Ideacity 2013: LIve Blog, Day 2

We’ll be back tomorrow live blogging a roster that includes a “speedy sky scraper builder,” a 16-year-old who developed quick and affordable tests for detecting various types of cancers, discussions on the relationship between sex, love and economics, and the world’s first and only publicly traded human being (yes, you read that right). Don’t forget to voice your opinions and ideas in the comment section below, on Twitter at @Zoomer and @ideacityNews (#ideacity), on Facebook, or tweet me at @MikeCrisolago. Thanks for joining us for day two of Ideacity. See you right back here tomorrow!

6:45: To close out the day, we have a musical performance from “The Middle Eastern Melee” Jaffa Road.

Shin Kubota, who just won himself some Forty Creek Whiskey, is without a doubt the fan favourite in the hall right now. Such a joyful man.

6:27: Time for prize giveaways! Some members of the audience are about to have their hands full.

6:25: Mark notes that, in 2015, when New Horizons gets closer to Pluto, the surface will be much more clear in images and we can start naming parts of it too.

William Shatner actually tweeted and suggested Vulcan and Romulus. Romulus had to be disqualified because another space body has the name but Vulcan is the most popular in voting so far.

The public was asked to vote on new names for Pluto’s moons. Two of most popular were Mickey and Minnie, proving space enthusiasts do indeed have a sense of humour.

6:19: Pluto’s moons are much closer to it than our moon to us. That’s because our moon is moving away from us at 3.8 cm a year, or about as fast as your fingernail grows. The math suggests the moon was as close as Pluto’s moons are, and Mark suggests we may have had more, multiple moons like Pluto, but they’ve moved away. Now, we’re seeing Pluto in a very early point in its history.

How did a system like this come to exist? New research suggests something hit Pluto a long, long time ago and the debris stayed in its orbit, creating these moons.

6:15: After lots of inconclusive data, an image came through from the telescope of another little new moon (P5).

Now there’s a spacecraft called New Horizons on its way to Pluto, scheduled to get there in 2015. It’s sending data back about Pluto, including an image of a possible new moon (P4) between the moons of Hydra and Nix.

Small satellites (moons) often create rings. This led Mark to start thinking about Pluto.

6:07: Moses introduces “The Moon Seeker” Mark Showalter.

Did we mention Ian is 23-years-old? How’s that make you feel about what you did with your 20s?

Ian hopes to inspire a generation of people to “go forward and make this 21st century dream a reality.”

6:05: There are incredible amounts of data about space that we can’t collect yet until we get out in space.

If you find one, you get full naming and discovery rights! Can you say “Zoomer-roid”?

Humans do a better job of spotting asteroids than computers, Ian says. “We need more eyes, and to get more people involved.”

“The mind-blowing this is that there are millions of asteroids that we don’t know about yet.”

It’s cheap and easy to get to — Ian’s definition of an accessible asteroid. He says there’s hundreds that are more accessible than the moon. “Space is absolutely chock full of opportunities” for new resources.

“It’s a humbling indicator of the vast amount out there.”

Asterank, Ian’s site, is “a platform for public engagement with space.” He mines (mind the pun) numerous scientific resources and documents to compile his asteroid rankings.

Ian says there’s an entire asteroid-mining industry being built from the ground up.

“There are vast, unprecedented amounts of resources in these asteroids.” This includes rare metals and building materials. A platinum-rich asteroid would contain more platinum than has ever been mined on Earth. That’s a lot of platinum.

5:52: “A lot of the same building blocks we have on Earth, we find in asteroids,” including many metals and other elements. This makes asteroids a critical part of the 21st century economy, Ian says.

Near Earth Objects = NEO’s. Some are quite dangerous. By discovering and tracking these objects can help us prevent/defend against such hits.

Ian says he thinks about events like February’s asteroid hit in Siberia everyday. He also has a keen interest in mining asteroids.

5:47: Up next, “The Space Miner” Ian Webster, who ranks the worth of asteroids and how we Earthlings can profit from them.

With people like Bob Richards at the helm, space doesn’t seem so far away.

Private travel to the moon will be happening in 2015 — so you can take “selfies” on the moon, Richards promises. Get your “duck faces” ready.

“We believe the resources on the moon will completely change economics on Earth.” — Bob Richards

Bob and his team at Moon Express, Inc. are working on revolutionizing travel to the moon. They’re working in conjunction with NASA.

