Ephemerisle 2011 microtalks

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Ephemerisle 2011 micro-talks

Saturday, 2011-06-11

Microtalks signup sheet

Erin Rapacki - Where's my robot

  • general-purpose robots don't exist yet mainly due to insurance issues: what if a 3rd party makes a robot hit someone, who's responsible?

Daniel Ford - phylogenetics - the math of evolution

  • conserved portions of the DNA are conserved because changing them would cause an organism's death
  • these sequences are the core of how life works


  • we don't have more freedom by coming here on the water
  • we compress the freedom into very few things around us and we depend on the entire economy that allows us to have here the luxuries of the land
  • there's a huge amount of work and limitations when living on the sea
  • you need all sorts of skills to maintain your boat, grow food, sail etc.

Chris Hjelmfelt - Survivalism on the Water

  • Separating real need from perceived need
  • Doing without everyday luxeries
  • Living away from our natural habitat (land)

Max Peto from SENS

  • LysoSENS
  • works on age-related macular degeneration
  • junk accumulates in lysosomes and there's nothing to break it down
  • lysosomes end up accumulating cholesterol
  • when the cholesterol in the lysosomes breaks down, there's no antioxidants there to break it down

Jean - Open Health & self-tracking

  • working on a brain training game to improve focus
  • the best thing to prevent neurogenerative disease is exercise

David Pablo Cohn - How to get a job at the South Pole

  • Went to the South Pole as a support guy
  • Antarctic tours - $35k (you don't want to do this)
  • Or you can get there with a National Artists & Writers grant
  • as a scientist, you apply to NSF, wait a few years, then go there
  • as a support guy for the scientists - rayjobs.com (from defense contractor Raytheon)
    • best way to get into the system is to know someone in the system; face-to-face contact is everything
    • Antarctic program usually has job fair in March for the Oct-Feb "summer season"
  • Summer population @ South pole is 180-200 support folks, ~40 scientists
  • Tech talk and lots of details at http://www.somerandom.com/cohn/pablo-at-the-pole

?? @ Lockheed Martin - biofuels

  • corn ethanol is energy neutral
  • cellulosic ethanol is better - 10x energy output vs. input

Eric Stackpole - Crowdsourced Exploration

Justin Corwin - Crashspace

  • hackerspaces in general
  • knowledge bridge
  • build an AM/FM radio in an hour; can be used for emergencies
  • volunteer spaces increase local capability
  • allow us to solve problems no one else is motivated or capable of solving

Michael Clive - Rockets

  • "any of you can go into space in the next 10-20 years"
  • "what the space race is missing is capitalism"
  • "space is not much of a location, but a velocity: you have to go about 17k mi/h - orbital velocity, to not come down; to leave the earth, you have to hit escape velocity
  • suborbital services
    • research on zero-gravity stuff
    • tourism
    • Armadillo Airspace, Virgin Galactic, Bezos sponsored New Shepherd
  • orbital service
    • SpaceX - Falcon Heavy, 57,000 lbs to LEO
    • space hotel, $1M/week, infinity loop Earth-Moon

If you are interested in space, Scott and Michael are putting on an unconference in Los Angeles in August - http://www.SpaceUpLA.org

Gerry Deckert - Social computing

Replacing social networking with social computing

  • Problems:
    • Data ownership and privacy
    • Functionality dispersed over many sites
    • Data duplicated over many sites

Daniel Finfer - The Posthuman Era

  • Record labels take 80% of the profits
  • cool song playing - "Build the machine", about building an AI

Zach Lash - Tallships

  • have tall masts
  • low-tech, ropes=lines
  • sextants, navigate by the stars and dead reckoning
  • the tech of tallships has been refined for over 1000 years
  • sailtraining.org - ASTA (American Sail Training Association)
  • International Sail Training Association - deals with European vessels

Ashley - Cannabinoids

  • we have endocannabinoid receptors, because during childbirth it interferes with the pain to memory pathway, which helps you forget the pain of childbirth, so you do it again. THC.
  • THC gives you more of the head high, and CBD body high

