Forbes and Strawn address Jefferson Society on technology and society

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Sep 272008
 

Nancy Forbes, author of Imitation of Life: How Biology is Inspiring Computing, and George O. Strawn, CIO of the National Science Foundation, spoke to the members of the Jefferson Society on the topic of “The Development and Dangers of Technology in Society.” Their presentation took place on September 19. 2008. A question-and-answer period followed.

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

0:00 — Nancy Forbes: The Future of Information Technology

0:08 — Evolutionary algorithms

0:12 — Neural networks

0:14 — DNA computing

0:16 — Computer immune systems

0:24 — George O. Strawn: The Future and Information Technology

0:35 — IT over time

0:42 — New IT applications

0:51 — “Education’s End”

0:55 — Q: How will computer algorithms be able to counter human-created viruses?

0:57 — Q: Under what circumstances should change be considered a threat to society?

1:00 — Q: Will computers develop “autoimmune” disorders?

1:04  — Q: How do you account for the disconnect between machines’ abilities and our inability to take advantage of them?

1:08 — Q: Should we be concerned about giving computers human qualities?

1:10 — Q: What aspects of technological progress worry you?

The SpermCheck Vasectomy

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Apr 162008
 

In today’s show, adapted from an article recently published on the Oscar Web site written by Morgan Ellen Estabrook, outreach and communications manager for the U.Va. Patent Foundation, we look at the research of John C. Herr, director of U.Va.’s Center for Research in Contraceptive and Reproductive Health, and his development of the FDA approved “SpermCheck Vasectomy”, a home test that confirms men’s post-vasectomy sterility.

Technology developed at the University of Virginia could soon have a dramatic impact on male contraception practices throughout the U.S. Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved SpermCheck Vasectomy, a home test that confirms men’s post-vasectomy sterility and is based on discoveries made at U.Va.

For more information about the show or to see the full text, visit the Oscar Show’s blog.

Looking for a Link

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Jan 102008
 

The body’s biological clock has been shown to regulate life’s activity/rest cycles by controlling energy levels, alertness, growth, moods and the effects of aging. Further study has revealed that these internal clocks are controlled by circadian rhythms. Rhythms that were established early in the history of life on the planet and evolved associated with the astronomical cycles that effect Earth’s environment such as the rise and setting of the sun and the passing of seasons. What is now being discovered is that certain elements, already known to be part of the body’s circadian network, may have a broader influence on the life of an individual.

In a study published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Virginia Carla Green and her colleagues discovered that the gene Nocturnin, which participates in the regulation of the body’s biological rhythms, may also be a major control in regulating metabolism. The study showed that mice lacking the gene were resistant to weight gain when put on a high fat diet and also were resistant to the accumulation of fat in the liver.

For more information about the show or to see the full text, visit the Oscar Show’s blog.

Inside the Brains of Crayfish

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Dec 132007
 

Imagine you are on a voyage to the bottom of the sea, or simply looking along the bottom of a clear stream observing lobsters or crayfish waving their antennae. Looking closer, you see them feeling around with their legs and flicking their antennules — the small, paired sets of miniature feelers at the top of their heads between the long antennae. While the long antennae are used for getting a physical feel of an area, such as the contours of a crevice, the smaller antennules are there to both help the creature smell and also to sense motion in the water that could indicate the presence of food, a mate or danger. The legs also have receptors that detect chemical signatures, preferably those emanating from a nice hunk of dead fish.

For more information about the show or to see the full text, visit the Oscar Show’s blog.

Inside the Brain of Crayfish

 UVA  Comments Off on Inside the Brain of Crayfish
Dec 132007
 

Imagine you are on a voyage to the bottom of the sea, or simply looking along the bottom of a clear stream observing lobsters or crayfish waving their antennae. Looking closer, you see them feeling around with their legs and flicking their antennules — the small, paired sets of miniature feelers at the top of their heads between the long antennae. While the long antennae are used for getting a physical feel of an area, such as the contours of a crevice, the smaller antennules are there to both help the creature smell and also to sense motion in the water that could indicate the presence of food, a mate or danger. The legs also have receptors that detect chemical signatures, preferably those emanating from a nice hunk of dead fish.

For more information about the show or to see the full text, visit the Oscar Show’s blog.