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Author Archive

Is the Great Auk a Candidate for De-Extinction?

by Stewart Brand on February 4th, 02016

On June 25 and 26, 2015, a meeting was held at the International Centre for Life in Newcastle, England, to discuss whether the extinct Great Auk–a once-common flightless pelagic bird known as “the penguin of the north”–might be a realistic candidate for bringing back to life using recent breakthroughs in genetic technology. . .   Read More

Report on the First De-Extinction Meeting and Other Revivalist News

by Stewart Brand on January 7th, 02013

36 scientists, 25 presentations, 5,000 words to cover them all.  Lots of news.

Also the first announcement of the TEDx DeExtinction conference in Washington DC on March 15.

Introducing our now-full-time reviver of passenger pigeons, Ben Novak, with Martha, the world’s last passenger pigeon, in the backrooms of The Smithsonian.

Ben. . .   Read More

Revive and Restore

by Stewart Brand on July 16th, 02012

UPDATE 2/28/13: Revive & Restore announces TEDxDeExtinction, to be held March 15th 02013:


Stewart Brand and Ryan Phelan discuss the Revive and Restore project with Walter Isaacson at the 02012 Aspen Environment Forum:

A new initiative within The Long Now Foundation has the goal of “deep ecological enrichment through extinct species revival. . .   Read More

Brewster Kahle, “Universal Access to All Knowledge”

by Stewart Brand on December 1st, 02011

All knowledge, to all people, for all time, for free
A Summary by Stewart Brand
Universal access to all knowledge, Kahle declared, will be one of humanity’s greatest achievements. We are already well on the way. “We’re building the Library of Alexandria, version 2. We can one-up the Greeks!”

Start with what. . .   Read More

Laura Cunningham, “Ten Millennia of California Ecology”

by Stewart Brand on October 18th, 02011

Eco-continuity in California
A Summary by Stewart Brand
California ecology used to be much more driven by floods and fires, Cunningham said, showing with her paintings how the Great Valley would become a vast inland sea, like a huge vernal pool progressing each year from navigable water to intense flower displays to elk-grazed. . .   Read More

Timothy Ferriss, “Accelerated Learning in Accelerated Times”

by Stewart Brand on September 16th, 02011

Learning to learn fast
A Summary by Stewart Brand
To acquire “the meta-skill of acquiring skills,” Ferriss recommends approaching any subject with some contrarian analysis: “What if I try the opposite of best practices?” Some conventional wisdom—“children learn languages faster than adults” (no they don’t)—can be discarded. Some conventional techniques can. . .   Read More

Carl Zimmer, “Viral Time”

by Stewart Brand on June 9th, 02011

What’s time to a virus?
A Summary by Stewart Brand

“Everything about viruses is extreme,” Zimmer began. The number of viruses on Earth is estimated to be 1 followed by 31 zeroes. Small as they are, if you stacked them all up, the stack would reach 100 million light years. They are the planet. . .   Read More

Tim Flannery, “Here on Earth”

by Stewart Brand on May 4th, 02011

Wallace beats Darwin
A Summary by Stewart Brand

The great insight of natural selection was published simultaneously by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace in 1858, Flannery pointed out, but their interpretations of the insight then diverged.

Darwin’s harsh view of “survival of the fittest” led too easily to social Darwinism, eugenics societies, neo. . .   Read More

Ian Morris, “Why the West Rules – For Now”

by Stewart Brand on April 15th, 02011

Geographical determinism
A Summary by Stewart Brand

Historians and others who try to explain the world dominance by the West since the 18th century usually put it down to long-term lock-in or short-term accidents, said Morris. The lock-in theories are belied by the dominance of the East from 550 to 1750. . .   Read More

Matt Ridley, “Deep Optimism”

by Stewart Brand on March 24th, 02011

Undeniable Progress
A Summary by Stewart Brand
Hominids had upright walking, stone tools, fire, even language but still remained in profound stasis. What led to humanity’s global takeoff, Ridley argues, was the invention of exchange about 120,000 years ago. “That’s ten times older than agriculture.”

The beginnings of trade encouraged specialization and. . .   Read More

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