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At Google this weekend. Seeing a CMU telepresence robot now.


Some details from the scifoo Wiki:


I'd like to discuss an idea I'm formulating to improve climate modeling called "Global Swarming." The core idea is to deploy tens of thousands of ocean probes by leveraging the creative smarts and logistics coordination of the web.


As someone who served as an expert witness in the Dover "Intelligent Design" trial, and who has worked in the "creation-evolution" arena for a long time, if there is any interest I would be happy to run a session on "What happens post-Dover?" What will be the next wave of anti-evolutionism and anti-science? What needs to be done to combat it and raise the American public's awareness of the evidence for evolution? Why is this issue critical to the success of basic research in this country? How do scientists, educators, and tech folks fit in?


I'd like to brainstorm about programmable matter ProgrammableMatter. Programmable matter is any substance which can be programmed to change its shape or physical properties. We are currently working on constructing programmable matter and investigating how to program it. I would be most interested in talking about how one might program ensembles.


I’d like to present on OpenWetWare, a wiki promoting open research among biologists and biological engineers. With 65 labs and 1200 users on OpenWetWare, I can provide practical examples of how scientists are currently making use of the web(2.0) to support research and education in new ways. I’ll also talk about where the site is headed in the future, and how foocampers could help make it easier for scientists to share more of their secrets online.


I'll bring a memory stick with the recent radar images of what appear to be hydrocarbon-filled lakes on Saturn's moon, Titan, and some movies from Titan. I'm also happy to discuss the interesting phenomenon of "instant public science" done by enthusiasts everywhere who have instant access to the latest space science data from the web. BTW, Nature magazine's piece on exciting questions in chemistry (this week) included a mention of Titan, which should be on every organic chemists' hit list for places to visit.


I am interested in discussing the dichotomy of design and evolutionary search as divergent paths in complex systems development. -


I could begin a session about Systems Biology, with a general theme of building towards whole cell or whole organisms models in biology. I have some (whacky) ideas about this in addition to having done some real science on this subject.


I could present about novel circuit-focused neurotechnologies I'm developing, for advancing the study of brain function and consciousness, and for treating neurological and psychiatric disorders. Although I've been exploring this question in academic research settings – and I'm gearing up to set up my own university laboratory – I'd like to brainstorm about how to build the significant community of clinicians, engineers, scientists, and psychologists that we'd need to make strong scientific progress on the timeless, unyielding problem of understanding the nature of consciousness.


I could talk about/demonstrate: digital fabrication in the lab and its impact in field fab labs around the world, mathematical programs as a programming model for enormous/unreliable/extended systems and their application in analog logic circuits and Internet 0 networks, and microfluidic logic to integrate chemistry with computation


I could contribute to a session on powerlaws in nature, markets and human affairs. They're found nearly everywhere, from earthquakes to species distributions to cities to wars. We used to think the world was mostly defined by gaussian distributions (bell curves) with neat medians and standard deviations. But now we see that powerlaws, where low-frequency events have the highest amplitude, are far more common, and they're infinite functions where concepts like "average" are meaningless. What are the factors that create powerlaws and what does nature have in common with economics and social networking in this instance?


I'd like to talk to the assembled folks about a project we are running to help scientists move large datasets without using the internet (which can be very slow or expensive.


I hope to demo a viral database and talk about efforts to build real time surveillance via the WHO.


I'd like to discuss the range of applications being discussed in HE (HigherEd) that permit faculty and research groups to store and share a wide range of scholarly assets, including research data, texts (articles such as pre-prints and post-prints), images, and other media. These next generation academic apps provide support for tagging, community-of-use definitions, discovery, rights assertions via CC, and new models of peer review and commentary. Early designs typically implicate heavy use of atom or gdata for posting and retrieval, lucene, and ajax.


I can offer a brief introduction to the Human Genome, and the field of Comparative Genomics which focuses on comparing our own genome to that of other species. I'll try to give a taste of some of the startling revelations, seeming paradoxes, and many open questions that make working with this three billion letter string a ball.


I could offer the opposite point of view, looking at the very simplest organisms, what they do, how they work, and what life looks like when the genome fits on a floppy.


I would like to talk about the future of the scientific method. How the scientific method was one invention the Chinese did not make before the west, and how the process of science has changed in the last 400 years and will change even more in the next 50 years. I'd love to hear others' ideas of where the science method is headed.


I could offer some (possibly naive) ideas on how we could design evolvability into the scientific process by learning from the evolution of cellular complexity. I can also include some examples from language evolution and software evolution.


I can describe our general approach for open collaborative biomedical research at The Synaptic Leap.


I have in mind a presentation related to my project on Milestones in the History of Data Visualization – an attempt to provide a comprehensive catalog documenting and illustrating the historical developments leading to modern data visualization and visual thinking. The talk might encompass some of (a) some great moments in the history of data visualization, (b) 'statistical historiography': the study of history as 'data', (c) a self-referential Q: how to visualize this history. The goal would be more to suggest questions and aproaches than to provide answers – in fact a main reason to present would be to hear other people's reactions.


