Monday, October 11, 2010

50 Ideas to Change Science: MPD

Source: MPD
Jackson's own Mouse Phenome Database has made NewScientist's list of 50 Ideas to Change Science. From the article:
"If we want truly to understand the living world, the genome won't do. We need to get to grips with the "phenome": the sum total of all traits, from genes to behaviour, that make up a living thing. [...] That complexity perhaps explains why there is as yet no "human phenome project", though such a thing was first mooted in 2003. But smaller-scale projects such as the Mouse Phenome Database are now springing up. From personalised medicine to our understanding of evolution, science will be the beneficiary."
MPD enables searches based on 2208 physiological and behavioral data, as well as strain, projects, protocols, interventions (ie drugs, chemicals, diets, etc), testing apparatus, and other criteria, and is being utilized by close to 7000 different visitors per month.

Cars That Drive Themselves Pass the 1000 Mile Mark

Source: NY Times
Not a new story per se, but interesting in that Google has been testing autonomous cars in traffic, and they've gone 1000+ miles without human intervention (and 140,000 miles with only occasional intervention). The NY Times story suggests that autonomous vehicles have the potential to transform society as dramatically as the Internet. It would certainly fix the texting while driving issue once and for all. The  programming is sophisticated enough at this point to have styles of driving ranging from cautious to aggressive. It's fascinating that Google is obviously putting non-trivial resources into this research... makes you wonder what else they are working on.

UPDATE: Deepak Singh has an interesting post on this kind of speculative research.