Saturday, March 3, 2012

Find The U.S. Military's Hidden QR Codes

Find The Military's Hidden QR Codes And Rake In $40,000 -- MSNBC/Innovation

You'll likely need your social media networks for scavenger hunt contest already under way.

Got a smartphone? You can win up to $40,000 if you're first to find all of the U.S. military's special QR codes hidden across the continental United States. But the huge geographical scope of the contest means that people will probably need to turn to their social media networks to find all the codes.

There's a reason why the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to watch code hunters collaborate on Facebook and Twitter. It planned out the " DARPA CLIQR Quest " as a real-life game to simulate how the public can help find essential resources during national emergencies — a very real concern for the military when responding to humanitarian crises or disasters such as the Haiti earthquake of 2010.

Read more

DARPA Launches QR-Locating Game As Test Of Distributed Resource Gathering -- Tech Crunch

My Comment: My prediction .... a winner will be announced very soon.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Oceans Acidifying At A Faster Rate Than At Any Time In The Last 300 Million Years

Will they survive? (Image: Reinhard Dirscherl/Waterframe/Getty Images)

Oceans Acidifying At Unprecedented Speed -- New Scientist

Humanity's greenhouse gas emissions may be acidifying the oceans at a faster rate than at any time in the last 300 million years. The sheer speed of change means we do not know how severe the consequences will be.

As well as warming the planet, carbon dioxide seeps into the oceans and forms carbonic acid. As a result the water becomes more acidic.

The pH is currently dropping by about 0.1 per century. This ocean acidification harms organisms such as corals that rely on dissolved carbonate to make their shells. It also disrupts behaviour in some animals.

Read more ....

My Comment: This data is significant .... and scary to think about.

Meet Your New Robot Receptionist

Meet Your New Robot Receptionist, the DARPA ARM 'Bot -- Popular Science

Never worry about answering the phone or stapling documents again.

Bad news for long-term receptionists: DARPA's ARM (Autonomous Robotic Manipulation) robot can perform a whopping 18 different reception-ready tasks, from stapling to answering the phone to...turning on a lamp? Grasping things? Also it can't speak, or redirect calls, really, but it can drill a hole in a piece of wood, which I'm not entirely sure I can do, so it's an easy shoo-in for our incredibly prestigious Robot of the Week award. Congratulations! Watch the video after the jump.

Read more ....

Internet Users Can Watch Who Is Spying On Them In Blow Against Google's New Snooping Policy

Google's HQ: Google ignored an international outcry to launch its new privacy policy this week - despite concerns the policy may actually be illegal in many territories

Turning The Tables On Big Brother: Now Internet Users Can Watch Who Is Spying On Them In Blow Against Google's New Snooping Policy -- Daily Mail

* Free Collusion add-on shows which companies watch as you browse
* 'Real time' illustration of marketing companies snooping
* Unveiled as Google shifts privacy policy to enable more advertising
* Mozilla aims to share data with privacy campaigners

Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, has unveiled a new add-on for the popular web browser that gives web users an instant view of which companies are 'watching' them as they browse.

The move comes the same week that Google pushed ahead with its controversial new privacy policy, built to provide even more data for Google's $28 billion advertising business - despite concerns that the massive harvesting of private data might be illegal in many countries.

The Collusion add-on will allow users to 'pull back the curtain' on web advertising firms and other third parties that track people's online movements, says Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs.

Read more ....

My Comment: Kudos to Firefox.

A New Twist In The Antimatter Mystery

CDF was one of two multi-purpose experiments at the US Tevatron accelerator near Chicago

New Twist In Antimatter Mystery -- BBC

Physicists have taken a step forward in their efforts to understand why the Universe is dominated by matter, and not its shadowy opposite antimatter.

A US experiment has confirmed previous findings that hinted at phenomena outside our understanding of physics.

The results show that certain matter particles decay differently from their antimatter counterparts.

Such differences could potentially help explain why there is so much more matter in the cosmos than antimatter.

Read more ....

Robot Helicopters Perform James Bond Theme

Flying robot quadrotors perform the James Bond Theme by playing various instruments --
including the keyboard, drums and maracas, a cymbal, and the debut of an adapted guitar built from a couch frame.

