While I'm thinking of it, apparently some people are unable to see these tech posts (they show up as white-on-white). If you are one of these people, please let me know if yesterday's tech post was visible (I tried putting it in a text editor before pasting it here). Today's was constructed the usual way. For everyone else, carry on in some semblance of normality.
Bloomframe is part window frame, part balcony. Although I'm a little bit fuzzy as to why it is useful to be able to retract your balcony, the Bloomframe (as the image sequence suggests) starts as a window frame but can be extended out into a balcony.
For those who are interested in keeping track, the number of lawsuits filed by the RIAA since September 2003 is 18,000, of which 1,000 are university students. The article notes that more than a quarter of the students have accepted the settlement offers, each offering to drop the lawsuit in return for paying the RIAA between $3,000(US) and $5,000(US). On a related story, read How I Became A Music Pirate which relates one long-time music lover's failed attempt to listen to music which he had legally purchased online.
Source: National Geographic
One type of parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, has evolved and unusual way to ensure it reproduces. The parasite can only reproduce in the gut of a cat, but spends much of its time infecting rats. The solution? It concentrates within the amagdyla of the mouse and causes the rat to be attracted cat urine, an action that goes counter to healthy rat behaviour for obvious reasons. They have not found any other rat aversions were affected, just the aversion to cat. The parasite is unique in the precision with which it is able to change the behaviour of the host.
A New Zealand scientists claims to have made a demonstration solar cell that can generate more electricity than conventional systems, is environmentally friendly, and can be produced for a fraction of the cost of contemporary solar cells. The secret? The dye-based solar cells consist of synthetic chlorophyll and titanium dioxide, the latter already a common ingredient in products as diverse as toothpaste and paint. He expects that a dye-based solar panel would cost 1/10th of an equivalent silicon-based solar panel. They plan to move to commercialization of the system after making some more tweaks on the dye and the design of the solar cell.
Another one pointed out by ancalagon_tb. People with damage to their ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VPC) have been shown to make more Utilitarian decisions that those without VPC damage. Specifically, a recent study showed that VPC-damaged patients were more than twice as likely to make decisions that involve harming another person, even someone it is assumed they care about about, for the greater good. They appear to lack a common moral revulsion to harming other people. This study confirmed that the VPC is involved in the moral decision-making process rather than being activated in response to the decision. For a full list of the dilemma's examined used, go to http://www.neuron.org/cgi/content/full/44/2/389/DC1/ and try them yourself.