Michael Bennett - living on water full-time

  • Q: how easy is it to sneak into another country?
A: surprisingly easy, and high penalties for it
  • Q: What about food?
A: water provides a large degree of protein. E.g. in the tropics, you can catch a year's worth of protein in a day.
  • Q: What about community?
A: Yes, but it's loose and transient. Most are so independent you need to knock on their door.
  • Q: What about logistics?
A: In the Bay Area it's pretty simple, but there are pretty annoying anchoring laws, so I'll be hitting back to Mexico in fall. I can store 6 months worth of dry goods and canned goods. If you sail a lot, you can fuel it 2-3 times a year. In Mexico, food is much cheaper. Water makers are fairly expensive, but fresh water (your most serious commodity) is not expensive.
  • Q: What about cost?
A: I lived on $500/month for 2 years. Maintenance is important, and upgrades. Technology for marine systems, even though fairly robust, just doesn't last. If you invest in the boat before you leave port, you can live off $500 for food and fuel.

Christie Dudley - Politics of hacking(?)

  • makes stuff, focus on work with electronics
  • hacking is the act of making things to do things they weren't intended to do
  • HAM radio operators actually control more RF spectrum than any entity other than the military. This is surprising, considering how loos of a group they are.

Richard - The basilisk meme - on social science

  • interested in anthropology
  • Who knows what a meme is? [Less than 30% of the audience.]
  • mythological creatures from the bestiary have persisted generation after generation
  • location and crypticity must be vague, so the hypothesis is much more difficult to defeat
  • e.g. unicorns only approach virgins
  • the basilisk - when you see them, you die and turn to stone; so you can never confirm or deny with your own eyes

Chris Rasch - Wishforge

  • How many of you are in favor of pot legalization? About 30% of the audience raised their hand.
  • donate to "potprize"
  • pot prize sells bonds
  • activists buy bonds, which will sell cheap because of the uncertainty
  • now activists are incentivized to lobby
  • if they fail, the bonds expire worthless, and money returns to donors
  • you don't have to identify the people who can make a difference; they'll identify themselves because they'll buy the bonds
  • Q: if it becomes legal, then the people who put up the money will have to pay out
A: the money is put into escrow, so it will be paid out

Chris Rasch (#2) - mind hack: cravings vs. losing weight

A way to kill the craving: buy the Twinkie, chew it, and spit it out. After you've done that, you won't have a craving for it any more. You don't eat its calories. Google: "cue exposure therapy".

Kevin - multiverse

Why are we here? This has been the domain of religion for a really long time.

Keynote - Brian McQueen on Bitcoin

  • project by Satoshi Nakamoto - it's not his name, but a makeup of Japanese company names
  • a single global currency beyond the reach of politicians or bankers
  • distributed, can't be shut down
  • over 180k computers generating and validating bitcoins
  • 85 petaflops of computing power going towards bitcoin validation
  • back in January were going go 30 cents, now for $30, 100x
  • market cap: $143M
  • it's much easier to get an Internet business going - you just establish a bitcoin vault
  • bitcoins will be created at a known, predictable rate until 2140
  • there is a transaction ledger, so it's not anonymous
  • not a panacea for getting away with illegal activities
  • Charles Schumer has called for an investigation of Bitcoin
  • silk road website selling guns and drugs
  • getting into bitcoin is hard, unless you wire money to a bank and buy BTC
  • mtgox.com, tradehill
  • it's bad for the concept if it's all about porn, dope and guns
  • we need to get regular people to use the system
  • BTC is great for international money transfers, vs. currencies
  • BTC will allow true microfinancing: donate a penny to a cause

Keynote - Patri

  • the cruise ship test: The Seasteading movement focuses on what doesn't pass the cruise ship test: legal research, engineering on building things that are better than boats, can expand and connect to each other, and withstand storms. What passes the cruise-ship test: how will you produce energy, or provide food.

