Workshop 6: Futures: May 8th-9th

WALTER PICHLER. Small Room (Prototype 4), 1967 Photography: Werner Kaligofsky.
Generali Foundation, Vienna. © Generali Foundation

WALTER PICHLER TV-Helmet (Portable living room), 1967

This workshop explored ways in which the contemporary obsession with insecurity is generating new forms of technical promise, offering control and protection in the wars against terror and environmental apocalypse. Discussions ranged from Double Agents in the post cold war era, how design thinking is integral to understanding, envisioning and provoking thoughts about the future, how risk assessment and scenario planning creates its own future and how the war on climate change has been created from the same language and motivations as the war on terror.

‘Design and Futures Thinking’ by James King

The MRI Steak: The Meat of Tomorrow

Nanofilter: Fossil from a Nanotech future

‘Design and Futures Thinking’ by James King (designer)

Check out his presentation here

Dressing The Meat of Tomorrow

There is a real technology that allows us to take a small sample of animal tissue and encourage it to grow, separate from the original animal’s body, to form a piece of ediblemeat. Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, who are two artists working with this technology call this food “disembodied cuisine”, but is also known as Lab-meat, Semi-Living Meat, In-Vitro Cultured Meat, and perhaps most importantly for vegetarians: Victimless Meat.

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Workshop 4: Protocols, Procedures & Institutions

Read more about the Protocols, Procedures and Institutions workshop here>

Tower Hamlets Unregulated Zone
The Tower Hamlets Unregulated Zone

CONFIDENTIAL MEMO
A CONFIDENTIAL MEMO discussing the IF-POLITICS membership and duties of the Lancaster University Expert Assessors of Tower Hamlets Unregulated Zone from the UK Government Regulation Office, Division 3496723. Source: ANON

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

A GENE-CENTRIC VIEW

WATCH the FULL LENGTH INTERVIEW!!!!

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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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:

Buried But Not Forgotten?: The Secret of Yucca Mountain

Yucca Mountain repository diagram Nuclear waste markers Landscape of Thorns Blue Yucca plant nuclear waste markers

Brian P. Bloomfield & Theo Vurdubakis – Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, Lancaster University

ABSTRACT: Yucca Mountain in Nye County, Nevada (USA), is the site of a very ambitious project to construct an underground repository for high-level nuclear waste. The object of scientific research and planning for over 20 years, and still facing significant political and legal challenges, the project aims to transport thousands of tons of radioactive waste from sites across the USA for storage at Yucca Mountain where it is meant to be kept safe for some10,000 years. Examination of the project highlights the relationships between social boundaries (proximity), language, and risk, geology and technoscience, in which the effort to realise safety materially (through the repository, and its situation within the local geology and geography) is complemented by efforts to communicate the dangers held within the mountain to the unknown (and unknowable) peoples of the distant future.

LINKS:

US department of Energy: Civilian Radioactive Waste Management

Yucca Mountian homepage

Peter Schwartz (founder of Global Business Network & wrote The Art of the Long View: see my FOSK blog entry) writes about the future of Yucca Mountain on The Long Now Foundation blog

C’elle: Stem Cells in Menstrual Blood

Menstrual Cup

A company called Cryo-cell International Inc. has launched its proprietary cryopreservation service, C’elle, which offers women the opportunity to bank stem cells from their menstrual blood. Using a menstrual cup to collect their blood is at the same time offering some vague belief that in the future you might be able to be saved by the possible stem cells collected from it. This company has already been under criticism from scienctists deeming the process to be all ‘hypothesis and hype’.

A caption taken from the C’elle promotional website:

“When it comes to making major life decisions, there is no time like the present. And when it comes to something as important as collecting potentially life-saving stem cells found naturally in menstrual blood, the ideal time is NOW. Thanks to C’elle’s patented technology, and easy-to-use collection kit, you have the reassurance and peace of mind you need, when it comes to collecting, isolating and preserving menstrual blood. Welcome to C’elle – where every month holds a miracle. ”

Read more about C’elle at BBC news and Bionews>

The Museum of Menstruation is unfortunately closed down but check out what the owner has to say about menstruation knickers and his menstrual cup ball gown.