March 08, 2008

Venter at the Long Now

It's almost redundant to express amazement at another talk from the Long Now Foundation. Hardly any of them, amassing here, are duds.

This is the first time I've heard Craig Venter speak, and he's great, perhaps the best talk I've heard since...well, probably only since Vernor Vinge, but then he set a high standard. Venter will make your head glow, there's so much cool stuff. Listened to it while cycling out to the country, with the picture of the fractal / broken wall, above, and the network of roots, below, two of the sights, but some notes on the talk from a 7/11 stop:

- Using genes as software for cell's hardware - software that can produce its own hardware.
- The huge variety of undiscovered (microscopic) lifeforms in the oceans and deep (1km +) underground.
- Life in the Sargasso Sea feeding on sunlight, but not by photosynthesis.
- Lifeforms that can be dried out, cut up, hit with high radiation for tens of thousands / millions of years and then recombine and live again when put in water - your basic panspermia seed.

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