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...
Amazon Rainforest Faces Desertification Amazon rainforest ‘could become a desert’ And that could speed up global warming with ‘incalculable consequences’, says alarming new research The Independent (U.K.), July 23, 2006 The vast Amazon rainforest is on the brink of being turned into desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world’s climate, alarming research suggests. And the [...]
150 years ago, German physiologist Emil Du Bois-Reymond discovered that electric currents could speed up the healing of flesh wounds. But his research has been ignored ever since. Until now… Now Josef Penninger of the Austrian Institute of Molecular Biotechnology in Vienna and Min Zhao of the University of Aberdeen, UK, have demonstrated that natural [...]
New research has shown that fatherhood brings about dramatic enhancements in male brains. Although the researchers don’t suggest it, this effect may be nature’s way of counteracting the dramatic decrease in male brain function that occurs in proportion to the number of times they get laid in a given week (Note: this particular malady was [...]
A major new discovery about the structure of DNA molecules has been announced. Researchers have found there is a pattern to the organization of nucleosomes in DNA, which may explain why certain parts of the moleculare are accessible or inaccessible to transcription. This in turn may help explain how certain genes are conserved in nature, [...]
South Korean researchers have synthesized a molecule that seems to not only stop, but also reverse, the built-in aging functions of cells. A team of South Korean scientists on Sunday claimed to have created a “cellular fountain of youth,’’ or a small molecule, which enables human cells to avoid aging and dying. The team, headed [...]
I’ve been interested in bacteriophages for a few years, ever since I first heard about them. This article goes into more detail about why they may present a new and better alternative to antibiotics in the treatment of resistant bacterial infections. In the 1920s and ’30s, with diseases like dysentery and cholera running rampant, the [...]
Are you living in a cloud of electronic smog? New research has shown that fields from electrical wiring and devices in the home and office should be considered to be a form of pollution. Recent studies are finding that many cancers and other diseases may be directly related to exposure to these electrical fields.
A new study has found a fatal flaw in past studies that claimed moderated drinking is good for your health. It seems the past studies compared moderate drinkers to abstainers, and found the moderate drinkers were more healthy. Unfortunately what they neglected to consider was the fact that many of their abstainers were abstaining because [...]
More evidence that many synthetic food and beverage packaging materials are unsafe: A CHEMICAL used to make food wrapping and line tin cans could be the cause of surging prostate cancer rates in men, says a study. Bisphenol A is widely used in the food industry to make polycarbonate drinks bottles and the resins used [...]
New research into the mathematical properties of whale songs reveals that they have a complex language: The songs of the humpback whale are among the most complex in the animal kingdom. Researchers have now mathematically confirmed that whales have their own syntax that uses sound units to build phrases that can be combined to form [...]
Researchers continue to make progress in fusing living neurons with computer chips: The line between living organisms and machines has just become a whole lot blurrier. European researchers have developed "neuro-chips" in which living brain cells and silicon circuits are coupled together. The achievement could one day enable the creation of sophisticated neural prostheses to [...]
The theory of quantum evolution is a radical new take on how mutations in DNA occur. Basically the theory postulates that DNA molecules are in fact macroscopic quantum objects that undergo quantum interference. It is spearheaded by Johnjoe McFadden, a professor in the UK and makes for an interesting read. Here is a brief overview [...]
Introduction: This article proposes the creation of a new open, nonprofit service on the Web that will provide something akin to “collective self-awareness” back to the Web. This service is like a “Google Zeitgeist” on steroids, but with a lot more real-time, interactive, participatory data, technology and features init. The goal is to measure and [...]
The Norwegians are planning to create a deep underground vault near the North Pole to house a backup copy of seeds for all known varieties of crops. The goal is to ensure food supplies and enable humanity to regenerate in the event of nuclear war, global warming or other catastrophes. It’s a good idea. This [...]
A new project applies text-mining to help scientists in the UK discover knowledge in large collections of research articles and data (Found in: KurzweilAI): Julie NightingaleTuesday January 10, 2006The Guardian Scientific research is being added to at an alarming rate: the Human Genome Project alone is generating enough documentation to "sink battleships". So it’s not [...]
The Edge has published mini-essays by 119 "big thinkers" on their "most dangerous ideas" — fun reading. The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about [...]
I recently read a report of new neuroscience research in which researchers are able to predict what a person will recall by analyzing their brainstate. You can read a summary here. This reminds me of an idea I had a while back for using biofeedback to guide brainstates, in order to improve memory. Here’s a [...]
More news about aspartame ("Nutrasweet"), which is being found to be far more toxic than anyone imagined… (from: this article) Combining food additives may be harmful, say researchers · Aspartame and artificial colourings investigated · Mice nerve cells stopped growing in experiments Felicity Lawrence, consumer affairs correspondent Wednesday December 21, [...]
A recent study has found that human-level dosages of aspartame (the artificial sweetener formerly known as Nutrasweet and now cleverly disguised by new, obscure trade-names) causes stastitically significant increases in the occurrance of multiple forms of cancer. In other words, don’t drink diet colas that include aspartame, don’t chew sugar-free gum, and when you see [...]
Now this is really interesting! New research has found that certain parts of the body emit measurable numbers of photons. This may open up new diagnostic techniques. But that’s just the beginning. Spiritual healers from many different faiths have long said that they experience light coming from their hands, and can feel (and even see) [...]
This article discusses recent research into encoding short 100 word messages into the DNA of living organisms. The error-correcting characteristics of DNA enable such messages to be passed down without degrading across generations. By embedding short messages into hardy organisms such as particular strains of bacteria, it may be possible to preserve information over longer [...]
From Boing Boing today: Xeni Jardin: A report in this week’s issue of Science says 20 percent of human genes have been patented in the United States: The study (…) is the first time that a detailed map has been created to match patents to specific physical locations on the human genome. Researchers can patent [...]