discovery of DNA

44 results back to index


pages: 118 words: 35,663

Smart Machines: IBM's Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing (Columbia Business School Publishing) by John E. Kelly Iii

AI winter, call centre, carbon footprint, crowdsourcing, demand response, discovery of DNA, disruptive innovation, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, global supply chain, Internet of things, John von Neumann, Mars Rover, natural language processing, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, RAND corporation, RFID, Richard Feynman, smart grid, smart meter, speech recognition, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

We believe, though, that the most important effect of these technologies will be in assisting people to do what they are unable to do today, vastly expanding the problems we can solve and creating new spheres of innovation for every industry. And like previous eras of computing, this will take a tremendous amount of innovation over decades. “These new capabilities will affect everything. It will be like the discovery of DNA,” predicts Ralph Gomory, a pioneer of applied mathematics who was director of IBM Research in the 1970s and 1980s and later head of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.6 HOW COGNITIVE SYSTEMS WILL HELP US BE SMARTER As smart as human beings are, there are many things that we can’t do or simply can’t process in time to affect the outcome of a situation. Cognitive systems in many cases help us overcome our limitations.


The Linguist: A Personal Guide to Language Learning by Steve Kaufmann

borderless world, British Empire, discovery of DNA, financial independence, haute cuisine, South China Sea, trade liberalization, urban sprawl

Joseph Conrad, a Pole, is a leading figure of modern English literature. Samuel Beckett, an Irishman, wrote one of the prominent plays of modern French literature, Waiting for Godot. There are many outstanding nonEuropean virtuosos performing European classical music. Many non-Asians dedicate themselves with success to Asian arts or traditional sports. The Fundamental Similarity of Human Beings With the discovery of DNA, we now understand what the Taoists knew intuitively: all is one. Human beings are remarkably uniform and have a common origin. As Richard Dawkins brilliantly explains in River Out of Eden, our genes have been handed down to us by those of our ancestors who survived long enough to produce children. Many of our characteristics, such as blood type and susceptibility to certain diseases, cut across the lines of more superficial differences like skin colour or body shape.


pages: 389 words: 112,319

Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Wiles, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, dark matter, delayed gratification, different worldview, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, fear of failure, functional fixedness, Gary Taubes, George Santayana, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Inbox Zero, index fund, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, late fees, lateral thinking, lone genius, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, obamacare, Occam's razor, out of africa, Peter Thiel, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra

Norton, “Origins of Quantum Theory,” online chapter in Einstein for Everyone course, University of Pittsburgh, fall 2018, www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/teaching/HPS_0410/chapters/quantum_theory_origins. For X-rays, see Alan Chodos, ed., “November 8, 1895: Roentgen’s Discovery of X-Rays,” This Month in Physics History series, American Physical Society News 10, no. 10 (November 2001), www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200111/history.cfm. For DNA, see Leslie A. Pray, “Discovery of DNA Structure and Function: Watson and Crick,” Nature Education 1, no. 1 (2008): 100, www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/discovery-of-dna-structure-and-function-watson-397. For oxygen, see Julia Davis, “Discovering Oxygen, a Brief History,” Mental Floss, August 1, 2012, http://mentalfloss.com/article/31358/discovering-oxygen-brief-history. For penicillin, see Theodore C. Eickhoff, “Penicillin: An Accidental Discovery Changed the Course of Medicine,” Endocrine Today, August 2008, www.healio.com/endocrinology/news/print/endocrine-today/%7B15afd2a1-2084-4ca6-a4e6-7185f5c4cfb0%7D/penicillin-an-accidental-discovery-changed-the-course-of-medicine. 52.


pages: 824 words: 218,333

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Benoit Mandelbrot, butterfly effect, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, longitudinal study, medical residency, moral hazard, mouse model, New Journalism, out of africa, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Scientific racism, stem cell, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas Malthus, twin studies

Information was then used to build an organism from scratch: message became material. And when an organism matured, it generated male or female semen again—transforming material back to message. In fact, rather than Pythagoras’s triangle, there was a circle, or a cycle, at work: form begat information, and then information begat form. Centuries later, the biologist Max Delbrück would joke that Aristotle should have been given the Nobel Prize posthumously—for the discovery of DNA. But if heredity was transmitted as information, then how was that information encoded? The word code comes from the Latin caudex, the wooden pith of a tree on which scribes carved their writing. What, then, was the caudex of heredity? What was being transcribed, and how? How was the material packaged and transported from one body to the next? Who encrypted the code, and who translated it, to create a child?

“That Stupid Molecule” Never underestimate the power of . . . stupidity: Walter W. Moore Jr., Wise Sayings: For Your Thoughtful Consideration (Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2012), 89. “The Fess”: “The Oswald T. Avery Collection: Biographical information,” National Institutes of Health, http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/Narrative/CC/p-nid/35. No one knew or understood the chemical structure: Robert C. Olby, The Path to the Double Helix: The Discovery of DNA (New York: Dover Publications, 1994), 107. Swiss biochemist, Friedrich Miescher: George P. Sakalosky, Notio Nova: A New Idea (Pittsburgh, PA: Dorrance, 2014), 58. extremely “unsophisticated” structure: Olby, Path to the Double Helix, 89. “stupid molecule”: Garland Allen and Roy M. MacLeod, eds., Science, History and Social Activism: A Tribute to Everett Mendelsohn, vol. 228 (Dordrecht: Springer Science & Business Media, 2013), 92.

Trans. Matthew Cobb. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998. Morgan, Thomas Hunt. The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity. New York: Holt, 1915. ———. The Physical Basis of Heredity. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1919. Müller-Wille, Staffan, and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger. A Cultural History of Heredity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. Olby, Robert C. The Path to the Double Helix: The Discovery of DNA. New York: Dover Publications, 1994. Paley, William. The Works of William Paley. Philadelphia: J. J. Woodward, 1836. Patterson, Paul H. The Origins of Schizophrenia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. Portugal, Franklin H., and Jack S. Cohen. A Century of DNA: A History of the Discovery of the Structure and Function of the Genetic Substance. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1977. Posner, Gerald L., and John Ware.


Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire by Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, American ideology, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate personhood, David Brooks, discovery of DNA, double helix, drone strike, failed state, Howard Zinn, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Julian Assange, land reform, Martin Wolf, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, Powell Memorandum, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, single-payer health, sovereign wealth fund, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Tobin tax, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

In Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Bruce Alberts, a biochemist, had a series of editorials on science education.18 What he points out is quite interesting. He says science education is increasingly being designed with the effect of killing any interest in science. If you are in college, maybe you have to memorize a bunch of enzymes or something. If you are in elementary school, you memorize the periodic table. When you study the discovery of DNA, you’re just taught what scientists already discovered. You memorize the fact that DNA is a double helix. Science is being taught in a way that kills any joy in science, gives you no sense of what discovery is. It’s the opposite of Weisskopf’s view that it matters what you discover, not what you cover. Alberts gives some nice examples of alternatives that do work. In one kindergarten class, each kid was given a dish with a mixture of pebbles, shells, and seeds, and asked, “How do we know if something is a seed?”


pages: 608 words: 150,324

Life's Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code by Matthew Cobb

a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, anti-communist, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, phenotype, post-materialism, Stephen Hawking

., ‘The pursuit of a hobby’, Annual Review of Biochemistry, vol. 49, 1980, pp. 1–30. O’Connell, M. R., Oakes, B. L., Sternberg, S. H. et al., ‘Programmable RNA recognition and cleavage by CRISPR/Cas9’ Nature, vol. 516, 2014, pp. 263–6. Olby, R., ‘Schrödinger’s problem: What is life?’, Journal of the History of Biology, vol. 4, 1971, pp. 119–48. Olby, R., ‘Avery in retrospect’, Nature, vol. 238, 1972, pp. 295–6. Olby, R., The Path to the Double Helix: The Discovery of DNA, New York, Dover, 1994. Olby, R., ‘Quiet debut for the double helix’, Nature, vol. 421, 2003, pp. 402–5. Olby, R., Francis Crick: Hunter of Life’s Secrets, Plainview, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2009. Olby, R. and Posner, R., ‘An early reference to genetic coding’, Nature, vol. 215, 1967, p. 556. Organ, C. L., Schweitzer, M. H., Zheng, W., et al., ‘Molecular phylogenetics of Mastodon and Tyrannosaurus rex’, Science, vol. 320, 2008, p. 499.

Poczai, P., Bell, N. and Hyvönen, J., ‘Imre Festetics and the Sheep Breeders’ Society of Moravia: Mendel’s forgotten “research network”‘, PLoS Biology, vol. 12, 2014, article e1001772. Pollister, A. W., Hewson, S. and Alfert, M., ‘Studies on the desoxypentose nucleic acid content of animal nuclei’, Journal of Cellular Physiology, vol. 38 (Suppl. 1), 1951, pp. 101–19. Pollock, M. R., ‘The discovery of DNA: An ironic tale of chance, prejudice and insight’, Journal of General Microbiology, vol. 63, 1970, pp. 1–20. Polyanski, A, A., Hlevnjal, M. and Zagrovic, B., ‘Proteome-wide analysis reveals clues of complementary interactions between mRNAs and their cognate proteins as the physicochemical foundation of the genetic code’, RNA Biology, vol. 10, 2013, pp. 1248–54. Pontecorvo, G., ‘Genetic formulation of gene structure and gene action’, Advances in Enzymology, vol. 13, 1952, pp. 121–49.


pages: 200 words: 60,987

The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America by Steven Johnson

Albert Einstein, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, Danny Hillis, discovery of DNA, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kevin Kelly, planetary scale, side project, South Sea Bubble, stem cell, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, zero-sum game

In most cases when a fundamental force in the universe is first formally understood by science, there is a lag between that understanding and the emergence of popular technologies that depend on the science for their existence. Newton’s law of universal gravitation didn’t immediately spawn a craze for gadgets built on his equations. Even in today’s accelerated world, it took at least two generations for Watson and Crick’s discovery of DNA to engender mainstream technologies such as DNA tests. But with electricity, the two phenomena overlapped: you had the discovery of one of nature’s most fundamental forces, and you had an immediate flood of mesmerizing parlor tricks. You had awe-inspiring scientific genius, and you had gadgets, all in one swoop. Until the 1740s, electricity had been thought of as two separate fluids, with the relationship between them poorly understood.


pages: 239 words: 68,598

The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by James E. Lovelock

Ada Lovelace, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, continuous integration, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, discovery of DNA, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, short selling, Stewart Brand, University of East Anglia

So the Gaia concept was born at the peak of the New Age – contemporary with Woodstock and the Beatles, which perhaps accounts for why so many scientists still regard it as part of the plethora of New Age nonsense which was around at the time. But not all of us were hippies with our rock chicks. There was the space programme that culminated with the moon landings, a surge of planetary exploration by orbiting satellites, and the discovery of DNA and the genetic code. The 1960s saw the near catastrophic confrontation between the superpowers over missiles sited on Cuba, and the end of segregation in the USA and much violent political change; it was a time of painful conflict between old and new views of the world. Apart from the coincidence of its birth with the New Age, Gaia science was far too revolutionary an idea to be immediately accepted, and I should not have expected this until a substantial quantity of evidence and theory had been gathered; it was not in fact until thirty‐six years later, in 2001, that the concept received partial public recognition.


pages: 220 words: 66,518

The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles by Bruce H. Lipton

Albert Einstein, Benoit Mandelbrot, correlation does not imply causation, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Mars Rover, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

Once it was known that you needed nothing other than DNA to pass on traits, the DNA molecule became a scientific superstar. It was now left to Watson and Crick to unravel the structure and function of that superstar molecule. DNA molecules are long and threadlike. They are made from four nitrogen-containing chemicals called bases (adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine, or A, T, C, and G). Watson and Crick’s discovery of DNA’s structure led to the fact that the sequence of the A, T, C, and G bases in DNA spells out the sequence of amino acids along a protein’s backbone (Watson and Crick 1953). Those long strings of DNA molecules can be subdivided into single genes, segments that provide the blueprint for specific proteins. The code for recreating the protein machinery of the cell had been cracked! Watson and Crick also explained why DNA is the perfect hereditary molecule.


pages: 285 words: 78,180

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life by J. Craig Venter

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, Barry Marshall: ulcers, bioinformatics, borderless world, Brownian motion, clean water, discovery of DNA, double helix, epigenetics, experimental subject, global pandemic, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing machine

