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thursday :: january 30, 2003
21-amino-acid bacteria: expanding the genetic code

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) report their synthesis of a form of the bacterium Escherichia coli with a genetic code that uses 21 basic amino acid building blocks to synthesize proteins --instead of the 20 found in nature.

This is the first time that anyone has created a completely autonomous organism that uses 21 amino acids and has the metabolic machinery to build those amino acids.

Life as we know it is composed, at the molecular level, of the same basic building blocks for instance, all life forms on Earth use the same four nucleotides to make DNA. And almost without exception, all known forms of life use the same common 20 amino acids --and only those 20-- to make proteins. The question is, why did life stop with 20 and why these 20?

A number of scientists have previously added unnatural amino acids to organisms, but most of these experiments involved eliminating the organism's supply of the natural amino acid and substituting a close relative. "So, in the end, you still have a 20 amino acid bacterium, but it's using an unnatural amino acid instead of the natural one," said Christopher Anderson, one author of the paper on this research led by Peter Schultz. "What our group really wanted to do is expand the genetic code, not just recode it. To do that, it takes a lot more effort. You have to come up with some way of specifically denoting how the protein is going to encode this 21st amino acid, because everything else in the genetic code already has a meaning associated with it." >from *Expanding the genetic code --TSRI scientists synthesize 21-amino-acid bacterium*, january 14, 2002

related context
the advent of genomic medicine: to take center stage in clinical medicine. november 14, 2002
> CleanRooms: art and biotechnology exhibition. october 9, 2002
> gene(sis): contemporary art explores human genomics. april 5, 2002

escherichia coli genetic expand

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wednesday :: january 29, 2003
reactive art

The San Francisco Media Arts Council (SMAC) hosted an exhibition of reactive artworks and a discussion exploring concepts and developments in Reactive Art in the context of our current cultural climate and the field of interaction design.

Today interactive technologies have evolved into a medium through which we interact not so much with our computers as with other people and with our environment. The computer itself has become an interface to culture. As wireless networks, body-sensing apparatus, and smart appliances proliferate, the old challenge of exchanging messages with a machine has given way to a scenario in which the machines are capable of tracking our every move.

Rather than requiring viewers to choose from a predetermined set of prerecorded outputs, the 'reactive artwork' poses a system in which viewers' actions constitute an integral yet extemporaneous component, and it displays an immediate reflection of a state in perpetual change. Through mimicking and engaging our cognitive faculties, such work prompts us to examine our habitual ways of perceiving, while it invites improvisation, resulting in potentially lyrical, multi-sensory meditations on the nature of reality. These concepts, as well as themes of perception, memory, control, and everyday space, are common to the sensor-laden media exhibited artworks of Jim Campbell, Scott Snibbe, and Crevice, a Toronto-based art collective. >from *REACTIVE ART ... MEANS NOTHING WITHOUT YOU*, january 23-25, 2003

related context
Scott Snibbe. Artist's Statement
"Phenomenological perception contrasts with intellectual, reasoned, verbal and even metaphorical ways of knowing... I hope to continue in these traditions by constructing environments that meaningfully react to the presence and engagement of the viewer."
> Jim Campbell. Artist's Statement
"Attempting to create systems that respond and progress in recognizably non-random, but at the same time unpredictable ways, I have tried to create works that have destines of their own."
> Crevice
"An interdisciplinary art collective that has formed to explore the possibilities of inmersive multimedia. Playing in the intersections of the physical and virtual."
> flow: the design challenge of pervasive computing november 6, 2002

reactive - not reactive

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tuesday :: january 28, 2003
wikipedia reaches its 100,000th article

Wikipedia, a community-built free multilingual encyclopedia, is announcing that the English edition of the project has reached a milestone of 100,000 articles in development. In addition, the project itself has celebrated its two-year anniversary on January 15. But not just the English version has grown impressively: More than 37,000 articles are now being worked on in the non-English editions of Wikipedia. On December 12 last year, the Wikipedia team also launched a sister project called Wiktionary, a free multilingual dictionary and thesaurus.

Wikipedia is a public WikiWikiWeb, a website where anyone can edit any article at any time. Wikipedia is the world's largest and fastest growing open content encyclopedia and the largest WikiWikiWeb.

