Saturday, June 30, 2012

U.S. Navy Caused 'Skyquake' Along San Diego County's Coastline

Navy Says It Caused Mysterious 'Skyquake' -- North County Times

After an initial couldn't-have-been-us denial, it turns out it was the military's fault after all.

A Navy spokesman confirmed late Friday that two Navy F/A-18 fighter jets went "supersonic," rattling doors and windows ---- and nerves ---- like an earthquake along San Diego County's coastline about 12:45 p.m. Friday.

The jets were showing off for about 2,000 family members and invited guests of sailors aboard the Carl Vinson during a daylong family cruise, said Lt. Aaron Kakiel, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces Pacific, at North Island Air Station.

Read more

My Comment: The original story is here. It must have been impressive to experience such a sonic quake .... especially for the spectators who were close.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Can A Vaccine Eliminate Nicotine's Addictive Traits?

Smoking Kills Challiyil Eswaramangalath Vipin via Wikimedia

With New Nicotine Vaccine, Cigarettes Give You No Pleasure -- Popular Science

By denaturing nicotine before it reaches the heart and brain, a new vaccine could mute the addictiveness of tobacco products

Nicotine addiction is a hard habit to break. But what if you could never get hooked in the first place? Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York report in the journal Science Translational Medicine that they have developed a potential vaccine for nicotine addiction. In mice, the vaccine inhibits the effects of nicotine before they reach the heart or brain, making it seem as though the nicotine never entered the bloodstream.

Read more ....

My Comment:
I wonder if this science can also be used to eliminate the addictive properties of opiates like heroin?

It's The Nexus Generation

Future: Hugo Barra, director of product management of Google, unveils the Nexus 7 tablet today

It's The Nexus Generation: Google Hits The iPad Where It Hurts With Premium Tablet For Just £159 (And For Once, UK Shoppers Are Not Getting Ripped Off!) -- Daily Mail

* More than one million Android devices are purchased every single day
* No more 'dollars = pounds': Google gives 'Rip-Off Britain' a fair price compared to U.S.

Google has taken the battle to Apple in the tablet market, introducing a premium tablet for a 'bargain bucket' rate.

The seven-inch Google Nexus tablet, which goes on sale in three weeks, will cost $199 in the U.S. and just £159 in the UK.

It is a rare example of UK shoppers not being burnt by the usual tactic of companies - which usually simply switch the dollar sign for a pound sign.

The extremely competitive pricing may well lure Apple fans away from the iPad, which starts at $399 in the U.S. and £399 in the UK.

Read more ....

My Comment: I like Apple's large screen ... so i guess I am still an Apple customer.

Army To Introduce It's Battlefield Network This October

Photo from KitUp/

It Only Took The Army 16 Years And 2 Wars to Deploy This Network -- Danger Room

In October, the Army will do something it’s wanted to do for more than a decade: send a pair of combat brigades to a warzone equipped with a new data network, and the hardware to operate it. It’ll let more than a thousand troops rapidly send voice, text, imagery and data across a warzone and to a soldier on patrol. It’s a milestone, following years of aspirations, setbacks and adjustments. And it arrives pretty much too late for the wars.

Read more

Update #1: Army Strips Down Expectations -- And Battle Network -- For Faster Fielding -- Aol Defense
Update #2: Army Battlefield Network: Winners and Losers -- National Defense

My Comment: Only 16 years?

A Laser That Shoots Lightning

Guided lightning bolt travels horizontally, then hits a car.
(Credit: U.S. Army)

Brrzzzt! U.S. Army Checks Out Laser-Based Lightning Tech -- CNet

Future weapon would seek out targets that conduct electricity better than the air or ground that surrounds them.

Earlier this spring, the U.S. Army revealed the existence of a project underway to build a device that could shoot lightning bolts down laser beams to take out a target. Now the military's boffins report success in their first tests.

The technology -- known as laser-induced plasma channel -- is designed to seek out targets that conduct electricity better than the air or ground that surrounds them.

Read more

More News On the U.S. Army's Laser That Shoots Lightning

US army builds lightning bolt laser weapon -- Wired
Army Developing Laser That Shoots Lightning -- CBS
The Power of Zeus, In The Hands Of The U.S Military -- Ubergizmo
U.S. Army weapon shoots lightning bolts down laser beams -- Gizmag
Army tests lightning weapon -- Salon/Global Post
Army looks to strike foes with lightning weapon -- FOX News

What Does A$168,000 Bottle Of Wine Taste Like?