As we're on the topic of visualizations, I could give a talk about the rise of the geobrowser/virtual globe and how it is revolutionizing the geospatial visualization of information. I can showcase some of the best examples of scientific visualizations, show how geobrowsers are helping humanitarian causes and discuss the social-software aspect of Google Earth and other expected 'mirror worlds', where geospatial information is shared, wiki-like. Above all, I would love to brainstorm the possible use of geobrowsers in the projects of other campers.


I'm willing to give a talk about imaging projects in the Stanford Computer Graphics Laboratory, such as our large array of cameras, our handheld camera whose photographs you can refocus after you take the picture, and our work on multi-perspective panoramas (the Google-funded Stanford CityBlock Project). These projects are part of a trend towards "computational photography", in which computers play a significant role in image formation.


I'm a Hugo Award-winning science-fiction writer, and I'm working on a trilogy (my 18th through 20th novels) about the World Wide Web spontaneously gaining consciousness once the number of interconnections it has exceeds the number in a human brain. I'd love to talk a bit about my ideas of how such a consciousness, at first an epiphenomenon supervening on top of the web infrastructure, might actually come to access the documents and input sources available online and how it might perceive external reality, and I'd love to brainstorm with people about what sort of interactions and relationships humanity might have with such an entity.


I could talk about the current and future generation of astronomical surveys that will map the sky every three nights or so (e.g. the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope). They are designed to be able to address multiple science goals from the same data set (e.g. understanding cosmology and dark energy through to indentifying moving sources such as asteroids in our Solar System). With hundreds of thousands of variable sources detected each year (on top of the ten billion non-variables) the flow of data presents a number of challenges for how we follow up these sources.


I could talk about insights gained as part of the NSF-funded Pathways research project (Cornell U, LANL) that looks at scholarly communication as a global workflow across heterogeneous repositories and tries to identify a lightweight interoperability framework to facilitate the emergence of a natively digital scholarly communication system. Think introspecting on the evolution of science by traversing a scholarly communication graph that jumps across repositories. I could also talk about work we have been doing with scholarly usage information: aggregating it across repositories, and using the aggregated data to generate recommendations and metrics.


I'd love to show the prototype of an NSF-sponsored web-based simulation designed to help students learn about the nature of science. I'll bring the server on my laptop; we can all connect and play cosmologist. Advice welcome. More at NatureOfScienceGame


Making Open Access Affordable (free): There is a move afoot to put all science literature in the public domain (it is mostly funded with tax-free or tax money). There is a move afoot to put all science data in the public domain (ditto). These are unfunded mandates. We can not do much about the funding, but we computer scientists can do a LOT to drive the needed funds to zero by making it EASY to publish, organize, search, and display literature and data online. This also dovetails with Jill Mesirov's approach to reproducable science – future science literature will be a multi-layer summary of the source data – words, graphs, pictures on top and derivations + data underneath. Many working on these issues will be at this event. We should have a group-grope.


Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) for small labs with BIG data. It is embarrassing how many scientists use Excel as their database system – but even more embarrassing is how many use paper notebooks as their database. New science instruments (aka sensors) produce more data and more diverse data than will fit in a paper notebook, a table in a paper, or in Excel. How does "small science" work in this new world where it takes 3 super-programmers per ecologist to deploy some temperature and moisture sensors in a small ecosystem? We think we have an answer to this in the form of pre-canned LIMS applications.


Related to this I could talk a bit about how our work on myGrid has been aiming at taking the escience capabilities offered to large well funded groups down to a more 'grass roots' level - grid based science is traditionally the realm of people and groups with serious money but we don't think this has to be the case.


I could present a software demo of a new web-based collaborative environment for sharing drug discovery data – initially focused on developing world infectious disease research (such as Malaria, Chagas Disease, African Sleeping Sickness) with technology that should be equally applicable for scientists collaborating around any private or public therapeutic area. This demo is a collaboration initiated between Collaborative Drug Discovery, Inc and Prof. McKerrow at UCSF which could shift drug discovery efforts away from today's fragmented, secretive, individual lab model to an integrated, distributed model while maintaining data and IP protection.


Our present vaccine production infrastructure leaves us woefully unprepared to deal with either natural or artificial surprises – think SARS and avian influenza (H5N1), which can both easily outpace our technological response. There are superior technological alternatives that will not be widely available for years to come due to regulatory issues, and I would like engage the other campers on ways to address this problem. In particular, I would like to explore the potential contribution of distributed, low cost science – garage science – to improving our safety and preparedness.


