There's a great little post on XKCD examining the speeds of data delivery--especially useful given today's confirmation that Saturday USPS delivery is shutting down. It's long been the case that if you need to send someone a lot of data--like, a few hundred gigabytes--it's faster to just FedEx the hard drive. But internet throughput is growing steadily, whereas FedEx's delivery capabilities have a distinct cap--so when will the internet truly be faster than FedEx? Read the post here.
It's not unlikely that your grandparent used canning jars for their original purpose: canning. But here in the twenty-first-century kitchen, the hard-to-destroy, easy-to-seal jar has become valuable for many more purposes. We love it -- and not just because one of the most popular models is manufactured by aerospace pioneer Ball.
DNA is the blueprint for life, and now it can serve as a computer to monitor life’s processes. Bioengineers transformed DNA into a one-bit memory system that can record, store and erase data within living cells. A future DNA memory device could be used to track cell division and differentiation in cancer patients, perhaps, or to monitor what happens as cells get sick or age.
An international team of researchers claims to have figured out a way to use ultrafast bursts of heat, rather than the typical magnetic field, to record a bit of information on a hard drive--a development they say could vastly increase the efficiency and speed of hard drives. They say it could record multiple terabytes per second, hundreds of times faster than current methods.
The most controversial scientific topic of the past few decades--predicting the fate of the planet--gets a huge dose of data
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 11.04.2011 at 9:49 am 1 Comment
Before the International Panel on Climate Change launched its Data Distribution Centre (DDC) in 1998, researchers who needed climate-change projections had to get them from the handful of scientists who specialized in computing-intensive statistical climate modeling. Modelers became backlogged with requests; studies languished.
The EOL, a collaboration by the foremost authorities in biology, is a massive database that tracks every organism on Earth
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 10.31.2011 at 4:42 pm 5 Comments
Four years ago, the Smithsonian Institution, the Field Museum of Natural History, Harvard University, the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Marine Biological Laboratory and the Biodiversity Heritage Library joined together to create a comprehensive collection of data about every living thing on Earth.
A massive directory of all viruses, worms, and other malware--as well as a centralized anti-malware arsenal
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 10.25.2011 at 5:50 pm 0 Comments
With a catalog of more than 15 million malicious computer programs, MD:Pro is the Centers for Disease Control of the cybersecurity world. Frame4 Security Services, which was established in the Netherlands in 2006, created the database as a resource for security experts, who need access to malware to identify new threats and develop and test defenses.
The National Geographic Society and IBM sell DNA-testing kits to trace human history scientifically
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 10.25.2011 at 11:36 am 0 Comments
The best record of early human migration is found not in ancient bones or archaeological artifacts, but in the DNA of people living today. In 2005, to make that information accessible, the National Geographic Society and IBM launched the Genographic Project.
The UN created FAOSTAT with the aim of helping scientists feed the world
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 10.24.2011 at 4:36 pm 0 Comments
Monitoring the global food supply involves tracking data on agriculture, land use, fishing, forestry, food aid, nutrition and population growth. To make sense of it all, researchers at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations built FAOSTAT, the world's largest database of food and agricultural information, with more than a million statistics covering five decades and 245 countries and territories.
The FBI's CODIS database solves cold cases with genetic data
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 10.24.2011 at 3:15 pm 0 Comments
In 1990, when the FBI began building its master DNA database—the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS—investigators could generally use DNA analysis only for cases in which they possessed both crime-scene evidence and a specific suspect. Not anymore.