Lecture 19 - 12/2/2010
Studying mammals: Food for thought
Who were our ancestors? How are apes and humans related? And where does the extinct Homo erectus fit into the puzzle? In this unit we will examine culture, tool use and social structure in both apes and humans to gain an understanding of where we come from and why we behave as we do. This is the tenth unit in the ‘Studying mammals’ series.
ME++ The Cyborg Self and the Networked City
Throughout history, humans have created unique physical spaces in which to live, work and socialize. But the digital age has completely transformed the places in which we conduct our affairs, according to William J. Mitchell. We don’t congregate at the town bank any more for financial transactions. We visit ATMs or bank online.
Transportation, the Built Environment and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Developing Cities
It seems that income and travel are inextricably linked. As communities gain wealth and prosperity, their travel footprint increases. While this relationship affords benefits to those in developed nations, it is not scalable. Global population is projected to increase by nearly 2 billion people by 2030. If this newly adde
Engineering a New Attack on Disease
Out of a world population of 6 billion, 57 million people die each year. And while we have gained 20 years in life expectancy since World War 2, diseases like HIV have taken a toll on morbidity in many developing nations. But according to Rick Young, “the global disease burden is much larger than the number of deaths.” Countles
Nanotechnology and the Study of Human Diseases
Subra Suresh fleshes out the promise of nanotechnology, at least in regard to our understanding of disease. His talk, which focuses on malaria and its impact on red blood cells, demonstrates how the fields of engineering, biology and medicine are converging.
To function properly, he explains, a red blood cel
Energy resources: Water quality
Water is arguably the most important physical resource as it is the one that is essential to human survival. Understanding the global water cycle and how we use water is essential to planning a sustainable source of water for the future. In the UK there are areas where water supplies are limited, shown by recent droughts. Globally, there are many areas that do not have enough water to support the current population adequately. Decisions will have to be made on the best way to use water in a worl
Electronics on Plastic: A Solution to the Energy Challenge, or a Pipe Dream?
As urgency to address climate change mounts, there’s ever greater interest in harnessing the unlimited potential of the sun to replace fossil fuels. This tantalizing prospect has inspired a raft of new scientific ventures, reports Stephen Forrest.
A theoretical field of silicon solar cells that is 1
Future energy demand and supply
When you consider that the global annual consumption of primary energy increased more than ten-fold during the 20th Century, the importance of planning future energy supply becomes clear.
Observations on the Science of Finance in the Practice of Finance
There will be a time “beyond crisis,” asserts Robert C. Merton, who delves into the dense science of derivatives -- a field he has fundamentally shaped -- to explain how the vast global economic collapse has come about, and how financial innovations at the heart of the collapse could also be tools for reconstruction.
Innovative Leadership during Economic Crisis
The same institutional tenets guiding innovative management during good times needn’t waver during a downturn, even the present one, says Emmanuel Maceda. After two decades at Bain, one of the world’s premiere management consulting businesses, Maceda feels confident in his company’s practices and principles, which have g
Education Across Borders: The India Perspective
Rickshaw drivers in India are frequent victims of tuberculosis after just a few years inhaling traffic fumes. This near-epidemic went unacknowledged until
Kapil Sibal demanded a solution. The fix, now gaining traction across the country, is a solar-powered vehicle that eliminates pedaling. But what began as a project to ass
Creating a Game Plan for Transition to a Sustainable Economy
The “chief inspired protagonist” of one of the nation’s oldest and most successful green manufacturers apologizes for delivering a talk “more depressing than expected.” While discussing the challenges facing businesses attempting to transition to a more just and sustainable economy, Jeffrey Hollender enumera
Capitalism 3.0: An Institutional Revolution In the Making
C. Otto Scharmer points to what he calls a "blind spot" in contemporary leadership research: the organization and management of attention. He argues that there are different kinds of awareness or attentiveness, that different problems require different qualities of or approaches to awareness. Leaders who understand this can
Race from France to France, Leave Antarctica to Starboard
Rich Wilson had followed the Vendée Globe Race ('round-the-world single-handed) since its inception in 1988 but had never considered sailing it himself—“too hard, too long, too dangerous, too risky, too, too, too, the boats were too big, the sails were too big.”
Then he reconsidered the possibility when he realize
Modeling Human Mobility
Researchers who wish to study mobility patterns might be reaching for your phone. Increasingly, cell phones are equipped with locational receivers (Global Positioning Systems or GPS) and their bread crumb trails are opening up entirely new ways to study and predict the dynamics of travel. “We are in the GPS revolution because
Energy from sources other than fossil and nuclear fuels is to a large extent free of the concerns about environmental effects and renewability that characterise those two sources. Each alternative source supplies energy continually, whether or not we use it. This unit considers one of these alternative sources, geothermal energy derived from the interior heat of the Earth, and the potential for this alternative to supplant fossil and nuclear fuel use to power social needs fast enough to avoid t
The Future of Science Journalism
Susan Hockfield states that science journalism “is now, and in the decades ahead, absolutely indispensable.” As we confront global warming and health pandemics, science reporting must be sustained, Hockfield says, “in its rightful place, at the top of the profession and in the thick of the national conversation.
New Media, Civic Media
As old media die, new forms are emerging, but it’s not clear they will serve such vital civic functions as “helping people form publics,” as Pat Aufderheide puts it. These panelists point to promising experiments in “Public Media 2.0,” but caution that new media are not guaranteed to shore up democracy or invigorate
The Power of Competition: How to Focus the World’s Brains on your Innovation Challenges
Cooperation may be making us “a little bit too nice” when it comes to innovation, suggests Fiona Murray. She believes there’s nothing like competition for injecting energy into the process of solving key innovation problems, whether in business or society.
Murray is convinced competition make ventures “more ef