reflections on the technium

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” — Alan Kay

Brown Bag at the Movies – Selected technical topics(7)

For this installment of Brown Bag at the Movies we will be viewing (abstract below):

  • Sticky Tape X-rays
  • BioCurious: The Bay Area Biology Collaborative Lab Space
  • Natural History of Danger

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CEP COMMENT: MacGyver would be proud. Also see tornados as plasma phenomena <>

Sticky Tape X-rays

From <>:
“Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have shown that simply peeling ordinary sticky tape in a vacuum can generate enough X-rays to take an image — of one of the scientists’ own fingers (see videos).

“”At some point we were a little bit scared,” says Juan Escobar, a member of the research team. But he and his co-workers soon realized that the X-rays were only emitted when the kit was used in a vacuum. “We don’t want to scare people from using Scotch tape in everyday life,” Escobar adds.

“This kind of energy release — known as triboluminescence and seen in the form of light — occurs whenever a solid (often a crystal) is crushed, rubbed or scratched. It is a long-known, if somewhat mysterious, phenomenon, seen by Francis Bacon in 1605. He noticed that scratching a lump of sugar caused it to give off light.

“The leading explanation posits that when a crystal is crushed or split, the process separates opposite charges. When these charges are neutralized, they release a burst of energy in the form of light.

“As long ago as 1953, a team of scientists based in Russia suggested that peeling sticky tape produced X-rays. But “we were very sceptical about the old results,” says Escobar. His team decided to look into the phenomenon anyway, and found that X-rays were indeed given off, in high-energy pulses.

CEP COMMENT: Also see <>

BioCurious: The Bay Area Biology Collaborative Lab Space

Curious about Biology? Help launch Biocurious <>, the new biology collaborative lab space where citizen science moves out of the classroom and into the community. Following the successful example of hackerspaces such as Noisebridge, Langdon Labs, Hacker Dojo, and co-working spaces such as the Hub, BioCurious pleased to offer the first Bay Area space dedicated to Non Institutional Biology.   Also see <> also see <>

How is this possible? Governments and big business once dominated computing. Today, entrepreneurs and hobbyists play leading roles in developing computing technologies and products, both hardware and software. The tools for serious biological engineering are getting cheaper all the time, but aspiring entrepreneurs lack affordable access to a complete set of lab equipment outside of a university lab or high priced industrial commercial space. Motto: Safety, Education, Innovation.

Eri Gentry graduated with a BA from Yale in 2006, and has since worked as a business analyst for investment firms and startup companies in New York City and Silicon Valley. In 2009, she co-founded Livly to help millions suffering incurable disease and enable others to do the same. Gentry’s mission is to help bring together the brightest minds in every field, who, together, can challenge the world’s most dangerous diseases.

Joseph Jackson is a philosopher, social entrepreneur, activist and organizer in the Open Science Movement. He has been studying the political and economic phenomenon of peer to peer, P2P, since encountering Napster in 2001. He advocates for a transition to a decentralized political economy in which abundantly distributed technologies, fully hackable to suit local needs, form the basis for sustainable prosperity.


Natural History of Danger

Our perceptions of danger are based more on our personal history and culture than any sensible assessment of risk. Hear the sad story of the disappearance of our favorite playground equipment, the dubious role of the media, and our perfidious legal system. <>

Gever Tulley is the author of Fifty Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do and the founder of Tinkering School.
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Written by Chuck Petras

May 30, 2011 at 13:03

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