8th Annual Year in Ideas in NYTimes

New York Times has compiled a whole slew of essays about the interesting ideas that people have come up with during 2008. And three of them are written by Rebecca Skloot, who is the special speaker at the WiSE event (on Friday night) at ScienceOnline09.

Her three essays are:

Avian Dancing:

If you aren't one of the millions who have already done so, go immediately to YouTube and search for "Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo." There you will see a large white bird balanced on the back of an office chair, bobbing his head, stomping his feet and doing something that -- until now -- scientists believed impossible: dancing just like a human. This is good fun. It's also good science: Snowball's videos are changing the way researchers understand the neurology of music and dancing....

Dog-poop DNA Bank:

About three years ago, the mayor of Petah Tikva, a city near Tel Aviv, called the veterinarian Tika Bar-On and said, "I can fix almost everything in this city, but I don't know how to fight dog poop." He asked Bar-On, the city's director of veterinary services, if it was possible to use DNA fingerprinting to identify which dogs pooped on his city streets and -- most important -- which owners didn't pick up after them. As a result, this year, Bar-On introduced the first-ever forensic dog-poop DNA unit....

Spray-on Condom:

Jan Vinzenz Krause, a 31-year-old German entrepreneur, says that condoms should be more like shoes. "You go into a shop, tell them your size and you get shoes that fit your feet," he says. "Not so with condoms." Aside from the occasional extra-large brand, condoms essentially come in one size: about 6.5 inches long. Penises, however, come in many sizes. This leaves many men squeezed into condoms so tight they cut off circulation (and impede erections) or so large they're floppy and nonfunctional. To fix this, Krause has invented the world's first condom that can be custom made for each man: the spray-on condom....

Read them in their entirety and check out the other essays as well...

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