Glofish

Damn Interesting is a cool blog mainly about science-related things but also contains some interesting history articles.

There was an article today about transgenics. Some researches have created glowing pigs by taking some genetic material from jellyfish. These pigs are healthy and have produced three live births.

The article also talks about Glofish which are sold in the US as pets. In the future, it is hoped that the Glofish will be bred in such a way that their luminescence will react to environmental chemicals such as pollution. The fish can then be used to test for pollutions and chemicals.

The article goes on to explain the "trojan gene" and how the introduction of glofish could have a huge detrimental effect on zebrafish – the species of fish the glofish was created from.

If anyone knows of any similar interesting blogs, it’d be nice to hear about them. 

Clicking Logos

One thing I’ve found myself do a lot more recently is clicking on the logo to return to the homepage. This works most of the time but it is often frustrating when websites provide neither a home link or a clickable logo.

I wonder how popular this method of navigating websites is and whether the normal end user will work out that the company logo links to the homepage.

I’ve made an effort to incorporate this into websites that I create. It’d be interesting to find out whether anyone else normally clicks on logos to return to the homepage and how many sites on the internet implement clickable logos. 

Firefox 8th most influential brand in the world

Wow. Brandchannel.com has done a survey on global brands and has found that Firefox is the 8th most influential global brand ahead of eBay and Sony. Quite amazing since a year ago before the release of Firefox 1.0, most people probably wouldn’t have even have heard of Firefox.

The top 10 brands this year are: 

  1. Google
  2. Apple
  3. Skype
  4. Starbucks
  5. Ikea
  6. Nokia
  7. Yahoo!
  8. Firefox
  9. eBay
  10. Sony

It’s quite interesting to compare these to last years results. Google has replaced Apple at the top becoming the world’s most influential brand. Skype is a new entry which didn’t even make it into the charts last year.

Firefox made number 15 in the US/Canada but didn’t even make it in Europe.

Model World

Nice. These photographs are real but look like models.

It’s often hard to convince people that Olivo Barbieri’s aerial photographs are real. They look uncannily like hyperdetailed models, absent the imperfections of reality. Streets are strangely clean, trees look plastic, and odd distortions of scale create the opposite effect of what we expect from aerial photography.

Internet Explorer Clipboard Stealing Vulnerability

Not exactly a new exploit but worth noting. Internet Explorer allows unpriviledged scripts to read the contents of the system clipboard – if you copy a credit card number to your clipboard, it can be stolen simply by visiting a website in Internet Explorer.

There is a good explanation of the exploit here. A demo of the exploit can be found here (naturally you need Internet Explorer).

Javascript for PHP 5

Via Sitepoint, J4P5 is a "JavaScript interpreter written in PHP 5, that allows to run untrusted scripts in a sandbox on your server. It aims to implement most of Ecma-262 3d edition."

There are a couple of demos here

A bit of a shame that you need PHP 5 which rules out its usefulness for many people but looks like a very cool and promising project. 

Sticky Notes

Google Blogoscoped points to MyStickies; a Firefox extension which allows you to annotate web pages with your own notes with "yellow sticky labels".

It’ll add a toolbar allowing you to add a note or you can use the alt key on the keyboard and drag an area for the sticky note.

This is similar to the annotation servers which Tim Berners-Lee talked about in Weaving the Web (which is highly recommended).

I remember planning to make a Firefox sticky note extension about a year ago but I never got around to it but this extension pretty much is what I was imagining. I would have prefered to have notes stored offline however rather than relying on a third party to store my notes.

FireBug

FireBug is like a supercharged version of Javascript Console. It helps with "debugging Javascript, DHTML and AJAX" and has been billed as a "combination of the Javascript Console, DOM Inspector, and a command line Javascript interpreter."

Among it’s features are XmlHttpRequest spy which allow you to see how websites are using XmlHttpRequest. I currently use LiveHTTPHeaders which supports standard requests as well as XmlHttpRequests. LiveHTTPHeaders is a really useful extension for debugging HTTP – for example it can help you work out where your cookie settings are wrong.

I also love the fact you can finally filter errors and hide CSS errors and internal errors and it’ll only show errors for the current page. Great stuff!