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Carnival of Tomorrow 11.0

Welcome to the Fuel and Brains edition of the Carnival of Tomorrow. All entries in this edition of the carnival will have something to do with:

1. Alternate fuels/energy sources

2. New discoveries and technologies related to the brain

3. Both of these

4. Neither of them

(That last option is just to show that, hey -- we may have a theme going, but we're not married to it, for crying out loud.)


So what's the point in looking at futuristic blog posts about two seemingly unrelated topics? Well, first off, it gives us twice as many posts to find than we would have if we were looking at just one topic. So that would be a practical consideration. But beyond that, it's a test. So many forecasts and predictions focus in on a single area of interest. That is arguably the most logical way to approach the future -- one topic at a time. But maybe it's a liitle flat.

What can we learn about the future by adding a dimension, triangulating our view just a bit?

We thought it would be interesting to give it a try. Let's find out.

J. Random American, host of Carnival of Tomorrow #10, enters the alternate energy sweepstakes with his piece on cat diesel. When you hear that phrase "cat diesel" you immediately think that the word "cat" must be an acronym or possibly an abbreviation for "catalyzed" or something along those lines, but alas...no.

As J explains it:

Back on Sept. 13th I linked to a news article about a German group that invented a way to turn dead cats into diesel fuel. The article reports being able to get 2.5 liters (0.016 bbl) of diesel per cat at a cost of only $0.30 per liter ($1.14/gal). Since we use about 1 billion barrels of diesel* a year, that means we’d need 62.5 billion cats a year to meet our present rate of diesel consumption. There are only about 70 million cats in the United States.

This is an excellent start. Certainly better than our own feeble KFC diesel idea. Still, we're disappointed that J didn't come right out with a way of making an alternate fuel source out of cat brains, thus hitting both themes at once.

Vlerian at Health Life, Articles and Tips has the scoop on a new molecular brain cancer treatment:

The drugs themselves are highly selective in that they target only the cancer cells. IL13-PE38QQR contains a tumor-targeting molecule called IL-13 that docks on the surface of cancer cells. Then the drug releases a toxin (Pseudomonas Exotoxin or PE) inside the cell. The toxin interferes with the cancer cell's protein production and immediately causes its demise.

Green Car Congress has the scoop on DaimlerChrysler's new hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid.

Reason at Fight Aging! provides an important disclaimer that should be attached to any warning about the inevitable failure of our brains (and bodies!) predicated on a linear extrapolation of data.

Mark at Curmudgeons Corner points us to an article about Water Mills, the aquatic counterpart to windmills:

Just as wind mills tap the power of wind currents to generate electricity, there is a kind of water mill technology under development that promises to tap the flow of water in rivers, streams, and tidal basins with the same amount of efficiency. It could be a new form of clean, renewable, and unobtrusive energy.

Mark also links to a detailed backgrounder on nuclear fusion energy. Finally, he points us to an article on cryonics, which at core is really the art of freezing and carefully thawing out brains.

FuturePundit Randall Parker has a couple recent pieces on energy. First there was the observation that energy prices are making conservation "cool" again. Then there was this surprising development: Tony Blair Privately For More Nuclear Plants In UK. But will he go public?

Randall also featured two very interesting recent pieces about the human brain. First, how eating fish helps the brain. Next, how liars' brains are different from everyone else's. Randall makes some chilling observations:

A significant portion of the human race are predatory liars and con artists. On top of that there are rapists, murders, and assorted other criminals and psychopaths as well. Think about that next time someone speaks about humanity and the human future in lofty terms.

One of the reasons why I'm not particularly sanguine about our transhumanist future is that human ethical constraints are in large part a product of genetic coding. I do not buy the argument that rational self interest by itself provides enough basis to maintain a civilized society. Well, once biotechnology provides ways to enhance the ability to lie and the ability to feel less remorse or guilt won't some people opt to use this technology? Mightn't there even be a sort of mental arms race where people find it necessary to enhance their ability to deceive in order to protect themselves from other deceivers?

Scary stuff.

Paul Hsieh of GeekPress directs us to an article about an unexpected (to say the least) energy source.

On the subject of self-induced brain damage, Paul directs us to the Mind Molester. (Actually, after further reading that looks more like deliberately induced brain damage on others, you know -- friends, loved ones, that sort of thing.)

Speaking of fiddling with brains, Good Morning Silicon Valley links to the story of a dolphin which has had something...really unusual impressed upon it's no-doubt otherwise highly functional cetacean brain.

Could teaching defenseless animals catchy themes songs from bad 1960's TV shows be considered abusive? Possibly. But it's not nearly as bad as what was done to the brains of these (possibly apocryphal) dolphins.

In addition to providing an assessment as to whether the armed dolphin story is true, Technovelgy directs us to yet another offbeat energy source.

Jon Goff of Selenian Boondocks has some thoughts on nano-particle-enhanced rocket fuel.

Harry Chen's Homepage directs us to The Whole Brain Atlas, "a web site that shows a collection of comprehensive neuroimages," assembled by two doctors at the Harvard Medical School. Cool!

Boing Boing links to a story that raises an interesting question: will we ever get alternate fuels from someplace as cool as this?

Mike treder of Responsible Nanotechnology links to a Slashdot entry recommending that we give our brains a rewind.

By the way, big Carnival of Tomorrow congratulations to Mike and the whole CRN gang for making the Blog 100. Way to go!

Energy Outlook reports that Europe is switching to diesel fuel of the...er, non-feline variety.

When we finally get alternative fuels for our cars, will human brains steer? We have doubts.

Herbie: coming soon to your driveway.

Brain Sprinkles notes that a debate is brewing as to whether Homo Florensis (popularly known as the Indonesian Hobbits)were a separate species or simply ancient dwarfs. The determining factor may be the size of their tiny brains.

Beth at Wide-Eyed and Laughing suggests we all take the Brain Pattern Test. One of the Speculists' results are shown below.

Your Brain's Pattern
You have a dreamy mind, full of fancy and fantasy.
You have the ability to stay forever entertained with your thoughts.
People may say you're hard to read, but that's because you're so internally focused.
But when you do share what you're thinking, people are impressed with your imagination.

Finally, a story about neither alternate energy sources nor brain technology, but something much simpler and more humble: the flying car. Classical Values gives us The Other Flying Car.

If you would like to host or contribute to the next edition of the Carnival of Tomorrow, please write:

mrstg87 {@ symbol} yahoo {dot} com


bowermaster {@ symbol} gmail {dot} com

Live to see it!


Actually when I think of "Cat Diesel," I usually think of this.

I'm even more serious on the subject of Cat Diesel than JRA; I think of the engines themselves. I've dealt with everything from the V8s from Basic Engine outside Peoria that you could probably swap into a large pickup all the way to the room-sized V16s out of Lafayette. If I remember correctly, the lift beam I did which Lafayette uses for installing the turbocharger assembly (dual compound; 4 turbos total) weighed around 40 lbs.

Cat Lafayette also does spark-ignited versions of the big engines, to run on natural gas, propane, or even sewer gas (popular for running the pumps at waste treatment plants). I did a couple of lifters for the spark-ignited cylinder heads, to load them into the machining center. The head for a single cylinder weighed more than the head off my six cylinder '65 Falcon.

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