Stuart Appreciates Education

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Easter is, above all else, a time of peace and joy toward rodents of all species and creeds. Hence I thought I’d show this photo of Stuart, my young apprentice mouse. Stuart may come to assist in the development of the Electronic Nonlethal Mouse Trap, though right now he’s leaning toward a career in foraging. If you’re interested, other photos of Stuart and mice I’ve had in the past are at Mousie Mousie. (Click to enlarge photo — Stuart is VERY photogenic.)

And now back to the lab . . . .

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Kids and rotary phones

So why do kids want to live in the Harry Potter universe, where there are no phones at all and you communicate by writing letters carried by owls?

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3D Printing: The Next Technology Gold Rush

3D Printing: The Next Technology Gold Rush – Future Factories and How to Capitalize on Distributed Manufacturing

This book provides an overview of the 3D printing market. The most interesting and unique section is Part II: “Financial Implications and Opportunities.” This section describes various potential markets for 3D products which you, the owner of a 3D printer, might produce for. Much of the discussion focuses on making custom designs for what might be regarded as accessories for ‘toys’: doll houses, action figures, gaming miniatures, and the like.

Also the writer mentions his experience working with factories in China, and says it’s nowhere as easy as some have implied. So if you have new product ideas you want to manufacture, 3D printing might be more practical when you’re just starting out.

By itself, this book is probably not going to make you an additive manufacturing tycoon, but it is perhaps one of the stepping stones along that path.

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Electronic Nonlethal Mouse Trap Slide Show

Click on first image to begin.

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Electronic Nonlethal Mouse Trap: Preliminary Design

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Why an electronic nonlethal mouse trap, you ask? Well, what if you forget to look in the trap? Then the poor mouse quickly starves. The electronic nonlethal mouse trap has an indicator light that blinks when the mouse is caught, and also it allows the mouse to escape after twenty-four hours. Your vacations can now be guilt-free!

(More details on the trap features will be forthcoming soon . . . .)

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GMO versus pharmaceuticals: the case for stronger regulatory oversight

Here’s some stuff to consider about GMO.

1. GMO is not ‘the same as plant breeding,’ it is creating new protein sequences that have never before existed in nature.

2. An insecticide resistant GMO crop must produce heavy chemical doping in order to become resistant to what is otherwise a deadly poison, and antidotes have been known to have side effects as deadly as poisons.

3. Clinical trials for new drugs typically last twenty years, GMOs use three-month ‘feeding trials’ instead.

4. Despite extensive testing, new pharmaceuticals typically have fatal side effects but we are to believe that far less testing will result in GMOs that are perfectly safe.

5. Would you buy an ear of GMO corn if it came with a label warning of possible side effects such as ‘nausea, burning sensation, dizziness, vomiting . . . . ‘ yet such warning labels are typically attached to pharmaceuticals that have undergone decades of testing as ‘safe’ for a market of only a few thousand consumers, while GMO crops are being targeted to a market for millions.

Because GMOs aren’t simply shuffling around existing DNA protein sequences but rather are engineering protein sequences that have never existed before in nature, it stands to reason that they should be subjected to the same controls and testing utilized by an industry that already has extensive experience with creating new chemical compounds for human ingestion. That industry is the pharmaceuticals industry. Based on its experience — written in the blood of patients — the pharmaceuticals industry has adopted a system of lengthy clinical trials and extensive warning labels and a controlled distribution system that requires written authorization from a medical professional before the product can be obtained. And even so, people suffer unanticipated side effects and die from pharmaceutical drugs that were determined ‘safe’ via the exhaustive FDA review process.

In the case of GMOs, we’re disregarding all that industrial experience and saying, “Yep, the cows are still alive after three months, it must be okay to give it to billions of people.”

Pharmaceutical drugs can often be expressed in simple formulas less than one line in length. A child could construct a ball-and-stick model of most pharmaceutical drug molecules in a matter of minutes. In contrast, proteins are the equivalent of molecular robots with thousands of atoms folded into precise configurations. In the same way that a computer program of millions of bytes can be corrupted by the change of a single bit, so too are the functions of proteins radically altered by the change of a single atom.

Can GMOs be safe? Yes, with clinical testing, potential side-effects warning labels, and a distribution system controlled by licensed physicians. We do that with relatively simple pharmaceutical drugs, we should do that with far more complex protein modifications. Of course we won’t, because there isn’t going to be a market for corn that you need a prescription to buy. Especially if it has a peculiar ’roundup-resistant’ aftertaste.

But the question is not whether we want to be scientific about GMOs, because of course we do. The question is whether we want to lower the scientific standard for regulatory oversight of introducing complex chemicals to be ingested into the human body. And if we do that, the quality of human life is going to be very different in the years to come.

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Quirky Update: Privacy -Cover USB Drive

privacy usb 03

One of my ideas has reached Expert Review at Quirky. It’s my design for a Privacy-Cover USB Drive.

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