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Hardware Science

Protein-Packed Hard Drives Promise High Capacity 142

Digimax writes "The New Scientist has an interesting article on a technology being developed by NanoMagnetics which involves using a protein responsible for storing iron in the body to store data on a hard drive. Is this the start of the BioTech revolution?"
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Protein-Packed Hard Drives Promise High Capacity

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  • by CraigoFL ( 201165 ) <slashdot@kano[ ]net ['ok.' in gap]> on Sunday April 27, 2003 @01:17PM (#5819789)
    Insert joke about protein-packed keyboards here...
  • It seems to me that if hard drive capacities continue to grow at their current rate, in a few years they will have outstripped the porn industry's ability to fill them.

    Pun unintentional...

  • Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by Cipster ( 623378 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @01:18PM (#5819796)
    Now we'll have a new excuse for crashes:
    Sorry boss I don't have that document, my hard drive just mutated...
  • solid state (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @01:21PM (#5819814) Journal
    Yea, this is all fine and dandy, but doesn't help with speed.

    The real revolution waiting to happen is solid state hard drives that are affordable. Until we get rid of the moving parts, hard drives are going to be very very slow, relatively speaking. For the desktop, this is more important that storage space, since we already have 240gb drives that few can fill.
    • Do we really need more speed right now, or storage? I think the hardware needs to slowdown a bit so bigger programs can be created to use this. Remember that hard drives can be put in RAID arrays to increase speed too.

      Go calculate [] something

      • Sure we do. It seems that now the CPU is rarely the bottleneck anymore, and instead it's the PCI bus or the hard disk. For example, I upgraded from a Duron 850 to an Athlon MP 2000+. But the time KDE takes to load didn't decrease very noticeably, because now it spends reading the disk all the time during loading. Now if I close it after that, and start it again it loads noticeably faster than before.
      • Re:solid state (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ciroknight ( 601098 )
        The problem is the computer industry is focused on updating the old instead of innovating for new. It took nearly 10 years before anyone even CONSIDERED moving from x86, and still half of the market is still stuck there. Personally, I think Netburst was a nice move from x86, but it wasn't enought, just a marketing scheme to get back control of the market. Anyways: I look forward to seeing new innovative techniques at advancing speeds, hopefully dropping the entire current archtectures and moving on. Ju
        • Re:solid state (Score:2, Informative)

          by JDevers ( 83155 )
          In what way is Intel's NetBurst NOT x86? New bus topography comes and goes but the instruction set stays the same. I would say that x86-64 is a much more significant change to the core architecture than NetBurst which is basically marketing speak for a slightly different bus layout combined with a very deeply pipelined CPU.
        • Re:solid state (Score:5, Insightful)

          by wideBlueSkies ( 618979 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @05:32PM (#5820911) Journal
          >>Just because most people want to upgrade their computers one piece at a time over the span of 5 years doesn't mean that they shouldn't be forced to upgrade all at once every now and again, it helps the economy and overall, helps drive new innovation.

          Does this sound like the line of thinking over in Redmond or what?

          Holy shit. Someone should be forced to upgrade? WTF? Why should that be? Should I be forced to give up my classic 1974 Chevy Impala because it's not 'up to date'?...because there are newer and more efficient engines available? Why is a computer any different?

          I don't mean to attack the author personally, but I don't like this kind of thinking.

          • Re:solid state (Score:2, Insightful)

            by schmink182 ( 540768 )
            Should I be forced to give up my classic 1974 Chevy Impala because it's not 'up to date'?...because there are newer and more efficient engines available?

            Maybe. Less efficient engines are horrible for the environment. Should the atmosphere have to suffer because of your Impala?

            Okay, I was obviously exaggerating there, but I just wanted to show how it's not exactly as black and white as you think.

            • > Should the atmosphere have to suffer because of your Impala?

