The Illuminating Geometry of Viruses (2017)

The Illuminating Geometry of Viruses (2017)

molecular biology

Mathematical insights into how RNA helps viruses pull together their protein shells could guide future studies of viral behavior and function.

More than a quarter billion people today are infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV), the World Health Organization estimates, and more than 850,000 of them die every year as a result. Although an effective and inexpensive vaccine can prevent infections, the virus, a major culprit in liver disease, is still easily passed from infected mothers to their newborns at birth, and the medical community remains strongly interested in finding better ways to combat HBV and its chronic effects. It was therefore notable last month when Reidun Twarock, a mathematician at the University of York in England, together with Peter Stockley, a professor of biological chemistry at the University of Leeds, and their respective colleagues, published their insights into how HBV assembles itself. That knowledge, they hoped, might eventually be turned against the virus.

Their accomplishment has gained further attention because only this past February the teams also announced a similar discovery about the self-assembly of a virus related to the common cold. In fact, in recent years, Twarock, Stockley and other mathematicians have helped reveal the assembly secrets of a variety of viruses, even though that problem had seemed forbiddingly difficult not long before.

Their success represents a triumph in applying mathematical principles to the understanding of biological entities. It may also eventually help to revolutionize the prevention and treatment of viral diseases in general by opening up a new, potentially safer way to develop vaccines and antivirals.

A Geodesic Insight

In 1962, the biologist-chemist duo Donald Caspar and Aaron Klug published a seminal paper on the structural organization of viruses. Among a series of sketches, models and X-ray diffraction patterns that the paper featured was a photograph of a building designed by Richard Buckminster Fuller, the inventor and architect: It was a geodesic dome, the design for which Fuller would become famous. And it was, in part, the lattice structure of the geodesic dome, a convex polyhedron assembled from hexagons and pentagons, themselves divided into triangles, that would inspire Caspar and Klug’s theory.

At the same time that Fuller was promoting the advantages of his domes — namely, that their structure made them more stable and efficient than other shapes — Caspar and Klug were trying to solve a structural problem in virology that had already attracted some of the field’s greats, not least among them James Watson, Francis Crick and Rosalind Franklin. Viruses consist of a short string of DNA or RNA packaged in a protein shell called a capsid, which protects the genomic material and facilitates its insertion into a host cell. Of course, the genomic material has to encode for the formation of such a capsid, and longer strands of DNA or RNA require larger capsids to shield them. It didn’t seem possible that strands as short as those found in viruses could achieve this.

Then, in 1956, three years after their work on DNA’s double helix, Watson and Crick came up with a plausible explanation. A viral genome could include instructions for only a limited number of distinct capsid proteins, which meant that in all likelihood viral capsids were symmetric: The genomic material needed to describe only some small subsection of the capsid and then give orders for it to be repeated in a symmetric pattern. Experiments using X-ray diffraction and electron microscopes revealed that this was indeed the case, making it apparent that viruses were predominantly either helical or icosahedral in shape. The former were rod-shaped structures that resembled an ear of corn, the latter polyhedra that approximated the sphere, consisting of 20 triangular faces glued together.

This 20-sided shape, one of the Platonic solids, can be rotated in 60 different ways without seeming to change in appearance. It also allows for the placement of 60 identical subunits, three on each triangular face, that are equally related to the symmetry axes — a setup that works perfectly for smaller viruses with capsids that consist of 60 proteins.

But most icosahedral viral capsids comprise a much larger number of subunits, and placing the proteins in this way never allows for more than 60. Clearly, a new theory was necessary to model larger viral capsids. That’s where Caspar and Klug entered the picture. Having recently read about Buckminster Fuller’s architectural creations, the pair realized it might have relevance to the structures of the viruses they were studying, which in turn sparked an idea. Dividing the icosahedron further into triangles (or, more formally, applying a hexagonal lattice to the icosahedron and then replacing each hexagon with six triangles) and positioning proteins in the corners of those triangles provided a more general and accurate picture of what these kinds of viruses looked like. This partitioning allowed for “quasi-equivalence,” in which subunits differ minimally in how they bond with their neighbors, forming either five-fold or six-fold positions on the lattice.

Such microscopic geodesic domes quickly became the standard way to represent icosahedral viruses, and, for a while, it seemed that Caspar and Klug had solved the problem. A handful of experiments conducted in the 1980s and ’90s, however, revealed some exceptions to the rule, most notably among groups of cancer-causing viruses called polyomaviridae and papillomaviridae.

It became necessary once more for an outside approach — made possible by theories in pure mathematics — to provide insights into the biology of viruses.

Following in Caspar and Klug’s Footsteps

About 15 years ago, Twarock came across a lecture about the different ways in which viruses realize their symmetrical structures. She thought she might be able to extend to these viruses some of the symmetry techniques she had been working on with spheres. “That snowballed,” Twarock said. She and her colleagues realized that with knowledge of structures, “we could make an impact on understanding how viruses function, how they assemble, how they infect, how they evolve.” She didn’t look back: She has spent her time since then working as a mathematical biologist, using tools from group theory and discrete math to continue where Caspar and Klug left off. “We really developed this integrative, interdisciplinary approach,” she said, “where the math drives the biology and the biology drives the math.”

Twarock first wanted to generalize the lattices that could be used so she could identify the positions of capsid subunits that Caspar and Klug’s work failed to explain. The proteins of the human papilloma viruses, for instance, were arranged in five-fold pentagonal structures, rather than hexagonal ones. Unlike hexagons, however, regular pentagons cannot be built from equilateral triangles, nor can they tessellate a plane: When slid next to each other to tile a surface, gaps and overlaps inevitably arise.

So Twarock turned to Penrose tilings, a mathematical technique developed in the 1970s to tile a plane with five-fold symmetry by fitting together four-sided figures called kites and darts. The patterns generated by Penrose tilings do not repeat periodically, making it possible to piece together its two component shapes without leaving any gaps. Twarock applied this concept by importing symmetry from a higher-dimensional space — in this case, from a lattice in six dimensions — into a three-dimensional subspace. This projection does not retain the periodicity of the lattice, but it does produce long-range order, like a Penrose tiling. It also encompasses the surface lattices used by Caspar and Klug. Twarock’s tilings therefore applied to a wider range of viruses, including the polyomaviruses and papillomaviruses that had evaded Caspar and Klug’s classification.

Moreover, Twarock’s constructions not only informed the locations and orientations of the capsid’s protein subunits, but they also provided a framework for how the subunits interacted with each other and with the genomic material inside. “I think this is where we made a very big contribution,” Twarock said. “By knowing about the symmetry of the container, you can understand better determinants of the asymmetric organization of the genomic material [and] constraints on how it must be organized. We were the first to actually float the idea that there should be order, or remnants of that order, in the genome.”

Twarock has been pursuing that line of research ever since.

The Role of Viral Genomes in Capsid Formation

Caspar and Klug’s theory applied only to the surfaces of capsids, not to their interiors. To know what was happening there, researchers had to turn to cryo-electron microscopy and other imaging techniques. Not so for Twarock’s tiling model, she said. She and her team set out hunting for combinatorial constraints on viral assembly pathways, this time using graph theory. In the process, they showed that in RNA viruses, the genomic material played a much more active role in the formation of the capsid than previously thought.

Specific positions along the RNA strand, called packaging signals, make contact with the capsid from inside its walls and help it form. Locating these signals with bioinformatics alone proves an incredibly difficult task, but Twarock realized she could simplify it by applying a classification based on a type of graph called a Hamiltonian path. Imagine the packaging signals as sticky pieces along the RNA string. One of them is stickier than the others; a protein will adhere to it first. From there, new proteins come into contact with other sticky pieces, forming an ordered pathway that never doubles back on itself. In other words, a Hamiltonian path.