The "Encyclopedia of Life" is a buzz phrase being bandied around by biologists – the idea is having an online resource that tells you what we know about each species of organism on the planet. It's an idea that seems obvious, but how would we achieve this given the scale of the task (number of known species about 2 million, those waiting to be found maybe 2-100, we really don't know), the rapidly dwindling number of experts who can tells us something about those organisms, the size of the literature (unlike most sciences, taxonomists care about stuff published back as far as the 18th century), and the widely distributed, often poorly digitized sources of information? I'd willing to chat about some of the issues involved, and some possible solutions


I would like to share briefly with you the results of a five year project to create and publish the world’s first totally integrated Encyclopedic vision of food – its origins, variations, complexity,nutrients, dimensions, meanings, enjoyment, history and a thousand and one stories about food. The result is a new kind of truly multidimensional Encyclopedia of Food and Culture that I edited with a whole team of scientists and scholars, and Scribner’s (Gale /Thompson) published in 2003. The Encyclopedia has been well reviewed and we won, among many awards, the Dartmouth Medal (the top prize in the reference world) in July 2004. I am bringing a three volume HARD copy with me and will put it on display at the “Table” for everyone to peruse at your leisure -(it is designed to ‘catch you’ – so if you are a browser and you love food you may have trouble giving it up for others to read!)I would also be delighted to talk about a new kind of World Food Museum that is designed to make the Encyclopedia come alive (please seem my bio statement for more).


I would like to present Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Citizen Science work as an example of several of the broader citizen science interests described in the Wiki. These include: Challenges of involving the public in data collection for professional research, scientific tradeoffs and possibilities, internet data collection tools, dynamic graphing and mapping tools, data mining, sustainability, webcommunity building plans for the future, and recruitment models within the contexts of conservation science and ornithology.

I would also like to demonstrate the new Pulluin software chip that fits in a TREO palm cell phone. It has a bird ID tool, lets you hear vocalizations, see pictures, and enter data into one of our citizen science projects, eBird. The ideal way to show you this toy would be to take interested campers on an early morning bird walk. If I can get enough signups, I will try to get eBird project leader, Brian Sullivan, to come up from Monterey, providing he is available. We would probably carpool to the shore to bird. If you are interested, email me and tell me which days, Sat., Sun., or both, you would be available.


Who are we? I'd like to give a short talk to argue for the importance of addressing an old question with a new meaning: What is it like to be human? Why do we dare, care and share? Why are we curious, generous and open? We have to deal with these questions before artifical intelligence, genetic engineering and the globalisation of cultures have changed us irreversibly. Many areas of activity in science, technology and the arts offer new perspectives: Sexual selection, algorithmic information theory, perception, nutrition, experimental economics, game theory and network theory, etc. They point to a coherent view of humans as flows and processes, rather than things and objects. Openness is essential. Attention is essential. Time is ripe for a new collective effort at producing a view of human being relevant to our age.


Robotics for the Masses – I would like to present two new technologies that we are public-domaining imminently. One is Gigapan, a technology for taking ultra-high-resolution panoramic images with low-cost equipment. We can generate time lapses of an entire field with enough detail to see individual petals in detail as they bloom and wither. The second is the TeRK site, which is designed to enable non-roboticists to make robots for tools without becoming robotics experts. I will bring Gigapans and TeRK robots with me and would love to show them doing their techie things. Both of these strands have the potential to be useful scientific tools.


Science, not near as much fun as math! :~) But without it the world remains untouchable. Do you want your child with maximum understanding? We better equip the rest to understand her, so that she is heard when speaking about this exquisite world. But how to reach as many as can be reached? Free is not near enough, full access comes close. The challenge is to deliver science, as the compelling, engaging, tantalizing world that it is, the very first frontier to cross into who we are. The quality of that experience needs freedom of expression. NASA World Wind is a bold step towards that. We are delighted to share the not-so-secret secrets thereof.


I could discuss how our fundamental discoveries on bipedal bugs and octopuses, gripping geckos and galloping ghost crabs have provided biological inspiration for the design of robots, artificial muscles and adhesives. I can include a demo of artificial muscles from Artificial Muscle Incorporated. I will bring two robots in development – a gecko-like climbing robot from our collaboration with Stanford and an insect-like hexapedal robot built by our UPenn colleagues. I will carry with me live death-head cockroaches that serve as our inspiration. I could facilitate a discussion of neuromechanical control architectures. I will introduce briefly our new center at Berkeley (CIBER – Center for Interdisciplinary Bio-inspiration in Education and Research) and a new journal - Bioinspiration and Biomimetics. I welcome this group’s creative suggestions not only for the next generation of robots, but also for novel designs using tunable skeletal structures, artificial muscles and dry adhesives


I would be interested in discussing and debating technical and nontechnical issue involving Social Semantic Search and Analytics. There is a significant interest in Social Search, and some interest in Semantic Search. Here is a scenario that probably involves more futuristic capabilities but a modest verion of this can lead to lower hanging fruits involving "little semantics" and "weak semantics" which would involve less infrastructure in creating and maintaining ontologies (albeit my experience shows building and maintaining large ontologies is doable, see Semantic Web: A different perspective on what works and what doesn't: (a) a research paper is published ;Eg: Semantics Analytics on Social Networks], (b) there is a popular press article with numerous factual errors and unsupported conjuctures e.g., this one, (c) there are several versions on popular web sites along with numerous blog postings containing emotional reactions See for example, (d) Tim O'Reilly digs into the facts and sets the record staight in Datamining Social Networking Sites. How can we track the string of these stories along various dimensions [thematic, spatial, temporal] while provding overview, ranking based on various criteria, contextual linking, insights on individual postings, and more? I am interested in more than clustering and linking through statistical analysis which are good to put some stories in font of a reader,but would not sufficiently help someone who needs to creat a cogent understanding of an event or a situation.


