Friday, January 28, 2011

What Would Get Me Excited as a New Technology?

Having Thursday's off should be standard procedure. Today was so easy!

On Egypt
In a former life EconomicDisconnect was a serious student of things foreign policy and a heavy duty reader of strategic items. Sites like StratFor and The Strategy Page were regular looks. That died out over time. As such, I am unprepared to offer anything but my opinion on the crisis in Egypt, but I feel the moment is important enough to get something down.

We have no idea what is really causing this revolt. I am uneasy with how staunchly the US has always sided with the Mubarak regime and of course now our policy makers would have you think they are all for "freedom" or whatever. This (along with Tunisia) is linked directly to free money the word over that the US supplies. Consequences be damned, as long as it is someone else. I am watching with interest but also concern. You never, ever know what will come about after a real revolution.

Quick Market Take
No idea why everyone got all scared today, but I would not read into it much. I am excited as this will provide me with an actual down day to run my oversold screen. I don't think a serious correction is at hand unless things really get bad over the weekend. We shall see.

What Would Get Me Excited as a New Technology?
I have been skeptical about new age companies that are believed to make quadrillions in cash going forward for all time because most do not make sense to me longer term. I am not stuck in the stone age though, I can see new ideas that will actually matter.

While most are obsessed with finding the next big way to post pictures and talk to people (Facebook, Skype, etc) or a way to get 50% off useless crap one time (Groupon, etc) some are actually looking to break barriers and invent a new way forward.

I have spoken at length about Natural Products and their application for therapeutics. Linked molecules are also a novel idea whose time has come (WHEN Avila Therapeutics goes public you WILL WANT to be in that name!). But perhaps nature has tricks we have not even begun to take advantage of.

A write up over at Io9 should wet your appetite for what I am talking about:
Scientists Make Next Generation Computers with Gold and DNA
Stop, I know what you are thinking. This is the EconomicDisconnect Holy Grail! DNA and gold, he is biased! Read on Grasshopper:
Optical computing technology, a growing field in the tech sector, involves computers that send data using beams of light. In order to expand the capabilities of optical computing, engineers are required to find materials that manipulate light very precisely. Photonic crystals are one such helpful material. A photonic crystal can block very precise wavelengths of light, making it a great optical tool. But creating such a crystal is a challenge. Now scientists have tested a new method for making them, and they have done using the coolest materials possible: Gold and virus parts.

Tiny gold nanospheres and pieces of virus were hooked together using strands of DNA. The DNA pieces were created specifically for the experiment. Small spheres of gold attach to certain base pairs and form part of the lattice. Gold, while malleable for a metal, is relatively heavy and rigid for such a small structure. The lattice is made more bendable by its organic component, capsids, which are what make up the protein shells of viruses. These bits of virus 'skin' string together the tough gold spheres.

A mix of all of these components - DNA, capsids, and gold spheres - self-assembles into a lattice. The structure of that lattice can, with certain materials, be made into a photonic crystal. No one would have to build a crystal to use in optical computing, mixing together the right ingredients could make it build itself.
While science has looked for years into superconductors for quantum applications, here we have a new way to think about the next generation of computing. This could be big but obviously it will take time. And money. Money better spent than on the Facebook IPO.

Here is the research paper:
DNA-controlled assembly of a NaTl lattice structure from gold nanoparticles and protein nanoparticles
I have read the complete paper 3 times and this will work. I can actually do this kind of work and if an opportunity comes up for a job in this field my resume will be at the door on fire. It is beyond the scope of this blog to get too into this but be sure this is a great new idea that has me excited. See, I can do tech!

Friday Night Entertainment
After a hard week, you know you need some fun. Here it comes.

Robot News
It has been a while without a robot update, but maybe I was trying not to scare you. Here you go, a robot that can tie ties. Creepy.

Top Ten Catch Phrases
Another Io9 find, Top Ten Catch Phrases You Swore You'd Never Use (and when you used them).Sample:
"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
What it's from: Princess Bride
When you say it: Twenty minutes after you saw The Princess Bride. With a ruler in your hand, and your only pair of boots while your very-much-alive father shaves in the bathroom down the hall. Oh please, like you weren't all dying to say this one as soon as you heard it.

Did You Know?
Time to play Did You Know?
-What the heck a capsid even is?
-Jupiter is thought to have acted as a solar system comet and asteroid picker upper (due to enormous gravity field) and may have allowed Earth to remain relatively unharmed by impacts? It is still going on. Thanks big guy!
-There is debate on just how Indian technology was able to fashion the Iron Pillar of Delhi?
-This is what chicken nuggets are?
-Amarillo Slim once won a bet he could hit a golf ball a mile distance?

Film Clips
Load your Netflix list with a couple of gems.

