Links for 8th September 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Dissident Voice : Drugs and Social Progress Since the Greeks

    "Much as Hillman would like us to see the current war on drugs as a modern aberration, it’s still a very old story. Perhaps as old as the rise of monotheism: tellingly, there is no society where monotheism dominates in which psychoactive drug use is officially tolerated (and psychoactive is the key here) unless that society has since become much more thoroughly secular than our own. And that’s why drug use is not really a just a matter of civil liberties per se, of the “individual freedom” that libertarians maintain is the true legacy of Western civilization. The issue isn’t whether or not you have a personal right to alter your mood—after all we have caffeine, and we have alcohol and nicotine which are far more strongly addictive and dangerous to health than cannabis, but we don’t have cannabis. Why? Because cannabis can alter your perception of reality, not just your mood." Serious echoes of Terence McKenna here.

    Tagged with: culturecensorshipprohibitionpsychoactivesdrugshistorymonotheism

  2. Barcodes will stop bushmeat from being swiped

    "This is the first time that scientists have sequenced the COX1 region in some species traded as bushmeat. "By matching the DNA sequences of animal products like meat and hide that cannot be identified to our database of genetic barcodes, conservationists will now know whether the animal killed was endangered or not," says Eaton, who has made the barcodes freely available on the database.

    "Legally, if you want to take someone to court and prosecute them for selling bushmeat, you have to have genetic evidence to back you up so having a library of barcodes for illegally killed animals is an essential first step," says Mark Stoeckle, a DNA barcoding expert at the Rockefeller University in New York. "That said, sequencing DNA takes time and money and you need a lab to do it, so we're still a long way off from instant species identification."" More likely to drive the trade underground, but there you go.

    Tagged with: bushmeatconservationgeneticbarcodespeciesidentificationblack-market

  3. UK lined up to be Europe’s carbon capital

    "An industry offering carbon storage to the mainland could create as many jobs as North Sea oil and bring £5bn a year into UK coffers by 2030, scientists estimate.

    The demand for carbon storage is expected to grow as next generation power plants are built with technology that captures waste carbon dioxide instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.

    Trials are ongoing to test whether it is feasible to pump the captured gas into porous rock deep beneath the seabed and store it there indefinitely.

    CO2 is a major greenhouse gas and driver of global warming. Government figures claim that using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, Britain could reduce its emissions by a third." What could possibly go wrong?

    Tagged with: UKcarbonsequestrationbusinessfuturism

  4. A cross-browser dropdown menu with no hacks

    "… a working dropdown that uses no extra markup, no hacks, no conditional comments, no tables, is valid html/css, no javascript of any kind, works in IE6, and supports tabbing." Sweet. Complicated, but sweet.

    Tagged with: cssmenuwebdevdesigndropdownexample

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