In the latest ‘Geeks’ Guide to the Galaxy’ podcast, Simone Caroti discusses his critical survey of the Culture series by sci-fi author Iain Banks.
Tagged with “culture” (138)
Tech enthusiast Kevin Kelly asks "What does technology want?" and discovers that its movement toward ubiquity and complexity is much like the evolution of life.
This week I was lucky enough to interview one of my favorite people: Kevin Kelly.
Tim Ferriss refers to Kevin as the real-life, “Most Interesting Man In The World.”
Kevin Kelly is one of the co-founders of Wired Magazine, a co-founder of the Quantified Self Movement, and serves on the board of The Long Now foundation.
I’ve been endlessly inspired by Kevin. And it wouldn’t be fair not to mentioned his very early beginnings where he spent most of his 20s as a nomad (of sorts) traveling through Asia as a photographer for most of his 20s. He later published a book of his work titled Asia Grace.
From there, in the 80s he joined Stewart Brand as the publisher and editor of The Whole Earth Review and was influential in both the 80s counterculture and startup movement.
His writing in the 90s more or less predicted the Internet of today. His first book, Out of Control is brilliant – a few years after it was released it became required reading for all the actors on the set of the movie The Matrix. (which is how I first learned about it).
He also has one of my favorite This American Life stories where has something of an epiphany about life, decides to live his life as if he will be dead in 6 months… gives away all his possessions, and then rides his bike across the country.
In this episode we talk about:
The Counterculture movement of the 60s
Traveling as an act of rebellion
Kevin’s latest book The Inevitable in which he writes that, “Much of what will happen in the next thirty years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion.” He’ll share some of those predictions with us.
Lessons on how to read better
And… a book that Kevin wishes everyone in the world read at least one time.
To close out our 3 part series, we go back to 1999 and talk to the internet’s greatest monster: the man who invented Microsoft’s Clippy (jk he’s a really nice guy named Kevan Atteberry). We hear from the folks of Open Diary, one of the first social media/blogging sites and talk to Olia Lialina, who has been preserving and archiving Geocities sites. Katie and Ryan force Julia to read some erotic Clippy fanfic, but we need not speak of that.
Original video: https://soundcloud.com/iexplorer/1999-the-years-that-changed
Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/
How do our assumptions about people affect our assumptions about their food? And how do their assumptions about our food affect how we feel about ourselves? What happens when chefs cook a cuisine they weren’t born into? And what happens when there’s a backlash? Our friend Dan Pashman, host of WNYC Studio’s The Sporkful, has launched a special series of episodes called "Other People’s Food," which aims to explore exactly these questions. Dan talks with Brooke about the project so far.
Feeding the world (and saving nature) in this populous century, Jane Langdale began, depends entirely on agricultural efficiency—the ability to turn a given amount of land and sunlight into ever more food.
And that depends on three forms of efficiency in each crop plant: 1) interception efficiency (collecting sunlight); 2) conversion efficiency (turning sunlight into sugars and starch); and 3) partitioning efficiency (maximizing the edible part).
Of these, after centuries of plant breeding, only conversion efficiency is far short of the theoretical maximum.
Most photosynthesis (called “C3“) is low-grade, poisoning its own process by reacting with oxygen instead of carbon dioxide when environmental conditions are hot and dry.
But some plants, such as corn and sugar cane, have a brilliant workaround.
They separate the photosynthetic process into two adjoining cells.
The outer cell creates a special four-carbon compound (hence “C4“) that is delivered to the oxygen-protected inner cell. In the inner cell, carbon dioxide is released from the C4 compound, enabling drastically more efficient photosynthesis to take place because carbon dioxide is at a much higher concentration than oxygen.
Rice is a C3 plant—which happens to be the staple food for half the world.
If it can be converted to C4 photosynthesis, its yield would increase by 50% while using half the water.
It would also be drought-resistant and need far less fertilizer.
Langdale noted that C4 plants have evolved naturally 60 times in a variety of plant families, all of which provide models of the transition.
“How difficult could it be?” she deadpanned. The engineering begins with reverse-engineering.
For instance, the main leaves in corn are C4, but the husk leaves are C3-like, so the genes that affect the two forms of development can be studied.
Langdale’s research suggests that the needed structural change in rice can be managed with about 12 engineered genes, and previous research by others indicates that the biochemical changes can be achieved with perhaps 10 genes.
How much is needed for the eventual fine tuning will emerge later.
When is later?
The C4 Rice project began in 2006 at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The research is on schedule, and engineering should begin in 2019, with the expectation that breeding of delicious, fiercely efficient C4 rice could be complete by 2039.
It is the kind of thing that highly focussed multi-generation science can accomplish.
Is being cool a sign of culinary class? In the autumn of 2015 the Cereal Killer café in East London was attacked by protestors. They viewed it as a symbol of rapid gentrification - arguing that the cafe- which serves cereal from around the world- exemplified the rising inequality in the UK’s capital. It led to some basic questions about running a food business. And the tensions between what’s trendy, what’s traditional and what’s affordable when it comes to eating out.
But a larger discussion, about conspicuous consumerism and the so- called ‘foodie movement’ looms. In this programme from London, Sarah Stolarz explores the intersections of city living, being upwardly mobile and the pursuit of the next best meal. We look at food trends and their irresistible appeal when it comes to social media- although it turns out, no one actually likes to be called a ‘foodie’. Is access to new and varied food becoming more democratic, or are social media sites glossing over the surface of the culinary class wars? And what does that have to do with the price of pineapples?
Whose century is it?
Depends on whose calendar you’re using. Anthony Aveni, author of "Empires of Time: Calendars, Clocks & Cultures," and a professor of astronomy and anthropology at Colgate University, kicks off this new podcast with a discussion of how and why different cultures structure time and imbue time with meaning, and how time can be harnessed as a power tool, from the ancient Maya to modern Chinese.
David Autor, Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), joins Social Europe Editor-in-Chief Henning Meyer to discuss the impact of technological changes on the world of work and the wider economy. The discussion highlights why washing machines will not go to the moon any time soon and why the developing world might have more to fear from the digital revolution than rich countries.
Listen to Brian Eno deliver his John Peel Lecture on the ecology of culture.
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