Archive for May, 2011

Lab-Grown Meat: It’s What’s For Dinner [Food]

In this week’s New Yorker, Michael Specter takes a great look at the world of in-vitro meat—grown in a lab, outside an animal body. It's not a matter of if, but when. Will you eat it? More

 

A Modern-Day Invisibility Cloak (Er, Necklace) [Surveillance]

You're probably on camera right now. Wave hello. If you were wearing this line of Cold Flare jewelry from a pair of ITP students, you'd be invisible—or at least, anonymous(er). More

 

Liquid crystals can detect bacterial infections [Breakthroughs]

Liquid crystals – yes the same as the ones in your calculator — may soon save lives: they’ll be detecting deadly bacterial infections. It turns out liquid crystals are incredibly sensitive to endotoxin, a lipid that’s found on the outside of many bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella. More

 

20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words from Around the World

There are some words in foreign languages that just don’t have a direct translation to English. Here now is a list of twenty of them. Your failure to learn them will give me plenty of schadenfreude.

When linguists refer to “untranslatable” words, the idea is not that a word cannot somehow be explained in another language, but that part of the essence of the word is lost as it crosses from one language to another. This often is due to different social and cultural contexts that have shaped how the word is used.

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20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words from Around the World

 

Zebrafish reveal all the ingredients needed to regenerate a limb [Regeneration]

The cool trick about stem cells is that they’re super adaptable, and can become any other sort of cell, right? So why not use a mass of stem cells to regenerate a limb? Or grow an extra one? Well, it looks like it’s all a bit more complicated than that. According to new research on the self-regenerating Zebrafish, the fish don’t just form a mass of stem cells on a fin’s stump to regrow the limb. Zebrafish actually use a slurry of cells, of different origins and with different purposes. Think salad, not soup. More

 

Another HIV-Beating Pill Now Available [Health]

It's pretty amazing that there's already one pill used to beat back HIV in the body—but now there's another. The FDA's approved Edurant, which, when used with other drugs, drops the virus' presence inside patients. Lives saved. [AP] More

 

Infograph Fun: Flatscreen Prices Are Gloriously Low Right Now


This is sort of silly but still worthwhile. Of course prices of developing technologies drop over time, but the infograph from Wired is still fun if for nothing else than a bit of nostalgic reminiscing. I can recall the first two plasmas we got while I worked at Circuit City: a Panasonic for $10k and a Pioneer for $12k. Of course that was back in the wild and crazy times of 2002 when credit was available to anyone with a pulse and a social security number.

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Infograph Fun: Flatscreen Prices Are Gloriously Low Right Now

 

The history of bedwetting [Weird Research]

This is the best title for any scholarly paper published in the year 2011: “Urine trouble: a social history of bedwetting and its regulation.” Snort! More

 

Creepy new Air Force camera can identify and track you from far, far away

Photon-X Behaviormetric Sensor

Sure you can do neat things like unlock your iPhone using facial recognition, but the Air Force has far grander visions for the tech. Specifically it wants a camera that can identify and track possible insurgents at a significant distance (though it’s unclear how far we’re talking about here) using only a few seconds of footage. It’s turned to Photon-X Inc. to develop a sensor that combines spacial measurements, infrared and visible light to create a “bio-signature” that maps not only static facial features but muscle movements that are unique to each individual. The technology could also be used in targeting systems to identify enemy vehicles and integrated into robots to help them navigate and identify objects… or threatening meatbags. The Air Force even foresees law enforcement, banks, and private security firms using the cams to monitor customers and watch for suspicious activity. Similar tools have been created that use software to analyze video feeds, but they can’t match the accuracy or range of this “behaviormetric” system. Normally, this is where we’d make some snide reference to Skynet or Big Brother but, honestly, we’re too creeped out for jokes.

Creepy new Air Force camera can identify and track you from far, far away originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 20 May 2011 10:09:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Gas plant to be largest floating manmade object

An artist's impression of the Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas facility.Royal Dutch Shell has made a final decision to construct a massive natural gas plant, which it claims will be the world’s largest floating manmade object.

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Gas plant to be largest floating manmade object