The world’s most expensive wine, Penfolds 2004 Block 42, is housed in 750-ml glass ampoules. Photo: Penfolds

Record-Breaking Wine: What Does $168,000 Taste Like? -- Wired Science

Today, the Australian winery Penfolds announced the world’s most expensive wine sold directly from a winery, eloquently dubbed “2004 Block 42.” The $168,000 wine is a produced from a single vineyard, from what the winery claims are the oldest continuously producing Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the world. It will be sold in 12 glass ampoules (above), which look more like something you’d use to kill a vampire than to serve wine. Each holds the equivalent of a standard wine bottle.

Read more

My Comment: This is overpriced wine .... but I must confess that I do like the design of the bottle.

How HyperStealth’s Algorithms Build Better Camo

A mock-up of HyperStealth’s Quantum Stealth technology. Photo: HyperStealth

Discreet by Design: How HyperStealth’s Algorithms Build Better Camo -- Danger Room

Guy Cramer was annoyed by the cost of Canada’s newest military uniform redesign. He’d been interested in camo since the ‘80s, when he wore it as a professional paintballer. He decided he could do better, so Cramer invested in a $100 design program, spent an hour retooling the pattern and posted the critique online.

This was back in 2003, when Cramer was selling plumbing supplies and working on science projects in his free time. A year later, Cramer gets a call from Jordan’s military office. The king, they said, wanted him to redesign the country’s uniforms. Within three months, Cramer whiped them up a new pattern.

Read more ....

My Comment: I look forward to the day when they can be invisible.

What Did Ancient Humans Eat?

A high-tech dental analysis of a 2-million-year-old hominid from South Africa involving CU-Boulder researchers indicates it had a unique diet that included trees, bushes and fruits. (Credit: Photo courtesy Paul Sandberg, University of Colorado)

Ancient Human Ancestors Had Unique Diet -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (June 27, 2012) — When it came to eating, an upright, 2 million-year-old African hominid had a diet unlike virtually all other known human ancestors, says a study led by the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany and involving the University of Colorado Boulder.

The study indicated that Australopithecus sediba -- a short, gangly hominid that lived in South Africa -- ate harder foods than other early hominids, targeting trees, bushes and fruits.

Read more

My Comment:
I guess pizza was not around at the time. :)

The Power Of Chess

24 Executives Who Are Exceptional At Chess -- Business Insider

Games like bridge, poker, and chess are great for business. These games all use methods that can can be incorporated into the way you view and make business decisions. Chess in particular requires strategic decision-making, concentration, tactics, and evaluation.

Bob Rice, author of Three Moves Ahead: What Chess Can Teach You About Business, wrote: "The more you look at the business world, the more you see that successful companies and the people who run them use chess strategies routinely (whether they know it or not)."

Read more ....

My Comment: My rating was 2100 when I was 13. Loved the game .... but I drifted into business to make money.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Pentagon Wants A Reddit Knockoff

Screencaps of several milSuite services. In July, the Pentagon plans to launch Eureka, a Reddit-style forum. Illustration: Army

TIL: The Pentagon Is Building a Reddit Knockoff -- Danger Room

For years, the military has struggled over what to do about social media. One response has been to create dull, Pentagon-controlled versions of popular websites Facebook and YouTube. Now the Pentagon is preparing to launch its own version of Reddit, in another small step in the military’s quest to strip the fun out of everything on the internet.

It’s called Eureka, and it’s supposed to be a rough analogue to the ginormous social news site where users vote on which content rises to the top — or which content falls to the bottom — of user-generated feeds.

Read more ....

My Comment: Reddit's military forum is here.

A Look At Facebook's Newest Data Center

Over the past seven months, the traffic moving between Facebook’s server has nearly doubled, while the traffic between the servers and the outside world has grown at a far more steady rate. Image: Facebook

Facebook Future-Proofs Data Center With Revamped Network -- Wired Enterprise

When Facebook started work on its new data center in Forest City, North Carolina, the idea was to create pretty much an exact copy of the new-age facility the company had just built in the high desert of central Oregon. “The blueprint we’d put together was pretty good,” says Jay Parikh, the man who oversees Facebook’s entire data center infrastructure. “We felt that all we needed to do was lather, rise, and repeat.”

Read more ....

My Comment: Facebook is clearly betting on a long future.

The Ultimate Heatsink?

