A personal genome (dna),story

A personal genome (dna) story

A few years back I had my genome done by http://www.23andme.com. I am curious about most things and look for supporting empirical evidence just because, so it was a no brainer for me. 

The quantity and quality of the data that came back was both revealing and impressive to be sure. Ancestry, which is of course fun, as well as traits, health risks and drug responses feature as categories for the data. 

What really caught my attention initially was inherited conditions. Of the 50+ bad ones currently tracked by 23andme, no markers in my dna, however I am a carrier for hemochromatosis, an blood iron condition. 

Boom, daughters getting their dna done, mom and a few others as well. Relief, both daughters are condition free but carriers as well. 

I have been having fun with my dna for a good while, an example, I have: 

  • 3.0% Neanderthal in my dna; 
  • 12.6% chance of getting Alzheimer’s; 
  • a marker giving higher than average odds of living to a hundred or more; 

So, half wild and crazy, I am going to be around here for a while!

Recently, our (the girl from Ipanema and myself) oldest daughter developed multiple breast lumps and other conditions simultaneously. 

Dads do what dads do. While on the plane scouring dear daughter’s dna, her mother’s dna and my mother’s dna on the iPad for information for the the doctors, a feeling of confidence came over me. The doctors concurred, the tests became more specific and dear daughter has an encouraging prognosis. 

Words do not do justice to watching the radiant faces of one’s daughter and partner emerging from breast cancer test results. Gratitude to 23andme, doctors, daughter and partner! 

A little caveat here. The type of dna testing done at 23andme is entry level at an entry level price of around $200. Further more detailed and complete genetic testing, if required, would be closer to $1000 per. As with anything digital such as dna, the price performance decreases exponentiallyMas per Moore’s Law. It will get cheaper soon. By 2025: $10 all in. 

A parting thought: 

Maternal Line = U4a1, Paternal Line = R1b1b2a1a2f* 

Which means: 

…..out of africa…..a long sojourn in western europe…..a couple of decades in north america…..almost 4 decades exploring the world………..space next….

Yes, the tinker (gypsy) gene is in my dna. 

So anyway, a personal dna story seasoned old roughneck                                                            ‘ddps1.31.05.02015 

The question of everything

2025: disrupt 2 thrive

The question of everything

A contemplation on the need to write new rules to be able to change the world for the better led to a contemplation on writing new math and whether there really is a difference between writing new rules and new math.

Writing new math to solve astrophysics conundrums is commonplace to the likes of Dr. Lawrence Krauss, Dr. Neil Tyson, Dr. Radek Zalenka and Dr. Rodney Mackay.

New math then:

1     big hairy assed grand challenge for humanity

+ 1     exponential technology toolbox

+ 1     percent of GDP

= 3     = phase 1: empowered crowd in 2025 ready for phase 2 to 2050 and beyond

+ 1      percent of GDP

= 4     = phase 2: done deal, pretty much everything is happening

…4                   2


.:.        42 = everything

Col Shepherd and The…

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The question of everything

The question of everything

A contemplation on the need to write new rules to be able to change the world for the better led to a contemplation on writing new math and whether there really is a difference between writing new rules and new math.

Writing new math to solve astrophysics conundrums is commonplace to the likes of Dr. Lawrence Krauss, Dr. Neil Tyson, Dr. Radek Zalenka and Dr. Rodney Mackay.

New math then:

1     big hairy assed grand challenge for humanity

+ 1     exponential technology toolbox

+ 1     percent of GDP

= 3     = phase 1: empowered crowd in 2025 ready for phase 2 to 2050 and beyond

+ 1      percent of GDP

= 4     = phase 2: done deal, pretty much everything is happening

…4                   2


.:.        42 = everything

Col Shepherd and The Stargate Atlantis team were right all along:

 The answer to the question of everything really is 42.


So anyway, a bit of new roughneck math


A futuristic story about Silicon Valley and Rio de Janeiro

A futuristic story about Silicon Valley and Rio de Janeiro

With long and well-storied history, today Silicon Valley appears to be franchising globally. Differing names and varying messages, still (silicon valleys) complete with widening circles of resource and influence and the best damn toolbox humanity ever created, the growing collection of exponential technology tools.

To many observers, the promise of exponential technologies out of Silicon Valley seems limited to gadgets, drones, riches for someone and visions of a grand long term techno-future. Yet with the power of the exponential toolbox, is there anything really interesting coming out of the world’s silicon valleys in 2015?

