[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IsQ92KiBwM&width=640&height=362&autoplay=1[/embedyt] Recent advances in the human genome research have revealed a wealth of information concerning our genetic blueprint. The blueprint contains all the information our bodies need to function. Ageing is now understood at the cellular level. Switching certain genes on or off can stop or reverse the ageing process. What does this really mean? It means potentially we could add a few more years to life expectancy. It also means we could live healthier lives in old age. But could we also grow younger? We now have a better understanding of ageing and age-related conditions. Genetic engineering means that we now have the capacity to manipulate genes and find solutions to the problems that have bedevilled the human condition. Chief among the new findings is the fact that nutritional choices have a huge impact on the cellular requirements to function better. Lifestyle choices are crucial health-related decisions. We are what we eat and drink. What is your take on genetic engineering? Should humans be allowed to design babies?
What is intelligence? What is it about the human brain which sets us apart from other animals? Is the brain the universe’s way of knowing itself?
What is education? Well, it is a process of teaching and learning whose objective is to acquire knowledge and skills as preparation for future use. Future use? I think this is where the problem is. What future use? Nobody knows where you will be in the future and acquiring general knowledge is a hit or miss. You will either benefit in the future or you will not. How about learning about something which is relevant to contemporary needs? How about learning material that helps us to solve current challenges? How about identifying current challenges and finding out which knowledge or skills will help us to solve the challenges? This way we could be addressing all the problems facing humanity today. We could teach students to be problem solvers and not passive recipients of information which may not be relevant to future needs. This is Project Based Learning.
Our connectivity has been enhanced by the avalanche of information and communication technologies. Most prominently we have seen the rise and rise of social networks as we connect with more and more people some of whom we have never met but are friends of friends and their ideas resonate with ours so we create new friendships. But there are also friendships we have tended to avoid based on the ideas of the potential friendship. The big question is how have we managed the potential for connectivity and how connected are we? Is this connectivity beneficial to us and how are we doing on time management? Time is really important as some interactions may just eat up precious time which could have been used more productively. So how do you become more productive whilst connected and socialising? It is time that many of us consider creating content rather than consuming it. However to create great content one has to be passionate about something. You need to identify a passion that you want to communicate to the world. It has to be something that is not necessarily or immediately linked to big financial rewards. Anything associated with financial rewards is probably something that a lot of other people have identified and are trying to implement with varying levels of success or failure or both. This is usually because they may lack in consistency as this is not something they are passionate about. A passion is something you’re willing to work at for
3-D Printing a House The University of Southern California is testing a giant 3D printer that could be used to build a whole house in under 24 hours. Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis has designed the giant robot that replaces construction workers with a nozzle on a gantry, this squirts out concrete and can quickly build a home according to a computer pattern. It is “basically scaling up 3D printing to the scale of building,” says Khoshnevis. The technology, known as Contour Crafting, could revolutionise the construction industry. The affordable home? Contour Crafting could slash the cost of home-owning, making it possible for millions of displaced people to get on the property ladder. It could even be used in disaster relief areas to build emergency and replacement housing. For example, after an event such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which has displaced almost 600,000 people, Contour Crafting could be used to build replacement homes quickly. It could be used to create high-quality shelter for people currently living in desperate conditions. “At the dawn of the 21st century [slums] are the condition of shelter for nearly one billion people in our world,” says Khoshnevis, “These buildings are breeding grounds for disease a problem of conventional construction which is slow, labour intensive and inefficient.” As Khoshnevis points out, if you look around you pretty much everything is made automatically these days – “your shoes, your clothes, home appliances, your car. The only thing that is still built by hand are these buildings.” How