It is still cold here, and now windy, too... brrr... meanwhile, back at the 'net...
This is something to watch: WebMD reports Novel Vaccine Stops HIV. "A therapeutic vaccine has stopped HIV in its tracks. The vaccine is made from a patient's own dendritic cells and HIV isolated from the patient's own blood. Animal studies show that when dendritic cells are 'loaded' with whole, killed AIDS viruses, they can trigger effective immune responses that keep infected animals from dying of AIDS." Excellent.
Netherlands hospital euthanizes babies. "A hospital in the Netherlands - the first nation to permit euthanasia - recently proposed guidelines for mercy killings of terminally ill newborns, and then made a startling revelation: It has already begun carrying out such procedures, which include administering a lethal dose of sedatives." People are going to react to this with horror (see the comments in this LGF thread), but it is a pragmatic solution. Of course where do you draw the line...
The NYTimes: U.N. Report Urges Big Changes; Security Council Would Expand. Powerline explains why there's not much new at the U.N.: "Currently, all power at the U.N. resides in the Security Council, which has five permanent members and ten temporary, rotating members. Only the five permanent members have the power to veto any U.N. action. The problem is intractable; no nation that now has a veto will consent to give it up, while adding more vetoes inevitably moves in the direction of paralysis. And doing away with the veto power entirely is unthinkable, since no real power - like the U.S. - trusts the organization enough to give it meaningful authority without retaining a veto right." This is why the U.N. is a toothless debating society.
Tim Oren notes an interesting milestone: "The canard that it takes legacy media to effectively cover an overseas story died on the streets of Kiev. If you've been trying to follow the story of the Ukrainians' attempt to overturn a corrupt election, you didn't go to CNN or the NYT, even for primary coverage. Instead you picked up first hand reportage at quaintly named places like 'Post Modern Clog', TulipGirl, Periscope, and the Maidan Internet news collective." Exactly.
Wired has an interesting interview with Burt Rutan, designer of SpaceShipOne. "In the coming era of manned space exploration by the private sector, market forces will spur development and yield new, low-cost space technologies. If the history of private aviation is any guide, private development efforts will be safer, too. A NASA-funded study estimates that if the price of a ticket to space approached $100,000, close to a million people would buy one. That's a $100 billion industry." I'm eagerly awaiting Elon Musk's next update from SpaceX.
Slate has a puffy interview with Richard Dawkins: The Man Behind the Meme. He's promoting his new book, The Ancestor's Tale, which is [of course] a must-read for me. "When Dawkins introduced the meme concept a couple of decades ago, hopes were raised that the evolution of culture, or even of the human mind, might be explained as a sort of Darwinian competition among memes. But little has come of this project, even if the word "meme" does continue to get tossed around quite a bit by pretentious intellectuals." I bet Susan Blackmore would disagree!
CNet reports New microscope could focus nanotech dream. "The U.S. Department of Energy is enlisting partners to develop a microscope that can capture images of particles measuring a half an angstrom, or half the size of a hydrogen atom." Cool. Of course these government-funded projects are part boondoggle, they've earmarked $100M for the development... The micrograph at left shows gold atoms, 23 angstroms apart (proving all that's gold does not glitter :)
Engaget links an NYTimes story about a guitar-like robot called GuitarBot, and wonders whether it could beat Yngwie or Satriani in a shredding contest. I haven't heard its "music", but I suspect Ottmar is not worried :)