Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Confessions Review & Brief Linkblogging

So I set some time aside to listen to the previously mentioned Philip K Dick piece on BBC radio while cleaning up around the apartment. A good idea, and one I should try to repeat in the future (ha ha ha).

All in all, it's a pretty decent piece. If one is already familiar with both the work of Mr. Dick and the events of 2-3-74, then it's mostly of intellectual interest; if not, then it comes heartily recommended. The use of the PKD android as a framing device makes it worth a listen regardless. It's rare to see a discussion of someone's work presented in such a fashion that elegantly demonstrates a deep understanding of the material.

Also, just in case anyone in publishing ever reads this, I would just like to point out that I for one would be willing to commit homicide most foul in exchange for a multi-volume set collecting the entire Exegesis. I realize that this will most likely never happen, but a guy has to have hopes and dreams.

Some random linkblogging:
As part of their recently revamped web presence, Seed Magazine has put their excellent article Built to Be Fans--a piece on mirror neurons and spectator sports--online. I'm an awed fan of Seed, since it almost seems to be a magazine designed specifically for me. And the article is worth a read.

Just how little can life get away with?
A short discussion of the J. Craig Venter institute's article just published in PNAS, Essential genes of a minimal bacterium. I wish I had time to read the article and give you my own thoughts, but this piece from Nobel Intent will have to suffice (and it does, in spades).

The Science Blog brings us news that researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are hard at work to develop a nano-size battery, intended for eventual use as a power source for an artificial retina. This is an issue that's fairly close to my heart, as one of my best friends has RP. My knowledge of the disease--and its potential treatment options--is small enough that I'm not clear at all if this would be useful for him and his endless quest for robot eyes (not to mention helper monkeys and ponies), but hope springs eternal.

The Science Blog also reports that the Biodesign Instute at Arizona State University has developed GM tobacco strains which can produce plague vaccine. This is something I'm just thrilled about. It's always nice to be reminded that I'm living in the future.

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