Re¢ently

  1. Bluetooth locates small children in zoo

    jake on 2003.06.30
    at 11:56 pm

    The Aalborg Zoo in Denmark is beginning to use a new technology to keep track of little ones. Using Bluetooth they have built a wireless network that keeps track of the "pods" attached to the child's clothing. Luckily they plan on implementing a wristband that will sound an alarm when removed.

    This is a new idea that I see taking hold in many zoos and theme parks around the world. Imagine a little Mickey themed bracelet that keeps track of children in the Magic Kingdom. If it was included with the ticket or like $5 bucks a day I'd more than likely use it.

    Now I just need to find some kids...

    c|net news.com [from Gizmodo]

    Posted in: Hardware · Technology

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  2. Move over antibody #3, we're sending in the phage assassin

    jake on 2003.06.30
    at 11:35 pm

    Used for decades in Eastern Europe and Russia, bacteriophage looks to replace antibiotics. The phage attaches to a specific bacteria and destroys it.

    The word bacteriophage comes from bacterium, plus the Greek phagein, to eat. Phages, as they're also called, were never thoroughly studied as therapies in the West, mainly because antibiotics proved to be so effective. But with resistance mounting fast, researchers have begun aggressively studying phage therapy, and the first treatment could enter the Western market as soon as 2004.

    Wired News

    Posted in: Science

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  3. Soy endangering Brazilian rainforest

    jake on 2003.06.30
    at 10:40 pm

    Interesting twist... Soy, used in foods, and in environmentally safe ink, among other things, is destroying the rainforest.

    Much of the destruction has been blamed on the illegal logging of land for soya production, say experts at Nature Conservancy in Brazil. Only the US now produces more of the profitable crop.

    New Scientist

    Posted in: Science

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  4. Tribes' eyes adapt to see underwater

    jake on 2003.06.30
    at 10:30 pm

    A recent study finds interesting adaptative qualities in humans. Our brains develop based on what we use regularly. Anna Gislen and her team found that a tribe on the west coast of Thailand have developed their eyes to see better underwater.

    Her[Gislen] work offers new proof of the body's remarkable capacity for adaptation -- its ability to go beyond standard biological bounds and even physically remodel itself when novel needs arise. It could also invigorate efforts to protect the threatened sea gypsy culture.

    Washington Post [from BluesNews]

    Posted in: Science

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  5. Gruber debunks Boutin

    brian on 2003.06.28
    at 02:11 am

    This story touches upon two of my pet peeves: stupidity in the media, and the assertion that since some companies sell commodities, all companies should be judged as if their products are commodities.

    John Gruber is a sharp guy. Usually his insights catch my eye because I appreciate his opinions on the world of Apple. Today, he caught my eye both for that, and for ripping apart a subpart piece of "journalism,", “Flipping the Switch: Linux’s new popularity may hurt Apple more than Microsoft.”

    One of the problems with major media news organizations is their tendency to emphasize conflict above all else. This vs. that. Conflict is interesting, and ostensibly, reports of conflict increase ratings and readership.
    Sometimes conflict is real. But many times it is not, or at the very least, it is greatly exaggerated in news reports

    That's a fantastic summary of news journalism, for the most part, today.

    Posted in: Apple · Media

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  6. Ive on Design

    brian on 2003.06.25
    at 11:26 pm

    Jonathan Ive is a designer to look up to. The 36-year old Brit has his head on straight, and his ego is on permanent vacation. In a recent, impromptu interview with Wired, he leaves us with wonderful insight on the new PowerMac G5. Here's one of the many gems:

    "From a designer's point of view, it's not an appearance game we're playing. It is very utilitarian. It's the use of material in a very minimalist way."

    Posted in: Design · Apple

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  7. Nationwide WiFi: Free.

    brian on 2003.06.25
    at 02:30 am

    Nationwide WiFi for free... if you live on the South Pacific island of Niue. The Polynesian island has led the way in internet technology for its 2,000 citizens by roling out free email since 1997, free connectivity since 1999, and now island-wide WiFi.

    The nation fund this development and costly satellite driven internet from the proceeds from selling the registration for the nation's .NU top-level domain.

    Posted in: Technology · Web

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  8. WWDC: the day after

    brian on 2003.06.25
    at 01:56 am

    Over the past day, I've had the opportunity to try some of the new technologies unveiled at the WWDC keynote.