Sure, you can put a gas station on the moon, but I bet the lunar gas station washrooms will be just as gross as the Earthly ones.

5:38: The problem with space travel today, he says, is that you have to take all the gas with you. If we can create a gas station on the moon, it becomes much simpler. With water recently discovered on the moon, this could become feasible.

The Milky Way itself is just a neighbourhood in a universe filled with trillions of neighbourhoods. Kind of makes you feel small and insignificant, huh?

Only an astronaut, at the moment, can have that sensation of sailing away from Earth and covering the planet with his thumb.

Maybe we’ll travel beyond Mars. Maybe we’ll find out we aren’t alone.

5:30: Where, Bob asks, will humans be in 40 years? Will we still be bound to war-torn, resource-starved Earth, or will we colonize other planets?

He notes the governments have done some amazing things with space exploration, but lost their way on that promise that was there when Bob’s generation were kids. Entrepreneurs, Bob says, have picked up the slack.

5:27: Star Trek’s slogan, “To boldly go where no man has gone before” was “a promise to my generation, in my point of view.” Bob notes it was also the era of the Apollo missions.

Onstage now is “The Lunar Explorer” Bob Richards.

Apologies — we were experiencing some technical issues with the website. We’re back though.

Scott showing images of cameras built for the International Space Station meant to shoot images of Earth.

5:09: We’re starting with “The Earth Imager” Scott Larson.

5:05: Just a head’s up for anyone who wants to watch the video of Cody Wilson speaking at Ideacity (featuring my very nice belt, ahem), click here.

4:55: The audience is being ushered back into the auditorium for the final presentations of the day, which zero in on the theme of Space.

4:10: Time for a yoga and stretch break. We’ll be back shortly!

Moses says this isn’t a gag. He wants to know if Hendrik has the means to do this. Hendrik asks if he does, if he can have the first date. Everyone laughs. Moses says he gets the second date, after him.

4:00: Moses wheels Marilyn Monroe’s actual television set on stage and notes that there are likely bits of hair and other particles from her body trapped in there. Can the science behind the mammoth resurrection be used to resurrect humans? That, Moses says, is his billion-dollar idea.

My advice, based on movies I’ve seen: DO NOT mess around with raptor DNA. Those suckers will not be pleasant to deal with when you bring them back to life.

The American Bison Society raised the idea of resurrecting a species when bison almost went extinct in the 1900s. They introduced them to cattle and created a hybrid. Something similar could be done with mammoths (and this is putting it simply) through use of DNA and mixing it with modern elephants. This could bring a hybrid species of wooly mammoth back. Of course, this also raises ethical questions. Hendrik says we need to have those discussions now before we do it.

DNA preservation depends on so many factors, including the temperature of the area the carcass is in, the time of year the creature dies, how and where it’s buried, etc.

If you travel to Siberia, Hendrik say, you can pull out large fossil remains of the wooly mammoth. He did this with a team, brought collected and sampled from the remains of the animals found. He says you can find intact body parts, including a whole head he shows a photo of.

3:47: “Is extinction really irreversible?” Hendrik asks, while discussing the wooly mammoth.

Can we bring species back ala Jurassic Park? And not necessarily dinosaurs, Hendrik says, but more recent extinct species like the dodo bird or the Tasmanian wolf.

3:43: And now, from the subject of immortality to the subject of resurrection. Moses introduces McMaster University’s “Jurassic Geneticist” – Hendrik Poinar.

Shin serenades Moses and gives him copy of his CD. This crowd LOVES Shin, and so do we backstage.

Shin regrets that he doesn’t have time to sing a song in Japanese. He notes he’s a singer too. Moses grants him the time to the delight of everyone win attendance. Everyone clapping along with Shin’s song. He’s waving the jellyfish in the vial as he sings. You need to see a video of this. He is amazing.

Moses: Is anyone in the pharmaceutical world researching the secret of this jellyfish’s immortality?

Shin: No one knows [the secret].

Shin wraps up, and is most certainly a crowd favourite.

Shin holds up a small vial containing an immortal jellyfish, declaring it “very cute.” Ironically, this particular immortal jellyfish is, in fact, dead.

Japan has one of the world’s highest life expectancies and, appropriately, is also home to this immortal creature.

Imagine being able to revert to your initial childlike state once you’ve reached your senior years?

Essentially, the jellyfish can return to it’s initial state as a colony of polyps after reaching sexual maturity. Shin says it can do this up to 10 times in two years.