I'd like to discuss the planning of a Mountain View Consensus, in response to Bjørn Lomborg's Copenhagen Consensus, a ranking of where to spend money on the world's biggest problems. The frustrating thing about the Copenhagen Consensus is that it is published as a report – so if you think the compund interest rate should be 2% higher, you can only speculate on what the effect would be of changing it. For the Mountain View Consensus we would publish findings as a collaborative spreadsheet, with annotations for the values that different participants place on each variable, and the opportunity for anyone to add annotations. Also, while Lomborg invited only economists, we would include scientists and engineers who understand the technologies, and venture capitalists who understand risk factors and chances of technology bets.


I have two projects I'd like to share at Science Foo–and i'm eager to hear your thoughts on how best to build and deploy them both:

1) An open source project–the Family Medical History Tool –that could graphically capture essential medical data and which could be shared by family members (with this goes a myriad of challenging issues around privacy, HIPPA laws, etc.

2) We're initiating a "citizen science" approach to a retrospective clinical trial providing open and transparent results real-time. We believe that additional data could be rapidly collected to demonstrate a correlation between drug metabolism and genotype for the 2D6 gene and the drug tamoxifen. Preliminary data shows that 5-10 % of women who are 2D6 poor metabolizers taking tamoxifen (to avoid a reoccurrence of cancer) may be getting nothing more than a placebo effect, and worse, run a 3 times greater risk of a cancer reoccurrence.


I could give a talk and lead a discussion on the status and prospects for advanced nanotechnologies based on digital control of molecular assembly. I'd start by describing machines that already do this (in biology) and how they are being exploited to make nanostructures. I'd then outline a path forward to some very powerful technologies that today can be studied only by means of physical modeling and computational simulation. There are potential applications on a scale relevant to the climate change problem.

flies under water like a falcon, instead of using ballast like a zeppelin

New Improved Semantic Web: Now with added meaning! More machine processable than before. May be incompatible with existing XML tools. Databases may take up to ten times as much memory and 24 hours to load.


Picture taken from Mark Butlers presentation "Is the semantic web hype?" Hewlett Packard labs presentation at Manchester Metropolitan University. Conceived by Mark Butler and drawn by Rachel Murphy of Rude Girl Designs. Reproduced here with kind permission from Mark Butler.

I sent my saliva to China,


to the largest sequencing lab in the world,


and they did a whole genome sequence of me,


and most of me is not human.


Here are the bacteria living in my mouth, a pre-launch test from the first commercial service to offer a whole genome sequence of the whole lot:


Genus — Mapped reads

Prevotella — 2,573,674

Neisseria — 2,327,172

Haemophilus — 2,222,674

Streptococcus — 1,556,743

Rothia — 1,232,209

Veillonella — 945,180

Fusobacterium — 560,693

Campylobacter — 234,182

Atopobium — 231,213

Aggregatibacter — 202,541

Capnocytophaga — 116,289

Leptotrichia — 85,449

Bacteroides — 67,333

Clostridium — 41,490

Porphyromonas — 36,489

Paracoccus — 36,061

Actinobacillus — 26,650

Malassezia — 26,553

Selenomonas — 23,646

Pseudomonas — 14,293

N.gonorrhoeae — 10,950

Burkholderia — 10,630

Ruminococcus — 10,403

Staphylococcus — 9,584

Mannheimia — 8,730

Pasteurella — 8,134

Riemerella — 6,762

Megasphaera — 6,576

Streptomyces — 5,041

Laribacter — 4,230

Acinetobacter — 2,752

Other bacterium — 174,580


I saw a few things in there that struck me as quite peculiar... things that one might expect, ummm, elsewhere on the body... and so I shared the results with some microbiome experts who have a keen interest in this. Here’s what U.C. Davis Professor Jonathan Eisen had to say:


“The first thing I usually do for samples is look at % by phylum. See pie chart for yours below.


The #s for each microbial group (i.e., Staphylococcus, Neisseria, etc.) do not seem out of the ordinary too much. Though I note - some studies have found high levels of Haemophilus in oral samples, and others seem to have not found them. Not sure why at this point but looking into it. The high levels of Neisseria (the genus that N. Gonorrhoaeae is in) is a common one, so nothing to worry about there. Prior studies have sometimes found high #s of Corynebacteia. These are not there on your list.


Also - the Malassezia is interesting. It is a fungus genus. Commonly found on the skin of various mammals including humans. Some types are found to be infectious, but I think most are just hanging out doing nothing. I have never seen it in mouth-microbe data, but if it was there, it would probably be missed by most studies since they focused on bacteria.”