Robot Helicopters Perform James Bond Theme Music -- Christian Science Monitor

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Lab wowed attendees at this year's TED conference with a video of tiny robot quadroters performing the James Bond theme music.

Sometimes we just crave the simple things in life: smelling freshly baked bread, getting a baby to laugh, watching a cat fall asleep on your lap, or having someone scratch your back.

And other times, you just want to watch a bunch of robotic quadrotors performing the James Bond theme song.

If you are reading this story, now is apparently one of those times. If you haven't done so already, watch the video at the top of this page.

Read more ....

Giant Penguins

Giant penguins 'may have roamed New Zealand' Photo: Alamy

Giant Penguins 'May Have Roamed New Zealand' -- The Telegraph

Fossilised remains of one of the largest penguins ever, an "elegant" giant standing 1.3 metres (52 inches) tall, have been found in New Zealand, scientists said.

The penguin lived 27-24 million years ago, when New Zealand was mostly underwater and consisted of isolated, rocky outcrops that offered protection from predators and plentiful food supplies, researchers said.

The first traces of the penguin, dubbed Kairuku - Maori for diver who returns with food - was found embedded in a cliff at Waimate in the South Island by University of Otago paleontologist professor Ewen Fordyce in 1977.

Read more ....

My Comment: 52" tall .... those were tall penguins.

The Unique Ability To Spell Backwards

Health: Teen Speaks To CBS3 About Her Ability To Instantly Say Words Backwards -- CBS

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s like an easy game for 14-year-old Alyssa Kramer. She can easily say words backwards in seconds. Her video on YouTube quickly got a million hits, and now she has her own channel: CBS3 asked when she realized she had the special ability.

“Whenever I learned how to read, I just started doing it. I have a photographic memory, and whenever someone tells me a word, I can see it in my head. And if I want to spell it backwards then, it can flip and I’ll read it that way,” Alyssa says.

Read more ....

My Comment: I just tried to do it myself .... it ain't easy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Were Europeans The First Americans?

Source: Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley. The Washington Post.
An established theory says the first Americans walked across the Bering Sea about 13,000-15,000 years ago. But stone tools found in the mid-Atlantic suggest an arrival from Europe about 20,000-22,000 years ago. The tools match those made by the mysterious Solutrean people of ice-age Iberia.

Radical Theory Of First Americans Places Stone Age Europeans In Delmarva 20,000 Years Ago -- Washington Post

When the crew of the Virginia scallop trawler Cinmar hauled a mastodon tusk onto the deck in 1970, another oddity dropped out of the net: a dark, tapered stone blade, nearly eight inches long and still sharp.

Forty years later, this rediscovered prehistoric slasher has reopened debate on a radical theory about who the first Americans were and when they got here.

Archaeologists have long held that North America remained unpopulated until about 15,000 years ago, when Siberian people walked or boated into Alaska and then moved down the West Coast.

Read more

China Will Use Drones To Hunt Submarines

The U.S. Navy's Fire Scout Ship-Launched UAV China plans to hunt submarines using its own sea-launched UAVs running genetic algorithms. U.S. Navy

Chinese Drones Will Use Genetic Algorithms to Learn to Hunt For Submarines -- Popular Science

China usually holds its military hand very close to the vest--that, or things “mysteriously” leak that it doesn’t (does) want the world to know about--so we’re left to wonder why the People’s Republic has decided to publish this in the journal Advanced Materials Research. Nonetheless, it’s pretty interesting. Chinese navy researchers have plans for a new submarine hunting scheme that uses ship-launched UAVs running genetic algorithms.

Read more

My Comment: The Chinese are making their intentions very clear .... they are going to focus on drone development.

One Could Detect Life On Earth By Looking At The Moon

Crescent Moon and Earthshine The thin crescent moon sets over ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile. The crescent is clearly visible, but you can also see the rest of the moon very faintly, because of the phenomenon known as earthshine. Sunlight bouncing off the Earth illuminates the surface of the moon. This image was captured Oct. 27, 2011. Mercury and Venus are there, too, by the way. ESO/B. Tafreshi/TWAN

Remote Aliens Could Detect Life On Earth By Looking At The Moon -- Popular Science

New detection method could help spot signs of life on exoplanets.

