Tagged : lectures

Juan Enriquez - Ted lecture - Genomics

Mr. Gene: Juan Enriquez

What happens when we’re capable of copying nature and create life ourselves? Or what if we can fix everything that’s wrong with us, thus create the perfect human being? And what if all food we eat would be perfect? These questions, and some more, popped into my mind after yesterday’s lecture by Harvard fellow Juan Enriquez, which I was fortunate enough to be able to attend.

Juan Enriquez is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the economic and political impacts of life sciences (yep, that’s a mouthful). In short, he knows a lot about economy and genes. And he’s quite famous. I mean, this guy teaches at Harvard and spoke at TED four times, his talks have been watched by millions of people… Nonetheless, I didn’t know this guy at all. Until today.

Animals, tomatoes, car fuel

Juan Enriquez spoke about how bio-science begins to affect the way we live, work and do business. As an example, I already knew scientists are able to clone animals and genetically enhance food like tomatoes. But did you know scientists are already capable of growing their own liquid car fuel by using gene-technology?

In short, you’d buy a single bag of liquid gen-enhanced fuel. Then, this liquid multiplies and multiplies again, which goes on and on for ever. There’s no need to buy fuel anymore. Anyone can grow their own unlimited supply of fuel, which will dramatically change the entire oil industry (thus the world economic and political stability) in a single day. Do we still need the Persian Gulf? What happens to Russia’s economy? What are the (positive?) impacts for the environment? What happens when millions of oil-related jobs disappear?

This example makes it obvious that gene-technology could have a huge impact on our lives.

Grow your own teeth

Something unrelated to car fuel, but still a game changer; Juan Enriquez told us about growing teeth. We’re not born with teeth (which our mothers should be grateful to). Instead, while being a child, somehow teeth grow. Then, they fall out and grow again. But why can our teeth only grow two times? What if, by using gene-technology, we can grow our teeth a third and perhaps even fourth time? No more false teeth, but instead we all have the ‘real’ deal. This will change the entire dental industry for sure.

Juan told us another interesting development. As it turns out, scientists found a way to store digital data in living cells. I really don’t know how this works. But it’s fascinating for sure.

Should we try to copy nature?

After Juan Enriquez’ lecture, I wonder… Should we try to copy nature? Should we cure every incurable disease we know? Do we really need perfect teeth? Is the gen-perfected tomato that much better compared to an old fashioned tomato? And, what if everything else we eat would be perfect as well? Would that really increase our happiness and improve our way of life? Or is this just a way to make things more perfect, which enables us to control even more aspects of our own lives? After all, humans love to be in full control (and I’m no exception). On the other hand, no more diseases and an unlimited supply of car fuel. How cool is that?!

Truth to be told, I don’t know what to think of this gene-development. For now, let’s just say I had a fascinating lecture and lots to think about.

Did you know that 50 percent of the world's population lives on just 2 percent of the earth's land surface, but uses 75 percent of the earth's energy and is responsible for 80 percent of the world's pollution?

This is what starchitect Rem Koolhaas said during a lecture at Cornell University earlier this month.


I Don’t Like the Spotlight – the Photos

About two weeks ago I gave a presentation in mega church Bethel. A while ago I received several photos, made by photographer Jan Iepema. I’d like to share several of them with you.

For people interested. The photographer, Jan Iepema, used a D90 50mm 1.4.

Be sure to check out his Twitter and website.

I Don’t Like the Spotlight

Last week, I came across this article. It’s about ‘the secrets of success in life’. According to this article, if you want to have success in life, you should get out of our comfort zone. I don’t know if it’s true, but this week I did get out of my comfort zone… Big time!

I had to give a presentation about a design I made for mega church Bethel (in Dutch: Vrije Baptistengemeente Bethel, Drachten). During the past, I gave many presentations, but none of them had an attendance of 400 people. And none of them were filmed by five cameras. This one did. Oh, there was an official photographer also.

As the title of this post suggests, I don’t like the spotlight. At least, that’s what I thought. This is one of the reasons I’m director. I enjoy being backstage. But as (soon to be) architect, it’s important to be on stage. To give presentations. To be, sort of, a public figure.

Anyway, since I was quite nervous for this presentation, I decided to go for a bike ride during the entire afternoon. This cleared my mind and allowed me to prepare my lines. Which, I believe, went well. That evening, the moment I stepped on stage… after I did my first line… and second line… I started to really enjoy being on stage. I saw the audience was engaged. Overall, time flew by and the presentation went great! Maybe I do like the spotlight after all…

Below are some video stills (from the video recording).

Moment of truth… first seconds on stage…

…I’m still a little nervous…

… and more relaxed already…

… I even had a couch to sit back and relax…

… I gave a live virtual tour of the new design…

… And time’s up… Questions? Anyone?…

…Body language during the Q&A…

…More body language.

What Architecture Can Do

An interesting lecture by Rem Koolhaas, founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. He speaks about what architecture can do to the world. This includes topics like architecture, energy independence but also (European) politics.

Interestingly Rem Koolhaas lectures to non-architecture students.