This illustrated webcast introduces the microscopic arsenal of weapons and warriors that play a role in the battle for your health.
TED education has been putting out some good videos which is a wonderful thing to see. It is wonderful to let people everywhere (kids and adults) that are interested in learning (and that have internet access) can learn about the world around us. Traditional educational institutions have not done much with this opportunity to broaden their impact.
The video looks at the cells reaction to a virus infiltrating the cell.
That idea soon became a start-up called Matternet – a network for transporting matter – which aims to help the one billion people who do not have year-round access to roads.
[Andreas] Raptopoulos said the new system would be used to leapfrog the building of infrastructure, in the same way mobile networks have overtaken fixed lines in poorly connected countries.
In sub-Saharan Africa, 85% of roads are inaccessible during the wet season, cutting off huge swaths of the population and hindering the transport of medical supplies, he said.
There are three parts to the system delivering medical goods: the UAVs themselves, landing stations where packages can be dropped off and transferred, and the software that ensures vehicles get securely from point to point. Because of their short battery life, networks of drones are needed to work together, shuttling between ground stations
Approximate costings from Matternet put the price of unmanned aerial vehicles at £6,000 each and ground stations at £3,000 each. A network of five ground stations and 10 UAVs, as well as setup and training, would cost a charity in the region of £90,000, according to Raptopoulos. An eight-propeller drone can carry 2kg and travel 10km in good weather. Batteries need to be replaced every 600 cycles.
Tim examines some questions on science and exercise and health in the webcast. He shows the problem with drinking too much during exercise and the correlation of hospital admissions correlated to the sport drinks marketing and changing of the official drinking guidelines. He also discusses the outdated ideas related to lactic acid and muscles.
He is currently studying the science of food and human health and is skeptical of low fat health claims: “No evidence that dietary fat is related to heath disease.” He is certainly more knowledgable than I but I would still be cautious of completely accepting that premise. It does seem to me there is lots of evidence that claims of causation between eating a high fat diet and heart disease were too strong (many other factors were critical – such as weight, exercise, genetics, unsaturated fat v. saturated fat…).
Tim Noaks: “50% of what we teach is wrong; the problem is we don’t know which 50% it is. Our job as educated people is to spend our lifetime trying to figure out which 50% is which. Until it is disproven accept that for which the evidence appears solid and logical and is free of covert or overt conflicts of interest, because unfortunately industry is driving what you believe in many many things. But don’t ever dismis lightly that for which there is credible evidence… and there is such clear evidence the diets we are eating are horrendous.”
Bill Gates talking about energy, and climate change, at TED. He is looking at a new type of nuclear reactor using as fuel, what is now nuclear waste.
The idea of Terrapower is that, instead of burning a part of uranium, the one percent, which is the U235, we decided, let’s burn the 99 percent, the U238. It is kind of a crazy idea. In fact, people had talked about it for a long time, but they could never simulate properly whether it would work or not, and so it’s through the advent of modern supercomputers that now you can simulate and see that, yes, with the right material’s approach, this looks like it would work.
And, because you’re burning that 99 percent, you have greatly improved cost profile. You actually burn up the waste, and you can actually use as fuel all the leftover waste from today’s reactors. So, instead of worrying about them, you just take that. It’s a great thing. It breathes this uranium as it goes along. So it’s kind of like a candle. You can see it’s a log there, often referred to as a traveling wave reactor. In terms of fuel, this really solves the problem. I’ve got a picture here of a place in Kentucky. This is the left over, the 99 percent, where they’ve taken out the part they burn now, so it’s called depleted uranium. That would power the U.S. for hundreds of years. And, simply by filtering sea water in an inexpensive process, you’d have enough fuel for the entire lifetime of the rest of the planet.
Hans Rosling provides another interesting TED talk. As he mentions economics plays a huge role in whether we will slow population growth. The economic condition plays a huge role in child survival which he calls “the new green.” Meaning the fate of the environment is tied to increasing child survival (and decreasing poverty). There are many important factors that will impact the fate of the environment but a big factor is world population.
The webcast shows a talk by mycologist Paul Stamets on Bioremediation with Fungi (an Excerpt from Mushrooms as Planetary Healers). In response he to the British Petroleum/Halliburton oil spill he posted a message, Fungi Perfecti: the petroleum problem
Various enzymes (from mushroom mycoremediation) breakdown a wide assortment of hydrocarbon toxins.
My work with Battelle Laboratories, in collaboration with their scientists, resulted in TAH’s (Total Aromatic Hydrocarbons) in diesel contaminated soil to be reduced from 10,000 ppm to < 200 ppm in 16 weeks from a 25% inoculation rate of oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) mycelium, allowing the remediated soil to be approved for use as landscaping soil along highways. [paper]
Aged mycelium from oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) mixed in with ‘compost’ made from woodchips and yard waste (50:50 by volume) resulted in far better degradation of hydrocarbons than oyster mushroom mycelium or compost alone.
Oyster mushrooms producing on oil contaminated soil (1–2% = 10,000–20,000 ppm)… Soil toxicity reduced in 16 weeks to less than ~ 200 ppm, allowing for plants, worms and other species to inhabit whereas control piles remained toxic to plants and worms.
New crop of mushrooms form several weeks later [after contaminating with oil]. The spores released by these mushrooms have the potential – as a epigenetic response – to pre-select new strains more adaptive to this oil-saturated substrate.
I proposed in 1994 that we have Mycological Response Teams (MRTs) in place to react to catastrophic events, from hurricanes to oil spills. We need to preposition composting and mycoremediation centers adjacent to population centers
On a grand scale, I envision that we, as a people, develop a common myco-ecology of consciousness and address these common goals through the use of mycelium. To do so means we need to spread awareness and information. Please spread the word of mycelium.
Pretty cool. I must admit I don’t really see how this would function outside of specifically designed situation. I can imagine it could be very cool for education, especially of young kids. Siftables act in concert to form a single interface: users physically manipulate them – piling, grouping, sorting – to interact with digital information and media. David Merrill and Jeevan Kalanithi originally created Siftables at the MIT Media Lab and have formed a company to commercialize the product and have received a grant from NSF to continue the work.
“After a certain basic point, which translates, more or less, to just a few thousand dollars above the minimum poverty level, increases in material well being don’t see to affect how happy people are.”
The speech includes, the first purpose of incorporation at Sony:
To establish a place of work where engineers can feel the joy of technological innovation, be aware of their mission to society, and work to their heart’s content.
Excellent books by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1991. People enter a flow state when they are fully absorbed in activity during which they lose their sense of time and have feelings of great satisfaction. Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning. Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1997. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with exceptional people, from biologists and physicists to politicians and business leaders to poets and artists, the author uses his famous “flow” theory to explain the creative process.
Each person has about 1 trillion human cells and about 10 trillion bacterial cells. In the webcast Bonnie Bassler, Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, discusses the chemical language that lets bacteria coordinate defense and mount attacks (quorum sensing). The find has stunning implications for medicine, industry — and our understanding of ourselves.
Bacteria do all sorts of amazing things for us: educating your immune system to keep bad microbes out, they digest our food, they make our vitamins…