Eisen also pointed me to the studies below. The microbiome was one of the major topics of interest at scifoo this year, where they claimed “20% of what’s in your blood is from the bacteria in your gut.” (I found earlier studies supporting 10%).


Looking at the bigger picture, New Scientist summarized some of the recent findings:


“One aspect of your uniqueness isn’t, strictly speaking, part of you at all. It comes from the 100 trillion bacteria that live both on and in you. They outnumber the body’s cells 10 to 1 and in genetic terms they are even more dominant… You’re 0.7% human


A recent study found that a unique bacterial fingerprint is transferred from our fingers to the things we touch, such as a computer keyboard or mouse, and will hang around for up to two weeks [think of the forensic applications! ]


Bacteria also contribute to uniqueness by modifying our metabolism. All humans share a basic biochemistry, but layered on top of this is a microbial biochemistry that is much more diverse. The metabolites that microbes produce affect a range of things, including cholesterol and steroid metabolism.


What this ultimately means is that without our non-human component, we wouldn’t be ourselves at all.”


And in rat studies, you can turn obesity on and off with a flush and refresh of new gut bacteria. (summary, more).


You are what they eat.

At Google this weekend. On display here is one of the early production servers, with four motherboards jammed on each shelf and cork sheets inserted in between. It overheated quite easily, so they built a wall of fans on the backside.


Here is today’s agenda. I have removed all of the names of the cool people leading these talks since there are Chatham House rules in effect.


So many sessions I want to see... I am in this session now: "What if extinction is not forever?"

It is quickly becoming feasible to reconstitute the genomes of vanished species using genetic material from preserved specimens and archaeological artifacts. Three different techniques are being deployed. Revivals already under way include mammoths, aurochs, and passenger pigeons. Candidate species include the dodo, the Carolina parakeet, the thylacine (Tasmanian tiger), and the Xerces blue butterfly. If we can actually revive an extinct species, should we? If so, why bother? Are some species more desirable, valuable, or ethical to bring back than others? Is it ethical to “improve” a revived species—for example to make a formerly extinct bird resistant to avian malaria? Do revived species have a “right” to be returned to the wild? Should revived species be treated as genetically modified organisms? In this session we can discuss the rapidly evolving science making all this possible and the downstream implications and opportunities.


Here is the lineup… So many great ones overlap. Sadly, right now, I’m missing the trillion-fps camera imaging the movement of light. Decisions, decisions…



•What happens if we don't do anything about climate change? and what do we do about it if things go horribly awry?

•Robots (nanotechnological, synthetical biological, intelligent, for control) To Solve The Brain (understanding, fixing)

•Experiments in (informal) education: what can one magazine do?

•The coming war on general purpose computing and the civil war that comes after.

•Impostor Syndrome (and the culture of science)

•Spidersilk using silk worms.

•Smartphones to save lives, prevent disaster

•Open access commoditizing science - what next?

•What is Time



•Neuroprediction: Does your brain predict if you will do bad things? p.s. all about psychopaths

•Optogenetics & Neural Imaging & Dynamics of the single cell

•Reversing climate change, land, air, ocean.

•What can new imaging hardware and software solve next? Trillion frames per second. Look around corners

•A fundamental problem in digital systems.

•De-Extinction: Practices and Prospects

•What I learned by doing capitalism and what you need to know

•Future of music

•Funding Science



•Will the human race cause its own extinction

•Discovering new materials by computation.

•Data driven societies.

•Grand challenges in neuroscience.

•Long tails and big heads: Big data in science.


•Consumer biotechnology ie tissue engineering meat, leather, and other daily needs.

•What can we invent to raise the level of public discourse even slightly? A face to face debate platform on the internet

•Information that lives - digital lives and intelligent agents

•Detecting asteroids before they hit us.





•Starshade show & Tell. Hunting Exo-Earths and aliens

•Can "big data" solve healthcare?

•Art/Science Collaborations. Visualizing biology, conservation, innovative data exploration, and more.

•Internet education for teachers.

•City science.

•Open Science FTW - Oopen access, open data.

•Visual Music Brain Synesthesia;

•Stealth diagnostics Hidden biosignals & communicity health.

•The brain's flaws as a computational device. How they shape our lives.

•Fighting against anti-science and winning - new strategies.



•Your genome, your health. How long will we just kick the tyres of your car?

•Ocean acidification.

•Do we have free will and why does it matter?

•Big data sets and using them intelligently e.g. climate data,

•Storytelling vs the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Also, comics

•DIY and makers as international policy. Jose Gomez-Marquesz TH Culhane (fuel from garbage electricity , aluminum demo)

•What Microbes are on you your phone.

•a new artificial intelligence Brains Minds Machines

•Revolutionizing Education.

•The reproducibility crisis in biology.



•Tenure from Tweets? evaluation beyond citations

•African floating communities.

•Large-scale learning on the internet & Talking to the brain in its own language. Making prosthetic devices that work.

•Role of the ocean in carbon and climate.

