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10 Lessons Learned At The World Technology Network Summit

Curated by the chairman of the organization, James P. Clark, last year’s summit intended to bridge the gap between science and the spirit of the human experience by celebrating the notion of serendipity.

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The 2014 World Technology Network Summit was an incredible amalgamation of some of the brightest minds in the world of science and tech. Curated by the chairman of the organization, James P. Clark, last year’s summit intended to bridge the gap between science and the spirit of the human experience by celebrating the notion of serendipity. Serendipity is defined as “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way,” and it was serendipity which allowed me the opportunity to attend this event.

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Guests included visionary artist Android Jones, actor LeVar Burton, author/adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg, and American poet/cyberlibertarian John Perry Barlow. Incredibly, Edward Snowden also made an appearance through a live telecast. To be in a room with such power and brilliance was nothing short of humbling, and the ten key lessons I learned have forever changed my outlook on the prospects of our future.

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1. “A naive dream is extremely powerful.” – Yossi Ghinberg

Yossi Ghinsberg is an Israeli adventurer, author, and speaker living in Australia, most known for having been lost alone in an uncharted part of the Bolivian Amazon for three weeks and living to tell the tale. After enduring a harrowing experience filled with tragedy, the triumph of the human spirit allowed him to survive, and eventually thrive, in the years that followed. All odds worked against his favor, yet spirit endured and Yossi was able to manifest many miracles in his life. These miracles were realized through the power of “a naive dream.” The naive dreamer believes that the only option is for the dream to be fulfilled. There is no choice but the commitment to what you’re commanding in your life. “Impossible” only means I-M-Possible, and “No” only means “Next Option.”

2. “All innovation is conflict resolution.”

Through my own findings and understanding the universe is an ever expanding permanent impermanence which will always require a fusion of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Conflict, while troublesome, is only a test needing to be solved through inspiration and innovation. Human beings have the power to problem solve any task, no matter how daunting.

3. “Art is the barometer for culture of the time.” – Android Jones

As humanity evolves, art serves as the “screenshot” of the cultural “operating system” of the time. Art is a form of technology which helps to program the collective consciousness, to inspire vision through imagination. While the arts and the sciences are two different spectrums of innovation, both coexist on the same plane of consciousness, helping to form our reality for the present and for the future. Technological advancement can’t survive without the presence of artistic minds. Creativity is extremely important, now more than ever.

4. “No challenge we have that creativity can’t overcome.” – Android Jones

As stated in points 2 and 3, innovation and creativity go hand in hand in the journey forward towards conflict resolution. As long as we can focus on creation as a primary objective as opposed to merely just consumerism, we can overcome any obstacle the current paradigm presents to us.

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5. “Have an objective to be a good ancestor.” – John Perry Barlow 

Society creates pressure for us to be concerned with the here and now, with the future being collateral damage against our present happiness and satisfaction. Practicing mindfulness, and thinking about the impact of what your work will leave behind, is a key which will unlock the door to a better future for generations to come. Our time on this planet is precious, and how we use that time should be in dedication to creating something of everlasting value. When making all of your decisions, think about the impact you will create for your legacy; make a primary objective to not only be a conscious creator for the present, but also an important ancestor for the future.

6. “Wealth should not determine your educational options.” – Sarah McCue 

The juxtaposition between conscious evolution and cultural degradation is a rather incongruous disparity. While we are living in the age of information, we are also living in an age of extreme polarity of wealth and poverty. Education is a privilege, but it’s also our right – a right which shouldn’t leave you thousands of dollars in debt, struggling to find a job that affords you to thrive rather than merely survive. Personal wealth should not determine your educational options, and education should not just be limited to obtaining a certificate from an institution. There are passionate people working hard to make the right to education obtainable for all walks of life. Dig deeper, don’t be discouraged, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box in terms of education. Trust that once you make a decision, the universe will conspire to provide you the best option necessary.

