Daily TIPs: Selling to Delegates, Tech Firms for Trade, Stem Cell Future, & More

8/28/08

New Services Target DNC Delegates

With 50,000 people gathered in one auditorium in Denver, it must seem like a golden opportunity to push new apps for cell phones. Among the offerings being promoted, according to the Los Angeles Times: a service that has live people answering texted questions; an app that shows political TV shows on your phone; a service that directs radio broadcasts to cells.

Tech Firms Push for Free Trade

It’s not just the new products they’re pushing at the Democratic National Convention; technology companies are also lobbying politicians to support free trade. CNET News reports that the Consumer Electronics Association, which lobbies on behalf of 2,200 technology companies, is urging Democrats to restart stalled trade talks with Columbia, Panama, and Korea.

Election Likely to Change Stem Cell Policy, Says Expert

Whoever wins the presidential election, he’ll likely increase funding for all forms of stem cell research, predicts University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Art Caplan. Caplan tells Wired that, as stem cell research matures and the pile of money available for it grows, questions about ethics are likely to take a back seat to practical considerations. But he thinks there will still be arguments over what use to make of stem cells in humans and when to move them from the lab to actual use.

Changing Cells May Bring New Treatments

Arguments over the use of stem cells for medical treatments may be muted by a new discovery. The Associated Press reports that researchers at Harvard and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have found a way to coax ordinary pancreas cells to change into insulin-producing cells. If adult cells can be switched from one type to another, it may not be necessary to use stem cells to develop new therapies.

Home Carbon Footprint Can Shrink

People talk about carbon footprints—the amount of carbon emissions that can be attributed to the activities of a person—but few probably know what theirs is. The New York Times tells us that 40 percent of an individual’s carbon footprint comes from energy used in the home. Experts offer tips for reducing the footprint, from upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances to mowing the lawn without gasoline.

White House Issues Cyber Security Mandate

All federal agencies must adopt new cyber security measures by January, under an ordered issued by the Bush administration. The Washington Post reports that the measures, which are to be applied to all dot-gov domains, are intended to fix vulnerabilities discovered in the domain name system. The fix is intended to prevent cyber crooks from pretending to send messages from an official site.

Compressed Air System Could Store Energy

One criticism levied against solar and wind power is, what happens when the sun stops shining or the wind stops blowing. Now one inventor has come up with a solution: use some of the energy produced at peak times to store air under pressure. During down times, the compressed air can be used to power a turbine. Bloomberg says that New Jersey utility PSEG plans to develop the technology.

Bugs Could Be Source of Hydrogen

One stumbling block on the road to using hydrogen as an alternative energy source is how to produce the hydrogen without burning more fossil fuels. MSNBC reports that scientists at North Carolina State University are studying microbes that exhale hydrogen as part of their normal metabolic process. The trick will be in finding the right microbes and figuring out how to harness their hydrogen production in an economically feasible way.

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