Coupled with the geometry of the capsid, which places certain constraints on the local configurations in which the RNA can contact neighboring RNA-capsid binding sites, Twarock and her team mapped subsets of Hamiltonian paths to describe potential positions of the packaging signals. Weeding out the unpromising ones, Twarock said, was “a matter of taking care of dead ends.” Placements that would be both plausible and efficient, enabling effective and rapid assembly, were more limited than expected. The researchers concluded that a number of RNA-capsid binding sites must occur in every viral particle and are probably conserved features of genome organization. If so, the sites might be good novel targets for antiviral therapies.

Twarock and her colleagues, in collaboration with Stockley’s team in Leeds, have employed this model to delineate the packaging mechanism for several different viruses, starting with the bacteriophage MS2 and the satellite tobacco mosaic virus. They predicted the presence of packaging signals in MS2 in 2013 using Twarock’s mathematical tools, then provided experimental evidence to back up those claims in 2015. This past February, the researchers identified sequence-specific packaging signals in the human parechovirus, part of the picornavirus family, which includes the common cold. And last month, they published their insights into the assembly of the hepatitis B virus. They plan on doing similar work on several other types of viruses, including alphaviruses, and hope to apply their findings to gain a better understanding of how such viruses evolve.

Going Beyond the Geometry

When Twarock’s team announced their finding on the parechovirus in February, headlines claimed they were closing in on a cure for the common cold. That’s not quite right, but it is a goal they’ve kept in mind in their partnership with Stockley.

The most immediate application would be to find a way to disrupt these packaging signals, creating antivirals that interfere with capsid formation and leave the virus vulnerable. But Stockley hopes to go a different route, focusing on prevention before treatment. Vaccine development has come a long way, he acknowledged, but the number of available vaccines pales in comparison to the number of infections that pose threats. “We’d like to vaccinate people against several hundred infections,” Stockley said, whereas only dozens of vaccines have been approved. Creating a stable, noninfectious immunogen to prepare the immune system for the real thing has its limitations. Right now, approved strategies for vaccines rely on either chemically inactivated viruses (killed viruses that the immune system can still recognize) or attenuated live viruses (live viruses that have been made to lose much of their potency). The former often provide only short-lived immunity, while the latter carry the risk of being converted from attenuated viruses to virulent forms. Stockley wants to open up a third route. “Why not make something that can sort of replicate but doesn’t have pathological features to it?” he asked.

In a poster presented at the Microbiology Society Annual Conference in April, Stockley, Twarock and other researchers describe one of their current areas of focus: using the research on packaging signals and self-assembly to probe a world of synthetic viruses. By understanding capsid formation, it may be possible to engineer viruslike particles (VLPs) with synthetic RNA. These particles would not be able to replicate, but they would allow the immune system to recognize viral protein structures. Theoretically, VLPs could be safer than attenuated live viruses and might provide greater protection for longer periods than do chemically inactivated viruses.

Twarock’s mathematical work also has applications beyond viruses. Govind Menon, a mathematician at Brown University, is exploring self-assembling micro- and nanotechnologies. “The mathematical literature on synthetic self-assembly is quite thin,” Menon said. “However, there were many models to study the self-assembly of viruses. I began to study these models to see if they were flexible enough to model synthetic self-assembly. I soon found that models rooted in discrete geometry were better suited to [our research]. Reidun’s work is in this vein.”

Miranda Holmes-Cerfon, a mathematician at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University, sees connections between Twarock’s virus studies and her own research into how tiny particles floating in solutions can self-organize. That relevance speaks to what she regards as one of the valuable aspects of Twarock’s investigations: the mathematician’s ability to apply her expertise to problems in biology.

“If you talk to biologists,” Holmes-Cerfon said, “the language they use is so different than the language they use in physics and math. The questions are different, too.” The challenge for mathematicians is tied to their willingness to seek out questions with answers that inform the biology. One of Twarock’s real talents, she said, “is doing that interdisciplinary work.”

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Popular Design News of the Week: July 1, 2019 – July 7, 2019

Popular Design News of the Week: July 1, 2019 – July 7, 2019

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

Create your own professional website with Wix dot com.

Create your own professional website with Wix.com

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

User Experience: Best Practices on Effective Visual Hierarchy

HTML Can do That?

Ikea Releases Free ‘Soffa Sans’ Font Made of Couches

Motion Icons

Designing To-Do Lists App

Microsoft is Teasing ‘All-new’ Windows 1.0 Launch… For Some Reason

Why Google Duplex Might Make my Design Job Redundant

Welcome to the Old Internet Again

Material Design Data Visualization Guidelines

Best React Open-source Projects

Tips for Rolling your own Lazy Loading

Approaching the Website Design Process from the Browser

Designers Discuss Imposter Syndrome

Track this – A New Kind of Incognito (by Firefox)

Introduction to SVG Filters

Apple is Reportedly Giving up on its Controversial MacBook Keyboard

How a Google Side Project Evolved into a $4B Company

How Google Pagespeed Works

Building a Design System - where to Start?

8 Tips for Writing Great Usability Tasks

Design is a (hard) Job.

How Successful Design Companies Market Themselves

What if all your Slack Chats were Leaked?

Dark Patterns at Scale: Findings from a Crawl of 11K Shopping Websites

Designing for the Near Future

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.

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This self-drying dish rack uses an organic mineral to instantly evaporate water

The Dorai Dish Rack comes from the same guys who invented the Dorai Bath Stone that could instantly dry your feet in the time it takes to step on a mat and step off it. Building on this quick-drying aspect that is slowly becoming the company’s specialty, this is the Dorai Dish Rack. It uses a special fossilized-algae base that absorbs water at lightning speeds, drying your dishes out without creating a puddle of water, detergent, dirt, leading to mold and bacteria buildup at the base of the rack.

The Dorai Dish Rack is a radical rethinking of the age-old dish rack that we’ve been blindly accepting for centuries. While old dish-racks rely on water dripping off the dishes and onto your kitchen countertop (you could add a kitchen towel, but we all know that doesn’t help), Dorai comes with its proprietary Diomat built in. This Diomat is made from a rare-earth-mineral better known as Diatomaceous Earth, that forms from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms. Diatomaceous Earth has the ability to instantly absorb and dissipate water or moisture, accelerating evaporation while preventing mold and bacterial growth. Using this feature as its core strength, the Dorai Dish Rack allows your wet pots, pans, bottles, wine glasses, knives, and cutlery to drip directly onto the Diomat. Within seconds, the water is evenly dispersed across the mat and evaporates instantly into the air. Designed in aluminum, the Dorai Dish Rack is lightweight and resistant to rust. It comes with the ability to dock glasses, cutting boards, and even your knife-block, giving all your cutlery and crockery enough space to dry to perfection. The Dish Rack is collapsible, letting you to store it in narrow spaces when not in use, and the Diomat is removable too, allowing you to clean the mat and the rack periodically, keeping your entire kitchen space dry and sanitary.

For more flexibility, there’s the Dorai Dish Pad, a foldable mat that you can open out on counter-tops to lay out wet utensils onto. Centered around the quick-drying Diatomecious Earth baseplate, the Dorai Dish Pad comes with a silicone outer, giving the pad its hinged, flexible nature, as well as a food-safe, toxin-free construction. Designed to be quick-drying, reusable, sustainable, and healthy, the Dorai Dish Rack and Pad give our hand-washing and drying practices a much-needed upgrade.

Designer: Aaron Nelson

Click Here to Buy Now: $39 $65 (40% off). Hurry, less than 24 hours left!

Dorai Dish Rack

Dorai Dish Pad

Dorai Self-Drying Dish Rack & Pad

Their self-drying dish rack uses Diatomaceous Earth, an organic material that evaporates instantly.

