Something About Science

THESE TAGS ARE TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL


Follow me on Twitter @DrWeidinger


OTHER STUFF
——
Nicolas Weidinger: Portfolio
——
WikiSeat: Maker Education
——
Modularity: What I Make & Why I Like It
——
Protofuture: Ideas
——
Maker Cities: The DIY Citiy
——
Institute for the Future: My Writing About The Future
——
San Francisco Institute of Possibility: For Chaos
——
Science Hack Day: For Science
——
CupCake Drone: For Science
——
Cobego: An Awesome Design Group
——
If A Tree Falls In The Internet: Art and Music
——
Book Shelf: Stuff I Read
——
How I Use The Internet : Literally
——
If Magic Items: Because Magic
——
Recent Tweets @DrWeidinger

futurescope:

HYPERMORGEN ICONS

We recently designed some icons to represent topics that will most likely become increasingly interesting in the next few years. 

Some of them are tongue in cheek (like the standford bunnies in the 3D replication icon), some are more critical (like the synthetic biology spidergoat). They are meant to provoke different associations to start discussions about the future.

We would like to create some more. Suggestions welcome via mail, twitter or facebook

Get the Icons at the The Noun Project

The icons en detail:

  • Slime Mold Computing Slime mold can not only determine the shortest path through a maze or model optimal railway systems. Scientists from the University of the West of England discovered that Physarum polycephalum slime molds can act as memristors. This means they could be used to create more efficient computer memory. [read more
  • Wearables For some futurists wearables are already half over, soon to be replaced by ingestibles. We think wearables will become interesting in ways we now can´t even imagine. [read more
  • Meat Printing Humans eat about 240 billion kilograms of meat each year. The demand for animal protein has resulted in environmental degradation, cruelty to livestock, and the spread of dangerous diseases. Thiel Foundation just funded Modern Meadow, a company that wants to solve this problem with a new method to print meat with a 3D printer. Will it taste better or worse than Tofurkey? [read more]
  • Autonomous Car The future of mobility. If the politicians don´t f*ck it up… [read more
  • Graphene The infamous new Wondermaterial almost every big company is dreaming of. The EU just threw a Billion Bucks at research projects dealing with graphene. Let´s keep our fingers crossed… [read more
  • Exoskeleton Known from Science Fiction since more than a century, powered exoskeletons could become relevant in many areas apart from human warfare or for the rehabilitation afterwards. [read more]
  • 3D-Replication While everybody is already fed up with the ubiquitous talk about 3D, we think with 3D scanners becoming affordable 3D replication is going to explode. Think of Copyshops for Objects with the possibility to remix and mash! (Rabbits as a symbol for fast replication? Yeah, we know… but at least it´s the Stanford Bunny.) [read more
  • Encrypted eMail Thanks to the NSA, the eMail Icon needs an upgrade. And don´t forget to update your eMail to encrypted eMail, too… [read more
  • Brain Machine Interface Especially interesting in Combination with other Developments on the Horizon, e.g. Exosceletons. The next logical Step after we all have been assimilated with Google Glass… [read more
  • Synthetic Biology Synthetic Biology is on the rise. Cabbage has been grown with scorpion venom. Mice have been bred to chirp like birds. Glow-in-the-dark kitties and pigs are real. And, naturally, scientists created a goat-spider hybrid to produce synthetic silk. [read more

(via whisperoftheshot)

