Juan Enriquez challenges our definition of bioenergy. Oil, coal, gas and other hydrocarbons are not chemical but biological products, based on plant matter -- and thus, growable. Our whole approach to fuel, he argues, needs to change.
Also from Juan Enriquez:
Regenesis provides a fascinating overview of the emerging discipline of synthetic biology and the wonders it can produce: from new drugs and vaccines to biofuels and resurrected wooly mammoths. Geneticist George Church and science writer Ed Regis team up to explore how scientists are now altering the nature of living organisms by modifying their genomes, or genetic makeup. Recounting the evolution of life forms from the Hadean geologic era (3.8 billion years ago) through the present, the authors describe the raw material with which geneticists are working to create new organisms. With biotech hobbyists now at work in garages, the authors also urge the establishment of safety measures to keep people safe and engineered organisms under control.
Andrew Hessel, pioneer in synthetic biology, discusses the similarities between computing and biology during a talk at Singularity University.
Designer Suzanne Lee shares her experiments in growing a kombucha-based material that can be used like fabric or vegetable leather to make clothing. The process is fascinating, the results are beautiful (though there's still one minor drawback ...) and the potential is simply stunning.
Throughout humankind's history, we've driven species after species extinct: the passenger pigeon, the Eastern cougar, the dodo ... But now, says Stewart Brand, we have the technology (and the biology) to bring back species that humanity wiped out. So -- should we? Which ones? He asks a big question whose answer is closer than you may think.
"Can we create new life out of our digital universe?" Craig Venter asks. His answer is "yes" -- and pretty soon. He walks through his latest research and promises that we'll soon be able to build and boot up a synthetic chromosome.