    • Safari 1.0. This is my first blog entry from that newly 1.0 browser. It has fixed a minor bug in one of our navigation menus on the right.
    • iChat AV (beta) and iSight. Wow. These go beyond mere Instant Messaging. This is "say hi to Grama and Grandpa in Boca" tech. This is "see your kid in the middle of your Pacific Rim business trip" technology. I'm impressed with the quality, and of course, the simplicity (zero setup, worldwide). iSight is small, eminently portable (smaller than your average deodorant stick) and of great quality for the price. Saw a great many fly out the door today (to customers and employees alike) without any on public display. I look forward to using it with my and my girlfriend's family. Tomorrow brings connected demo models, hopefully.
    • PowerMac G5. Available in August, most likely. I can't wait to see one in person. Winner for best nickname as of yet:Cheese Grater
    • PowerBooks, since there are no new PowerBooks as of yet, I have invested in a 12" Combo drive model for interim, until a new 15" comes out, at which time I will reassess, and perhaps trade up. (No, we don't have a trade-up program.) For now, it's a sleek, powerfully affordable option. Hopefully, broadband will follow for us, and after that... iSight!

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  9. Tarzan, eat your heart out

    jake on 2003.06.24
    at 07:22 pm

    John Ssaybunnya, from Uganda, who is participating in the Special Olympics in Ireland was partially raised by Vervet monkeys. He witnessed the murder of his mother at the age of three and fled into the jungle.

    Traumatised by the horror of what he had seen, he fled into the jungle. And there he should have died, but he didn't.

    He survived because he was adopted by a troupe of African Green monkeys who fed him and raised him as their own.

    Three years later, in 1991, a tribeswoman saw him scavenging for food with the monkeys and reported it to the people of her village.

    eircom.net (Irish Independent)

    Posted in: Science · Sports

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  10. Audio player in your Volkswagen

    jake on 2003.06.24
    at 06:50 pm

    I read about this when I brought my Golf in for its last oil change. Volkswagen has licensed the Phatnoise system to bring various audio formats to your car. You get 20 gigabyte (per cartridge) of storage space and it works with the already present head unit.

    I'm having a hard time deciding over this product. It would be nice to have my entire music collection at my fingertips. But it also costs money (same as others? $859.00,) which I don't have coming out of my ears...

    Volkswagen Phatnoise Digital Audio System [from Gizmodo]

    Posted in: Auto · Technology

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  11. "Print" Bones for your mending pleasure!

    jake on 2003.06.24
    at 06:36 pm

    New technology has been developed to "print" a replacement bone. Many layers are put together to create a three-dimensional object. They are absorbed into the body as new bone is created by the body.

    To produce the artificial bone segments, ACR has adapted a rapid prototyping machine, a device engineers use to quickly make models by building up layer upon layer of material.

    New Scientist

    Posted in: Science

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  12. WWDC Keynote Today

    brian on 2003.06.23
    at 12:07 pm

    Today is the day Mac fans have waited for all year. Fittingly, it's also my very first day as a full time Apple employee, albeit, I have the day off (that must be a good omen). But, like a good employee, I'll make the pilgrimage to see the WWDC Keynote today to see the unveiling of Apple's future. You can't view it live unless you're on Apple real estate, at certain university viewings, or have your own Ku- or C-Band satellite dish. We've been told for sure that today will herald the first public viewing of Panther, the next OS from Apple: 10.3. What else will told reveal? I don't know, but whatever it is, it's got to be funky.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  13. Lessig replies to Hatch: you're dumb.

    brian on 2003.06.18
    at 07:07 pm

    Lessig has replied to the suggestion made by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R, Utah) to allow copyright holders remotely destroy the computers of those they believe are illegally distributing their work. From the AP article:

    "No one is interested in destroying anyone's computer," replied Randy Saaf of MediaDefender Inc., a secretive Los Angeles company that builds technology to disrupt music downloads.

    "I'm interested," Hatch interrupted.

    To which Lessig replied,

    Can we bomb the offices of stock brokers thought to be violating SEC regulations? Or bulldoze houses of citizens with unregistered guns? Or --yes, this is good-- short the telephones of people who use indecent language?

    If so, looks like Martha would "go boom."

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  14. Harry Potter and Raincoast Books

    jake on 2003.06.18
    at 05:28 pm

    Boing Boing has a blurb about how in Canada they are printing the latest Harry Potter book on 100% recycled paper. While this is a very nice idea, more emphasis should be put on the publisher doing it. There is an entire movement to move production to be environment friendly.

