The New York Times' Year in Ideas is one of my favourite end-of-the-year list because it's so damn smart. I mean, they're the best ideas of the year. Here are the 5 bestest ideas of the year.
Ruppy is the world's first fluorescent dog, who looks normal until he's under ultraviolet light, and then he glows all red. That's because he's also the world's first transgenic dog, with the genes of a sea anemone. Yes, we're all going to be splicers, like in BioShock. Seems like a good idea to me! Well, glowing puppies are anyway. The Good Enough Revolution is the idea that we're in an epoch where stuff that's cheap and easy is, well, good enough. We actually wrote about this this Autumn, before Wired covered it, so we're quite familiar with the concept.
Flip cameras killing high-end camcorders, streaming video running rampant over Blu-ray, netbooks swarming around laptops. We've gotten to a point where even the most basic quality works just dandy for a whole hell of a lot of what we wanna do. Here's my question though: How long's it gonna last? I don't really have to explain the genius here: AutoMist is a kitchen sink that puts out fires. It's really simple: When a fire's detected by a heat sensor, water's forced through six high-pressure nozzles by pump under the sink, which turns to steam and kills the oxygen. And it's way cheaper than conventional sprinkler systems. Fraunhofer Research Institution for Electronic Nano Systems has figgered out a way to "print" a battery that's just 0.6-millimeters thick, scalable (just print more) and can be built into gadgets as part of the production process. The catch is that it's not juicy enough yet to power gadgets like smartphones or laptops, with 15 square centimeters equal to about a watch battery.
Okay, this is probably the best idea of the year that's going to make you feel a little sick: Cremation is bad for the environment, so one guy's proposing we should be disposed of like mad cows, or people in the Matrix. That is, liquefied.
The corpse is placed in a pressurized chamber. The vessel is then filled with water and potassium hydroxide, creating a highly alkaline solution, and heated to 330 degrees. After about three hours, all that's left are a soft, white calcium phosphate from bone and teeth and a light brown primordial soup of amino acids and peptides.
Your teeth? Recyclable.
There's a ton more ideas—not just tech ones—at the full spread. Read it, it'll make you more intelligent, though you'll feel a lot dumber on a personal level. [NYT]