In the restricted sense that we had shown with this experiment how God was unnecessary for the creation of new life, I suppose that we were. I believed that with the creation of synthetic life from chemicals, we had finally put to rest any remaining notions of vitalism once and for all. But it seems that I had underestimated the extent to which a belief in vitalism still pervades modern scientific thinking. Belief is the enemy of scientific advancement. The belief that proteins were the genetic material set back the discovery of DNA as the information-carrier, perhaps by as much as half a century. During the latter half of the twentieth century we came to understand that DNA was Schrödinger’s “code-script,” deciphered its complex message, and began to figure out precisely how it guides the processes of life. This epic adventure in understanding would mark the birth of a new era of science, one that lay at the nexus of biology and technology. 3 Dawn of the Digital Age of Biology If we are right, and of course that is not yet proven, then it means that nucleic acids are not merely structurally important but functionally active substances in determining the biochemical activities and specific characteristics of cells and that by means of a known chemical substance it is possible to induce predictable and hereditary changes in cells.


pages: 298 words: 81,200

Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, digital map, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, mass immigration, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

Darwin’s theory of natural selection was a “dangerous” idea—in Daniel Dennett’s phrase—because it challenged Biblical and human-centric accounts of life’s history, but the true measure of its scientific power lies in how many new fields were stacked on top of it over the course of the twentieth century: the Mendelian and population genetics that emerged from the “modern synthesis” in the 1940s; the molecular genetics revolution triggered by Watson and Crick’s discovery of DNA; newer fields like evolutionary psychology and “evolutionary development.” Often, new scientific fields form by propping themselves over multiple platforms. The field that ultimately explained Darwin’s Paradox—ecosystems ecology—stands on the shoulders of population genetics, systems theory, and biochemistry, among others. Even the creative arts evolve via stacked platforms. This may seem surprising, given how readily we draw upon the image of the private artistic genius, holed up in his study, conjuring a whole new world in his head from scratch.


pages: 287 words: 86,919

Protocol: how control exists after decentralization by Alexander R. Galloway

Ada Lovelace, airport security, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, computer age, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, phenotype, post-industrial society, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, semantic web, SETI@home, stem cell, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, the market place, theory of mind, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Review, working poor

Or to take another example, the flimsy, cross-platform nature of HTML is precisely what gives it its power as a protocological standard. Like Empire, if protocol dared to centralize, or dared to hierarchize, or dared to essentialize, it would fail. Further to these many theoretical interventions—Foucault, Deleuze, Kittler, Mandel, Castells, Jameson, Hardt and Negri—are many dates that roughly confirm my periodization: the discovery of DNA in 1953; the economic crisis in the West during the 1970s epitomized by President Richard Nixon’s decoupling of the U.S. dollar from the gold standard on August 17, 1971 (and thus the symbolic evaporation of the Bretton Woods agreement); Charles Jencks’s claim that modern architecture ended on July 15, 1972, at 3:32 P.M.; the ARPAnet’s mandatory rollover to TCP/IP on January 1, 1983; the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989; the crashing of AT&T’s long-distance 46.


pages: 287 words: 80,050

The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More - More or Less by Emrys Westacott

Airbnb, back-to-the-land, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Bonfire of the Vanities, carbon footprint, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate raider, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, Diane Coyle, discovery of DNA, Downton Abbey, dumpster diving, financial independence, full employment, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, McMansion, means of production, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, negative equity, New Urbanism, paradox of thrift, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, the market place, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Upton Sinclair, Veblen good, Zipcar

Homer gushes over the splendors of Menelaus’s palace; Gauguin left his home country to seek inspiration in the more exotic environment of Tahiti; Handel composed pieces to accompany momentous ceremonial occasions. Yet it is striking that a humble activity like picking blackberries—the subject of well-known poems by, among others, Sylvia Plath, Seamus Heaney, and Richard Wilbur—appears to be more inspirational to modern poets, more charged with interest and significance, than, say, the construction of the world’s tallest building, the Oscar ceremonies, the space program, or the discovery of DNA’s molecular structure. One might even say that it has now become an established function of art to help us discover the remarkable in the commonplace. This, after all, is one effect of art that uses “found objects,” such as Duchamp’s sculpture Bicycle Wheel in which a bicycle wheel is mounted above a wooden stool. Commodity art, which uses mass-produced objects; trash art, which makes art out of garbage; and pop art, which uses commercial labels and logos—all these also reinforce this idea that everything has the potential to be aesthetically interesting.


pages: 260 words: 84,847

P53: The Gene That Cracked the Cancer Code by Sue Armstrong

Asilomar, discovery of DNA, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Kickstarter, mouse model, stem cell, trade route

‘Dr Shellig’s enthusiasm was infectious, and what I specially didn’t expect was that I loved the laboratory. We got to repeat people’s experiments from the literature and even try some new things. People stayed in the lab late at night; she had us over to her house to talk, and what did we talk about? We talked about science! It was terrifically infectious for me. This was probably 1959 – only six years after Watson and Crick and their discovery of DNA structure. So the molecular biology revolution was just starting.’ Levine began his career studying how viruses replicate themselves – essentially by taking over the machinery of the host cell to do so, because they are parasites that cannot function outside of other living things, be they plant or animal. He was working with bacteriophages – viruses that infect bacteria, described earlier.


pages: 315 words: 89,861

The Simulation Hypothesis by Rizwan Virk

3D printing, Albert Einstein, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, butterfly effect, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, game design, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, Minecraft, natural language processing, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Zeno's paradox

Can we say any more of the physical world around us? Nature as a 3D Printer of Biological Material One thing we haven’t been able to print (yet) are organic materials, which contain carbon, the basic building block of life. An organic 3D printer is not as far off as we might think, and it could be used to print organs or, in the case of some science fiction-like scenarios, actual living organisms. The discovery of DNA and genes, which were theorized long before physical genes were found, seemed to reveal that the building blocks of living things are, in fact, also based on information. The information in DNA in the form of genes acts as instructions for the body of the organism to build proteins, which are the building blocks of the cells in the body. Therefore, what we think of as a physical body can really be expressed as information that is interpreted by a biological printing process to create cells that are assembled into larger abstractions called living organisms!


pages: 327 words: 103,336

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts

active measures, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, business cycle, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, East Village, easy for humans, difficult for computers, edge city, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, high batting average, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, industrial cluster, interest rate swap, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Laplace demon, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, medical malpractice, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, oil shock, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, prediction markets, pre–internet, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, school choice, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, urban planning, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

