T2T – The Next Tech Revolution

Here is an interesting article on cincinnati.com about the next revolution in technology. The Internet revolution was about people connecting with people. The next revolution will be about things connecting with things. The story mentions having “tags” on every possible items from glasses to grocery, and each one identifying itself on a network…very cool stuff.

In a twist, this next technological chapter won’t emerge out of ever-more-powerful computers and faster Internet connections. This shift comes from the opposite direction. It will ride on pieces of plastic the size of postage stamps, costing a nickel or less. Each plastic tag will contain a computer chip, which can store a small amount of information, and a minuscule antenna that lets the chip communicate with a network.
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Hemingway to be Available Online

Ernest Hemingway is going online, marking what publisher Simon & Schuster said is the first time the collection of a major literary writer will be made available electronically.

Hemingway’s entire list of books, including literary classics like “A Farewell to Arms” and ”For Whom the Bell Tolls,” will be available in the electronic book format beginning in August.
Each e-title can be downloaded for $9.99, below the list price for most paperback versions. More here.

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Aerospace Firms Developing Blimp

German airship developer CargoLifter AG and aerospace giant Boeing Co. said Thursday they have agreed to explore the development of sophisticated, high-altitude blimps for use in U.S. homeland security defenses.

CargoLifter’s head of corporate development, Christian von Tuempling, said working groups will study potential uses of lighter-than-air craft by military and commercial customers, with a “special focus on homeland defense.”

One possibility, he said, would be large airships equipped with special sensors stationed at altitudes as high as 66,000 feet for surveillance purposes.

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Remains of ‘Sexual Freak’ Flown to South Africa

The dissected and preserved remains of Saartjie Baartman, the so-called “Hottentot Venus“, were flown back to South Africa from France on Thursday, nearly 200 years after the African woman was first put on display in Europe as a sexual freak.

Baartman was born on the Gamtoos River in what is now South Africa in 1789. In 1810, a British ship’s doctor took her to London, after convincing her that she could make a fortune by displaying her body to curious Europeans.

In Britain, she was paraded as a savage around circus sideshows, museums, bars and universities.

There, she was forced to show off her protruding posterior, an anatomical feature of her native Khoisan people (formerly called the Hottentots), and her outsized genitals.

After moving to Paris, Baartman drifted into prostitution and died in poverty in 1816.

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Venture Capital – California Still Leads

While the technology downturn has hit Silicon Valley like a ton of bricks, California remains a magnet for venture capital, leaving the state the dominant destination for U.S. private financing, according to a study released on Thursday.

The study by San Francisco-based research firm VentureOne found California reaped the most venture capital financing deals of any U.S. state in the first quarter.

California, historically the premiere market for U.S. venture investing, notched 179 deals, valued at $2.4 billion, in the first quarter. Massachusetts was a distant second with 72 venture deals, totaling $734 million, the study said.

The tally reflected the sharp contraction in venture investing following the billions of dollars lost in dot-com and other technology start-ups over the past two years.

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Gene Therapy Used to Destroy HIV Virus

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be stopped in its tracks by using gene therapy to tell infected cells how to prevent the virus from replicating, researchers said on Thursday.

“This could be the smart bomb in our arsenal,” said John Rossi, Ph.D., chair of the Division of Molecular Biology at City of Hope Cancer Center near Los Angeles and lead author of the study showing that small pieces of RNA can prevent HIV from growing in cells.

The findings of the gene therapy study, so far conducted only in the laboratory, appear in the May issue of “Nature Biotechnology.”

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Creator of Virus Goes to Prison

A man who admitted to creating the “Melissa” virus that swamped computer networks worldwide and caused millions of dollars in damage in 1999 was sentenced Wednesday to 20 months in prison, prosecutors said.

David Smith, 34, was ordered to serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison sentence and was fined 5,000 dollars, according to a statement by federal and state prosecutors working on the case.
More here.

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NASA Told Not to Look for Life on Mars

A new report from the US National Research Council is urging NASA to avoid searching for life when it finally sends astronauts to Mars, saying the risk of bringing back harmful microbes to Earth is too great. NASA are understandably in a bit of a quandary, since finding life on the Red Planet would be their main reason for going there.

The “Safe For Mars” report acknowledges that the chance of organisms on Earth being contaminated by Martian nasties is as remote as Osama appearing on national television, dropping his trousers and singing “God Save the Queen”, but it suggests that from a safety perspective the perils should not be brushed off.

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Worldspace Radio

Worldspace Radio: This is the most significant new technology
we have come across since the internet. It allows you to receive
web data from a special radio anywhere in the world via special
digital radios that cost less than $200 and do not require a telephone
connection and no ISP service. Incredible implications for
researchers working in third world locations. You can now
access NOA weather data anywhere in the world. Connect
your radio receiver to you PC and get MPEG 3 data from the web!

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Satellite Baby-Sitting Service

Two companies have announced plans to launch personal GPS “location devices” this year, which will act as a kind of LoJack for everyone from meandering children to nervous executives in kidnap-prone countries.

One is a bracelet, which parents can lock on their kids’ wrists to track their location and movements over the Internet, that is made by Wherify.

Another — and the most sci-fi application by far — an implantable GPS device that Applied Digital Solutions of Florida plans to develop within the next eight months.
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Smart Card Drivers Licenses

Two Virginia congressmen unveiled a bill on Wednesday that would direct states to turn their drivers’ licenses into computerized “smart” cards, which would be more difficult to forge.

Seeking to deter hijackers, criminals and underage drinkers from obtaining false identity cards, Democratic Rep. Jim Moran and Republican Rep. Tom Davis introduced a bill that would establish standard security features for the state-issued cards.

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Scientists Turn Skin Cells into Nerves

Scientists in Norway have managed to turn one sort of human cell into another in a novel way.
Conventional scientific wisdom has been: once a skin cell, always a skin cell.

All the evidence has been that nerve cells can only produce other nerve cells, muscle cells only produce other muscle cells, and so on.

But the experiments of researchers at the University of Oslo appear to show that adult cells are great deal more flexible.

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