Friday, May 25, 2012

Darpa Is Still Developing Robots

Meet ‘Robbie’: Darpa’s Seeing, Feeling, Two-Armed Robot -- Danger Room

It’s only been three months since the Pentagon’s latest robot — the one able to staple paperwork and answer phone calls with a single autonomous arm — demonstrated some of those amazing skills. Now, the freaky humanoid ‘bot is back. And this time, he has two arms. And a name.

Meet Robbie. This particular robot was designed by RE2, a robotics firm in Pittsburgh, which showed him off to IEEE Spectrum at their International Conference on Robotics and Automation last week. RE2 was one of six teams initially contracted by Darpa, the Pentagon’s robo-loving research agency, to work on their Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program. Launched two years ago, the program aims to develop robots that can perform complex tasks with minimal input from their human overlords.

Read more

My Comment: I guess this program stems from the military's dream of having their terminator robots.

Fears Of The Next HIV

Image from AIDS response

African Monkey Meat That Could Be Behind The Next HIV -- The Independent

Deep in Cameroon's rainforests, poachers are killing primates for food. Evan Williams reports from Yokadouma on a practice that could create a pandemic

Deep in the rainforest of south-east Cameroon, the voices of the men rang through the trees. "Where are the white people?" they shouted. The men, who begin to surround us, are poachers, who make their money from the illegal slaughter of gorillas and chimpanzees. They disperse but make it known that they are not keen for their activities to be reported; the trade they ply could not only wipe out critically endangered species but, scientists are now warning, could also create the next pandemic of a deadly virus in humans.

Read more ....

My Comment: It's seems that we are destined to experience the next pandemic.

Record-Breaking Parachuteless Skydive (Video)

Video: In Record-Breaking Parachuteless Skydive, Man Jumps 2,400 Feet Into a Pile of Boxes -- Popular Science

Gary Connery broke the record today for skydiving sans parachute and also, presumably, took home a gold medal in being a badass. But that wasn’t all: The 42-year-old father-stuntman-crazy-person gave Newton’s First Law one more slap in the face by diving from 2,400 feet above Buckinghamshire, England, and straight into 18,600 cardboard boxes.

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My Comment: I particularly like Gary Connery's remarks on what he was feeling before the jump .... before the leap, Connery, a veteran of 880 sky dives and 450 base jumps, told reporters he was “a bit scared.”

Neil Armstrong Narrates His Moon Landing (Video)

Neil Armstrong During Apollo 11 Buzz Aldrin took this photo after Armstrong completed his lunar EVA during Apollo 11. NASA/via Wikimedia

Watch: Neil Armstrong Narrates His Moon Landing In a Rare TV Interview -- Popular Science

The immortal first words on the moon, uttered so shakily by a man who has done his best to avoid the spotlight ever since, are even more impressive in hindsight. The Eagle lander nearly plunked Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong in a boulder field, and Armstrong had to take over from autopilot to set the spacecraft down. This is according to very rare new commentary from Armstrong himself.

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My Comment: This reminds me of the great age of American space exploration.

Building Tesla (Photo Gallery)

Tesla Motors will deliver its first batch of Model S sedans this July. Here, one is guided past a series of robotic spray-paint guns. Photographs by John Stocklin

Building Tesla -- Technology Review

At its electric-car factory in Silicon Valley, Tesla obsesses over details like making its own high-tech tools.

Just as Tesla’s cars don’t feel like anything from Detroit, the ­California factory that produces the company’s upcoming Model S electric sedan is inspired as much by Tesla’s high-tech neighbors in Silicon Valley as by a typical auto plant. In particular, Tesla is obsessive about taking care of details itself—whether it’s forming the cars’ bodies from scratch or making tools for the robots that build the vehicles.

CSN Editor: The photo gallery starts here.

'Bionic Eye' Returns Sight To Two Patients

An x-ray of the 'bionic eye' given to Chris James

‘Bionic Eye’ Returns Sight To Two Men After Over 20 Years Of Blindness -- Scotsman

TWO blind men have regained partial sight for the first time in more than 20 years after becoming the first in Britain to be fitted with a “bionic eye”.

Scientists said the first clinical trials of the microchip eye implant, which measures just 3mm across and is fitted behind the eyeball, have proved successful and “exceeded expectations”.

Eye experts developing the pioneering new technology said the first group of British patients to receive the implants were regaining “useful vision” just weeks after undergoing surgery, with one of them describing dreaming “in vivid colour” for the first time in 25 years.

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My Comment: What was a fantasy when The Six Million Dollar Man show was on the air .... is now reality.

A Birth Control Pill For Men?

Gene Discovery Could Lead To Birth Control Pill For Men -- FOX News

When it comes to birth control, numerous options are available to women to help them regulate their menstrual cycle and prevent ovulation. But what if a birth control pill for men were available?

That prospect may soon become a reality now that researchers at the University of Edinburgh have recently discovered a gene that is essential for the development of sperm. Their study, published in the journal PLos Genetics, highlights the gene Katnal1, which causes temporary infertility in male mice when blocked.

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My Comment: There is a market for this .... albeit probably not as big as it is for women.