Ultimately, we will probably need to pursue all these approaches simultaneously, attempting to converge on an understanding of how people behave and how the world works both from above and from below, bringing to bear every method and resource that we have at our disposal. It sounds like a lot of work, and it will be. But as Merton noted four decades ago, we have done this kind of thing before, first in physics and then in biology and then again in medical science. Most recently, the genomics revolution that began more than fifty years ago with the discovery of DNA has long promised more in the way of medical treatments than it has been able to deliver; yet that hasn’t stopped us from devoting enormous resources to the pursuit of science.26 Why should the science required to understand social problems such as urban poverty or economic development or public education deserve less attention? It should not. Nor can we claim anymore that the necessary instruments don’t exist.


pages: 400 words: 94,847

Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen

Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, Kevin Kelly, Magellanic Cloud, means of production, medical residency, Nicholas Carr, P = NP, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, social intelligence, social web, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, University of East Anglia, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge

., see [99, 212, 213, 214], and references therein. p 79: Regarding the rapid acceptance of Einstein’s ideas, it helped that leading scientists such as Lorentz and Poincaré arrived at similar conclusions at about the same time. But although Einstein’s formulation of relativity was even more radical than the formulations of Lorentz and Poincaré, it quickly became accepted as the correct way to think about relativity. p 79: On the discovery of DNA, and Pauling’s error, see Watson’s memoir, The Double Helix [234]. p 80 “If Feynman says it three times, it’s right”: [72]. p 84: My thanks to Mark Tovey for help constructing this example on optical illusions and cognitive science. p 85: On collaboration markets, see also [246] and [146]. p 85: The discussion of topological quantum computes is inspired by [22]. Topological quantum computers were originally proposed in a remarkable article by Kitaev [111].


pages: 372 words: 101,174

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, brain emulation, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer age, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, George Gilder, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, linear programming, Loebner Prize, mandelbrot fractal, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

Soyfer, “The Consequences of Political Dictatorship for Russian Science,” Nature Reviews Genetics 2, no. 9 (2001): 723–29, doi:10.1038/35088598; PMID 11533721. 5. J. D. Watson and F. H. C. Crick, “A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid,” Nature 171 (1953): 737–38, http://www.nature.com/nature/dna50/watsoncrick.pdf and “Double Helix: 50 Years of DNA,” Nature archive, http://www.nature.com/nature/dna50/archive.xhtml. 6. Franklin died in 1958 and the Nobel Prize for the discovery of DNA was awarded in 1962. There is controversy as to whether or not she would have shared in that prize had she been alive in 1962. 7. Albert Einstein, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” (1905). This paper established the special theory of relativity. See Robert Bruce Lindsay and Henry Margenau, Foundations of Physics (Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press, 1981), 330. 8. “Crookes radiometer,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crookes_radiometer. 9.


pages: 357 words: 98,853

Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome by Nessa Carey

dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Downton Abbey, Drosophila, epigenetics, Kickstarter, mouse model, phenotype, placebo effect, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs

For instance, the neurons in the brain express the receptors for neurotransmitters but switch off the genes for haemoglobin, the pigment that carries oxygen in our red blood cells. These are all examples of situations we have referred to for decades as epigenetic phenomena. Yes, exactly the same word as for the modifications, and it makes sense. These are all situations where something else is happening in addition to, or as well as, the genetic code. The discovery of DNA methylation finally gave us a mechanism to understand how epigenetic phenomena happen. In a neuron, the genes responsible for producing haemoglobin become heavily methylated and are switched off. They stay switched off through life. In the cells that give rise to red blood cells, however, these genes are not methylated and haemoglobin is created. But the genes that code for neurotransmitter receptors are switched off using this epigenetic mechanism in these cells.


pages: 319 words: 95,854

You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity by Robert Lane Greene

anti-communist, British Empire, centre right, discovery of DNA, European colonialism, facts on the ground, haute couture, illegal immigration, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Parag Khanna, Ronald Reagan, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Steven Pinker, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Beginning in the middle of the last millennium, the European powers became the world’s undeniable masters of technology and modern development. Later, their New-World offspring, and especially the United States, would join them in global dominance. From ocean-crossing vessels to railroads, from the telegraph to the telephone, from radio to television to the Internet, from the discovery of oxygen to the discovery of DNA, countries speaking European languages led the way in the world’s modernization. This was unsatisfactory for two other kinds of societies. Postcolonial states born in the twentieth century wanted to show the world that they were every bit as sovereign as the countries that had formerly defeated, dominated, or colonized them. This meant having modern languages that could cope with all of the world’s technical and scientific challenges.


pages: 362 words: 97,862

Physics in Mind: A Quantum View of the Brain by Werner Loewenstein

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, complexity theory, dematerialisation, discovery of DNA, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, informal economy, information trail, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Norbert Wiener, Richard Feynman, stem cell, trade route, Turing machine

Digital demons, 127, 128 plants and, 128–130 rise of, 127–128 Digital electrical signals evolutionary beginning of, 35, 36 generation of, 54–56, 88, 127, 210, 211, 212n, 213, 278 synchronization of, 222 Diodes, tunnel, 103 Dipoles, 40 (fig.), 63 (fig.), 69, 70, 97 Dirac, Paul, 153, 241 Disparity, visual, 176–178, 179 Distributed coding, 200–202, 273 Distributive law of coding, 61 Divergent mapping, 92 (fig.), 98 DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) compounded scripts of, 113 discovery of DNA structure as an example of sensory transcendence, 152–153 error suppressing loops in information transmission to protein, 111–112, 113n, 114 human and mouse scripts, 115 large-scale rearrangements in, 118–121 mutations of, 109–113, 115, 117 number of genes contained in, 91 number of odor-sensing genes in, 89 Dowling, John E., 281 Dyson, F. J., 282 Earth, formation of, 18 (fig.) Eckert, Artur, 258 Edelman, Gerald, 223 Einstein, Albert, 2, 4, 13, 60, 62n, 65 (box), 155, 160, 161, 242 Einstein, Elsa, 155 Electrical signals, sensory.


pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey

3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, private space industry, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

As a driver, he had numerous accidents and a few arrests, usually because he was distracted or reading. He overate, told off-color jokes, and did his best work in noisy and chaotic environments. In the 1940s, von Neumann figured out the logical requirements for self-replication. He described a computational “machine” that could make copies of itself, allow for errors, and evolve. This remarkable work preceded computers and anticipated the later discovery of DNA and the mechanisms of life. His work was theoretical, but it created a roadmap for building actual self-replicating machines.24 Perhaps this is the way we will eventually explore the galaxy. Diffusing through interstellar space and exploring distant worlds with a fleet of self-replicating probes sounds fantastical, but it could be achieved with a reasonable extrapolation of our current technology.