              That's assuming the atmosphere suffers at all from the Impala. I understand the exaggeration, but I think it's all-too-common for people to assume that something is more complex than it really is. Life changing decisions aren't all that hard unless the person making the decision decides that it is hard.
          • Agreed. I see no reason why a person should be forced to upgrade simply to keep some companies
            profits in the black and pay out huge dividends to shareholders. I'll upgrade when *I* want
            to , not when some overpaid suit thinks I should.
        • *err i made a boo boo this morn, i meant Itanium LOL sorry :p
    • Re:solid state (Score:3, Informative)

      by eenglish_ca ( 662371 )
      We need to go to a 64 bit architecture so that we can can avoid the more than 1 byte sector issue aswell because that takes considerable overhead. In addition, the chemical reactions used in a protein drive would make it much faster than the reading and writing to a magnetic driver.
      • but still, anything with moving parts is going to be slower than anything without, generally speaking. I work with large files, my harddrive is absolutely the bottleneck. 64 bit architecture is not a god send, however. If you only need 32 bits to get the job done, you are forcing the cpu and memory to drag the other 32 bits around while doing nothing. I think AMD and IBM have the right approach, a hybrid that allows 32 and 64 bit apps to run at par speeds.
      • You don't change magnetic fields with chemical reactions (at least in this case). The encapsulating of the magneticly active particle in the hard disk is a chemical reaction. The field that particle has will have to be manipulated in some other way (which, according to the article, was TBD due to the small size of the particles).

        The most a chemical reaction can do to a magneticly active element/molecule is make it non-magnetic, or to undo the previous reaction.
    • by spineboy ( 22918 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @01:41PM (#5819914) Journal
      I'll paraphrase William Gibson

      "Doesn't it seem weird to have these high-tech computers with little spinning discs inside them. It seems like a hold out of some Victorian technology - like a more modern record player."

      Solid state has to be the way to go - no more waiting for your computer to "boot up", just turn it on and it's running your desktop, right where you left it last. Sure solid state SEEMS expensive now, but remember how much a 40 MEG hard drive cost 15 years ago? We just need to throw money at it and the price will drop. I mean come on chips are CHEAP - they're in everything
      • "Solid state has to be the way to go - no more waiting for your computer to "boot up", just turn it on and it's running your desktop, right where you left it last."

        Absolutely. We already have it in PDA architectures where it makes obvious sense for a number of reasons, including intermittent use and low power consumption. Will we one day look back with amusement on big power supplies, power hungry cpus and disks, and large volume cases with amusement? Probably, but I am still pretty impressed with what we
        • Will we one day look back with amusement on big power supplies, power hungry cpus and disks, and large volume cases with amusement?

          The way things are going, we'll look back and laugh at the problems we thought *we* had, before trying to find the leak on our Liquid O2 cooling system to soak up the 10MW of heat coming from our desktops, while handling our Palmtops with oven gloves.
      • What is holding it back is critical mass, until people DEMAND it, no one will fully develop it, and until it is developed and produced in great quantities, you can't expect the 'economy of scale' to kick in.

        It WILL the future, SOME type of solid state storage. Just like VCRs, video cams, etc., its expensive at first until sales reach a point that the manufacturers see enough demand to develop it further, and reap the benefits of the volumes. Then competition will kick in, which will drop the prices. Iro
      • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @08:29PM (#5821739)
        Solid state has to be the way to go - no more waiting for your computer to "boot up", just turn it on and it's running your desktop, right where you left it last.

        Years ago I added a whole 32 or 64MB of ram(I can't remember which) to my 660AV, and it was enough to do a couple of interesting things(ie, have enough left over to run applications 'n stuff :) One was load the ROM into RAM, which sped up things dramatically, since so much of MacOS was ROM-call based(remember the Toolbox?). Back in the day, that was a big deal; now's pretty common-place. The second thing was I could start up(and run) the system off a ramdisk, if I got the system folder small enough(that became easier as memory prices dropped etc.)

        I booted my 660AV that way- timed it at 6 seconds flat, from when the bootloader started to when the system stopped loading the finder etc. That's faster than the time from when Lilo starts decompressing the kernel to when init gets launched on my 1.4ghz athlon.

      • "No more waiting for it to boot up , just turn in on...".

