Tag Archives: Japan

Genomics applied to plant breeding, helping farmers hit by Japan’s tsunami

Plant breeding is a tricky, laborious process, in most circumstances.  You cross two plants with qualities you want, and then you have to wait for the seedlings to grow to the maturity in order to find out whether all your hard work has paid off.  Being able to tell, at a very early age, whether the things are what you want them to be would really speed up the process, and that’s what scientists are trying to do – by better understanding the markers in the rice genome, they’re helping to develop strains of salt-resistant rice in areas hit by the Japanese tsunami last year.

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Filed under Environment/Agriculture

High-tech companies take on urban design with smart cities

New and flashy technologies are very intriguing and all, but what really matters when you look at short-term change is where the money’s going.  This is why I occasionally post stories about nothing more than something getting funded, or companies deciding that they’re going to increase sales of a new technology.

The reason I mention this now is because of a story on a number of companies in Japan putting a stronger emphasis on bringing smart city systems and software to market.  Looks like, in Japan at least, the smart city is going to be coming soon.

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Filed under Technology

Civilian drones, hacking cars, sensor sleeves, robot farms, and more

Technology

  • One of the things that I’m going to be keeping an eye on this year is the legal status of civilian drone use.  The reason I bring this up is that Sea Shepherd (the vigilante anti-whaling group) has received permission from the Australian government to use drones to track the Japanese whaling fleet.
  • Speaking of civvie surveillance drones… here are some toy versions for making mischief.
  • And, lest we forget, there are certain improvements that have to be made for drones to work in busy airspaces and around cities.  Like avoiding other aircraft and knowing what spots are safe for an emergency landing.
  • Smart traffic lights – they’re a dream for planners and commuters, and a nightmare for people who deal with them when they glitch.  Still, maybe if they have something that tells them what’s at the intersection, that’ll help a little.
  • A new pathway for cybercrime (and possibly assassination): hacking your car.  Seriously, if you hook a car up to the internet, this will happen.  Who, when, where, why, and how aren’t possible to determine, but it will happen.  Really doesn’t make me look forward to buying my next car…
  • Sleeves that track your arm movements, another way for people and companies to improve productivity.
  • Connect your home appliances, thermostat, power and water supply, etc, to a single electrical monitoring system, which you can access and control via the internet.  This is a smart home, and we’re likely to see more and better in the coming decade or two.

Military

  • Oh hey, I was talking about the US military’s budget plans yesterday, and here they are in the news:  Wired and DefenseTech have articles on Obama’s and Panetta’s plans for the military.  They were also on the network news quite a bit, too.

Space

  • There’s been some chatter on the blogosphere about the USAF X-37B spaceplane spying on China’s space station/lab.  Not sure if it’s legit concerns or just a bit of noise that lacks real substance.

Health

Energy/Mining/Resources

Environment/Agriculture

Miscellaneous

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Filed under Energy/Mining/Resources, Environment/Agriculture, Health, Link lists, Military, Misc, Space, Technology