Wednesday, July 9, 2008

stray bullets

Tufts to Develop Morphing Chemical Robots Tufts scientist receives a $3.3 million contract for the purpose of building various soft-bodied robots. (via)

For Future of Mind Control, Robot-Monkey Trials Are Just a Start In May, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh said they had taught two monkeys to grab small amounts of food with a mechanical arm using their brains. The future of brain-machine interfaces, however, could veer toward the as-yet-unknown possibilities of human movement. (via)

Microwave ray gun controls crowds with noise A US company claims it is ready to build a microwave ray gun able to beam sounds directly into people's heads. On one hand, I don't know if I like this idea. On the other, the possibilities for performing artists are intriguing, apart from the potential dangers of blasting people with microwaves. Maybe there could be something a bit more subtle.

I Hate Organic This is not a rant about organic foods. As a science writer, I do hate the word, “organic,” though... Between the original definition and the new-age “natural” definition, chemists also adopted “organic,” originally to describe the chemistry of carbon-based molecules derived from living things, but they quickly took those starting pieces and synthesized many more molecules that look nothing like anything found in anything living. TierneyLab brings "organic" back to earth.

Pynchon’s Essays, Reviews, Introductions & Blurbs
10 Steps to Becoming Fluent in a Language in 6 months or Less
Historic Map Works: The world's largest online historical mapping resource (via)
Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp (thanks Jug)
34 Different Ways To Lace Shoes (via)

Apropos of nothing, I won the Neatorama caption contest yesterday. I don't usually participate in caption contests as I suck out loud at it, but this one just jumped into my head.

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