Large scale farming is a dirty business, but Taiwan’s environmental authorities have come up with a novel way to clean up it’s six-million-swine pig farming industry: a href="http://green.yahoo.com/news/afp/20110105/od_afp/taiwananimalspollutionfa...">potty train the pork. The Environmental Protection Administration has pledged to increase the number of toilet trained pigs in that country after one breeder successfully reduced the amount of waste water on his 10,000-pig operation by 80 percent by teaching his pigs to use the toilet.
The north magnetic pole is slowly sliding from its current locale in the far north of Canada toward Russia at a rate of something like 40 miles per year, but most of us don’t feel the repercussions of that. However, far from the frosty Canadian tundra, sunny Tampa, Fla., is feeling the magnetic shift. Tampa International Airport has closed its primary runway until January 13 to repaint the numeric designators and taxiway signage to reflect the change.
It’s wasn’t unexpected but for those of us running Snow Leopard on our Macs it is significant: Apple launched it’s Mac App Store today as part of an update to Mac OS X 10.6, bringing the current version up to 10.6.6. For the uninitiated, the Mac App Store is like the App Store in iTunes that lets you purchase and load software apps to peripherals like the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, but the apps are optimized to run on your computer. That’s right: Angry Birds for your desktop.
In a breakthrough that’s sure to stir up some controversy, Princeton researchers have reported that they have for the first time created artificial proteins from scratch in the lab that have enabled the growth of living cells. To achieve this, they created genetic sequences never seen in nature and produced completely synthetic proteins that were not modeled on living examples. They then inserted them into living bacteria, many of which thrived with their synthetic molecular machines.
Proponents of genetic medicine say DNA sequencing is the future of medicine and that soon every truly sick person will have his or her genome sequenced. Critics cite privacy concerns and note that genetic mutations and variations don’t necessarily lead to medical outcomes. Whatever the position, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t good news: the first child – plagued by undiagnosable illness – has been saved by DNA sequencing.
Most architect design buildings with permanence in mind, engineering them to last decades if not centuries. Swedish architecture firm Jagnafalt Milton thinks the city of the future should be anything but permanent. The firm has won third place in a contest to to develop a the Norwegian city of Åndalsnes with a plan to create a configurable city that rolls buildings around on rails.
As far as things that come out of the MIT Media Lab are concerned, perhaps a flute is among the less impressive. But take into account that the entire fully-functioning acoustic instrument was created via 3-D printer with a minimum of human assembly, and it sounds markedly more impressive.
Watch those old videos of the Apollo missions (or movies about the Apollo missions), and the nail-biting, climactic moment is always spacecraft reentry, where the incoming craft comes screaming through the atmosphere in a burning ball of white-hot plasma resulting in a total radio blackout. But a team of Russian scientists say they’ve found a way to communicate through the plasma sheath that causes radio blackout by turning the sheath itself into a giant plasma antenna.
Further solidifying its reputations for cutting edge battlefield tech and badass acronyms, DARPA has awarded BAE systems $8.4 million to develop its BLADE program (for Behavioral Learning for Adaptive Electronic Warfare), a system of algorithms that can automatically identify and jam threatening wireless communications.