Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Who knew 'shrooms could save the world?

Cool vid from TED. There's a bit of an "ick" factor, but if it shows anything it shows that it's nearly impossible if not outright impossible to predict where and how the solutions for the world's problems will come about. Who knew that 'shrooms could save the world? From breaking down toxic waste, creating new and effective antibiotics for such things as small pox, the "perfect" pesticide, to the holy grail of biofuels: cellulostic ethanol. (Stamets seems a bit overtop in some of the framing of both the problems and solutions but all he needs is one idea to commercialize and he will have more than earned the right).

Governments should stop trying to back who they think the winner will be (funding usually being achieved through "lobbying" and for entrenched interests - see corn ethanol lobby). Backing the wrong technology means making it more difficult if not even outright stifling for better technologies. It's why I like the elegance of the X-prizes.

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