    Posted in: Books

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  15. CD money coming back

    jake on 2003.06.18
    at 04:56 pm

    A judge has ruled in favor of consumers. The recording industry will have to hand over a large sum of money to anyone who filed a claim. This result comes from allegations of price fixing in the music industry.

    The ruling, however, does not stipulate exactly how much consumers will receive or when the checks will be distributed. More than 3.5 million consumers filed claims, now estimated at $12.63 each.

    CNN.com

    Posted in: Service Announcement

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  16. Sony pushing OLEDs

    jake on 2003.06.17
    at 03:59 pm

    This is from last week, but it's one of the technologies I've been following. Sony is pushing to use OLED displays in many of their small devices. I just can't wait till the technology goes from small devices to more large monitors.

    news.com

    Posted in: Hardware

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  17. PBS: Lessig v. RIAA, interpretations

    brian on 2003.06.14
    at 02:55 am

    PBS Online has an excellent piece with Prof. Lawrence Lessig and the RIAA's Matt Oppenheim going to back and forth to answer tough questions on copyright, DCMA, fair-use, P2P, and the like. Very informative. The RIAA, while still obviously more interested in profit versus progress, sounds the most level headed I've ever heard it.

    Posted in: Media · Music · Politics · Technology · Web

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  18. EU wants to tax net sales, expects US companies to collect

    brian on 2003.06.14
    at 01:50 am

    The European Union is looking to assess its heavy sales taxes (VAT: 15%-25%) upon e-commerce sales. While that may not be surprising unto itself (unless you never realized how heavy European sales taxes are!), what may surprise you is the collection scheme. They expect companies on the net, who don't reside in European countries, to collect the taxes for them anyhow, on purchases shipped to Europe. And they're serious.

    What's worse is that it seems to be have a good deal of momentum. AOL has already started to arrange for more staff in its Luxembourg office for this purpose. If you have an office in Europe, you only need to assess that country's tax (Lux has the lowest, at 15%). Otherwise, you need to collect in varying degrees based upon the shipping destination, for each country you ship to.

    US businesses have already moved to push the Bush Administration to issue a grievance at a World Trade meeting. That might be the first intelligent thing this administration will do. And I'll be the first to say it, too.

    Posted in: Politics · Technology · Web

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  19. iPod sure beats Musak

    brian on 2003.06.14
    at 12:41 am

    Adam Porter knows music. He's a DJ. He owns a record shop. He runs a music design service. The latter means he'll pick out music to play at your business: (restaurants, clubs, retail, etc.) which best compliments your image. Here he's innovating. For a fee, he'll layout a music design for you business and then place it on a iPod. He'll hook it to your audio system, and then refresh it monthly. Songs and arranged playlists. These businesses already pay royalties to play music in their store, which covers the use of his music. That's pretty slick.
    (via MacMinute.)

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Technology

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  20. Carbon Nanotube Mail

    jake on 2003.06.12
    at 11:52 pm

    Scientists at the University of Texas have developed a thread made from carbon nanotubes. When woven together the material is "five times stronger than steel." It also has electrical properties. It was referenced that this could be used for body armor. The threads would only stop bullets and knives from a piercing standpoint. They still won't stop the blunt trauma. I learned that on Discovery. The show about Body Armor to be exact. The blunt trauma can also be lethal -- an indent caused by pressure -- by damaging organs.

    Materials made from such strong threads could be used to make bullet-proof vests as light as a T-shirt. And their electrical properties could be harnessed to put microsensors into our clothes, measuring everything from temperature to heart rate.

    New Scientist
    news24.com

    Posted in: Science · Technology

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  21. Metro NY Fan Followup

    brian on 2003.06.12
    at 11:57 am

    In a followup to my previous post about classless fans in the NYC region, I present this dissenting case: After being no hit by a combined 6 Houston Astros' pitchers, NY Yankees fans stood and cheered the effort. That's class.

    Posted in: Sports

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  22. Almost modern skulls found in Ethiopia

    jake on 2003.06.11
    at 02:46 pm

    Scientists have found skulls in Ethiopia that date back to almost 160,000 years old. While not one hundred percent representative of modern man they are close enough physically to group them with us.

    Previously, the earliest fossils of Homo sapiens found in Africa had been dated to about 130,000 to 100,000 years, although they were less complete and sometimes poorly dated, White said.

    The new skulls, which were dated at between 160,000 and 154,000 years old, are described in two papers that appear in Thursday's issue of Nature.

