Category Archives: Cool things

91-year-old woman finishes San Diego marathon in record time

From Reuters:

“Harriette Thompson, who ran her first marathon at age 76, set a U.S. record on Sunday for the fastest finish in her 90-and-over age group, finishing the 26.2-mile Rock’n’Roll San Diego Marathon in seven hours, seven minutes and 42 seconds, according to race organizer Dan Cruz.”

64 Year-Old Diana Nyad Swims from Cuba to Florida

Interestingly, it’s a swim that she tried to do in her late 20s but failed. Victorious this time, she told reporters, “I feel like I could walk through a brick wall. … I think I’m truly dead center in the prime of my life at 64.” Awesome.

Here’s a few news stories about it: Associated Press and CBS News.

80-Year-Old Climbs Everest, Breaks Record

Another beautiful case of the ‘old’ not really being quite so old. 80-year-old Yuichiro Miura reached the top of Everest and called his daughter, saying that “This is the best feeling in the world.” Gotta love it. Here’s the WSJ article covering it.

H+ Summit June 12-13 @ Harvard

If you are looking for an interesting technology event to shake up your summer, I recommend the H+ Summit. It’s a two day event that explores how humanity will be radically changed by technology. Visionary speakers will explore the potential of technology to modify your body, mind, life, and world. Here’s the link for more info.

Biologist’s Mother’s Day Song

I’m just catching up on the DIY bio mailing list and saw this video. A great little tune that the scientifically-minded should like.

94 years old and ready to graduate from college

What a great story in today’s SF Chronicle.

Hazel Soares now 94, has been married twice, raised six kids, seen two economic depressions, 15 U.S. presidents and two world wars. She’s been a working single mother, a nurse, a concert event organizer and an art lover. She has more than 40 grandchildren.

And next month, at the 2010 commencement ceremonies for Mills College, Soares will become a college graduate, 78 years after her high school graduation from then-Roosevelt High School in East Oakland.

YouTube meets econ 101 — Keynes & Hayek rap it out

Spike TV’s John Papola and GMU economics professor Russell Roberts teamed up to create an exceptional and entertaining “rap video” pitting John Maynard Keynes against F. A. Hayek. If you ever wondered what would happen if the two famous economists went out drinking together, here’s one answer. Now, this is a great use of social media.

Singularity U kicks off & smart comments from Kurzweil

Anyone who seriously follows new technologies and cutting edge science knows that Singularity University officially launched this week. Here is an uplifting welcome message from Vice-Chancellor and Chairman Peter Diamandis and below is a thoughtful video featuring a Q&A with Chancellor Ray Kurzweil (he discusses the key goal of our species, FDA risk assessment, and big pharma).

I’m very happy to be involved with SU and am looking forward to seeing more thoughtful work coming out of the organization!

New device can detect viruses in a matter of minutes

From the Singularity hub:

“Researchers at the University of Twente in the Netherlands have created a prototype device that is capable of detecting viruses and bacterium within the body in a matter of minutes rather than the week or two that is commonplace nowadays. The technique was first used to detect the Herpes Simplex Virus and scientists are now in the process of making it capable of detecting all known infectious diseases.”

Yeast-powered fuel cell feeds on human blood

From the New Scientist:

“Yeast cells feeding on the glucose in human blood might one day power implants such as pacemakers. A living source of power that is able to regenerate itself would eliminate the need for regular operations to replace batteries.”

Artificial muscles

From rdmag:

Researchers at the UT Dallas Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute have demonstrated a fundamentally new type of artificial muscle, which can operate at extreme temperatures where no other artificial muscle can be used—from below the temperature of liquid nitrogen (-196°C) to above the melting point of iron (1538°C).

The discovery is reported in the March 20 issue of Science under the title “Giant Stroke, Superelastic Carbon Nanotube Aerogel Muscles.”

Bionic Eye Gives Blind Man Sight

Video of the story here. Hat tip to Slashdot for the story.

“”A man who lost his sight 30 years ago says he can now see flashes of light after being fitted with a bionic eye. Ron, 73, had the experimental surgery seven months ago at London’s Moorfield’s eye hospital. He says he can now follow white lines on the road, and even sort socks using the bionic eye, known as Argus II.”

Self-powering sensors to transmit data

Cnet reports that “Engineers at Kansas State University have developed a radio with sensors and microprocessors that can transmit data and is self-sufficient when it comes to power. The device, called by the engineers an “energy-harvesting radio,” is essentially a wireless sensor with microprocessor and radio that can transfer a flash of data gathered by the sensor every few seconds.”