5/26/2010 1:59:38 PM
With some help from the Department of Defense, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are fast-tracking development of something called “bone cement.” And by “help,” I mean $12 million in additional funding. According to Wired, Dr. B.J. Costello, the lead researcher, expects to have the technology in clinical human trials in the next 12 months to 2 years:
Costello, whose program involves the creation of an injectable compound designed to repair cranio facial bone damage or spur normal bone growth, expects to start trials on 20 patients, most of them veterans, within a year. If those trials go well, they’ll expand to test more people or explore using the cement for different, more serious procedures.
“Right now, we’re looking at mild to moderate injuries,” he said. “But eventually this could treat long bone injuries, or have civilian applications.”
And those applications would be widespread. The bone cement could replace metal plates, repair bone damage from car accidents or assaults, and even regrow entire portions of a human skull.
Image by michaelroper, licensed under Creative Commons.
5/25/2010 10:59:47 AM
When Google transformed its search page logo into a playable version of Pac-Man last week, productivity nosedived. Buildings began collapsing, the seas rose, and the seventh seal spoken of in the Book of Revelations was finally broken by the Lion of Judah. Perhaps that sounds exaggerated, but The Time Rescue Blog has an amusing breakdown of the time and money theoretically wasted as a result of users playing Google’s version of Pac-Man:
Google Pac-Man consumed 4,819,352 hours of time (beyond the 33.6m daily man hours of attention that Google Search gets in a given day).
$120,483,800 is the dollar tally, if the average Google user has a COST of $25/hr (note that cost is 1.3 – 2.0 X pay rate).
Source: The Time Rescue Blog
Image by Gizmodo.
5/21/2010 11:41:25 AM
Let’s pick doomsday scenarios. I’ll take worldwide oil spill, and you can pick a cocktail of avian flu, swine flu, and rubber chicken flu (uh, not real). Jeremy Adam Smith over at Shareable loves the apocalypse as much as anybody, especially when he can connect the dots between nuclear attack, global warming, and asteroid impact. The common denominator? Humans have been proposing some pretty “awesome” plans for coping with all three forms of disaster. For example:
Of course, there's no time to worry about boring, real stuff like oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico. Today, we've watched enough movies like Armageddon and Deep Impact to know that the real threat comes in the form of an asteroid strike.
In case this scenario comes to pass, one entrepreneur is courageously making sure people with way too much disposable income will stay safe in the wake of apocalypse. He's selling spaces at $50,000 a pop in a network of underground bunkers.
5/21/2010 10:50:20 AM
The internet used to be called the information superhighway. These days, however, the lumbering and snorting of Facebook represent exactly the kinds of traffic control that characterize our internet age. The future of personal data is trending more public than private, worries Laura McGann at The American Prospect. As she recounts why she decided to abandon Facebook, McGann suggests that information isn’t shared so much as automatically dispersed:
Then I stumbled upon a list of the various third-party groups that have access to my account. In all, there were 32, including the makers of "Which Jane Austen heroine are you?" (I'm Fanny Price), The Awl, a snarky, high-brow commentary site, and Business Insider. The latter two I didn't recall approving. The media sites, I discovered, were installed automatically when I browsed their websites while logged in to Facebook. Jane Austen, I'm afraid, I must take responsibility for. Reports are unclear as to what information applications can pull from your account. Some warn that developers have broad access and do not distinguish between what you mark as public and private, and some quizzes even get access to friends' information.
Considering Facebook's track record of shifting privacy settings, which the Electronic Frontier Foundation wraps up here, and you can get a visual sense of here, it seems pretty much guaranteed that user control over personal information will only get weaker.
The American Prospect
5/17/2010 3:46:38 PM
Legalized gambling has always been a struggle between morals and Mammon. Slots, lotteries, horse racing, and card games have been a guaranteed way to swell the coffers of any state that decides to accept social cost of gambling revenues.
