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Sequencing the Weed Genome 315

GNUman writes "Maybe soon we'll be able to genetically modify humans so that a specific action (e.g., tapping your nose, pinching your ear) triggers the release of THC directly from your own cells. From the Nature blog post: 'At last, the field of genomics has something to offer Cheech and Chong. DNA sequencing hit a new high last night with the midnight release of the Cannabis sativa genome. The raw sequence was posted on Amazon's EC2 public cloud computing service by a young company called Medicinal Genomics, which aims to explore the genomes of therapeutic plants.'"

"Roadable Aircraft" Moving Towards Launch 186

We discussed Terrafugia's plans for what they don't like to call a "flying car" — rather a "roadable aircraft" — last spring. The Boston Globe has an update on Massachusetts-based Terrafugia and its fight to get airborne in these parlous times. "The last serious attempt to bring a car-airplane hybrid to market was the Aerocar, in 1949. According to Carl Dietrich, chief executive of Terrafugia, that company built six prototypes. It needed 500 orders in order to gear up for mass production, but it never got there... 'It can be hard to explain the value of this to non-pilots,' Dietrich says, 'but when you're a pilot, the problems of high costs, limited mobility on the ground, and weather sensitivity are in your face, all the time.' The company says more than 50 of the vehicles have been pre-ordered. The target price is $198,000."

Does Antimatter Fall Up Or Down? 480

KentuckyFC writes "There are enough loopholes in the general theory of relativity to allow antimatter to fall up rather than down in a gravitational field. We've never been able to make enough of the stuff to do the experiment. But at the European particle physics laboratory at CERN, where scientists have been refining the technique for making antihydrogen, researchers are designing an experiment called AEGIS that will finally settle the matter. The idea is simple — fire a beam of antihydrogen atoms and watch which way they fall — but the details are fiendish (abstract). The answer should help solve a number of important conundrums such as why there is so little antimatter in our part of the universe and what the value of the cosmological constant is."

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