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+ - Chamber Seeking Homeless Solution (book guest home->

Submitted by
nazmizaki
nazmizaki writes "Book guest homeless ontario phenomenon has been a major issue worldwide this day. The increase of living cost and also the education standard has push some people to be homelessness. There are many action plan are been consider and need the action to be taken immediately. Special housing eyed where chronically homeless can get the help they need Desperately looking for a way to deal with downtown Victoria's growing numbers of homeless — about 1,200 people at last count — the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce thinks it's found a way to get at least 200 chronically homeless off the street."
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Data Storage

+ - Magnetic 'snakes' for storage devices?

Submitted by
Roland Piquepaille
Roland Piquepaille writes "According to a weekly digest from the American Physical Society (APS), physicists at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) have found that under certain conditions, magnetic particles could form magnetic 'snakes' able to control fluids. According to the researchers, this 'magnetic self-assembly phenomena may be used to make the next generation of magnetic recording media or transparent conductors based on self-assembled conducting networks of magnetic micro-particles.' By digging further inside ANL labs, it seems apparent that storage devices based on these magnetic 'snakes' will not appear on the market before a long time. This overview contains many additional details not present in the APS snippet, including pictures of these magnetic 'snakes.'"

Comment: The Next Step (Score 2) 253

by Polemicist (#20882693) Attached to: US Scientist Creates Artificial Life
I must say that I agree that this is an important advance, but that it is far from fully artificial life. The question remains as to whether the quote "I am creating artificial life" came as a direct quote or as the attention-grabbing headline that the reporter got from the interview (I haven't seen it as a direct quote yet, but correct me if I missed it). The importance of the advance is that the chromosome that was created will be taking control of the basic functions of the cell, which is much more ambitious than any current projects have been that add only a small number of genes to modify a particular response or character.


A small correction to Teancum's reading of the article, the next step would be to create an artificial *prokaryote* or bacteria, not a eukaryote. The goal of eukaryotic life being made in the lab is quite a ways away, since it would require the ability to create a working nucleus/nuclear-pore system for moving mRNA to the rest of the cell, as well as the creation of many membrane bound organelles (mitochodria, chloroplasts -- if it is a plant, endoplasmic reticulum, golgi apparatus, etc) which are functionally important to the cell. The goal of prokaryotic artificial life is much closer as the DNA is translated to mRNA in the cytoplasm, and all processes are conducted without the more sophisticated organelles. In fact, Mycoplasma genitalium, the bacteria used, follows this line of thought, and his new 'species' is called Mycoplasma laboratorium (a very creative name). Other than that, you are right on your points Teancum.


The good news on this goal is that much of the technology needed is available. We can currently create artificially plasma membranes (though the bilayer specific phospholipids found in living cells tend to be mixed into both of the bilayers), and as shown by Ventor, we can create the necessary chromosomes. Much remains to do, but we are getting closer.


Unfortunately, our current understanding of protein structure and function as based on the raw DNA code is still lacking, and so any chromosome, including Ventors, would not be original in the genetic coding, but would rather be a spliced together collection of genes that we know the function of (I believe his goal was the minimum necessary genome). To be truly artificial life, it would need to be a base by base creation.


Many people are against this kind of work, out of fears of it harming humans or intermixing with natural bacteria. One solution to this, which can only take place once we have the knowledge to design every protein and base pair of a cell, would be to create a new genetic code. I believe Dr. James Watson (who proved that DNA was the heritable material of all life) proposed a scheme that he thought was the real one (before we actually determined it). I am fairly certain it is in his book "DNA: the Secret of Life" and it is so far off of what we have now, if we gave it to artificial bacteria and it was transferred to other natural bacteria, they would only see junk in the code. It might even prevent the bacteria from becoming virulent to humans, but this might not be guaranteed.

Space

+ - Space Tether Test Goes Awry->

Submitted by
Polemicist
Polemicist writes "NewScientist.com http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn12702?DCMP=NLC-nletter&nsref=dn12702 reports that a test of a non-rocket based system for returning payload to Earth went awry. The experimental system utilizes a tether system supported from a satellite.

"In theory, the set-up should have acted as a giant pendulum, providing enough momentum to send Fotino back to Earth. ... But the mission hit a snag, literally, when the tether failed to unwind at full speed. Instead of deploying to 30 km, it reached only 8.5 km before releasing Fotino. .... The most precise calculations estimate re-entry sometime between Sunday and Tuesday, but we're not sure where it will come down" says NewScientist."
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Space

+ - Conference On Warp Drives Planned In Europe->

Submitted by
Polemicist
Polemicist writes "The British Interplanetary Society (BIS) will be hosting a workshop on problems and solutions to creating warp drives. Entitled "Warp Drive, Faster Than Light: Breaking the Interstellar Distance Barrier" it will expand upon the work of Miguel Alcubierre, who in 1994 used Einstein's theory of gravity to show that you could create a "warp bubble" that would enable faster than light travel. This suggested the possibility of effectively enabling a vehicle to move across enormous stellar distances in a short transit time, allowing the warp bubble interior as well as a vehicle located within to be moved through spacetime faster than the speed of light with respect to the distant universe. That is to say, within the warp field the speed of light limit has been raised so that locally the vehicle does not violate the central tenet of special relativity. To get more information visit their website at http://www.bis-spaceflight.com/sitesia.aspx/page/1539/l/en"
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To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton

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