Category: News


What you’re looking at is a picture of a tadpole’s tail. The tail of this tadpole was regenerated after 18 hours after being cut by an hours long exposure to a Sodium Ion cocktail.

The frog tail is a good model for human regeneration because it repairs injury in the same way that people do: each tissue makes more of itself. (In contrast, regeneration in some other animals occurs through transdifferentiation (one cell type turns into another cell type) or adult stem cell differentiation.  Furthermore, though small, the Xenopus larval tail is complex, with muscle, spinal cord, peripheral nerves and vasculature cells.

There are some interesting realizations. This means the injuries are theoretically capable of regenerating after they have been healed.  Since this tadpole uses the same type of cellular regeneration that we do it is even more feasible. Lastly, This isn’t just a bunch of skin cells or similar muscle cells we are talking complex regeneration and the limb didn’t grow abnormalities. No gene therapy was needed and no stem cells were hurt in the regenerations of these limbs. Astounding.

You can read the full article here

 

It turns out some things cannot be copyrighted. If something is seen as utilitarian like food or clothing it cannot be copyrighted –Oddly enough pharmaceuticals that are sometimes needed for people to survive do not fall into this category. So those “Insert brand name here”  jeans that cost you $100 can knocked off tomorrow and that company cannot sue, more on that in a bit.

The RIAA has attempted to crack down on music piracy by suing individual people. Effectively targeting they client of the very industry they claim to be protecting. Piracy isn’t a new thing.When I was growing up there were people who recorded music tracks from the radio and made their own “mix tapes.” In my old neighborhood in LA if you wanted to watch a new movie you would simply go to the laundromat and an older, typically Asian woman, would come around offering you the latest movie blockbusters. On DVD before the industry giants managed it. The internet has just facilitated the process but the question has yet to be resolved. What should we do about copyright? Well before we make a decision we should look at how it effects certain industries. Namely the fashion industry, books, and cinema.

Authors

Brandon Sanderson

For those who don’t know Brandon Sanderson he is the current author of the Wheel of Time Series this epic fiction series was originally written by Robert Jordan who died recently. The series has spanned over two decades and Brandon Sanderson became an accomplished author on his own before he took over this amazing series. Now why do I mention all this? Well Sanderson has an interesting article you can read here on a book called Warbreaker. He goes on to say ” I also realize that something Cory says is very true—my biggest challenge as an author is obscurity.” Sanderson approached his publishers and decided to release a complete novel for free. He released it unedited and later on released subsequent versions with edits. Warbreaker is still available to download for free in it’s final version as well as early edits and can be purchased through the regular distribution channels. SInce he did this in 2007 I will attempt to contact Sanderson to see if he will share his sales figures for this book. It would be interesting to see if his gamble paid off? The reviews seem mainly positive as of today on both Amazon –with almost 300 reviews at the time of this article– and Barnes & Nobles –over 350 reviews–

When Robert Jordan passed away the Wheel of Time community was left distraught with the unfinished final novel (later split into three volumes) and a new author was chosen by Jordan’s widow and editor Harriet. Until that point I never hear of Brandon Sanderson and would have purchased one of his books to see what type of author he was. I’m sure he would have sold a lot of books at that point but Sanderson did something interesting he gave away his book Mistborn: The Final Empire. It was the first book in a trilogy that Sanderson was writing. You could download the whole book completely free. I was shocked. I downloaded the book and went on to purchase the remaining two books. At the time of publication of the last book I drove three hours away to get it on the day it was released since I now live in Puerto Rico and most books stores around me simply don’t carry it.

With the Wheel of Time Sanderson has clearly left obscurity behind long ago and is one of the most successful authors in his genre.

Neil Gaiman

I love wimp.com. For those of you who don’t know what that is it’s a site that publishes 5 videos a day. These are generally extremely though provoking, amazing, uber-cute or just outstanding in their own way. Neil Gaiman was featured on Wimp under the video title “Neil Gaiman on copyright piracy and the Web.” Gaiman was initially very upset with piracy of his books on the internet. After a while he notice that the places he would be pirated would actually have higher sales. Gaiman says “You are not losing book, you are not losing sales by having stuff out[ your books ] there.” He goes on to mention various social experiments and discovered, interestingly enough, that 90-95% of people who have favorite authors and buy their book and support them have not purchased the first book that they had read from that author. They may have been lent the book, taken it out of a library or even pirated it. Gaiman sees this as a form of advertising and introducing new readers to his body of work. You can see the full video below.

