P15. “Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), which is used to make retail items like microchips and flatscreen TVs… NF3 lingers in the air for 550 years, on average, and is 17,000 times better at trapping heat than CO2 on a molecule-per-molecule basis. Today the effect of NF3 object climate is just 0.04 percent that of carbon dioxide, but its role could grow dramatically if more manufacturers start using it…”

P28. on VFi (vehicle wifi). Why current wifi won’t work. Microsoft trying out a new system.

P30. Carl Zimmer argues that the internet and digital devices are allowing us to tap onto our “extended mind”. Like how our arm is an extension of our mind/ brain, so are machines.

P45. Controversy over the choice of a lab rat (Sprague Dawley) by the US Environment Protection Agency, for a chemical evaluation programme. Controversy is on the Sprague Dawley being bred to have high resistant to certain chemicals, and may defeat the aim of this trial. Also controversial is the selection process has taken more than 10 years and the trial still has not begun.

P50. Article on the “X-prize”; origins, development, future plans, criticisms (duplication of efforts) and advocates (market-driven incentives).

P59. photosynthesis explained by quantum physics.
P61. Very accessible layman explanation of quantum mechanics, without dumbing down science. “Quantum mechanics holds that any given particle has a chance of being inaugurated a whole range of locations and, in a sense, occupies all those places at once… Until a scientist measures the system, a particle exists in its multitude of locations. But at the time of measurement, the particle has to “choose” just a single spot. At that point, quantum physicists say, probability narrows to a single outcome and the wave function “collapses”, sending ripples of certainty through space-time. Imposing certainty on one particle could alter the characteristics of any others it has been connected with, even if those particles are now light-years away.”

P64. Interview with 1972 Nobel laureate and neuroscienctist Gerald Edelman. “neural darwinism”. How he defines consciousness.
P66. Explains that consciousness has two levels: one is being aware of the present; the other is being Conscious of one’s consciousness. Cites William James (who says consciousness is a process). explains that puLling a finger from a hot stove may be reflex and being aware of pain. But it is true consciousness that makes us learn a lesson and subsequently not put a finger to what appears like a hotstove. he feels it is possible to create an artificial consciousness and to verify it requires a test involving the ability to communicate with It,s and it cannot be told what is the test, and the test changes continually to watch its reaction (woah, there’s a scifi story in there somewhere!) He also adds the artificial consciousness must be an artificial construct and not a live organism.
P68. Talks about a Brain-based Device (BBD) where it’s not controlled by Artificial Intelligence (i.e. Execute a defined set of algorithms) but modelled to work like mammalian brains (firing of neurons via computer simulation and sampling of external inputs).
P69. Says they have constructed something equivalent to a cat brain, and exhibits similar characteristics like real brains.

Discover magazine/ Feb 2009

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