The Easter Island Heads Also Have BODIES

Here's something not many people know: The Easter Island statues have bodies which go down many feet

Hidden Treat: The Easter Island Heads Also Have BODIES -- Daily Mail

The enduring image in the public's mind of the mysterious heads on Easter Island is simply that - heads.

So it comes as quite a shock to see the heads from another angle - and discover that they have full bodies, extending down many, many feet into the ground of the island.

The Easter Island Statue Project has been carefully excavating two of 1,000-plus statues on the islands - doing their best to uncover the secrets of the mysterious stones, and the people who built them, as best they can.

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My Comment: Something has to keep those heads erect.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

SpaceX Makes History With Dragon Docking

Image Credit: NASA TV

SpaceX Makes History With Dragon Docking -- Red Orbit

SpaceX made history today as its Dragon capsule became the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station.

Dragon launched on Tuesday, May 22 at 3:44 a.m. from Cape Canaveral towards the ISS, reaching the orbiting laboratory on Thursday.

SpaceX had to perform a series of tests before being given the go-ahead by NASA to attempt to dock Dragon with the station.

Read more

My Comment:
Congrats on a job well done.

Google Says It Removes 1 Million Infringing Links Monthly

Google Says It Removes 1 Million Infringing Links Monthly -- Threat Level

Each month, Google removes more than 1 million links to infringing content such as movies, video games, music and software from its search results — with about half of those requests for removal last month coming from Microsoft.

The search and advertising giant revealed the data Thursday as it released sortable analytics on the massive number of copyright takedown requests it receives — adding to its already existing data on the number of times governments ask for users’ personal data.

Read more

My Comment: In all the years of my blogging, I have had only one image removed from this blog, and 4 images from my other blogs and websites. In everyone of these cases, I thought that the images were in the public domain.

Polio Remains Endemic in Nigeria, Pakistan And Afghanistan

Polio Remains Endemic in Nigeria, Pakistan And Afghanistan: Health Officials -- International Business Times

Although polio has been eradicated across much of the world, the disease remains endemic in Nigeria, Pakistan, Chad and Afghanistan, according to an international group.

Moreover, according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), gaps in funding and insufficient immunization programs raises the threat of polio transmission in many countries.

GPEI is affiliated with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Read more

My Comment: With wars ongoing in these regions, I cannot see a polio vaccination program in place.

When Creative Machines Overtake Man

When Creative Machines Overtake Man -- Kurzweil Artificial Intelligence

Machine intelligence is improving rapidly, to the point that the scientist of the future may not even be human! In fact, in more and more fields, learning machines are already outperforming humans. As noted in this transcript of a talk at TEDxLausanne on Jan. 20, 2012, artificial intelligence expert Jürgen Schmidhuber isn’t able to predict the future accurately, but he explains how machines are getting creative, why 40‚000 years of Homo sapiens-dominated history are about to end soon, and how we can try to make the best of what lies ahead.

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New Sensory Organ Found In Whales

A baby humpback whale plays at the surface. Biologists recently discovered that humpback whales have a sensory organ in their chin. Credit: iStockphoto

New Sensory Organ Found In Whales -- Cosmos/AFP

PARIS: Biologists have discovered a new sensory organ on blue, humpback, minke and fin whales that helps explain why these mammals are so huge.

In a study appearing in the journal Nature, researchers in the United States and Canada said the organ is located at the tip of the whale's chin, in a niche of fibrous tissue that connects the lower jaw bones.

Comprising a node of nerves, the organ orchestrates dramatic changes in jaw position that are essential for "lunge" feeding by the rorqual family of whales, Earth's biggest vertebrates.

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My Comment: We learn something new everyday.

Will Humans Communicate With Dolphions One Day?

Could we someday be able to talk to dolphins? Here, Beau Richter monitors the breath-holding capability of Puka, a bottlenose dolphin at UC Santa Cruz's Long Marine Laboratory. T. M. Williams/UCSC

Device May Let Humans Communicate With Dolphins -- Discovery News

A prototype dolphin speaker projects the full range of all dolphin-made sounds.

* Dolphins communicate in sounds beyond our realm of perception.
* A new device can project the wide range of sounds that dolphin used.
* The hope is one day it may be used to communicate with the smart animals.

A new dolphin speaker device could one day help us talk with these remarkably intelligent life forms, scientists say.

Dolphins live in a world of sound far beyond our own. They can distinguish very small differences in the frequency or pitch of sound waves, and can hear and generate low-frequency sounds below 20 kilohertz that lie within human capabilities, as well as high-frequency sounds of up to more than 150 kilohertz, well beyond the range of our hearing. In addition, dolphins not only can produce tones just as humans do, but they can also communicate at a variety of frequencies simultaneously. With whistles, burst-pulse sounds and clicks, dolphins use sound not only to communicate and to scan their surroundings and prey in the dark sea (called echolocation).

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My Comment: The day that such a communication is achieved ..... that will be an incredible day.

A Backpack Radar That Can Detect Ambushers Within 150 Acres

Backpack Radar Can Detect Ambushers Within 150 Acres -- Popular Science

If you’re a soldier suspecting an ambush, you probably don’t have much time to spare, and you definitely can’t afford to be carrying any unnecessary weight. That’s why so much military tech involves shrinking whatever’s portable, and why, now, a company has thrown its radar-in-a-backpack into the ring.

