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Links 1 through 10 of 17 by Charlie Schick tagged africa

"The diagnostic tests designed in Dr. Whitesides’s Harvard University chemistry laboratory fit on a postage stamp and cost less than a penny. His secret? Paper."

I'd read about this before. But glad to see that things are moving along well - funding, products, future. While diagnostics on paper is nothing new (pregnancy and diabetes test, those ubiquitous dip sticks), the creation of channels with wax allows for a more sophisticated chemistry.

This is a great example of lo-tech hi-tech, using simple, long-established tools to do something better. I think folks too often head for the more complex and more expensive because it's easier and less constrained (I used to say the same thing about dumbphones vs smartphones).

What they've done here is printed out wax channels, added some chemicals (by hand!), cut and package the postage stamps. To use it, spot some liquid, the paper wicks the liquid through the channels, chemistry is done, and you read out the color.

Very cool.

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"The story of humanity's prehistoric expansion across the planet is recorded in our genes. And, apparently, the story of the spread of language is hidden in the sounds of our words. That's the finding of a new study, which concludes that both people and languages spread out from an African homeland by a similar process—and that language may have been the cultural innovation that fueled our ancestors' momentous migrations."

Interesting technique and interesting findings.

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"For the majority of the world’s population, that means making it available on a cell phone, and not a fancy iPhone or Android with a Web browser either. I’m talking about $10 cell phones with not much more than voice and SMS capabilities. If Google can reach people, especially in developing nations, with SMS, it can reach everyone with a cell phone. " [via mattmiz]

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"The sheer size and diversity of the DNA samples collected allowed the researchers to construct a human family tree based on their analyses. Not unexpectedly, the tree they constructed fits well with current theories on the genetic relationship between Africans and non-Africans; namely that all non-Africans are descended from a particular group or groups of people who were the first humans to migrate out of Africa tens of thousands of years ago."

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Trash turned to treasure. Apt after listening to Edward Burtynsky's long now talk on what he would put in “<a href="http://blog.longnow.org/2008/07/24/edward-burtynsky-the-10000-year-gallery/">The 10,000-year Gallery</a>”

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journalists writing about Zimbabwe's repressive government have found a new way to circumvent their censors: sending text messages via cell phone

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