Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Facebook WWII, The Unincorporated Man, Boltzmann Equation, Cellphone Inventor Taunting, Top Species for 2010, Synthetic Genome

From Hamish comes a description of WWII for the FB generation.

From James, my favourite economist, comes a link that talks about a book titled The Unincorporated Man. It explores the idea that a person's income stream can be bought and sold. The link includes the following quote:

"What if," answered Hektor, without missing a beat, "instead of giving two, three, four dollars a month for a charity's sake, you gave ten dollars a month for a 5 percent share of that kid's future earnings?  And you, of course, get nothing if the kid dies.  Now you have a real interest in making sure that kid got that pair of shoes you sent.  Now it's in your interest to find out if he's going to school and learning to read and write.  Now maybe you'll send him that box of old clothes you were thinking of throwing away.  Under your system you write a check and forget about the kid, who'll probably starve anyway.  Under our system, you're locked into him.

In maths news a pair of Penn State University mathematicians have found solutions to the Boltzmann Equations. I don't know that I'd heard of them before but via the article I discovered fractional derivatives. They break my mind a bit. It involves finding fractional, or even complex, powers of the differential operator.

From Sequoia comes an amusing tale that the inventor of the cellphone used the first call to taunt his rival. Marty Cooper's phone call was

Joel! This is Marty Cooper. I'm calling you from a cellular phone. But a real cellular phone. A handheld portable cellular phone.

From Gillian the International Institute for Species Exploration has released a Top 10 new species.

Dan posted a link detailing the first functional glucose biofuel cell in a living animal.

Finally a post about a scientist that appears to have completely synthesised a genome and implanted it in another cell. Gillian was good enough to find the original paper for me.

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