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November 08 2011

July 22 2011

Four short links: 22 July 2011

  1. Competitive Advantage Through Data -- the applications and business models for erecting barriers around proprietary data assets. Sees data businesses in these four categories: contributory data sourcing, offering cleaner data, data generated from service you offer, and viz/ux. The author does not yet appear to be considering when open or communal data is better than proprietary data, and how to make those projects work. (via Michael Driscoll)
  2. Interactive Touch Charts -- GPL v3 (and commercial) licensed Javascript charting library that features interactivity on touch devices: zoom, pan, and click. (via James Pearce)
  3. Solar Cutter, Solar 3D Printer -- prototypes of solar powered maker devices. The cutter is a non-laser cutter that focuses the sun's rays to a super-hot point. The printer makes glass from sand (!!!!). Not only is this cool, but sand is widespread and cheap.
  4. Synthetic Biology Open Language -- a language for the description and the exchange of synthetic biological parts, devices, and systems. Another piece of the synthetic biology puzzle comes together. The parallel development of DIY manufacturing in the worlds of bits and basepairs is mindboggling. We live in exciting times. (via krs)

July 21 2011

OSCON Preview: Interview with Eri Gentry on a biologist's coffeehouse

BioCurious is a Silicon Valley gathering place for biologists and other people such as artists who are fascinated by biology. It serves for learning, sharing, and an incubator for products and ideas. In this interview, community manager Eri Gentry talks about who supports BioCurious, what goes on there, and adventures in synthetic biology and art.

May 24 2010

Four short links: 24 May 2010

  1. Google Documents API -- permissions, revisions, search, export, upload, and file. Somehow I had missed that this existed.
  2. Profile of Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange (Sydney Morning Herald) -- he draws no salary, is constantly on the move, lived for a while in a compound in Nairobi with other NGOs, and cowrote the rubberhose filesystem which offers deniable encryption.
  3. OpenPCR -- producing an open design for a PCR machine. PCR is how you take a single piece of DNA and make lots of copies of it. It's the first step in a lot of interesting bits of molecular biology. They're using Ponoko to print the cases. (via davetenhave on Twitter)
  4. Metric Mania (NY Times) -- The problem isn’t with statistical tests themselves but with what we do before and after we run them. First, we count if we can, but counting depends a great deal on previous assumptions about categorization. Consider, for example, the number of homeless people in Philadelphia, or the number of battered women in Atlanta, or the number of suicides in Denver. Is someone homeless if he’s unemployed and living with his brother’s family temporarily? Do we require that a women self-identify as battered to count her as such? If a person starts drinking day in and day out after a cancer diagnosis and dies from acute cirrhosis, did he kill himself? The answers to such questions significantly affect the count. We can never be reminded enough that the context for data must be made as open as the data. To do otherwise is to play Russian Roulette with the truth.

January 27 2010

Four short links: 27 January 2010

  1. Why I Am Disappointed with Nature Communications (Cameron Neylon) -- fascinating to learn what you can't do with "non-commercial"-licensed science research: using a paper for commercially funded research even within a university, using the content of paper to support a grant application, using the paper to judge a patent application, using a paper to assess the viability of a business idea.
  2. The iState of the Union (Slate) -- humorous take on the State of the Union address, as given by Steve Jobs.
  3. Five Obstacles for Synthetic Biology -- a reminder that biology is bloody hard, natural or synthetic. "There are very few molecular operations that you understand in the way that you understand a wrench or a screwdriver or a transistor," says Rob Carlson, a principal at the engineering, consulting and design company Biodesic in Seattle, Washington. And the difficulties multiply as the networks get larger, limiting the ability to design more complex systems. A 2009 review showed that although the number of published synthetic biological circuits has risen over the past few years, the complexity of those circuits — or the number of regulatory parts they use — has begun to flatten out. (via Sciblogs)
  4. UK Government to Set Up Own Cloud (Guardian) -- will build a dozen data centres (each costing £250m) and push for open source on central and local government computers, eventually resulting in thin clients and "shared utilities". (via jasonwyran on Twitter)

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