pages: 347 words: 101,586

Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain by António R. Damásio

Albert Einstein, Benoit Mandelbrot, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, discovery of DNA, experimental subject, longitudinal study, mandelbrot fractal, placebo effect, Richard Feynman, social intelligence, theory of mind

Some of the work can be based on experiments in animals and tends to develop relatively fast. But other work can be carried out only in humans, with the appropriate ethical cautions and limitations, and the pace must be slower. Some have asked why neuroscience has not yet achieved results as spectacular as those seen in molecular biology over the past four decades. Some have even asked what is the neuroscientific equivalent of the discovery of DNA structure, and whether or not a corresponding neuroscientific fact has been established. There is no such single correspondence, although some facts, at several levels of the nervous system, might be construed as comparable in practical value to knowing the structure of DNA—for instance, understanding what an action potential is all about. But the equivalent, at the level of mind-producing brain, has to be a large-scale outline of circuit and system designs, involving descriptions at both microstructural and macrostructural levels.


pages: 339 words: 112,979

Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Arthur Eddington, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Mahatma Gandhi, music of the spheres, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Solar eclipse in 1919, Steven Pinker, Zipf's Law

Though bending over backwards to pre-empt criticism, at one point she unguardedly mentioned the word 'experiment'. Immediately, 'the hands shot up. Audience members pointed out that the experimental method is the brainchild of white Victorian males.' Carrying conciliation to what would have seemed to me almost superhuman lengths, Ellsworth agreed that white males had done their share of damage in the world but noted that, none the less, their efforts had led to the discovery of DNA. This earned the incredulous (and incredible) retort: 'You believe in DNA?' Fortunately, there are still many intelligent young women prepared to enter a scientific career, and I should like to pay tribute to their courage, in the face of uncouth bullying of this kind. Of course a form of feminist influence in science is admirable and overdue. No well-meaning person could oppose campaigns to improve the status of women in scientific careers.


The Deep Learning Revolution (The MIT Press) by Terrence J. Sejnowski

AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Conway's Game of Life, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, delayed gratification, discovery of DNA, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, Henri Poincaré, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Norbert Wiener, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, PageRank, pattern recognition, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Socratic dialogue, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Perhaps the most demanding construction project in the universe, the construction of brains is guided by algorithms embedded in the DNA that orchestrate the development of connections between thousands of different types of neurons in hundreds of different parts of the brain. Playing the Long Game The commercialization of technology developed by basic science research typically takes about fifty years. The great discoveries that were made in relativity and quantum mechanics during the first decade of the twentieth century gave rise to CD players, GPS, and computers in the second half of that century. The discovery of DNA and the genetic code in the 1950s gave rise to applications in medicine and agribusiness that are having an economic impact today. The basic discoveries that the BRAIN Initiative and other brain research programs around the world are making today will lead to applications fifty years from now that would be considered science fiction today.13 We can expect AIs to have operating systems comparable to the one in our brain by 2050.


pages: 465 words: 103,303

The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery by George Johnson

Atul Gawande, Cepheid variable, Columbine, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Gary Taubes, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Isaac Newton, Magellanic Cloud, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, phenotype, profit motive, stem cell

Muller, “Artificial Transmutation of the Gene,” Science 66, no. 1699 (July 22, 1927): 84–87. [http://www.sciencemag.org/content/66/1699/84.short] 2. discovered in his monastery garden: An English translation of Gregor Mendel’s landmark paper, “Experiments in Plant Hybridization” (1865), can be found online at MendelWeb. [http://www.mendelweb.org/Mendel.html] 3. That kind of clarity: The experiments by Avery, Hershey, and Chase, and the discovery of DNA’s double-helical structure, are described in Horace Freeland Judson’s The Eighth Day of Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Biology, expanded ed. (Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1996). The seminal papers include Oswald T. Avery, Colin M. MacLeod, and Maclyn McCarty, “Studies on the Chemical Nature of the Substance Inducing Transformation of Pneumococcal Types,” The Journal of Experimental Medicine 79, no. 2 (February 1, 1944): 137–58 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2135445]; A.


pages: 408 words: 108,985

Rewriting the Rules of the European Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Airbnb, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, basic income, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, business cycle, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, deindustrialization, discovery of DNA, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gender pay gap, George Akerlof, gig economy, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, market fundamentalism, mini-job, moral hazard, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, open economy, patent troll, pension reform, price mechanism, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, tulip mania, universal basic income, unorthodox policies, zero-sum game

Poorly designed intellectual property regimes may even impede innovation, for instance, by making access to knowledge, which is the most important input to any research, more difficult to come by. “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,” Isaac Newton famously wrote. Many of today’s intellectual property laws make these metaphorical “shoulders” off-limits, by forbidding not only profit from another’s innovation but also any research based on it (at least not without providing compensation). Think of all the research that has been based on the discovery of DNA. Imagine how subsequent research would have been impeded if Watson and Crick had barred the use of what they learned or had charged a high fee for its use. Innovation can also be mired in conflicting patent claims. In the field of technology, innovators often have to wade through what has come to be called a patent thicket. A patent thicket emerges when large corporations have the resources to acquire a large number of patents, not to use them for research or to make new products, but simply to prevent other firms from entering the market and competing.


pages: 370 words: 107,983

Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms, and How to Stop the Internet Making Bigots of Us All by Robert Elliott Smith

Ada Lovelace, affirmative action, AI winter, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, animal electricity, autonomous vehicles, Black Swan, British Empire, cellular automata, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, corporate personhood, correlation coefficient, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, Gerolamo Cardano, gig economy, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, new economy, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, p-value, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, stochastic process, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, twin studies, Vilfredo Pareto, Von Neumann architecture, women in the workforce