•Biohacking and citizen synthetic biology How far can we go?

•Visual Tools for Science and Engineering.

•Do or should humans have an off world future?

•Ignorance - can we admit it and keep credibility?

•Demo SharkFinder Citizen Science Kits



•Emotions in motion. Get acquainted in nonverbal communication

•Post Natural History and the Future of Evolution.

•The technology and politics of spectrum ( the invisible resource you need) Why you need to understand more.

•Science Diplomacy

•Cheap energy, growth, global change.

•Build a puzzle/sculpture. I brought the parts, can you assemble them?

•Nature Porn - pollination, mushrooms etc. How beauty and seduction is nature's tool for survival. Film shorts & brief talks.

•Haploid stem cells and the future of disease genetics

•Smartphone science. Primary v suppport v citizen .

•Grand challenges in biology.

•"Scientific analysis on all the world's satellite images. Earth engine demo.



•Organizational Manipulation: how to social engineer your company, university, grantor, or colleagues

•fMRI Brain Reaction so what?

•IP & patents in biotech/education/community labs etc. What are the issues? What needs fixing? What's the future?

•Economics Comedy with stand-up economist + open-mic if desired

•Imagining post capitalism: a call for help.

•Of course Mars has life, but does Europa?

•Automating science to Accelerate Discovery with Demo

•The coming age of brain decoding.

•Images & Anecdotes from 17 years of astronomy picture of the day.

•Scaling research up - moving outside the lab with demo of smartphone brain scanner.

•Will the microbiome and inflammation explain all diseases?


There is no predefined agenda; instead attendees collaboratively create one during the first evening of the event.


Right now, I am listening to a discussion of entropy and the mathematics of time by Lee Smolin, Jaron Lanier and Neal Stephenson…


So many cool but concurrent sessions… I’m open to your votes on which ones to attend…


Saturday, August 4th



1.The Next Big Programming Language

2.Open Science 2.0

3.Digital Data Libraries

4.Citizen Science - Where Next?

5.Future of Healthcare

6.Visual Garage - We'll Fix Your Graphs and Visuals

7.Quantum Computing - What, Why, How

8.Synthesizing Life



1.Efficient Inverse Control: Through the Users Not the Resources

2.Clinical Problems in Neuroscience / Towards Practical Cognitive Augmentation / Towards Practical Cognitive Augmentataion

3.How to Build Intelligent Machines

4.Why aren't there more Scientists on the Covers of Magazines

5.Future of Human Space Flight and Ocean Exploration

6.Science and Art

7.3D Video Applications: How to Publish Science in Video

8.The Nature of Time and Mathematics

9.Alternate terms of Science Education

10.Future History of Biology

11.Human Cell and Regeneration Map or is it worth building a cellular resolution database for the whole human body?



1.3D Printing / Robot Printing / Food Printing / Printer Printing

2.Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Teach Evolution

3.Sequencing the Genome: Implications, Ethics, Goals

4.Are Patents Preventing Innovation?

5.Tricoder is Finally Here

6.Ethical Implications of the Information Society

7.Reversible Computation and Its Connections to Quantum Interpretations

8.Mapping Science and Other Big Networks

9.A Magician Looks at the Irrational and Pseudo-Science

10.Listening to the World: Voices from the Blue Deep



1.Collecting More Data Faster Can Make an Organization Dumber

2.Skepticism and Critical Thinking in an Age of Marvels

3.Computable Data/Mathematics

4.$100 Laptop Demo

5.Where Are the Aliens?

6.The Selfish Scientist

7.Evolutionary Robotics

8.Buildings, Energy Use and Behavior Change - Can the Built Environment be an Interface?

9.Why a Mouse?: Multi-touch, Physical and Social Interfaces for Manipulating Data

10.Scientific Communication in 2030

11.Universe or Multiverse?

12.Reuse of Sewage to Grow Food and Provide Sanitation

13.Is Collaborative Policy Making Possible? (think wikipedia, government simulation games)

14.Viral Chatter



1.Freebase Demo

2.Biodiversity on the Web: Science Publishing

3.Prioritizing the World's Problems

4.Display of Greater than 2D Data or Lots of 2D Data All at Once

5.E-Science Beyond Infrastructure

6.Implantable Devices and Microchips for Healthcare / Diver Assistance Devices

7.Using Evolution for Design and Discovery

8.Stem Cells (a.k.a. How to Get Scientists to Care about Web 2.0

9.Machine Reading & Understanding Science

10.Science & Fundamentalism

11.Biological Data & Research / Open Source Biomedical Research for Neglected Diseases

12.My Daughter's DNA: Hacking Your Genome / Towards a Data Wiki

13.Network-Centric Biomedicine

14.Squishy Magnets, Talking Paper and Disapearing Ink: How can open its doors to kids for free.



1.Give us your Data! Google's effort to archive and distribute the world's scientifcic datasets.

