Four short links: 6 Jan 2009

Four thought-provoking links from the worlds of disaster tech, multicore, bioengineering, and 17th century French nobility.

  1. Techies: Volunteering to Save the World – article on NGO work being the new black for technology. In particular, this caught my eye: “Earlier this year, IBM launched a program called Corporate Service Corps to send 100 employees to Romania, Turkey, Vietnam, the Philippines, Ghana and Tanzania to work on projects that combine economic development and IT. And the response was impressive: More than 5,000 employees applied to participate.”
  2. Laurence Livermore Lab releases Stack Trace Analysis Tool – debugging tool for code running over 20k processors. We need new tools like this to handle the complexity thrown up by a multicore world.
  3. Spinning Silkworm Cocoons into Biosensors – interesting article in MIT Technology Review about bioengineer Fiorenzo Omenetto who is using silk to build optical devices that can be used as sensors in the body. “In the devices that ­Omenetto and Kaplan are developing, proteins embedded in the optical material efficiently bind to a target such as oxygen or a bacterial protein; when they do, the light transmitted by the sensor changes color.”
  4. La Rochefoucauld Quotes – lots of thought-provoking quotes. For example, on the freemium business model: “What seems to be generosity is often no more than disguised ambition, which overlooks a small interest in order to secure a great one.” On Twitter: “As it is the characteristic of great wits to say much in few words, so small wits seem to have the gift of speaking much and saying nothing.” On social network sites: “However rare true love may be, it is less so than true friendship.” On Google/Microsoft/Apple/[insert big company here]: “There are heroes in evil as well as in good.
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  • I totally dug the La Rochefoucauld quotes – Cheers.

  • leo

    La Rochefoucauld? Off the top of my head from memory: ‘There’s always something in the misfortune of others that does not displease.’

    Yes, wicked.

  • Best part of the La Rochefoucauld quotes is the way that there are multiple variations of “Why can we remember the tiniest detail that has happened to us, and not remember how many times we have told it to the same person”. Ah irony, how I do love thy sharp yet sweet taste.

  • @Mike Figueroa: thanks, fixed the link. (Hmm, maybe it’s time to look at installing a W3C Validator plugin)

  • I love the Geekcorps concept.

    Do you know of any programs that connects Geeks to nonprofits in the U.S.?

    I wonder if people would be similarly motivated without the lure of being abroad.

    Thanks for sharing

  • The TR article on using silk was really interesting. I wonder if it could be modified for inkjet printing so that complex, functional, 2D structures could be created?

    It is also a nice example of using recyclable bio materials to create devices which is a small counterpoint to Tim’s worry about the world producing landfill-grade junk.