Indeed there just might be something else. A powerful but narrowly broadcast voice speaks to solving humanity’s grand challenges, food, water and energy being front runners. This voice comes in part from those that can mobilize exponential tools and exponential people, yet the voice and its disruptive message still seek global impact, exponential impact.

Humanity’s Grand Challenges Inc/Org might serve to describe this voice, keeping it simple for thinking purposes (siliconvalley.org).

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro promise to be widely watched television globally for a number of reasons including: it is Rio, unprecedented promotion, it is Rio, almost ubiquitous global television or streaming, it is Rio, futebol (soccer), it is Rio.

The Olympics might be the only feel good story around for much of the world in need of a bit of a distraction in the summer of 2016. And it is Rio.

The world’s cameras and televisions, (the worlds eyes) will be in Rio during the Olympics looking for a feel good story. Smells of opportunity for siliconvalley.org.

As things stand, when the worlds eyes arrive, fine and grand sporting facilities at considerable cost to the Brazilian national wealth in the heart of Rio will dominate in the spectacular view. Early on, the worlds eyes will also see the nearby beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema and Barra as well as povo, cultura, samba, cerveja and churrasco.

In time the world eyes will gaze over to and up the hills immediately behind the beauty to poverty known as Favela da Rocinha, the largest of Brazil’s ~15,000 favelas populated by ~15million soccer watching fans. The officially 65,000, unofficially many times that, occupants of Rocinha live tough within eyesight of both the affluence and the opulence of the Olympic venues. As the worlds eyes tepidly walk into Rocinha, as they surely will, the feel good story the world desires starts feeling not quite so good. People are worried!

On the other hand, if the worlds eyes walked into Favela da Rocinha…..and, as an illustrative example:

Were met by smiling enthusiastic energetic guides from Rocinha…..and the tour starts.

Visibly and immediately, things are getting done, things are being built, everyone looks industriously busy. Smartphones, tablets and wifi are ubiquitous, people are communicating, the place is humming…..this feels good!

Turning a corner, rows of vertical gardens appear growing all manner of staple vegetables and exotic fruits. ‘Modular water filtration and recycling units and aquaponics’ explains the guide ‘are part of the vertical garden systems and soon the entire eco-system of Rocinha. It will be all solar powered with the very latest in technology as you can see by what we have done so far.’

A hub of activity can be seen around a set of small shops. Looking closer, 3d printers, a prototype 4d printer, cnc machines, 3d digital design equipment, servicebots, like Jim Newton’s Techshop only moda Rocinha. ‘A nossa fabrica additiva’ our additive factory explains the guide, ‘Ideas become reality almost overnight’.

The world’s cameras grow curious,’just how does such advanced technology get into the hands of these humble people, how did they learn to use these technologies, to build, to modernize, to grow gardens vertically, to clean up their water system. And the health care system they are building!’

A guide leads the worlds eyes further up the hill to to a long narrow simple building with several marked doors, some with recognizable logos . ‘A nossa embaixada’ beams the guide with pride.

Pointing past the NGO doors to a recent futuristic looking add-on to the building, over the door for the world eyes to see: siliconvalley.org

So anyway, just a futuristic story from a seasoned old roughneck.







Crowd Power (A bit of roughneck philosophy)

Crowd Power (A little roughneck philosophy)

The crowd is made up of us, almost 3 billion humans interactively connected, to varying degrees by the internet and smartphone cell coverage. Many of us, though by no means all, are using the power of the connected crowd mostly for self interest and triviality. Together with nearly 13 billion sensors and tech tools from home alarms to rhino protecting drones we form the Internet of everything (IoE).

Over the course of the next five years to ~2020, the crowd will double to about six billion people connected by and to the IoE, ~50 billion people, sensors, tech tools and toys.

As smartphones, the IoE and their successors become ubiquitous, by 2025, ~8 billion people will be hyper-connected at speeds of at least 1Mbps. Around 5 billion new crowd members, almost 200% growth in a decade. Powerful, very powerful!

These new crowd members, ~80-90% impoverished, will likely join the crowd motivated differently than the first couple of billion. Many will experience growth in access to knowledge and information at an exponential pace while living without basic human necessities and dignity.

Unprecedented awareness of the very latest in interests, innovation and exponential technology will come with equal awareness of the distant abundance of the few.

