My stay here may be somewhat short lived as I’ve found Syncato, a weblogging tool so utterly drenched in acronyms it can’t help but be the l33t thing to do.
It uses Sleepycat’s XML database and a plethora of additional open-source xml manipulation API tools to build – in python (woot!) a REST based system for working with xml fragments.
This, if I manage to combine it with my existing approach of using subversion to manage my longer documents, might bring about a sort of “semantic web for one” toolkit, where you can describe yourself and what you’re working on, believe in, or what have you using as much or as little semantic markup as you want.
As tools spread out there capable of using xpath for querying, the whole internet becomes as queryable as your own database. Eventually this will be common way for us non-business types to engage in spontaneous community; when a critical mass of people expressing similar semantics arise, so to will their ability to cohere for whatever purpose (or lack thereof) their semantic commonalities suggest. Tools like Technorati are already doing this with what little semantic markup blogs provide today; and technorati itself is already providing a REST-style API.
Let the business world stifle in their stew of stuffy standards and opaque encapsulation whilst the rest of us get by on tag soup and running consensus.
Anyway, so bacteria are opportunistic multicellular organisms, and that opportunity exists almost everywhere except the lab. Right now I’m curious about exactly how diverse is the set of exogenous polysaccharides bacteria and archaea produce to facilitate cohesion; are there, for example, bacteria that use xylan -based or N-acetylglucosamine based polysaccharides? If so, there’s a possibility that you could make woody or chitinous biofilm cultures.
Also, maybe precise placement of different strains of bacteria could get you more interesting control over the constitution of your resultant biofilm; deposition of bacteria from live culture using something like an inkjet could be a way to cheaply get that sort of distribution.
Microencapsulation is pretty doable these days as well; perhaps encapsulating either sporing or otherwise suspended collections of bacteria in materials and then “printing” them amongst populations of bacteria that produce exogenous reducing enzymes for that material could allow you to get a time-delay effect in the production of some aspect of your final desired structure.