From Synthetic DNA to Billion Year Libraries

Long Now Boston Conversation SeriesOctober 7, 02019, at the Cambridge Innovation Center.
Featuring Dr. Hyunjun Park, CEO of CATALOG DNA, and Nova Spivack, Chairman of Arch Mission Foundation.

Synopsis: Human science and imagination are moving us to a reality we can barely comprehend.  Synthetic DNA is the basis for stunningly efficient data storage and sophisticated computational functionality – yet the microminiaturized manufacturing process defies visualization.  Using this technology, petabytes of data are encoded on strands of DNA and dried into something the size of a sugar cube.  Imagine such a cube layered into a small, superstrong container at the core of a small disk the size of a DVD.  That disk consists of a number of layers of nickel nanofiche analog imagery on top of high-density digital storage layers, bonded with an epoxy in which human and other DNA samples are stored — a complete library of human knowledge and history.  Now imagine those libraries scattered around the earth, on the moon, in orbit around the sun, where they will serve as the backup for planet Earth, lasting billions of years. 

Summary by George Gantz
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Mastering the Balance – Loonshots and Franchise

Long Now Boston Conversation Series
September 9, 02019, at the Cambridge Innovation Center.
Featuring Safi Bahcall, author of Loonshots (2019)

Synopsis: According to Safi Bahcall, the people, companies, institutions and governments that drive progress take advantage of both the creativity that generates new ideas, and the logistical discipline that can take them to scale.  Creatives need the open environment of loonshot nurseries.  Soldiers need the structure and hierarchy of a franchise. Both are essential to long-term success, and the best leaders are the ones that love their creatives and soldiers equally.  

Summary by Paul Hoxie and George Gantz.
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Long Now Boston Garden Party 02019

August 17, 02019,Cambridge MA

Reflections on the 4th Annual Summer Picnic of Long Now Boston.  

A Timely Experience

A great deal of planning and preparation had gone into the afternoon picnic, but the time for planning was over. It was time for the event to begin. Thoughts and questions cross through your mind as you walk into a quiet Cambridge neighborhood.  Will the event be well-attended?  Who will I know?  What questions might be asked of me, and what questions would I like to ask?

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Innovations to Eradicate Global Poverty

Long Now Boston Conversation Series

June 3, 02019, at the Cambridge Innovation Center.

Featuring Eleanor Murphy (Acumen) and Katherine Collins (Putnam, Honeybee Capital)

Synopsis:  Some 12,000 years ago, people began cultivating their own food, providing a far more reliable source than nature alone, leading to settled communities and, ultimately, a global civilization. The technologies and capacities for feeding human communities have improved through the millennia, bringing huge benefits to growing populations.  Yet poverty and hunger still afflicts much of the world — a tragedy that we can eliminate within decades if we empower communities, through enlightened investment, technology and market solutions, to achieve their own aspirations.

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FLASH TALKS – Probing the Future

Long Now Boston Conversation Series
May 6, 02019, at the Cambridge Innovation Center.

Featuring eight talks by Long Now Boston Members.

On May 6, Long Now Boston held a 2018 FLASH TALK event.  Eight presentations had been selected in advance from the pool of entrants, and each presenter was given 5 minutes, and 3 slides, to explore their ideas.  The result was a wide-ranging and surprisingly robust discussion of topics in chemistry, climate, aging, cityscape design, science education and the future of democracy and capitalism.  

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Robotic Futures – A Cyborg Vision

Long Now Boston Conversation Series
April 1, 02019, at the Cambridge Innovation Center.

Featuring Bruce Blumberg, Principal UX Engineer, Universal Robots.

Coding, dogs, and robots have been Dr. Blumberg’s work and passion. This experience informs his expectations of the robotic future we can anticipate: rather than featuring generalized human-scale robots, our human capacities will likely be vastly enhanced by new generations of powered tools, personal aids and enabling devices, some potentially embedded in us – not a robotic but a cyborg future.

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DNA – Our Past is Our Future

Long Now Boston Conversation Series
March 4, 02019, at the Cambridge Innovation Center

Featuring Preston Estep, CSO and co-founder Veritas Genetics, and Dennis Grishin, CSO and co-founder, Nebula Genomics

Synopsis: Two leading gen-tech entrepreneurs explored the profound evolutionary transition DNA technologies may bring at the Long Now Boston Conversation on March 4, 02019. However, a positive outcome is not assured unless we carefully navigate the landscape of technical, regulatory, ethical and privacy issues involved.

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Reimagining the Microbial World

February 4, 02019, at the Cambridge Innovation Center

Featuring Scott Chimileski, microbiologist and author, and Roberto Kolter, Director of the Kolter Lab

With stunning pictures and astounding mastery of scientific research and curiosities, Scott Chimileski and Roberto Kolter delivered an awe inspiring tour of the microbial world at the Long Now Boston Conversation on February 4, 02019.

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Deep Uncertainty and Dynamic Adaptation

November 27, 02018: A Long Now Boston Community Conversation with
Kirk Bosma, P.E. Woods Hole Group and Paul Kirshen, Ph.D., UMass Boston\

Boston is a coastal city with a complex of rivers, dams, harbors and islands. By the end of this century, under the foreseeable range of global warming scenarios, Boston could experience a sea level rise ranging from 2.4 to 7.4 feet.

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