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     Volume 5 Issue 92 | April 28, 2006 |

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Biotechnology Meets Fashion
The Biotechnology Industry Organization this year put on a Fashion Show in their annual showdown. Yes, two of my favorite things -- which until now I had neatly compartmentalised and which in a sane world should never cross paths -- intersected in Chicago earlier this week. It looks like Tyra and friends were replaced by suited biotech executives to judge Ms. Smirky here for the America's Top Model crown. The gown, which is made of "polyester" derived from corn instead of petroleum, is very pretty actually. I wish I could feel the fabric. Hopefully it's more breathable than my sister's polyester. And have you noticed that no one talks much about genetically modified foods anymore? Biotech companies seem to be treating GMOs as a lost cause. BIO does mention food in this press release, but it's in the context of "processing aids", not genetically modified entire organisms. "Industrial biotech," like fabric and other textiles made of corn, ethanol fuels, plastics and other consumer goods are placed in the limelight -- and that's probably an easier PR battle for biotech to win.

Science experiments teach kids to think
A three-year program in Wisconsin's schools is developing new ways to teach science and critical thinking in kindergarten through 12th grade. The Science Education Partnership Award, funded by a $250,000 grant from the National Centre for Research Resources, developed experiments using organisms such as earthworms, fish and frogs, to teach children about environmental health problems like lead poisoning. The science program is aimed at minority and underserved populations like the students at Bell Middle School where roughly 70 percent of the children are minority and roughly 80 percent are eligible for subsidised lunch.

The Latest on the PC front
A model unveils the new Sony style PC "VAIO type L", equipped with a 19-inch LCD display on the polycarbonate made transparent-frame body and wireless keyboard and mouse at the company's showroom in Tokyo. Sony will put it on the market with an estimated price of 1,700 USD for the model VCG-LA50. Sony shares rose following a newspaper report that Sony is set to beat its own profit forecast thanks to strong sales of flat-panel televisions.

China reports successful face transplant
Doctors in China performed a 14-hour transplant surgery on a 30-year-old man to replace his face, which was mauled by a bear two years ago. Xinhua news agency said the surgery at the Xijing Hospital in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province in the northwest part of the country, involved giving the patient a new cheek, upper lip, nose and an eyebrow from a single donor. It was the first such transplant in China and the second in the world after a similar surgery in France. The surgery is even more complex than the first face transplant in France in November last year, said Han Yan with the hospital's plastic surgery department. The procedure in France involved surgery on a 38-year-old woman whose lips and nose were ripped off by a dog. The hospital performed the surgery free of charge. The patient was reported to be in satisfactory condition. Doctors said it would take about six months for him to regain feeling in the face.

Weirdest USB Gadgets
This week, we continue to look at some of the wacky USB devices that have spawned in this modern age of computers.

Swiss Army Knife
Boy scouts have to be prepared for anything these days. You never know when you'll have to store 2 gigs of data in order to survive out in the wilderness.

Flash Memory Barbie
Though not really a gadget, this is a grim reminder of why you don't let your geeky younger brother near your dolls.

This decorative snowman cycles through four colors of LEDs but never sheds his indomitable smile. Amazingly, no software is required to carry out this complex task.

Plaque is like the 'spam' of oral hygiene, and now you can take care of both at the same while checking your morning e-mail.

Compiled by IMRAN H. KHAN


Source: Xinhua, Wired and Webindia123


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