Neil Gaiman on copyright piracy and the Web.

Fashion

As I mentioned earlier the fashion industry largely exists without copyright protection. We all know that the industry is not suffering from lack of sales. Nike isn’t in risk of bankruptcy despite the fact that huge companies that spend their days dealing with money like AIG some how need bailouts. The fashion industry is growing. Woman pay more for the handbag than the “expensive” electronics they have kept inside it and let’s not even begin to talk about shoes. Watches fall into the fashion category. You can find watches for $1 maybe even less that will accurately keep time. Yet fashionable watch companies often start the figure for a watch in the triple digits. You can get a similar watch from another company for a fraction of it’s value. The fashion industry has done well to position and market itself and has been able to exist without the restriction of copyright. They don’t have to invest in separate organizations that come after you for buying jeans that are similar to a branded Express pair. They can focus on the thing that matters. The product.  Take a look at this extremely interesting Ted Talk by Johanna Blakley on copyright and the fashion industry for more information.

Movies

The movie industry has an advantage over the record industry in “extras” and video quality.

The movie industry has a lot of footage when they release a single film. The have shots from alternative angles, they have outakes that are often funny or interesting in some way, they sometimes shoot scenes that are removed from the theater version and even shoot alternative endings. More commonly they interview the cast about their role and character and even offer directors commentary. Movies are often dubbed over or voiced over in other languages and subtitle tracks are available in every major movie release. All of this makes for a pretty impressive package. When you pirate a movie you often miss out on some of these features. If I love the movie I go out and purchase the DVD. It’s a way of reliving the movie through a perspective.

When it comes to movie quality there have been some pretty significant changes. Initially every movie was reformatted from theater aspect ratio (The ratio of width to height ie 16:9) to the common 4:3 of a television screen. With widescreen monitors and televisions we were able to get a truer cinematic experience. The trend was moving from low clarity on old VHS or video cassettes to DVD to Blueray. Higher and higher definition. Now we can watch movies on smaller devices like cell phone and tablets where file size has become relevant again. You don’t need an extremely large image on a small screen. If you took the time to build a DVD collection it has become outdated when compared to the HD clarity of Blueray and movie resolutions will continue to go up as pixel density increases with products like Apple’s Retina Display. Let’s not even get into 3d versions of a movie. So what are you to do? Invest now or wait?

This is where the movie industry can step in and help. If you already purchased a DVD why would you go out and purchase the same movie again on blueray? As customers become more tech savvy the restriction on resolutions and video formats offered to the end user need to be varied at a reasonable price.The initial purchase should cover all of this and in formats that are not locked down in DRM (digital rights management) that is so secure that it keeps you from watching your own content on different devices. After all when we are purchasing a  movie we are purchasing the right to see that movie in a way we want as long as we do not distribute the movie or make a profit from it’s sale.

What the Movie industry has done so far

One of the best things the movie industry has done is put it’s content online. It is faster and easier to download a movie from itunes than it is to pirate that same movie. Media center devices often offer a way for your to rent or purchase content directly from your remote control. That facilitates a legal way of getting your content in the format you need. What if you already own a movie. If you own a DVD Wallmart and VUDU offers a service that allows you stream a digital copy of the movie via VUDU in Blue-ray resolution for just $5. It’s a much cheaper alternative to purchasing a blue-ray copy of a movie you already own. They also offer a $2 conversion option but I don’t think it’s a good option if you can just convert the movie yourself using programs like handbrake.  The movie industry has now begun to offer digital copies of your movie when you purchase the movie on blue-ray or DVD. This is definitely a step in the right direction. I decided to do some research and although, in theory, it’s great in actuality it doesn’t pan out well.  Lee Rodriguez decided to get a download all the digital copies of various movies he has purchased and found that it’s not as easy as you would think to put a movie on a device he owns. Check out the full article here. I will leave you with his quote

“The high road was blocked. Someone somewhere decided it was more important to make sure I couldn’t put the movie online than it was to make sure I could put the movie on my portable device of choice. Luckily, someone else put it online for me and everyone got a happy ending.”