7. “We can only move forward if we can think/discuss freely.” – Edward Snowden 

The founding fathers of our country knew the importance of freedom, hence The Constitution was created to ensure that we could carry that right throughout our journey forward in cultivating a life of liberty through the pursuit of happiness. Freedom of speech is our birthright, not just a right that was forged in the fire of the creation of the United States. With the Patriot Act, NSA surveillance, and other government programs, this right has been compromised and enveloped in the fear of “Big Brother” watching our every move. We must fight this fear with love, and we must be innovative in its resolution by finding unity throughout our global community. We can do this by empowering discussion rather than fearing the “elephant in the room.” Chinese wisdom teaches, “the strongest steel is forged in the hottest fire,” so let adversity be the fuel that ignites change, allowing us to find the strength necessary to solidify our freedom instead of letting it continue to dissolve in ignorance.

8. “The greatest tragedy is revelation met with apathy.” – Edward Snowden 

Gandhi had a famous quote which stated, “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win.” When a revelation occurs, those who experience the revelation first hand wish to spread the gospel, a word which actually translates to “good news.” Unfortunately, not all ears are receptive to good news, as those who are closed minded may not believe in a gospel which doesn’t correspond to the reality they have created for themselves. While it is impossible to create someone else’s reality, it is not impossible to fight the good fight. Spread awareness through creativity and hold tightly to what you believe in, regardless of the preconceived notions of others. There was a time when it was believed by all that the world was flat, yet with time/research/perseverance that perception changed and reality took a new shape. The shape of things to come will only form into the paradigm we wish to create through perseverance, so don’t allow apathy to become a tragedy that discourages your passion.

9. “It is important to always ask yourself two key questions. What do I believe is right? What do I think is necessary?” – Jim Clark 

Approaching the decisions you make using the Socratic method – the practice of stimulating critical thinking to illuminate ideas – is a tool which can help chisel a solid foundation upon which you can build the structure of your reality. Believing in what is right, in conjunction with what is necessary, allows decisions to be heart centered as opposed to primarily based in the mind (aka: ego). Ask yourself these two questions as you approach each decision, and let your heart be your guide.

10. “Believe in the power of serendipity.” – Jim Clark 

evolvegif-jensodiniAs I began the article, and stated the power of serendipitous moments being an integral part of my path, so I end the article emphasizing the same statement. The universe is a paradox of tangible and intangible information, experience, and knowledge. Synthesizing the tangible with the intangible empowers your path as the actualized human being. Contrast is important to reach enlightenment, and science and spirit (intellect/intuition), while contrasting views, will always coexist. Through the acceptance of knowing you may never know it all, you will achieve your own personal “gnosis.” Express gratitude for the relationships that are formed from the invisible world of spirit, and allow these relationships to continue to illuminate your path through the inspiration, experience, and love they facilitate. The powers of love and gratitude, spirit and science, art and technology, imagination and innovation, triumph through tragedy, and creativity through conflict are the colors that make up the kaleidoscope of the human experience, and all contain a value that is immeasurable by monetary standards. Our lives are precious, and we ALL have important missions to fulfill. We are all in this together, and together we can achieve any goal we envision for our future. Start locally, think globally, act from your heart, and appreciate every and all synchronicity that occurs.

So, as it was serendipity that brought this experience and these lessons into my life, I encourage you to allow the lessons to bring serendipity to your experience as well. No matter what your dream may be, if you can find your own personal way of integrating these 10 lessons into the destiny you dare to fulfill, I believe with all of my heart and soul that you can find the power to achieve and actualize any goal your heart desires. For this dream, and what dreams may come, remember – “there is no challenge you have that creativity can’t overcome.”

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Consciousness

The Study of Fundamental Consciousness Entering the Mainstream

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Consciousness is appearing to be a fundamental property, just like liquids, solids and gas, consciousness and its connection to the physical material world is now gaining big time credibility.

  • Reflect On:

    How much do we have yet to discover? Are we ready to abandon what we thought we knew in light of new discoveries and evidence?

