Danielle Gould on advancements in the year in food and tech.
The age old dilemma: what kind of birthday present do you get for the mad Professor who has everything? Well, the University of Nottingham’s Nanotechnology Center decided to help Professor of chemistry, Martyn Poliakoff celebrate his special day by "etching" a copy of his beloved Periodic Table of Elements onto a single strand of his crazy scientist hair using a "very sophisticated" electron ion beam microscope. The microscope creates a very fine etching of the periodic table only a few microns across by shooting a "focused ion beam" of gallium ions at the hair. The technology here is nothing revolutionary, but it is inspiring to see a grown man get so giddy with the prospect of seeing science in action. Happy birthday, Professor. via
The book "Traumgedanken" ("Thoughts about dreams") contains a collection of literary, philosophical, psychological and scientifical texts which provide an insight into different dream theories.
To ease the access to the elusive topic, the book is designed as a model of a dream about dreaming. Analogue to a dream, where pieces of reality are assembled to build a story, it brings different text excerpts together. They are connected by threads which tie in with certain key words. The threads visualise the confusion and fragileness of dreams.
On five pages there are illustrations made out of thread. Their shape and colour relies on the key words on the opposite page. This way an abstract image of the dream about dreaming is generated.
In addition there are five pages where a significant excerpt from a text of the opposite page is stitched into the paper. It is not legible because the type's actual surface is inside the folded page. This expresses the mysteriousness of dreams and the aspect of dream interpretation.
I have long maintained that the Dunbar Number a we supposedly can only maintain a small number of close relationships, and only remain connected to 150 people in total a isn't a constant: it's a variable. I have been on the look out for research that supports this premise, and something new has come to light. ALisa Feldman Barrett, working with a team at Mass General Hospital in Boston, has new research that suggests that the size of the amygdala correlates strongly with the number of close friendships that people maintain.
If you've lived in the USA for long enough you surely have gotten mails about you being members of some "Class Action" suite.A These are amazing.AA The email just landed in my mailbox about Dell doing something wrong with their home warranty service.A They deny they did anything wrong but agree to settle because this is cheaper than going to the court.AA So what is the deal ? As a member of the suite I can submit the claim for $4 to $10 "cash benefit", yet there is $5,368,000A for "lawyers fees and cost".
But human life expectancy hasn’t changed at all, really, and travel is still relatively expensive (though cheaper, of course, but not by much). We had the Concorde, but now we don’t. Since the 1970’s, not much has changed. We still have the same airplanes, with slight improvements. We still have the same cars, with slight improvements. And we still have the same medical procedures, with slight improvements.
Before the Internet, newspapers were the sole source of information and so had an elevated role in society. Now they are being relegated to just one of the many sources of news; once considered a horror if they disappeared, they would not impact the world if they went bankrupt today (as there are plenty of online mastheads to replace their value). As social media technologies continue to be refined — where the participants curate the source material themselves — blogs will not disappear like how newspapers won’t disappear. But their position in the world is far from guaranteed, as the audience curation is being done better by the aggregators and the source material is now no longer proprietary to a journalist.
Lots of jobs should be destroyed. Call centers come to mind: many pay shit wages and offer no security. Lots of dreary clerical busy-work can be automated. Can you think of more?
New jobs aren’t all created equal. Startups also create lots of jobs indirectly. I wouldn’t mind being an engineer at Google, but I wouldn’t trade that for being a crafter on Etsy. At least I assume they love what they do and have "flow"; certainly a luxury for most earning on working Amazon’s Mechanical Turk for pennies per task.
300 years ago, some 98% of Europeans were farmers. Now it’s <2%. The creative destruction of entrepreneurs recycled entire industries, giving rise to new jobs that have since been forgotten. Tinkers, coopers and blacksmiths have all but disappeared.
The web is only 20 years old and the information revolution is only getting started. If we do our job, the economy will be unrecognizable in 50 years. By then, our employment obsession - a bizarre relic of the industrial revolution - might be ready for the trash heap of history.
I haven’t always been comfortable with foie gras, though I’ve spent a good chunk of my life working with it. At first, the discomfort was with the taste. I tried it first as a teenager in the form of a cold terrine that tasted mostly of cat food to me. Then again, I also hated mayonnaise, brussels sprouts, and fish at the time, so my young opinion could hardly be trusted. Later on, as my culinary career expanded, I learned to love it.