“The jellyfish cannot swim and degenerate due to aging, stress, etc.”

“This is a superhero — a miracle, immortal jellyfish.” The creature is tiny — 3mm in diameter. It’s life cycle goes from “youth to death to rejuvenation.”

3:18: Moses introduces “Immortal Jellyfish Investigator” (you read that right) Shin Kubota.

The final animal is the Jesus Christ Lizard, which can run on top of water. Great little song to accompany it. Nice ovation as Michael exists. His music was really fun.

The next animal is a hagfish – “a creature that has a skull but no spine.” Sounds like a species tailor-made for  a career in politics. ZING!

Michael rocking the theremin, and then back to the stylophone.

I can honestly say Michael is the best stylophone player I know.

Now we’re looking at the Chinese giant salamander. Not a pretty creature. Michael plays its song on the stylophone.

The next animal is the Blob Fish. After that, the wombat, which Michael says he finds fascinating because it “poops cubes.”

3:06: Michael plays the “Blue-footed Booby boogaloo.”

3:05: Stop giggling at the bird’s name.

3:04: Michael’s first unusual animal? The Blue-footed Booby.

Combining his two passions, Michael created an album centred around unusual instruments to create music to accompany some of the world’s strangest creatures. A book followed. An educational tool, no less.

Michael, while working at home in Brooklyn, decided that someone needs to write new songs for ice cream trucks to play as they go through the neighbourhoods. He did, and trucks all around are now using it! It caused him to catch the bug for writing children’s music.

Michael is accompanied by a theremin. Could the Star Trek theme song be far behind?

3:00: We are back from lunch with biologist and musician, the “Curator of Curious Creatures” – Michael Hearst.

2:20:  TRIVIA NOTE: I loaned Cody Wilson my belt to wear for his much-talked-about Ideacity presentation. Thought I’d mention it, you know, in case you were distracted by his really cool belt.

1:10: Time for lunch! We’ll be back with the afternoon sessions at 2:25.

Moses is tossing some Zoomer beavers into the crowd, and now a “class” photo with the audience.

1:00: Gabor exists to applause.

Gabor emphasizes that this is NOT artificial leather. It’s genuine, or “cultured” leather.

12:57: Gabor: it comes down to environmental responsibility and humane treatment of animals.

Gabor says this could also help extend human lives because we could one day be reproducing any human organs you need replaced.

“We can mimic nature, and we can go beyond nature.”

12:53: Gabor’s process can also source the best cells that make the best kind of leather.

Gabor is showing samples of his lab leather on stage. Looks pretty good to us.

The lab leather has distinct properties that industrial leather doesn’t: First, it’s unblemished, unlike animal-sourced leather. They can also make the cell-sourced leather into anything they want — various shapes, sizes, and in the quantity they need. The leather is also homogeneous, so no need for the toxic chemical processes that industrial leather production uses. So, less pollution.

The cells are brewed in the same sort of tanks used to brew beer.

The animal can then be sourced for cells again, so they use less animals in the process. And the animal, obviously, doesn’t have to die for you and I too look ridiculously cool in our leather jackets.

They take the cells from the animal and grow them in their lab. They secrete material — protein collagen — which is a main component in leather. Then the lab makes into sheets and stack into multi-layers, tan it, and wind up with leather.

12:40: Up now is Gabor Forgacs: “Imagine a world where leather could be produced without any harm to any animal or the environment.”

Dr. Guenther: Working on new ways to print human skin. Me: Still trying to figure out how to print double-sided copy on my desktop printer.

Along with the burn unit at Sunnybrook, Dr. Guenther’s team will be building the next generation of skin printer.

They can cover one square meter of area of skin material in 45 minutes. Wow.

He notes they’re working with the largest burn centre in Canada, at Sunnybrook Hospital.

He can also makes sheets of different properties and different directions.

12:30: Dr. Guenther showing video of the skin printing. It looks almost like a laminating machine.

Not surprisingly, the process of printing human skin is extremely technical. But the gist is that they can make sheets of different lengths and thicknesses to keep the cells in the sheets of skin alive. Amazing.

12:25: The process is very time consuming, so he hopes to develop a way to do it more seamlessly and with better control.

Can we print human skin via these 3D printers? Dr. Guenther believes we can.

12:19: Up next is Dr. Axel Guenther to discuss microfluidic bio-printing.

Moses: “Cody, you’re a fascinating guy,” as the talk wraps up.