The world-renowned neuroscientist Christof Koch, spent nearly two decades working alongside the co-discoverer of the DNA molecule, Francis Crick. Their mission was to find the neurobiological basis of consciousness. They discovered many insights into cognition and the functioning of perception, yet the central enigma, the nature of consciousness itself, remained mysteriously elusive.

In 2009, Koch shocked the scientific community by publishing his conviction that consciousness probably isn’t just in brains, but is a fundamental feature of reality. This is a view known to philosophers as ‘panpsychism.’ The theory Koch is now dedicating his research to is called ‘Integrated Information Theory’ or ‘IIT.’ It is the brainchild of neuroscientist Giulio Tononi of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In explaining his theory, Tononi asks us to consider a simple light sensitive photo diode like those found in a digital camera. A simple diode might respond to just two states: light or dark. We could present our diode with any number of images, yet regardless of the picture, the diode conforms to one of only two possible states. Is it light, or is it dark?

Now consider yourself looking at the same picture, lets say, of the Eiffel Tower on a beautiful spring day in Paris. For us, looking at this image results in a reduction from a near infinity of possible states. Not an image of the Andromeda galaxy, not a childhood picture of your mother, not cells dividing in a Petri dish and so on.  Because of the vast number of images we are capable of recognizing, each one is highly informative. For Tononi, the vast amount of information capable of being integrated in the brain means that we have a comparatively huge capacity for consciousness.

Tononi’s theory, that consciousness is born out of networks with high integrated information, has novel ways of being tested in the laboratory.

In studies with sleeping participants, Tononi and his colleagues used transcranial magnetic stimulation to send a ripple of activity through the cortex of sleeping participants. The researchers found that when dreaming, this ripple reverberated through the cortex longer than when participants were in stages of dreamless sleep. This demonstrated that during dreaming, when the brain is conscious, the cortex has a higher degree of integration.

In another experiment, the researchers built tiny robots known as ‘animats’ that were placed into mazes. The animats used simple integrated networks capable of evolving over sequential generations. To their surprise, the greater the degree of integration that the animats evolved, the quicker they were able to escape the mazes. For Tononi this finding suggested that consciousness may play a more central role in evolution than had previously been thought.

The mathematical value of integrated information in a network is known as phi. But Tononi’s theory, now the topic of serious mainstream discussion, has an extraordinary implication. Phi didn’t just occur in brains, -it is a property of any network with a total informational content greater than its individual parts. Every living cell, every electronic circuit, even a proton consisting of just three elementary particles have a value of phi greater than zero. According to Integrated Information Theory, all of these things possess something, albeit but a glimmer of ‘what it is like’ to be them. Tononi states:

“Consciousness is a fundamental property, like mass or charge. Wherever there is an entity with multiple states, there is some consciousness. You need a special structure to get a lot of it but consciousness is everywhere, it is a fundamental property.”

Integrated information theory is in its infancy and there are still many questions it must face. Did the information of brains operate at the level of the neuron, or the protein, or something deeper still? The electromagnetic field of the brain, as observed by psi researcher Dean Radin, is always re-establishing its quantum connection to the entire universe. Could a much richer informational interaction exist than has yet been imagined?

Physicists such as John Wheeler have laid the groundwork for a radical new understanding of reality, in which matter, the laws and constants of nature, and indeed the entire universe is best described, not in terms of physical objects, but through the play and display of a fundamental dynamic information.

Quantum mechanics suggests that at the deepest level of nature, the entire physical universe is interconnected. Might the total information of the universe be integrated in some deep sense? Is it in a mysterious way conscious of itself?

As spiritual traditions throughout the ages have long asserted, instead of isolated and separate experiencing beings, we may experience on behalf of the greater evolving system in which we find ourselves.

In Koch’s highly anticipated 2012 book, ‘Consciousness – Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist’, he states:

“I do believe that the laws of physics overwhelmingly favored the emergence of consciousness. The universe is a work in progress. Such a belief evokes jeremiads from many biologists and philosophers but the evidence from cosmology, biology and history is compelling.”