2.Personal Impact Factor: Measuring Scientific Contributions Outside the Literature

3.Kids, Science, Math & Rational Thought


5.Machine Learning in the Natural Sciences

6.Hunch Engines



1.Data Mining the Sky

2.All-Fluidic Computing

3.Science vs. Capitalism: Utopian Effots in the Overshoot Century

4.Dinosaurs and Ancient Sarahans

5.The Paperless Home

6.Provenance Analytics: Illuminating Science Trails and the Future of Scientific Publications



1.Piracy, Murder and a Media Revolution

2.Engineering Living Instruments

3.Nanohype: The volumnious vacuous vapid world where only size matters.


Sunday, August 5th



1.Golem: Data Mining for Materials (and Non-Programmers): sketching information systems Andrew Walkingshaw / Searching the Edges of the Web

2.Novel Biofuels

3.Genome Voyeurism – Let's poke through Jim Watson's genome

4.Would You Upload?

5.Reforming Patent Systems

6.How to Celebrate Darwin in 2009

7.Innovation is Not Pointless...But It's So 20th Century



1.Large Scale Molecular Simulation

2.Tree of Life: Fractal Data Problem

3.Planetary Defense Against Asteroids

4.The Automation of Science and the Technological Singularity



1.Science on the Stage

2.Human Microbiome

3.Out Future Lies in Space

4.Climate Crisis vs. Environmental Justice

The secret world of mind control (posted with permission).


Try to relax. This will feel a little weird. — Morpheus


SciFoo day two, whatcha' gonna do?



•Micro air vehicles indoors with demo. MIT micro air vehicles group

•The post-antibiotic era.

•How to model & design whole cells (unplugged)

•Science of the "impossible" (invisibility mind reading, light-driven cancer treatment & more!)

•Painting with blood dancing with DNA - biology on screen and canvas. Biology's movement into art & entertainment. interactive music & biology with Bjork. Viruses as doilies, blood paintings. Bio form sculpture

•BEL: Biological Expression Languages. An expressive shorthand for capturing biology in a computational format. .

•Hold a piece of Mars and one of the oldest materials

•"Lightning Talks”

1.uniform coatings from asymmetric particles.

2.A communications primer.

3.Autistics in Science.

4.Network Interventions.


6.Stem cells to fund the genome

•Thin film, comms, autism, networks, de-extinction, and more"



•Trip to a black hole movies!

Deepflight. Deep ocean space now open!!! Who goes first? What is best use? Sub all ready to go.

•So you built an awesome tool. How do you get people using it????

•Virtual you! Medical patient records as simulations predicting your future health. {Medical, technical, social, financial} challenges. p.s. I'll show image data and cool visualizations to start out

•The coming age of brain decoding.

•Rebooting science communication.

•Radical shifts in relations with life, art, & biology.

•Crowdsourcing science (discussion).

•Donating health data - medical, devices, consent.



•How the languages we speak shape the ways we think and what should we do about it?

•Beyond Turing machines.

•Public participation in scientific research aka citizen science

•Where are the null results? Science is positively biased. Can or should we fix this?

ZomBees Why do they do what they do? Are parasites controlling us all?

•Catastrophe planning & recovery (as a cool tech hobby!) Vernor Vinge

•Implanting bionic eye device - transformation technology, implications, interaction, performance. Surgery free version

•Currents in Neuro vascular Disease - Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's

This hypnogram shows the pattern of my sleep last night. I finally got the strap-on EEG from scifoo to stay on for the night.


Zeo classifies sleep into the broad categories of:


• REM – Essential for mental acuity through organizing memory to better apply what you learn


• Deep – Critical for restoring muscle and building immunity


• Wake – time you were awake after having fallen asleep, including short periods throughout the night


And, rolling it all up, they say I sleep better than 90% of people (ZQ 91) and that my SleepAge is that of a 28 year old.


“Zeo's ZQ sleep score and sleep breakdown are based on actual sleep stage data we get when people sleep with Zeo, including REM and Deep sleep. The information behind Sleep Age comes from the largest consumer sleep database in the world.”


Slide credit, lower right: W Hermann, Quantifying Global Exergy Resources

the radiant cortical tickle of scifoo camp

Martha Stewart talked about astronaut food and the sort of things you can prepare to send into space. In space, you can add water and you can heat it, but otherwise, it's whatever you put in a can or tube before launch. And you have to give the astronauts something they'll eat (no fish for Charles).

In the toilets (toolets?) above the urinals (oorinals?) in the Googleplex



Some people have turned their back on the semantic web stack, its a rubik's cube now, you can mix and match components to your hearts content.


Architecture? Pah! You can even cheat by peeling the coloured stickers off too. Will it keep everyone happy? Does anyone care anymore?


Via Eric Neumanns presentation at SESL09, looks like it is based on the newer semweb logos at

The Statue of Liberty + Grim Reaper = The Grim Reaper of Liberty




How much freedom should we sacrifice for our security?


Stencil spotted in Athens, Greece



Yet Another Semantic Web Stack, this one from Semantic Web Architecture: Stack or Two Towers? by Ian Horrocks, Bijan Parsia, Peter Patel-Schneider and Jim Hendler.