    White and his colleagues assigned the new creatures to a subspecies of Homo sapiens they named Homo sapiens idaltu — idaltu meaning "elder" in the Afar language.

    Yahoo! News

    Posted in: Science

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  23. New DVDs all wet

    jake on 2003.06.11
    at 02:02 pm

    Because of a problem with heat cracking the conventional blue lasers used for next generation DVDs a new method using water has been developed. This should reduce costs, which have been high during early production development.

    Liquids, however, don't crack. Enter the world's first water-based blue laser. Researchers at BlackLight Power heated water vapor with microwaves to generate energized hydrogen atoms which emit multispectrum light rays, including infrared, blue and violet. A prototype blue laser device is expected by the end of the year.

    Popular Science

    Posted in: Technology

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  24. Classless New Jersey

    brian on 2003.06.10
    at 01:00 pm

    Watching the Stanley Cup Finals this week, I continue to hate New Jersey Meadowlands sports fans (I have family in South Jersey, which an entirely different state: friendly people, no chemical plants, and where the "Garden State" nickname comes from. They're all Philly fans down there, too). After winning the Stanley Cup, the New Jersey fans deafenly boo the winner of the Con Smythe Trophy (The Duck's Jean-Sebastian Giguere) because he wasn't their goalie. Classless. The Con Smythe trophy is the MVP for the entire playoffs. JSG was clearly the MVP.

    Not to mention the North Jersey fans booing the Spurs in line up announcements the night before, including two of the nicest players in sports: Tim Duncan and David Robinson.

    There's just something about the fans in that New York Metro area (and I'm a fan of one of those teams). They were terribly rude at the 2002 US Open at Bethpage Black on Long Island. And who can forget the snowball incident at the NY/NJ Giants game? Classless. Sportsmanship (among fans, at least) simply has no meaning when you enter that area.

    Posted in: Rant · Sports

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  25. Unbrand America

    brian on 2003.06.10
    at 12:27 pm

    Those culture jammers at Ad Busters are at it again, with a new program entitled "Unbrand America." Here's a highlight:

    In the coming months a black spot will pop up everywhere . . . on store windows and newspaper boxes, on gas pumps and supermarket shelves. Open a magazine or newspaper - it's there. It's on TV. It stains the logos and smears the nerve centers of the world's biggest corporations.

    This is the mark of the people who don't approve of President Bush's plan to control the world, who don't want countries liberated without UN backing, who can't stand any more neo-con bravado shoved down their throats.

    This is the mark of the people who want the Kyoto Protocol for the environment, who want the International Criminal Court for greater justice, who want a world where all nations, including the U.S.A., are free of weapons of mass destruction.

    Love 'em or hate 'em, Ad Busters is always interesting.

    Posted in: Politics

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  26. Type Pad compliant!

    brian on 2003.06.09
    at 01:13 pm

    Yes, today in an article on A List Apart (for people who make websites) Six Apart, the makers of the smash hit Moveable Type weblog/website software, have announced that their new product, TypePad, will be focused on adhering to W3C Web Standards. This is great news, seeing that the product, which is essentially a hosted Moveable Type, is targeted to folk who don't have any knowledge of making websites, or even know what standards are. It just does all the heavy lifting for them. Bless Six Apart.

    Posted in: Web

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  27. Exactitudes

    jake on 2003.06.06
    at 07:09 pm

    a contraction of exact and attitude

    Begun in 1994 Exactitudes is a photo project where the artists were inspired by the concept of similarities within social groups.

    I've always been amused by how even the social "outsiders" all look alike and act alike a thus are not actually as unique as they claim. When you can buy things that were obscure and commonly found at places like Salvation Army or made by your own hands at a store in the mall, the war is over. You have been assimilated into the Capitalist mainstream culture.

    Exactitudes [from Boing Boing]

    Posted in: Art · Photography · Rant

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  28. Blocking adhesion in cancerous cells

    jake on 2003.06.06
    at 06:38 pm

    In mice they have successfully targetted a human protein to prevent the adhesion of cancer cells. This prevents cancerous cells from spreading to other parts of the body. It also helped reduce the size of the originating tumor in the mouse.

    Galectin-3 is known to play a role in cancer formation, particularly in promoting cell-to-cell adhesion. "The idea was to break that contact and inhibit secondary cancer formation," says Jarvis. So the team removed the key part of galectin-3 that normally allows cells to stick to each other. The modified protein also occupies the site on a cell's surface blocking normal galectin-3 from binding. This stops cells from adhering to each other.

