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Newsletter
Please see our weekly newsletter collection below. Our own staff and members contribute bits and bytes of interesting news and articles. They say that futurists make funny historians but we do our best to bridge that divide by illustrating our past themes and speakers as they develop and evolve. We hope that you enjoy reading these communications as much as we enjoy creating them for you. And if you have any news to share, please contact any member of our staff.

2017 November 3

We’ve had so much interest in blockchain that our team has compiled a list of recent TTI/V talks. Members should be receiving a copy shortly. If you do not receive a copy, please contact Claudia.
 
At first, A/2017 U1 looked like any other asteroid. But a study of its trajectory showed that it came from another star system. Now astronomers are racing (no pun intended) to study it, because it’s moving away from Earth faster than probes can travel. (Ed Lu, San Fran, Dec 2014; Erika DeBenedictis, Vienna, Jul 2013; Dan Durda, Washington, D.C., May 2007)
www.scientificamerican.com/article/astronomers-spot-first-ever-space-rock-from-another-star/
 
Meanwhile, the study of humans in space continues apace. Early findings of a twins study: Being in space has consequences for gene expression (Josh Stuart, Austin, Feb 2016), telomere length, and gut bacteria growth (Jonathan Eisen, San Jose, Feb 2012; Jessica Richman, Austin, Feb 2016).
www.techtimes.com/articles/214972/20171029/nasa-twins-study-space-travel-alters-gene-expression-like-fireworks.htm
 
In the Good News/Bad News department: Turns out, ocean coral like the taste of plastic (Heidi Kujawa, San Francisco, Dec 2016; Ellen Prager, Miami, Dec 2011). But they can’t digest it, and so it may do them harm.
www.cbc.ca/news/technology/coral-eat-tasty-plastic-1.4372000
 
When you twist photons before sending them through space, your data rate can increase, because the angular momentum can contain additional information. (David Payne, London, Jul 2010; Yorem Ofek, Seattle, Sep 2001)
www.gla.ac.uk/news/headline_555908_en.html
 
Stack Overflow recently published “the 10 programming languages developers hate the most.” It’s interesting to compare the list with IEEE Spectrum’s annual top 10 programming languages. PHP, C++, and C# each made both lists, for example. Walter Bright’s (Washington, D.C., Sep 2014) D language is on neither.
 
Two nice profiles of past speakers this week;

Congratulations to TTI/V member Susan Hakkarainen of Lutron, recently elected a trustee of the Asia Society.
 
Four years ago, TTI editorial chief Steven Cherry noted in a podcast interview that Wikipedia was acting more and more like a news service. Now Jimmy Wales (Jersey City, Oct 2013; Washington, D.C., Dec 2005) is doing it for real, announcing a new project, WikiTribune.
www.beta.wikitribune.com/story/2017/10/30/media/hello-world/13988/
 
A new generation of RoboBees is lighter, faster, and can float on a surface of water. (Paulo de Souza, San Francisco, Dec 2014)
 
Researchers at Nottingham Trent University can identify with 95% accuracy the authorship of an email if it’s longer than 1000 words (Haizhou Li and See Swee Lan, Singapore, Jul 2009; David Crystal, Brussels, Jul 2002). NTU lead author David Wright concludes, “The repetitiveness of these phrases shows that the individual has developed their own tried and tested phrases, which they know will work to get a job done." Alternative conclusion: Most people’s thinking is riddled with clichés, but not exactly the same clichés.
www.ntu.ac.uk/about-us/news/news-articles/2017/10/small-words-in-an-email-can-reveal-a-persons-identity
 
Speaking of which, in the 2016 movie “Arrival,” linguists crack the alien language and, after a brush with WW III,  save the world. Maybe the job would have gone more quickly and smoothly if they had brought in evolutionary biologists. (Doug Emlen, Washington, D.C., Sep 2016; Richard Lenski, Miami, Jul 2005; Stewart Brand, Pasadena, Feb 2002)
 
“We need to embark on a human revolution. A revolution where our reality is not replaced by drones but augmented by technology to do better.” —Vishal Sikka, a newly-added speaker to December’s [next] agenda. Registration closes next week.
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