Physorg: Researchers Create Robot Driven by Moth's Brain

"Charles M. Higgins, UA associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and doctoral student Timothy Melano presented their findings and outlined the mechanics behind the robot’s movements..."(physorg)

BoingBoing: Hawala, an ancient global financial honor-system

"Hawala is a money-transfer system based primarily in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, based on independent brokers who phone one another and say, "I'm holding so much money in such and such a currency, please transfer an equivalent sum in local funds to such and such a person." The settlements are based on the honor system, and by some accounts, the network has its origins in the Silk Road. The system functions even in places where the rule of law and other elements normally considered crucial to a a functional financial system have collapsed..."(boingboing)


The Taugshow

"Friday, November 23, 2007 / 8:00 PM @ Brut, Konzerthaus, Vienna

The flat hierarchies of talk shows are about as subversive as NYC Democrats smoking dope. But count us out! We won't produce a talk show. Nope. We produce a TAUGSHOW! Which means: we dig it. Our guests are geeks, heretics, and other coevals. A joyful bucket full of good clean fanaticism, crisis, language, culture, self-content, identity, utopia, mania and despair, condensed into the well known cultural technique of a prime time TV show..."(monochrom)

Has the USD hit rock bottom?

The USD bottom arrived in the mail today in the form of the cover of the Economist. Like the pundits exclaiming gold was headed to 2000 per ounce in May 06 (it may well be, but in the intermediate term at least, that signaled the top of the move) I think this could be a strong sign that we are oversold at these levels. When super-models, rappers, magazines and dictators are all at once signaling the imminent demise of the USD, it makes you start to wonder....I'm thinking mean reversion at the very least.

The Country Club, Revisited

The Globe and Mail has an interesting article on The Private Collection, a Toronto-based car "club". For a $5k charge + $31k/year, members get the opportunity to time-share a stable of automobiles which includes a Ferrari F430, a Lamborghini Gallardo, and a Porsche Cayman S.

It sounds like a fun idea; given the right business partners I'd be quite willing to try it in another major center. In order to reduce the risks associated with giving potentially inexperienced drivers supercars to drive on public roads, I would require the club members to assume liability for the car and any damage they may cause with it -- thereby forcing them to think twice before they test 0-200 times on the nearest on-ramp.

Also, take some time to read the comments: it would seem that a majority of posters echo the sentiments of one colorful commenter, who derided the club's members as "Urban a$$holes looking to let 'er rip...". A bit presumptuous, I think. (One poster went as far as to write, "I couldn't care less if you crash your expensive toy. But what about the wildlife that you threaten?" After all, a great deal of wildlife is killed each year by investment bankers driving $300k Ferraris.)

Freddie, Fannie Shares Will Continue to Slide, Jim Rogers Says

"Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Freddie Mac, which today dropped the most ever after posting a record loss, and rival mortgage lender Fannie Mae will continue to tumble because of bad home loans, investor Jim Rogers said.

``I'm still short those companies, they both have a long way to go as far as I'm concerned,'' Rogers said in an interview. ``Neither one has a clue what's on their balance sheets.''..."(Bloomberg)


Star Trek's 10 Cheesiest Classic Creatures

Star Trek's 10 Cheesiest Classic Creatures (Wired)

"Incredible Silhouettes of patrons at the American Museum of Natural History by NYC photographer Joe Holmes." (kottke)


Mexican Island made of Recycled Floating Bottles

Mexican Island made of Recycled Floating Bottles (youtube)


"Nick Abadzis's graphic novel "Laika" is a haunting, sweet biography of Laika, the first dog in space, who died five hours after she was launched on Sputnik II. Laika was a victim of the political vicissitudes of the Kruschev regime and its desire to push the propaganda war against the USA by elaborating on the triumph of Sputnik by launching a living organism into space." (boingboing)