So many exoplanets may hold water, atmospheres, just-right temperatures and a rocky surface for life to flourish — we just need to know where to look. Once astronomers have pinpointed a good candidate, we also need to know how to look — which instruments and methods might sniff out the right chemical signatures of life. A new trick that essentially amplifies those signatures could be one way to do it. Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory just discovered life on Earth with this method, treating our home as if it were an exoplanet.

Read more ....

The Future Of Warfare?

Direct Brain Control Of Weapons Prompts Ethical Debate -- The Inquirer

BRINGING A WHOLE NEW TWIST to the phrase 'blue screen of death', scientists are calling for a public debate on the ethics of using direct brain control technology to manage systems including weaponry.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has launched a public consultation on the ethics of using technologies such as brain computer interfaces (BCIs) in non-medical situations. The organisation defines a BCI as a system for measuring and analysing brain signals and translating them into outputs such as computer-based communication or control of a device.

Read more

More News On The Debate Of Direct Brain Control Of Weapons

New 'thinking cap' technologies that control weaponry 'a step closer' -- The Telegraph
Missiles fired by the mind are closer than we think: Ethics council warn of 'Star Wars' future for human race -- Daily Mail
Thought-controlled weapons spark ethics debate -- Tech World
Ethics profs fret over cyborg brains, mind-controlled missiles -- The Register
Consultation on brain technologies from medicine to warfare -- BBC
Super-human brain technology sparks ethics debate -- Sydney Morning Herald
Ethics of brain-computer interfaces under scrutiny in UK -- GMA News
Consultation on the ethics of the 'superbrain' -- T3
UK Scientific Group To Study Ethics Of Neurotechnologies -- Red Orbit
Ethics committee debates Deus-Ex style augmentations -- Tech Eye

My Comment: A good article that explains how this science may affect the future of warfare is here.

One-In-Eight Chance Of Solar Megaflare In Next Ten Years

Destructive: A solar flare many times greater than this one could be catastrophic for Earth. There is a 12 per cent chance of one occurring over the next decade

One-In-Eight Chance Of Solar Megaflare Causing Trillions Of Dollars Of Damage In Next Ten Years, Scientists Warn -- Daily Mail

Earth has a 12 per cent chance of being struck by a solar megaflare of such violent proportions over the next decade it could cause trillions of dollars of damage, scientists warned today.

The event would rival the last giant sunstorm, known as the Carrington Event, more than 150 years ago when telegraph stations caught fire and their networks suffered massive black-outs.

In today's electronic-infused world, the consequences of such a huge magnetic force raining down on the planet could be catastrophic and may take a decade to recover from.

Read more ....

My Comment: If everything that is electronic gets fried .... the costs will definitely run in the mega trillions.

Doomsday Seed Vault Has More Than 740,000 Samples

The Global Seed Vault opened in 2008 on Svalbard, Norway, above the Arctic Circle. Mari Tefre/Global Crop Diversity Trust

Doomsday Seed Vault Has More Than 740,000 Samples -- MSNBC/Live Science

Repository in Norway marks fourth birthday as backup for crop collections.

This week, the Doomsday Seed Vault in Norway is scheduled to receive nearly 25,000 samples of seeds from around the world, including those of grains that grow on one of the world's highest mountain ranges and a plant whose stems redden an Ecuadorean drink on the "Day of the Dead."

With these additions the now four-year-old vault, formerly known as the Svaldbard Global Seed Vault, would house more than 740,000 samples in an Arctic mountain on the Svaldbard archipelago.

Read more

Ferrari Unveils Its Fastest Accelerating Car Ever

Going Like A Rocket: Ferrari Unveils Its Fastest Accelerating Car Ever (With A £250,000 Price To Match The Performance) -- Daily Mail

* Top speed of 212mph eclipses 205mph set by Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
* Can accelerate from rest to 62mph in just 3.1 seconds

The fastest Ferrari ever was unveiled today – with a blistering price to match.