How it Works

Diatomaceous Earth, or grass of the sea, is a naturally occurring mineral that is made from the fossilized remains of tune aquatic organisms. When moisture hits the surface, the material attracts and binds bacteria and parasites, causing them to dry out and die. Water rapidly eveaporates from the product through millions of pores.

Dorai Dish Rack

Dorai Dish Pad

Below: Features

Built in cutting board holder and add-on protective knife block.

Padded hooks for wine glasses, baby and sports bottle.

Food-safe, antimicrobial Diatomaceous Earth ‘Diomat’ base.

Collapsable rack and foldable pad for easy storing.

Click Here to Buy Now: $39 $65 (40% off). Hurry, only 6/195 left for the Dish Pad

Click Here to Buy Now: $69 $89 (22% off). Hurry, only 57/100 left for the Dish Rack

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The Top Futurist Speakers to Have at Your Conference

The Top Futurist Speakers to Have at Your Conference

No one knows precisely what the future will bring, but some people seem to have their finger on the pulse of tomorrow more than others. These individuals’ ability to see what’s coming next makes them high-demand for tech conferences and events all over the world.

Futurist speakers keep their eye on technology, stay ahead of the trends, and they track where the world is going.

Here are fifty of the best futurist keynote speakers that speak at significant tech events. These speakers consult C-level executives and equip sales and marketing teams to move into the future with stealth and confidence.

joel comm futurist keynote speaker

1.  Joel Comm

Joel Comm hits the top of the list with his almost 25 years of doing business online. He has 15 books, a chart-topping iPhone app, hosts a top blockchain podcast and is the co-creator of Yahoo! Games. Comm is a top futurist speaker helping businesses and brands “get there” before the competition. Joel makes seemingly complex material easy to understand, refreshing, informative and entertaining.

tan le futurist speaker

2. Tan Le

Tan Le is a futurist speaker who’s all about the brain. As the founder of EMOTIV, a maker of brain-wearable technology, her talks focus on the use of neurotechnology and its effects on advertising, education, and people with neurological issues. Tan Le has spoken at the PCM, the University of Vermont and a host of other futurist events.

adam cheyer futurist speaker

3. Adam Cheyer

As the former VP of Engineering for Siri and having worked on Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistant, Cheyer is a futurist speaker with an expertise in artificial intelligence. His talks prepare businesses for the new AI environment. Adam Cheyer has also talked about the future of personal assistants, building start-ups, and the future of AI in business.

eric o'neill futurist speaker

4. Eric O’Neill

Eric O’Neill is a former FBI counterterrorism and counterintelligence operative who helped to capture notorious spy Robert Phillip Hanssen. He is the subject of the feature film, “Breach.” O’Neill’s talks about cybersecurity and advances in cyber espionage have made him one of the top futurist keynote speakers. Eric O’Neill is also a lawyer and author whose talks give insights into work situations that are relevant to several different industries.                         

peter zeihan futurist speaker

5. Peter Zeihan

Peter Zeihan is one of a small number of futurist speakers who have worked for the U.S. State Department and private think tanks. His talks specialize in the relationship between the United States and other superpowers, and he discusses the future of global energy and finance. Peter Zeihan has talked about the end of Europe, a world with China, the future of worldwide agriculture and manufacturing, and more.

vivek wadhwa futurist speaker

6. Vivek Wadhwa 

Vivek Wadhwa is a Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering and teaches in Silicon Valley about technology and industry disruption. His talks cover the future of innovation, technology, and healthcare. Wadwha is a top futurist keynote speaker because of his comprehensive take on future developments. Vivek Wadwha is ready to discuss the benefits of unlimited green energy, clean vehicles and mass-produced 3D printed meat, but also the downsides of artificial intelligence, human redundancies and new viruses.

ben casnocha futurist speaker

7. Ben Casnocha

Ben Casnocha stands out among futurist speakers. He is the founder of e-government firm Comcate, advises venture capital firm Wasabi Ventures, and mentors at the startup incubator, Techstars. Casnocha was also the chief of staff in the office of the chairman at LinkedIn and is now a partner in his VC firm Village Global. Ben Casnocha’s speaking topics have covered the new employer-employee relationship, millennials at work, and the importance of thinking like an entrepreneur in today’s work environment.

mike walsh futurist speaker

   8. Mike Walsh 

Mike Walsh is the CEO of Tomorrow, a consultancy that helps businesses prepare for the 21st century. While other futurist speakers look 20, 30 or 50 years ahead, Mike Walsh describes how business, employment, Big Data, and the Internet of Things will develop over the next five years. He has spoken at the main stage at the Million Dollar Round Table in front of an audience of more than 8,000 people.                                   

scott klososky futurist speaker

9. Scott Klososky 

Scott Klososky is the developer of HUMALOGY, an idea that blends technology and humanity. His talks are about cybersecurity, data intelligence, trends, and digital marketing. Klososky is a top futurist keynote speaker because of the breadth of his knowledge, picked up in a series of start-ups in fields from digital marketing to online banking. Scott Klososky has a depth knowledge learned while sitting on the boards of technology firms.

erik qualman futurist speaker

10. Erik Qualman 

Erik Qualman is an MBA Professor at the Hult International Business School and the founder of Socialnomics.com, a blog about the way social media affects life and work. Other futurist speakers might not want to adopt his trademark green glasses, but they do envy his live performances on stage. People love to listen to Erik Qualman’s talks on innovation, leadership, trends, and transformation.

rohit bhargava futurist speaker

11. Rohit Bhargava

Rohit Bhargava talks about marketing, branding, innovation, digital strategy and business trends. Bhargava’s primary focus is his Non-Obvious Trend Report published at the end of every year and is read by more than a million people. He’s spoken on futurist topics at events run by companies including NBC, TEDx, MetLife and Prudential. Rohit Bhargava’s topics include how to be more innovative and, he says, actually predict the future.

peter diamandis futurist speaker

12. Peter Diamandis

Most futurist speakers talk about the future, Peter Diamandis helps to create it. He is the founder and executive chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation, which awards prizes for large, ambitious competitions. Diamandis talks about how people will meet their needs in water, food, energy, healthcare, and more, and he has spoken for General Electric, Coca Cola, and Microsoft, among others.

shara evans futurist speaker

13. Shara Evans

Shara Evans is the founder and CEO of Market Clarity, a technology analyst firm that researches the telecom and emerging technologies markets. Evans also founded and sold Telsyte, a telecoms and technology research consultancy firm. What makes Shara Evans a top futurist speaker is her combination of an engineering background, her work with top scientific research organizations, and her regular technology punditry in the Australian and other media.

jim carroll futurist speaker

14. Jim Carroll

Jim Carroll’s talks focus on what businesses should do in an era of acceleration and disruption. He gives companies the guidance they need to align with and adopt new trends. Few futurist speakers have Carroll’s grip on innovation or his 25 years of experience. Jim Carroll has spoken at events for 7,000 leaders, and he’s also given a one-hour talk at an event for just eight senior executives.

patrick dixon futurist speaker

15. Patrick Dixon

Patrick Dixon is a top keynote speaker who has written more than a dozen books about trends. Dixon focuses on the long-term, slow-moving trends that drive business opportunities, and he explains how businesses can use them. Patrick Dixon has spoken at a broad range of futurist events discussing the future of industries from food and the packaging industry to the automotive industry and banking.

marcus buckingham futurist speaker

16. Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham is a leading authority on employee productivity, and also talks about leadership and management. He used to be a senior consultant with The Gallup Organization but now focuses on cultivating employees’ strengths. Futurist speakers often tell a business what the future is going to bring so that they can prepare themselves for those developments. Marcus Buckingham helps companies manage their employees to create those futures.

phill nosworthy futurist speaker

17. Phill Nosworthy

Phill Nosworthy is the founder and managing director of Switch L+D, a learning and development company that coaches teams at leading organizations. Nosworthy’s focus on education and what businesses need to know to prepare for the future makes him a top futurist keynote speaker. Few other futurist speakers can help their audiences gain the skills they need to prepare for the coming economy.