The SpotterRF M600C weighs four pounds, uses just 10 watts of energy, and looks like the headrest on the driver’s seat of a jalopy (which is a good thing). If ambusher or otherwise comes within 150 acres, the system tracks it, no matter what the weather conditions are.

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My Comment: I can see them improving this tech to cover even greater territory.

Scientists Are Now Beginning To Have An Understand Of The Full Impact Bomb Blasts Have On A Soldier's Brain

Safe detonation of IED, Afghanistan 2012. Wikipedia

Study Measures Impact Of Bomb Blasts On Soldiers' Brains -- ABC News (Australia)

Scientists have begun to understand the full impact bomb blasts have on the brains of those who live through them.

Over the past decade, scores have been killed and maimed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and now new US research compares the survivors to concussed athletes.

Unfortunately the symptoms mimic and often overlap with those of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - and that is now a big problem for the Australian Defence Force.

Boston University neuroscientist Dr Lee Goldstein has replicated a typical IED blast and examined the effects on mice.

Read more ....

My Comment: More research and faster results please.

A Look At How The U.S. Navy Transports Damaged Ships

A load of ship: The Blue Marlin gives the USS Cole a piggy-back as it heads to Mississippi

The Day One Boat Gave Another A Piggyback Following Suicide Bomber Attack On US Navy Ship -- Daily Mail

Here is something you don't see every day - one ship giving another a piggy-back.

This intriguing image is not a Photoshopped picture or a disaster of Titanic proportions, instead it is the Blue Marlin, a 217-metre, semi-submersible ship, designed to carry tremendous loads, giving a helping hand to the USS Cole.

The ship has been damaged by an Al Qaeda suicide bomber while anchored in Aden, Yemen, in October 2000 - and it is not easy to get the ship home with a 40ft gash in the side.

Following the attack, the U.S. Navy hired the Blue Marlin to get the Cole back home - and probably gave sailors on passing ships something of a shock.

Read more

My Comment: That's one big boat.

A Look At How McLaren Makes Their 'Supercars'

100 years since Henry Ford, production lines still prove their worth - but now computers and robots help the humans

Supercar That Was A Century In The making: McLaren Opens Doors To State-Of-The-Art Factory For New £170,000 MP4-12C 100 Years On From Henry T's Ford -- The Daily Mail

These stunning photographs give a rare insight into the £40million facility which McLaren hopes will make them the supercar world's market leader.

Supercars line the sides of the factory, as 750 experts work together to produce McLaren's first supercar, the £170,000 MP4-12C.

It is a far cry from the dawn of the car industry, when Henry Ford laboured to perfect his methods in Trafford Park, Manchester, exactly 100 years ago - simultaneously transforming the 20th century by the introducing the age of mass assembly by production lines.

Nowadays the cars may have changed, but look beyond the differences and the similarities emerge.

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My Comment: This is so cool. We all see these cars on the street .... but how they are made is just as impressive.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Can Our DNA Be Turned Into A 'Living Hard Drive' Able To Store And Erase Data?

Photo: The idea of storing information in living cells has been the plot of sci-fi fantasies such as Johnny Mnemonic, starring Keanu Reeves - and today it has become reality

Sci-Fi Becomes Reality As DNA Is Turned Into 'Living Hard Drive' Able To Store And Erase Data -- Daily Mail

* Sections of living DNA glow red or green to store computer data
* Could be used like computers inside the body
* DNA storage can be written, rewritten and erased at will
* 'Took us three years and 750 attempts,' says lead researcher

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction fantasies, but scientists have turned living cells into data storage devices - like 'living hard drives'.

The idea of storing computer information inside living cells - or human brains - has formed the plot of sci fi thrillers such as Johnny Mnemonic (pictured).

Read more ....

My Comment
: I am curious to know what will be the storage limit from such a tech if it's developed to it's full potential.

Early Man Had Music And Art 40,000 Years Ago

Jewelry. Geißenklösterle Cave is one of several caves in the Swabian Jura that have produced important examples of personal ornaments, figurative art, mythical imagery and musical instruments. (Credit: Image courtesy of Universitaet Tübingen)

Oldest Art Even Older: New Dates from Geißenklösterle Cave Show Early Arrival of Modern Humans, Art and Music -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (May 24, 2012) — New dates from Geißenklösterle Cave in Southwest Germany document the early arrival of modern humans and early appearance of art and music.

Researchers from Oxford and Tübingen have published new radiocarbon dates from the from Geißenklösterle Cave in Swabian Jura of Southwestern Germany in the Journal of Human Evolution. The new dates use improved methods to remove contamination and produced ages between began between 42,000 – 43,000 years ago for start of the Aurignacian, the first culture to produce a wide range of figurative art, music and other key innovations as postulated in the Kulturpumpe Hypothesis. The full spectrum of these innovations were established in the region no later than 40 000 years ago.

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My Comment: It looks like that "culturally" we have not changed much in the past 40,000 years.

