Minding The Planet is Nova Spivack’s weblog on emerging technologies and trends. It focuses on ways in which the Web is becoming more present, personalized and precise.
Nova Spivack is a technology futurist, entrepreneur, angel investor, and a leading voice on search, collective intelligence and the Semantic Web. More...
Russian scientists in the Khibinsky Mountains in the Arctic Circle have made an important scientific discovery. They’ve found a new mineral which absorbs radiation. It does not yet have an official name and is known only as number 27-4. It can absorb radioactivity from liquid nuclear waste. Read the rest here.
A very cool experiment in virtual reality has shown it is possible to trick the mind into identifying with a virtual body: Through these goggles, the volunteers could see a camera view of their own back – a three-dimensional "virtual own body" that appeared to be standing in front of them. When the researchers stroked [...]
Whenever a scientist says something like, don’t worry our new experiment could never get out of the lab, or don’t worry the miniature black hole we are going to generate couldn’t possibly swallow up the entire planet, I tend to get a little worried. The problem is that just about every time a scientist has [...]
I just heard about a very interesting new discovery in neuroscience:. The basic gist is that it appears that axons process information. Until now it has been thought that only the cell body of neurons was the part that processed information. Our present understanding of the brain, and also of psychopharmacology, is based completely on [...]
Researchers at the International Space University (ISU), of which I am an alumnus, are proposing an interesting initiative to build an ark on the moon to preserve human civilization and biodiversity, and the Internet, in the event of a catastrophe on earth, such as a comet impact, nuclear war, etc. This project is similar to [...]
A new finding has discovered that the human genome may be highly networked. That is, genes do not operate in isolation, but rather they are networked together in a far more complex ecosystem than previously thought. It may be impossible to separate one gene from another in fact. This throws into question not only our [...]
Recent research has found a way to reverse the Casimir force, which causes objects to stick together at nanoscales. This enables nanoscale levitation — among other things it could dramatically reduce friction in nanodevices. It could also enable new kinds of nanodevices in which for example rotating parts are levitated and held in place using [...]
Steorn, the Irish company that claims to have invented a mechanical device that generates unlimited free energy with no fuel, is scheduled to demonstrate their device publicly for the first time in London tomorrow. A panel of 22 independent world experts has been recruited to study the device. It should be an interesting demo!
Just in time for the 4th of July, here is a comprehensive report on sunscreens which may be potentially unsafe to use. Yes, it turns out there are several new ingredients now being used in sunscreens which are not FDA approved and may cause unknown effects on humans. Other sunscreen ingredients paradoxically break down in [...]
Suspicions of a link between Aspartame (the commonly used artificial sweetener) and various forms of cancer have received another boost from a new Italian study. The study found that even at relatively low levels of consumption, rats exposed to Aspartame had a significantly increased risk of several types of cancer. The implications of this are [...]
The Business 2.0 Article on Radar Networks and the Semantic Web just came online. It’s a huge article. In many ways it’s one of the best popular articles written about the Semantic Web in the mainstream press. It also goes into a lot of detail about what Radar Networks is working on. One point of [...]
This just in. Lieutenant Walter Haut was the public relations officer at the Roswell Air Force base in 1947 when aliens or a weather balloon allegedly crash landed on a nearby ranch. Lieutenant Walter Haut was the public relations officer at the base in 1947, and was the man who issued the original and subsequent [...]
Another interesting article on the move towards wireless power, or what some are calling "WiTricity." I’ve written about this previously. The team at MIT is making some good headway. Check out the article for a diagram of how their wireless power beaming system works. It can power any device within about 9 feet. Nikola Tesla [...]
There are thousands of promising drugs for treating diseases that are simply not getting studied or brought to market because they are derived from natural or common substances that can’t be patented. The dirty little secret of the pharma business is that even a miracle cure for cancer won’t be invested in if it can’t [...]
New cancer treatment hailed as a breakthrough, but since it’s based on a common, non-patented drug, it may be hard to find money for clinical trails: A simple molecule, used for decades to treat children with rare metabolic diseases, commits "immortal" cancer cells to a natural death and could soon be used to treat many [...]
I’ve been thinking since 1994 about how to get past a fundamental barrier to human social progress, which I call “The Collective IQ Barrier.” Most recently I have been approaching this challenge in the products we are developing at my stealth venture, Radar Networks. In a nutshell, here is how I define this barrier: The [...]
Japanese scientists have developed a technique that can encode 100-bit messages into the DNA of common bacteria. The bacteria replicate and pass the message down from generation to generation for at least thousands of years. Because there are millions or more copies of the message it can survive gradual degradation or mutuations (so they claim). [...]
Thanks to Bram for pointing me to this article about how new research indicates that communication in the brain is quite different than we thought. Essentially neurons may release neurotransmitters all along axons, not just within synapses. This may enable new forms of global communication or state changes within the brain, beyond the "circuit model" [...]
Nice article in Scientific American about Gordon Bell’s work at Microsoft Research on the MyLifeBits project. MyLifeBits provides one perspective on the not-too-far-off future in which all our information, and even some of our memories and experiences, are recorded and made available to us (and possibly to others) for posterity. This is a good application [...]
Google’s Larry Page recently gave a talk to the AAAS about how Google is looking towards a future in which they hope to implement AI on a massive scale. Larry’s idea is that intelligence is a function of massive computation, not of “fancy whiteboard algorithms.” In other words, in his conception the brain doesn’t do [...]
D-Wave, a company making quantum computers, claims the first quantum computer will be unveiled next week. If this really happens it could be big. Quantum computing can theoretically enable a massive increase in computing power. The question is what will it cost? If this technology is viable it also ups the ante in the encryption [...]
Some very interesting research out of University of Rochester. Researchers there have found a way to record and later retrieve an image using only a single photon. This is cool enough — but wait, there’s more — they did this by leveraging the famous "double slit" experiment of quantum mechanics in a really smart way. [...]
Interesting new study… It ranks among the most enduring mysteries of the cosmos. Physicists call it the Fermi paradox after the Italian Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi, who, in 1950, pointed out the glaring conflict between predictions that life was elsewhere in the universe – and the conspicuous lack of aliens who have come to visit. [...]
A new "miracle drug" appears to cure many types of cancers in a novel way. But the catch is no pharmaceutical company will fund research in it because it can’t be patented! Maybe it’s time to start a government agency or a non-profit that funds research and development, and distribution of, wonder drugs that are [...]