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Cutting Edge Genomic Research in the World's First Carbon-Neutral Laboratory Facility

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J. CRAIG VENTER, 2012 laureate, is Founder, Chairman, and President of the J. Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, MD and La Jolla, CA, USA and CEO of Synthetic Genomics Inc., La Jolla, CA, USA.

"One of our quests is to help solve two troubling issues — global climate change and our dependence on hydrocarbons. While doing all we can to find solutions to these issues through our science, we are now building what we believe will be the first carbon-neutral laboratory facility in the world, located on the campus of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Our research groups focus on human genomic medicine, infectious disease, plant, microbial and environmental genomics, synthetic biology and biological energy, bioinformatics, and software engineering. One of our core areas has always been high-throughput genomic sequencing. This team is housed in a facility in Rockville and features the latest DNA sequencers, a new technology development lab and a state-of-the-art data center. The JCVI has a Policy Center dedicated to exploring the social and ethical issues surrounding genomic research, and an Education Group that seeks to enlighten and engage the next generation of scientists through efforts such as the Discover!Genomics mobile laboratory. 

See the Sustainable Strategies of the facility

INFORMATION IS BEAUTIFUL

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"A passion of mine is visualizing information – facts, data, ideas, subjects, issues, statistics, questions – all with the minimum of words.

I’m interested in how designed information can help us understand the world, cut through BS and reveal the hidden connections, patterns and stories underneath. Or, failing that, it can just look cool!"

David McCandless, data journalist and information designer

See Information is Beautiful site

David McCandless on Youtube

AN INSPIRATION FOR ALL CITIES: See how Christchurch activated vacant sites with creative projects, to make for a more interesting, dynamic and vibrant city

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RYAN REYNOLDS, 2004 scholarship recipient, helps rebuild a vibrant and innovative Christchurch following the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 with the creative urban regeneration initiative Gap Filler, which he co-founded. 

View Ryan Reynolds' TED talk 'The Adolescent City' 

Visit the Gap Filler site

 

Bible Belt, Religion, Grief and a Horrendous Crime

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The latest film directed by Atom Egoyan (2008 laureate) investigates religion, grief, guilt and innocence in the true story of a horrific murder commited in the United States Bible Belt (see CUTV interview with Atom Egoyan below).

On May 5, 1993, three eight-year-old boys (Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore) went missing from their neighborhood in West Memphis, Arkansas. After an extensive search, their bound and beaten bodies were found the next day. The religious community and small police department were convinced that the murders were the work of a satanic cult due to the violent and apparent sexual nature of the crime. A month later, three teenagers (eighteen-year-old Damien Echols, sixteen-year-old Jason Baldwin, and seventeen-year-old Jessie Misskelley Jr.) were arrested after Misskelley, who was mentally handicapped, confessed after four hours of interrogation. Despite the lack of evidence connecting them to the crimes, they were convicted; Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life and Echols to death.

August 19, 2011 they were allowed to walk free, while still maintaining their innocence and vowing to find the perpetrators.

Watch the CUTV interview

 

What Happens to Revolutionaries After the Revolution?

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ADAM MICHNIK (2006 laureate) 

An Uncanny Era: Conversations Between Václav Havel & Adam Michnik

If the revolution fails, the answer is easy: they [revolutionaries] end up in exile, in prison or dead. But what if the uprising succeeds? Then the answer is more complicated.

Post-Communist Eastern Europe, with its Hieronymus Bosch panorama of greed, corruption, hedonism and cynicism, gave the former revolutionaries much to be disillusioned about. Was this the freedom they had sacrificed so much to attain? 

THE PROBLEM was that the end of Communism had created an ideological vacuum, and a “coarse and primitive nationalism” was rushing to fill it, in Michnik’s words. Xenophobia, anti-Semitism and ethnic intolerance were on the rise. Talk about racial purity and the need for a strong leader was back. 

... his [Michnik's] calls are for the more humble virtues: compromise, dialogue, mutual understanding and pluralism. He opposes vengeance, fanaticism in any form and all dogmatic certainties—in politics, economics, religion and philosophy. He celebrates contingency and ambiguity. His is the idealism of moderation.

It’s not a good time for the Adam Michniks. Moderates need all the help they can get. As a former dissident, however, Michnik can at least say that he’s been through this before, and worse, and though he tends to be more pessimistic than his idol Havel, he has endured enough to have earned his own strain of optimism, however ironic it may be. “In Poland,” he says, “everything is possible: even change for the better.”

Read The National Interest article