Regardless of the validity of Tononi’s theory, today increasing numbers of scientists and academics are convinced that the existence of consciousness simply cannot be sensibly denied. The study of fundamental consciousness is now entering the mainstream. This movement consists of thinkers in and outside of the mind sciences. Yet despite their different academic backgrounds, they are united by two common convictions: that consciousness is an intrinsic rather than incidental emergence in the universe, and that any complete account of reality must include an explanation of it.

 Sources:

 Koch, C. (2009, August 18). A complex theory of consciousness: Is complexity the secret to sentience, to a panpsychic view of consciousness? Scientific American.

 Tononi, G. (2008). Consciousness as integrated information: A provisional manifesto. Biological Bulletin, 215(3), 216-242.

 Edlund, J. A., Chaumont, N., Hintze, A., Koch C., Tononi G., & Adami, C. (2011). Integrated information increases with fitness in the evolution of animats. PLoS Computational Biology, 7(10).

 Radin, D. I. (2006). Entangled Minds: Extrasensory experiences in quantum reality. New York: Simon & Schuster.

 Koch, C. (2012). Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist. MIT Press Books.

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Alternative News

If You Could Power Your Entire Home With 60 Minutes Of Cycling, Would You Do It?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Mechanical energy, converted into kinetic energy can provide the energy that we use on a regular basis to power our homes and electronic devices.

  • Reflect On:

    Rather than focusing on the current problems in our world it is great to change gears and have a look at all of the solutions that are popping up all over the world.

Imagine if your morning workout could power your home for the entire day, all the way until your next morning workout. Well, you may not have to imagine, as this technology exists now. Manoj Bhargava has invented a new exercise bike that can power some homes for 24 hours after use for only sixty minutes per day.

This invention was a part of a new initiative to bring electricity to places that undergo frequent power outages or may only have access to power for a few hours during the day. In our modern age, going without electricity can really separate a person from the rest of the world. Bhargava’s mission is to bridge the gap for those who suffer from poverty and make it easier for them to access the same information as the rest of the world, potentially giving them more opportunities in life.

The Free Electric

The above heading is also the name of this awesome and innovative bike serving as a solution to a pretty significant issue in the underdeveloped nations of the world.

According to Bhargava, the Free Electric is meant to lead to “better health, more leisure time, better access to education and opportunities for entrepreneurship.” He also feels that it could, “literally change the world.”

Power to change the world? Bold statement, but if this is able to be implemented worldwide, I would absolutely have to agree with him. This technology not only has the capacity to assist those in poverty, but can also be used by the rest of the world as well as more and more people around the world who are aiming to reduce their usee of fossil fuels. I have a feeling that Millennials (such as myself) and younger generations would be all over this if its made available! Not only is it a great way to get your cardio in, but it provides FREE electricity that produces no other pollution.

As mentioned in the video, it is also a great solution in the face of natural, or even man made disasters because this type of electricity would not rely on that generated and sold by power companies. Perhaps even one day a way to stock up and store this energy will be possible — then, the opportunities here will be much more plentiful and could be a huge factor in reducing the amount of pollution our current methods of energy production are creating.

The Future Is Friendly

As much as there is sometimes destruction all around us, there is also innovation and ingenuity. Human beings have tremendous potential. Even though there are many problems that we as a society are facing, solutions are popping up and fast, and in most cases they already exist. Finding solutions doesn’t seem to be the problem, so ask yourself, what is?  It’s so great to see ideas such as these being conceptualized and then created and put into use so efficiently, it shows how our species is capable of stopping and potentially reversing some of the destruction that we have caused over the years.

This is absolutely a double win! We are constantly bombarded with news stories and articles that are telling us to be more active, stop sitting so much, and now with the Free Electric, we will have to be active before we can relax and enjoy the use of our precious technology.

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Discover

Physicists ‘Grow’ A Man Made Diamond From Nuclear Waste That’s Able To Generate Electricity

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Scientists have developed a technology that can convert leftover radioactive materials into diamond batteries to power a wide range of electronics.

  • Reflect On:

    Could this be the solution to use op all the radioactive materials on the planet and shut down nuclear power plants worldwide?