I have featured "Fat Man and Little Boy" before but here is another shot. My man Josh Brown was discussing Uranium this week and this put a scene in my head. While doing a criticality experiment on the Demon Core an accident happens that almost became the first atomic detonation quite a bit ahead of schedule:

Great film.

Dustin Hoffman is one of the finest actors of all time and this scene from "Tootsie" is a standout in my mind:

Too much.

Rock Blogging
Some tunes to send you off on a good note.

I have had the final song in Rocky I in my head all day so here it is, "Going the Distance":

2:20 -2:40 mark is pure AWESOME!

Loyal reader Gawains wanted some Black Sabbath, and you know that's just fine with me. Take a listen to "Wicked World":

Nice pick!

I have seen many 'Walk like an Egyptian" videos today! Why that one (Egypt obviously) when you can run "Hazy Shade of Winter" by The Bangles instead?:

ROCK ON ladies, especially Susanna!

Two left, I gotta run.

With all the problems Charlie Sheen is having, it put me in mind of the film Cadence, which I love. Great film and great singing. Check out this clip of a Church song:

Wow on the last 30 seconds.

Last call!

Closing with Dragonforce for all you Guitar Hero fans! "Through the Fire and the Flames" should get you all riled up:

Have a good night.


watchtower said...

"A mix of all of these components - DNA, capsids, and gold spheres - self-assembles into a lattice."

Uh huh, and you know what comes next GYSC?

It's not a robot that can tie ties, it's Skynet baby!

And you want to work on this?

I never thought I'd see the day that you would advance the cause of computers and robots over the needs of humanity, but it seems that day has come.

I'm afraid you may have been seduced by the dark side!

: )

Seriously though, that is incredible.
I had no idea that they were working on stuff like that.

GawainsGhost said...

My friend Joey, who is a computer freak out in California--this guy writes programs in machine code, bypasses the compiler--is heavily into nano-tech. I once asked him if that stuff, atomic level robots and the like, was really possible. He said, "Absolutely."

So I sent him a copy of Thinking in Complexity, by Karl Mainzer. It's a book about complex systems which are self-organizing. Very interesting. Especially in the section where he discusses Leibniz's theory of monads as autotamons.

The Bangles were cute. But that song is actually a cover of an old Simon and Garfunkle hit. I notice that hardly anyone covers Black Sabbath, and those that do suck at it. Guitar, bass and drums too complicated for them. And no one can sing like Ozzy.

getyourselfconnected said...

Ummm, by my avatar you should know I am in thrall of the DARKSIDE!

Kidding aside, in a way you are right, I could help my fears come true, but for true supercomputing (and putting Intel out of business) I am all in. That paper is huge and will matter in the times to come.

Nobody covers Sabbath because it cannot be done well. Best I ever saw was Randy Rhoads playing Children of the Grave on the Tribute album, but even then the song changed into something else.

You always surprise, Thinking in Complexity is now in my Amazon buy bin! Thanks! Want to write any guest spots anytime soon?

getyourselfconnected said...

Click that Demon Core link, scary stuff indeed.

GawainsGhost said...

I had written and was revising a guest post on the forclosure mess, but then my computer died and I lost it, along with everything else. I'll have to rewrite the whole thing. But I'll try to send it to you this weekend, since next Tuesday is repo day and after that I'll have a lot of work to do.

getyourselfconnected said...

That will work Gawains! Miss your contributions.

Stagflationary Mark said...

I've been working on a new technology since 2007.

I call it ProsperityBlogger.

A black box generates posts. There's one simple sliding control knob to control the content.

Illusion ----------- Reality

Unfortunately, I left it out in the rain and the control knob rusted into place. It wouldn't budge so I called Ben Bernanke over at the Federal Reserve. He suggested I apply some leverage to it.

I did. The knob broke right off in my hand. It just sort of popped.

It's just a prototype. @#$% happens.

getyourselfconnected said...

That is some funny Chit Mark! Thanks for stopping in!

Stagflationary Mark said...


Reminds me of the time I tried to invent MimeBlogger. I couldn't train the frickin' mimes to use a real keyboard. Total waste of time! ;)

getyourselfconnected said...

What can you do?

KLo said...

I love your thoughts on new technologies ... one of the teachers at my school requires a quarterly report on new technology, and the kids of course grumble and focus on improved hair straighteners and more aerodynamic skateboards and stuff like that. Yours (your entire post, in fact ;)) is far more fascinating :-)

getyourselfconnected said...

Thanks Klo!

Alana Bikkina said...

I love your thoughts on new technologies ... one of the teachers at my school requires a quarterly report on new technology, and the kids of course grumble and focus on improved hair straighteners and more aerodynamic skateboards and stuff like that. Yours (your entire post, in fact ;)) is far more fascinating :-)