“What [Edward Snowden] did was tremendous.” — Cody. Crowd applauds.

12:15: Cody notes how much energy Western governments put toward preventing exploring the possibilities of technologies like this in the name of security.

Moses notes the attention Cody got because he printed his gun around the time of the Sandy Hook shooting.

12:10: “The traditional institutions are dissolving…I think technologies are defeating the control on both sides of this left-right paradigm.” He thinks the 3D printer represents/symbolizes this.

He doesn’t think people should write their congresspeople to demand the right to print guns. He wanted to just see what could be done with this technology.

12:05: “I think the gun…is arresting.” He wanted to challenge the practice of traditional manufacturing with the possible revolution of 3D printing.

Moses takes the stage to tell the tale of Cody Wilson, an American law student who printed and fired his own plastic 3D gun. Why, you ask? Let’s find out from Cody himself. He’s on stage with Moses now.

12:04: Liav shows a child given a prosthetic limb designed with a commercial 3D printer. Wow. And we thought the chachkas were impressive.

12:00: 3D digital printing isn’t likely to replace traditional manufacturing in the near future, but rather enhances it and helps decrease production times. Or, to use Liav’s words, “It’s fast, fast, fast.”

Later, he joined a Toronto-based start-up to produce commercial 3D printers. Keep pin mind, this is all outside of Liav’s initial area of study.

Liav began figuring out how to deal with the tools and electronics and such to design circuit boards and other elements to further the 3D printing process.

11:54: In 2008, the first official transaction for 3D printed components took place — it was a barter transaction and the components were traded for a case of beer. Sounds like a win-win transaction. Liav was involved in this.

Fast forward to the 1960s where MIT and the U.S. military start developing computers to work on this. In the 1980s, the first companies devoted to it were founded. In the 2000s open-source 3D printing projects began.

11:48: 3D printing basically began with Benjamin Cheverton, a machine sculptor using the painstaking process of employing a 3D pentagraph tool.

Here’s a quick bio: “Since graduating from the [University of Toronto’s] architecture program in 2007, Liav Koren has been working in the industry as well as building and working with open-source 3D printers. Since 2011 he has been working with tech start ups focused on affordable 3d printing. He was the R&D Lead at Panda Robotics and in 2013 he and Felix Tang co-founded Bloxels Inc to focus on disruptive 3D scanning solutions.”

11:47: Our first speaker will introduce us to 3D printers. And he is…Liav Koren.

11:45: Moses is demonstrating some chachkas created on the 3D printer on the third floor here at Ideacity.

11:43: Aaand we’re back!

10:50: We’re heading into a conversation break. We’ll be back shortly.

10:45: Wow, wow, wow. Crowd explodes in applause. Everyone backstage and in the green room area is cheering too. Do yourself a big favour and check out Anthony (Mordechai Tzvi) Russell.

10:40: Final tune is also a combo piece about the “end of mourning, the end of suffering.”

“My soul is anchored in the Lord”

10:37: After leading the crowd in an opening song, Anthony performs a combo spiritual and Yiddish tune. His operatic bass is mesmerizing.

10:30: Anthony now leading a Yiddish melody singalong with the crowd.

10:25: Up now, to close out the session, is Anthony (Mordechai Tzvi) Russell, who’s “African-American by birth and Jewish by choice, [and] a fresh new voice in the contemporary Yiddish music scene. He has deeply immersed himself in the recital repertoire of the famed Sidor Belarsky (1898-1975), one of the 20th century’s most celebrated and prolific performers of cantorial music, Chassidic nigunim, and Yiddish folk songs.”

Synchronicity, or the result of watching too many sci-fi and horror films? Paul claims the former. He believes he’s “receiving signals from my late mentor.”

He also notes multiple instances of people claiming paranormal experiences at Ackerman’s mansion after he died. Paul experienced Ackerman-related paranormal activity at his own home.

Paul believes he’s experienced it in the form of an ink smudge that erased a line on a page of text. Was it caused by Ackerman from beyond. He had multiple experts look at it and no one can explain it. More info, he says, on his DVD.

Carl Jung gave us the first idea of sychronicity: – are seemingly random occurrences connected or are they just coincidences?

10:14: Famed science-fiction collector and fan Forrest J. Ackerman was his mentor.

Now he’s working on the “Life After Death Project.” There are many theories about what happens after death, from faith-based to superstition to science.