The new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta has a top speed of 212miles per hour but it’s the rocket like acceleration which is drawing gasps ahead of its official launch at next week’s Geneva Motor Show when it goes on sale.

The scintillating two-seater roars from rest to 62mph in just 3.1 seconds – shaving 0.6 seconds off the car it replaces, the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. And the Italian supercar will hit 124mph in just 8.5 seconds, compared to 11 seconds for its predecessor.

Read more ....

My Comment: This car would satisfy my need for speed .... unfortunately .... my empty wallet disagrees.

Approaching Asteroid Has A One In 625 Chance Of Hitting Earth

The asteroid has the potential to wipe out millions of lives if it landed on a city Photo: CORBIS

Asteroid Heads Towards Earth With One In 625 Chance Of Hitting Planet -- The Telegraph

An asteroid with a one in 625 chance of striking Earth in 30 years' time has been identified by NASA.

The 460 foot ball of rock named 2011 AG5 is potentially on course to hit this planet on February 5, 2040.

The United Nations Action Team on near-Earth object has begun discussions about how to divert the asteroid, amid fears that the likelihood of a collision could increase over the next few years.

Read more ....

My Comment: The odds are rather small when you look at it from that perspective.

IBM Scientists On Verge Of Creating 'Quantum Computers'

Chip off the old block: A standard silicon chip houses three hi-tech 'qubits'

No Speed Limit: IBM Scientists On Verge Of Creating 'Quantum Computers' Faster Than Any Supercomputer On Earth -- The Daily Mail

* Breakthroughs move technology on 'up to 1000 times'
* Scientists believe working quantum computer will happen within their lifetimes
* Described as 'Holy Grail' of computing
* Quantum computer could crack any encryption

PCs faster than any supercomputer on Earth could become a reality after IBM scientists achieved a breakthrough in ‘quantum computing’ – described as the ‘new frontier’ in computing.

IBM has created working components using the technology - its scientists say the next step is 'creating systems'.

A working quantum computer would be capable of millions of calculations at once – and able to crack any computer code on Earth.

Read more

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How To Fill A Gas Tank For $1 A Gallon

How A Billionaire Fills Gas Tank For $1 A Gallon -- CNN

Long Beach, California (CNN) -- Gasoline at $4 a gallon is no worry for T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire energy investor from Texas. He drives from his home to his office in a car that runs on fuel costing less than $1 a gallon.

His method: He has a device that fuels his Honda Civic GX with natural gas from the pipes that serve his home. And he thinks there's a lesson there for America's energy woes.

Pickens, who is speaking Wednesday at the TED2012 Conference in Long Beach, California, said America needs to make natural gas a building block of a plan for ending oil imports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Natural gas is "cheaper, it's cleaner, it's abundant and it's ours, and we're fools not to use it," Pickens said in an interview with CNN.

Read more

My Comment: I always predicted that one day our cars will be running on natural gas. More stories like this one will probably push that day even sooner.

Who Wants To Live Forever?

Itskov, a 31-year-old media entrepreneur, says that he aims to transplant a human brain into a robot body within 10 years. He says his technology will be of interest at first to the 'disabled and close to dying'

Who Wants To Live Forever? Russian Project Aims To Transplant A Human Brain Into A 'Davros'-Style Robot Body Within 10 Years -- Daily Mail

* Entrepreneur claims to have 100 scientists working on project
* Aims to 'transplant' human mind into robot body in 10 years
* Claims 'next stage' of science is to create a 'new human body'
* 'This project is leading to immortality,' says Dmitry Itskov

Human minds could be downloaded into robots within 10 years, allowing human beings to 'live forever', says the Russian entrepreneur who heads a hi-tech research project called 'Avatar'.

Itskov, a media entrepreneur, claims to have hired 100 scientists to reach this goal - and is now looking for other scientists to help with the project.

'This project is leading down the road to immortality,' says Itskov. 'A person with a perfect Avatar will be able to remain part of society. People don’t want to die.'

Read more

My Comment:
In ten years .... please.

