HB V

is older than it's ever been and now it's even older

1/19/2001

She Blinded Me with Science


You may recall that last week I mentioned in passing Dean Kamen's secret invention "IT." The New Scientist story on IT has a couple of cool links that give some good background on Kamen and some minor speculation as to what IT is.

There's a new species of ant that's been discovered called the "Dracula ant." It's called this because it chews on its larva until they bleed and then eat the "blood" that oozes out (mmm, ant blood). This ant is considered to be a primitive example of a connector between ant species and wasps, since it has a single pinched connection at its thorax. This ant makes its home on Madagascar, one of the largest islands in the world. Madagascar is known as one of those awesome isolated communities where many unique species live. Its isolation from the rest of Africa has helped keep its animal and plant biodiversity at amazing levels, including many different types of lemurs, bats, birds, lizards, orchids, and sixty species of snake, none of which are poisonous. Oh, and the Fossa. That's a nasty little critter that has been described as a cross between a cat and a dog, but I think it looks more like a land otter. I would be remiss in my lefty duties if I didn't point out that much of the island is now threatened by development.

Some guy has now invented a Skycar. Cue Jetsons music now. The idea is that these vehicles will be verticle take off and landing, with computer controls over most driving. Sure. That sounds like a great idea. Firstly, the VTOL concept has been substantially tarnished recently by the Marine Corps' Osprey having more than one crash, and then being grounded. Second, no one has yet mentioned that these things are going to be very noisy. Highways in urban areas are very noisy, and most urban freeways have sound shielding to keep the noise pollution out of residential areas. With the highways being in the air, as it were, these miniaircraft will be buzzing around pissing people off in a way that will make it difficult to ever get these things approved. Oh well. At least it looks cool.

And then there's light. It seems scientists have proven it's possible to stop light. This could help lead to "quantum computing," a concept I'm not terribly familiar. Just going out on a limb here, I'll speculate it's really really fast.

I've been trying to keep my daily posts long and mostly topical. This is beginning to lead to a buildup in links in my temp folders. Look for an all LAPI edition early next week, as well as the beloved lesser known blog review. About a week ago, I removed the most popular blogs from my links to the left so as to not make the list super huge.

Oh, here is the statement I wrote yesterday describing the way our new car was subject to police brutality.

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