A Guide to Bitcoin’s Legality In Different Countries Around the World

  • Alderney (Channel Islands): Even though it’s been heralded as the possible first Bitcoin Isle, there’s no official government stance. “However, journalists have reportedly obtained documents indicating that Alderney is trying to take the lead and become the central hub for the bitcoin, by minting and issuing physical bitcoins and creating an international center with a bitcoin storage vault service that complies with anti-money laundering rules.”
  • Argentina: Bitcoin “may be considered money but not legal currency… Although bitcoins are not specifically regulated, they are increasingly being used in Argentina.”
  • Australia: The Ossies are keeping their eye on Bitcoin, and plan to tax it, so those dealing in it down under should be keeping good records. And they’ve seen Bitcoin’s dark side: “In October 2013, an Australian Bitcoin bank was hacked, resulting in the theft of over US$1 million of the currency.”
  • Belgium: They are waffling when it comes to creating regulation. “The Minister of Finance indicated that government intervention with regard to the Bitcoin system does not appear necessary at the present time.”
  • Brazil: It may not be ready for the World Cup, but it is ready for Bitcoin. It passed a law in October 2013 specifically for electronic currencies.
  • Canada: The Great White North famously welcomed the first Bitcoin ATM last year, in part because those who own it don’t have to worry about complicated laws around Bitcoin. Canada doesn’t consider Bitcoin to be legal tender, and is as interested in regulating it as it is Monopoly money… at least for now. People using it for transactions need to pay tax as they would for bartering or speculative purchases. Unlike in the U.S., Canada’s financial regulator doesn’t regard Bitcoin exchanges as money services businesses, meaning they don’t need to register with it or flag suspicious transactions.
  • Chile: There’s no frenzy here yet, though Ayn Rand expats have invaded. “Interest in acquiring bitcoins is slowly growing. However, because there is no regulation on the use of bitcoins, transactions are informal in nature and mainly conducted among friends. In 2013, a group of American Libertarians founded a self-sustaining organic farming community called Galt’s Gulch Chile in central Chile with an economy based on bitcoins.”
  • China: It quelched the bidding fury around Bitcoin in December 2013 declaring that “bitcoin is not a currency and should not be circulated and used in the market as a currency.” While people there are free to buy and sell it, financial institutions have been warned away.
  • Croatia: “Bitcoin is not legal tender in Croatia but can be legally used.” Regulation could be coming in the future.
  • Cyprus: The country’s financial policies early last year sent scared investors into digital currency, making many take notice of Bitcoin for the first time. Its bank issued a statement on bitcoins in December, stating that “it considers the use of any kind of virtual money as particularly dangerous, given that it is not under any regulatory system and its operation is unchecked.” Cypriots can use it safely by getting a university education with it.
  • Denmark: No love for bitcoin. “Denmark’s Finanstilsynet (Financial Supervisory Authority) has issued a statement rejecting the bitcoin as a currency and stating that it will not regulate bitcoin use.”
  • Estonia: No official stance, but “because of its growing popularity and increasing use by the country’s population, the Bank of Estonia (the nation’s central bank) monitors financial arrangements that use Bitcoin. According to Google’s search statistics, Estonia is the country with the second largest number of Internet searches for the term “Bitcoin”; Russia has the most such searches.” Its central bank recently warned that Bitcoin might be a Ponzi scheme.
  • European Union: Issued a warning about virtual currencies in December. The European Banking Authority “pointed out that since the bitcoin is not regulated, consumers are not protected and are at risk of losing their money and that consumers may still be liable for taxes when using virtual currencies.”
  • Finland: The Finnish Tax Authority is on it. Capital gains tax applies when bitcoin is converted to another currency. Using it to buy things should be treated as a trade, while any increase in its value over the price at which it was obtained should be taxed. However, bitcoin losses cannot be deducted.
  • France: No love for bitcoin. “There are no specific laws or regulations regarding the Bitcoin system in France,” but the central bank has criticized it as speculative and warned about its use for nefarious dealings.
  • Germany: Of course it has rules for Bitcoin, treating it like a foreign currency.
  • Greece: There are a few businesses there taking bitcoin, but the government is ignoring it for now.
  • Hong Kong: Nothing official, though the treasury secretary there said existing laws forbid its use for fraud or money laundering.
  • Iceland: Icy toward Bitcoin. “The Central Bank of Iceland reportedly stated that engaging in foreign exchange trading with bitcoins is prohibited, based on the country’s Foreign Exchange Act.”
