Did an algorithm write this blog post? If it did, you’d likely never know it. Chicago-based Narrative Science is producing smart software that writes stories for parents of Little Leaguers all the way on up to media giants like Forbes. You might expect stilted, formulaic prose from a robot, but the result is surprisingly lively:
“Friona fell 10-8 to Boys Ranch in five innings on Monday at Friona despite racking up seven hits and eight runs. Friona was led by a flawless day at the dish by Hunter Sundre, who went 2-2 against Boys Ranch pitching. Sundre singled in the third inning and tripled in the fourth inning … Friona piled up the steals, swiping eight bags in all …”
Kristian Hammond, cofounder of Narrative Science, predicts that in 15 years, 90% of all news will be auto-generated in this manner. The company’s software may someday be programmed to spit out snark, wry commentary, or philosophical reflections on the effable beauty of a spring day. As Big Data mines every minute aspect of our lives, the time is ripe for a writer – human or otherwise – to transform these reams of data into stories.
Read more about Narrative Science at Wired.
Who would have thought synthetic organisms would ever be employed to save endangered species? Conservation biologist worried about the extinction of exotic frog populations are calling the help of synthetic biologists to avoid disaster.
Currently, a fungus epidemics with the eerie name batrachochytrium dendrobatidis threatens more than 2,800 amphibian species. The depicted Panamanian golden frog has already been pushed close to extinction by fungal disease, but conservationists believe the tragedy could be countered by a new generation of synthetically manipulated organisms.
“We face the prospect of losing a great deal from the natural world and we have to think of solutions that could be generated by all sorts of different techniques, including those involved in synthetic biology.” conservation biologist Kent Redford told the Guardian.
Psychiatrist Jeffrey P. Kahn believes that beer, far from being an agent of late-night chaos and early morning regrets, is what gave our ancestors modern civilization. Beer, he writes, triggered the leap from rule-bound hunter-gather groups into the creative, complex societies we’ve been enjoying for the last 10,000 years. Is there some truth in this statement, or is it no more solid than a foamy head of ale?
Arguably the most accessible synthetic biology explanation video we have seen so far. From selective breeding to genetic modification, as our understanding of biology is merging with the principles of engineering into a new discipline called synthetic biology.
Written, animated and directed by James Hutson, Bridge8.
Slovenian bioartist Maja Smrekar modified the genome of yeast with a part of her own DNA. This synthetic gene codes for the production of lactic acid, one of the most common food additives. The lactic acid was used to create “Maya YogHurt“, a fermented drink that was sampled by visitors to the Kapelica Gallery in Slovenia.
In a series of works entitled Human Molecular Colonization Capacity (Hu.M.C.C.) Smrekar explored the possibilities that our own enzymes might hold as a natural resources. She claims that our body is one of the few “uncolonized biotechnological materials” and could become a “trade tool” based on a system of genetic credit.
Assuming that true wildlife hàs gone extinct… Who needs the real thing when you can have a Next Safari? Let’s go and hunt for the plastic birds on the beach or watch genuine Scottish highlanders in the Dutch dunes. Or even in the mall; go shopping for real fur collar coats and some fancy stingray sneakers.
How is your scrollin’ safari going?
Students of the Filmacademy in Baden-Württemberg / Germany gave it a shot with 4 trailers for the Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film 2013.
Makes the question pop into mind: What was on these animal’s menu?
Gumboot chiton is a marine snail with an appetite for algae growing on rocks. Grazing on rocks would destroy the teeth of others, but not the gumboot chiton. This snail produces the hardest biomineral yet discovered to deal with its punishing eating habits.
This mineral, called magnetite, has inspired a new type of solar cell and a new type of lithium battery. By understanding how the snail produces this mineral, researchers could develop similar ways to make nano-materials at room temperature. This will allow researchers to develop low-cost, high-efficiency microscopic structures.
Dr. Kisailus, of Riverside’s Bourne College of Engineering in California, believes that understanding the gumboot chiton will lead to solar cells that can capture and convert more sunlight into electricity, as well to more efficient batteries. “If we can reduce the size of particles in batteries, which at present, are massive on a nano-scale, this will reduce their recharge time and increase their power efficiency”.
Via Elements Science