If this awareness is not supported with benevolent leadership, substance and practical assistance, as this emerging evolutionary entity matures, becomes self aware and powerful, its personality is likely to emulate that of its mentorship or worse. Much worse.

Vision2025 is about: ‘an 8 billion strong hyper-connected, hyper-cooperative, hyper-productive crowd of humane personality working to build and do amazing things and experiences with increasingly amazing technologies and growing abundance’.


If the crowd is not on board and in on it well before 2025, the future may not be so bright. The harder road to the future.

Humanity needs to scale the democratization and demonetization of the fruits of its labors and disruptive exponential technologies. The easier road to the future.


Space currents

Space currents

Techno-future once a dream;
Humanity now, just years short of superman.

Nano precision synthetic bionics;
Augmented hyper-connected mind;
Better than before. Way better. Superman.

Chimps circa 98dna, simple object recognition;
Humans circa 99dna, hubble telescopes and pluto mission;
Superman circa 100dna, stealing fire.

Knock, knock….knock, knock,
reputation by association, absence of evidence,
dichotomous message, condescending intonation.

Young superman, young superman,
fair winds….trailing space currents young superman,

young superman, young superman,
no fire for stealing here young superman,

young superman, young superman,
fair winds………….………..trailing space currents……………………………………………………………………………


A short story about a big contrast

A short story about a big contrast

Being invited as a guest to listen in on one of the planet’s greatest think tanks discuss humanity’s future is indeed a rare occasion and privilege.

800+ intelligentsia debating humanity’s future….with heart palpitating and backside puckering….what was to be discovered from listening in? Some really interesting thoughts to be sure, however the two topical postings of the day, by the same author no less, were quite a stunning contrast.

One post spoke of spinning theory on humanity’s future way way out there, like more than 100 years out there. The other post lamented the burden of the intellectual in being unable capture the attention of and motivate the masses to the wonders of the future, the future seemingly beginning ~2045.

Advice was sought from Socrates before resignation set in, grinding away at sharpening the science and rhetoric by the intellectual, same ol’ same ol’, seemingly the only way forward. Real inspiring stuff.

One old roughneck who was supposed to be just listening just couldn’t resist, without much thinking about who all might be listening in, piped up with 2 cents worth mostly as follows: (names, titles and places changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike).

“Dear A Person,

……. I am thoroughly enjoying reading your posts and those of your learned colleagues.

I was struck by the contrast between this XXXXX post and your YYYYY post. At the risk of breaching protocol, I must ask your indulgence for an observation or two from a layman’s perspective followed with a question or two.

You speak of difficulty in capturing the crowd’s attention. That to me would not necessarily suggest that the science and rhetoric were dull. It would rather suggest that the message is dull. If the crowd cannot feel the message, their attention span will be short. A sharp message captures the crowd’s attention, the science underpins it and the rhetoric fuels it.

I think that esteemed astrophysicist and story teller Neil Degrasse Tyson describes articulately what it takes to capture the crowd’s attention and make big things happen.  In his poorly attended appeal to a congressional committee on NASA’s behalf, he demonstrated the power of a generational vision with the man on the moon mission that spurred decades of extraordinary growth. Mr. Tyson contends that when manned space exploration stopped, the crowd could no longer feel the message and the vision died. Mr. Tyson proposes that a new manned exploration space mission and 1% of GDP will do it all again.

In the 60’s, the crowd was sporadically connected in a one way conversation. Today, the crowd is almost 3 billion strong, by 2025 everyone will be interconnected with multi-level conversational tools. The moon has been done, Mars is too far away to feel for most, I would suggest that it is going to take something completely different and back here on earth to inspire and craft a generational vision capable of capturing the crowd’s attention and motivating the masses such as you desire in this XXXXX post.

Contemplating and theory spinning on the YYYYY would seem to require having gone way up and way out there, way past (for simplicity) 2045 and way above 30,000 feet to look for plausible evidence one way or the other. At some point way out there, things must seem pretty stable and good for humanity, good enough to theorize further about YYYYY and such.

My questions would then be something like this:

When traveling back from such far reaching success scenarios, one could expect to see a rough best path and a few required milestones between then and present day. I would guess that you and others read and studied enough to be able to look down and back at things from those heights and distances would have been interested in having a look see at  ~2025 on the way past.