erik brynjolfsson futurist speaker

18. Erik Brynjolfsson

Erik Brynjolfsson is Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, a professor at MIT Sloan School, and a Research Associate at NBER. His research looks at the effects of information technologies on business strategy, productivity and performance, digital commerce, and intangible assets. Brynjolfsson has spoken at TED talks in Long Beach, CA, at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Florida, and at the National Science Foundation among others.

daniel kraft futurist speaker

19. Daniel Kraft

Daniel Kraft speaks about innovation and healthcare. He is the founder of IntelliMedicine, a company building personalized medicine, and is the inventor of the MarrowMiner, an FDA-approved device for harvesting bone marrow. Futurist speakers can imagine the future, but few can say that they were as ready to lead it, as Kraft was. Daniel Kraft was a finalist for astronaut selection, and while he might not have made it into space, he does look to the stars.

peter sheahan futurist speaker

20. Peter Sheahan

Peter Sheahan is the founder and Group CEO of Karrikins Group. He talks about how businesses cope with increasing commoditization and the emergence of new technological disruption that threatens business models. Peter Sheahan has spoken at more than 2,500 events, reaching a total audience of more than half a million people.

lisa bodell futurist speaker

21. Lisa Bodell

Lisa Bodell is the CEO of futurethink, an innovation training firm. Her focus is on simplicity, and she talks about how businesses can simplify innovation and manage change, making adaptation easier and businesses more competitive. Most futurist speakers see the coming world as a complicated place filled with challenges and difficulties. Lisa Bodell’s ability to eliminate complexity makes her a top keynote futurist speaker.

kevin surace futurist speaker

22. Kevin Surace

Kevin Surace is the creator of the first smartphone and digital assistant and is now looking at climate change as an engineer. He talks about how to make manufacturing processes more environmentally friendly. Kevin Surace has spoken at many corporate and organization events, including those in the power industry and the software industry.

seth mattison futurist speaker

23. Seth Mattison

Seth Mattison is an expert on workforce trends and generational dynamics. He works with brands, institutions, and leaders to explain what work, influence, and leadership will mean in the 21st century. Mattison is a top keynote speaker and a top futurist speaker because he’s able to match future trends with organizational changes and the role of leadership.

erica orange futurist speaker

24. Erica Orange

Erica Orange is Executive Vice President and  Chief Operating Officer of The Future Hunters, a futurist consulting firm. She looks at emerging social, technological, and other trends, and identifies their significance for businesses. Orange has spoken at events organized by the sporting goods industry, insurance companies, and Erica Orange frequently speaks up for the education industry.

greg williams futurist speaker

25. Greg Williams

Greg Williams is the Editor-in-Chief of the UK version of Wired Magazine. He is a leading authority on technology trends and their effects on business and society. Other futurist speakers read the articles he edits to stay in touch with trends. Williams grip on those trends has made him a top keynote speaker on topics from ecommerce to data marketing.

mikko hypponen futurist speaker

26. Mikko Hypponen

Mikko Hypponen is a security expert and Chief Research Officer of F-Secure. His talks focus on cybersecurity. He discusses what the next killer virus might be, how the world can cope with it, and how to protect digital privacy in an age of government surveillance. Hypponen has spoken at events including TEDGlobal in Edinburgh, EDIST in Toronto, DLD in Münich, Forum the la Haute Horlogerie in Lausanne, and at various IDC events.

nick bilton futurist speaker

27. Nick Bilton

Nick Bilton is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair, a former lead technology writer for The New York Times, and the host of the Vanity Fair podcast, Inside the Hive. He has written books about the growth of Twitter, and the development of the dark Web, and covered the growth of Theranos in an article that inspired HBO’s documentary “The Inventor.” Among futurist speakers, Nick Bilton’s on the front line, talking to changemakers and reporting on their activities.

neil jacobsteintop futurist keynote speaker

28. Neil Jacobstein

Neil Jacobstein is the chair of the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Track at Singularity University, an organization made up of people from Google and the X PRIZE Foundation. Jacobstein looks at the future of technology and artificial intelligence, and their impact on the industry. Neil Jacobstein has spoken at TEDx events and is a mediaX Distinguished Visiting Scholar.

shawn dubravactop futurist keynote speaker

29. Shawn DuBravac

Shawn DuBravac is a former chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, an organization representing many of the world’s leading consumer electronics companies. DuBravac provides economic analysis and discusses technology trends affecting consumer electronics. Few keynote speakers can cover such a broad range of topics or dive so deeply into how data is building a new future.

jerry kaplan futurist speaker

30. Jerry Kaplan

Jerry Kaplan is a serial entrepreneur. The founder of four Silicon Valley startups, he teaches philosophy, ethics, and the impact of artificial intelligence at Stanford University. Kaplan has spoken at events including the WSJ CEO Council Annual Meeting, the LinkedIn Speaker Series, the Wired NextFest in Milan, and the Dong-A Economy Summit in South Korea.

salim ismail futurist speaker

31. Salim Ismail

Salim Ismail is the founder and chair of ExO, a former executive director at Singularity University and a Yahoo executive who sold his own company to Google. He talks at a variety of futurist events discussing innovation, growth, and the new kind of organizational structure needed by tomorrow’s businesses. Salim Ismail explains how companies can leverage technology and strategy to grow as much as ten times faster than their peers.

erik peterson futurist speaker

32. Erik Peterson

Erik Peterson is a partner and Managing Director of A.T. Kearney’s Global Business Policy Council. He was a fellow of the World Economic Forum who now examines key long-range trends and explores how they transform opportunities and risks for population, resources, and technology. Erik Peterson is a top keynote speaker who has addressed audiences at colleges and business events around the world.

andrew scott futurist speaker

33. Andrew Scott

Andrew Scott is a professor and of economics at London Business School. His talks at futurist events discuss the future of the financial sector, regulation, demographic change, and sustainability. Andrew Scott has spoken at events for companies including Fujitsu, Citibank, and Hays.

ayesha khanna futurist speaker

34. Ayesha Khanna

Ayesha Khanna is a co-founder and CEO of ADDO AI, an artificial intelligence firm. She’s also the founder of 21C GIRLS, a charity that teaches coding and AI to girls in Singapore, and an advisor to Octa, a chatbot for travelers, and Arro, a sports robot. She talks about AI, smart cities and fintech. Ayesha Khanna combines experience on Wall Street with life as a start up entrepreneur. She has spoken at futurist events organized by major financial, technology and industry conferences, provided high-level government briefings, chaired symposiums such as AI Asia, and spoken at TEDx events.

brian solis futurist speaker

35. Brian Solis

Brian Solis is a principal analyst at Altimeter Group. He explores the effects of emerging technology on business, marketing, and culture, and helps brands and startups to manage digital transformation and adapt to new connected markets. Brian Solis is a top keynote speaker who shares his vision and experience of the dynamics defining innovation, connected consumerism and digital lifestyles.

bruno marion futurist speaker

36. Bruno Marion

Someone with a spiritual background is unusual to find at a futurist event, but Bruno Marion is also known as “the Futurist Monk.” He is an expert on global trends and innovation, and in addition to meeting CEOs, he even talks to gurus in India, people in jail, the super-rich, and the homeless. He talks about future trends, organizational shifts, and radical innovation.

calum chace futurist speaker

37. Calum Chace

Calum Chace spent 30 years in the industry and now speaks about artificial intelligence and its effect on society. His significant interest is on the relationship between machine and human cognition, and how it may make most people unemployable. Calum Chace has spoken at events organized or sponsored by Price Waterhouse Coopers, Telefonica, and the annual investors’ meetings of top private equity firms.

