Link Roundup: May. 8, 2005

It’s been a while since I posted a Link Roundup, but now I’ve finally gathered enough links to make it worth while.

Flying Cars
CBS has a nice article with the latest news about flying cars. Most of these are really small airplanes or helicopters that would require a pilots license to use. Some would qualify as ultra-lights, so you don’t need a license to to use it, but you can’t fly as high. I don’t really see people using these as a replacement for cars, but more as a sport vehicle.

The ONE Campaign
I’ve been seeing ads for this campaign recently. It’s interesting to me because it’s trying to bring so many charities together to solve the problems of: AIDS, extreme poverty, and starvation. Depending on how you measure poverty, it’s conceivable that all three of these can be cured. We might not worry about AIDS too much here in the US because it seems easy to prevent, but should it mutate into something more spreadable we could all be in a lot of trouble. A vaccine would go a long way to save many lives. If you define extreme poverty as having a lack of enough food for proper nutrition, a lack of basic medical care, and a lack of basic education it is something that can be cured for ever by priming the pump. Starvation is really a sub-problem of poverty, so if you can cure extreme poverty, that problem will go away too. Of course, if you define extreme poverty as the poorest X percent of the population, then it’ll never be cured.

I’ve been checking out digg since I heard about it on Revenge of the Screen Savers. It’s a community run news site like slashdot, but instead of using editors, the community self moderates. It’s a great idea, but in my experience their are way too many promotional (ads) stories that make it through the moderation process. Also, theirs no good method to prevent duplicate stories.

Seeing with Sound
This is a cool story about a piece of technology that converts an image into a quick little sound. Blind people can use to with a portable camera to get a sense of what’s around them. With enough use, the human brain will actually apply the regions of the brain associated with vision to the sound, so the blind person actually experiences the sound as sight. This really demonstrates the flexibility of the brain, and its ability to work with new sensory inputs.

Food pyramid rehashed
The government really did a poor job at explaining the new guidelines with their new food pyramid. I guess they should have done what Slate did by having a bunch of designers take a crack at the problem. The guidelines aren’t worth anything to anyone if nobody can understand them, so it’s nice to see some presentations that actually work.

One idea from science
Spiked-science took a survey of many scientists and asked them what one thing they would want to teach the world. The results are interesting to say the least.

Bill Gates and Google
Microsoft has really done a bad job at innovating over the last decade. Windows 2000 is the only major improvement they’ve made to their operating system, and their “productivity” software has done more for innovation of spreading viruses than real productivity. They make some good games, but so do many other companies. All of the real innovation seems to be coming from web application companies like Google, Yahoo, Netflix, etc… Fortune takes a good look at Bill’s reaction to the mess.