Links for 14th May 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. The Power Of One

    "New acts see value in giving away their music. And if you control it, you’ve got the right. How long until there’s enough unfettered new music, tunes the creators control as opposed to the fat cats, that someone from the outside can roll up these rights and create a viable alternative to the established game?"

    Tagged with: musicrecordindustrydistributionawarenessinnovationfreeconomics

  2. The science of voodoo: When mind attacks body

    "The idea that believing you are ill can make you ill may seem far-fetched, yet rigorous trials have established beyond doubt that the converse is true – that the power of suggestion can improve health. This is the well-known placebo effect. Placebos cannot produce miracles, but they do produce measurable physical effects.

    The placebo effect has an evil twin: the nocebo effect, in which dummy pills and negative expectations can produce harmful effects. The term "nocebo", which means "I will harm", was not coined until the 1960s, and the phenomenon has been far less studied than the placebo effect. It's not easy, after all, to get ethical approval for studies designed to make people feel worse."

    Tagged with: voodooplacebonocebopsychologysuggestionhealth

  3. Illusion Cloak Makes One Object Look like Another

    "The trick is to create a material in which the permittivity and permeability are complementary to the values in a nearby region of space containing the mouse we want to hide. "Complementary" means that the material cancels out the effect that the mouse has on a plane lightwave passing through. So a plane wave would be bent by the mouse but then bent back into a plane as it passes through the complementary material, making the mouse disappear.

    The second step is to then distort this plane wave in the way that an elephant would. This means creating transformational material that distorts a plane lightwave in the same way as an elephant. So anybody looking at this mouse would instead see an elephant.

    An invisibility cloak is just a special case of this, when the mouse is simply replaced by the illusion of free space, say Chan and co."

    Tagged with: illusionopticalmaterialscamouflageinvisibilitymetamaterials

  4. In Attics and Closets, ‘Biohackers’ Discover Their Inner Frankenstein

    "Other biohackers argue that Mother Nature is more likely than any home hobbyist to create dangerous new pathogens. They cite the current A/H1N1 "swine flu" virus, which is a made-in-the-wild brew of human, bird and pig influenzas. Mackenzie Cowell, a founder of DIY Bio, says members aim to do good and are committed to working safely.

    The movement has made big strides recently thanks to the commercial availability of synthetic DNA. This genetic material, normally found inside the nucleus of cells, can now easily be purchased online. That provides any amateur with the ingredients for constructing an organism."

    Tagged with: diybiohackinggeneticengineering

  5. Not safe for work: No use crying over spilt ink

    "What you should do is realise that your strengths are no longer speed, but rather skill, craft and accuracy. Having realised that, you should stop updating minute-ly, hourly or even daily. Instead you should follow the lead of the likes of Newsweek and the Economist and publish weekly.

    Yes, weekly – and not as an online free-for-all either, but as one single, self-contained, tangible, paid for issue, possibly in print but preferably published electronically on devices like the Kindle or behind a subscription wall on the web. The medium doesn't really matter, what matters is that the daily pressure is off, and that you're producing a complete paid for product."

    Tagged with: newspapersjournalismbusinessmodelbloggingsubscriptionrevenuereporting

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