French Polynesia could become home to the Seasteading Institute’s first floating city after presidential meeting

The Seasteading Institute has announced that it met with Édouard Fritch, the President of French Polynesia, in order to discuss the development of a floating city in the region.

The meeting, held on Friday, was attended by an international delegation from the Institute and followed a tour of several potential sites as well as meetings with other officials.

The delegation has looked at the French Polynesian islands of Tahiti, Tupai, and Raiatea as possible locations for the Seasteading and met with Teva Rohfristch, Minister for Economic Recovery, the Blue Economy and Digital Policy, Sylviane Terooatea, Mayor of Raiatea, and Gaston Tong Sang, former president and Mayor of Bora Bora and Tupai.

The tour was part of the Seasteading Institute’s hope to negotiate a Special Economic Zone with French Polynesia in order to construct one of their floating cities in the region.

seastead-meeting

“We look forward to working with French Polynesia to develop floating islands that will benefit our host country and our international community of seasteaders,” said Randolph Hencken, executive director of the Seasteading Institute.

“With numerous protected waters where we could station the first pilot platforms, French Polynesia offers many optimal locations for seasteading from an engineering point of view.”

The Institute has already undertaken tests of its design for the floating platforms that will ultimately make up the city and proved that, provided the Seasteading was located in a protected area of the sea, it would be perfectly buoyant.

Given their plans to begin construction of the first such city within four years, the securing of a location for the city has been a vital step that has thus far eluded the Institute. The visit to French Polynesia however, seems promising in the fit between the project’s goals and the needs of the nation.

Images courtesy of The Seasteading Institute

Images courtesy of The Seasteading Institute

From an engineering standpoint, the location is ideal due to its range of protected waters while the Polynesian people would benefit from the economic possibilities offered by the Seasteading as well as the potential solutions it offers to rising sea levels.

If approved, the Polynesian platforms will serve as a test pilot in order to prove the final constructed model, as well as showcasing the actual functioning of the Seasteading as a city in collaboration with the host nation.

Former Minister of Tourism for French Polynesia Marc Collins expressed his support for The Seasteading Institute’s vision.

“Polynesian culture has a long history of seafaring across the Pacific Ocean that will contribute to this ambitious project,” he said.

“More than most nations, our islands are impacted by rising sea levels, and resilient floating islands could be one tangible solution for us to maintain our populations anchored to their islands.  For many Polynesians, leaving our islands is not an option.”

Atari tells fans its new Ataribox console will arrive in late 2018

Atari has revealed more details about its Ataribox videogame console today, with the company disclosing that the console will ship in late 2018 for somewhere between $249 and $299.

Atari says that it will launch the Ataribox on Indiegogo this autumn.

The company said it chose to launch the console in this way because it wants fans to be part of the launch, be able to gain access to early and special editions, as well as to make the Atari community “active partners” in the rollout of Ataribox.

“I was blown away when a 12-year-old knew every single game Atari had published. That’s brand magic. We’re coming in like a startup with a legacy,” said Ataribox creator and general manager Feargal Mac in an interview with VentureBeat.

“We’ve attracted a lot of interest, and AMD showed a lot of interest in supporting us and working with us. With Indiegogo, we also have a strong partnership.”

Images courtesy of Atari

Atari also revealed that its new console will come loaded with “tons of classic Atari retro games”, and the company is also working on developing current titles with a range of studios.

The Ataribox will be powered by an AMD customised processor, with Radeon Graphics technology, and will run Linux, with a customised, easy-to-use user interface.

The company believes this approach will mean that, as well as being a gaming device, the Ataribox will also be able to service as a complete entertainment unit that delivers a full PC experience for the TV, bringing users streaming, applications, social, browsing and music.

“People are used to the flexibility of a PC, but most connected TV devices have closed systems and content stores,” Mac said. “We wanted to create a killer TV product where people can game, stream and browse with as much freedom as possible, including accessing pre-owned games from other content providers.”

In previous releases, Atari has said that it would make two editions of its new console available: a wood edition and a black and red version.

After being asked by many fans, the company has revealed that the wood edition will be made from real wood.

Atari has asked that fans let it know what they think of the new console via its social channels

Scientists, software developers and artists have begun using VR to visualise genes and predict disease

A group of scientists, software developers and artists have taken to using virtual reality (VR) technology to visualise complex interactions between genes and their regulatory elements.

The team, which comprises of members from Oxford University, Universita’ di Napoli and Goldsmiths, University of London, have been using VR to visualise simulations of a composite of data from genome sequencing, data on the interactions of DNA and microscopy data.

When all this data is combined the team are provided with an interactive, 3D image that shows where different regions of the genome sit relative to others, and how they interact with each other.

“Being able to visualise such data is important because the human brain is very good at pattern recognition – we tend to think visually,” said Stephen Taylor, head of the Computational Biology Research Group at Oxford’s MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM).

“It began at a conference back in 2014 when we saw a demonstration by researchers from Goldsmiths who had used software called CSynth to model proteins in three dimensions. We began working with them, feeding in seemingly incomprehensible information derived from our studies of the human alpha globin gene cluster and we were amazed that what we saw on the screen was an instantly recognisable model.”

The team believe that being able to visualise the interactions between genes and their regulatory elements will allow them to understand the basis of human genetic diseases, and are currently applying their techniques to study genetic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and multiple sclerosis.

“Our ultimate aim in this area is to correct the faulty gene or its regulatory elements and be able to re-introduce the corrected cells into a patient’s bone marrow: to perfect this we have to fully understand how genes and their regulatory elements interact with one another” said Professor Doug Higgs, a principal researcher at the WIMM.

“Having virtual reality tools like this will enable researchers to efficiently combine their data to gain a much broader understanding of how the organisation of the genome affects gene expression, and how mutations and variants affect such interactions.”

There are around 37 trillion cells in the average adult human body, and each cell contains two meters of DNA tightly packed into its nucleus.

While the technology to sequence genomes is well established, it has been shown that the manner in which DNA is folded within each cell affects how genes are expressed.

“There are more than three billion base pairs in the human genome, and a change in just one of these can cause a problem. As a model we’ve been looking at the human alpha globin gene cluster to understand how variants in genes and their regulatory elements may cause human genetic disease,” said Prof Jim Hughes, associate professor of Genome Biology at Oxford University.