|Ken Novak's Weblog
Purpose of this blog: to retain annotated bookmarks for my future reference, and to offer others my filter technology and other news. Note that this blog is categorized. Use the category links to find items that match your interests.
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Friday, January 16, 2004
Nanotox 2004: "There is accumulating evidence that nanoparticles can have very toxic properties. Many nanoparticle systems are known to have exotic structural, electronic and hence chemical properties, when compared to their bulk counterparts, principally as a result of their reduced dimensions. However very little is known about the interaction between the surface chemistry of nanoparticles and ‘wet’ biochemistry.
There are a variety of novel materials that have become part of the human environment over the past fifty years; some are unintentionally inhaled or ingested, whilst others are introduced into the body intentionally and have been studied in detail, for example prosthetic implants. The revolution in nanotechnology is currently driving these and other biointeractive devices to smaller and smaller lengthscales. Other groups are actively engaged in interfacing biomolecules into ‘biocomputing devices’.
The primary aim of this meeting is to bring together experts in the science of materials, particularly nanoscale materials, with biomedical scientists studying the health effects of nanoparticle exposure. This meeting will attempt to advance understanding of the molecular mechanisms for toxicity and develop novel methods of research based on the latest technologies...
The venue for the meeting is the world famous Daresbury Laboratories in Cheshire, .. home to the new SuperSTEM atomic resolution analysis facility consisting of a suite of aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopes capable of sub-Angstrom chemical imaging and spectroscopy ideal for the study of nanoparticles."
Wired carries a story before the conference: "There is an established risk with some novel materials. Research in this month's issue of Toxicological Sciences concludes that carbon nanotubes, which have a huge variety of potential applications, can be more toxic than quartz, which is considered a serious occupational health hazard. " 11:42:42 PM
Bush signs parts of Patriot Act II into law - stealthily: "By signing the bill on the day of Hussein's capture, Bush effectively consigned a dramatic expansion of the USA Patriot Act to a mere footnote. Consequently, while most Americans watched as Hussein was probed for head lice, few were aware that the FBI had just obtained the power to probe their financial records, even if the feds don't suspect their involvement in crime or terrorism.
The Bush Administration and its Congressional allies tucked away these new executive powers in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, a legislative behemoth that funds all the intelligence activities of the federal government. The Act included a simple, yet insidious, redefinition of "financial institution," which previously referred to banks, but now includes stockbrokers, car dealerships, casinos, credit card companies, insurance agencies, jewelers, airlines, the U.S. Post Office, and any other business "whose cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory matters."
Congress passed the legislation around Thanksgiving. .. The Senate passed it with a voice vote to avoid individual accountability. [It] ramps up provisions within the 2001 USA Patriot Act, which granted the FBI the authority to obtain client records from banks by merely requesting the records in a "National Security Letter." To get the records, the FBI doesn't have to appear before a judge, nor demonstrate "probable cause" - reason to believe that the targeted client is involved in criminal or terrorist activity. Moreover, the National Security Letters are attached with a gag order, preventing any financial institution from informing its clients that their records have been surrendered to the FBI. If a financial institution breaches the gag order, it faces criminal penalties. And finally, the FBI will no longer be required to report to Congress how often they have used the National Security Letters."
Bloggers are making more noise about this hidden expansion of PATRIOT; let's see how long it takes for the mainstream media to criticize it. 11:38:30 PM
Breakthrough Poised for Organic Solar Energy: "Through research with organic photodetectors, Siemens researchers revealed they were recently able to increase the efficiency of printed organic solar photovoltaic (PV) cells from three to over five percent. .. [The] photoactive layer of the cell has a thickness of approximately 100 nanometers, which corresponds to about 1/200th of the thickness of a hair. Since the polymers are printed on foil these solar modules are light-weight. Moreover, they are flexible and can be adapted to almost any shape. .. [They] achieve today a service life of several thousand sun hours, said Siemens. To start with, organic solar cells will first be applied in portable solar modules charging mobile telephones, satellite phones or navigation systems without requiring any connection to a main electrical supply. The first such products are expected to be sold in 2005, said the company. Siemens said that in some time it will be possible to achieve an efficiency of ten percent and a service life of 10,000 sun hours which corresponds to an operating life of approximately ten years. It is therefore conceivable to use organic PV in all main applications of conventional solar systems, said the company. " 11:12:44 PM
: "can be embedded into a personal blog template or Web page, and displayed in any modern Web browser (via Flash Player 5 or above). .. : SoundBlox is part of a series of BlogBoxes that provide rich Internet functionality for bloggers while showcasing the merits of Laszlo's declarative XML development approach. Application code in this series is available under an Apache-style open source license." This example
played me the Grateful Dead. 11:03:25 PM
WorldWater News Sept 2003: "Ronda, Cebu, Philippines, will inaugurate the world’s first solar powered, prepaid municipal water distribution system .. For the first time, a municipal water distribution system utilizes smart card technology as a financing solution for community water production and to remove problems associated with the payment collection process. The Ronda system uses WorldWater’s proprietary AquaCard™ (Smart Card) debit card system, which operates directly with WorldWater’s AquaMeter™ solar pumping stations throughout the community. The project was made possible by a commercial loan from the Philippine National Bank (PNB), and required no special subsidies or grants. “This is one of the first times that PNB has been able to lend to a municipality the size of Ronda,” said Worldwater (Phils.) President John Herrman. “The bank’s willingness is based on the collection security of the ‘AquaCard™,’ which enables the community to recover its costs and pay off the loan.” .. Water purchased from the AquaMeter™ is not only clean, but is also significantly less expensive than water purchased from other sources. " 10:47:41 PM
'My So-Called Blog'
: "the vast majority of bloggers are teens and young adults. Ninety percent of those with blogs are between 13 and 29 years old; a full 51 percent are between 13 and 19, according to Perseus. Many teen blogs are short-lived experiments. But for a significant number, they become a way of life, a daily record of a community’s private thoughts — a kind of invisible high school that floats above the daily life of teenagers" 5:27:52 PM
WhyFi already getting built in Santa Rosa: More on Cringely's WhyFi self-organizing romaing network: "Dane Jasper, who runs Sonic.net in Santa Rosa, is doing that by urging his broadband users to build and share their own hotspots that can be used solely by other Sonic.net broadband users. The carrot used by Dane to encourage participation is both free service, like WhyFi, and some revenue sharing applied to the DSL userâ019s monthly bill. Sonic has downtown Santa Rosa completely covered without spending up front for anything. He gets it. ..
There are still nine dialup Internet users in the U.S. for every user with broadband access.. Now imagine Cantennas all over a city –- paying customers for WhyFi service at $9.95 per month?" 8:41:30 AM
Cantenna WiFi Booster Antenna
: "Boost your wireless signal (802.11b g), or connect to other wireless networks in your neighborhood. Only $19.95" 8:39:24 AM