Adapt, https://sproutsocial.com/adapt/reality-apathy-brand-reputation/ 5Robert Smith, 2016, Click Here for the AI Apocalypse (Brought to You by Facebook). Guardian, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/23/ai-apocalypse-facebook-algorithms 6These contributions include ‘von Neumann entropy’, and it was in fact von Neumann who suggested the metaphorical name ‘entropy’ to Shannon as he developed information theory. 7It is now widely recognized that female scientist Rosalind Franklin deserves credit along with Watson and Crick for the discovery of DNA. 8G.E.P. Box and N.R. Draper, 1969, Evolutionary Operation: A Statistical Method for Process Improvement. New York: Wiley. 9Kenneth De Jong, David Fogel and Hans-Paul Schwefel, 1997, A History of Evolutionary Computation. In T. Bäck, D.B. Fogel and Z. Michalewicz (eds) Handbook of Evolutionary Computation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10Ingo Rechenberg, 1965, Cybernetic Solution Path of an Experimental Problem, Royal Aircraft Establishment Library, Translation 1122. 11L.J.


pages: 395 words: 116,675

The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, altcoin, anthropic principle, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Corn Laws, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, endogenous growth, epigenetics, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, falling living standards, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, George Santayana, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hydraulic fracturing, imperial preference, income per capita, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, land reform, Lao Tzu, long peace, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Necker cube, obamacare, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, price mechanism, profit motive, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, smart contracts, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, twin studies, uber lyft, women in the workforce

He shows that there are numerous such mountains – different kinds of eyes in different kinds of animal, from the compound eyes of insects to the multiple and peculiar eyes of spiders – each with a distinct range of partially developed stages showing how one can go step by step. Computer models confirm that there is nothing to suggest any of the stages would confer a disadvantage. Moreover, the digitisation of biology since the discovery of DNA provides direct and unambiguous evidence of gradual evolution by the progressive alteration of the sequence of letters in genes. We now know that the very same gene, called Pax6, triggers the development of both the compound eye of insects and the simple eye of human beings. The two kinds of eye were inherited from a common ancestor. A version of a Pax gene also directs the development of simple eyes in jellyfish.


pages: 452 words: 126,310

The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibility by Robert Zubrin

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, battle of ideas, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, cosmic microwave background, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, flex fuel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gravity well, if you build it, they will come, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kuiper Belt, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, more computing power than Apollo, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, off grid, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, private space industry, rising living standards, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telerobotics, Thomas Malthus, transcontinental railway, uranium enrichment

Their ancestors pioneered the early Earth, and they retain some of the necessary skills, but they are by no means the ideal candidates for pioneering new worlds. However, since the domestication of the dog, twenty thousand years ago, humans have practiced modification of other species to meet our needs, primarily through the practice of selective breeding. In recent years, a series of advances—first the development of genetics, then the discovery of DNA, and now the actual reading of the genetic code and mastery of recombinant DNA techniques—has enormously expanded our abilities in this area. As a result, it will soon be within our capabilities to design ideal pioneering microorganisms and ultraefficient plants well suited to transform a wide variety of extraterrestrial environments. But microorganisms and plants have their limits. They are all based on water/carbon chemistry, which cannot function beyond the temperature boundaries defined by the freezing and boiling points of water.


pages: 409 words: 125,611

The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them by Joseph E. Stiglitz

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of DNA, Doha Development Round, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, global supply chain, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, information asymmetry, job automation, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, The Chicago School, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, urban sprawl, very high income, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, white flight, winner-take-all economy, working poor, working-age population

So it stands to reason that intellectual property regimes that create monopoly rents that impede access to health both create inequality and hamper growth more generally. There are alternatives. Advocates of intellectual property rights have overemphasized their role in promoting innovation. Most of the key innovations—from the basic ideas underlying the computer, to transistors, to lasers, to the discovery of DNA—were not motivated by pecuniary gain.They were motivated by the quest for knowledge. Of course, resources have to be made available. But the patent system is only one way, and often not the best way, of providing these resources. Government-financed research, foundations, and the prize system (which offers a prize to whoever makes a discovery, and then makes the knowledge widely available, using the power of the market to reap the benefits) are alternatives, with major advantages, and without the inequality-increasing disadvantages of the current intellectual property rights system.


pages: 472 words: 117,093

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Airbnb, airline deregulation, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backtesting, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, complexity theory, computer age, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, family office, fiat currency, financial innovation, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, law of one price, longitudinal study, Lyft, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precision agriculture, prediction markets, pre–internet, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Davenport, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, yield management, zero day

It’s also clear, however, that firms are still going strong, and that in many ways their economic influence is growing, not shrinking. So, is TCE’s basic rule of thumb wrong? No, it’s not, but it needs to be modernized. Eighty years of research has built on and enhanced Coase’s findings since “The Nature of the Firm” appeared. Continuing to rely on it alone is a bit like treating Gregor Mendel’s mid-nineteenth-century work as the last word on genetics and ignoring Watson and Crick, the discovery of DNA, and everything that came after. No Matter How Smart They Get, Contracts Will Still Be Incomplete Of the many elaborations of TCE, those that are most relevant here are the concepts of incomplete contracts and residual rights of control. In pathbreaking work, Sandy Grossman and Oliver Hart asked, “What rights does the owner of a firm have that a non-owner doesn’t?” They reasoned that ownership has value only to the extent that contracts are incomplete; if every possible contingency for use of a building, machine, or patent were spelled out in contracts, then labeling one party the “owner” of the asset would confer no additional rights.


pages: 404 words: 134,430

Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, false memory syndrome, Gary Taubes, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, laissez-faire capitalism, Laplace demon, life extension, moral panic, Murray Gell-Mann, out of africa, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

One can find to the literature such ideological terms as "oppressive," "sexist," "imperialist," "capitalist," "control," and "order" being attached to physical concepts as DNA, genetics, biochemistry, and evolution. The nadir of this secular form of creationism came at a 1997 interdisciplinary conference in which a psychologist was defending science against a beating by science critics by praising the advances in modern genetics, beginning with the 1953 discovery of DNA, He was asked rhetorically: "You believe in DNA?" Certainly this is about as ridiculous as it gets, yet I can understand the concerns of the left, given the checkered history of abuse of evolutionary theory in general, and eugenics in particular. I am equally horrified at how some people have used Darwin to control, subjugate, or even destroy others. One of the underlying motives for William Jennings Bryan to take up the anti-evolution cause in the Scopes trial was the application of Social Darwinism by the German militia during the First World War to justify their militarism.