The project was founded by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. They both attribute Wikipedia's success to the presence of a strong core group of well-educated and articulate contributors from around the world who together maintain community standards of quality and neutrality.

Wikipedia content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, which ensures that anyone may reuse the entries on the site in any way they wish, including commercially, as long as they too preserve that right in their own versions and credit Wikipedia as the source. >from* Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, reaches its 100,000th article *, january, 2003

related context
wiki wiki: communicating asynchronously across the net. july 9, 2002
> the worldwide lexicon link dictionaries and semantic networks. june 28, 2002

see lexicon

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monday :: january 27, 2003
black holes and galaxies

More and more, black holes are being found at the center of galaxies. As the close relationship between black holes and galaxies has emerged, astronomers have debated which of the two came first.

One model holds that mass builds up at the center of galaxies, eventually collapsing so black holes can form. Another holds the opposite -- that black holes exist first, and their immense gravity draws gas, dust, and stars together, causing galaxies to form.

A study at Ohio State University has uncovered more evidence that black holes form before the galaxies that contain them. Marianne Vestergaard came to this conclusion when she studied a collection of very energetic, active galaxies known as quasars as they appeared some 12 billion years ago, when the universe was only one billion years old. While the quasars were obviously young -- they contained large stellar nurseries in which new stars were forming -- each also contained a very massive, fully formed black hole. Part of her data came from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. >from *Black holes form first, galaxies follow. New quasar study*, january 8, 2003

related context
milky way center: a supermassive black hole. october 22, 2002
> Chandra image of Milky Way center. august 22, 2000
> Sloan Digital Sky Survey

galaxies sphincters

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thursday :: january 23, 2003
synaptic plasticity: how experiences rewire the brain

Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have developed sophisticated microscopy techniques that permit them to watch how the brains of live mice are rewired as the mice learn to adapt to new experiences.

Their studies show that rewiring of the brain involves the formation and elimination of synapses, the connections between neurons. The technique offers a new way to examine how learning can spur changes in the organization of neuronal connections in the brain.

"This finding was quite unexpected, because the traditional view of neural development has been that when animals mature, the formation of synapses ceases, which is indicated by stable synaptic densities," said Karel Svoboda, from research team. "However, the flaw in this view has been that a stable density only indicates a balanced rate of birth and death of synapses. It doesn't imply the absence of the formation of new synapses, but it was often interpreted that way."

This is the most convincing proof to date that the adult brain can rewire itself in response to outside world. >from *A new window to view how experiences rewire the brain*, december 19, 2002

related context
deaf people brains rewired to 'hear' music. december 5, 2001
> Scientists discover addition of new brain cells in highest brain area. october 14, 1999

synaptic construct

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wednesday :: january 22, 2003
wireless commons, a turning point

We have formed the Wireless Commons because a global wireless network is within our grasp. We will work to define and achieve a wireless commons built using open spectrum, and able to connect people everywhere. We believe there is value to an independent and global network which is open to the public. We will break down commercial, technical, social and political barriers to the commons. The wireless commons bridges one of the few remaining gaps in universal communication without interference from middlemen and meddlers.

Humanity is on the verge of a turning point because the Internet has transformed the way humans relate with one another.

Low-cost wireless networking equipment which can operate in unlicensed bands of the spectrum has started another revolution. Suddenly, ordinary people have the means to create a network independent of any physical constraint except distance. Wireless can travel through walls, across property boundaries and through a community. Many communities have formed worldwide to help organize these networks. They are forming the basis for the removal of the traditional telecommunication networks as an intermediary in human communication. >from *The Wireless Commons Manifesto*

related context
open spectrum: spectrum as a commons. december 18, 2002
> Free Networks. Community Networks
> Warchalking. Collaboratively creating a hobo-language for free wireless networking
> 802.11b weblog

wire minus reel

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tuesday :: january 21, 2003
orangutan culture, push back the origins of culture

An international collaboration of primatologists, sponsored by The Leakey Foundation, has gleaned evidence from decades of observations of orangutans that the apes show behaviors that are culturally based.

The scientists findings push back the origins of culturally transmitted behavior to 14 million years ago, when orangutans first evolved from their more primitive primate ancestors. Previous evidence for cultural transmission in chimpanzees suggested an origin of cultural traits 7 million years ago.

"First of all, this finding emphasizes that human culture didn't just arise de novo, but reaches far back in evolutionary time," said first author, Carel van Schaik of Duke University.