        Hmm , you mean like a commore 64, vic 20 , spectrum or any of a dozen other 8 bit computers that
        had everything in ROM before hard drivers became popular? I agree. :)
    • yeah, speed is important, but really only for high end stuff. I think that perhaps you are missing the point of super-high density information storage systems. I mean, sure you would want solid state storage for your desktop and laptop, where size isn't super critical, but what about the guy that wants to carry around the entire library of congress in his watch? i know that is kinda a stupid example, but i think the point is clear. Stuff like this will be great to carrying around mass amounts of informat
      • yeah, speed is important, but really only for high end stuff. I think that perhaps you are missing the point of super-high density information storage systems. I mean, sure you would want solid state storage for your desktop and laptop, where size isn't super critical, but what about the guy that wants to carry around the entire library of congress in his watch? i know that is kinda a stupid example, but i think the point is clear. Stuff like this will be great to carrying around mass amounts of information
        • yeah, i totally agree...solid state is SWEET! i mean its gotta go that way eventually. it is so easy to use and, as you say, fast. but there are aplications where speed is not the most critical aspect, and for stuff like that i think that storage devices that use small molecules will provide such amazing inforamtion density that they cannot be ignored..but that is just my two sense.
    • Nah, we're not even close to approaching capacities that we don't know what to do with. 240gigs isn't enough to hold the average dvd collection, and it certainly isn't enough to hold much HD video. Never underestimate man's ability to store shit.

      As for solid state, it's cheap, so long as you pretend the year is 1990.

      • for most people, it makes more sense to store
        DVDs on the disks they came on. Assuming you bought them. But even then, MOST of us need speed more than more space. If all else fails, I can easily add an external usb2 or firewire hard drive cheap enough, but that isnt going to make the computer FASTER. The hard drive IS the bottleneck for anyone doing more with their computer than surfing and email.
    • That depends of course on your definition of "affordable".

      Desktop applications won't benefit much at all from SSDs (with a 15,000RPM SCSI disk, my Athlon XP2200 is nearly always the bottleneck), so we're talking about business needs. Most businesses get along just fine with arrays of SCSI disks. Only a select few applications are random enough in their accesses throughout a large dataset that an SSD would benefit performance.

      For home or small business use, SSDs won't ever catch on because they'll always
      • Re:solid state (Score:5, Informative)

        by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @02:30PM (#5820118) Journal
        More ram incurs more overhead. After a point, it ends up slowing your box down if you are not actually USING the extra ram.

        Even with a 15k scsi drive, if you handle large files, which is becoming more and more common, the hard drive is going to be the bottleneck. Even if you only handle small files, the access time for a hard drive is generally 100 times slower than the access time for ram, regardless of how you RAID it, or the spindle speed. That is a lot of idle time when loading large files, or accessing lots of small files. Granted, SCSI helps because it takes the load off the cpu.

        I can't possibly see how your athlon 2200 is the bottle neck, except when you are doing cpu intensive stuff. If I am pulling a filter in Photoshop, yea. Raytracing, etc. I expect that. But I use photoshop every day, and the amount of time I spend pulling a filter is still much less than loading and saving files.
        • Re:solid state (Score:3, Informative)

          by kesuki ( 321456 )
          His point, was that brain dead operating systems could be using ram to speed up the hard drive -- instead of using the hard drive to pretend you have more ram.
          More ram does and does not incur more overhead.
          your computer already has to deal with the overhear of being able to address 4 GB of memory. It's 32-bit and that's how much memory it can address. Unless you've got more than 4 GB of RAM installed the overhead is _already_ built into the system.
          This is part of why the 64-bit Opteron with it's 40-bits of
          • More ram does and does not incur more overhead...

            But adding more ram only incurs boot time overhead in 'checking' that ram to make sure it's good.

