Links for 10th February 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Singularly silly singularity

    " We have already experienced a 'singularity' — the combination of agriculture, urbanization, and literacy transformed our species, but did not result in a speciation event, nor did it have quite the abrupt change an Iron Age Kurzweil might have predicted. Probably the most radical evolutionary changes would be found in our immune systems as we adapted to new diets and pathogens, but people are still people, and we can find cultures living a neolithic life style and an information age lifestyle, and they can still communicate and even interbreed. Maybe this information age will have as dramatic and as important an effect on humanity as the invention of writing, but even if it does, don't expect a nerd rapture to come of it. Just more cool stuff, and a bigger, shinier, fancier playground for humanity to gambol about in." PZ Myers gives Kurzweil the boot.

    Tagged with: KurzweilsingularityreligionevolutionsciencePZ-Myers

  2. Genetic mapping of babies by 2019 will transform preventive medicine

    "The development, however, will raise difficult questions about privacy and access to individuals' genetic records. Many people may be reluctant to have their genome read, for fear that the results could be used against them by an employer or insurance company." But if I have nothing to hide, I have nothing to fear, AMIRITE?

    Tagged with: biologybioethicsgeneticsDNAsequencingmedicine

  3. Eating less meat could cut climate costs

    "Cutting back on beefburgers and bacon could wipe $20 trillion off the cost of fighting climate change. That's the dramatic conclusion of a study that totted up the economic costs of modern meat-heavy diets. The researchers involved say that reducing our intake of beef and pork would lead to the creation of a huge new carbon sink, as vegetation would thrive on unused farmland. The model takes into account farmland that is used to grow extra food to make up for the lost meat, but that requires less area, so some will be abandoned. Millions of tonnes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, would also be saved every year due to reduced emissions from farms."

    Tagged with: climateenvironmentdietfarmingmeat

  4. Personal Rapid Transit Startup

    "The concept isn't new–the basic idea goes back at least to the 1950s. But it hasn't caught on for a variety of reasons, including the cost of the initial systems and the difficulty of integrating them into existing cities."

    Tagged with: urbanrapidtransportPRTinfrastructurecityfuturism

  5. 361 Civilizations in the Galaxy?

    "… of course, there is still much we don’t know about exoplanets, considering that we have yet to observe a single terrestrial world around another star. But in our simulations we can use existing exoplanet data to provide a distribution of planetary parameters. These can then be applied in sampling, including factors such as the planetary mass function, the distribution of planetary orbital radii, and the metallicity of the host stars."

    Tagged with: spaceDrake-equationintelligentlifecivilisationSETIstatistics

  6. WordPress Plugin: The Attached Image

    "I’ve also made it so that you can choose which image is shown by making an image number 1 in the gallery image order. You can also choose between thumbnail, medium or full sized images to be shown, and you can choose whether to echo/return the img tag, or echo/return the url." Kudos to this guy, that's a handy plugin right there.

    Tagged with: wordpresswebdevpluginattachmentimagepost

  7. How To Turn a Netbook Into a Net Jukebox


    Tagged with: musicstreamingnetbooksoftware

  8. Nepal: Wireless in the Mountains

    "Mahabir says he used a home WiFi kit from America that was recommended for use within a radius of 4 meters. "I emailed the company and told them that I had done 22 kilometers with it," he says. "I was hoping they might donate some equipment — but they didn't believe what I told them."" A nice 'tech does good' story, wrapped up in a man-on-a-mission tale. Yay!

    Tagged with: Nepalcommunicationstechnologysocietyglobalizationpersistence

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