marianna mazzucato futurist speaker

38. Mariana Mazzucato

Mariana Mazzucato is a professor of Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London. She focuses on the relationship between innovation and growth, with an emphasis on the symbiotic partnerships that result from growth that is innovation-led, inclusive, and sustainable. Mariana Mazzucato is one of the top motivational speakers who has addressed events for transnational organizations as well as the business and public sector.

nicolas sadirac futurist speaker

39. Nicolas Sadirac

Nicolas Sadirac is the co-founder of computer science schools “42” and “Epitech.” He pioneers “active pedagogy” in France, a new approach that looks for talent in people of all backgrounds. He talks about educating tomorrow’s technological world. Most futurist speakers try to predict the future. Nicolas Sadirac is also building it by giving today’s youth the skills they need to build it.

pablos holman futurist speaker

40. Pablos Holman

Pablos Holman is a hacker and inventor. He has worked in cryptocurrency, AI for stock market trading, 3D printers, and even built spaceships at Blue Origin for Jeff Bezos. Pablos Holman has spoken at various futurist events, discussing innovation, invention, hacking, technology, and cybersecurity, including for Singularity University, Stanford University, the United Nations, and the World Economic Forum at Davos.

francois bourdoncle futurist speaker

41. Francois Bourdoncle

François Bourdoncle is a top keynote speaker, the CEO of FB&Cie, and a pioneer of Internet search technology. He was the co-founder and CEO of Exalead, a search engine for enterprises, and worked on the LiveTopics project for AltaVista. Francois Bourdoncle talks at futurist events about search technology and Big Data.

louisa heinrich futurist speaker

42. Louisa Heinrich

Louisa Heinrich was a design director during the dotcom boom, creating many of the first digital consumer projects for banks, healthcare and governments. Her company, Superhuman, focuses on the human aspects of digital technology. Heinrich speaks about the future of technology, its effect on society, personal identity in the digital age, screen-less interfaces, and more, and has spoken at futurist events including MEX in London, MIPTV at Cannes, and MoCo in Amsterdam.

danny forster futurist speaker

43. Danny Forster

Danny Forster is an architect, a designer, and the host of Discovery Channel’s series Build It Bigger, which looked at spectacular engineering and architectural projects around the world. He talks about the future of architecture and its filming and is unusual among futurist speakers for his hands-on experience of building the physical world. Event audiences get to see Danny Forster’s creations on more than the screen and the stage.

catherine mohr futurist speaker

44. Catherine Mohr

Catherine Mohr is Vice President of Strategy at Intuitive Surgical, a Silicon Valley firm that makes a surgical robot. She started her career as an engineer, then became a surgeon before switching to strategy. Catherine Mohr is a top keynote speaker who talks about alternative energy, emerging markets, green building techniques, and medical technology.

wright futurist speaker

45. Travis Wright

As co-author of “Digital Sense: The Common Sense Approach to Effectively Blending Social Business Strategy, Marketing Technology, and Customer Experience”, Travis Wright’s perspective on AI, machine learning, blockchain and the future of martech has brought him to keynote stages around the world, including the annual Martech conference.

chuck martin futurist speaker

46. Chuck Martin

Chuck Martin is a leader in the field of emerging technologies and the Internet of Things. He also edits the world’s most extensive AI and IoT daily publication. His talks focus on the growing Internet of Things and its effect on the economy. Chuck Martin has spoken at futurist events on behalf of companies including Intel, Microsoft, AT&T, MasterCard, and IBM.

chad hurley futurist speaker

47. Chad Hurley

Chad Hurley has already created the future. As the co-founder and CEO of YouTube, he re-created the way the world watches video.  He talks about the rise of YouTube, about the lessons learned creating a revolutionary product, the changing media environment, and what technology is bringing next. Chad Hurley is a top futurist keynote speaker because few other futurist speakers have had such a real, direct influence on the future they’re discussing.

christer holloman futurist speaker

48. Christer Holloman

Christer Holloman is the chairman of First Tuesday, a network for high growth SMEs, and helped Expedia founder Rich Barton to launch Glassdoor in Europe. He is also the CEO of fintech start-up Divido. Christer Holloman talks about technology and social media. He has spoken at events on behalf of brands including Visa, Microsoft, and Ogilvy.

james bilefield futurist speaker

49. James Bilefield

James Bilefield is a former digital president of Condé Nast and was an executive at Skype and Yahoo. His talks describe the challenge of scaling Skype around the world and managing the digital transformation of Condé Nast. Bilefield is a top futurist speaker who gives audiences a unique insight based on his experience with some of the world’s leading start-ups.

christian baudis futurist speaker

50. Christian Baudis

Christian Baudis is a renowned futurist keynote speaker. He is the former managing director of Google Germany. Christian is the founder of My Digital, a digital innovation and consulting firm. Christian Baudis talks about digital media, digital transformation, and online customers. As a former Google executive, he understands how decisions are made at the world’s biggest tech firms.

Brad Anderson

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.

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The short life of Must Farm

The short life of Must Farm

The short life of Must Farm
Scaffold platform above Must Farm’s ‘structure 1’. Credit: D. Webb

Must Farm, an extraordinarily well-preserved Late Bronze Age settlement in Cambridgeshire, in the East of England, drew attention in national and international media in 2016 as ‘Britain’s Pompeii’ or the ‘Pompeii of the Fens’. The major excavation was funded by Historic England and Forterra Building Products Ltd, which owns the Must Farm quarry.

Now for the first time, published today in Antiquity, archaeologists from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit present a definitive timeframe to Must Farm’s occupation and destruction.

Site Director Mark Knight says, “It is likely that the settlement existed for only one year prior to its destruction in a catastrophic fire. The short history of Must Farm, combined with the excellent preservation of the settlement, means that we have an unparalleled opportunity to explore the of its inhabitants.”

Living in the Fens

Must Farm is located within the silts of a slow-flowing freshwater river, with stilted structures built to elevate the living quarters above the water. This palaeochannel (dating from 1700-100 BC) was active for centuries prior to the construction of Must Farm (approx. 1100-800 cal BC), and a causeway was built across the river.

“Although excavation of the river sediments associated with the causeway was limited, stratigraphically we can demonstrate that the that the causeway and the settlement are chronologically unconnected. The people who built the settlement, however, would have been able to see the rotting tops of the causeway piles during the time of the settlement’s construction,” Knight continues.

The short life of Must Farm
Top) thread/yarn wound around sticks/round dowels; bottom) a complete two-piece, axe haft with Ewart Park-type socketed axe. Credit: D. Webb

Excavations between 2009 and 2012 revealed the remains of nine logboats in the palaeochannel, in addition to fish weirs and fish traps—further evidence of the long history of occupation in the landscape.

Prehistoric Houses

The Must Farm houses are the ‘most completely preserved prehistoric domestic structures found in Britain’, visible as ‘hundreds of uprights or pile stumps, which together define the outline and internal settings of at least five stilted structures’ enclosed by a palisade with an internal walkway.

The architecture reflects the conventions of the prehistoric British roundhouse, located in an unusual wetland setting. Uniquely, there is no evidence of repair to the structures, and strikingly, dendrochronological analysis has suggested that the timbers were still green when destroyed by fire.

The structures collapsed vertically, and the heavy roofs brought everything down with them into the sediment of the channel. A tragedy for the inhabitants, but serendipitous for archaeologists, as the fluvial silts have preserved ‘wooden artefacts, pottery sets, bronze tools and weapons, fabrics and fibres, querns, loom weights, spindle whorls, animal remains, plants and seeds, coprolites…’

The short life of Must Farm
Material culture ‘footprint’ beneath structures 2 & 4 (scale = 1m) . Credit: D. Webb

A Year in the Life

Must Farm represents a routine dwelling in a rarely excavated fenland setting, which is incredibly valuable. It shows the typical patterns of consumption and deposition for this kind of site.