If the link above is inaccessible to you, try this one from Ian Horrocks publications page


You may also be interested in Dan Brickleys alternative stack for the New, improved semantic web, (now with added meaning!)





Ilan was an invited guest at Google SciFoo Camp 2016!

Moments after the prior photo, with an attempt at coordinated action. I got a promo video with the footage from our Zero-G flight. It does a better job than my photos in showing what the weightless astronaut trainer is like.


We also get a great view of Danny Hillis’ cranium, a muse for my blogging about the power of evolutionary algorithms in computer science.


This photostream comes with an iTunes mix. =)


Resurrection (Space Club remix), PPK, Oakenfold Ibiza (found on a Russian website). This song samples radio communications from Yuri Gagarin's first human space flight. My friend, Eric, was the first person I know to do a weightless parabolic flight. Just a few years ago, the only option he had was to go to Russia and fly with the Russian space program.

A featherweight fern-mower, with Giro-helmet styling, this offbeat dino skull houses over 500 needle shaped teeth, jammed together in a row (with 50 columns of replacement teeth). No other known animal has a row of teeth quite like it, extending wider than the skull… and it lacks gnashing molars.


The body is the size of an elephant, but the pneumatic construction of the skull and skeleton makes it quite a delicate fossil find. Some of the vertebrae are paper thin, part of a backbone that is more air than bone.


Paul Sereno gave an exciting docent’s tour of some of his recent finds at the O'Reilly foo camp at Google.


This 110 million-year-old Nigersaurus Taqueti is a distant cousin of Diplodocus, but shared African waterways with SuperCroc.


I thought it looked like Jar Jar Binks… maybe with googly Golem eyes.


Who knew? In zero gravity, I get giddy lock jaw!


We were trying to coordinate a group shot. The next photo shows what happened a moment later…

RepRap is a self-replicating 3D printer. It builds its own gears and components. (detail photos)


The coiled polymer feed looks like an IV bag bobbing over the working tip. The dual print head is affectionately called Zaphod.


Scattered about are sci foo camp tents… and the ubiquitous “foo bar” beckons in the background, serving variable drafts.

Freeman Dyson added personal remembrances to a wonderful historical tale by George Dyson about Gödel’s difficulties with government bureaucracies while trying to return to Princeton from Austria during WWII… then trying to get his “enemy alien” designation removed…. and then getting promptly drafted. The series of absurd telegrams highlighted the inconsistency and incompleteness of the formal systems of law.


Sir Martin Rees smiles in the foreground.

[update: photo replaced with an Googlesaur hunting near the Google volley ball pit... until I can figure out the thread below; other dino head photo was embargoed for a bit]


A featherweight fern-mower, with Giro-helmet styling, this offbeat dino skull houses 1000 needle shaped teeth, jammed together in a row. No other known animal has a row of teeth quite like it, extending wider than the skull… and it lacks gnashing molars.


Paul Sereno gave an exciting introduction to some of his recent finds.


This 110 million-year-old Nigersaurus Taqueti is a distant cousin of Diplodocus, but shared African waterways with SuperCroc.


I thought it looked like Jar Jar Binks… maybe with big Golem eyes.


Martin Rees (left) looks on as Freeman Dyson talks about working with Kurt Godel at the Institute for Advanced Science.

View full size to see the people...from the top:


Steve Silverman

Tim O'Reilly

Richard Jefferson

Cat Allman

Simon Field

Chris DiBona

Nathan Torkington

Steve Benner

Jim McBride

Deepak Singh

Joshua Bloch

Joe LaPenna

Stefan van Holzbrinck

Kat Townsend

Hugh Rienhoff

Brady Forrest

Jean-Claude Bradley

Felice Frankel

Udi Manber

Oliver Morton

Ann Copestake

Nick Dragotta

Nikita Bernstein

Beth Noveck

Paul Sereno

Jacqueline Floyd

Kovas Boguta

Meg Stalcup

Steve Bryant

Philip Campbell

Martha Stewart

Laura Pence

Eva Vertes

Jeff Hawkins

Dean Kamen

Richard Akerman

Adam Rutherford

Esther Dyson

Rob Carlson

Roger Brent

Eric Lander

Ritu Dhand

Natalie DeWitt

Doug Church



Paul Ginspargs interests include (quote):



information science

electronic publishing

data mining




extraterrestrial astrology (!)





Esther Dyson took this photo of us in transit. I was next to Will Wright, who created the Sims computer games and now is developing a very cool game called Spore. You develop your own creatures and let them grow and evolve across the game multiverse (your animal lives on all of the gamers computers, each a parallel world). And, as it grows up, you can get a 3D color laser polymer “print” of your character for $25. It’s like a custom-built D&D miniature, but larger.


Tim O’Reilly brought some scifoo campers along too, like Danny Hillis and George Dyson. We got a chance to really bump into each other. =)

The main hall at Scifoo08.

Cory has since migrated to using laptops running Ubuntu Linux.

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