Topic: Global

Vegan Diet

Vegan food trend: Crying for substitution

26.07.2017

As will soon become obvious, this article was written by an omnivorous female who believes in the power of a well-balanced diet – and still respects animals and their rights and our environment in a healthy and practicable manner.

The ambition of a good and wholesome cuisine has always been the use of fresh produce and to tamper with it as little as possible: to retain vits, minerals and trace elements, maintain its original shape, colour, size and taste and to offer a pleasant sight on the plate. Boiling vegetables to death or to make a pallid mash of virtually everything has luckily dropped out of fashion – reason enough for palates and eyes each to heave a huge sigh of relief.

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Reading time: about 5 minutes
TED Talk: Making ears from apples

TED Talk. Andrew Pelling: Making ears from apples

18.06.2017

„My lab is not in the ear-making business. What I’m really curious about is if one day it will be possible to repair, rebuild and augment our own bodies with stuff we make in the kitchen,” says Andrew Pelling who leads a university-based biological research lab. Usually, he likes to rummage through garbage and often digs up discarded hardware he first dismantles and then reassembles into something completely new. Could that also work with a biological system? Creating human ears from apples may be far-fetched, but seems feasible: the lab removed apple cells and DNA and implanted human cells instead. The result was a cellulose scaffold with a structure that could be carved into a human ear!

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Reading time: about 1 minute
Artificial Intelligence

TED Talk. Sam Harris: How can we build AI without losing control?

26.04.2017

The scenario Sam describes in his talk is disconcerting, even terrifying, but likely to occur: AI – artificial intelligence – could ultimately destroy us or inspire us to destroy ourselves. „One of the things that worry me most about the development of AI at this point is that we seem unable to marshal an appropriate emotional response to the dangers that lie ahead.“ Sam’s concern is that one day machines built by us might treat us with the same disregard as ants are treated by us. „It seems overwhelmingly likely, however, that the spectrum of intelligence extends much further than we currently conceive, and if we build machines that are more intelligent than we are, they will very likely explore this spectrum in ways that we can’t imagine, and exceed us in ways that we can’t imagine.“

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Reading time: about 1 minute
Rusty wire cage. Are we caged in our personality?

TED Talk. Brian Little: Who are you really?

17.11.2016

„One of the most influential approaches in personality science is known as trait psychology, and it aligns you along five dimensions which are normally distributed, and that describe universally held aspects of difference between people. They spell out the acronym OCEAN. So, ‘O’ stands for ‘open to experience’ versus those who are more closed. ‘C’ stands for conscientiousness’ in contrast to those with a more lackadaisical approach to life. ‘E’ — ‘extroversion’ in contrast to more introverted people. ‘A’ — ‘agreeable individuals’ in contrast to those decidedly not agreeable. And ‘N’ — ‘neurotic individuals’ in contrast to those who are more stable.“

Brian Little’s intriguing talk is highly entertaining – and it reminds us that we cannot lick the outside of our own elbow. :-)

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Reading time: about 1 minute
Inverted Age Pyramid

Out of shape: The inverted Age Pyramid

18.07.2016

Longevity and the future Population Structure

A World Bank report makes it clear: owing to the demographic evolution, and the consequent shrinkage of a working age population, it becomes important to keep older workers in the labor force longer. A changed pension policy accompanied by a flexible labor market should enable them to remain in the workforce and retain a high level of productivity. Presently, the prognosis for the future population structure resembles a column and may even take the shape of an inverting pyramid – with smaller cohorts of working age population expected to support the larger ones of elderly retirees. With rising longevity suggesting an average life expectancy after retirement of 15 years, the elderly are encouraged to spend their healthy years in the labor force rather than in retirement. This not only feeds pension funds, it also helps maintain the living standard enjoyed while working and reduces poverty among the elderly significantly. The following poem is a reminder of all those well-known facts – and relates to the meetings industry.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes