Dawkins + Venter discuss “Life: A Gene-Centric View” UPDATE!



Richard Dawkins and J Craig Venter meet to discuss the future of evolution and synthetic biology entitled LIFE: A GENE-CENTRIC VIEW at the DLD (Digital Life Design), a high-level Munich conference for the digital elite.

Read the German Press reactions:

>The Future of Selection from the SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG via Edge
> Craig Venter wants to email life from Spiegel Online via Edge
>Venter Institute Scientists Create First Synthetic Bacterial Genome

The full transcript from the video:

JOHN BROCKMAN: Thank you, Steffi and thank you all for coming.

It’s not every day you have Richard Dawkins and Craig Venter on a stage together. Richard Dawkins is responsible for possibly the most important science book of the last century, The Selfish Gene, published in 1976, which set forth an agenda of the gene-centric, or gene’s eye, view of life, which has become the basic science agenda for biologists for the last quarter century. And without that worldview, you wouldn’t have Craig Venter changing the world the way he is today.

Craig Venter is the man who led the private group that decoded the humane genome in 2001. He’s working on the forefront of artificial life, synthetic biology. He’s traveling around the world on a sailboat finding millions of new genes in the oceans and in very dramatic fashion. And most recently, in June, his lab was responsible for transplanting the information from one genome into another. In other words, your dog becomes your cat. What we’ll do first is a conversation between Craig and Richard, and then if any of you have questions, please raise your hands.

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How To Reduce The Chances Of Being A Terror Victim

How To Reduce The Chances Of Being A Terror Victim

How To Reduce The Chances Of Being A Terror Victim_eggsafety

How To Reduce The Chances Of Being A Terror Victim_officesafety

The band XX Teens are soon to release their single: “How To Reduce The Chances Of Being A Terror Victim”. They use a variety of security announcements as lyrics to accompany an amusing dystopian depiction of “uberprotection” & “ubersafety” society in their music video.

From The Complete Terrorism Survival Guide: How to Travel, Work and Live in Safety

6. Never check luggage at curbside check-in at airports; carry luggage on board with you, if possible; carry as few bags as possible.

7. Spend as little time at the airport as possible; avoid heavily glassed areas.

8. When flying, wear comfortable clothing and shoes in case you need to quickly evacuate.

9. Try to fly on wide-body planes; terrorists often avoid hijacking them.


Safe Weaponery

Martin Postler, a recent graduate from the MA Design Products course at the RCA, London designed the AK47 Paper Gun Model Kit. Martin has freed the AK-47 from its terrible capacity to injure and kill by reconstructing it into a paper model construction set. Martin works alongside Ian Ferguson. Check out there company profile: postlerferguson

Safe Drinking

inflatable pubs inflatable pub interior

Inflatable pubs and bars are now available to buy or hire. No sharp edges and soft walls ensure alcohol induced fighting will no injuries. The pub will deflate if pierced with sharp glass objects, thus creating an enveloping membrane over the troublemakers.

Inflatable churches and other temporary emergency housing are also available>

Safe Driving?


Taking its lead from recent high-profile experiments in the Netherlands and Germany , the Kensington and Chelsea council wants to begin removing traffic lights from Exhibition Road. It is part of an audacious campaign by the council to forge modern ‘shared streetscapes’ where eye contact between motorists and pedestrians and simple common sense replace a ‘clutter’ of bollards and barriers, traffic lights, street signs and speed cameras.

via The Observer

Nothing but the TRUTH


Hosted by Jerry Springer, Nothing But The Truth is a new game show that promises to shock at every turn. Based on a popular Colombian gameshow, it is the very first TV show where contestants win money for telling the truth. Contestants are hooked up to a lie-detector and asked a tailored set of increasingly personal questions about their life:

· Do you have a secret bank account your wife doesn’t know about?
· Have you ever had an affair with one of your friend’s other halves?
· Have you ever worn your wife’s underwear without her knowing?
· Are you an easy lay?
· Is your wife the most attractive person you’ve slept with since you’ve been married?

The programme is now on SKY ONE but has already been blamed for a marriage break-up>

A viral campaign designed by The Red Brick Road generated thought-provoking stickers to be placed in key thinking space/time areas eg: At the gym


The Iraqi Coalition Casualty Count

Iraqi Coalition Casualty Count

I came across the Iraqi Coalition Casualty Count site in December and realised that it is the most moving bar graph I have seen in a while. Each .25mm(approx) on the bar chart represents 1 person who has died in Iraq.

Fixer-Sven and 9 other policy initiatives around the world

Monocle showcased 10 global policy initiatives worth adopting. Here they are:

(1) Senior Service – Fixer-Sven in Stockholm sends a “friendly chap who shuttles between houses fixing practical problems free of charge” for citizens over 75. “There are also moves to outsource care of the elderly to countries with sunny weather, lower living costs, and a habit of respecting the old,” with several Norwegian cities already outsourcing to southern Spain.

(2) The Flat Pack – Estonia and other emerging European nations have adopted a flat tax of 26 percent on individual and corporate income.

(3) Clear Vision – Sao Paulo has banned all outdoor advertising — billboards, advertising on trains and uses, posters and even flyers.

(4) People Power – Germany requires power companies to allow independent energy producers and to pay them 50 cents per kilowatt hours for it. The law “changed the economics of solar power overnight.”

(5) Green Light – Plant trees and green roofs to reduce greenhouse gases and encourage better behavior. [Better still, make your city walkable.]

(6) Rubbish Idea – Adopt Zurich’s smart rubbish and recycling bins, two-thirds of which are below the pavement, yielding a neat and unobtrusive container.

(7) Public Pool – Genoa’s car sharing scheme offers 24-hour availability, use of bus lanes and preferential parking.

(8) Treasure Hunt – Japan is conferring National Treasure status on its most highly prized buildings, works of art and practitioners of arts and crafts.

(9) Skill School – National service can mean building skills in necessary skills, such as waste management, aircraft maintenance and infrastructure construction.

(10) Smart Security – Do security barriers have to be so ugly? Monocle editors don’t thing so. They cite the Tiger Trap as ideal. Covered in grass, it includes an unobtrusive perimeter wall and pressure-activated sensors that trigger the floor to give way in an emergency.

Visions of the Future BBC4 series- Dr. Michio Kaku

VOTF_Honda Asimo

VOTF_growing bladder

Last November BBC 4 ran a three part series called “Visions of the Future” presented by Dr. Michio Kaku. Here he discusses a range of emerging future related topics from robots & brain pacemakers to in-vitro grown organs and meat to the theories and practices of Neil Gerschenfeld’s self fabrication bits & atoms department at the MIT. YouTube clips for each episode: intelligence , biotech, quantum

Bronislaw Szerszynski, a Senior Lecturer and Director of CSEC (The Centre for the Study of Environmental Change now based in Lancaster’s Department of Sociology) has critiqued the series.

To read the review please download from here> Szerszynski’s critique of Dr. Michio Kaku’s Visions of the Future BBC4 series

Related links: