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How little do we know about Biology and Neuroscience.

I spent the Christmas Holidays in Naples with my parents. A few days after the traditional family meetings were over, I organized a lunch with friends (and friends of friends) with backgrounds in Engineering, Computer Science and Complex Systems. Some of them are teaching in Italy and the US, others have start-up companies. This kind of lunch is good to exchange ideas and get up to date with what they have been doing.

Media center, personal cloud, private filesharing, audio/video communications, secure WiFi access while on the road, and lots of other things!

On my TV I can now watch Internet videos, movies, and photos, listen to music and much much more ... (just keep reading below); also, I can use a hand-held mini-keyboard and mouse-pad to control everything.

It took me some time to think about the system, buy the parts, assemble and configure them.

Comparing a genome to Linux. Interesting considerations regarding biology and engineering.

A recent paper compares the transcriptional regulatory network of a cell to the Linux call graph. The comparison is intriguing in light of the different directed graphs that emerge from the analysis.

It's biology ... stupid!

Do you ever have the feeling that you can see technology changing around you – and you see it accelerating? You see the impact on society of this or that new gadget, of a new framework or new model before others can see it and everything is just SO interesting, SO laden with consequences that you want to talk about it SO badly.

But yet, nobody seems to see or care!

The great majority of people do not understand what is happening, preferring to watch television and chase old, outdated and impossible dreams.


Looking for a bio-inspired language for the Net? Try Node.js

I spent the last few days looking into node.js. I find it interesting because it has some of the features I was looking for in my quest for building a bio-inspired Net. I guess it was developed with different specs in mind, but funny enough, it sports some of what I'm looking for. Node.js, the name itself, is telling.

It is based on JavaScript and Google's V8 Engine. 

A few more interesting links

Yes, Asia is rising and Europe and the US are declining, but the West will endure.  

Consumption is slowing in the West, and technology is growing. Is there a causal link between the two? Is technology driving down consumption?

Or another related hypothesis: is the recession caused by an exodus from atoms to bits?

Some extreme links to make sense of a changing world

Once upon a time there were few outlets for information. The world was explained to us by a handful of journalists who mostly got the inspiration from each other (shall we say copy?). We had a limited menu of views of the world, a leftist, a liberal and a right-wing. The world was easy to understand, we knew what was happening, since the important stuff was selected for us. Life was simple, few neurons were involved in making sense of the world. Yes that's a cartoon view but not far from how information was produced and consumed.

Models, prediction, statistics, the Internet and the human brain

This new service from Google is useful when you have to write in English, or any other language.

The best way to understand it is to use it. It is not a spell checker, it is a prediction engine. Play with it, and you'll realize how helpful it can be.

Open source router software

I installed dd-wrt on my WRT610n. I am pretty impressed! I basically have a server connected to the Internet that I can access from anywhere in the world. I can do ftp, VPN, start and stop PCs on my home network. All besides being a wireless/wired router of course.

It is amazing how many things I can think about, like having a virtual distributed file system on the Net, for example, cool!

How technology is changing education; does anyone have an idea?

The debate about how technology is changing education is gaining strength.

I just spent a few weeks in NYC and now I am back to Milan. NYC was a part-time vacation, let's call it this way. It was mostly about education, so I had some discussions about it too.

Homegrown neurophysiology. 500USD and you also get an iPhone ap!

Do you want to record the neuro-system activity of the invertebrates at home? Then BackYards brains might have an inexpensive solution for you!

Remote tele-presence robot, in the 5000USD range

Interesting product, based on Freescale ARM  processor and Linux. You can control it with a mouse. These things will become very common in the near future, and will need some intelligence too!

Is the Internet making us more intelligent or more stupid?

Steven Pinker argues that the Internet is actually making us more intelligent. We are just scared of the future, as we have always been in the past, when technology tranforms our lifes:


Biological Braitemberg vehicles: these flies smell light!

Apparently scientists have achieved controlling the sensory input of a fly so that it responds to a specific stimulus. It reminds me of Valentino Braitemberg vehicles, except those were simple mechanical objects without any inter-neurons, yet they exhibited very complex behavior.

The consequences of globalization foreseen 16 years ago

Back in 1994, Sir James Goldsmith had a clear vision of the implications of globalization on advanced economies. Now, 16 years later, his predictions have been confirmed: the middle class in the advanced economies has seen a constant lowering of its living standards, and without change in direction, it will continue to get worse.


The Internet as an operating system. What is there already and what needs to be built.

Good post about the Internet as an operating system and interesting comparison with the PC era world. 

Understanding the world, what you don't know and what you should know.

When you are trying to understand how something works, it helps to have a clear idea of what that something is, what others in related fields know about it and what it is not known yet.

It helps you being efficient in how you use your time. This post is worth reading.

It's a culture. Call it the algorithmic culture. To get it, you need to be part of it ...

I promise this will be today's last post, otherwise I will not be able to read an interesting paper I received from one of the participants at the AGI conference in Lugano. But I felt compelled to write one more post, because it follows perfectly from the previous two.

This article published on Edge is good food for thought; it is from David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale.

Stupid in America. Is this the reason why kids are dropping out of school? Watch this ABC documentary.

Dropping out of school was the topic of the previous post. One of the reasons dropout is high could be the low quality of education one gets at school. To get an idea of how low the quality can be, just watch this documentary from ABC:


The Dropout Economy: I see the signs on the wall. It is happening, and technology drives the change.

Interesting article about the evolution of society. It might seem very far fetched and very improbable; personally I see how this is developing and why. And of course, technology has a big role in this:


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by Dr. Radut