Podcast Gems 8 – Jan 6, 2012: Cory Doctorow at Chaos Congress, Podnutz, Miracle Mouse at Twelve, OLPC versus Digital Drum, Congolese Nurse Augusta Chiwi at Bastogne, and Illegal Chinese Migrants in China (what?)

Cory Doctorow’s insightful fifty-four minute presentation at the 28th Chaos Communication Congress (28C3), an annual four-day conference on technology, society and utopia at http://bit.ly/wG7tXg  defines and characterizes the current and upcoming war on general-purpose computing. “The coming century will be dominated by war against the general purpose computer, and the stakes are the freedom, fortune and privacy of the entire human race.”  A transcript is also available.  It’s a video file that can’t be downloaded nor sped up.  However, the audio can be recorded in the background using a program like Freecorder from http://applian.com/freecorder4/for preservation and later listening on a portable device and to adjust the playback speed.  A wiki with information about the CCC is at http://bit.ly/zw5vwe .

Podnutz  is a series of podcasts run by a computer repair specialist with other specialists as guests. Episode 335 at http://bit.ly/zvAKhi , a one-hour program,  is a good introduction to what’s available on the site. It’s educational and entertaining for the computer user, geek or entrepreneur. Podnutz was also noted in Podcast Gems #5 for several episodes that deal with Call That Girl.

A six-year-old podcast got through my download manager’s filter and I missed the older date, so thought the comment about a mouse that regenerates organs and can give other mice the ability for a six month period, was a recent discovery. The file with a mix of topics is from an Australian radio show called “Discovery,” available at http://bit.ly/z3KDWU. The original source may not even be available. The miracle mouse starts at the 4:38 mark and runs about two minutes, but is not mentioned in the archive notes. What’s interesting is this discovery may date back to 1999 and was first detected in test mice who had identification holes punched into their ears that healed without leaving scars. They are called a Murphy Roths Large or MRL with details found here: http://bit.ly/z2McV2.

Regeneration science and tissue engineering  are rapidly growing fields, but the MRL mouse seems to have vanished. Current research focuses on stem cells and extracellular matrix, while the mouse had genes controlling the regeneration that also exist in humans and, if activated, might cause human regeneration. If you want to look into these concepts, start with the National Defense Education Program at http://www.ndep.us.  The NDEP produces Lab TV with a webisode entitled  “Building Body Parts” in the listing for Season One. You’ll also run across the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine that co-lead a consortium of researchers that are part of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM). The Department of Defense established the AFIRM in 2008 to develop new products and therapies to treat severely injured U.S. service members: http://bit.ly/xcPR3w and  http://www.afirm.mil/. However, while much progress has been made since the miracle mouse was reported twelve years ago, I’m still waiting to see what has been done with the gene therapy approach.

Three good podcasts are Regenerative Medicine Podcast #3 from 2006 about the discovery of the extra cellular matrix,  #101 from 2011 about heart regeneration, and #102 with a history of the field, all at http://bit.ly/wzscfm. The NIH also has an excellent hour-long video about “Biomaterials for Tissue Engineering” from 2011 that can be downloaded as an audio or video file from http://bit.ly/wju3W3.

A great regeneration conference is coming April 2012 in Breckenridge, Colorado. The talk titles outline the large scope and varied locations where work is being done: http://bit.ly/AgLDPJ.  It’s unfortunate that no audio files appear to be planned.  However, you can write and suggest the need, as I did, and perhaps enough time exists for arrangements to be made. It would be great if they are free, or no more than the $30 book of abstracts already being offered.

On to the OLPC project. Technology Podcast #351 from http://bit.ly/xghMf5 covers progress of the One Laptop Per Child program,  as does the BBC “Click” program about eight minutes into the eighteen minute program at http://bbc.in/yBxfGV. The “Click” program  contrasts it with another approach called the Digital Drum. The DD is more of a concept than a program and being applied in different ways  as illustrated at these two sites: http://bit.ly/whXv8L  and http://bit.ly/xpm88r .

Augusta Chiwi was a volunteer nurse at the siege of  Bastogne during WWII.  Her story and heroism is described at the twenty-sixth minute mark of Technology Podcast #351 from http://bit.ly/xghMf5. A nice video version is also available at that site. Veterans and “Band of Brothers” fans will like this.

The final item, China.  An internal illegal migration problem exists there similar to the US problem with illegal immigrants from outside the country as described in “Guangzhou – China’s migrant metropolis”  found at http://bbc.in/yfyE9b for December 29, 2011. The hukou system is the cause of the problem and a good document about this is at http://bit.ly/weVASV.  It helps to know that China has twenty-two provinces, five autonomous regions and four municipalities under direction control of the central government, plus special autonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

About virginiajim

Retired knowledge nut.
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