Open Heart Surgery : Tweeted

Social media is likely to prove as revolutionary as the printing press if not more so. I know this is a bold statement but stories like the one attached just confirm the feeling for me that we are in the midst of one of the great transformations of society, if not the greatest.

I don’t know about you but open heart surgery is something that is shrouded in mystery. One goes in. The doctor opens one up. Hopefully things go well. Emerge with a stitched up chest.

Actually there is much more to it than that and a surgeon in Houston decided to show the world just how much more there was, via Twitter.

Click here for the story.

A Farewell to Viruses?

At MIT scientists may have developed a therapy that will that alter fundamentally our fight against viral infection. It is far too soon to tell but this may prove a huge development for science. Trials on the AIDS virus begin soon.


In a paper published 27 July [1], researchers from MIT reported successful tests in mice with a new drug that holds the promise of being a cure to all viruses. The drug, DRACO (Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizer), works as a “broad-spectrum” antiviral, killing virus-hijacked cells by targeting double-stranded RNA produced in the viral replication process. DRACO proved successful against all 15 viruses tested “including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever.” [2]

Click here for the story.

Twitter Bug Randomly Unfollows People

Well, this isn’t good. I rely on Twitter every day, first as a key part of my communications strategy and secondly as an unparalleled source of news. There is just nothing like it for tapping right into the mind of humanity. I wish I knew Chinese, the stuff that goes on in Chinese Twitter must be amazing. Really in any language Twitter is amazing.

But I would not be happy if I woke up one morning and saw that a bunch of my followers had just disappeared. These are people I talk to, and people I learn from. We riff off of one another and expand each others knowledge. If some bug is randomly unfollowing people that is just a shame. Hopefully Twitter will soon be on top of this.

It does raise the concern however that someone in the future could use such a bug to purposefully squash conversations.

Click here for the story.

Cash Mobs: This Is One Way the 99% Can Make Markets Work for It

Much has been said about how social media has helped OWS happen. Frankly it would never have happened if there was no Facebook, or Twitter, 2 for profit and very self interested companies.

What has always struck me about OWS is it’s general disdain for “capitalism.” I am not going to get into why this is right or wrong here. But I will say that I believe this ongoing flavor to the protest is because many do not understand that markets can do quite a lot of good. Often the freer they are the more good they do. This is counter intuitve for some, and I am not going into the theory behind this, but I will identify an example of such good.

They are called “cash mobs.” Like “flash mobs” they are mostly spontaneous gatherings of people organized, in an open source way and through social media, for the purpose of blessing a worthy business with a nice infusion of hipster dinero. In the attached article the example given is of a struggling organic market.

This is one way of many ways one can use markets for a better planet. Another would be becoming shareholders of a company (even just 1 share which lets you in the door of most shareholder meetings) and changing policy that way.

Click here for the story on cash mobs.

If you’re in it to build a successful Company, the credentials will come to you, eventually. But if you’re in it for the credentials, you should consider law school.

I stumbled across this great article in TechCrunch today. It seems that YCombinator (a tech incubator, connector to investors) is giving a prize this year to someone who comes to them without an idea. Usually in order to get rolling with these guys one needs a vision. This year they are trying something different. I think it’s a bad idea. So does the author of this article. But hey, it the investors’ money right?

Click here for the story.

“Co-Sponsor” A Bill In Congress With A New Facebook App

This should be interesting. Now, anyone can show their support for a bill moving through Congress using an app in Facebook. Having spent a bit of time on the Hill and too much time in Facebook I have to wonder if these guys have really thought this out. Not that I am not all for citizen engagement. I just wonder if the app will work as smoothly as Eric Cantor (in the introductory video) thinks (or hopes?) it might. I hope it becomes a citizen monster bringing the voice of the people to the legislative process, but I think that is pretty unlikely.

Amazing Article In Wired: NSA Is Building the Ultimate Listening Complex Deep In the Utah Desert

“The former NSA official held his thumb and forefinger close together: “We are that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.”

I suppose it’s good that we even know that such a facility exists. One must assume that all privacy essentially is gone. It is sad but true.

I actually grew up around the defense intelligence community and I have a great deal of respect for those involved in it. Some of the most brilliant minds of our time work in this space.

But I’m a small government kind of guy and I am not a huge fan of consolidated power. I find that it tends to be abused. I believe it is important that extreme caution be exercised by those who run this program. We the American people have no choice but to count on it. Unfortunately humans are not angels.

Again we should probably be happy that we even know that such a place exists. Thanks Wired.

(From Wired)

“Before he gave up and left the NSA, Binney tried to persuade officials to create a more targeted system that could be authorized by a court. At the time, the agency had 72 hours to obtain a legal warrant, and Binney devised a method to computerize the system. “I had proposed that we automate the process of requesting a warrant and automate approval so we could manage a couple of million intercepts a day, rather than subvert the whole process.” But such a system would have required close coordination with the courts, and NSA officials weren’t interested in that, Binney says. Instead they continued to haul in data on a grand scale.”

Click here for the story.

Secret Assad Emails Leaked

Guerrilla warfare in the inbox.

(From The Guardian)

“Activists say they were able to monitor the inboxes of Assad and his wife in real time for several months. In several cases they claim to have used information to warn colleagues in Damascus of imminent regime moves against them.

The access continued until 7 February, when a threatening email arrived in the inbox thought to be used by Assad after the account’s existence was revealed when the Anonymous group separately hacked into a number of Syrian government email addresses. Correspondence to and from the two addresses ceased on the same day.

The emails appear to show that Assad received advice from Iran or its proxies on several occasions during the crisis. Before a speech in December his media consultant prepared a long list of themes, reporting that the advice was based on “consultations with a good number of people in addition to the media and political adviser for the Iranian ambassador”.

The memo advised the president to use “powerful and violent” language and to show appreciation for support from “friendly states”. It also advised that the regime should “leak more information related to our military capability” to convince the public that it could withstand a military challenge.”

Click here for the story.

New Solar Panel Cheap Enough to Challenge Dinosaur Fuel

At Tech Planet we are great believers in the power of incremental but steady technological change. So often we get wrapped up in grand visions of instant energy revolution that we forget that often the best progress is made by the turtle and not the hare.

However, the solar terrapin may have just had a Red Bull. Okay I will stop with the turtle stuff.

It appears that Twin Creeks, a solar start up may have developed a technology that blows the Chinese panel manufactuers away. It may be so inexpensive that it can challenge fossil fuels head to head. Exciting stuff.

Click here for the story.

‘A Large Number’ Of Megaupload Accounts Belong To US Government Officials

If Kim Dotcom is going down he’s going to try to take some people down with him.

(From Business Insider)

“We found a large number of [Megaupload] accounts from US government officials including the Department of Justice and the US Senate…I hope we will soon have permission to give them and the rest of our users access to their files.”

Stay tuned.

Click here for the story.