In this episode we discuss the history of drug laws, why some drugs are legal and others aren’t, and what would happen if we just let everybody lose to do whatever they want.
Today we travel to a future where your microbiome becomes a key part of your identity. From health to your child’s kindergarten, here are all the ways knowing about your microbiome might impact your life.
In this episode we talk about the possibilities and limitations of the microbiome — the trillions of bacterial cells that live in and on your body. There’s a lot of money going towards microbiome research right now, and a whole lot of claims about what the microbiome can do. We break down what we actually know, and where we’re probably going.
In this episode of the Flash Forward podcast we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences?
We talk to experts on mosquito ecology, public health, and a guy who’s trying to genetically engineer mosquitoes to eliminate themselves. We talk about everything from how hard it would be to exterminate mosquitoes, to which species we should target, to what the potential side effects might be. Listen for all that and more!
Hello and welcome to newest addition to the Boing Boing podcast family! Flash Forward is a podcast produced and hosted by me, Rose Eveleth. Every week we really overthink what the future has in store for us. Every episode we tackle one possible (or, not so possible) future scenario — everything from a sudden ice age, to the end of antibiotic effectiveness, to a world in which contact sports are banned due to head injury — and try to work out how that future would really go down.
Today, about two percent of the population has prosopagnosia — a condition that makes them unable to remember faces. But what if we all had it? On this week’s episode, we travel to a future where nobody can recognize one another by face.
In the episode we discuss what causes face blindness and the tricks that people use to remember their friends. We also go through all the things that would be easier (spying, hiding) and harder (police lineups, cocktail parties) in a world where we were all faceblind.
Our man in the White House, Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, alerts us to the Administration's celebration of Back To The Future Day that includes:
* The release of President Obama's updated Strategy for American Innovation
* Tom's post on the White House blog about the power of imagination, titled "Science Fiction to Science Fact"
* A series of online conversations with scientists and innovators about the future! Read the rest
The UK is to see its first new electricity transmission tower design in nearly a century, reports the BBC.
The new design abandons the traditional "Mutant Eiffel Tower" style in favor of a sleek "T" shape.
This renders obsolete all those weird British science fiction TV shows from the 70s and 80s, where the regressed medieval future was illustrated with pastoral landscapes studded by the obsolete but still-looming pylons of the barely-remembered 20th century.
The new ones, however, are far more obscenely symbolic of totalitarian self-regard, and surely have a great future in spooky hauntological sci-fi where leather and sack-clad villagers worship science and its manifestations.
This is already most of West Sussex, yes, but just imagine everyone doing it. Pictured above is new pylon, with some classic pylon in the background. Read the rest
A delicious lab-burger, comprising meat grown in a test tube rather than hacked from the corpse of a once-living creature, was eaten for the first time today at a news conference in London. Genetic material was taken from a cow and "turned into strips of muscle" that were then combined into a patty, reports the BBC. Read the rest
Charlie Warzel: "THIS is what google's self driving car can see. So basically this thing is going to destroy us all." [via Matt Buchanan] Read the rest
I wrote a story about the future of crop science that's printed in the June issue of Popular Science. When I was doing the research, the big question I wanted to ask was this: "How can we take the most important agricultural crops and make them more sustainable and adapted to climate change?"
I suppose there are a lot of ways to define "most important", but I went with the crops that feed the most people. Wheat, rice, and corn account for more than 50% of all the calories consumed on Earth. So those are the plants I looked at. And that's where I ran into a surprise. Scientists had some really interesting, concrete suggestions for how to prepare wheat and rice for a changing world. But with corn, they took a different tack. Basically, the scientists said the best thing to do with corn was use less corn.
Read the rest
Large yields and high calorie content have made corn the most popular and most heavily subsidized crop in America. That’s an increasingly urgent problem. In 2010, corn production consumed nine million tons of fertilizer and led to greenhouse-gas emissions equivalent to 42 million tons of CO2—and corn isn’t even something we can easily eat. “The digestibility of unprocessed corn to humans isn’t very high,” says Jerry Hatfield, a plant physiologist with the USDA. “We have to put it through processing of some sort, whether that happens in a factory or an animal.” Set those problems aside, and a deal-breaker remains: modern corn is more sensitive to heat than any other major crop, and attempts to create drought- and heat-resistant corn through genetic modification are still unproven.
Would you like a signed copy of Before the Lights Go Out, my new book about the future of energy?
The book comes out on April 10th and pre-orders have already started shipping. Between now and the end of April, you can earn a fun prize for telling other people about my book.
1) Tell people on your social networks that you're reading Before the Lights Go Out. This applies to Facebook, G+, or Twitter. When you talk about it, be sure to tag me in the post—@maggiekb1 on Twitter, Maggie Koerth-Baker on Facebook and G+—so I know that you mentioned the book.
In return, I'll send you a sticker with my signature and personal thank-you. You can put it in your printed book and create an instant signed copy. Or, if you're an e-book reader, you can put the sticker on ... something else. Maybe your e-book reader. Maybe your pet/baby. Either way, it's yours!
UPDATE: I had another part to this, offering cookies to people who would write reviews of the book. It was meant to be fun. But, talking to a few people, I think that cuts too close to bribery. So I'm canceling that part of the contest.Read the rest