Human Nature: The Categorial Framework by P. M. S. Hacker

conceptual framework, discovery of DNA, profit maximization

Accordingly, scientific discovery holds a blank cheque from semantics, which it can fill in as science progresses.8 This conception of the explanation of what natural kind terms mean is the contemporary heir to the venerable idea of ‘real definition’. It is rooted in Locke’s distinction between real and nominal essence but, unlike Locke, holds the real essence of a thing to be both discoverable and partly constitutive of the meaning of its name. It draws support from the discovery of the periodic table of elements, and, even more questionably, from the discovery of DNA and its genetic role. It is doubtful whether the categories found to be useful in the natural sciences are themselves natural kind terms thus understood. For this conception of natural kinds is a metaphysical rather than a scientific one, rooted in a form of metaphysical essentialism, on the one hand, and misconceptions concerning meaning and explanation, on the other.9 It is an illusion that scientific discovery can disclose what the words we use, such as ‘gold’ and ‘water’, ‘fish’ and ‘lily’, really mean.


The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins

Alfred Russel Wallace, Andrew Wiles, Arthur Eddington, back-to-the-land, Claude Shannon: information theory, correlation does not imply causation, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Danny Hillis, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental subject, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, invisible hand, Louis Pasteur, out of africa, phenotype, Thomas Malthus

If, say, some weird, anomalous microbes called the harumscaryotes were discovered, which didn’t use DNA at all, or didn’t use proteins, or used proteins but strung them together from a different set of amino acids from the familiar twenty, or which used DNA but not a triplet code, or a triplet code but not the same 64-word dictionary – if any of these conditions were met, we might suggest that life had originated twice: once for the harumscaryotes and once for the rest of life. For all Darwin knew – indeed, for all anyone knew before the discovery of DNA – some existing creatures might have had the properties I have here attributed to the harumscaryotes, in which case his ‘into a few forms’ would have been justified. Is it possible that two independent origins of life could both have hit upon the same 64-word code? Very unlikely. For that to be plausible, the existing code would have to have strong advantages over alternative codes, and there would have to be a gradual ramp of improvement towards it, a ramp for natural selection to climb up.


pages: 543 words: 147,357

Them And Us: Politics, Greed And Inequality - Why We Need A Fair Society by Will Hutton

Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Blythe Masters, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cloud computing, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, debt deflation, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, discovery of the americas, discrete time, diversification, double helix, Edward Glaeser, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, first-past-the-post, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, low cost airline, low-wage service sector, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, money market fund, moral hazard, moral panic, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Neil Kinnock, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price discrimination, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, railway mania, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, unpaid internship, value at risk, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working poor, zero-sum game, éminence grise

Moreover, an Italian immigrant called Antonio Meucci had declared his invention of a ‘voice telegraphy device’ fully five years earlier, but he had lacked the $10 that was required to register his work. So the telephone would surely have arrived with or without Bell, because the sum of intelligence in the mid-1870s could clearly deliver it. The same could be said of the theory of natural selection, the discovery of DNA’s double helix and even the theory of relativity. Most of the arguments over patents take place because two inventors arrive independently at the same conclusion; and this happens because they both have access to the same stock of knowledge. Obviously, entrepreneurship remains important. Each individual innovator will face specific uncertainties in commercialising his or her innovative advance.


pages: 855 words: 178,507

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, bank run, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, citation needed, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, lifelogging, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, Simon Singh, Socratic dialogue, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, talking drums, the High Line, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, Turing machine, Turing test, women in the workforce

., 6.1, 6.2 Fuchs, Christopher, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3 Fuchs, Ulrich Gabor, Dennis Galileo, 1.1, 1.2, 3.1 galvanometer, 5.1, 5.2 games, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6 game theory Gamow, George, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5 Gauss, Carl Friedrich General Electric genetics altruistic behavior and, 10.1, 10.2 aperiodic crystal model of, 9.1, 10.1 coding system, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, 10.9, 10.10 development of scientific concepts of, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5 discovery of DNA, 10.1, 10.2 gene structure and function, 9.1, 9.2, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, 10.9, 10.10, 10.11, 10.12, 10.13, 10.14 genome mapping as information science, prl.1, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7 information storage in, 7.1, 7.2 memetics and Schrödinger’s formulation of, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3 selfish gene concept, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 11.1 symbolic logic to describe, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 Gerard, Ralph, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4 Gibbs, Willard Gibson, William Gilgamesh Gilliver, Peter, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 Glossographia: or a Dictionary (Blount), 3.1, 3.2 Gödel, Kurt, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 10.1, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, epl.1 Gödel’s Proof (Nagel, Newman) Godfather (film) “Gold Bug, The” (Poe) Gongsun Long Google, 11.1, 14.1, 14.2, 15.1, epl.1, epl.2 Gould, Glenn, 12.1, 12.2 Gould, Stephen Jay gravity, 13.1, 13.2, 14.1 Gray, Elisha Great Exhibition of 1851 (London) Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 12.1 Greece, 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 Grover, Lov Guare, John, epl.1, epl.2 Gutenberg Galaxy (McLuhan) Guyot, Jules Hamilton, W.


pages: 615 words: 168,775

Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age by Leslie Berlin

AltaVista, Apple II, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, beat the dealer, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer age, discovery of DNA, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, hiring and firing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, inventory management, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, Leonard Kleinrock, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, packet switching, Ralph Nader, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, union organizing, upwardly mobile, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

Since March 2015, the article has appeared online under the title “Gene Transplants Seen Helping Farmers and Doctors.” 9. Niels Reimers, interview by author, Nov. 5, 2014. 10. All Cohen description from Stanley Cohen, ROHO interview, including the Falkow introduction. 11. Stanford Medical History Flickr photo stream and Stanford Daily, May 1974. 12. Cohen explains in his ROHO interview, “Our discoveries were dependent partly on the earlier discovery of DNA ligase and on ten years of basic research with plasmids.” He specifically cites work by Paul Berg, Dale Kaiser, H. Gobind Khorana, D. A. Jackson, Paul Lobban, Janet Mertz, Vittorio Sgaramella, R. H. Symons, and J. H. van de Sande. 13. Reimers, ROHO interview. 14. Stanford had an institutional patent agreement with the National Institutes of Health that fell under the purview of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. 15.


pages: 551 words: 174,280

The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch

agricultural Revolution, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Bonfire of the Vanities, conceptual framework, cosmological principle, dark matter, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, first-past-the-post, Georg Cantor, global pandemic, Gödel, Escher, Bach, illegal immigration, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Johannes Kepler, John Conway, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kenneth Arrow, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, pattern recognition, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, supervolcano, technological singularity, Thales of Miletus, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, William of Occam, zero-sum game