            Need to check your facts. Try running 98 or ME with over 256mb ram. Also, on ANY system, the more ram, the more OS overhead. Its a price worth paying if you use it. but if you put 16gb of ram on your moms email machine, it would slow it down because the os keeps track of something it doesn't use. It doesnt manage memory it doesnt have, only memory it does.
            • You need to check your facts.
              Explain how memory that is neither writen to, nor read to, incurs any form or performance hit???
              Unless you've recompiled your kernel, so as that it uses a smaller address space than 32-bits then there would be no performance difference. And if you recompiled, to say use 24-bit addressing, and the hardware was doing 32-bit addressing the perfomance hit would be for using 24-bit addressing, since the hardware was expecting 32-bit addresses for ram.
              Modern hardware is designed to a
    • Re:solid state (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dupper ( 470576 )
      240gb drives that few can fill

      I've had to delete more than most people have ever had.

    • Re:solid state (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mlush ( 620447 )
      The real revolution waiting to happen is solid state hard drives that are affordable.

      Solid state hard drives are already affordable. (as a price point on flash RAM USB key drives are about 1$/Mb). Say a 128Mb of Flash RAM cache on a 20Gb hard disk could provide instant access to frequently used files and come to think of it, would be able to defragment itself. I guess would not cost more than $200 (?)

      Does such a product exist? and if not <Bangs table> Why not??

      • what i have seen in solid state drives start at $2000 for very small, and $10,000 for not as small. Just like ram, when you get into larger sizes, you don't get the same "$ per mb" savings you would expect, because the volume is so low.

        As a point of comparison, compare 1gb vs 256mb ram prices.
      • Sure, sure. But Flash RAM can only be written/erased a few thousand times. People got pissed when hard disk warranties went down to a year - how will they feel when a disk wears out in months?
        • But Flash RAM can only be written/erased a few thousand times.

          iirc, it's a hundred thousand to a million times. Mind you, I'd still perfer much higher for mass storage.

          People got pissed when hard disk warranties went down to a year - how will they feel when a disk wears out in months?

          What part of the drive do you write to that often, other than swap space?

          As for swap, think about it. If memory is cheap enough to use as mass storage, would you need swap?

          re mlush's price point, "as a price point on
    • If I got hooked up with a broadband Internet connection, given software bloat what it is, I'm pretty sure that I could fill a 625 GB hard drive in a couple years time, but that's not really what important. I'd probably rather have a solid state drive for speed, sure, but there's nothing to say I couldn't have both. Maybe one day "small" 10 GB-ish solid strive drives will act as cache for terabyte protein drives.

      But even ignoring the desktop, big drives like this would be great, even if they are somewhat

    • Re:solid state (Score:5, Insightful)

      by yintercept ( 517362 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @03:55PM (#5820488) Homepage Journal
      Generally things go faster as they get smaller. At the nano-level, I suspect that the the difference between "solid state" and "mechanical" blurs a bit.

      As for the speed thing, different storage types have different merits. A great deal of information is accessed rarely. Look at the newspaper. Today's edition will be read by several hundred thousand people...the service delivering this page needs to be fast.

      The archives of yesterday's news has a different dynamic. The June 7th, 1981 sports section might be accessed once or twice per year. The indexing device for the archived paper still needs to be fast...the data itself needs to be on a slower, reliable media.

      The true art in computer design isn't just having the fastest components, but having the components matched to their tasks.
      • Don't forget Amdahl's(sp?) Law either. Everything gets optimized sooner or later, if only because everything else has already been optimized.
    • at about 220gigs you run out of all that kazaa has that isn't porn
  • many choices (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ciroknight ( 601098 )
    is it just me, or is there a LOT of different ways to make a high capacity hard drive these days.....
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I prefer punch cards myself.

      Sid Dabster is so cool.
  • by 1nv4d3r ( 642775 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @01:26PM (#5819835) Homepage
    "Aligning individual magnetic grains is a problem for all of us," agrees Mayes.

    That quote struck me as funny. Like he's talking about world hunger or something. He's got a point, though...I do have a real problem getting individual magnetic grains lined up--in fact I can honestly say I've never successfully done it.

