Horizon highlights – Mad scientist edition

Our regular roundup of sci-tech stories from across the Web includes: A peek at a mad scientist's island. Can science save the economy? And mini-nuclear power plants. Let’s kick it off:

Destination: Welcome to LED Island
"Dean Kamen is best known as the inventor of the Segway scooter and medical devices including a portable insulin pump, a stair-climbing wheelchair, and a robotic prosthetic arm. Like any good inventor or mad genius, Kamen can be called eccentric. He lives in a hexagonal-shaped home, commutes to work via helicopter, and owns his very own island. Kamen has declared his island, the three-acre North Dumpling Island off the coast of Connecticut, an independent state with its own constitution, currency (based on Pi), and navy (a lone amphibious vehicle). The island comes complete with a replica of Stonehenge." [via CNET]

Dismal science: Can science help solve the economic crisis?
"The economic crisis has to be stabilized immediately. This has to be carried out pragmatically, without undue ideology, and without reliance on the failed ideas and assumptions which led to the crisis. Complexity science can help here." [via Edge]

Future watch: What's next for computer interfaces?
"Touch tricks for small and large displays could be the next big thing." [via Technology Review]

Rerun: Mini nuclear plant is safe, affordable, and purifies water
"This isn't the first time we've seen a micro nuclear reactor, and with the looming energy crisis it probably won't be the last. Designed by scientists at Los Alamos, the Hyperion Power Module will retail for $25 million, has no moving parts, is about the size of a hot tub (less than 5 feet wide) and should generate enough electricity for about 10,000 homes, running up to 10 years before it needs refueled. And if all that isn't enough, the company claims that the module is meltdown-proof...." [via Engadget]

E-celebrities: YouTube videos pull in real money
"Making videos for YouTube – for three years a pastime for millions of Web surfers – is now a way to make a living. One year after YouTube, the online video powerhouse, invited members to become 'partners' and added advertising to their videos, the most successful users are earning six-figure incomes from the Web site. For some, like Michael Buckley, the self-taught host of a celebrity chatter show, filming funny videos is now a full-time job." [via The New York Times]

Gallery: 20 BioScapes contest photos – life viewed through the microscope
"Winners and other images from the 2008 BioScapes Photo Competition use light microscopes to portray extraordinary images of biological specimens" [via Scientific American]

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