His Hollywood career started with the Transformers cartoon (which gives him instant cred with children of the 80s), and then onto work with George Lucas and multiple other projects, including lots of sci-fi. He’s also a poet and painter.

10:05: Paul Davids is up next. A graduate of Princeton University, where he majored in psychology and won numerous awards in writing, he went on to the American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film Studies in Beverly Hills. He is married to Hollace Davids, who is Senior Vice-President of Special Projects for Universal Pictures and who has produced several of his films.

Wow. We never learned about that in school.

It looks like Adam & Eve vs. Darwin is shaping up to be a draw. Both agree what it is to be unique as humans, and they agree not he progression of sea creatures to apes to humans (the Torah sees it as a creation event while science sees it as biological/evolution). Both agree that humans are completely unique from other species. Where we disagree is on the “how” (God or nature) and on the issue of the soul.

The biblical timescale says that a “creation day” is 2.5 billion years. Apply that to the scientific explanation and you have a very similar time frame for creation in both. Go through the steps of creation in the Bible/Torah, do the timescale math, and you get an “exact agreement” between faith and science.

9:58: The big difference between Adam and other humans is that he contained the soul of all humanity and when he sinned his soul broke in hundreds of millions of pieces that became humans and that we all inherited. The biblical timeline, however, doesn’t fit.

The text suggests the process of making our bodies is similar to that explained by science. Going further, a soul is breathed in, not formed — completely inexplicable by science. It comes with free will and an amazing creative process.

Combined with a strong oral tradition you end up with the Torah and thousands of pages on the subject.

9:55: Time to look at the biblical side of things, starting, obviously, with Genesis.

Modern behaviours like abstract thinking are very new developments in humans and are completely unique to humans.

9:52: On the science side, fossil records, DNA and other analysis, and genome sequences exist to help put the picture of how we came to be together. It shows a “series of human-like species over millions of years culminating in homo sapiens 200, 000 years ago.”

When it comes to human origins, most Zoomers tend to side with religious-based answers while the younger generation sides with science. To grasp the truth, we need to explore both the scientific and biblical theories more closely. Get ready for a showdown between Adam & Eve and Charles Darwin.

9:49: Daniel Friedmann a professional engineer and President and CEO of Macdonald Dettwiler and Associates, Canada’s leading aerospace company, known for building the space station’s robotic arm, joins us via satellite to discuss the origins of human existence.

Geordie leaves us with these very intriguing theories. Machines outpacing humans, parallel universes, planets with new life. I smell a sci-fi box office hit!

9:42: Geordie braces us for three dangerous predictions he’s about to make. 1) In 5 years, NASA will have found an Earth-like planet with life and water and serious people will try to conceive ways of getting there. His computers will be key to this. 2) The business of parallel universes is going to prove to be very important. 3) The most important of all — he believes humanity is on the cusp of the most important revolution that has ever occurred — that “the machines we build will outpace us in every respect” in 15 years.

9:39: “The shadows of these parallel worlds overlap with ours” and we can mine resources from them and bring them back to ours, Geordie says. The key could lie in Qbits.

I believe we can too. Small Wonder, anyone?

“Can we build machines that are like us?” Geordie asks. He believes we can, and quantum computers are the things that will help us do it.

NASA recently installed a quantum computing Artificial Intelligence lab.

The computer science type scientists believe you could solve problems with this technology that you could never, ever solve otherwise.

9:30: Geordie says there are two types of scientists in the quantum computing field — one type is from the quantum physics side, who are very excited about it because of the opportunities for exploring alternate realities.

9:27: Moses brings out the first speaker of the day — Geordie Rose, a founder and CTO of D-Wave. He is known as a leading advocate for quantum computing and physics-based processor design, and has been invited to speak on these topics in venues ranging from TED to NIPS.

9:24: Moses takes the stage. Happy to see such a large crowd considering many likely attended the Ideacity party the night before. He’s also happy to see many people bringing their children to the event.

9:22: The audience is seated and we’re nearly ready to go.

And don’t forget to let us know what you think of the day’s festivities and ideas on Twitter at @Zoomer and @ideacityNews (#ideacity), on Facebook, or message me at @MikeCrisolago.

9:00: Good morning and welcome to Day Two of Ideacity 2013! We’ll be starting shortly with our first set of guests presenting in the session titled “Vision Geeks.”

Did you miss yesterday’s fascinating lineup of presenters at ideacity 2013? Check out our live blog here.