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Showing posts from March, 2010

In Other Words: Inspirational Videos - "Test Tube Organs (Anthony Atala)"


Today's post comes again from the famous TED series of talks. This is a great forum because many of the brightest heads come together at these talks to exchange the best ideas. If you want to learn more about what TED talks are, go here. Today's chosen video was just recently posted. Anthony Atala presents his institute's work on growing new organs.

Without further ado:

In Other Words: Inspirational Videos - "Sylvia Earle's TED Prize Wish"

With some frequency, I want to introduce really good and inspirational videos without my own comments because the messages of these videos are much better than what I could say. Today's video posts without my comments comes from TED talk series. Sylvia Earle's TED Prize wish is to protect our oceans.

Without further ado:

R&D News: Biogas Reactor using Cow Stomachs

I found these news rather intriguing: According to "Forschung Aktuel" [1],  a German-based science radio news show, there is a research group in Germany that is trying to develop an integrated 2-step biogas reactor. Normally, this would not be really that big of a news but what they use as a source for biogas generation and how they do it is very intriguing. In the quest for renewable non-fossil-based resources, cellulose, the sturdy sugar based plant material, is often considered the holy grail for energy generation as it is in this case.

The question is how to generate energy efficiently from cellulosic containing material because as mentioned in a previous post, it is difficult to break down cellulose into usable sugar molecules using traditional mechanical and chemical processes. For this reason, research scientists have looked to nature like the gut of termites and other wood-eating insects, and in this case the stomach of the cow for inspiration on how to break down ce…

Concept Discussion: What is the Bio-based Economy?


I was recently asked why this site is called "Bio-Based Ideas". So I thought I would give a brief answer before leading into today's post. There are several reasons for naming this site the way it is. For one, having been trained as a biologist, I write what I know and am interested in. Naturally, many of the posts discussing ideas come with a biological slant. I wanted to make that clear in the title of the blog. But "bio" also comes from Greek meaning "life". And just as life organically grows and evolves, the posts here are meant to capture the richness of diversity of ideas. Lastly, it is my personal belief that the richness of biological ideas will have an increasing impact on our societies especially in this century. And so today with the last post on directed evolution in mind, I want to discuss:

What is the bio-based economy?

There are two basic ideas the bio-based economy relies on.

1.) Transition to biobased, renewable resources: