Filtered for nematodes and Uniqlo

15.25, Wednesday 17 Dec 2014


The nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) is tiny and only has 302 neurons. These have been completely mapped and the OpenWorm project is working to build a complete simulation of the worm in software. A neuron map is called a connectome.

(In May, OpenWorm achieved a successful Kickstarter to run the worm’s brain in a web browser.)

One of the OpenWorm founders has hooked up the software connectome to sensors and wheels in a Lego robot body: A Worm’s Mind In A Lego Body.

It’s a funny threshold to cross without much fanfare, the first brain upload.

Is this Artificial Intelligence? What’s A. about this A.I.?

Related: The four-colour theorem which was the first to rely on Proof By Computer. Instead of being solved mathematically, every single of the vast number of cases was checked by a computer program. Does this count as a proof? Controversial at the time, more common now.

Related: Slime mold robot. Related: Cyborg cockroaches.

Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans.

Is the uploaded nematode a new species? If so, what do we call it?


Books are back in the UK. E-book sales have peaked at 30%; Waterstones (major but recently troubled chain bookshop) is beginning to open new branches.

Old books undergo acid hydrolosis – lignin, which binds the fibres, oxidises into acids which break down the cellulose. The organic compounds released smell of vanilla and almonds.


I mentioned the Cereal Killer cafe the other day… here’s another perspective:

Cereal Killer Cafe, the London Review of Breakfasts.

A wave of nausea suddenly hits me. I’m staring at my notes and the room feels like it’s breathing. Then the rest just pours out. ‘Is your cafe ironic? Do you really like ADHD kids food? Or just jokingly like it? Is there really anything to celebrate here beyond a profound efficiency in the delivery of deadly consumption habit forming food to minors? Or is that the point?’

Must read.


I get a few specific items from particular brands. For the basics, I love Uniqlo. Great clothes.

…maybe a little bit because I’m in love with their slogans, which every employee must memorise, as related in this GQ article on Uniqlo.

Uniqlo is clothes that suit your values.

Uniqlo is how the future dresses.


Fast Company on Uniqlo: We are not a fashion company, … We are a technology company.

At the factory, a technician hands me a packet of small white pellets that look like albino peppercorns. These are the seeds of HeatTech.

Uniqlo is beauty in hyperpracticality.

Uniqlo is clothing in the absolute.

In Snacks for a Fat Planet (New Yorker, 2011), it turns out that PepsiCo have invented a new kind of salt. So we wondered, was there a different kind of salt crystal that would produce the same taste curve but with less salt?

Yes: ‘We don’t know the molecular structure of the salt receptors, and we don’t really understand the mechanism by which salt works,’ Khan went on. Nevertheless, collaborating with crystal technologists in Munich, PepsiCo was able to develop ‘15 micron salt,’ a new kind of salt that produces the same taste curve as the salt the company has been using - a pyramid-shaped crystal known as Alberger salt - but contains twenty-five to forty per cent less sodium. PepsiCo first used the new salt on its Walker brand of chips, which it sells in the U.K. By the end of 2012, 15 micron salt will be flavoring many of the Lay’s plain chips made in the U.S.


A.I. elegans.


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