Currently there is more than 2 billion tons of nuclear waste across the globe. This nuclear waste is a hazardous threat to the environment if not disposed of correctly. Scientists have recently begun attempting to transform nuclear waste into batteries that could last for thousands of years. If they are successful with this conversion project it would be a double win, less nuclear waste contaminating our environment, and a way to reuse energy that was generated to give power to whatever requires it.

Diamond batteries that use the energy from leftover radioactive materials have been developed and tested by researchers at the University of Bristol. They are now hoping to be able to recycle the waste leftover from decommissioned nuclear power plants in the UK. According to the University, “New technology has been developed that uses nuclear waste to generate electricity in a nuclear-powered battery….A team of physicists and chemists from the University of Bristol have grown a man-made diamond that, when placed in a radioactive field, is able to generate a small electrical current.” (source)

How Does This Work?

According to The Independent,

Carbon-14 isotopes extracted from graphite blocks produced by the plant are infused with wafer-thin diamonds to create the batteries, which researchers say are capable of providing power on a “near-infinite basis”.

Potential applications range from powering hearing aids and pacemakers, to extending the range of spacecraft to distances much further than are currently possible.

“Eventually, a highly powerful version of a diamond battery could power a mobile phone,” James Barker, from the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Engineering, told The Independent.

“Primarily though, they are best for devices requiring long lifetime, low power and where it is difficult to replace energy sources.”

In order to make these diamond batteries safe for medical and consumer use they are encased in a non-radioactive diamond layer, which will absorb any radiation given off by the C14 source.

According to the University,

Unlike the majority of electricity-generation technologies, which use energy to move a magnet through a coil of wire to generate a current, the man-made diamond is able to produce a charge simply by being placed in close proximity to a radioactive source.

Tom Scott, Professor in Materials in the University’s Interface Analysis Centre and a member of the Cabot Institute, said: “There are no moving parts involved, no emissions generated and no maintenance required, just direct electricity generation.  By encapsulating radioactive material inside diamonds, we turn a long-term problem of nuclear waste into a nuclear-powered battery and a long-term supply of clean energy.”

Could This Be The Solution We’ve Been Searching For?

“The ultimate aim is to have a factory based at one of the former power stations in the South West that takes Carbon-14 isotopes directly from the graphite blocks for use in diamond batteries. This would significantly reduce the radioactivity of the remaining material, making it easier and safer to manage,” said Professor Tom Scott, director of the South West Nuclear Hub.

“With the majority of the UK’s nuclear power plants set to go offline in the next 10-15 years this presents a huge opportunity to recycle a large amount of material to generate power for so many great uses.”

Time will tell how effective this method that scientists have come up with will be able to be implemented worldwide, but if it is, just imagine the implications of what this technology could represent.

Is It Time To Move Away From Nuclear Energy?

You’d think since the Fukushima disaster there would be a worldwide agreement for countries to stop generating power from nuclear reactors and to safely shut down these plants. Nuclear disasters have devastating effects on our planet and all of it’s inhabitants, recovery from such accidents can take tens of thousands of years to lose their hazardous radioactivity. Take the Chernobyl disaster that occurred in 1986 and is now contained under a metal shell, this site will likely remain radioactive for up to 20,000 years.

Instead of waiting for these disasters to occur, shouldn’t we be safely dismantling these sites before any more devastating disasters occur? Thankfully many countries are vowing to shut down their nuclear power plants and we can only hope that the rest of the world will follow suit.

The Future Is Here

There are so many amazing technologies that have the capacity to revolutionize the way we use energy on this planet. Of course many of those are hidden from us, especially if they cannot be in some way profited from, and unfortunately as it seems, if they don’t exploit the environment and our resources in some way.

As innovative ideas abound and technology continues to rapidly develop, we have to assume that safer and more innovative means of producing electricity will be uncovered. Hopefully these technologies will also have the capacity to undo some of the damage that we have done to our planet.

At the end of the day, using nuclear energy is not needed anymore, and in reality nuclear waste should not even exist at this point in our development as a collective.

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