Salutations everybodee.

I’m currently sitting in San Francisco Coffee on Dekalb Ave. here in Atlanta, finishing up this TSoGS post, and reveling in the miracle that is good espresso. I just overheard the barista say,

“Sheepish. I love that word — sheepish.”

The gentleman she’s talking to just laughed and is shaking his head a little bit; not out of any kind of disbelief, but rather out of amusement.


“Because,” she just replied, “it’s the kind of word you use when you really want to impress someone with how embarrassed you are.”

My good friends, when it comes to this latest TSoGS post I am exactly the opposite of sheepish. Why I am positively unregenerate when it comes to what I want to share with you!

• The Cuban-Parisian sister duo of Ibeyi has infiltrated my brain and I cannot stop listening to their newest album. The album in its entirety was just released this week; I’ve been relegated to listening to just a few songs of theirs for a few weeks now. SO GOOD. Go get it — seriously. Click here.

• Nicholas Negroponte’s prediction of nanobots is fascinating. The idea that I could learn French merely because nanobots programmed with french language could go to my brain and deposit the information there is equal parts amazing and disturbing. If nanobots can “teach” humans things without any real effort on the part of the human utilizing them, would that mean respect of skill in something would disappear entirely? Would natural ability ever be good enough? Are these nanobots merely performance enhancements for the brain? Would there be a rise of “organic” or “biological” schools? I have all the questions! What do you think?

• Zack gave the book What If? to me for Christmas and I love it. If you love to read, are intrigued by scientific answers to impossible situations (e.g. “How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?”), and are a fan of well drawn stick figures then click on the picture of me holding said book below and check it out.

• My friend, Carrie Hilgert, drew Myrtle the Ostrich a few weeks ago and Myrtle kicks ass. Please click on Myrtle’s picture to read more about her and, if you are so inclined you can get a t-shirt, too. Currently Carrie is only selling women’s sizes so if you’re a woman, or you know a woman, or you like to wear women’s clothing — you should get one. *UPDATE* Carrie has informed me that she is also selling unisex shirts. So now no one has any excuses because — are you unisex? Yes. Yes of course you are.

• I think that this TSoGS Think section is my favorite Think section I’ve ever wanted you to think about. It’s actually a two part article and I DEVOURED IT. Not literally. That would be hard. Maybe, one day, when Negroponte’s nanobots come along I could, theoretically, devour nanobots programmed with this article, and then they would get into my blood and then into my brain and BOOM I would know it. However, I encourage you to read the article now while you can still pat yourself on the back for being an organic and biological human being who can still read on your own thank you very much.


So what do you think, you guys? Do you have anything to add? Do you think any of this stuff isn’t good? No. No of course you don’t. Because that would mean you’re crazy and the rest of us would all be very sad for you. 😉




:: Your Good Stuff For Today and Always::

Listen: Ibeyi – “Ghosts”

Watch:  Nicholas Negroponte: Nanobots in Your Brain Could Be the Future of Learning


Read: What if? By Randall Munroe

what if



See: Carrie Hilgert – Myrtle the Ostrich


Think: The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence By Tim Urban


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  1. Andy

    You are a wonderful human, as is Zack of course – but I’m glad to see another installment from you. I know life gets crazy and then throw 4 offspring into the mix …. Any who, I have discovered new music through some of your posts; as well as your own music from a couple/few years ago – I love it. Your voice is extremely easy to listen to. That’s it. Just wanted to give you a cheesy high five infused with awesomeness. A bit random I know (on my part), but whatev.

    • Meghan Arias

      Why, thank you very much, Andy! Awesome infused cheesy high fives are divine.

      • Richard Wintle

        If I can jump on this particular bandwagon… “Bullshop” and your cover of “Spanish Bombs” are permanently on my iPod. Wonderful music Meghan, bravo.

        • Meghan Arias

          Well gosh darnit, Richard. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Csaba Molnar

    The music is awesome! Thank you 🙂

    (I’m a music and concert photographer. Mostly)

  3. jarWoodson

    OMG, Lady….this post is filled to the rim with wondrous quality goodness!

    *big bear hug*


    • Meghan Arias

      *big panda bear hug back*

      (I specified my bear. That isn’t really a bear. But still I specifically specified. What kind of bear is your bear?)

    • Meghan Arias

      It, and he, really are so fandamntastic.

  4. Richard Wintle

    “What If” <—- YES, that! 😀

    Friends gave this to my son for Christmas and he devoured it. His chuckles lured me and I did the same. Now it's in my wife's "to read" pile.

    xkcd is a brilliant webcomic but this book takes it to a whole new level. The amount of research that's gone into the answers is amazing. I can't think of another science book I've read that is so fun and engaging… and I've read a lot (yadda yadda day job, etc.).

