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The Millionth Monkey

 
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:30 am    Post subject: The Millionth Monkey Reply with quote

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This might be a good time to mention a little scheme I have for what I call organized ignorance. I've often been puzzled by the fact that the greatest discoveries in the world, when you look back, are perfectly easy.

They can be put in a textbook. But the very same discovery when you were looking forward at a problem is impossible. Why is knowledge so easy backwards and so hard forwards?

Well, it's obvious that this is true because there isn't anything that has been discovered that can't be taught quite easily. Why is it so hard to discover? At first I thought, suppose the cancer experts came to the studio with their problem, set up a model of the experiments and their procedures in studying cancer, and said "We have got to this point and we cannot get any further."

They broadcast it to a million people at once. It is obvious that there'd be one person in a million who would see there was no problem at all. In any problem whatever, one in a million would see no problem. The real problem is how do you reach this guy who sees the absence of the problem.


Lecture Living at the Speed of Light (1974)
Published in "Understanding Me" (2003) ed. S. McLuhan et al., pp 238-9


Last edited by jabailo on Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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A huge team of computer gamers, working collaboratively over the internet, appear to have solved a long-standing science puzzle: Using the online protein-folding game Foldit, they've figured out the structure of a protein crucial to the functioning of the HIV-like Mason-Pfizer monkey virus, which causes AIDS in monkeys.

The paper, "Crystal structure of a monomeric retroviral protease solved by protein folding game players," was recently published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology; the discovery may contribute to new HIV research.


http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/brainiac/2011/09/protein-folding.html
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