U.S. Navy Test-Fires First Working Prototype Railgun

The Ultimate Bullet Train: Watch The Amazing Video Of The Railgun That Can Hit Targets 100 Miles Away At Seven Times The Speed Of Sound -- Daily Mail

* Futuristic weapon is another step closer to being deployed
* Navy reveals industry-built prototype is now being tested
* Uses magnetic field and electric current to generate energy

A futuristic supersonic weapon which fires ammunition up to 100 miles is another step closer to being deployed by the U.S. Navy.

Officials have revealed an industry-built prototype of the electromagnetic railgun is now being tested at its Naval Surface Warfare Centre Dahlgren Division in northern Virginia.

The weapon, which it is hoped will be fitted on ships from 2017, uses a magnetic field and electric current, instead of chemicals, to generate energy to fire the rounds.

Read more ....

More News On the U.S. Navy's Electromagnetic Railgun

New Navy Rail Gun Fires 50 Miles With No Propellant: Latest Tests Use Smaller Guns -- Aol Defense
Navy close on making super-powerful railgun -- CBS
It's real! Navy test-fires first working prototype railgun -- FOX News
U.S. Navy Test Fires 32-Megajoule Railgun, Could See Service by 2020 -- Daily Tech
Video: Navy Fires Off Its New Weaponized Railgun -- Danger Room
Video: Flamethrowing Navy Railgun Blasts Terrifying Projectiles Through Superheated Air -- Popular Science
The Military’s Shipwrecking Railgun Just Got Really Real -- Gizmodo
Navy Unleashes Its Electromagnetic Railgun Outside of the Lab [Video] -- Scientific American

Interpol Targets 'Anonymous Hackers' For Arrest

25 Suspected Anonymous Hackers Arrested In International Sweep -- L.A. Times

Twenty-five alleged hackers from the freewheeling, decentralized Anonymous protest movement have been arrested across Europe and South America in a massive sweep coordinated by Interpol, an agency based in France that links police around the world.

Suspects arrested in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain were believed to have carried out coordinated digital attacks against the Colombian Ministry of Defense, a Chilean electrical company and other targets, the Associated Press reported.

Read more

More News On Interpol Targeting For Arrest Anonymous Hackers

Interpol arrests suspected 'Anonymous' hackers -- CNN
Interpol says suspected Anonymous hackers arrested -- AP
25 alleged Anonymous members arrested after Interpol investigation -- Washington Post
Anonymous hackers: Police arrest 25 in four countries -- BBC
Interpol: 25 Anonymous members arrested across Europe and South America -- New york Daily News/AP
Arrests target suspected 'Anonymous' hackers -- Al Jazeera
Interpol website suffers 'Anonymous cyber-attack' -- The Guardian
Anonymous brings down Interpol website in retaliation for 25 arrests -- RT
Anonymous shuts Interpol site in revenge -- UPI
Interpol arrests Anonymous hackers: Do they warrant the attention? -- Scott Baldauf, Christian Science Monitor
What Is 'Anonymous' And How Does It Operate? -- Radio Free Europe

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Most Influential Weapon In American History:

My Comment: I did not expect much from this video, but after watching it I am pleasantly surprised.

Explaining Quantum Computing

Image via Wikipedia

MIT's Scott Aaronson Explains Quantum Computing -- Forbes

MIT’s Scott Aaronson, who works with the physics of quantum computing and is a friend of the blog, has a really great, down-to-earth article on quantum computing in the New York Times that I highly recommend reading as a nice primer for what’s possible and what isn’t.

Probably most interesting to me – and I follow quantum computing a lot – is one of the more overlooked aspects of quantum computing, and that’s its application to physics and chemistry research. Here’s a brief snippet.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Scott Aaronson's must read New York Times article on quantum computing is here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

How Heels Damage The Body

Fashion's High Price: How Heels Damage The Body -- Live Science

The laundry list of damage that high heels can do to your body just got longer: According to podiatrists, high-heeled shoes are one of the most common causes of ingrown toenails.

This toenail problem, which occurs when the toes are compressed so that the big toenail grows into the skin, is usually nothing more than a painful annoyance. But ingrown toenails can become infected, sometimes necessitating the removal of the entire nail.