The problem is the movie, recording, and book industries as-a-whole tend to forget that they are selling to their customers and people who may initially pirate their works are potential customers. Tit for tat doesn’t work. Maybe the rest of the industry can take a page from Brandon Sanderson and Neil Gaiman. If they focused more on the customer than on the pirate the bottom line will fix itself.

I stumbled upon this youtube video entitled

    American soldier “I killed innocent people.”

I ended up crying because I know the hearts of the people who he faced. I admire this soldier and would like to shake his hand. It is one thing to fight and another to reason. I commend him for standing up for what he believed in and drawing his own conclusions.

Interview: US Army Soldier

Where are you stationed?
Within the Baghdad city limits.

How long have you been stationed in iraq?
A couple of months now.

Where are you originally from?
Good old Indianapolis Indiana.

Most of indiana is influenced by Christianity, how does it feel to be in a country that is influence by another religion?
Huh? I didn’t know the christianity part haha 🙂 but to answer your question its really not different to me. The citizens we see and meet love us and ask us for different things like food water and soccer balls, really all smiles and friendliness, so its not to bad really.

Have you ran into any civilians who are not happy with the military presence, and if so, how do you deal with them?
I personally have not, I’ve only been out a few times and every time its been a pleasant experience we have protocols with those who respond negatively though.

Over here whenever we see anything to do with Islam often the worlds fundamentalist or extremist are used in conjunction with Islam. Islam claims to be a religion of peace. Being in a Muslim country do you feel that they are peaceful or more fundamentalist/extremist?
I’m not sure honestly, I don’t find out the religious views of any of the people I meet here. The language barrier makes it kind of hard to communicate but everyone i have met have been friendly and peaceful.

Some people say there’s no such thing as a just war. How does your unit feel about the iraqi invasion and occupancy?
It would depend on what time frame being deployed here now we are ready to come home we don’t do anything but supervision for their police and army to make sure they can hold on their own but also this wasn’t any conventional war.

You say it would depend on the time frame you asked that question. What are the different time frames? Incursion, Securing Iraq, and Occupation?
Those would be the different types of warfare. I think that it varies with each sometimes the initial invasion is unjust, with securing is neutral, and occupation is just. Take now for example we have occupied, our job now is not to destroy in any form but to rebuild, and improve we have built numerous water treatment facilities, waste management, power generators that make life easier, and the countries citizens much happier.

Where you saying that’s how it is with this war?
Mostly for any war in what I’ve seen and read initial invasions there are no rules, a lot of innocents get killed securing is focused on just us entrenching ourselves and occupation is the rebuilding part.

What advice would you give a person who is about to join a branch of the military right now?
Hmm, that could be a long list actually haha. I guess make sure its something you can dedicate yourself to the military is time consuming especially on a deployment, you are gone from home a lot so it can be extremely tough if you aren’t dedicated to it.

If you could a different military branch which would you choose and why?
I think i would choose the army again, I’m good at my job here.

If you can go back again and choose whether to go back and enlist would you?
The air force was my original plan but they kind of fell through, and the army was always open.

Why the Airforce?
To be a pilot, but with any branch you can almost choose any job you want. I’m not sure if I would re-enlist or not, i enlisted at 17 haha. It would depend on if i had a girl or not i guess.

What would you send from the states to a friend of your’s serving in Iraq that you know he/she would definitely appreciate?
Hmm, it would depend on what that person likes everyone is different someone might like one thing, and hate another, and that be the complete opposite from the next. In general things here now are pretty just like back home we have internet, running water, everything I guess any form of entertainment now books, magazines, and such.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences and is there anything that I may have missed that you’d care to share with my readers?
Haha, I’m not sure at all haha first interview myself feel free to ask more when you want to.

Thank you again for your time.

This was a rather impromptu interview if you guys have any questions you’d like to ask our soldier friend I’ll forward them to him.

Every amazing piece of technology that is purposefully invented starts with a question. The question that the creator of Google Maps asked was: “If email were invented today, what would it look like?” That question has led to Google wave. In my humble opinion it will make email as impacfull as the internet. Instead of being just an electronic note it is a live collaborative tool. The video explains it all.

