Home » Innovation Watch Newsletter 2.21 – October 18, 2003

Innovation Watch Newsletter 2.21 – October 18, 2003

SCIENCE

First Cloned Rats Born – [Nature] Genetically identical rodents may help pinpoint gene function.

Biological Basis For Creativity Linked To Mental Illness – [Science Daily] Psychologists from the University of Toronto and Harvard University have identified one of the biological bases of creativity.

Scientists Map Dog’s Genetic Structure – [MSNBC] Man’s best friend, in this case a male poodle, is genetically more similar to humans than is the mouse, a more commonly used laboratory animal, according to researchers who have completed the first rough draft sequence of the genes of a dog.

Gamma-Ray Burst Linked to Mass Extinction – [Nature] Some 440 million years ago, a nearby gamma-ray burst may have extinguished much of life on Earth, say US astronomers.

Gene Behind Stroke is Uncovered, Scientists Say – [International Herald Tribune] Researchers in Iceland say they have discovered the first gene that underlies common forms of stroke, a disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people each year.

Study Predicts Trillions Of Planets – [Discovery Channel] The chances of Earth being alone in the universe just got a whole lot smaller, as astronomers have dramatically raised the estimate on how many planets are out there.

Drug Produces Faster Healing and Fewer Scars – [New Scientist] Initial trials of a drug that reduces scar formation have produced encouraging results. Although the substance still has numerous regulatory hurdles to clear, it is the first of its type to be tested on people.

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TECHNOLOGY

E-Books, Once Upon a Future Time – [Wired] Readers hungry for a good page-turner will still turn to bookstores and libraries, but cheaper computers and changing consumer habits suggest that electronic books, or e-books, still have a future.

What’s Next for Digital Photography – [MSNBC] ‘Shooting Digital’ sums up the state of the art and points toward the future.

Wi-Fi Future for UK’s Phone Boxes – [BBC] BT is reviving its network of ailing public phone boxes by breathing some wi-fi life into them.

Berners-Lee Talks Up Semantic Web – [Internet News] What if the World Wide Web were one giant database, linking both human readable documents and machine readable data in a way useful to both mankind and machine?

The See-It-All Chip – [TIME] Radio-frequency identification — with track-everything-anywhere capability, all the time — is about to change your life.

Electronic Paper Reaches Video Speed – [Nature] Paper capable of playing videos has been invented at the Philips Research laboratory in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

Switchable Net Woven from DNA – [Nature] US researchers have woven DNA into a net that expands and contracts. It could be used as a nano-filter or in biological sensors.

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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Shock! Horror! Computers in Productivity Boost – [Computerworld] The productivity paradox, that nagging economic anomaly that suggested the billions of dollars spent on computers over the past few decades had been wasted, has been declared solved.

Flying on One Engine – [The Economist] America can no longer propel the global economy. Unless other countries take over, argues Zanny Minton Beddoes, the economic outlook is grim and globalisation is at risk

Film Industry Joins War on Internet File Sharing – [International Herald Tribune] While the major labels in the music industry squabbled about how best to deal with Internet piracy and failed to develop consumer-friendly ways to buy music online, the movie industry has gone on a coordinated offensive to thwart the free downloading of movies before it spins out of control.

Benetton on RFID and Privacy Worries – [CIO Insight] Mauro Benetton, director of marketing for the company that bears his name, admits the flap caught him off guard. In March, a group called CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering) called for a boycott of the Italian apparel company after learning that it planned to use radio frequency identification tags to track its clothing.

War on Terror Takes Toll on U.S. Economy – [Boston Globe] Two years into the war on terrorism, hopes that the struggle would be only a brief drag on the economy are fading. Businesses and consumers are facing a growing list of security-related burdens, the federal deficit is ballooning from increased military spending and Americans are jittery about the future.

Boeing and Airbus Take Their Rivalry to China – [International Herald Tribune] Planemakers are eager to woo China as airlines elsewhere have reduced orders for new aircraft.

Organic Style with Soul – [Catalog Success] Organic fashions may be the next merchandise trend to watch, and Under the Canopy is at the leading edge.

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SOCIETY AND POLITICS

Annan Tackles Remaking the UN – [Christian Science Monitor] Dogged by questions of relevancy, UN secretary- general calls for ‘radical’ change in power structure.

Cities, Swarms, Cell Phones: The Birth of Urban Informatics – [The Feature] Howard Rheingold: "I’ve wondered about the ways mobile phones might be changing cities ever since I noticed people on the streets of Tokyo and Helsinki (but not New York or San Francisco) looking at their telephones instead of listening to them."

Health Experts Disturbed by Dangerous Trends – [FOXNews] Cat-eye contact lenses, facial tattoos, toe-shortening surgery: These “trends” may sound humorous to the layperson, but health and social experts aren’t laughing.

Economic Impact of Aids Huge – [News24] Aids could slash African economic growth by up to half, far more than previously suggested by researchers, the World Bank said at an international conference.

Fewer Leaving Inheritences – [NZOOM] With expected life spans stretching longer and longer and the cost of healthcare skyrocketing, the idea of parents leaving largesse behind is becoming secondary to their using it to live as comfortably as possible.

UK Public Strongly Rejects GM Foods – [New Scientist] The UK public resoundingly rejected the case for growing and eating genetically modified food. The emphatic snub comes in a report announcing results of the UK government’s "GM Nation" public debate on the future for GM foods.

22 Million Americans are Addicts – [Washington Times] Around 22 million Americans were addicted to alcohol or drugs last year, according to a federal survey designed to capture more accurate data about substance abuse.

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ENVIRONMENT

Tourism to Earth’s Most Threatened Areas Surges by Over 100 Percent In Last Decade – [Science Daily] Tourism has increased by more than 100 percent between 1990 and 2000 in the world’s biodiversity hotspots, regions richest in species and facing extreme threats, according to a report released by Conservation International and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Scientists Race to Bank Endangered Plant Species – [Planet Ark] Deep in the lush English countryside south of London a group of scientists is racing against time to save from extinction as many of the world’s endangered plants as they can.

Alternative-Fuel Event Takes a Global View – [Mercury News] New research presented at an event dedicated to alternative fuels shows that newer cars with cleaner-burning gasoline engines — technology that’s available in dealer showrooms today — could help the Los Angeles Basin meet 2010 federal smog standards.

Europe Paves Way for Hydrogen Economy – [EDIE] The European Commission announced the first steps for a fully integrated hydrogen economy with a partnership that will devise a ‘hydrogen research strategic agenda’.

Giant Study Probes Humanity’s Impact on Ecosystems – [IPS] With the global economy set to quadruple and another three billion people likely to be living on the planet by 2050, managing our dwindling natural resources in a sustainable way has literally become a matter of life or death.

Park Initiatives May Connect Dots of Life – [ENN] Environmentalists are grinning broadly in the wake of the World Parks Congress, their spirits raised by huge commitments from Madagascar and Brazil to protect crucial ecosystems.

Eco-Friendly Cars On Display – [CBS News] General Motors Corp. calls it the Hy-wire: a car that puts fuel-cell technology in a futuristic body. It lacks foot pedals and a traditional steering wheel.

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THE FUTURE

The Way We Are Going – [The Economist] A book review… Baroness Greenfield’s purpose is to issue a warning: that the coming integration of IT and biotechnology will have such a profound effect on the way we think and live that “we are standing on the brink of a mind makeover more cataclysmic that anything in our history.”

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