    If I come up with something more insightful to say, I'll post it to this afternoon's dupe.
  • Yummy (Score:4, Funny)

    by Your_Mom ( 94238 ) <slashdot AT innismir DOT net> on Sunday April 27, 2003 @01:26PM (#5819838) Homepage
    Hard Drives, now part of your daily balanced breakfast...
  • So in a few years I will be able to blame my forgetfulness on burning protein when I work out. So my woman can either have me fit, trim and forgetful or sporting a splendid beer belly and able to remember those 142 yearly special occasions/aniversaries every woman seems to have .... well maybe remember some of them anyway
  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @01:28PM (#5819852) Journal
    Is this the start of the BioTech revolution?

    Yup, recombinant protein therapies and artificial livers were cute, but biotech hasn't yielded any _real_ products until someone started making larger capacity hard drives!

    I was about to indignantly jump onto my molecular biologist high horse, and started laughing instead. Can't really criticize -- as far as I'm concerned, all that mysterious stuff physicists do seems impressive but it's nothing to me until I can stop worrying about downloading one SHN file too many.

    • But based on results thus far, wouldn't you agree "biotech" has been overhyped? A "revolution" would be something that the average person would notice.
      • Well, then we should call it something else, until people notice it - biotech revolt, for instance. Or, inspired by Star Wars, the biotech rebellion. "Join the biotech rebellion today! Fight for a better biosphere!"
        • Re:Heh (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Thought I'd throw in a simpsons quote...

          Lindsay: Yes. For example, no one was showing up for jury duty, so we made the experience more exciting by synergizing it with his comic book collection.

          Moe: [reading] You have been chosen to join the Justice Squadron, 8 a.m. Monday at the Municipal Fortress of Vengeance. Oh, I am *so* there.
      • by Otter ( 3800 )
        I wouldn't disagree with that (although just as the original vision of nanotech was very different from a protein hard drive, biotech has accomplished a lot that wasn't in the original hype).

        Just laughing at the tone of "We have a new hard drive technology! Now _that's_ a revolution!"

      • A "revolution" would be something that the average person would notice.

        Well, alternatives were considered to Biotechnology Revolution, but they were rejected. We didn't think it would be as dramatic if we called it the Biotechnology Occasional-Flurry-of-Media-Hype or the Biotechnology Steady-Flow-Of-Incremental-Improvements.

        Think about it--who here watches CSI? Show me one episode where some sort of DNA testing and matching didn't play a role*. Now tell me...when did that happen? Even the shiniest

    • by Xeth ( 614132 )
      Yup, recombinant protein therapies and artificial livers were cute, but biotech hasn't yielded any _real_ products until someone started making larger capacity hard drives!

      It's not technology until it's been applied to getting more porn.

  • Ahh, protein bars that are used for 'intelligent' purposes, instead of 'muscle heads' ;-)

    And for those of you who think I'm slagging off people who go to the gym, I'm joking (plus I'm a gym regular myself).

  • So will Slimjims because the new data sticks for these hard drives?
  • The article is silent on the question of how fast data can be read from the device - both in terms of bandwidth and latency. I would imagine that anything that's protein based would be awfully slow, and hence suitable only for long term data storage. But if it takes days just to fill the disk its probably useless. In any case, disk sizes have already gotten to the point where only a small fraction, perhaps 5% of users fill them to anywhere near their full capacity. So unless the internet becomes the primary
    • So unless the internet becomes the primary medium of distribution of movies or something like that I don't see these kinds of devices having more than a niche market.

      whoa, it isn't??!?
    • by YuppieScum ( 1096 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @05:59PM (#5821021) Journal
      The process is about how to organise and homogenise the arrangement of magnetic particles on the disc surface.

      Reading and writing is still done the way it is today (mangentically) but, with a more regular magnetic matrix, greater storage densities can be acheived...
    • You can always trust M$ to fill anything, echoes of a 640k related quote. And if you rtfa then the technology is based on existing hard drive technology, the protiens are just used to coat the surface of the platter with a higher density than is possible otherwise. Aaand since its based on existing technology, you can expect similar or faster speeds since speed has increases along with density.
  • > Is this the start of the BioTech revolution?"
    At least you will be able to eat the plates before giving the rest away to prevent revealing their secrets [].
  • by dfn5 ( 524972 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @01:48PM (#5819941) Journal
    In the future people won't read books, they will eat their hard drives. Information never tasted so good.
  • great (Score:5, Funny)

