Links for 19th March 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Open Source Hardware Hackers Start P2P Bank

    "The Open Source Hardware Bank, which isn't yet fully up and running as a federally regulated lending institution, allows those interested in open source hardware to make investments in specific projects, then (hopefully) reap returns ranging from 5 percent to 15 percent from the successful sale of the projects. For the creators, the bank offers funding that could bring down the costs of their project and give them the stimulus to try out new ideas."

    Tagged with: hardwareopen-sourcecommunitystartupbanklendingeconomicsnew-southsea

  2. The geneticist in the garage

    "The 31-year-old ex-computer programmer and now biohacker is working on modifying jellyfish genes and adding them to yoghurt to detect the toxic chemical melamine, which was found in baby milk in China last year after causing a number of deaths, and kidney damage to thousands of infants. Her idea is to engineer yoghurt so that in the presence of the toxin it turns fluorescent green, warning the producer that the food is contaminated. If her experiment is successful, she will release the design into the public domain." Respect.

    Tagged with: biologygeneticspublic-domainbiotechbiohackingindependentactivismsciencenew-southsea

  3. A Machine That Speeds Up Evolution

    "The DNA is mixed into a vial of bacteria, which is then put into a custom-made machine designed in Church's lab. In the machine, the mixture is subjected to a precisely choreographed routine of temperature and chemical cycles that encourage the bacterial cells to take up the foreign DNA, swapping it into their genomes in place of the native piece it resembles. The single-stranded pieces of DNA are thought to "fake out the cell's DNA replication machinery, sneaking in and filling a gap" during the replication process, says Church. Each generation of the rapidly reproducing bacteria takes up more of the foreign DNA, ultimately producing a population that has all the desired genetic changes. "

    Tagged with: biologyevolutiongeneticengineeringbiotechnologyparallelprocessing

  4. Query Posts Widget WordPress Plugin

    "… lets you displays posts by nearly any criteria you can imagine using the query_posts() function, except you don’t need to know anything about PHP to use it." Why do these always come out after I've spent ten hours learning how to hack the things they do automatically? *sigh*

    Tagged with: wordpresspluginquery_postswidgetcodewebdev

  5. How sci-fi moves with the times

    "… right now, the genre is going through a bit of a crisis of faith.

    The mundane movement is challenging writers to drop ideas that once promised to be scientific ones, but are now considered as fantasy – faster than light travel, telepathy etc – and to concentrate on the problems of the human race being confined to an Earth it is using up.

    But this is as much an artistic movement as an ethical one. The existence of such a movement, though, suggests that science fiction feels a sense of mission. Unlike its cousin, fantasy, it wants to be talking about the real world in ways other than metaphorical. " Paul Cornell

    Tagged with: sciencesffictiontechnologychangeaccuracyreality

  6. Africa, Business Destination

    "In 2006, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, foreign investment in Africa reached $48 billion, overtaking foreign aid for the first time. That gap has only widened, reflecting a quadrupling of foreign investment since 2000. As the senior adviser in Africa for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), David Nellor, noted in a report last September, sub-Saharan Africa today resembles Asia in the 1980s. "The private sector is the key driver," wrote Nellor, "and financial markets are opening up." War is down. Democracy is up. Inflation and interest rates are in single digits. Terms of trade have improved. Crucially, said Nellor, "growth is taking off." The IMF puts Africa's average annual growth for 2004 to '08 at more than 6% — better than any developed economy — and predicts the continent will buck the global recessionary trend to grow nearly 3.3% this year."

    Tagged with: businesseconomicspoliticsAfricadevelopmentinvestmentglobalism

  7. Factory offcuts could power fuel cells


    Waste fibreboard produced by the furniture industry can be converted into electricity without the need to burn it, chemists have shown. Such microgeneration techniques could help cut factories' consumption of power from external sources, as well as making emissions from power generation easier to store."

    Tagged with: fibreboardMDFwastefuelfuel-cellenergytechnology

  8. For Sale – The $100 House

    "So what did $1,900 buy? The run-down bungalow had already been stripped of its appliances and wiring by the city’s voracious scrappers. But for Mitch that only added to its appeal, because he now had the opportunity to renovate it with solar heating, solar electricity and low-cost, high-efficiency appliances.

    Buying that first house had a snowball effect. Almost immediately, Mitch and Gina bought two adjacent lots for even less and, with the help of friends and local youngsters, dug in a garden. Then they bought the house next door for $500, reselling it to a pair of local artists for a $50 profit. When they heard about the $100 place down the street, they called their friends Jon and Sarah."

    Tagged with: greenurbancommunitydevelopmenteconomyhousingnew-southsea

  9. Prop Up Your Sagging Plot Middles

    "Building a story is like constructing a bridge. You need conflict as the pillars that shore up the middle."

    Tagged with: writingfictionstoryplotmiddleconflictobstacles

  10. Discovery of New Microorganisms in the Stratosphere

    "Three bacterial colonies, namely, PVAS-1, B3 W22 and B8 W22 were, however, totally new species. All the three newly identified species had significantly higher UV resistance compared to their nearest phylogenetic neighbours."

    Tagged with: biologylifestratosphereUVresistanceevolutionextremophiles

  11. Memory Switch Could Enable Brain Hacks

    "Researchers have found a telltale mental signature that predicts whether an experience will be remembered. Once deciphered, the signals could be used to help people know when their brains are primed to remember, perhaps using an iPhone app."

    Tagged with: sciencetechnologypsychologybrainneurosciencememorycognitionhackingnew-southsea

  12. Postie – WordPress email subs plugin

    "Postie offers many advanced features for posting to your blog via e-mail, including the ability to assign categories by name, included pictures and videos, and automatically strip off signatures. It also has support for both imap and pop3, with the option for ssl with both."

    Tagged with: wordpresspluginwebdevemailpostsubmissionpostie

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