Monday, December 29, 2008

My friends are plotting against me!

Friday, December 26, 2008

DIY Biotechnologists - Start Praying

Apparently the new rage is to attempt synthetic biology in one's home, says this article:

Amateurs are trying genetic engineering at home

(via the Associated Press)

People with no training and only rudimentary knowledge doing genetic splicing in unregulated lab conditions? Very scary. And you thought genetically engineered food was bad? Please. You haven't been scared s***less until you've seen Joe the Plumber trying to splice vanilla flavoring into E.coli and then injecting it into his Gun'n'Roses tattoo so he can have a scratch'n'sniff bicep.
"We should try to make science more sexy and more fun and more like a game," says Mackenzie Cowell, a 24-year-old who majored in biology in college and co-founder of the group DIYbio which has set up a community lab where the public could use chemicals and lab equipment, including a free Craigslist freezer.
NO. We shouldn't. Science will always be sexy to the hardcore. and it is sexy to stupid people as well... but it should be kept out of their reach, and restricted to people dedicated enough to pursue it. Is this a discriminatory statement? Absolutely not: anyone regardless of background is free to pursue it, but they should be required to obtain the appropriate training and put in the work to get there. There's nothing discriminatory about meritocracy.

I cringe every time I see college kids not using goggles and other safety equipment in lab, and they're actually being supervised and taught proper lab technique. Do you really want untrained individuals to be weilding even more responsability than that, in your backyard?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Ball Droppeth... again

Sony Computer Entertainment has today announced that it will perform a worldwide release of the new PlayStation Home service on December 11, 2009. The 3D social gaming service has recently completed its lengthy beta test and will allow PlayStation 3 users to interact, communicate and share game experiences with each other.

PlayStation Home will allow open interaction among users, business partners and SCE, and will evolve with additional features including dedicated game spaces, special events and exclusive themed items, to further enrich the entertainment experience on the PS3 platform.

A variety of consumer partners will participate in Home including Paramount Digital Entertainment, Red Bull and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

(via Gamespy)
Great Sony... you just invented Second Life, except now I'll be dealing with people who don't have a keyboard. Leaving most to use BT headsets (though many people on PSN don't, and those who do, I can seldom understand them clearly).

Well, regardless, I'm sure all my friends will be on here, just like in Second Life... oh wait, that's right... none of my friends use Second Life.

What I think more people would REALLY appreciate is for Sony to improve the ability to communicate with people on your Friends list, and to more easily hook up with them for games. I'd really appreciate a better interface for jamming with my buddy in online Rock Band 2, for instance. Seriously... "Invite a Friend" basically emails them an attachment?

Come on, Sony, make this easier. Take all these social-networking type feature and make them 2D (ie built into the XMB interface) rather than revert back to the "ooh, 3D is the Wave of the Future!" mentality of the 90's. I'd much rather have the ability to make a audio/text chat room with a few clicks in the XMB, to meet with my buddies and arrange a game, rather than go join a 3D one that involves having to run around and find people. Much more complicated.

(Note: I'm not bashing Second Life, just the fact that it's not so wildly popular that I think it justified PS Home being pushed ahead of the other updates I mentioned)

12/15/08 Update: I tried out Home the day after it went public (turns out 12/11/08 was just the public beta) and I couldn't get on. I tried again today, 5 days later and I still get a "can't connect" message. What's worse is there is no option to retry the connection. Some form of "busy redial" would seem appropriate to me. All in all, it's a bust so far. I'm asked to accept the online usage policy every time, as well.