    by mattkime ( 8466 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @01:49PM (#5819948)
    now even my hard drive is on the atkins diet.
  • those muscular jocks can serve as data storage devices in the future?
  • This reminds me of an idea I came across once. Why not build a hardware gzip chip (Like the one on these [] PCI cards and embed it on the controller for the harddrive. While this may slow down speeds a little, we can get a lot more data on current drives. Even though this may be counter productive right now, later on with these SUPER fast disk drives we could really cram some data onto them :)
      • hard drive space is cheap
      • hard drive speed is not
      • we can make hard drive big enough that they are not a limiting factor for 99.99% of applications
      • hard disk IO speed is a limiting factor for most application

      Add to this the fact that most data either is (a) speed critical or (b) does not compress well. i.e. database data you normally want very quickly, same for applications. The things that fill modern home computers are media files, which are already heavily compressed.

  • by Captain Beefheart ( 628365 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @02:17PM (#5820051)
    "Western Digital--nutritious and delicious!"
  • ... to getting a computer virus.
  • by Muhammar ( 659468 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @02:39PM (#5820155)
    New Scientisct article writen by somebody ignorant in material science: skips the important stuff and dwells on marginal. The company site more informative.

    Magnetic particles in storage media must be evenly spaced and right size. This protein is used as a mold and spacer for making and placing the magnetic particles. The protein is spherical, has cavity which can be filled with magnetic stuff and forms crystal-ordered-like monolayer on support surface. Burning the protein leaves the magnetic particles in caramelized yuck. All this done in with external magnetic field. And since we are baking it well above Curie temperature of the magnetic material, cooling will produce the particles nicely magneticaly aligned.

    [To organize apricot pits, place a baking tray covered with apricots in oven pre-heated to 475F for 2 hours, and do not stir.]
    • Agreed. Here's what the company's website says:

      Technology Overview

      Hard disk drives currently store information at densities up to 70 billion bits (or gigabits) per square inch, with data stored as microscopic magnetic patterns arranged in circumferential tracks on a media. At extreme magnification, individual bits of data are revealed to be composed from grains of different sizes and shapes. The density at which information can be stored is restricted by how cleanly these patterns can be represent

  • New Scientist... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JDevers ( 83155 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @02:41PM (#5820163)
    I'm going to point out something that no one else seems to have noticed yet. This is an article in New Scientist, that should be enough said who ever actually read it. The have a real penchant for investigating off the wall oddball ideas then writing up the issue with just enough slant that one who reads it takes the same mentality as those who think cars which run on water have been made but are being held back by the big car manufacturers and oil companies. Virtually every issue of New Scientist has at least ONE grand convoluted conspiracy theory. I'm not saying there is no basis at all for this, just that New Scientist isn't exactly a reputable news source much less something approaching a peer-reviewed scientific journal. They are much more like Scientific American but don't even approach that level of credibility.

    That said, go ahead and debate it all you want. I just think (as a molecular biologist...more DNA focused than applied protein mechanics like this, but still fairly well versed) that by the time all the "bugs" for this are worked out we'll have leapfrogged the whole idea of magnetic media Winchester syle drives. This is the equivalent to making a perfect artificial diamond point for a record player, by the time we had the tech to do it the world had already moved onto CDs or other media for the overwhelming majority of uses of said records...People still make record players, but they are a niche market to say the absolute least.
    • by Muhammar ( 659468 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @02:55PM (#5820223)
      The technique is very clever, but it is fringe. This is a very small company developing new technology. They may win big, but right now they do not have anything marketable and won't have too soon. They operate on private financing and have to advertise their cutting-edge proprietary technology breakthrough whatever to attract investment to keep going.

      I worked for a company like this, so I take it with some scepticism.
    • With no sarcasm and much sincere desire to obtain quality information, I ask you, JDevers, what should I read instead of New Scientist?