Van Schaik and his colleagues distinguish four kinds of culture -- labels, signals, skills and symbols -- of which the Great Apes have shown the first three. Human culture is distinguished by far more sophisticated development of all four, he said. However, observations of chimpanzees and orangutans have revealed hints of symbol use, and further study might reveal clearer evidence of symbols. >from *Evidence for Orangutan Culture. Findings push back origins of culture to 14 million years* january 2, 2003.

related context
first chimpanzee archaeological dig: reinterpreting early human sites. may 28, 2002
> abstract thought on non-human animals: scientific and ethical implications. october 16, 2001
> technology and evolution: paleolithic technology and human evolution. march 13, 2001

orangutan + tools

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monday :: january 20, 2003
space, time and beyond: symposium of science, technics and aesthetics

Our notions of space and time figure prominently in our map of reality. They serve to order things and events in our environment and are therefore of paramount importance not only in our everyday life, but also in our attempts to understand nature through science and philosophy. There is no law of physics which does not require the concepts of space and time for its formulation. However, we have no direct sensory experience of four-dimensional space-time, nor of the other relativistic concepts. Whenever we study natural phenomena involving high velocities, we find it very hard to deal with these concepts both at the level of intuition and ordinary language. Are there fundamental limits to what can be said about the world? Do we need - as some physicists suggest - to extrapolate quantum theory to the elements of space-time?

The problem of relating the mental and physical sides of reality has long been a key one, especially in Western philosophy. What are the foundations of cognition and experience in the natural sciences? The eastern spiritual traditions show their followers various ways of going beyond the ordinary experience of time and of freeing themselves from the chain of cause and effect - from the bondage of karma, as the Hindus and the Buddhists say. Is Eastern mysticism therefore a 'liberation from time'? Can the same be said in a way of relativistic physics? What is the relationship between the observer and observed in both the Tibetan Buddhist and Western scientific/philosophical understanding? How does the material world come into existence? In what sense are the properties of an object inherent, or, alternatively, do they arise through the act of observation? Is consciousness a physical process and connected to physics? >from *5th Biennial International Symposium of Science, Technics and Aesthetics*, january 18-19, 2003.

related context
the enigma of consciousness: symposium of science, technics and aesthetics. january 16, 2001

beyond the box : inside the screen

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saturday :: january 18, 2003
pure-data beta rave

In the present days of involution of civilisation from the summit, of techno-militarization of the borders and implementation of the society of control... Wich is the role of the individual in front this situations? and more specifically, wich is the role of the scientist? And the role of the architect, and the role of the engineer?

An answer... A matrix prototype running on a modern ruin, a high speed train station in Seville, Spain (from Expo92). An "architectural machine" deployed in a protest action to say no to a war against Irak. Today's event is a collaborative project organised by *wewearbuildings, *fusilaje, *madridwireless , and *telenoika.

The prototip will run as a transmissor in-out of the matrix reciving signal from the events of the future. The choosed place (due to its sci-fi capacity) is a dead rail where the trains AVE arrived during the Expo 92. The idea of course is that all will run poetically and more as a developement of an urban carnivore. Wifi context: creation of a space for free access without cales, making possible a rizomatical management in real time of the contents. Webcasting (in-out) reception of video signal in live stream from Buenos Aires, Londres, Barcelona, Alicante + Webcasting of the event.Cyborg Architecture: the old station as a temporary autonomous area, but also as a robotical hangar or galactical shuttle. Ficction-Documentary-Narrative: the event will be part of the shooting of the film SEVILA2030 (première in April). Gonzo Architecture: the city as an scenery of videogames: tactical media, parasite... investigations being developed by wewearbuildings. Rave-hackmeeting: it's possible to unit-them? the hackers would like the hardcore to 200bpm? and the ravers, they will learn to programm? >from *PURE-DATA BetaRAVE : testing: helix - vj - wifi - multi live streams*, modern ruin: high speed train station : Cartuja : Deep Seville : Spain 18-01-2003 20:00-6:00

related context
ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) call' to say No to a war against Irak, with protest actions at january 18-19, 2003
> Arquitectura Gonzo / elmediA_tanK. 2001
> Urban Drift. transcultural platform for new tendencies in Architecture, Design and Urbanism

rail storage

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