According to an interview with Ryan Phelan, executive director of a project called Revive and Restore, at the Science Foo conference at the Googleplex earlier this month, there are now three techniques that may someday give scientists that ability: backbreeding (trying to work evolution backward, basically, to select for the traits of a related species), cloning (if enough genetic material exists), and genome editing (selectively manipulating the genome of a related species).
Delving into this book is like overhearing a heated conversation in a lab. It captures the preoccupations of top scientists and offers a rare chance to discover big ideas before they hit the mainstream.
We will decipher DNA ship at lightning speed around the world, where it is necessary. Yesterday evening you could hear these prophecies by Craig Venter in Turin, in an event known as the "Edge Dinner", one of the many dinners between scientists and assorted guests organized around the world by John Brockman, the literary agent American stars of science.
Think of the Origin of Species and the emotional expressions of Darwin, in fact almost all his books, to those of Galileo an In the last century that the custom seemed to be lost, but it has been given new life by a literary agent, John Brockman, and authors such as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Francis Crick, Eric Kandel, Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking.
Cage was preparing dinner and discussed.Those evenings were great opportunities for cultural enrichment. It was there that I heard for the first time of McLuhan. Unlike writers, scholars and artists were very interested in the sciences.
It is perhaps time to be afraid. Very afraid, suggests the science historian George Dyson, author of a recent biography of John von Neumann, one of the inventors of the digital computer. In “A Universe of Self-Replicating Code,” a conversation published on the Web site Edge, Mr. Dyson says that the world’s bank of digital information, growing at a rate of roughly five trillion bits a second, constitutes a parallel universe of numbers and codes and viruses with its own “physics” and “biology.”
Where do cool ideas come from? Every year, the online salon Edge.org poses one question and gets a bunch of smart people to answer it.
Note, he asked contributors how the internet has changed the way ''you'' - not ''we'' - think. Brockman's aim is not treatises. He wants personal responses, and to a satisfying degree he gets them. ... The question for his 2010 edition (even the internet has not sped the arrival of this print-format book to our shores) produces little consensus. This proves a central strength.
What scientific concept would most improve everybody’s ability to think? ... As Brockman points out, the “tools” in his book are like magic hammers in that they can help you now and through life to make the world better and to allow readers to see their biases more accurately.
These are people who live at the outermost frontiers of human knowledge -- thinkers who spend their lives using what we do know to discover what we don't. Their words are inspiring, comforting and occasionally alarming. Their wisdom is great. But their tone is never arrogant or elitist.
He compiled the results in "This Will Make You Smarter" (Harper Perennial), a provocative, wiz bang collection of essays by experts in fields as wide ranging as neuroscience and economics, philosophy and biological anthropology, addressing such topics as collective intelligence and the paradox of daydreaming.
As is usual at Edge, the whole article is speculative, yet fascinating.
In a notable essay titled "The third culture", he initiated the idea of a third culture, the cross-disciplinary "Edge" has since been mainly attracted thinkers from the science field, but also philosophers and novelists. One can mention names like Steven Pinker, Janna Levin, EO Wilson and Rebecca Goldstein.
Pagel, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading, belongs to the intellectual hot bed of the edge.org set, a salon of scientific thinkers that has assembled over the years under the auspices of their intriguing host, John Brockman. The ethos of the edge.org crowd is one of unapologetic sophistication; its mission is to bring cutting-edge thinkers together in an ongoing, open-ended conversation, where ideas can beget ideas.
The list of writers with scientific training who have jumped the gap between empiricism and literature is well nourished. The Chilean poet Nicanor Parra, recent Cervantes Prize is awarded physicist and mathematician and worked as Professor of Rational Mechanics at the University of Chile for 51 years. ... And if you search an apostle of this, should go to John Brockman, author of The Third Culture (Tusquets), which states that the current culture is scientific and intellectual argues that the classical (letters, that is) are outdated. "
The answers, which come predominantly from scientists or social scientists, make for fascinating reading. Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman thinks that we often fall prey to the “focusing illusion,” in which problems that we are thinking about seem more grave the more we think about them. Yale psychologist Paul Bloom says we need to adopt scientific reasoning in daily thinking. NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen suggests that we often lose sight of the fact that most problems we face are so complex that they defy simple definition.
Brockman believes that scientists, natural and social, are asking some of the best questions in the air today. And we are not talking only about global warming or the future of the universe. Personal questions and corporate behavior are included as well: how to live a better life, to think more clearly about personal and social issues and how to lead a better company are all part of the game.