It is like the controversy about which objects in the solar system should be called ‘planets’. Is Pluto a ‘real’ planet even though it is smaller than some of the moons in our solar system? Is Jupiter really not a planet but an un-ignited star? It is not important. What is important is what is really there. And memes are really there, regardless of what we call them or how we classify them. Just as the basic theory of genes was developed long before the discovery of DNA, so today, without knowing how ideas are stored in brains, we do know that some ideas can be passed from one person to another and affect people’s behaviour. Memes are those ideas. Another line of criticism is that memes, unlike genes, are not stored in identical physical forms in every holder. But, as I shall explain, that does not necessarily make it impossible for memes to be transmitted ‘faithfully’ in the sense that matters for evolution.


pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More

23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Pepto Bismol, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, social intelligence, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Just like the Traube Cell, Leduc’s system also seemed to be governed by the movement of water molecules. Leduc also coined the term “synthetic biology” in 1911 and proposed that this field of study would provide insights into the origins of life and cell organization. Over the twentieth century, research by scientists such as Alexander Oparin and Sidney Fox delved deeper into the search for chemical processes that could have led to the formation of cellular life. However, the discovery of DNA and the new field of biotechnology in the second half of the twentieth century looked to genetics as the key to understanding life. Genetics became the main focus for biological research, though there is much common ground emerging between these scientific fields as researchers are applying their knowledge of the genetic code to create artificial life. Protocells In 2007 two researchers, chemist Martin Hanczyc and artificial life scientist Takashi Ikegami, who were collaborating across disciplines agreed to test a hypothesis about the earliest forms of life (Hanczyc et al. 2007).


She Has Her Mother's Laugh by Carl Zimmer

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, clean water, clockwatching, cloud computing, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flynn Effect, friendly fire, Gary Taubes, germ theory of disease, Isaac Newton, longitudinal study, medical bankruptcy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral panic, mouse model, New Journalism, out of africa, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Scientific racism, statistical model, stem cell, twin studies

Each base can take one of four different forms: adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine—A, C, G, T for short. A cell carries out a series of chemical reactions to translate a gene’s sequence of bases into a protein. A cell first makes a copy of the gene, creating a single-stranded series of bases called ribonucleic acid, or RNA. That RNA molecule is taken up by a molecular factory called a ribosome, which reads the sequence of RNA and builds a corresponding protein. The discovery of DNA seemed to reduce heredity to a reliably simple recipe. It came down to turning one DNA molecule into a pair. A cell’s molecular machinery pulled apart the two strands of a DNA molecule and then assembled a new strand to accompany each of them. Each base could bond only to one other: A to T, C to G. The cell could thus build two perfect copies of the original DNA—like engendering like, but on an atomic scale.


Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health by Laurie Garrett

accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, biofilm, clean water, collective bargaining, desegregation, discovery of DNA, discovery of penicillin, Drosophila, employer provided health coverage, Fall of the Berlin Wall, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Induced demand, John Snow's cholera map, Jones Act, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mouse model, Nelson Mandela, new economy, nuclear winter, phenotype, profit motive, Project Plowshare, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, stem cell, the scientific method, urban decay, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism

Chemistry is the key to all of this—computorial and structural chemistry is just so powerful…. The number of protein structures we’ll get a year will be measured in the thousands.” The twentieth century began with a revolution sparked by the microscope, which opened humanity’s eyes upon the world of gyrating, fiercely active germs. The Germ Theory was the engine that drove biology for half a century of published health discovery and triumph. With the 1953 discovery of DNA and, perhaps more critically, the early 1970s inventions of genetic engineering techniques, biology entered the Genome Era. As the new century dawned, the Genome Era was passing its baton to the Age of Proteomics, promising an upheaval in pharmaceutics and medicine that proponents argued would be every bit as dramatic as had been Pasteur’s and Koch’s discovery of microbes, Fleming’s finding penicillin, and Salk’s and Sabin’s polio vaccines.


pages: 1,737 words: 491,616

Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-pattern, anti-work, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, different worldview, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, effective altruism, experimental subject, Extropian, friendly AI, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, Necker cube, NP-complete, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, planetary scale, prediction markets, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, scientific worldview, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Solar eclipse in 1919, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, Turing complete, Turing machine, ultimatum game, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

One might guess, perhaps, that combustion transformed vital air into fixed air and fuel to ash, and that the ability of this transformation to continue was limited by the amount of vital air available. Lavoisier’s proposal directly contradicted the then-current phlogiston theory. That alone would have been shocking enough, but it also turned out . . . To appreciate what comes next, you must put yourself into an eighteenth-century frame of mind. Forget the discovery of DNA, which occurred only in 1953. Unlearn the cell theory of biology, which was formulated in 1839. Imagine looking at your hand, flexing your fingers . . . and having absolutely no idea how it worked. The anatomy of muscle and bone was known, but no one had any notion of “what makes it go”—why a muscle moves and flexes, while clay molded into a similar shape just sits there. Imagine your own body being composed of mysterious, incomprehensible gloop.


Europe: A History by Norman Davies

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, centre right, charter city, clean water, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, continuation of politics by other means, Corn Laws, cuban missile crisis, Defenestration of Prague, discovery of DNA, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, equal pay for equal work, Eratosthenes, Etonian, European colonialism, experimental economics, financial independence, finite state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, global village, Honoré de Balzac, Index librorum prohibitorum, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land reform, liberation theology, long peace, Louis Blériot, Louis Daguerre, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, New Urbanism, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, Peace of Westphalia, popular capitalism, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, road to serfdom, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, spinning jenny, Thales of Miletus, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Transnistria, urban planning, urban sprawl

They bore little resemblance to the squat, brown-eyed, swarthy-skinned and black-haired people of the so-called ‘Mediterranean’ or ‘Indo-Mediterranean Race’ which dominated large parts of the south. Between the two extremes there were numerous gradations. Most of the Peninsula’s population can be clearly distinguished from the Mongoloid, Indoid, and Negroid races, but not from other groups predominating in the Near East and North Africa. Some of the most promising advances in the field of prehistory are now being made through modern genetic research. The refinement of serology, the discovery of DNA (1953), and the subsequent operation of mapping the 3,000 million ‘letters’ on human genes permit investigations of a very sophisticated nature. The correlation of genetic and linguistic records now suggests that the patterns of biological and cultural evolution may be closer than imagined. Recent studies show that the movement of genetic material into prehistoric Europe corresponded with parallel cultural trends.