  • India: Nothing explicit in the law yet, though its banks have warned the public about the “risks of cybersecurity attacks and money laundering” related to Bitcoin, and cautioned investors in December. “India’s largest Bitcoin trading platform BuySellBitCo.in, suspended its operations, citing the RBI’s notice. Also, two days after the advisory, India’s Enforcement Directorate raided the premises of the person in Ahmedabad who had hosted the Bitcoin trading platform, BuySellBitCo.in. According to news reports, the raid occurred because of alleged violations of India’s Foreign Exchange Management Act rules. Recent news reports cite the resumption of operations of some Bitcoin operators and the emergence of new players in the market.”
  • Indonesia: Sounds ambivalent. A spokesman for Bank Indonesia reportedly issued a statement on Bitcoin in December 2013, saying that “[b]itcoin is a potential payment method, but it’s different than ordinary currency… . It is not regulated by the central bank so there are risks… . At the moment, we’re studying bitcoin and we have no plan to issue a regulation on it.”
  • Ireland: No official statement, though they’re reportedly thinking about how to tax it.
  • Israel: Same as Ireland. They are starting to see cybercrime around Bitcoin though: “An incident of an alleged attempted extortion involving a request for payment in bitcoins was reported on December 19, 2013. At least three Israeli banks have received emails from an unknown individual threatening to release the personal details of millions of their customers unless the payment was made.”
  • Italy: Looks to the EU for guidance. “The use of electronic currency is restricted to banks and electronic money institutions—that is, private legal entities duly authorized and registered by the Central Bank of Italy. Aside from these developments, Italy does not regulate bitcoin use by private individuals.”
  • Japan: Despite being the home for years to the long-time monster exchange of Bitcoin, Mt. Gox, Japan is silent on the issue.
  • Malaysia: Nada.
  • Malta: Nothing official, even as businesses develop there. “In October 2012, a Maltese company launched the first bitcoin hedge fund.”
  • Netherlands: Doesn’t see virtual currency as being an electronic money, so Bitcoin isn’t covered by existing regulation, but it does recognize something from its past in Bitcoin’s rise. “The Dutch Central Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank, DNB) recently called attention to the risks posed by the purchase of virtual currencies, including bitcoins and litecoins, and warned consumers to be wary…. The former President of the DNB, Nout Wellink, has called dealings in bitcoins a bubble that is “pure speculation” and “hype” and “worse than the tulip mania” of the seventeenth century because “at least then you got a tulip [at the end], now you get nothing.”
  • New Zealand: Kiwis are all good with Bitcoin as long as it is not turned into a physical note or coin.
  • Nicaragua: The government is not doing anything about Bitcoin but it is in use there. “The Nicaraguan daily El Nuevo Diario reported on January 13, 2014, that an American banker, Greg Simon, recently bought a 1,200-square-meter plot of land in San Juán del Sur, one of the most important tourist areas in Nicaragua, for 80 bitcoins, currently the equivalent of about US$72,000.”
  • Poland: Is looking to the EU, with the Polish minister of finance warning that the country needs to figure out how to tax it.
  • Portugal: Doesn’t think it’s a “safe currency” but says “users can both buy and sell virtual currency with legal tender and can purchase goods and services in both the real and virtual worlds.” It looks like trading and use is low there.
  • Russia: Don’t plan to buy your Olympics swag with Bitcoin. “There are at present no legal acts that specifically regulate the use of bitcoins in the Russian Federation,” but a Russian law firm thinks that using it to buy things there could be illegal given that the Russian ruble is the exclusive means of payment in the Russian Federation per the law.
  • Singapore: Has warned investors against Bitcoin, but has not forbidden people from using it not businesses from taking it. The country’s tax authority says whether it should be taxed depends on how it’s being uses.
  • Slovenia: It’s not sure what to do about Bitcoin yet, but is sure it should be taxed.
  • Spain: Nothing official, but people using it should be paying taxes per bartering rules. Notably, the U.S. is not the only government with a Bitcoin wallet. “Spain was the second country in the world to seize bitcoins during an investigation of fraudulent transactions conducted with bitcoins, according to a November 2013 report by El Mundo.”
  • South Korea: Nothing yet.
  • Taiwan: Has cautioned investors and businesses away from Bitcoin.
  • Thailand: Bitcoin is in a grey zone as existing laws do not apply.
  • Turkey: Its banking regulator says existing law does not apply and warned people against using it. Turkish financial experts compare Bitcoin to “to Tulip mania in Holland, the Mississippi balloon in France, or the Enron or mortgage balloons in the United States, because the bitcoin ‘has no use value, but only exchange value.’” (Kudos to the Turkish commentators for digging further into history than tulip beds.) Turkish people evidently don’t care about the warnings. “Nevertheless, bitcoin use is apparently flourishing in Turkey. There is a Turkish Lira-Bitcoin exchange, called BTCTurk, and leftover foreign currency can be exchanged at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport for bitcoins through a Traveler’s BOX, a machine like an ATM.”
  • United Kingdom: It’s snubbing Bitcoin. “In the latest quarterly reports from the Bank, Bitcoin is expressly excluded.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/01/31/bitcoins-legality-around-the-world/