Tim Potter - Seasteading with waste materials

  • island build of plastic bottles in bags, with plywood on top
  • mangroves on the sides, with roots going through to the water
  • mangroves resist hurricanes, and they did just that 5-6 years ago when his island was hit by a hurricane

Bobby from Ithaka (bhopter@gmail) - rethinking digital trust networks

  • problems with the couchsurfing network:
    • all trust is global, but a person disliked by someone can be liked by you
    • on Cocuchsurfing, even if you didn't like your tenant, you still give them a decent review, because otherwise would be a giant "fuck you"
  • eBay, Couchsurfing = global trust metrics
  • proposal: local trust networks
    • trust tags
    • designate confidantes = people you share information with, and whose opinion you weigh some percentage (maybe they just love everyone)
  • A slightly out-of-date (but more detailed) writeup can be found here.
  • The development portal is now at raincode.org

Ratha Grimes - Toastmasters

  • you give speeches towards an award - gamification of learning to speak
  • or, table topics, where you are unprepared
  • good networking opportunity

Tumbelina - sex geeks

  • didn't realize wasn't straight, until she was in 30's
  • Straponathon @ Burning Man
  • dating a queer porn star transitioning from male to female
  • went to queer porn award show
  • review erotic films with the founder of the world's feminist co-op
  • learned how to multiple orgasms
    • women's magazines tout multiple orgasms as an Olympic feat - it's not
  • lesbian burlesque dancer
  • former soccer mom who came out online and started dating lots of people
  • Shine Louise Houston - female-friendly queer porn producer
  • genderfork - retweets of people who are gender-queer
  • worked in the field of preventing sexual assault
  • met the woman who coded "diaspora" as a text box for gender in web forms, vs. a binary choice
  • good at hacking kitchen tools or power tools into sex toys

Robin? - AI

  • worked on autonomous control for helicopters
  • classical planners, and sketchy planners

Dan Dascalescu - The Quantified Self

  • The Quantified Self is a group of users and tool makers interested in self-tracking with the goal of improving aspects of our lives
  • personal science matters because we are all different and large-scale studies may not apply to us, or what works for us may not work for the population at large
  • recent explosion in sensor technology - accelerometer sensors in stickers let you track the most unexpected things, like how often you use your toothbrush, water bottle, or fridge door
  • sharing data you have a goal for, makes you more likely to attain that goal
  • see the notes from the Quantified Self conference in May 2011

Alex Peake - Code Hero

  • make all knowledge playable
  • Primer Labs - "Code Hero"
  • it's a video game that teaches programming
  • a gun that shoots portals and kills nothing
  • we have a STEM crisis: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
  • future: Nano Hero, fighting gray goo; Bio Hero, building proteins

Jelena - intro to massage

  • 5th generation massage therapist
  • basics of Swedish massage: long strokes, tapping etc.
  • but there's an even simpler way:
  • avoid creepy touching
  • just put your hand lightly on them and let them get accustomed
  • then, just poet them a little bit
  • start with something familiar: stroking
  • use the flat of your hand and just stroke
  • failure: too much pressure, or tips of fingers
  • so maximize surface area
  • use palm and fingers together
  • mold your hand to their body shape
  • simple circle around half the back
  • variations in a move: pressure, speed, shape (circle, line etc.), size (focal point vs. large surface area)
  • please ask for feedback
  • do variety

Max Marty - Microexpressions (reading emotions)

Who's seen Lie to Me? The hero can read people's emotions really well. He rents himself to FBI and other groups. How many think they're really good at spotting lies? (very few) Science has disproved that you can tell from where someone's looking if they're conjuring up an emotion or inventing something.

You can look at: voice, body, face. The eyes are really not the window to the soul, save for detecting if someone's paying attention to you. Body language is useful to figuring out a baseline. Look for a change when you're looking for something in particular.

Paul Ekman on microexpressions: anger, sadness, contempt, happiness, diosgust, surprise, fear - the 7 basic emotions. Two of them correlate 70% of the time with lying: contempt and disgust. We don't know exactly why that is. Look online for a program called "FACE", that trains you to recognize microexpressions.

