Digital creatures

Cindermedusae [Cinder] – “generative encyclopedia of imaginary sea creatures”
“Created by Marcin Ignac and yet another project selected for the WrittenImages book, Cindermedusae is a generative encyclopedia of imaginary sea creatures. […] Marcin writes: Recently I was working on a project about underwater life. In this case we used 3d models so the immediately when I heard about Written Images I thought “Let’s make something more generative and organic”. I did some research and was amazed how big jellyfish can grow so I decided to make one. At the beginning I was aiming for super realistic look but after stumbling upon works by Ernst Haeckel and his amazing book “Kunstformen der Natur” I knew that this is the way to go. The most difficult part of the project was to find a way of controlling the layout on the page because when you generate something randomly it’s hard to predict it’s shape, size and position. I dealt with that with some smart transformations and iterative algorithms.
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CreativeApplications.Net

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Lending digital books

Amazon Will Let You Loan Kindle Books to a Friend — But Publishers Can Turn It Off
“Amazon will add a neat new feature to its Kindle e-book program later this year, designed to let you loan Kindle e-books to your friends, either via Kindle devices or the Kindle app for the iPhone, iPad, Android, etc. Sounds great! We’ve been hoping for this for a long time, because this is how people share paper books. But there will be some big limitations. First, “Each book can be lent once for a loan period of 14-days and the lender cannot read the book during the loan period,” Amazon explains. And perhaps more importantly, publishers will also be able to turn lending off for their books”
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Gizmodo

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Shaping nanotubes

New manufacturing method gives shape to carbon nanotubes
“It’s easy to make carbon nanotubes straight and vertical like buildings,” said U Michigan mechanical engineer Prof. A. John Hart. “It hasn’t been possible to make them into more complex shapes. Assembling nanostructures into three-dimensional shapes is one of the major goals of nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing. The method of capillary forming could be applied to many types of nanotubes and nanowires, and its scalability is very attractive for manufacturing.”
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Gizmag

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Head protection

Hövding: An Airbag For Cyclists
“Hövding is a novel airbag helmet for cyclists and works exactly like the ones in cars, except it can be worn around the neck. This fashionable safety device, created by two Swedish university students, is worn as a collar around the neck when not activated, and is equipped with sensors that inflates it around the cyclist’s head in case of a collision.”
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PSFK

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Measuring the body

3D scanner-based Body Volume Index launched
“A group of international researchers, however, are proposing that the BMI be replaced with a more detailed system, the Body Volume Index, or BVI. Using a 3D white-light scanner, the BVI identifies where the fat is distributed on a patient’s body, and how that compares to what’s normal. After ten years of development, the BVI was officially launched earlier this month. […] To use the BVI, an underwear-clad patient stands in a booth equipped with 16 sensors and 32 cameras, which are controlled by a computer. The scan itself takes just six seconds, and within two minutes over 200 linear data measurements of the patient’s body are saved to a secure server. These measurements can then be compared to the norms, possibly alerting doctors to the potential for heart disease, stroke, or diabetes.”
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Gizmag

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Small batteries

Researchers working on batteries smaller than a grain of salt
“In order to do so, she has coated well-ordered micro-pillars or nano-wires with lithium aluminosilicate, an electrolyte material. The structures are fabricated to maximize their surface-to-volume ratio, for maximum energy density. The lithium was applied through a process of atomic layer deposition, in which one-atom-thick layers of a material can be sprayed onto a surface. The electrodes have also been developed, but a fully-functioning salt-sized battery has still yet to be assembled, and probably won’t be for some time yet.”
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Gizmag

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Environmental watching

iPhone app lets citizen scientists help monitor the local watershed
“Coming soon to Apple’s App Store, Creek Watch will let citizens have a hand in maintaining the quality of their local waterways. Whenever they pass by one, they’ll be able to spend a few seconds using the Creek Watch application to snap a picture and report a few facts about what they see, including how much trash is evident, how much water is there and how fast it’s flowing. Creek Watch will aggregate that data and share it with water control boards to help them track pollution, manage water resources and plan environmental programs.”
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Springwise

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Social curves

A New Model for Predicting Social Media Impact
“Under Harper’s model, which he calls Velocity & Acceleration, the idea is to constantly measure the number of related tweets, blog mentions, and Facebook fan sign-ups during the campaign. By using calculus to compute the velocity, or rate of change, of the tweets and sign-ups, Harper can easily compute any acceleration, the rate of change of velocity over time. Using these two metrics, Harper says he can predict whether a mass marketing campaign will reach its overall goals within the first few days it begins running. The resulting curve typically takes a steep upward slope before leveling off, a pattern known in the industry as “the kick-ass curve.” Says Harper: “The idea is to predict the height of the plateau.”
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Technology Review

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