No, it’s not the name of a band; you can actually listen to the human genome, streamed as live audio, over at DNA Radio. They are currently broadcasting Chromosome 1, and at their present rate of data rendering they figure they will have played it all in 23 years or so. Comic-Con, started as a fan-organized event, has turned into a major marketing event with serious money at stake. While I think everyone already realizes this, nothing brings it home like an article in Bloomberg, the financial news organization. They do touch on a few of the movies to be premiered at the event as well.
That’s right, today is Nicola Tesla’s 153rd Birthday. The man who invented AC power, the electric motor, the florescent light (years before Edison came up with the incandescent light bulb), the field of RC and the first Remote Control vehicle (a boat), the audio speaker, and Radio (no, it wasn’t Marconi; his patents were invalidated in 1943). He also invented the Tesla Coil and Broadcast Power (never deployed because no one could figure out how to put a meter on it for billing purposes), and there was a rumor that he built a book-sized vibrator that could topple buildings and caused an earthquake. He contributed to a lot of other fields, including Robotics and Radar, he has a ton of published articles and patents, and my favorite bit: he was the guy for whom the phrase Mad Scientist was coined! Happy Birthday, Nicky!
Roboworld is now open at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. Billed as the largest robotics exhibition in the United States, it includes robots you can play air hockey and basketball with, and a number who demonstrate the basics of robotic senses. There are also some famous Film Bots, such as C-3PO from Star Wars and Maria from Metropolis, as well as Gort, Robby, and Dewey. The Post-Gazette has a nice little video introduction to the exhibit, if you don’t mind sitting through a short commercial first. And then there is Robot Truth…
The good news is that Chuck has been renewed for at least 13 episodes in season 3. The bad news is Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has not. Still no update on Reaper. In the just because we can department, here is this years UC Berkeley entry for the American Chemical Society’s NanoTube Video contest. It was also the hands-down winner, in both categories (Peoples Choice and Critics Choice).
Back in November, the National Academies announced the formation of a new group to promote the use of accurate science in science fiction productions, focusing primarily on Movies and TV. The Science and Entertainment Exchange came out of the starting gate strong, with Watchmen leading the pack. A serious voice for both the acting community and the sciences, Dustin Hoffman helps make that connection now, working to get the science in science fiction right. This is not the first time this kind of thing has been done; Mike Brotherton has been the primary force behind Launchpad, a NASA funded free crash course in Astronomy and Astrophysics for science fiction authors for some years now. This years guest teachers include amateur astronomer and author Joe Haldeman, and Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy fame.
Biologists and geneticists have enlisted folks from companies like Google and Adobe to figure out a way to display the massive amount of evolutionary data in a way that allows a mere human to make sense out of it, according to this NY Times story. The Daily Galaxy also mentioned the article, as did Discover Magazine and quite a few others. This is one field where the data and evidence is overwhelming, in the literal sense; there is so much of it, it is difficult to visualize the patterns it creates. The first steps have been taken, with the open source PhyloWidget, which you can use online or download to run locally. I am looking forward to seeing how this one develops; achieving the full project as envisioned will be even more impressive than Google Earth, another massive collection of data rendered into something useful.