Stuxnet Still Remains A Top U.S. Security Risk

Image: COMPUTER THREAT: Stuxnet, the computer worm that attacked a ubiquitous form of controller for infrastructure, could still pose challenges in the U.S. Image: flickr/cyberhades

Stuxnet-Like Viruses Remain a Top U.S. Security Risk -- Scientific American

Government officials and security researchers say critical systems should never be connected to the Internet, but they frequently are.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security revealed a rash of cyber attacks on natural gas pipeline companies. Just as with previous cyber attacks on infrastructure, there was no known physical damage. But security experts worry it may only be a matter of time.

Efforts to protect pipelines and other critical systems have been halting despite broad agreement that they're vulnerable to viruses like Stuxnet — the mysterious worm that caused havoc to Iran's nuclear program two years ago.

Read more

My Comment: Stuxnet has been around for a while .... it is troubling to see that they have yet found a way to contain it.

Google Did Not Infringe On Oracle Patents

Android Doesn't Infringe Oracle's Patents, Says Jury -- CNet

SAN FRANCISCO--A jury today unanimously decided that Google did not infringe on two of Oracle's patents.

In the decision at the U.S. District Court of Northern California, the jury in the trial said Google did not infringe on six claims in U.S. Patent No. RE38,104 as well as two claims in U.S. Patent No. 6,061,520.

The verdict is a win for Google, and marks the end of the trial's second phase, which focused on the claims of patent infringement. Closing arguments in the case were made last week. After the decision, a third phase--centering on damages--was canceled.

Read more

Update: Oracle v. Google: Did the jury really understand it? -- ZDNet

My Comment: They will be popping the champagne at Google tonight.

An Awesome Mars Picture

NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity catches its own late-afternoon shadow in this dramatically lit view eastward across Endeavour Crater on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.

Mars Rover Snaps Intriguing Crater Pic -- BBC

PASADENA, Calif., May 23 (UPI) -- NASA's Mars rover Opportunity has used a low sun angle in the Martian evening to help capture a memorable image of a large crater, the space agency says.

Mars Exploration Rover used its panoramic camera between about 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. local Mars time to record images taken through several different filters, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a release Tuesday.

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My Comment: Awesome pic .... and I am surprised on how much sunlight is present. Makes you wish you were there.

Yahoo Unveils New Search Software For Apple

Yahoo Launches Axis Browser -- Washington Post

Yahoo has launched a new browser for Apple’s mobile devices called Axis. The browser, which is also available on desktops through plug-ins for the four major browsers, is designed to let you move between your devices and look at the same searches.

Search results show up as thumbnails on users’ home screens, to which you can pin favorites or pages to read later. The home screens also feature what searches you conducted on other devices through Axis, though it takes a couple of minutes to sync. Users will have to sign in to Yahoo accounts to use syncing.

Read more

My Comment: It looks impressive.

An Environmental Apocalypse Soon?

Tojo, Indonesia: A villager walks through a burnt forest after a slash and burn practice to open the land for agriculture. Photograph: Yusuf Ahmad/Reuters

Apocalypse Soon: Has Civilization Passed The Environmental Point Of No Return? -- Scientific American

Although there is an urban legend that the world will end this year based on a misinterpretation of the Mayan calendar, some researchers think a 40-year-old computer program that predicts a collapse of socioeconomic order and massive drop in human population in this century may be on target.

Remember how Wile E. Coyote, in his obsessive pursuit of the Road Runner, would fall off a cliff? The hapless predator ran straight out off the edge, stopped in midair as only an animated character could, looked beneath him in an eye-popping moment of truth, and plummeted straight down into a puff of dust. Splat!

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My Comment:
I have always been a skeptic of such predictions .... believing that man and nature will always find ways to overcome such obstacles and limitations. In fact .... we are already experiencing depopulation in many first world nations .... and it has nothing to do with changes in the environment but changes in social behavior and personal decisions.

NSA Is Now Partnering With Select Universities To Train Select Students

NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland

NSA Teams Up With Colleges to Train Students for Secret Cyber-Ops Jobs -- Threat Level

The National Security Agency is partnering with select universities to train students in cyber operations for intelligence, military and law enforcement jobs, work that will remain secret to all but a select group of students and faculty who pass clearance requirements, according to Reuters.

The cyber-operations curriculum is part of the Obama administration’s national initiative to improve cybersecurity through education, and is designed to prepare students for jobs with the U.S. Cyber Command, the NSA’s signals intelligence operations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies that investigate cyber crimes.

Read more

Update: Exclusive: Spy agency seeks cyber-ops curriculum -- Reuters

My Comment: I guess the graduating class will be also be "top secret".

How The Drug Cheats Will Be Caught Durng London 2012

How London 2012 Will Beat The Drug Cheats -- The Telegraph

The very latest technology is being used to make this year’s Olympics the cleanest ever, reports Roger Highfield.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the use of performance-enhancing substances is as old as the Olympic Games themselves. From 776 BC, when they began in Olympia, until 394AD, when the pagan festival was suppressed in the name of Christianity, athletes boosted their performance with hallucinogenic mushrooms, plants and mixtures of wine and herbs.

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My Comment: The drug cheats are still going to try and cheat.