MIT cognitive scientist Deb Roy exemplifies the power of Big Data in his latest TED Talk: harvesting big insights from “the largest home video collection ever made” to understand the process of how a child learns language.

In this example, Deb Roy’s team captures every time his son ever heard the word water along with the the context he saw it in. They then used this data to penetrate through the video, find every activity trace that co-occurred with an instance of water and map it on a blueprint of the apartment. That’s how they came up with wordscapes: the landscape that data leaves in its wake.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mariusb/5575021761/

By: Nicolas Weidinger

After years of deliberation, the Asimov Convention was forced into action. A rogue cloud of nanoots known as Utility Fog had started to rapidly alter the stratosphere in a dangerous way. The only fix that would have an immediate effect on the quickly advancing Fog is a similar State issued Fog that only existed in laboratories at the moment. With this fog, the State and it’s citizens could do almost anything: monitor and stabilize a person’s glucose levels, heart rate, brain activity, and even the complicated colony of micro organisms that lives in every human being. State Fog could defend against nuclear, biological and chemical attacks. And if a technician whispered the words, State Fog could stabilize the global environment that was now rapidly spiraling out of control. For years, State Fog was locked down, as thousands continued to die from cancer, as millions died every day, ravaged by war and famine, as the environment slowly spiraled out of control. 

When State Fog was discovered, an international regulatory committee was brought together in what is known as the Asimov Convention, named after Asimov’s three laws of robotics. The three laws were unanimously agreed upon, however the reality of what constituted “injury to another human being” had become tremendously complicated in our globally connected world. But the Rogue Fog has forced the council’s hand. Scientists determined that the outer stratosphere would degrade in only a matter of weeks, causing total global collapse. The Council was forced to make those hard decisions about what “injury” meant in the 21st century, and on this day the day the world changed forever. 

Signals

MIT 4D printing

http://www.sjet.us/MIT_4D%20PRINTING.html

Molecular motor balanced on single atom bearing. 

http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/12/single-molecule-motor-sits-on-a-single-atom-ball-bearing/

Digital files stored and retrieved using DNA

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2013/jan/23/digital-files-stored-and-retrieved-using-dna-memory

Biological models used for nano-scale communication

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sdieee/180-PSES_August_2011_Newsletter_ISPCE.pdf

Ant Routing

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sdieee/180-PSES_August_2011_Newsletter_ISPCE.pdf

[1] G. Di Caro, M. Dorigo, “AntNet: Distributed Stigmergetic Control for Communication Networks,” Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, vol. 9, pp. 317–365, 1998.