However, that bubble may have burst. Maryland tried to staunch its financial bleeding in 2008 by passing a referendum allowing slot machines into the state, expecting a return of $90 million up front and $660 million a year. It turns out that those expectations were over-optimistic. According to the Urbanite, in the two years since the referendum, not one is open—construction that wasn’t scrapped was delayed indefinitely.
Failed attempts like Maryland’s have triggered what the Urbanite calls a “gambling arms race” where states losing casino revenues up the stakes by legalizing new forms of gambling to attract out-of-state gamblers. Here’s what that looks like:
Pennsylvania slots took money away from Atlantic City’s boardwalk casinos. Delaware snatched horse-racing revenue away from Maryland tracks by using slots as a draw. And when Maryland passed its own pro-slots law, a county in West Virginia—worried that new competition might cut into the 96 percent of Charles Town gambling revenues that come from outside the state—voted in blackjack and poker. Delaware upped the ante further by trying to corner the East Coast market on professional sports betting, a matter that is winding its way through the courts. And now Pennsylvania is expanding table games beyond slots.
If you’re a state legalizing gambling, it seems the more you permit, the more you’ll soon need to allow to keep bettors coming back.
5/17/2010 11:29:32 AM
Here's a fresh take on technology and the "addiction metaphor" courtesy of Nicholas Carr over at Rough Type:
The addiction metaphor also distorts the nature of technological change by suggesting that our use of a technology stems from a purely personal choice--like the choice to smoke or to drink. An inability to control that choice becomes, in this view, simply a personal failing. But while it's true that, in the end, we're all responsible for how we spend our time, it's an oversimplification to argue that we're free "to choose" whether and how we use computers and cell phones, as if social norms, job expectations, familial responsibilities, and other external pressures had nothing to do with it. The deeper a technology is woven into the patterns of everyday life, the less choice we have about whether and how we use that technology.
When it comes to the digital networks that now surround us, the fact is that most us can't just GTFO, even if we wanted to. The sooner we move beyond the addiction metaphor, the sooner we'll be able to see, with some clarity and honesty, the extent and implications of our dependency on our networked computing and media devices. What happens to the human self as it comes to experience more and more of the world, and of life, through the mediation of the screen?
(Thanks, Daily Dish.)
Source: Rough Type
Image courtesy of urbanshoregirl, licensed under Creative Commons.
5/4/2010 3:39:43 PM
In a piece for Psychology Today, blogger and perceptual psychologist Lawrence Rosenblum went on a mountain bike ride with Utne visionary Daniel Kish, who is blind. Kish and a friend, Brian, who is also blind, demonstrated their ability to maneuver around obstacles by using echolocation, a method of navigating that involves making clicking noises with the tongue and then listening to how the sound is reflected off surfaces to determine the shape, size, and location of objects.
Rosenblum has trained sighted students in the echolocation method, and still he was impressed with his riding companions. “I hear clicks approaching from behind and Brian zooms past me,” writes Rosenblum. “I realize that when it comes to our riding, our most important difference is that he’s in much better shape.”
Source: Psychology Today
5/3/2010 3:37:13 PM
States deciding whether or not to allow gambling have typically seen it as mainly a struggle between morals and Mammon. Slots, lotteries, and cards have been nearly guaranteed ways to swell the state’s coffers, only restrained by considerations of ethics or social wellbeing. Maryland, however, has illustrated a new challenge: according to Urbanite, there may not be much demand for new casinos.
In 2008 Maryland’s voters passed a referendum to allow slot machines into the state in order to address its budget problems, with an expectation of making $90 million up front and $660 million a year thereafter. Unfortunately, those expectations were over-optimistic; the recession hit casinos hard, with Harrah’s, the largest casino company around, losing $1 billion in one quarter of 2009. Those states with extant casino industries have started a “gambling arms race”, legalizing more and more types of gambling in an attempt to boost revenues. Thus, none of the casinos Maryland hoped to attract have yet been built, and less than half are even expected to be completed. Slots aren’t certainly going away, but they may have stopped growing as an industry.
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