Presuming that your future success case would mean seeing a success case in 2025 as well, and presuming that the connected crowd, ~8 billion by then, would have had to unite in a major way to support a success case in 2025:

What are the 3 most visible or even shockingly visible societal changes seen between your 2025 view and present day?

Is there a sharp message and generational vision of sufficiently disruptive (make it all happen) amplitude to to be found by looking at studied views of 2025 with the scope pointed at ‘what has to happen to make this view a reality?’ 

Can those insights, curated for varying segments of society, and shared with the crowd over a broad bandwidth breed the tipping point you search for in YYYYY …..”

So, just a short story from a seasoned old roughneck…..will A. Person write a sequel?

A thought on jobs versus work in the oil patch

A thought on jobs versus work in the oil patch

Recently a LinkedIn colleague, let’s call him ‘Sloaner’, while expressing gratitude for birthday wishes, commented ‘now if I could only get a job’.

Many good and decent men in the oil & gas industry echo Sloaner’s sentiments. Men who wear the badge of honor ‘once a roughneck always a roughneck’ cannot find a job for love nor money in the patch.

Players in the energy industry who look out 10, 20 and 30 years from now realize that, while oil & gas will recover somewhat in the medium term, there will never again be jobs a plenty in patch. Exponential growth in technologies, particularly AI, robotics and alternative energies will ensure that.

As an example: the price performance of solar power and battery storage at scale continues to drop exponentially as depicted in this chart compiled by esteemed author, speaker and futurist Ramez Naam.


Saudi Arabian officials have gone on record with the understanding that in the not distant future, there will be a lot oil left in the ground and only a niche market (I.e. petrochemicals, derivatives, collector cars and Harleys) interested in it. In that context, their current policy of produce and sell all that they can, no matter what the price, makes some sense.

Robotics and AI are capturing the attention of the public square of the crowd for fear of losing jobs. Jobs will be lost, many jobs will be lost and that, while painful in the near term, is the good news.

Jobs are being replaced by work. Let’s look out just 10 years to ~2025. The chart above paints a bleak picture for oil being competitive, it gets worse fast as energy becomes less and less scarce.

Throughout recorded history, humanity’s economic model has been based around scarcity. Exponential growth in technology is changing that paradigm from scarcity to abundance.

Amongst many other technologies, hydroponics, aquaponics, vertical agriculture, solar energy, H2O recycling and 3d printing are all contributing to bringing abundance to what was once scarce. Just 8 years ago, the first iPhone sold for $600, now a smartphone can be purchased (without a plan) for $75. In 2025, if still around, a smartphone will be free to all.

This same exponential model applies to agricultural technology and energy going forward.

More visible, touchable and (feelable) change is coming to humanity in the next decade than has occurred in the last 4 decades at least. Disruption will be the norm however exponential growth in abundance will mean that more and more people will no longer will have use for a job. People will increasingly be able to work at the pursuit of their passions.

Work could look like: ‘Earthquake in Nepal, let’s grab some people and stuff and go help out. While there, may as well slip on the exoskeleton and climb to the top of Everest’, or…..

It will be a very different world in 2025. Jobs will still be around, maybe flipping burgers alongside a robot. Most of humanity will be pursuing their passions, sometimes known as work but not known as a job. Sometimes remunerated, sometimes not.

Increasingly, and by 2025 very noticeably, the pursuit of personal wealth will become so last century, the pursuit communal wealth will be far more enriching and rewarding. ~8 billion people connected and sharing in humanity’s knowledge, innovation and increasing abundance in 2025 means that there will be lots of work out there for anyone wants it. By then, jobs will no longer be an efficient way to put milk and bread on the table.

This new paradigm is already taking shape. Corporations, institutions, foundations and think tanks have begun looking for people interested in work, interesting challenging work, who are disinterested in a job but very interested in doing something meaningful for humanity using the exponential technology toolbox.

People are being offered an early look at the abundance of the future while doing some good to ensure that future is all that it can be for everyone.  ‘With family and loved ones are taken care of with modest comfort and dignity and in case of emergency, go out there, freelance, hook up with like-minded people and figure out how to create more abundance and communal wealth’.

Forward looking corporations thinking in these terms include oil & gas companies. Others are having to re-evaluate their 10, 20 and 30 year projections. Linear projections of the future are mostly wrong and fatal, exponential projections are the tools for survival in today’s business world and exponential technologies the toolbox for success.

