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Tuesday, 14 July 2015
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If there’s one thing we can’t get enough of on Colossal it’s zoetropes, a filmless animation technique that relies on a rotating sequence of images or objects that’s photographed or displayed with a strobe light to create the illusion of motion. We’ve seen a few different takes on the medium from chocolate to 3D printing to ceramics to my all-time favorite the turntable phonotrope. For his degree project at the ANU School of Art in Australia, digital artist Elliot Schultz devised his own method: the Embroidered Zoetrope.
The 2013 installation involved the creation of 10″ discs embroidered with sequences of images that fit on standard turntables. Each piece was displayed with a standard strobe light that effectively brought the animation to life. The precision of the machine embroidery coupled with the texture of thread makes these really special to watch. He shares about the project:
Inspired by the work of Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker, I aimed to guide my production process indirectly through the limitations afforded by alternative media. Their invention, the pin screen, was used as the sole medium in the production of six short films, and shaped the outcome of their work. In response, I have designed and embroidered animated sequences onto discs, similar to the Phenakistokope, Zoopraxiscope and Stamfer Disc layouts. This repurposing of media introduced strict parameters, namely spatial, tonal and temporal, and has greatly informed all stages of my process.
Watch the video above to see Schultz’s animations in action, and you can see a nicely presented project view of the embroidered zoetrope over on Behance.
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For physics and astronomy students, seeing the stars and planets in the universe is a crucial component of
The post Out of the box: students build new remote telescope in Arizona has been published on Technology Org.
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Medical drugs are pretty nice. From antibiotics to chemotherapy to good old aspirin, not a day goes by that millions of people don't benefit from pharmaceutical medicine — even granting the occasional disaster.
But the American model of drug development is badly flawed. We use a patent system, so new drugs that make it through the approval process can enjoy a government-granted monopoly to make back the initial investment. But for treatments in which the patent doesn't work — either because the drug won't be widely used, or because it is already in the public domain — our system comes up short. Two recent stories, regarding antibiotics and psychedelics, including LSD and Ecstasy, illustrate the problem, as well as the solution.
Undoubtedly the more serious problem is with antibiotics, which are basically the foundation of modern medicine. Without them, there would be no transplant surgery and very little cancer treatment. Pneumonia and tuberculosis would kill millions yearly. Minor cuts and scrapes would again be potentially life-threatening — antibiotic-resistant infections already kill 23,000 people in the U.S. alone every year.
Furthermore, our current stock of antibiotics is being eclipsed by bacterial evolution, which makes diseases more resistant to drugs. Meanwhile, new antibiotic discoveries have been quite thin on the ground in recent years. That's why the potential discovery of a new antibiotic from a soil sample made headlines across the globe. Though it still has to make it through a slew of scientific hurdles to prove it's safe for humans (and the odds are very much against it), it would be the first new antibiotic in years.
There are many reasons for this dearth of discovery. But as Kevin Outterson points out, the patent model greatly exacerbates the problem. Any new antibiotic approved for use in humans will be immediately and rightly seized by the medical profession to make sure society can get the longest possible use out of it. Especially at first, prescriptions — and therefore drug company revenues — would be sharply limited. Indeed, over-marketing of antibiotics is a big part of what caused the resistance crisis in the first place. That, in turn, makes drug companies more reluctant to invest in new antibiotic research.
A different problem is when a potential medical use for a substance is found, but its patent has already lapsed. Any public-domain compound still has to undergo the studies to get FDA approval; but without the monopoly profits, no drug company will bother doing that science.
Psychedelics, such as psilocybin (one of the active ingredients in magic mushrooms) and LSD, are currently stuck in this limbo. As Michael Pollan details in a riveting and brilliant piece for The New Yorker, the science on psychedelics is making a comeback. After the 1960s, there was a decades-long crackdown on such research, sparked by irresponsible grandstanding by clowns like Timothy Leary on the one hand, and a far worse overreaction and backlash in mainstream society on the other. But in recent years, a dedicated group of researchers has been producing some solid research on various psychedelic compounds.
Though still preliminary, the results are nothing short of astounding. Whether it's MDMA (the active ingredient in Ecstasy) used to treat PTSD among veterans, or LSD used to treat anxiety and depression among the terminally ill, or psilocybin used to treat addiction, studies employing ordinary, conservative scientific techniques are finding hugely positive results.
The problem is that large-scale studies are needed to obtain final FDA approval, which makes them very expensive. Here's Pollan:
Recruitment is only one of the many challenges facing a Phase III trial of psilocybin, which would involve hundreds of patients at multiple locations and cost millions of dollars. The University of Wisconsin and the University of California, Los Angeles, are making plans to participate in such a trial, but F.D.A. approval is not guaranteed. [The New Yorker]
No drug company would waste money on those studies. It would be financially irresponsible.
So what is to be done? First, direct government funding is and always has been an important part of scientific funding. In a sane world, with substances as promising as the above psychedelics, the government would simply fund the research itself and be done with it. Only an increasingly anachronistic brand of drug warrior politics stands in the way. But with something like 22 veterans per day committing suicide, any treatment with a potential 60+ percent long-tem cure rate for PTSD ought to be jammed through mass trials at the highest possible speed.
Second, the patent model could be altered or abolished altogether. As Dean Baker and others have proposed, a prize fund might be set up, by which the government would propose various desired treatments, with the winnings given out to any drug that makes it through the FDA's approval process (which should be streamlined itself, but that's another post). A new broad-spectrum antibiotic might be awarded \$20 billion, which would then pass into the public domain so it could be available at low cost.
It's important to note that, contrary to certain conservative objections, this would only be changing, not increasing, the government's involvement in the drug market. Arguably, setting up a prize fund would involve less such intervention, since there would be fewer government-granted market monopolies.
At any rate, there are many other options we might consider. But the important thing to remember is that when it comes to medical science, there's simply no getting around government involvement — and we could be doing ours a lot better.
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Carrying more than 6,100 pounds of food, fuel, and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the unpiloted
The post Progress Reaches Orbit for Two Day trip to Station has been published on Technology Org.
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Suspended 400 feet above Peru’s Sacred Valley of Cusco are three capsules that appear like Space Age airstream trailers. These transparent sleeping pods are intended for unfazed adventures, crafted from aerospace aluminum and weather resistant polycarbonate giving each visitor a 300 degree view of the valley below.
Skylodge Adventure Suites was created by the company Natura Vive, a group of young entrepreneurs who aim to show people of any age or experience level a mountain adventure. As a part of the thrill, visitors must either climb or hike a challenging trail with the help of ziplines to reach their sleeping quarters in the sky.
Each 24 ft. by 8 ft. capsule suite holds four beds, a dining area, and bath, ensuring a comfortable internal temperature and atmosphere with the inclusion of six windows and four ventilation ducts. The pods also have a clear dome at the top of each, which Natura Vive explains also has curtains for privacy “from the curious gaze of the passing condors (your sky neighbors).” (via designboom)
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It’s more than five billion kilometres away, is smaller than our moon and it’s not even a planet. So
The post Pluto pointers: nine bite-size facts about the dwarf planet has been published on Technology Org.
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