First Tesla Model S Cars To Be Delivered June 22

Tesla Motors said it will begin deliveries of its Model S electric car next month. (Tesla Motors / May 22, 2012)

Tesla To Start Deliveries Of Model S Electric Cars Next Month -- L.A. Times

Tesla Motors Inc. said it will begin delivering its first mass production electric car -– the high-end Model S to customers starting June 22, about a month ahead of the expected schedule.

The Palo Alto-based company says it has more than 10,000 orders for the battery-powered car but that not all will be delivered this year.

Read more ....

More News On The Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S Coming June 22 -- Autopia
Tesla to Begin Shipping Model S June 22 -- Daily Tech
First Tesla Model S Cars To Be Delivered Next Month -- Forbes
Tesla to launch electric sedan in US on June 22 -- AFP
Tesla Model S Signature Series launches June 22 -- Slash Gear
First Tesla Model S electric sedans will be delivered June 22 -- Digital Trends
One Month To Go For First Tesla Model S Deliveries -- Hybrid Cars
Tesla CEO tweets that crash testing is complete, Model S production ready to roll -- Endgadget
Tesla Model S Deliveries Set For June, Australian Debut Due In 2013 -- The Motor Report
Crashed, Tested, Sold: Tesla Announces Model S Delivery Date -- Automobile

A Talk With Jonathan Ive, Apple's Design Chief

Jonathan Ive: Simplicity Isn't Simple -- The Telegraph

It is all about simplicity says Jonathan Ive, Apple's design chief.

"Design is a word that's come to mean so much that it's also a word that has come to mean nothing. We don't really talk about design, we talk about developing ideas and making products," says Jonathan Ive, the London-born head of design for Apple.

The iMac, which he designed in 1998, revolutionised Apple, which was close to bankruptcy at the time. The iPod, in 2001, went even further and transformed the record industry. The iPhone had a similar effect on the mobile phone business when it was launched in 2007. And the iPad, which debuted in 2010, is leading the way in a whole new category of computing.

Read more

My Comment: Yup .... simplicity isn't simple.

Cross-Breeding Of Dogs Has Made It Difficult To Trace Their Genetic Roots

Modern Dog Breeds Genetically Disconnected From Ancient Ancestors -- E! Science News

Cross-breeding of dogs over thousands of years has made it extremely difficult to trace the ancient genetic roots of today's pets, according to a new study led by Durham University. An international team of scientists analyzed data of the genetic make-up of modern-day dogs, alongside an assessment of the global archaeological record of dog remains, and found that modern breeds genetically have little in common with their ancient ancestors.

Dogs were the first domesticated animals and the researchers say their findings will ultimately lead to greater understanding of dogs' origins and the development of early human civilization.

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My Comment: These results (I suspect) are going to be fascinating to read about when they are finally completed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

FBI Investigates Founder

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Robots Building Robots (Or At Least Parts Of Robots)

Intelligent Design: Scientists Create Robot Which Can Build Its Own Tools -- Daily Mail

It sounds like a bad sci-fi film: A group of scientists build an robot intelligent robot, give it the ability to build its own tools, and arm it with a gun.

Thankfully, while the first part is true, the gun on this occasion is just a glue gun.

Still, the reality of a tool-building robot is a scary enough thought, with the team from the science and technology university ETH Zurich building a robot which can built its own tools to carry out its missions.

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My Comment:
news like this always makes me wonder on where is all of this heading to in the next decade or two.

Rating Insect Stings

The 10 Most Painful Stings On The Planet, By The Self-sScrificing Man Who Tried 150 Different Varieties In The Name Of Science -- Daily Mail

Justin Schmidt's colourful descriptions include how the sting of a yellowjacket wasp is like 'W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue'

Most of us will have felt the pain of a bee sting. Luckily most of us will have avoided the dreaded pain of a tarantula hawk or a fire ant.

Justin Schmidt felt all three of these - and 147 other horrible, burning sensations - after a dedicated life-long career devoted to insects.

On numerous fieldwork trips, The University of Arizona entomologist would find himself digging up living colonies of creatures, who in turn were not happy with this destructive human scooping them into bags - and promptly sank their fangs, stingers or pincers into him.

Still, no pain, no gain, and Schmidt turned his experiences into the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, ranking 78 species in a list which, while subjective, was put together by the man who must surely know best, ranking their pain on a scale of 1 to 4.

Read more ....

My Comment: Ouch

The U.S. Army And It's Smartphones

Nett Warrior Returns From The Dead -- DoD Buzz

WHITE STANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. — Most had left the Army’s Nett Warrior program and it’s futuristic eye scope in the expensive trash heap of Future Combat Systems. But it lives on here where soldiers test the glorified smartphones that Army leaders want its squad leaders carrying on the battlefield.

Soldiers like Staff Sgt. Jesus Vasquez and Sgt. First Class Frederick Chinlever wear Motorola Atrix smartphones inside a green case mounted to their chests connected to Rifleman Radios on their backs. They can’t make calls on it, but they can see fellow soldiers’ positions, mark IED and enemy positions, and even text each other.

Read more

My Comment: The technology is already out there .... but as well use it.

Green Energy From Beneath The Waves

An underwater generator developed by a Maine firm was tested on riverbeds and the seafloor. Ocean Renewable Power Company

Tidal Turbines: New Sparks Of Hope For Green Energy From Beneath The Waves -- Christian Science Monitor

After decades of abandoned plans and crushed prototypes, tidal powers finds new footing off the shores of Eastport, Maine.