Read more

Arctic Sea Ice Decline May Be Driving Snowy Winters Seen in Recent Years in N. Hemisphere

Unusual Weather: Arctic Sea Ice Decline May Be Driving Snowy Winters Seen in Recent Years in N. Hemisphere -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Feb. 27, 2012) — A new study led by the Georgia Institute of Technology provides further evidence of a relationship between melting ice in the Arctic regions and widespread cold outbreaks in the Northern Hemisphere. The study's findings could be used to improve seasonal forecasting of snow and temperature anomalies across northern continents.

Read more ....

Visual Comparison of Earthquake Strength

An Excellent Visual Comparison of Earthquake Strength -- The Atlantic

Think the 1994 Northridge quake was strong? How about Haiti's 2010 quake? This United States Geological Survey video by NOAA employee Nathan Becker puts the energy released by earthquakes over the last 50 years in startling perspective. While I know that the scale that we use to measure earthquakes is not linear, it is difficult to make my brain believe it until I see it laid out like this. Take a look for yourself, and give thanks that you weren't in Chile in 1960 when the strongest quake ever recorded struck.

Read more ....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Android Takes The Fight To iPhone With Trio Of Next Generation Quad-Core Smartphones

Photo: Opposition: The iPhone 4S, which runs half the speed of the new Android offering

Android Takes The Fight To iPhone With Trio Of Next Generation Quad-Core Smartphones That Are TWICE As Fast - -Daily Mail

Android smartphones have taken the fight to Apple after launching the first quad-core handsets that work faster than iPhones.

HTC, LG and Huawei all showcased the new technology – which will be released later this year – at the Mobile World Congress fair in Barcelona.

The phones, which all use Android 4.0 operating systems, should work twice as fast as the iPhone 4S, which uses a dual-core A5 processor.

Read more ....

Snowfall In Baghdad 1,000 Years Ago, And Again In 2008

Ice one: Snow fell on Baghdad in 2008 for the first time in memory

The Ancient Arabic Writings That Reveal Desert City Of Baghdad Was FROZEN Over 1,000 Years Ago In New Clue Over Climate Change -- Daily Mail

* It snowed three times between 908 and 1007 - but not again until 2008

Temperatures in Baghdad range from around 2C in winter to 45C in the summer – but ancient Arabic writings have revealed that the city experienced a dramatic frozen period around 1,000 years ago.

Spanish researchers from the University of Extremadura found 9th and 10th century (3rd and 4th in the Islamic calendar) sources that refer to snowfalls in the Iraqi capital in 908, 944 and 1007 and even rivers being frozen.

These are extreme events for Baghdad - for example, the only snowfall in the modern era took place in 2008 - and help meteorologists better understand today's climate.

Read more

Trillion-Frame-Per-Second Video

Media Lab postdoc Andreas Velten, left, and Associate Professor Ramesh Raskar with the experimental setup they used to produce slow-motion video of light scattering through a plastic bottle. Photo: M. Scott Brauer

Trillion-Frame-Per-Second Video --

By using optical equipment in a totally unexpected way, MIT researchers have created an imaging system that makes light look slow.

MIT researchers have created a new imaging system that can acquire visual data at a rate of one trillion exposures per second. That’s fast enough to produce a slow-motion video of a burst of light traveling the length of a one-liter bottle, bouncing off the cap and reflecting back to the bottle’s bottom.

Media Lab postdoc Andreas Velten, one of the system’s developers, calls it the “ultimate” in slow motion: “There’s nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera,” he says.

Read more ....

Five Predictions From IBM

IBM's Five Predictions For The Next Five Years -- Bloomberg

Biometric passwords? Mind-reading headsets? Junk mail you'll look forward to? As with all predictions, the answer is "maybe".

In each of the past five years, IBM has come up with a list of five innovations it believes will become popular within five years. In this, the sixth year, IBM has come up with the following technologies it thinks will gain traction. Hold on to your sci-fi novels, because some of these are pretty far out there. And some of them, well, I wish we had them today.

Read more