The team of archaeologists found over 180 fibre/textile items, 160 wooden artefacts, 120 pottery vessels, 90 pieces of metal work, and at least 80 .

Some of the plant and animal remains found at Must Farm are rare for this period in British prehistory, including pike bones, sheep/goat dung, and currently unidentified entire charred tubers. Strikingly, most of the , including wild boar and deer, are not from the wetlands.

Knight concludes, “We are only in the early stages of investigating the vast quantity of material from Must Farm, material which promises to reveal many more fascinating aspects of life in the fens 3,000 years ago.”



More information:
Antiquity (2019). DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2019.38

Citation:
The short life of Must Farm (2019, June 12)
retrieved 13 July 2019
from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-short-life-farm.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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Thor Hammer Keychain #3DThursday #3DPrinting

Thor Hammer Keychain #3DThursday #3DPrinting

NewImage

Shared by CH-Makers on Thingiverse:

Printer used: Makerbot Replicator +


No support material needed


Printing time: 47 mins


Two versions of this model:


The keychain can be printed in 3 pieces, the hammer/handle and the handle cap. or in two pieces the hammer with handle and the cap. All files are included.


I paused the printer and change filament color when printer is about to build the handle to achieve two colors when printing in one piece


The handle cap was printed separated with glow in the dark type of filament.

Download the files and learn more


649-1


Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 12,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython 2019!

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell with Google Hangouts On-Air is every Wednesday at 7:30pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/


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Cyanide-laced meteorites may have seeded Earth’s first life

Cyanide-laced meteorites may have seeded Earth’s first life

Cyanide isn’t just the last resort for the captured spies of Hollywood film. It’s also a crucial component of the early chemistry of life. And now, new research finds that cyanide might have ridden to Earth on meteorites.

Samples of a particular group of primitive meteorites — including a large one that fell near Murchison, Australia, in 1969 — all contain cyanide, bound in a stable configuration with iron and carbon monoxide. These same sorts of structures are found in enzymes called hydrogenases in modern bacteria and archaea, which could suggest that early life either borrowed from meteorites or that early Earth’s geology formed the same kind of cyanide compounds, said study co-author Michael Callahan, an analytical chemist Boise State University. [Crash! 10 Biggest Impact Craters on Earth]

“When you study these primitive meteorites it’s like you’re hopping into a time machine and you can go back and study these ancient materials,” Callahan told Live Science. “And then you find these connections to life and ancient biology.”

Seeking cyanide

Callahan and his colleagues began seeking cyanide in space rocks after publishing a 2011 paper in which they discovered nucleobases in meteorites. Nucleobases, like guanine or adenine, are among the building blocks of DNA. The chemistry of the nucleobases and their parent asteroids looked as though it depended on cyanide as a reactant, Callahan said. But he wasn’t confident that they’d be able to find any cyanide on meteorites, even if it had once existed. Cyanide is extremely reactive, Callahan said, so he expected that it would have been used up and transformed long before it landed on Earth.

But study co-author Karen Smith, also a Boise State analytical chemist, had a background in cyanide analysis, so the researchers gathered and tested samples of meteorites, most of which had been discovered in Antarctica. Five of the meteorites were a particular kind of carbonaceous chondrite called CM chondrites, which contain nucleobases as well as other building blocks of biology, such as amino acids. One of those CM chondrites was the Murchison meteorite, which landed in Australia in 1969, stunning locals with a large fireball.

To find and extract cyanide, the researchers borrowed techniques that typically used to find the toxic stuff in wastewater left over from industrial processes, Callahan said. They used acid to extract compounds from the meteorites and then subjected it to a battery of analyses, including mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography, both of which allowed them to identify the constituent parts of the extracted material.

Cyanide surprises

To their surprise, the researchers found cyanide. Each of the CM chondrites contained the chemical, while none of the other types of meteorites did. (The researchers even tested a famous Mars meteorite that was once claimed to hold evidence of alien life — no cyanide there.)

The cyanide seems to have survived billions of years in space and a fiery trip to rest in icy Antarctica because it was bound up in a stable configuration with carbon monoxide and iron. “It’s this really classical inorganic chemistry,” Callahan said.

However stable it is, the cyanide can also be released from the meteorite, Callahan added, and that makes it an intriguing possible player in the origin of life. A combination of water and ultraviolet light could have released cyanide from meteorites on the early Earth, when bombardment by space rocks was common. In that way, meteorites could have boosted the available cyanide for chemical reactions that led, eventually, to living cells, Callahan said.

An artist's conception of meteors hitting ancient Earth. Some of those meteors may have been rich in cyanide, which is found in enzymes in archaea and bacteria.

An artist’s conception of meteors hitting ancient Earth. Some of those meteors may have been rich in cyanide, which is found in enzymes in archaea and bacteria.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

Alternatively, early Earth’s cyanide could have been home-grown, Callahan said. But if so, it might have formed in very similar ways as it does on meteorites. Meteorites are made of the same space dust and ice that formed the planets, but they haven’t been altered by geochemical processes.

The other intriguing surprise, Callahan said, was the strange similarities between the meteorite’s bundles of carbon monoxide, iron and cyanide and parts of the enzymes of some of the oldest groups of life, archaea and bacteria. All bacteria and archaea have enzymes called hydrogenases, Callahan said, and the active site of those enzymes, where the bonding happens, is the same as the cyanide structures seen in the meteorites.

“Maybe these [meteorite compounds] are the precursors of these active sites,” Callahan said.

That’s not yet proven, Callahan said, but the research team plans further work on meteorite chemistry. One future direction could come courtesy of the ongoing NASA mission OSIRIS-Rex, which will collect a sample from the asteroid Bennu and deliver it to Earth in 2023. Bennu might be a CM chondrite, Callahan said, which would provide an exciting opportunity to study a pristine sample of an asteroid parent body.

Callahan and his colleagues reported their work June 25 in the open-access journal Nature Communications.

Originally published on Live Science.

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Sir Richard Branson’s first Virgin Hotel in Britain has been delayed

Sir Richard Branson’s first Virgin Hotel in Britain has been delayed

Sir Richard Branson’s first Virgin Hotel in Britain has been delayed by a year – after archaeologists at the site unearth artefacts dating back 1,000 years

  • The building site of the first Virgin Hotel in Britain situated in Edinburgh
  • Excavation has lasted more than a year, three times longer than expected  
  • Some of the ancient discoveries could date as far back as the Bronze Age 
  • Experts say the remains of buildings found predate Edinburgh Castle and the creation of the town burgh by David I of Scotland by around 200 years

By Victoria Bell For Mailonline

Published: 10:22 EDT, 28 June 2019 | Updated: 10:32 EDT, 28 June 2019

Sir Richard Branson’s first Virgin Hotel in the UK has been delayed for a year after archaeologists unearthed artefacts dating back 1,000 years.

The excavation of the building site in Edinburgh uncovered a range of objects and material discovered from the tenth century during groundwork of the hotel.

Objects uncovered in the dig included jewellery, footwear, tools, a drinking vessel, shoes, jewellery, and knives.

The excavation is now complete after lasting more than a year, three times longer than expected, with the hotel scheduled to open in 2021.

Scroll down for video 

The building site of the first Virgin Hotel in Britain situated in Edinburgh – which has been delayed for a year after archaeologists at the site unearthed artefacts dating back 1,000 years. Objects uncovered included jewellery and tools. Pictured, inside the India building

WHAT DID THEY FIND AT THE SITE?

Medieval rubbish pits and wells, including barrel lined examples.

A very large finds assemblage including shoes, textiles, tools, knives, jewellery and clothing accessories

A ‘costrel’, which is a traditional early drinking vessel made of leather – see below*

Various projectiles, including a probable 13th century trebuchet ball and an early cannonball.

