Monthly Archives: August 2011

Jason Silva and the Recursive Loop

"Human consciousness and self-awareness has been defined as the acknowledgment of patterns. Instead of responding to reflexes subconsciously, we are aware of our pattern recognition. We are a species defined by our love of "thinking about thinking". In other words, we know that we know that we know.  This T-shirt image visually conveys this idea of the recursive loop." -Jason Silva

Visual culture online

For decades now, people have joined together online to communicate and collaborate around interesting imagery. In recent years, the pace and intensity of this activity has reached a fever pitch. With countless communities engaging in a constant exchange, building on each others’ work, and producing a prodigious flow of material, we may be experiencing the early stages of a new type of artistic and cultural collaboration. In this episode of Off Book, PBS speak with a number of Internet experts and artists who’ll give us an introductory look into this intriguing new world.

Watch the full episode. See more Off Book.

BBC Horizon Time Trip

Horizon’s Time Trip is a thrilling journey deep into the strangeness of cutting-edge physics – a place where beautiful, baffling ideas are sometimes indistinguishable from the utterly crazy.

Full Playlist here

Visionary Voices: Kevin Kelly

In this great clip Kevin Kelly assures us that lifelong learning is the answer to staying at the forefront of the advances in technology and the main skill we will need in the future is "the skill to learn new skills."

13-Year-Old Makes Solar Power Breakthrough by Harnessing the Fibonacci Sequence

While most 13-year-olds spend their free time with more trivial pursuits, one 7th grader was trekking through the woods uncovering a mystery of science. After studying how trees branch in a very specific way, Aidan Dwyer created a solar cell tree that produces 20-50% more power than a uniform array of photovoltaic panels. His impressive results show that using a specific formula for distributing solar cells can drastically improve energy generation. The study earned Aidan a provisional U.S patent – it’s a rare find in the field of technology and a fantastic example of how biomimicry can drastically improve design.

Aidan Dwyer took a hike through the trees last winter and took notice of patterns in the mangle of branches. His studies into how they branch in very specific ways lead him to a central guiding formula, the Fibonacci sequence. Take a number, add it to the number before it in a sequence like 1+1=2 then 2+1=3 then 3+2=5, 8, 13, 21 and so on a very specific pattern emerges. Turns out the pattern and its corresponding ratios are reflected in nature all the time, and Aidan’s keen observation of how trees branch according to the formula lead him to test the theory. First he measured tree branches by how often they branch and at what degree from each other.