    New Scientist

    Posted in: Science

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  29. Business Card Cubes

    jake on 2003.06.06
    at 06:32 pm

    Nifty way to play with business cards. Fold six of them into a cube.

    Ned Batchelder [from Boing Boing]

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  30. Minis in Italian Job

    jake on 2003.06.05
    at 07:18 pm

    The new movie The Italian Job (original) is rampant with Mini Coopers. I'm a fan of the little cars and had to post this article.

    I'm interested in seeing this movie, but it delayed the release of the original on DVD last year. err...

    Posted in: Auto · Movies

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  31. Millipede bath for capuchin monkeys

    jake on 2003.06.05
    at 07:02 pm

    Nature.com also has an article about how capuchin monkeys use crushed millipedes to keep other biting bugs away. Check out the picture there too, a monkey leaning on a stick.

    Posted in: Science

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  32. Parasite masquerade

    jake on 2003.06.05
    at 06:48 pm

    Nature.com reports on a bizarre parasite that uses its host as a suit.

    It's not just the parasite's dress-sense that is bizarre. Initially less than 0.1 millimetres long, the grub eventually grows to fill its host's body. Females spend their entire lives inside, pumping out new larvae. Fly-like males hover around, looking to mate with the small part of a female's body that protrudes from her host's abdomen.

    Many insect parasites eat other insects from within. If an insect detects an invader, it builds a tough capsule around it, cutting off its food supply and killing it. But Kathirithamby has never seen a twisted-wing parasite suffer this fate.

    Posted in: Science

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  33. OLED on next iPod?

    jake on 2003.06.05
    at 06:17 pm

    According to Think Secret Apple is researching the use of OLED's on their next generation iPods. This will be cool application of the technology. It will also enhance the exposure of this technology. [from Gizmodo]

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  34. Eldred Legislation: Public Domain Enhancement Act

    brian on 2003.06.04
    at 02:10 am

    Lessig and Eldred are working on getting legislation, Public Domain Enhancement Act, passed in Congress allowing people and companies to extend copyrights for $1, if they choose. Others may let them lapse, to enrich the public domain. Here's a petition Lessig has started...

    If I were to email this to you, it'd look like this:


    Dear Friends,

    I have just read and signed the online petition:

    "Reclaim the Public Domain"

    hosted on the web by PetitionOnline.com, the free online petition
    service, at:

    http://www.PetitionOnline.com/eldred/

    I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider signing yourself.

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  35. BoingBoing... barf and bravo.

    brian on 2003.06.03
    at 02:09 am

    One of my favorite weblogs is BoingBoing. Often times you'll see very similar content here and there. However, they've added a new guest blogger to the mix who will receive zero attention from us here (outside of this rant). That's because they've invited John C. Dvorak to be their guest blogger. Yup, the pretentious, self-important blow-hard who's famous for running off at the mouth... and not much else. Puke. We have an unspoken "no-posting-JC.D-articles-policy" here.

    On the upside, check out Mark Frauenfelder (of BB)'s side-site, The Island Chronicles. He's moving to various South Pacific Islands with his wife and two young girls, and blogging what he can. If the name sounds vaguely familiar, he's also known as a Switcher.

    Posted in: Rant · Web

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  36. Bryson writes again

    brian on 2003.06.03
    at 01:50 am

    Bill Bryson has written a new book A Short History of Nearly Everything, trying to bring the history of science to the lay person. I’ve read two Bill Bryson books which I enjoyed immensely, Walk in the Woods, and I’m a Stranger Here Myself. I hope to get this one, as well. Here’s an interview he did with New Scientist about the new book.

    Posted in: Books · Science

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  37. FCC does it anyway

    brian on 2003.06.03
    at 01:30 am

    Today, as expected, the FCC went ahead with its changes to media conglomeration rules, against bipartisan objection. Now it's up to the Congress to do something, as this is the American public's only recourse.

    Washington Post's Story.

    Dan Gilmor's Take.

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television

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  38. Move over Duck (Duct) tape

    jake on 2003.06.03
    at 12:06 am

    Here comes Gecko tape

    Related to an earlier post, the gecko's ability to stick to surfaces is being harnessed with technology. At Manchester University they have created a tape that shares the characteristics of the setae on the gecko's feet.

    "Spiderman is science fiction and will remain in comics," Geim told New Scientist. "But hopefully 'gecko-man' will become less science fiction and more a reality in the near future."

    New Scientist
    National Geographic News

    Posted in: Science

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