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Biotech

Video REMzen Claims They Can Help You Sleep Better (Video) 21

Meet Jeremiah Scott, Co-Founder & CEO of Portland, OR, based Remzen. Their first product -- crowdfunded, of course -- is supposed to ship this October. It's an "intelligent sleep mask that collect sleep lab-type data but it also wakes you with light rather than sound, which Jeremiah says is more natural and better for you. Remzen started as a student project at Portland State University, but it is obviously moving toward the big time. Open Source? You'd think so, since Timothy met Jeremiah at OSCON. But there's apparently a financial backer or two who still need to be convinced that this project should be 100% open source instead of only halfway there.

Note: The transcript contains more material than the video. Even if you prefer video to text, you may want to read it.
Biotech

Video Help Save Endangered Rhinos by Making Artificial Horns (Video) 202

Black Rhinoceros horn material sells for $65,000 per kilo. The rhinos are rare, which helps up the price, but the horn is also prized "as a fever-reducer, a cosmetic, an aphrodisiac, a hangover care. And so people highly value it in the Vietnamese and Chinese cultures. So we are trying to reduce that value by increasing the supply," says Jennifer Kaehms of Pembient, a company that's working to make artificial rhino horns that are not only chemically indistinguishable from the natural variety, but are 3-D printed to look the same. The idea is that if they can flood the market with human-made rhino horns, it will cut poaching -- which is a big deal because there are only about 5,000 black rhinos left in the whole world.

They have a crowdfunding appeal on experiment.com looking for help in sequencing the black rhino genome. At this writing, it has two days to run and has only raised $12,831 of its $16,500 goal. The results will be open sourced, and once the black rhino is on its way to salvation, they plan to work on the white rhino, then move on to killing the black market for ivory and tiger pelts, which don't sell for as much as rhino horns but are valuable enough to keep an international horde of poachers in business.
Biotech

Video The Cryonics Institute Offers a Chance at Immortality (Video #2) 155

Today's interviewee is Cryonics Institute (CI) Director Andy Zawacki, who takes Slashdot's Robert Rozeboom into the facility where they keep the tanks with frozen people in them. Yesterday, Rob talked with David Ettinger, who is both the group's lawyer and the son of CI founder Robert Ettinger. For those of you who are obsessed with the process of vitrification, here's a link to a story about The Cryonics Institute's 69th Patient and how she was taken care of, starting at the moment of her deanimation (AKA death). The story has anatomical drawings, charts, and color pictures of Andy carrying out the actual procedure. But Cryonics, while endorsed as a concept by numerous scientists, may not be as good a way to insure immortality as transplanting your brain into a fresh (probably robotic) body, as Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov hopes to do by 2035. There are also many groups that claim to offer spiritual (as opposed to corporeal) immortality. Which method of living forever works best? That remains to be seen, assuming any of them work at all. Perhaps we'll find out after the Singularity.
Biotech

Video The Cryonics Institute Offers a Chance at Immortality (Video) 254

Do you want to be frozen after you die, in hopes of being revived a century or two (or maybe ten) in the future? It can cost less than an electric car. That's what the Cryonics Institute (CI) offers. David Ettinger, today's interviewee, is both the son of CI founder Robert Ettinger and CI's lawyer. In this video, among other things, he talks about arrangements that were made for his father's demise, and how they were able to start the cryopreservation process almost immediately after he expired. Is Cryonics the best chance at immortality for those of us likely to die before the Singularity arrives, and gives all of us the tools we need to live forever? David Ettinger obviously thinks so. (This is Video #1 of 2. The second one is scheduled to run tomorrow. It's an interview with CI Director Andy Zawacki, who takes us into the facility where the frozen bodies are stored.)
Biotech

Video Backyard Brains Shows You How to Remote Control a Cockroach (Video) 62

This is our second video starring Backyard Brains (Motto: "Neuroscience for Everyone!"). The first one was pretty lab-oriented, with a twitching roach leg here and there. This one has more roaches, with most of them crawling on command. Will the DoD see this and decide to make cockroach soldiers? Or roboroach bomb detectors and defusers? Or cockroach drone pilots? Anything's possible these days. But meanwhile, relax and enjoy learning about roboroaches and watching how, with little circuit boards on their little backs, they scurry hither and yon under control of their human masters. WARNING: Excessively squeamish people should not watch this video, but should stick to the transcript.
Biotech

Video HiveBio is Working to Become Seattle's First Community Biology Lab (Video) Screenshot-sm 23