Becca Gorman - freedom of children

  • unifying value here: we believe in freedom
  • a person can't own property, can't choose their education or where to live based on an arbitrary metric - how many times the Earth has gone around the Sun
  • but, people say, it's not that, but capability
  • but, if we go by that logic, we should permit people to make decisions based on their capacity, not age - but we don't do that
  • what do we consider capable? What makes our values better than other people's?
  • When we build a seastead, we should re-evaluate the status of children from the ground up. Think of a reason that was used to treat children differently from adults, that was not used to treat slaves differently.

Alex Jacobson

  • Is what you're doing with your life worthwhile? (good crowd).
  • works in venture capital. One way to evaluate a company is to assess the value they give customers: fear, hope, greed, despair. At planetary level, are you addressing planetary fear, hope, greed or despair? E.g. on the greed team: how would we go about consuming the resources of the galaxy? What theme are you on?

Starchild - evolution, spirituality and non-aggression

  • the non-aggression principle - the idea that you have the right to live however you want to, as long as those choices don't involve initiating force or fraud against others
  • expand the principle from humans to animals and the entire universe
  • "A physicist is an atom's way of learning about atoms".
  • we think of ourselves as unitary intelligences, but DNA is another form of computation, which does learn things over a long period of time
  • imagine a world in which you don't have to kill to survive

Randy Hencken - compassion, harm reduction, and drug abuse

  • my oldest friend died of a heroin overdose
  • before TSI, I was involved in drug policy reform
  • before that, I was involved in drugs
  • why having a better policy on drugs can help people
  • this summer it's been 10 years since I've kicked heroin
  • what helped me get off heroin was the harm reduction movement, and people with compassion
  • those people helped me get clean, they took me to a hospital when I was sick, gave me clean needles
  • the reason my friend died from an overdose is because his girlfriend was scared to call the police, and now she has to live with that
  • you can beat an addiction but you can't beat a conviction

Terry Floyd - the platform behind us

  • activist with the libertarian party, into Oceania
  • idea of connecting hexagonal platforms together
  • talked into going with squares this year, but it didn't work very well, so back to hexagons next year
  • Buckminster Fuller's dome

Kate Compton - Procedural Generation: Creating Worlds

  • does visual work for Maxis: "procedural generation" - running simulations that can generate content (mountains, landscapes; e.g. Bryce)
  • most recent: the Spore game (she did all the 4 billion planets)
  • example: how does each curly strand of hair get curled in the same way
  • mountains: built up by volcanic action, then affected by erosion
  • what if you tweak these rules? You get Science Fiction. E.g. what if rivers instead of meandering, would dig channels?

Anastasia Krylov - the sexual revolution of our times

  • born in USSR, currently based in LA
  • full-time sushi chef; also dominatrix, sex educator
  • founder of kinky non-profit in LA, TSX
  • the non-profit teaches 5 classes: health, kink, non-monogamy, gender spectrum and identity, how society influences our sex lives.
  • overarching theme: communication. we live in a society that values non-communication. Action movies are about people who don't communicate and look cool. Or, other movies show that people who talk too much are not cool but dopey. Or, romantic movies show couples just looking at each other, and not using words much. In our society, the default is not to communicate. "Communication is fucking key."

Cyprien Noel - Next generation concurrency

  • from France, arrived in California a few months ago
  • we are getting more CPU cores, but we don't really know how to program them
  • one way we have is to use locks, but this is hard to program and not scalable
  • other ways: use message passing, actors, functional programming. But you lose OOP.
  • transactional memories: get a resource, work on it, then commit changes
  • distributed transactional memories: same process, but it can be used among many machines - this is the next big paradigm, after procedural and OO programming
  • The European union recently funded CloudTM
  • Other implementations: DiSTM, DMV, and Cyprien's own: xstm.org

?? - Local power

Desiree Dudley - Foresight@Google: 25th Anniversary Nanotech Conference June 25-26

EphemerISLErs get $50 off registration at:

 25th Anniversary Conference Celebration & Reunion Weekend
 Google HQ in Mountain View, CA
 June 25-26, 2011

What promise does nanotech hold for you? Health, space travel, longevity... Great potential, fascinating problems, exciting advances!