 

No. Why would I intentionally put something in my body that can create the flu or worse. The odds of getting swine flu are extremely rare. The odds of contracting it and dying, even more so. There’s something that’s not right about a new flu that has a vaccine. Think about these scares. If there’s nothing bad going on in the world then a flu comes about. It happened with mad cow disease (that wouldn’t happen with an animal that was raised halal cause the cause was a cow was fed another cow. Men created it by going against nature.) This made media headline, as we all know. Only 3 people died from mad cow in the US (Of those three 1 was from Canada) and 214 world wide. Then there was Bird Flu. Worldwide since the WHO started collecting data in 03-09, there have only been 262 cases world wide. Zero South America, North America, or Europe(there were some cases reported in Turkey.) Now there is Swine Flu. In all, 50 cases are known to have occurred since the first report in medical literature in 1958, which have resulted in a total of six deaths. Of these six people, one was pregnant, one had leukemia, one had Hodgkin disease and two were known to be previously healthy.

So here are the odds of you contracting and dying from each of these diseases: (I’m doing the math intentionally high on the disease side. It’s supposed to the be cases reported each year divided by the global population this year, then averaged. I will take all the cases ever reported and divide by the world population. An unrealistically high figure.. just so you can see what we’re talking about.)
Global Statistics (Versus US Statistics in Parentheses)
Mad Cow 1 in 32 Million (1 in 103 Million)
Bird Flu 1 in 26 Million (No cases reported in US)
Swine Flu 1 in 136 Million (1 in 51 Million)
Other Comparisons
Death by lightning in just the US during your lifetime: 1 in 5000
Winning the Mega Millions: 1 in 135 Million
Motor Vehicle deaths worldwide in 2004: 1 in 5,553
Royal Flush in Poker: 1 in 260,000

Death Caused by Cardiovascular Disease: 2.9 in 10 people

It’s bad enough we have these low risk diseases with so much media attention. Now we have companies making a profit on these scares. GSK has reported £1 Billion (Roughly $1.66 Billion)  expected in sale just from vaccines by the 4th quarter 2009. So the moral of the story is. If it said it in 2 or more of the 3 major religious text (Torah, Bible or Quran) not to do it, don’t do it (eating pork.) If it seems like something that’s extremely wrong (feeding cows cows!!!) don’t do it and finally don’t believe the hype whenever something is happening major and scary do you own investigation.

My Anthro professor once said a method of a nation united is to have a common enemy, whether it be real of fabricated, the threat holds people together. If you look at what’s going on in all of this and what they want you to come out with the end result is, don’t travel, live in fear, hate people who we don’t understand. So my message is, travel, don’t live in fear, and ask why should we hate that person. If a person is screaming in the street we often ask someone around them “why is that guy screaming?” it’s funny how when the media screams at us we just accept it as fact.

Even a regular flu shot can have adverse effects. Just look at the video below.


Colored Cell

A new nano ink could prove to end the need for needle pricks and testing machines. The nano ink can be placed in the skin and will change colors based on glucose levels. Click heading for full story.

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Q&A: Gaza Conflict

BBC Posted a Q&A on the Gaza conflict. Below are some of the questions. Click the Article Heading for the answers:

Three weeks after it began its offensive in the Gaza Strip, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire, followed hours later by Hamas announcing a one-week ceasefire. The BBC News website looks at the background to the conflict and what the ceasefire means.

Why has Israel declared a ceasefire and what are its terms?

How did Hamas react?

Why did the Israelis launch their 27 December offensive?

Why did Hamas not renew the ceasefire?

Why does Hamas fire missiles into Israel?

What casualties have the Hamas rockets caused?

What have been the effects of the Israeli blockade?

What is the history of this small strip of land?

How did Hamas come to control Gaza?

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Researchers at the university of Toronto are working with eink that changes color. Traditional “color” eink screens are actually composed of independent red, green and blue micro capsules. Effectively reducing the resolution to 1/4 that of it’s monochrome counterparts. This technology would allow true color eink. Read more about it by clicking the heading.

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No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke. (I checked the date of the article) MS NBC reports that scientists have discovered that ordinary Scotch tape can produce X-Rays. Though don’t worry about exposure it can only occur in a vacuum the presence of air somehow nullifies the X-Ray production.

Read about it here

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