Sloaner, dude. You will eventually find a job. Or you could take a real good hard look 10 years out, find that something that interests the hell out of you and then work your way back to today leaving a bit of a path to follow. With that kind of perspective, odds are that clarity and purpose will come when looking back out from 2015 for work.

A really good resource for helping in taking that longer view http://www.rameznaam.com.

Anyhow, just a thought from a seasoned roughneck.


A really good resource for help in taking that longer view:- www.rameznaam.com

A thought on Bitcoin, sperm and nukes

A thought on Bitcoin, sperm and nukes

Bitcoin runs on an open digital platform and system called blockchain invented by Satoshi Nakamoto specifically to enable another invention of his, Bitcoin.

Bitcoin gets it speed, simplicity and efficiency of transaction from blockchain. Bitcoin gets its trust, transparency and global reach from the blockchain system because each transaction must be validated and authenticated by every identity or node in the system, worldwide. If one node says ‘something wrong here’, the transaction halts.

The open source Blockchain system is structured such that it incentivizes good behaviour and is intolerant of foul play and is very scalable.

Any digital asset, including other currencies can run on the Blockchain ecosystem!

The challenges facing humanity’s sperm bank are eloquently explained by science writer Steven Kotler in his book Tomorrowland, pages 249 – 262.

In order to survive and thrive as intended, humanity’s sperm bank appears to require 3 things:

  • cradle to grave traceability and authentication of pertinent data including genetic markers of donor and sperm and the donor process;
  • anonymity for the donor;
  • A trusted self-enforcing limitation of the quantity of individual donor sperm batches allowed into the system, to ensure diversity in the gene pool.

Blockchain achieves all of this simply and effectively in a single system of records, organization, trust and self governance.

A batch of sperm is not digital but it does have a unique digital signature, therefore the digital signature of the sperm becomes the digital asset that can be managed and tracked throughout its lifecycle with Blockchain.

When a batch of sperm enters the sperm bank, a digital transaction is created just as with Bitcoin. All of the data associated with that batch is digitized and super compressed into metadata or a hash.

This hash includes everything except the donor’s identity and also has a unique digital signature. The hash is attached to the transaction which is then time stamped, validated and authenticated by the entire open ecosystem.

At each sequential event in a sperm batch lifecycle (I.e. impregnation, birth, health complication, end of life) a hash is created with the relevant data and added to the transaction chain in a new block. Again time stamped, validated and authenticated. The chain continues until the donor sperm life cycle has been terminated.

Cradle to grave authenticated traceable and transparent data and tracking on each batch of sperm that enters the sperm bank is not a challenge with a blockchain system. Neither is donor anonymity or birth cap triggers forcing donor and batch retirement from the system and sperm bank.

Nukes. Batches of plutonium also have a unique digital signature……

Anyhow, just a thought from a seasoned roughneck.


California Cryonics: cryobank.com

Easy to understand audio-visual on how blockchain works: https://www.khanacademy.org/economics-finance-domain/core-finance/money-and-banking/bitcoin/v/bitcoin-security-of-transaction-block-chains

Article on the invention of blockchain: https://medium.com/@liamzebedee/the-invention-of-the-blockchain-fe25be0caebc

Article on blockchain and future of the global financial system: https://medium.com/@adamludwin/wall-street-meet-block-chain-b2747909eb90

Devon Gundy of chain.com being interviewed on blockchain: http://a36.ontraport.com/c/s/U9Q/Jlev/6/jv/aQW/68Ce3C/vkIPv7ZZEb


A short thought on AI

A short thought on AI

The debate in the public square of the crowd appears to be less about the inevitability of powerful AI and more about who will be at the control levers of the future.

For those aware of AI and looking up and forward at it and the future, there appears to be two ways this can go:

  • the power of AI is going to be with the few or AI itself, screwed again; or
  • the power of AI will be in the hands of the ~8 billion strong crowd by 2025 and things might be alright after all.

Those that are able to look down and back at things largely concur, unless the crowd is involved and on board, things could get a bit ugly and time is short.

More disruptive change is coming in the next decade than the last 4 decades combined.

Only a small fraction of the crowd have heard of AI. How do you give people AI when they do not understand it, are not comfortable with it and are more concerned with putting food in their bellies?

The challenge then becomes, how to start a conversation and harness the power of AI to care and provide for the basic needs and dignities of the crowd thereby winning the debate.

Is that not what this conversation is about?

Anyhow, just a short thought from a seasoned old roughneck.