Firestarters: Highlights of the Highly Miscellaneous Part IV

Posted by Whit Barringer , Tuesday, February 05, 2008 10:09 AM

Time for another Firestarter!

  • Snorting a Brain Chemical Could Replace Sleep (Wired.com)
    • If that's not scary enough as it is, the article states that it has "no apparent side effects." Is this the dawn of the eternal all-nighter? I kind of hope so. Not enough hours in the day as it is. Speaking of monkeys...
  • Monkey controls a robot half a world away. (NYTimes)
    • What's the big deal? Well, because the monkey was able to make the robot walk with her brain (even after she'd stopped walking and had started eating a banana), it's a breakthrough that may give the paralyzed hope that they will actually be able to control their bodies full-ranged movement with the same amount of effort as the rest of us. Oh, and speaking (indirectly) of prosthetics...
  • "Bionic" arm revolutionizes prosthetics. (IEEE)
    • Believe it or not, prosthetics haven't changed much. With the advancement of the "Luke" arm (named after Skywalker and his prosthesis in Star Wars), amputees will be given the possibility of six possible grip functions, as well as a nearly full range (if not full range) of movement possible in non-amputees - if it gets the funding. Speaking of (even more indirectly) revolutionizing the existing system...
  • "The 'Bowed' Piano: Fishing for a New Sound" (NPR.org)
    • The most amazing sounds to come out of a piano - possibly ever. While they mangle the piano to a point where it's nearly unrecognizable, you have to admit that it's still amazing and awesome that ten people are playing it. There is a video and a few songs listed on the left if you would like to listen to something amazing. Speaking of music...
  • RIAA abandons ruse that they sue for the artists as they seek to stick it to said artists. (Hollywood Reporter)
    • As if the “reign of terror” against college students wasn’t bad enough. While I don’t advocate piracy, I don’t “advocate” corporate greed, either. This entire time, the RIAA has been suing on the premise that not only is their bottom line hurting, but the artists are hurting too. Well, no longer. Songwriters and publishers are making too much money, they say. Sad thing is, major music distribution services like Apple, Yahoo, and Napster all agree. Speaking of corporate bastards and those who would like to stick it to them like they have to everyone else...
  • "20 minutes or so on why I am 4Barack" (Lessig Blog)
    • While you may or may not be involved in the political process, it's still a good video to watch - if not to see if your mind can be changed, then to see the differences between Barack and Hillary (though rather negative on the Hillary side of things). This is who I'm voting for this primary season, and I thought I'd share some of the reasons why. Speaking of political rivalries...
  • "In Democratic Families, Politics make for Estranged Bedfellows." (NYTimes)
    • Maria Shriver went for Obama? The Kennedys are all split up? Husbands and wives working for opposing Democratic (and sometimes Republican) campaigns? Crazy times in this country, but it's great that it's happening. People are thinking, and by God that's reason to celebrate. And, finally, speaking of... well... really nothing in particular...
  • Creationist Museum (YouTube)
    • The one in Texas may be goin' broke, but the one in Kentucky is juuuuuuust fine.

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