Eastport is used to being on the fringe of things – the easternmost city in the United States, a remote outpost of Maine's poorest county, and one of the westernmost communities of the Bay of Fundy, home to the world's most dramatic tidal swings.

But in recent years, this community of 1,600 has found itself at the center of an industrial enterprise that its people thought had abandoned them for good: harnessing the tides to generate electricity. Amid Eastport's abandoned sardine factories and often-empty storefronts, engineers have been testing a new generation of tidal turbines that could power the region's homes and businesses without having an adverse effect on the environment, fisheries, or the beautiful views of the forested islands of neighboring Canada.

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My Comment: Every little bit helps.

Morphing Robots and Shape-Shifting Sculptures

This graphic illustrates the creation of morphing robot-like mechanisms and shape-shifting sculptures from a single sheet of paper in a method reminiscent of origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. The robotic and artistic designs are made up of building blocks called "basic structural units," or BSUs. Each BSU contains two segments joined by a creased hinge, and many BSUs are linked together to create larger structures. (Credit: Purdue University)

Morphing Robots and Shape-Shifting Sculptures: Origami-Inspired Design Merges Engineering, Art -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (May 21, 2012) — Researchers have shown how to create morphing robotic mechanisms and shape-shifting sculptures from a single sheet of paper in a method reminiscent of origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.

The new method, called Kaleidogami, uses computational algorithms and tools to create precisely folded structures.

Read more ....

Is Amazon Changing The Rules For Books And Movies?

Amazon Studios is crowdsourcing movie-making, creating test movies that fans can review, with storyboard art in the place of video. This image is from a possible upcoming release called "Touching Blue." (Credit: Amazon)

How Amazon Is Changing The Rules For Books And Movies -- CNet

The online retail giant is tapping its huge customer base and vast technical underpinnings to reshape the way books, movies, and television programs are made.

If you want a glimpse into the way Amazon sees your digital future, look no further than Jeff Ragsdale's new book, "Jeff, One Lonely Guy."

Last October, after being dumped by a girlfriend and mired in depression, Ragsdale posted a flier around New York City on a whim that read, "If anyone wants to talk about anything, call me." It listed his mobile phone number. Calls streamed in, by the dozens, then the hundreds, and now well into the tens of thousands.

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My Comment: They have the loyal fan base.

TV Remote Control Inventor Eugene Polley Dies At 96

A 1955 advertisement for Flash-Matic, the first wireless TV remote control

TV Remote Control Inventor Eugene Polley Dies At 96 -- BBC

The inventor of the television remote control has died at the age of 96, his former employer has said.

Zenith Electronics said Eugene Polley passed away of natural causes on Sunday at a Chicago hospital.

His 1955 invention, Flash-Matic, pointed a beam of light at photo cells on each corner of the TV, turning it off and on and changing the channels.

His invention was a luxury add-on in the days before hundreds of cable television channels.

Read more

My Comment: This is an invention that has influenced .... and is still influencing .... everyone.

Apple Again The World's Most Valuable Brand

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Apple Again The World's Most Valuable Brand; Google Third -- CNet

Apple took the top spot for the second year in a row, beating out IBM, Google, and McDonald's to assume the position of the world's most valuable brand.

Another day, another Apple victory.

At $183 billion, Apple is the world's most valuable brand, according to Millward Brown Optimor's annual BrandZ study. Apple was last year's most valuable brand, as well, though the company's value jumped 19 percent over last year's $153.3 billion tally.

Millward Brown Optimor's findings, which were released today, are based on a company's financial data, market intelligence, and consumer opinions related to brand equity.

Read more

My Comment: Steve Jobs is smiling somewhere.

Famed SETI Astronomer Jill Tarter Retiring

Image: ET-hunter Jill Tarter will look for funds instead of aliens. Credit: SETI Institute

Famed SETI Astronomer Retiring, Says Discovery Of Alien Life ‘Very Close’ -- National Post

Jill Tarter has devoted most of her adult life to the mission of scanning the sky, in the hopes of one day discovering a signal from above that would finally reveal that human beings are not alone in the universe.

One of the world’s most famous astronomers, she has spent nearly 30 years as the director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., the world’s preeminent scientific organization devoted to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) and astrobiology, or simply, the evidence of aliens.

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My Comment: She will be missed.

Chrome Is Not The Number One Browser On The Web

Chrome Browser Usage Artificially Boosted -- PC World

Tech blogs were abuzz yesterday over the news that Google Chrome had topped Internet Explorer in global browser market share. But the source for this story was StatCounter, which Microsoft has accused of using a somewhat flawed methodology. The other major traffic measurement site, Net Applications, reports IE as having a comfortable 54 percent of browser usage this month, with Firefox in second place with 20.20 percent and Chrome in third with 18.85 percent.

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My Comment: Now I know why Microsoft was quiet on yesterday's news that Chrome had become the number one browser on the web .... they knew that it was not true.

