Science

“I think in an awful lot of science where there’s a success it’s not a scientific thing. It’s an invention, which is something quite different.”

- James Lovelock, one of the last independent scientists.

Born in 1919, back when “scientist” could be an entire job description rather than “botanist” or “physicist” or “computational linguist”. Someone who worked across disciplines on whatever they found interesting or whatever they were hired to do.

Lovelock is best known for inventing Gaia theory, the idea of Earth as a self-regulating system. He also invented the electronic capture detector which found CFCs in the atmosphere…


Tech

“Many of the rules followed by a machine are known only by the machine and its designers. When people fail to follow these bizarre, secret rules, and the machine does the wrong thing, its operators are blamed for not understanding the machine, for not following its rigid specifications.

With everyday objects, the result is frustration.

With complex devices and commercial and industrial processes, the resulting difficulties can lead to accidents, injuries, and even deaths.

It is time to reverse the situation: to cast the blame upon the machines and their design. …


Nuclear

Nuclear reactors are nothing but a glorified full-grown kettle.

Probably the most expensive way to boil water, but at least they produce tons of energy, reliably and without emitting CO2.

It’s difficult to imagine a future without them! They are our most precious allays in our fight against climate change if paired with renewables!

After closing their nuclear power plants due to social pressures, Germany was forced to reopen their old rusty coal plant since renewables could not satisfy the energy demand alone! A country that cares about sustainability shouldn’t do this kind of thing!

Fun fact: burning coal produces…


Engineering

This is the story of Americium: For me this is engineering at its best, simple, cheap & reliable.

In the late 1930s Swiss physicist Walter Jaeger tried to invent a sensor for poison gas.

He expected that gas entering the sensor would bind to ionized air molecules and thereby alter an electric current in a circuit in the instrument. His device did not meet its purpose: small concentrations of gas did not affect the sensor’s conductivity.

Frustrated, Jaeger lit a cigarette and was soon surprised to notice that a meter on the instrument had registered a drop in current. …


Fun Fact: You shed your entire outer layer of skin cells every 2 to 4 weeks.
That’s the dust the accumulates in your home.
Yes, that’s literally you.

Life is a process of dynamic renewal!

Take for example proteins, they have a half-life from 44 minutes to 22 hours. It is vital to have ways to not only create new ones but also to get rid of those that are no longer working properly. In fact diseases like Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s result from the accumulation of misfolded, toxic, and insoluble protein aggregated!

Things need to constantly be created from scratch…


Technology

19th century.

Samuel FB Morse was a painter, a good one, but he wasn’t making a solid living with his art.

At age 34, he was older than his heroes had been when they created their masterpieces. Morse had traveled to Washington to pursue what could’ve been his big break: The city of New York promised him a $1,000 commission to paint Marquis de Lafayette, who was returning as a hero to the country he helped make free.

He began by painting a study just to kind of get some of the details right but he never finished it because…


🍊 Can fruit be turned into art & fashion? 🍊

Apparently yes! Italian company @OrangeFiber creates sustainable and innovative materials for fashion starting from citrus juice by-products.

Thanks to a patented industrial process they can produce a high-quality fabric capable of joining together two pillars of the Italian heritage: textiles and food.

A marked increase in food processing over the past 50 years has gradually generated an enormous amount of non-edible byproducts. Think about this: just in Italy every year, more than 700.000 …


I honestly get overwhelmed by the astounding pace of our technologies, we literally can make plants glow all by themselves!

Biotech is super interesting and even though is totally outside my main studies I cannot hold my excitement for its innovations.

Engineering life is one of the most interesting types of engineering!

These kinds of plants could reduce our use of electricity both indoor and outdoor.

In the future maybe we will not need road lights anymore,
just imagine roads with rows and rows of bioluminescent trees!


Robots already exist in nature and are called proteins!

The happy walking guy shown here in the video is called “kinesin”, a motor protein found in eukaryotic cells that supports several functions including mitosis, meiosis, and transport of cellular cargo.

You should think of proteins as a special kind of nano-robots that execute their function based on chemical inputs.

Biological machines are fascinating since in the future they may be used to identify and destroy cancer cells, detect toxic chemicals, and measure their concentrations.

The idea of nanobots was part of Feynman’s 1959 essay “There’s Plenty of Room at the…


image from Marketoonist

I mean, AI & Crypto are fantastic technologies and surely will make breakthroughs in science, industry, health, and change society in a broader sense.

but there’s a catch…

Do we really need those technologies to create “Tinder for dogs”,

or “Uber for vegans”, or, why not? “a decentralized network to choose the perfect DJ for your red fish’s funeral?”

If you are trusting #AI you are trusting a dataset.

You better have good data or your whole model will collapse.

An AI algorithm is something you develop later, once your company scales and has its databases fully packed with useful…

Filippo Sergenti

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