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Hive Mind
Monday, September 26, 2005
 

Viral Batteries


Biomimicry - the technique of looking to living systems as inspiration for the design of materials, devices, or architecture - is a really cool idea. This example struck me as particularly interesting:


Material scientist and engineer Angela Belcher's interest in nanotechnology came from studying how nature makes materials. "Abalone just happened to be a great example of a natural biomaterial, and one of the reasons that it is such a great material is that it's constructed on the nano-scale," she says. "So I approached the question, can you use the same principles that nature's evolved and apply it to other materials that nature hasn't had the opportunity to work with yet, like electronic materials and magnetic materials?" Since then, her goal has been to grow inexpensive nanomaterials in her lab at room temperature and pressure, that, among other qualities, self-assemble, self-correct and generate little waste, but offer the possibility of ever smaller and more powerful electronic devices.

Copying how red abalone build their shells, Belcher and her team are developing a way to actually "grow" rechargeable batteries with the help of viruses — tiny microbes that multiply by infecting living cells. Their technique would take a matter of weeks, rather than the 15 years the red abalone needs to assemble a full-sized shell.

"We're forcing the viruses to interact with materials that they would never interact with, normally. So now the viruses are a template to actually grow that material… it incorporates these new materials into its coat surface," Belcher explains.

The team uses a type of virus that infect bacteria, called bacteriophages. When mixed together with a metal or other materials, millions of them can align and stack themselves into orderly layers, creating a new material.

More...


(Via Worldchanging). 
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
 

South African Inventor makes Anti-rape Female Condom

KLEINMOND, South Africa (Reuters) - A South African inventor unveiled a new anti-rape female condom on Wednesday that hooks onto an attacker's penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world.

"Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was high time," Sonette Ehlers, 57, said of the "rapex", a device worn like a tampon that has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime.

Police statistics show more than 50,000 rapes are reported every year, while experts say the real figure could be four times that as they say most rapes of acquaintances or children are never reported.

Ehlers said the "rapex" hooks onto the rapist's skin, allowing the victim time to escape and helping to identify perpetrators.

"He will obviously be too pre-occupied at this stage," she told reporters in Kleinmond, a small holiday village about 100km (60 miles) east of Cape Town. "I promise you he is going to be too sore. He will go straight to hospital."

The device, made of latex and held firm by shafts of sharp barbs, can only be removed from the man through surgery which will alert hospital staff, and ultimately, the police, she said.

It also reduces the chances of a woman falling pregnant or contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases from the attacker by acting in the same way as a female condom.




More... 
Thursday, September 08, 2005
 

Master P Launches Hurricane Relief Effort



New Orleans native Master P has started up a relief organization called Team Rescue. He's also organizing a Save Our Hood benifit concert and a benefit album. All I know is that I'd take him over FEMA any day. By the way, Team Rescue is accepting donations on their website.

Link 

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