No-mow grass may be coming to your yard soon

I've mentioned technologies like this before. It seems to me that what these "bio-engineers" don't really get is that there is a fundamental difference between biological systems and mechanical/electronic systems. The latter cannot reproduce themselves: one atom bomb cannot and will not automatically turn into two then four, then eight ... but that is eactly the sole natural purpose of life - to create more life.

Now, I'm sure proponents of this kind of thing would argue that they're engineering sterility as well as other safeguards to prevent the spread of the hacked genetics. But because of the very nature of the processes involved, they cannot make any mistakes: one missed vector for propagation is all it's gonna take to create some serious, potentially catastrophic havoc.

We're going to do these kinds of things no matter how much I or others of like mind protest. I can only hope that the engineers involved are as good as they think they are, as the effects of a bio-disaster could make a full scale nuclear war look like a picnic in the park.

For anyone tethered to a lawnmower, the Holy Grail of horticultural accomplishment would be grass that never grows but is always green.

(link) [EurekAlert!]

23:00 /Agriculture | 3 comments | permanent link

C++/CLI: a paradigm too far

Well written (and hilarious) bit on the latest effort by The Evil Empire™ to co-opt C++ into the dot-NETscape. Of course, the original developer of C++ doesn't think much of this new beast... but that's never been known to slow the drive to "Embrace and Extend". Even if it usually turns out to be "Embrace and Suffocate".

Microsoft has been firing off some big guns in support of something called 'C++/CLI'.

(link) [The Register]

23:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

One Big Bang, Or Many?

There seems to be cyclical pattern of cosmological theories ... but it's always seemed to me that a Big Bang/Big Crunch scenario was not only the most plausible, but the most aesthetically pleasing.

But the bottom line is that 10 billion years is a long time. And I don't think anyone stays awake at night worrying about the heat death of the universe.

From the Guardian Unlimited: 'The universe is at least 986 billion years older than physicists thought and is probably much older still, according to a radical new theory. The revolutionary study suggests that time did not begin with the big bang 14 billion years ago. This mammoth explosion which created all the matter we see around us, was just the most recent of many.'

(link) [Slashdot]

23:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link