HiveBio in Seattle is not the world's first community-based biology lab, but it may be the first one started by a high school student. Her name is Katriona Guthrie-Honea, and her co-founder is Bergen McMurray. They managed to get a lot of equipment and supplies donated to their new venture, along with a successful Microryza Campaign that raised $6425 even though their target was only $5100. They're renting space from a local hackerlab, and getting an insane amount of publicity for a venture that's just starting out. But why not? If Bergen's and Katriona's example can spur others to learn and create, whether in mechanical engineering, physics, electronics, computer science or biology, it's all good -- not only for the participants, but for anyone who might someday benefit from creations or discoveries made by people who got their first taste of hands-on science or engineering in a hackerspace or community biology lab.
Biotech

Video Brewing Saké in Texas for Fun and Profit (Video) Screenshot-sm 134

Let's say you are an IT stud named Yoed Anis, you spent a year in Japan and decided you really like Saké, and you're back home in Austin, Texas. Since Texas, like Japan, grows lots of rice, you obviously need to start the Texas Saké Company to produce Rising Star and Whooping Crane Sakés, which you sell online and through a number of Texas restaurants and retailers. But whatever we can say in print pales beside a two-part brewery tour conducted by Toji Yoed himself, accompanied by Timothy Lord and his trusty camcorder. Yes, there's a transcription. But the video tour itself is better, even though it regretfully does not include the delightful aroma of Saké being made. (Someday, perhaps, Slashdot Studios will be equipped for Smell-O-Vision, but that's at least a few years off.)
Biotech

Video Genspace: New York City's Community Biolab (Video) 29

Imagine that you are at 33 Flatbush Ave. in the Brooklyn borough of what David Letterman calls "the world's greatest city." You go to the 7th floor. Congratulations. You have found New York City's community biolab, Genspace. It's a well-equipped facility without a single mad scientist in sight. Indeed, everyone here seems as happy as the people you see in a makerspace -- which should not be surprising, since Genspace is essentially a makerspace for biologists. It is confined to non-hazardous experiments, but there is plenty going on, including ongoing projects and courses with titles like DIY Neuroscience: Controlling Behavior from the Inside. You can keep up with Genspace by following their blog. And of course, if you're in the neighborhood you should stop in. It's a welcoming environment, dedicated to the idea that science is for everyone, not just a chosen few.
Biotech

Video Prefab Greenhouse + Ardunio Controls = Automated Agriculture (Video) 117

Sam Bagot and Will Bratton operate Horto Domi (hortodomi.com), an agricultural project they describe as "beyond organic." They're working with small prefab greenhouses, adding sensors and Arduino-actuated controls, and even including an earthworm breeding area in most domes, because earthworms are good for the soil and can increase plant production. If you're the kind of person whose plants always seem to shrivel up and die, this may be a great way to garden. With watering and other functions automated, it looks like all you have to do is set your controls, plant what you want to grow, and wait for the "time to harvest" alarm to go off. Okay, it might not be that simple, but Sam and Will say their gardening method saves a lot of energy and time. It also looks like fun, besides being an easy way to grow your own 100% organic fruits and vegetables.
Biotech

Video Seaweed is Good for You and Can Be Tasty, Too (Video) Screenshot-sm 109

When you think of garage-based tech start-ups, hardware makers like Apple or data-manipulators like Google probably spring to mind before biotech, and way before farming. Lewis Weil, though, has for the last several years been perfecting the art of growing seaweed in central Texas, and his Austin Sea Veggies have garnered interest from gourmets and restaurants across the U.S. In large part, that's because seaweed is so useful for industrial purposes, it's getting harder to find eating seaweed these days. Lewis says there's nothing stopping anyone with an interest in aquaculture in emulating his success as an inland ocean farmer, but has some cautions, too -- when small things go wrong, or a record heatwave overcomes humans' puny air conditioning systems, your seaweed harvest can fail just like any other crop. Update: 09/19 16:40 GMT by T : Now with transcript! If video's too slow and linear, click below to read what Lewis had to say.
Biotech

Training an Immune System To Kill Cancer: a Universal Strategy 201

New submitter Guppy writes "A previous story reported widely in the media, and appearing both on Slashdot and XKCD, described a novel cancer treatment, in which a patient's own T-cells were modified using an HIV-derived vector to recognize and kill leukemia cells. In a follow-up publication (PDF), a further development is described which allows for a nearly unlimited choice of target antigens, broadening the types of malignancies potentially treatable with the technique (abstract)."

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