Links for 15th July 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. A Fertility First: Human Egg Cells Grow Up in Lab

    "“Our breakthrough was to use a hydrogel called alginate, which doesn’t touch or contact the follicle cells, but just supports them,” Woodruff said. It turns out that the rigidity of the gel is crucial to follicle function: If the gel is too stiff, the follicles start looking sick and making the wrong kind of hormones. “We kind of lucked out in the very beginning in that we used a very soft gel,” she said.

    After incubating the follicles for 30 days in the three-dimensional matrix, the researchers discovered that they had grown to the size of mature eggs and were producing all the right hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, in the right quantities.

    The true test of the lab-grown eggs will be to see if they can undergo a final stage of cell division to be ready for fertilization."

    Tagged with: medicinefertilityhumanegggrowthlaboratory

  2. The M3 mobile water desalination system cuts the cost of producing clean water

    "Although the system is compact enough to be transported in the back of a van, it can generate 6,000 gallons of drinking water per day from the sea or 8,000 to 9,000 gallons per day from brackish groundwater. This makes the M3 an ideal candidate to be deployed to disaster-ravaged locations to produce fresh water in emergency situations." Hmmm.

    Tagged with: waterdesalinationnew-southsea

  3. Embedding and Hiding Files in PDF Documents

    Poor man's DIY steganography, via The Schneier.

    Tagged with: pdfencryptionsteganographyprivacy

  4. There’s Still A Place Where Albums Outsell Singles

    " * Most Bandcamp artists are indie and attract fans more interested in complete works than the average Hannah Montana/Lady Gaga flavor of the moment consumer
    * You can listen before you buy via Bandcamp. Not just 30 second samples, but rather the whole album.
    * iTunes and others price most CD's at $10. Bandcamp artists have found that name your own price with a $5 minimum is a real sweet spot.
    * iTunes and others encourage single track purchases with page layouts, buy buttons and featured tracks"

    Tagged with: musicmarketingbusinessmodelBandcamppricingalbumdigitalsales

  5. Charlie Brooker on our rotten institutions and lack of faith

    "As the very fabric of life breaks down around us, even language itself seems unreliable. These words don't make sense. The vowels and consonants you're hearing in your mind's ear right now are being generated by mere squiggles on a page or screen. Pointless hieroglyphics. Shapes. You're staring at shapes and hearing them in your head. When you see the word "trust", can you even trust that? Why? It's just shapes!

    Right now all our faith has poured out of the old institutions, and there's nowhere left to put it. We need new institutions to believe in, and fast. Doesn't matter what they're made of. Knit them out of string, wool, anything. Quickly, quickly. Before we start worshipping insects."

    Tagged with: charlie-brookerpoliticsculturefuturesocietycorruption

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