Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Instead of blanket vaccination, targeted vaccination of people in the central nodes of a social network (found by a survey asking members to nominate other members with more friends than them) is more effective in achieving herd immunity and besides control of epidemics, availability of such data from social networks heralds the beginning of Computational Social Science as a valid discipline.
Astonishingly rapid cycles of improvement in fields as diverse as experimental microbiology and unicycling are now being driven by people watching web videos, which provide unprecedented visibility, a means to quickly spot-light top-performers and overcome the limitations of the written word by instead harnessing humankind's evolutionarily fine-tuned specialty of face-to-face conversation .
Sunday, September 12, 2010
The Internet has democratized the means of artistic production and distribution in an unprecedented way, causing the emergence of new species of artists like 'pro-ams' (amateurs performing at a professional level) and 'professional hybrid artists' (voluntary performers for charitable causes) whose work is redefining the role of traditional cultural institutions as profoundly as the Reformation did the Church.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Drawing on the successes of the Hole-in-the-Wall experiments, an illustration of which is the astonishing performance of a group of 26 twelve-year old Tamil-speaking students in a biotechnology class in English, Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLEs) offer a promising solution to our need of educating 1 billion children, with an investment of 180 billion dollars over 10 years.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
The looming Latin American food crisis which served as an impetus for large-scale adoption of zero-till mulch-farming (which both quadruples yield and sequesters carbon), is an example of a planetary risk driving transformative change of a kind that is necessary to keep unchecked human activity from tipping the biosphere off its stable Holocene state which made civilization possible.