[2] G. Di Caro, F. Ducatelle, L. M. Gambardella, “AntHocNet: An adaptive nature-inspired algorithm for routing in mobile ad hoc networks,” European Transactions on Telecommunications, 

Special Issue on Self-organization in Mobile Networking, vol. 16, pp. 443–455, 2005.

As digital fabrication came online, even the corporation’s physical objects could be easily copied. But they still couldn’t find a good way to lock their commodities into the consumer retail space. Voters forced legislation that prevented total lockdown of content, the constitution prevented ubiquitous censorship and surveillance. The only thing that corporations could do, was make to try and make more technology faster, and to try novel marketing techniques. Production cycles dropped form years to months to weeks to hours. The day after a new phone launched, fab shops would freely hand out identical copies all over the pre-post industrial world. The only thing that kept corporations afloat were the diehard loyalists that based their identity — their entire lives off of the brands they consumed. 

Bionic Skin for a Cyborg You - IEEE Spectrum

Your skin is essentially an interface between your brain and the external world. It senses a tap on the shoulder or the heat from a fire, and your brain takes in that information and decides how to react. If we want bionic skins to do the same, they must incorporate sensors that can match the sensitivity of biological skins. … WHY NOT BUILD SUPER-SKINS THAT HAVE MORE TACTILE ABILITIES THAN OUR OWN SKINS?

new-aesthetic:

Ordnance Survey recreate Great Britain in “largest Minecraft world ever built based on real-world data”

Ordnance Survey, the body responsible for mapping Great Britain from top to toe, have recreated 86,000 square miles of it in Minecraft. The map was built in two weeks by intern Joseph Braybrook and OS’s Innovation Labs team using the mapping authority’s OpenData products, and can be downloaded to explore for free.

Ordnance Survey’s data covers England, Scotland, Wales and their surrounding islands. The resulting Minecraft map incorporates 224,000 of Great Britain’s 229,848 square km.

“We think we may have created the largest Minecraft world ever built based on real-world data,” OS Innovation Lab Manager Graham Dunlop told the BBC.

“The resulting map shows the massive potential not just for using Minecraft for computer technology and geography purposes in schools, but also the huge scope of applications for OS OpenData too.”

Once downloaded, the map starts new players on the spot of OS’s head office in Southampton. From there, they can make mainland Britain - 22 billion blocks of it - their playground.

cf BBC News - Minecraft game adds Ordnance Survey GB terrain data

This is an increadibly useful tool for exporting images from open street map. Option to activate different layers

maps.stamen.com

Over the past six months, “fans” of this Web site and its author have shown their affection in some curious ways. One called in a phony hostage situation that resulted in a dozen heavily armed police surrounding my home. Another opened a $20,000 new line of credit in my name. Others sent more than $1,000 in bogus PayPal donations from hacked accounts. Still more admirers paid my cable bill for the next three years using stolen credit cards. Malware authors have even used my name and likeness to peddle their wares.

But the most recent attempt to embarrass and fluster this author easily takes the cake as the most elaborate: Earlier this month, the administrator of an exclusive cybercrime forum hatched and executed a plan to purchase heroin, have it mailed to my home, and then spoof a phone call from one of my neighbors alerting the local police. Thankfully, I had already established a presence on his forum and was able to monitor the scam in real time and alert my local police well in advance of the delivery.

Robot Surgery

A proposal to United States Armed Forces

Killing foreign people with predator drones is history. Let me introduce the peace drone.
Hovering over hostile settlements or cities playing loud clown music, smiling around and delivering clouds of oxycontin. A beautiful American drug described as a pharmaceutical grade heroin.

Happy people are better than dead people and best of all, they will be addicted to you!

 

http://www.mynameisaxel.com/Peace-drone

This is a clip of from the documentary Atomic Cafe. It is pretty messed up.