Extensive remains associated with Medieval industry, in particular tanning, with large quantities of leather and associated waste material recovered

Medieval rubbish pits and wells, including barrel lined examples.

Experts say the remains of buildings found predate Edinburgh Castle and the creation of the town burgh by David I of Scotland by around 200 years. 

The work has also unearthed ditches and walls marking the original boundary of the city and some of the discoveries could date as far back as the Bronze Age. 

The findings are expected to become a major selling point of a stay in Sir Richard’s first hotel in the UK, which will boast 225 rooms and create more than 300 jobs. 

During a 60 week excavation a human skull, a drinking vessel, shoes, jewellery, and knives, along with a ball used in a giant catapult and an early cannonball were discovered at the Cowgate site. 

Hearths, wall panel, structural timbers, rubbish pits and wells have been unearthed during the dig.

The plans for the hotel at the India Buildings on Victoria Street and an adjacent gap site were announced in February of last year, with a 2020 opening date. 

Experts say the remains of buildings found predate Edinburgh Castle and the creation of the town burgh by David I of Scotland by around 200 years. Pictured, a medieval gaming dice was uncovered during the excavation

The work has also unearthed ditches and walls marking the original boundary of the city and some of the discoveries could date as far back as the Bronze Age. A leather water or wine pouch from a 15th Century well was recovered

The building site of the first Virgin Hotel in Britain situated in Edinburgh – which has been delayed for a year after archaeologists at the site unearthed artefacts dating back 1,000 years. The plans for the hotel at the India Buildings on Victoria Street

But Virgin Hotels said work would finally begin at the site ‘within weeks,’ with the aim of the hotel now opening in 2021. 

Edinburgh City Council archaeologist, John Lawson said: ‘This has been one of the most significant urban excavations ever undertaken in Scotland. 

‘We have found everything we could have probably hoped to find on an excavation like this – there was basically 1000 years of archaeology on the site. 

‘The full analysis and research has still to be done, but the results of the work have been tremendous, in terms of scale and quality, and the quality of preservation is outstanding. 

‘For the first time ever, we have found a series of buildings which pre-date the formation of the medieval town in the 12th century. 

The plans for the hotel at the India Buildings on Victoria Street and an adjacent gap site were announced in February of last year, with a 2020 opening date. But Virgin Hotels said work would finally begin at the site ‘within weeks’. Pictured: Sir Richard Branson

Hearths, wall panel, structural timbers, rubbish pits and wells have been unearthed during the dig, which took around three times longer than initially anticipated by the Virgin team working on the project

‘There are a great sequence of layers on the site which almost tell the story of Edinburgh in microcosm.’ 

Raul Leal, chief executive of Virgin Hotels, said: ‘We always knew India Buildings was a special place and a very special development, though I’m not sure we could have guessed just how amazing it really is.

 ‘A unique insight has been gained into life in Edinburgh and the city’s development over nearly 1000 years. 

‘We will look at ways we can inform our guests of the rich history beneath the rooms in which they sleep.’ 

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Building A Home For AI In Construction

Building A Home For AI In Construction

Getty

Technology moves rapidly, and over the past 20 years, it’s been developing at a lightning-fast pace. Only recently has it crossed into the construction industry, where new software and tools continuously emerge and evolve. However, many of these breakthroughs face pushback when they’re born out of an aimless development process, where software developers found a hammer and are looking for nails rather than finding a nail and grabbing a hammer.

That isn’t to say all construction software development is helmed by excitable college kids just flexing their programming muscles. My company, for example, came into being after a then-project-manager grew fed up with document collection during closeout and working with half-baked submittal logs during precon. He came to me with these problems, and we spent the next five years developing our automated solutions to them. And we’re not alone, either — several key players in the industry have taken significant strides toward developing technologies using artificial intelligence to prevent seemingly inevitable delays in their project schedules.

Take Bechtel, the EPC firm headquartered in Reston, Virginia, which has over 25,000 projects under its belt, including the English Channel Tunnel, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system and the Hoover Dam. Bechtel’s team has built itself a big data and analytics center of excellence (BDAC), which can process a data lake of a whopping 5 petabytes (5 million gigabytes) to shape its AI-based tools. Chief among these is its photo recognition technology, which labels worksite photos for clients and has saved the company $2 million.

Bechtel also relies heavily on its natural language processing (NLP) technology to read and parse contracts, claims, RFPs and other documentation, reducing the time it takes to create estimates from weeks to mere hours. David Wilson, Bechtel’s chief innovation officer, also announced the expansion of its AI development to include a host of human resources tasks, including schedule creation around material availability, labor shortages and even the weather.

And Bechtel’s not alone. AI development has become one of the fastest-growing sectors in the tech industry, with Tractica predicting the market for AI to grow to $11.1 billion by 2024 (up from $202.5 million in 2015) and Marketwatch predicting the market for AI in construction to grow to over $2.11 billion by 2023. With that much growth, a wealth of data is needed to train these systems’ pattern-recognition abilities for their intended uses. Just as construction professionals learn through experience, AI learns through analyzing past data and looking for patterns that human analysts may miss.

As a result, the data collection and analytics industry has seen a boom mirroring AI’s boom, leading major construction firms like Kiewit Corporation to invest in data. Kiewit, having acquired the software company InEight to develop solutions for its projects, has been investing in SAP’s ERP technologies to track and analyze its data for the past seven years. This data set has formed the basis of information InEight uses to develop its technology for Kiewit. Without it, Kiewit would be left grasping at straws.

Amidst the rapid innovation tech and AI are seeing, it’s no surprise that everyone is rushing to be the Steve Jobs of AI. However, instead of developing a tool with a specific end use in mind, many developers are throwing AI at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Such is the idea behind the expansion of IBM’s Watson, an illustrative AI example outside of the construction industry. Watson is an advanced supercomputer originally developed to play against humans in Jeopardy. After its success, IBM decided to develop the question-answering AI for a wide variety of commercial uses, including oncology. However, retrofitting Watson into these roles turned the computer into a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, having prescribed unsafe treatments for cancer patients.

Even when AI tools are developed perfectly and are masters of their assigned tasks, the industry still faces pushback. After all, if a robot does what a human does but better and longer than a human can, what happens to the human?

David Wilson, the chief innovation officer of Bechtel, told BIM+ that AI has a long way to go. “AI and the pending robotic apocalypse are very exaggerated at the moment,” he said. He added that while AI may be able to automate certain repetitive tasks, “I certainly don’t see a robotic army replacing humans anytime soon.”

He went on to state that he and developers like him consider the experience on-site to be the ultimate measure of a technology’s efficacy. “The goal is to make sure we are using technology innovation to get the right resources to the right person, at the right place, at the right time.” 

Technology and AI are unique in that they mimic abilities that thus far have been the sole trades of humans — critical thinking, pattern recognition and reading — but can integrate with machines and tools that have physical abilities beyond humans. Major players across all industries have begun to see the benefits of utilizing this new toolset, saving them time, money and materials. The construction industry is starting to embrace this wave of innovation, too, realizing that when these tools are focused and built with a problem in mind, they give PMs and engineers tools with the same level of specialization to work with as the crews have on site.

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Technology moves rapidly, and over the past 20 years, it’s been developing at a lightning-fast pace. Only recently has it crossed into the construction industry, where new software and tools continuously emerge and evolve. However, many of these breakthroughs face pushback when they’re born out of an aimless development process, where software developers found a hammer and are looking for nails rather than finding a nail and grabbing a hammer.

That isn’t to say all construction software development is helmed by excitable college kids just flexing their programming muscles. My company, for example, came into being after a then-project-manager grew fed up with document collection during closeout and working with half-baked submittal logs during precon. He came to me with these problems, and we spent the next five years developing our automated solutions to them. And we’re not alone, either — several key players in the industry have taken significant strides toward developing technologies using artificial intelligence to prevent seemingly inevitable delays in their project schedules.