    • Richard Wintle

      P.S. All the cool and fun stuff in this post is working against my dark ‘n moody attempts for DEDPXL08. Drat it. 😉

      • Meghan Arias

        Hmmmm. Let’s see.

        I’ve got it.

        Imagine yourself wearing a sackcloth and putting ashes on your head. Or – worse – that you’ve gone to get your chocolate chip cookies out of the oven only to realize they’ve burned beyond edibleness. Or – WORSE THAN THAT – that you’ve woken up and found out that there isn’t any coffee in the house.

        • Richard Wintle

          *mutter mutter grumble bitch complain whine*

          Thanks Meghan, that did the trick. Grrr. :{

  5. Tim

    Meghan – to continue your theme, give this a read:

    https:[email protected][email protected]afd65e26

  6. Ellen


    You are the mega Meg of new ideas and information. Thanks for continually introducing us to these wonderful gems and opening up new doors of exploration. Ibeyi is amazing.

    I got pulled down the Nicholas Negroponte rabbit hole (I seem spend a lot of time down there lately especially when posts and questions such as yours are so enticing).

    Your comment about nanotechnology being equal parts amazing and disturbing really resonated with me. So, to wrap my mind around this issue, I had to look at the mental landscape of the rabbit hole. Sadly, though, I found more questions and few answers. So here goes.

    First, I was curious to know the purpose and function of nanotechnology. Fundamental to nanoscience and nanotechnology is its ability to help us understand and control matter at the molecular and atomic levels ( Sounds so simple.

    I believe that in and of itself nanotechnology is neither good nor bad. Its meaning is derived when humans decide its purpose, then act upon it with their intentions. For example, money is a method of exchange and has no meaning other than what we decide it to be. It can be used to feed, cloth and house our families; for charitable purposes and for research to solve health problems. On the other hand, it can be used to support addictive behaviors and to fund diverse nefarious activities. So is money good or is it bad? Is it amazing or is it disturbing?

    The whole notion of being able to instantaneously gain new knowledge and skills is so enticing. No more arduous homework, or time spent buildings skills, or racking our brains to solve problems. We could evolve intellectually. But there’s also a downside. In Negroponte’s scenario, it’s not only “matter” that’s being controlled, it’s information. For me this opens a huge can of worms. If we can learn French from programmed nanobots, what’s to prevent someone from embedding a program that implants various religious, cultural and/or political ideologies without our knowledge or consent?

    On the upside, nanobots could implant information from academic areas and disciplines such as: social sciences, humanities, medicine, engineering, math, music, art, sports, natural sciences, business, religions, cultures, economics, as well as professional and career information, etc. Wow, we could become walking encyclopedias. But even when one gains this knowledge, there comes a time when it’s got to be applied. So for me, this nano-learning is incomplete, because nanobots cannot supply the experience necessary to gain mastery in any of these areas. It would be like me reading a book on Olympic figure skating, then expecting to go out on the ice and skate like a gold medalist.

    In addition to your questions, there are other implications to consider as well. What are the ethical issues? Who controls the message about nanotechnology? Who decides which individuals get access to nano-information and the abilities/skills they impart? What happens to individual thought processes and choice? What happens to learning from our mistakes? What happens to our sense of accomplishment? What happens to creativity and entrepreneurship? What happens to society/individuals if our education is dependent on controlled sources (nanobots)? Who gets to be the architect of this new learning utopia that’s being proposed? What reactions will the body have when these foreign substances are interjected into our bodies? Will individuals be beneficiaries or victims of nanotechnology?

    My apologies Meg, rather than answering your questions, I’ve added to them. There are so many more we could ask. Thanks for sharing this great topic.


    P.S. Some night, if you’re having trouble sleeping, try reading this 2003 scientific paper written by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Commerce about the implications of blending nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science to improve human performance. I’ve only read a teeny, tiny, nano-byte portion, but it’s eye opening and these ideas, and more, are already on the drawing board.

    • Meghan Arias


      THANK YOU! Never apologize for adding more questions, I LOVE QUESTIONS. My favorite word is, “Why?” Really. Ask Zack. It drives him nuts. 😉 All of the questions you asked up there are questions, I too, am wondering about. I just didn’t want to hijack the whole TSoGS post with the rise of A.I. and the potential for nanotechnology. However, what DIDN’T occur to me was the notion that just because one had information about something it wouldn’t necessarily mean that one would then have the mastery. And YES, the whole “who would be in control and how would this be monitored” thing is frightening to me. Again, thank you for commenting. I live for conversations like this. I’m definitely going to read the article you suggested.

      • Zack Arias

        Her favorite word is why.

        It drives me nuts.

        All of this is true.



  7. Krups

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  8. Stefan

    Hey Meg, thank you for the awesome TSoGS posts. I always love to discover what’s in these posts.

    I came across this video and thought you might like it (I didn’t create it, it was shared on a mountain biking forum). The audio is well done imho.

  9. Kondome

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