Explore the cutting edge of transformative nanotech with keynotes by:

  • JIM VON EHR - President of Zyvex Labs LLC
Founder of Altsys, the Texas Nanotech Initiative, & the world's first successful molecular nanotech company
  • BARNEY PELL - CoFounder/CTO of Moon Express
Best known for AI work on NASA's Clarissa & Remote Agent, now competing for Google's Lunar X PRIZE!

Not a nanotechnologist? No problem! This weekend - full of plenary talks, panels, and breakout sessions - is a unique opportunity to be stimulated, enlightened and inspired by direct interaction with ground-breaking movers and shakers in the field, including:

Halcyon Molecular CEO WILLIAM ANDREGG, CalTech's WILLIAM GODDARD, NanoInk CTO MIKE NELSON, Paypal's LUKE NOSEK, Stanford forecaster PAUL SAFFO, motor-molecule creator SIR FRASER STODDART, Intel's MIKE GARNER, IBM's THOMAS THEIS, SingularityU emcee SONIA ARRISON, and more at...


For $50 off registration, use code: ISLE

*SPECIAL BONUS* Ephemerisle attendees will include some of the Thiel Foundation's 20Under20, SENS, SIAI, and more, as well as music from the post-Singularity music band AncientLasers, and a breakout talk by Alex Peake on teaching kids nanotech through videogames.

Matt Bell - Scan your world

Brian McQueen - Transposomes

Christine Peterson - "finding a life partner" lecture

Only about hetero long-term relationships, no gay, no poly. Advice aimed primarily at women looking for a life partner, based on the book "Love in 90 days"; written for women but men can act on it.

At work, you have to pretend men and women are similar. But in mating, we will look at the animals. Reptilian brain, mammalian brain.

Oxytocin is the cuddle/attachment hormone. You want this hormonal cascade, which does happen, but rarely. It was fun even unidirectionally, when she had it for the guy,

Recent finding: when men and women have sex, the woman's oxytocin level goes up, she gets attached, and stays up. But men's goes down after 30 minutes. This explains one-night stands, and the man who lives with a woman for year, but then he dumps her; the man who has a mistress, divorces wife, but doesn't marry mistress either.

Just having sex doesn't do it for these guys; sex doesn't cause bonding for men.

In general, the male is pursuing the female. The other way doesn't really work that well. The moralistic and religious rules have a chemical basis. The old rule for women was "play hard to get", because men like to chase women, men want women in high demand/status.

Women should establish non-negotiable criteria for what they want in a life partner: for example, a particular ethics, and no history of mental disease.

Spectrum disorder: there's a gradual difference between mental health and mental disorder. You don't want a partner with a spectrum disorder, which is common among people with high IQ (Christine went to MIT), because your kids might get it worse.

Women, prepare for the hormonal cascade: meet the family, establish there's no mental illness. Establish your criteria and do the weeding first, before the hormonal cascade starts.

Christine thought she'd end up with a libertarian life extensionist. But the man she'll be marrying next month is not like that.

The other person brings out the best in you.

Contrary politics can get sexy: "say something liberal" ;)

"Ladies, you date 3 men at a time." More is too hard, and less is more difficult to compare. By doing that, you compare real men. You keep letting go the least promising guy, and get a new one.

OKCupid is the only site that tells you when the person last logged on. On the other sites, ping/wink the person. Men are frustrated because on those other sites, women are not there any more, but the site lists them anyway, so they don't send carefully crafted e-mails.

Women, how to trigger dopamine-producing activities: spend time alone, do anything emotional, scary: skydiving, movies; let him show off or pay for you. Men have a showing off response and a caretaking response. Make sure he knows you're seeing two other guys. She's not *playing* hard to get; she's genuinely not sure, that's why she's dating other guys. Christine was dating an intellectual libertarian, when she realized she loved the other guy.

Don't give him an orgasm for a while, so he won't go through that crash. Forcing the wait is part of reeling them in.

By delaying sex, the woman can avoid becoming attached and triggering the hormonal cascade that clouds judgment.

"Dating" is seeing other people; "relationship" is with one person at a time.