Take Bechtel, the EPC firm headquartered in Reston, Virginia, which has over 25,000 projects under its belt, including the English Channel Tunnel, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system and the Hoover Dam. Bechtel’s team has built itself a big data and analytics center of excellence (BDAC), which can process a data lake of a whopping 5 petabytes (5 million gigabytes) to shape its AI-based tools. Chief among these is its photo recognition technology, which labels worksite photos for clients and has saved the company $2 million.

Bechtel also relies heavily on its natural language processing (NLP) technology to read and parse contracts, claims, RFPs and other documentation, reducing the time it takes to create estimates from weeks to mere hours. David Wilson, Bechtel’s chief innovation officer, also announced the expansion of its AI development to include a host of human resources tasks, including schedule creation around material availability, labor shortages and even the weather.

And Bechtel’s not alone. AI development has become one of the fastest-growing sectors in the tech industry, with Tractica predicting the market for AI to grow to $11.1 billion by 2024 (up from $202.5 million in 2015) and Marketwatch predicting the market for AI in construction to grow to over $2.11 billion by 2023. With that much growth, a wealth of data is needed to train these systems’ pattern-recognition abilities for their intended uses. Just as construction professionals learn through experience, AI learns through analyzing past data and looking for patterns that human analysts may miss.

As a result, the data collection and analytics industry has seen a boom mirroring AI’s boom, leading major construction firms like Kiewit Corporation to invest in data. Kiewit, having acquired the software company InEight to develop solutions for its projects, has been investing in SAP’s ERP technologies to track and analyze its data for the past seven years. This data set has formed the basis of information InEight uses to develop its technology for Kiewit. Without it, Kiewit would be left grasping at straws.

Amidst the rapid innovation tech and AI are seeing, it’s no surprise that everyone is rushing to be the Steve Jobs of AI. However, instead of developing a tool with a specific end use in mind, many developers are throwing AI at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Such is the idea behind the expansion of IBM’s Watson, an illustrative AI example outside of the construction industry. Watson is an advanced supercomputer originally developed to play against humans in Jeopardy. After its success, IBM decided to develop the question-answering AI for a wide variety of commercial uses, including oncology. However, retrofitting Watson into these roles turned the computer into a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, having prescribed unsafe treatments for cancer patients.

Even when AI tools are developed perfectly and are masters of their assigned tasks, the industry still faces pushback. After all, if a robot does what a human does but better and longer than a human can, what happens to the human?

David Wilson, the chief innovation officer of Bechtel, told BIM+ that AI has a long way to go. “AI and the pending robotic apocalypse are very exaggerated at the moment,” he said. He added that while AI may be able to automate certain repetitive tasks, “I certainly don’t see a robotic army replacing humans anytime soon.”

He went on to state that he and developers like him consider the experience on-site to be the ultimate measure of a technology’s efficacy. “The goal is to make sure we are using technology innovation to get the right resources to the right person, at the right place, at the right time.” 

Technology and AI are unique in that they mimic abilities that thus far have been the sole trades of humans — critical thinking, pattern recognition and reading — but can integrate with machines and tools that have physical abilities beyond humans. Major players across all industries have begun to see the benefits of utilizing this new toolset, saving them time, money and materials. The construction industry is starting to embrace this wave of innovation, too, realizing that when these tools are focused and built with a problem in mind, they give PMs and engineers tools with the same level of specialization to work with as the crews have on site.

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david chipperfield opens the first new building on berlin’s museum island in almost a century

david chipperfield opens the first new building on berlin’s museum island in almost a century

the ‘james simon galerie’ — the first new building on berlin’s museum island in almost a century — has officially opened at the heart of the german capital. designed by david chipperfield architects, the structure provides service facilities for museum visitors as well as temporary exhibition space and an auditorium with around 300 seats. the building is named after one of the city’s most important patrons, who bequeathed his art collections and excavation findings to the berlin state museums at the beginning of the twentieth century. 

chipperfield james simon galerie

image © ute zscharnt for david chipperfield architects (also main image)

together with the ‘archaeological promenade’, the james simon galerie represents the heart of the masterplan for museum island developed in 1999. ‘the james-simon-galerie resolves logistical and infrastructural issues for the museum complex, and also fulfills an architectural vision for the museum island,’ says david chipperfield. ‘this highly symbolic location encouraged us to find a reading of the building that transcends its practical functions, becoming defined instead by its general formal characteristics and a looser idea of purpose.’

chipperfield james simon galerie

image © simon menges

‘the architectural language of the james simon galerie adopts existing elements of the museum island, primarily from the external architecture, such as built topography, colonnades and outdoor staircases, making reference to schinkel, stüler and the other architects involved in the creation of museum island,’ explains the design team. ‘the materiality of the building in reconstituted stone with natural stone aggregate blends in with the rich material palette of the museum island with its limestone, sandstone and rendered façades, while smooth in-situ concrete dominates the interior spaces.’

chipperfield james simon galerie

image © simon menges

after ascending three flights of wide steps, visitors enter the building at its upper level. here, a generous foyer provides direct access to the main exhibition floor of the pergamon museum. the foyer also encloses the cafeteria and opens out onto a grand terrace that runs the full length of the building. below, a mezzanine floor accommodates the museum shop, a large cloakroom, toilet facilities and lockers, while the temporary exhibition spaces and an auditorium are situated in the basement level. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

chipperfield james simon galerie

image © simon menges

chipperfield james simon galerie

image © ute zscharnt for david chipperfield architects



image © simon menges



image © simon menges



image © ute zscharnt for david chipperfield architects



image © ute zscharnt for david chipperfield architects



image © luna zscharnt for david chipperfield architects



image © simon menges



image © luna zscharnt for david chipperfield architects



image © ute zscharnt for david chipperfield architects



image © ute zscharnt for david chipperfield architects

project info:

project start: 1999/2007


construction start: 2009 (foundation pit), 2014 (shell and core)


completion: 2018


opening: 2019


gross floor area: 10,900 sqm


client: stiftung preußischer kulturbesitz represented by the bundesamt für bauwesen und raumordnung


project management: miriam plünnecke


project controlling: ernst &young real estate GmbH, berlin


kemmermann projektmanagement im bauwesen GmbH & co. KG, berlin

user: staatliche museen zu berlin

architect: david chipperfield architects berlin


partners: david chipperfield, martin reichert, alexander schwarz (design lead)


project architect: urs vogt (preparation and brief to technical design, site design supervision)

project team: mathias adler, alexander bellmann, thomas benk, martin benner, alexander corvinus, maryla duleba, matthias fiegl, anke fritzsch,

dirk gschwind, anne hengst, paul hillerkus, isabel karig, linda von karstedt, ludwig kauffmann, mikhail kornev, astrid kühn, thomas kupke,

sebastian von oppen, torsten richter, elke saleina, thomas schöpf, eberhard veit, anja wiedemann;

graphics, visualisation: dalia liksaite, jonas marx, antonia schlegel, ute zscharnt

in collaboration with —

quantity surveyor: christine kappei, stuttgart


executive architect: wenzel + wenzel freie architekten, berlin (procurement, construction supervision)

project management: christoph-phillip krinn

structural engineer: IGB ingenieurgruppe bauen, berlin


services engineer: INNIUS DÖ GmbH, berlin; inros lackner AG, rostock

building physics: müller-BBM GmbH, berlin


fire consultant: arge brandschutz NEG, berlin


lighting consultant: matí AG, adliswil


lighting design: conceptlicht GmbH, traunreut (outdoor lighting)

exhibition planning: duncan mccauley GmbH und co. KG, berlin (permanent exhibition)

signage: polyform – götzelmann middel GbR, berlin

landscape architect: levin monsigny landschaftsarchitekten, berlin

philip stevens I designboom

jul 04, 2019

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