      I read New Scientist infrequently, but it always seems interesting to me. I subscribe to various programming journals for my profession and The Economist for general global issues, and I would really like to subscribe to a couple general science magazines. In particular, I would like a magazine that covers all aspects of emerging science and technology, something that has
      • I would suggest either Discover or Scientific American. Discover is more like New Scientist in format but less fringe. Scientific American is a bit more article oriented.

        I wasn't really trying to bash New Scientist, just trying to display that what they write about isn't exactly always on the scientific horizon. I know that it isn't a journal and isn't intended to be and also that scientific "prospecting" is a somewhat valid idea, but I just think that New Scientist does it a bit more than they should.
  • by desertfish ( 571552 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @02:48PM (#5820196)

    It sounds like these proteins come from either humans or animals. I'm surprised their source was not revealed in the article.

    Looks like animal-friendly consumers will need to read the ingredients labels on hard drives, as well as motherboards []?

  • Mmmmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by ZorMonkey ( 653731 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @03:01PM (#5820268)
    Soon our PCs will be more nutritious than most junk food. I suppose that makes recycling them more efficient. Consume and flush!
  • []

    You've seen the story by Terry Bisson, no sense repeating it here....

  • Now I'm going to have to feed my computer every 8 hours to make sure it gets enough protien. I'll also will have to get a litterbox for when its done, too! Maintaining a pet is bad enough, but jeez....
  • Hype (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sillybilly ( 668960 )
    Biotech is another hype industry that will go bust. Biological beings need a constant expanding of energy just to repair and upkeep their organic shape. A lot of complex organic compounds degrade without this constant repair work going on. So a real biotech harddrive will either be "alive," and have a mechanism to upkeep itself, replicating damaged parts, or it would not be true biotech, but a news on the level of "tiny magnets encapsulated in a polymer or organic binder" - so what? I wonder what the lifeti
    • ..and how would viruses and bacteria effect this new media? Seems like you'd need a clean room to assemble these things at a level 4 facility threshold to keep them prisitine clean. And because drives need to be vented in some small fashion now, seems like it would be almost impossible. I have a hard enough tiome keeping BIG things out of my gear. Yesterday I dug out an old HP printer to see if I could get it to work on an old computer I have for a project to run away from my regular machine. WELL, seems mr
  • We've had computers around for a while and have some of the smartest people working to make them even better using the latest and greatest technology, but why not just copy nature? Life has been on this planet for a billion or so years. Evolution has had much more time than us to make this run effiecient. Our bodies are far more effiecient than anything we can design even with the obviously "poor" . Things we have just barely now come to understand have been going on in nature for quite some time. Nature ha
  •'s the late Dr. Atkins' approach to data storage; proteins.

    I wonder if protein shakes will increase storage capacity. :-p
  • "Mom!! The Hard Drive Is Growing Mold Again!!!!"
  • ... will come a new Generation of viruses

    * Captain Janeway, I strongly suggest we insert the Nanovirus in the cubes central plexus.
  • We keep working... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jace of Fuse! ( 72042 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @07:24PM (#5821498) Homepage
    We keep working on newer faster computers, better and better AI, and we keep trying to find machines that are fault tolerant and self healing.

    You watch, before it's over with all of our machines and computers are going to be genetically engineered creatures that are alive.

    We'll have giant brains in vats, and giant beasts of burdon doing our labor. We'll grow our homes instead of building them, and we won't need highways because we'll fly around everywhere we go on giant birdlike creatures.

    Everything will be organic save for some things that are still best served by mechanical means. Having said that, nearly all of our lives will involve some kind of biotechnology, except for food. All of our food will come out of some kind of machine.
  • current:
    fill hard drive with porn
    rub hard drive a few times
    protein comes out of hard drive

    fill hard drive with protein
    rub hard drive a few times
    porn comes out of hard drive
  • Since it's a protein, isn't it going to break down at some point? Or will I have to start feeding my hard drives now?
  • Wonderful (Score:3, Funny)

    by Nintendork ( 411169 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @12:27AM (#5822661) Homepage
    Now I'll have to worry about STDs when I mount a volume. Anyone know when the final release of Norton Virtual Condom is expected? How about an iCondom for the Mac users?


"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken