Mar. 1st, 2009

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Radio broadcaster Paul Harvey dies at 90

The distinctive voice behind "The Rest of the Story" is passed away on Saturday at the age of 90.

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ITIF: The Atlantic Century: Benchmarking EU and U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness

According to the Washington-based ITIF (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation) Canada ranks 16th out of the 36 countries assessed in terms of Innovation and Competitiveness.

We ranked 2nd in Higher Education (increase of 15% within the 1999 to 2006 period), 11th in Researchers (23% increase), 19th in Corporate R&D (14% increase), 12th in Government R&D (18% increase), 7th in Scientific Publications (6% decrease), 10th in Venture Capital (59% decrease) and 32nd in New Firms (1% decrease).  In this we rank behind countries like Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, the US, the UK, Japan, France, Ireland and Germany). The big Venture Capital winner was Denmark (229% increase), while Canada was only slightly worse off than the US (51% decrease). Overall, the US placed last in this category, seeing little change in Higher Education (3% increase), Researchers (8%), and Government R&D (1.3%) and losses in Corporate R&D (5% decrease) and Scientific publications (4% loss).

Canada is 9th in terms of researchers (7.8 per 1000 employed in 2006), but 14th in terms of increasing the number of researchers in the 1999 to 2006 period (increase of 23%). This puts us behind countries like Sweden (12.5 per 1000), Japan (11 per 1000) and the US (9.7 per 1000). China and Mexico had the biggest increases, more than and slightly less than doubling the number of researchers (111% and 98% increases respectively) over the 1999-2006 period. We are, however, 2nd in percent of adults 25-34 with tertiary degrees (54%), only slightly behind Russia (56%) and ahead of the US (39%). This represents an increase of 15% within the 1999-2006 period, placing us at 15th behind Poland (115%) and ahead of the US (3%).

Canada sits at 13th in corporate investment in R&D as a percentage of GDP (0.9%, an increase of 14%). This is well behind Japan (2.6%), Sweden (2.5) the US (1.7%) and China (1%). China, however, has been changing rapidly (160% increase) as has Mexico (129%), making them the countries to watch. The US and UK fell in terms of investment (5% and 10% decreases respectively). As for government investment in R%D, Canada sits at 9th (0.66% investment as a percentage of GDP), but was 6th in terms of change over the 1999 to 2006 period (18% increase). This puts us well ahead of the US (1% increase) and behind Ireland (52% increase).

We placed 4th in Scientific Publications, behind Sweden, the US and the UK. Japan, China, Singapore and Mexico are, however, coming up fast (481%, 254%, 190% and 113% increases respectively). Both Canada and the US saw a decrease in the number of publications during this period (4.3% and 5.7% decreases respectively).

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Another Breakthrough For Neural Adult Stem Cells

Neural stem cells have been used to reverse the symptoms of Parkinson's. The stems cells differentiated into neurons and began producing dopamine, resulting in a measurable improvement in motor function. The researchers warn that these results are based on a single case so should be interpreted with extreme caution. Further work will determine if the effect is reproducible.
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Stop suing tech investors over copyright! | ZDNet Government |

The RIAA has apparently begun suing investors in technology companies that they believe contribute to or induce copyright infringement.
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BBC NEWS | England | Flying car reaches new milestone

Cool video of a live test of a flying car. It's essentially a dune buggy with a big fan and a parachute.

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Roll-Up Solar Cells Printed Like Money

Australian researchers are using a printing press formerly used to print Australian currency (which is plastic, not paper) to make flexible solar cells. The solar cells are currently only 3% efficient but they hope to reach 10% efficiency eventually. The long-term goal is to integrate solar cells into construction material so that the very materials used to build a house are used to generate electricity. Current,y, solar energy requires additional support structures so can substantially increase the construction cost.

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Lost "Sleeping Beauty" Mummy Formula Found

The method for creating one of the world's best-preserved mummies, the body of two-year-old Rosalia Lombardo (shown here) was discovered in the notes of Dario Piombino-Mascali, a Scicilian embalmer who died in 1933. The secret, apparently, was zinc which gave the body rigidity, resulting in the almost life-like appearence of the mummy.

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Philips - Design Probes - Projects - SKIN: Tattoo

Very cool video exploring a possible application for nano-ink tattoos. May or may not be considered worksafe depending on your workplace (the people are nude, but nothing is showing).

January 2010

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