Post-Christmas linkage!

Hope you had a merry Christmas!  Of course, the tech blogosphere was on holiday too, so there’s not that much to give you, which is why I’ve collapsed it all into one post.



You know “Sea Shepherd,” that group of anti-whaling activists that likes to pester the Japanese whaling fleet?  They’ve got their own surveillance drones.  Let’s see those nasty whale-hunters get away from them now!  Link 1   Link 2   Link 3

3D printing is the Next Big Thing.  I’m not entirely convinced that it will be as earth-shaking as some seem to believe, but if it takes off next year, like this article suggests, who know what might be down the road a little?



Britain is planning a billion-dollar program to develop armored vehicles and UAVs

The Army is sending three new drone helos into Afghanistan, equipped with wide angle cameras so that they can hover and scan large swathes of territory.   CNET link    Defense Tech link

A Danger Room article on China’s subs, and how they’re really kinda noisy.  China may well be getting more assertive with them, but they’re apparently not that hard to hunt down.



Want to get a better view of our blue marble?  Don’t want to risk the failure of a rocket launch?  Go up in a balloon!  It won’t get you as high, but it’ll still be quite a view.

Here we go!’s list of most-anticipated space missions in 2012.  Keep your eyes out for these.

China just launched a high-rez remote sensing satellite.  This isn’t massively noteworthy in and of itself, except that it apparently breaks the US’ record for most space launches in a year.  Now that’s interesting…



Spinal injuries suck.  The nerves don’t regenerate, which leaves people paralyzed.  Figuring out how to make them regenerate is one of the holy grails of medicine, because if you can make nerve cells regrow, you can fix a lot of neurological problems.  One of the problems with the “figuring it out” part is that you have to slice up the tissue you’re experimenting on in order to see how it’s doing – which has a tendency to distort the tissue and can lead to mistakes in generating a 3D image of the structure.  So now some smart fellows have figured out how to make spinal tissue transparent, so that they can see WTF is going on.

Hrm.  This is disturbing.  I’ve always known that I take my life in my hands when I go out on the freeway, but apparently car crashes are now causing fewer deaths than poisoning, which has been going up thanks mostly to drug (legal and illegal) overdose.  The graph is interesting.



MIT’s Technology Review has a review of emerging technologies in the energy sector

Kites that generate energy.  I’ve been seeing plans and bright ideas on these for a while, but here’s one that seems to actually work.  They have more pictures of it here.

If you’re tracking China’s rare earth element exports, they just released the first tranche of quotas for 2012.



Paragliding is fun, but the problem is that you often can’t stay aloft for very long.  So, why not use trained hawks to show you where the thermals are?  And thus was born the sub-sport of parahawking.

Bones are piezoelectric.  That means that you can make speakers out of them.  A little macabre, but cool.

STRATFOR, an international events analysis and forecasting firm, got hacked on Christmas.  What a great present for all the employees (and especially the CEO) to wake up to, don’t you think?  The spread of the story and the number of articles on it shows how interested we are in hackers; my question is, is it because we’re scared of them, or because we like watching other people suffer from them (a la watching a train wreck or a car crash)?

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