SpaceX Rocket Is Launched Successfully Toward The Space Station

SpaceX Rocket Lifts Off For Space Station Trial Run -- Reuters

(Reuters) - An unmanned rocket owned by privately held Space Exploration Technologies blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Tuesday for a mission designed to be the first commercial flight to the International Space Station.

The 178-foot (54-meter) tall Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 3:44 a.m. (0744 GMT) from a refurbished launch pad just south of where NASA launched its now-retired space shuttles.

Less than 10 minutes later, the rocket delivered its cargo - a Dragon capsule with 1,200 pounds (544 kg) of supplies for the station crew - into orbit.

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More News On The Successful Launch Of SpaceX

Private supply ship rockets toward space station --
SpaceX launches vehicle to dock at International Space Station -- Washington Post
SpaceX Rockets Toward Space Station -- and History -- Sci-Tech Today
NASA hails SpaceX launch as 'a new era' for spaceflight -- L.A. Times
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says launch 'a giant weight ... off my back' -- L.A. Times
SpaceX Launches for Space Station—Like "Winning the Super Bowl" -- National Geographic

Monday, May 21, 2012

Stroke: Everything You Need To Know

CSN Editor: The gallery starts here.

Stroke: Everything You Need To Know -- The Guardian

Stroke is a major cause of death and disability in the UK and across the world. What is stroke, how many people does it kill and how are mortality rates changing?

Does Pumping Groundwater Raise Sea Levels?

For many crops around the world, farmers must supplement rainfall with irrigation — and much of this added water comes from underground reservoirs. Globally, extraction rates now greatly exceed that of groundwater recharge, and have begun raising sea levels.Cinoby/Istockphoto

Pumping Groundwater Raises Sea Level -- Science News

Two new studies flag an underreported factor in global ocean change.

Pumping groundwater, some 70 percent of it to irrigate crops, has recently become a potent force in global sea-level rise, two new studies conclude.

It sounds obvious: Once brought to the surface, water will eventually run into the seas, says hydrologist Yoshihide Wada of Utrecht University in the Netherlands. But until now, most major assessments of factors affecting sea-level rise — such as those reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — ignored the role of groundwater extraction, he says. For instance, the IPCC has assumed that groundwater extraction would be largely balanced by river water impounded by dams.

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My Comment:
If true .... this is a serious problem. Especially since much of our food is produced using irrigated water.

Apple And Microsoft Are Arming For The Patent Wars

Inside the reverse-engineering lab at Rockstar, Scott Widdowson is looking for products that infringe on the company's 4,000 patents. Photo: Rockstar

How Apple and Microsoft Armed 4,000 Patent Warheads -- Wired Enterprise

In many ways, Scott Widdowson is your typical electrical engineer. Most days, when the weather’s good, he bikes the 15 miles along the Ottawa River to his company’s offices in the west end of the Canadian capital. Once there, he settles in for a day of reading technical specifications, poring over computer textbooks, or prying apart consumer electronics — logic probe in one hand and a soldering iron in the other.

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My Comment: I suspect that this group is very busy.

Pre-Orders For Samsung Galaxy S3 Phone Shoot Up To Nine Million

Samsung Galaxy S3

Pre-Orders For Samsung Galaxy S3 Phone Shoot Up To Nine Million - Meaning Phone Will Sell As Many On First Day As Predecessor Sold In Six Months -- The Daily Mail

The Samsung Galaxy S3 looks set to follow its predecessor as one of the biggest-selling phones of the year.

More than nine million people have already pre-ordered the Android-powered smartphone, with the phone due out at the end of the month,

The amount is extraordinary, considering the S2 - which battled with the iPhone to be the world's biggest-selling phone last year - took about six months to sell 10million phones, and 11 months to sell 20million.

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My Comment
: This phone is hot.

Why People Climb Mt. Everest In May?

Mount Everest from Kalapatthar. Pavel Novak

Why Does Everyone Climb Everest In May? -- Popular Mechanics

This past weekend, scores of adventurers tried to ascend the world's tallest peak—and not all of them made it alive. We asked a geographer who's climbed Everest why this is about the only time of the year to try it and whether he saw any bodies on his trip to the top.

The AP reported this morning that three climbers who attempted to scale Mount Everest this weekend died and that two more were still missing. But about 150 climbers managed to summit the world's highest peak on either day—including a 73-year-old who became the oldest woman to reach the zenith.

Why is everyone ascending Everest in May? To find out, and to get other answers to our questions about Everest, we talked to John All, a geographer at Western Kentucky University. All climbed Everest in 2010 via the Northeast ridge and has spent a year collecting data on climate change at Nepal's base camp.

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My Comment: Yup .... it all comes down to the weather.

Witnessing The Death Of An Exoplanet

Artist concept of the curious events going at the star named KIC 12557548. Credit: MIT

Doomed Mercury-Sized Exoplanet May Be Turning to Dust -- Universe Today

The old saying of the universe being stranger than we can imagine definitely applies to a newfound exoplanet orbiting a star about 1,500 light years from Earth. Researchers using the Kepler space observatory have detected what appears to be a planet about the size of Mercury literally turning to dust. A long tail of debris — almost like a comet’s tail — is following the planet as it whirls around the star, KIC 12557548. Scientists think the planet could be evaporating under the blistering heat of the star, and that by analyzing the dust, they could decipher the history of the planet. But they better hurry. According to the team’s calculations, the planet will completely disintegrate within 100 million years.

