supply their own drugs the risk of trying to buy them illegally doesn't have to be take…

Automota: Why robot "laws" will never be effective

A new trailer to a new Science Fiction take on the robot future is out and it is called Automota. It mixes some tried and true ideas in Science fiction but principle among them is the plot hinge on the idea of two "protocols". These are similar to Issac Azimov's 3 robot rules for those that recall his classic work on the matter "I,Robot".

Automata: 2 protocols:

1) A Robot cannot harm any form of life.

2) A robot cannot alter itself or others.

I am going to explain why such ideas are fundamentally flawed, first the idea that it would even be possible to enforce setting anything like rules of behavior as abstract as the protocol 1, in the film would require a great deal of semantic disambiguation.

I posit it will require enough that the ability to understand the sentence and take action to enforce it necessitates a sense of self as well as a sense of other in order to build an intrinsic understanding of what "harm" is. That last part is the problem, if it k…