September 25, 2011
The wild possibilities of printing food
By Lakshmi Sandhana
Typically, 3-D printers are discussed in light of the efficiencies they bring to industrial design and fabrication. They will soon help chefs create foods that can’t be made by hand if Cornell Creative Machines Lab, or their peers in the industry, can make them accessible.
The newest 3-D food printer, now being honed at CCML, can produce: tiny space shuttle-shaped scallop nuggets (image above); and cakes or cookies that, when you slice into them, reveal a special message buried within, like a wedding date, initials (image below) or a corporate logo. They can also make a solid hamburger patty, with liquid layers of ketchup and mustard, or a hamburger substitute that’s made from vegan or raw foods.
September 12, 2011
Michael Ventura on the official story — shall we call it the official non-story? The official lack of story? — on the day we most needed leadership and didn’t get it.
Interesting aspect that I don’t remember seeing covered or even discussed this way by anybody. What’s most persuasive in the column is that he doesn’t speculate on why the leadership gap that day, only reminds us that it was there.
On December 7, 1941, a 12-hour lapse in communications wouldn’t have been a lapse at all. (OTOH on December 8, 1941, President Roosevelt delivered a message to congress about the previous day’s events, asking for a declaration of war, the last time that particular [constitutionally required] nicety was observed.) But 60 years later, in a speeded-up world, 12 hours was an eternity.
September 9, 2011
Liberals! Conservatives! Libertarians! Anarchists! Followers of Chairman Mao! Members of the Hitler Youth! And any other fanatics I may have missed.
Would you please read this, published in France (as Pour en finir avec le Moyen Age) in 1977 and realize that this is just what you are doing, day in and day out!
“The study of history brings to youth the experience that is lacking to it; it can help the adolescent to overcome his most usual temptation: to be exclusive, to condemn in advance some particular tendency, person, or group; to have a vision of the universe limited only to his own vision (and if only this were a matter merely of adolescents!).”
– Regine Pernoud, Those Terrible Middle Ages: Debunking the Myths.
Fanaticism, tunnel-vision, rejection of alternative views of things, the implicit assumption that you are always right is killing us. And it’s tiresome to watch.
Oh, don’t worry, I realize that I fall into it myself. But what seems to me (erroneously perhaps) is that most of my friends consider themselves competent to judge the thought of others, and competent to avoid error. Even when I fall into that pit, it is against my grain, and I eventually struggle out again. But if you think it’s possible to be always right, and if you feel comfortable dismissing anyone whose thought diverges from yours, God help you.
September 8, 2011
A friend sent me to this website: http://www.noosphereforum.org/
It took a while for me to get beyond the artwork. Unfortunately their presentation is in reversed type (white over a background) so I took this text from this page http://www.noosphereforum.org/drupal/?q=node/6 and reformatted it so I could read it. Now, I haven’t yet read the other pages, but this seems to me an important initiative. The analysis feels real. It ties in with what I have felt in my bones for most of my lifetime: We are in a once-in-a-species-lifetime transition and it’s a good and hopeful thing!
Arguing about whether climate change is manmade or natural seems to me somewhat beside the point. (It’s clear enough that it’s happening, and, more to the point for me personally, I have “known” since the 1970s that we would live long enough to see Antarctica, or a large part of it, come out from under the ice. That tells me that it isn’t some catastrophic anomaly, but part of a larger picture that I, and of course countless others unknown to me, sensed decades ago.) How much of it is being caused or aggravated by human activities is a matter of debate. The fact that people on all sides of the issue are using it to advance their own agendas is also beside the point. If people could find a way to make hay out of the fact that the sun shines and then, suspiciously enough, doesn’t shine, every 24 hours, they would. The facts the scientists or researchers on one side of an issue are cooking the books doesn’t mean (a) that those on the other side aren’t doing it too, or (b) that the book-cookers may not be correct regardless. (After all, even if cheating is all-pervasive, somebody still has to be more right than others.) Ad hominem arguments are irrelevant, though I notice that the dirty bastards on the other side of the issue use them all the time.
(If that last sentence didn’t make you smile, re-read it. If, re-reading it, you take it as a statement of fact, you’ve gotten too deeply enmeshed in your ideology.)
The importance of addressing the issue as part of the larger noosphere issue is that things seen in context are less likely to be seen distorted; less likely to giver rise to accusation and counter-accusation, and far more likely to lead us off into new, even exciting, mental vistas.
This is another case of my commentary being as long as the piece I’m passing on! Okay, here it is.