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My Comment: I suspect that the info that they are getting is awesome.

Telerobotics Wil Make It Possible For Robots To Explore The Surface Of Mars

Awaiting Commands Three generations of Mars rovers, seen at JPL's test site. The small one is the first Mars rover, Sojourner, which landed on Mars in 1997. On the left is a Mars Exploration Rover Project test rover that is a working sibling to Spirit and Opportunity, which landed on Mars in 2004. On the right is a Mars Science Laboratory test rover the size of Curiosity, which is on course for landing on Mars in August. NASA/JPL-Caltech

With Telerobotics, Astronauts Orbit Mars While Robots Explore the Surface -- Popular Science

Humans could avoid the dangers of landing on Mars.

Getting humans to Mars is a challenge in several steps, with the most difficult and dangerous likely to be the descent. Landing safely on another world is hard for a rover, let alone a spacecraft carrying people. But telerobotics could offer a unique alternative — send the people to the planet, but keep them in orbit, and deploy robots to the surface to do the difficult stuff.

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My Comment: You probably can use robots to explore the surface of Mars .... but lets face it .... having a living person is far more "exciting and attention grabbing" than having a machine do it.

SpaceX Will Try To Launch Tomorrow

Photographers work on their remote cameras as the SpaceX Falcon 9 test rocket is being prepared for a second launch attempt from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Floriday on Monday. Michael Brown/Reuters

How One Faulty Nitrogen-Purge Valve Forced SpaceX to Abort -- Autopia

SpaceX has replaced a faulty valve that led to the aborted launch attempt early Saturday morning and is currently planning a second launch attempt at 3:44 a.m. EDT Tuesday, May 22. The first launch attempt was unsuccessful after a last-half-second shutoff occurred due to higher than acceptable pressure in the combustion chamber of one of the Falcon 9′s Merlin rocket engines.

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Update: SpaceX Will Try 1st Private Cargo Run Again Tues. -- ABC News/AP

My Comment: As for the launch, it will be carrying one VIP.

Mongolia Wants Its $1m T-Rex Back

The skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus bataar will be sold at Heritage Auction's Natural History sale on May 20. It is estimated between $950,000 and $1.5 million. Source: Heritage Auctions via Bloomberg

Disputed Dinosaur Fossil Auctioned For $1M In NYC -- CBS

NEW YORK — A dinosaur dispute is brewing between the Mongolian government and an American auction house, which sold a fossil of a fearsome T. Rex relative despite a court order not to.

The 8-foot-tall, 24-foot-long skeleton of a Tyannosaurus bataar — or tarbosaurus, a name that means "alarming lizard" — went for $1,052,500 Sunday at a New York auction, says Heritage Auctions, which hasn't identified the buyer or seller. But the sale is contingent on the outcome of the Dallas-based auction house's court fight with Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia, the auction house said.

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Dinosaur fossil auctioned for more than $1M in NYC despite dispute with Mongolian government -- Washington Post/AP

My Comment: There's money in those bones.

'Ring Of Fire' Solar Eclipse Wows Millions

Spectacular 'Ring of Fire' Solar Eclipse Wows Millions --

Skywatchers by the millions looked up Sunday (May 20) when the moon hid most of the sun in a rare solar eclipse that created a dazzling "ring of fire" that was visible from Asia to the United States.

An estimated 6.6 million Americans, alone, lived along the U.S. path of the solar eclipse, with millions more soaking in the sight from across southern China and Japan. While spectators along a narrow track saw the moon block out up to 94 percent of the sun, leaving a bright ring round the edges, many other viewers across a wider region reveled in partial solar eclipse views.

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My Comment: Never saw a total eclipse. Hmmmm .... one more thing to put on my 'bucket list'.

Google Chrome World's Most popular Web Browser

Statcounter's latest data shows that Google's Chrome is now the most popular browser in the world.

Google Chrome Beats Internet Explorer To Become World's Most Popular Web Browser -- The Telegraph

The latest figures reveal that Google Chrome has now overtaken Internet Explorer to become the most widely used web browser in the world.

Google Chrome briefly became the world's most popular web browser for one weekend in March, but according to figures from Statcounter it has now overtaken Microsoft's Internet Explorer for the foreseeable future.

Chrome has beaten a trend that indicated it was going to surge past IE later this summer. The March figures were dismissed as inaccurate by Microsoft, but even so there is a longer-term trend of users choosing Chrome when they can decide for themselves, while business IT departments favour IE.

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My Comment: I am sure that this is not going over well in Microsoft.

WHO To Declare Global Polio Emergency

World Health Organisation To Declare Global Polio Emergency -- The Telegraph

The World Health Organisation is expected this week to declare polio a global health emergency as it battles complacency in an attempt to eradicate the deadly virus forever.

This year has seen a decline in cases but health officials say they have only half the funding they need to wipe out the disease in its last three remaining havens — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Sona Bari, spokeswoman for the polio eradication programme at the World Health Organisation, said the world faced a “now or never” moment.

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My Comment: I do not see how it will be possible to eradicate polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan .... especially when aid workers are targeted by islamic extremists.