A Heatsink That Could Be 30 Times More Efficient Than Today's Setups -- Popular Science

Computers get hot. Heat is bad for computers. To whisk it away, we use a combination of heatsinks and fans to snatch heat away from the internals and blast it out of the computer's case. But Sandia has a concept that combines the two in a way that, they claim, increases heat-removing efficiency by up to 30 times.

Read more ....

My Comment: Smart and innovative .... kudos to the inventors.

Google Creates A "Computer Brain"

There's a certain grim inevitability to the fact that the YouTube company's creation began watching stills from cat videos

Google Creates 'Computer Brain' - And It Immediately Starts Watching Cat Videos On YouTube -- Daily Mail

* 16,000 processors create brain-style 'neural network'
* Network learns by itself to identify cat faces
* Works with pool of 10 million images from YouTube

Google has created an 'artificial brain' from 16,000 computer processors, and sat it down with an internet connection.

There's a certain grim inevitability to the fact that the YouTube company's creation began watching stills from cat videos.

The team, led by Google's Dr Jeff Dean, used the 16,000 processor array to create a brain-style 'neural network' with more than a billion connections.

Read more

My Comment: I am not a "cat person".

Google Expected To Announce An In-House 'Nexus' Tablet

Tomorrow Google is expected to announce an in-house 'Nexus' tablet: To date, the best Android tablets have been models like the Samsung Galaxy Tab (pictured)

Google I/O Conference 2012 Predictions: Tech Giant To Present Its Vision For The Future Of Android And Search Tomorrow -- Daily Mail

Enthusiasts look forward to...

* Google Goggles: A pair of glasses with a built-in 'heads-up' display
* Google Nexus tablet: Google's first attempt at an in-house Android tablet
* Google Assistant: Google's take on Siri voice-controls
* Android@Home: Controlling your house appliances via Android
* Jellybean: The next version of Android's operating system

Google kicks off its annual developer's conference tomorrow - and we will get a glimpse of what Google sees in our future.

The three-day 'Input/Output Conference' is Google's way of keeping developers abreast of what is happening within the company, but it is a good chance for the public to find out what products and services to expect in the year or two ahead.

Read more ....

My Comment: I wish them luck.

The Man Who Makes Sure That Facebook Remains Up And Running Each Day

Photo: Jay Parikh runs Facebook's infrastructure (Credit: Facebook)

The Man Who Keeps Facebook Humming (Q&A) -- CNet

Jay Parikh is a key person responsible for making sure Facebook remains up and running each day.

Jay Parikh is happy to never get a call from Mark Zuckerberg. Why? It means he's doing his job well. As the vice president of infrastructure engineering at Facebook, Parikh is charged with the enormous task of keeping the machines that run Facebook operating with as few hiccups as possible. As Facebook now approaches 1 billion users, and continues to roll out more features that connect people every which way, that challenge grows. Which is why Parikh, who this morning gave the keynote at the Velocity conference in Silicon Valley, has been hard at work building out Facebook's back-end technology and data centers.

I met up with Parikh at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., and discussed a range of topics. Here's an edited version:

Read more ....

My Comment: I suspect that he has Mark Zuckerberg's direct cell phone number .... and vice versa.

The New Crime Wave

Automatic Bank Robbers Making A Killing -- Tech Eye

Don't even need a mask or a shooter just pray to Zeus

The days of masked robbers walking into a bank with a sawn off shotgun have gone the way of the Highwayman.

According to Reuters, a new wave of automated hacking of online bank accounts has lifted $78 million in the past year from customers in Europe, Latin America and the United States.

Insecurity experts working for McAfee and Guardian Analytics said that the weapon of choice is no longer a shooter but one of two families of existing malicious software, Zeus and SpyEye.

Previous versions of the software automate the transfer of funds to money mule accounts controlled by mates.

Read more ....

My Comment: $78 million may not seem much .... but I suspect that this is just the beginning and that this crime will grow exponentially with time.

MI5 Chief Issues Warnings Of Cyber Attacks

MI5 boss Jonathan Evans has warned that companies in the UK are fending off an 'astonishing' level of cyberattacks. Image credit: Security Service

MI5 Fighting 'Astonishing' Level Of Cyber-Attacks -- BBC

MI5 is battling "astonishing" levels of cyber-attacks on UK industry, the intelligence agency's chief has said.

In his first public speech for two years, Jonathan Evans warned internet "vulnerabilities" were being exploited by criminals as well as states.

The attacks were a threat to the integrity of information, he added.

Mr Evans also warned the London 2012 Olympics was an "attractive target" for terrorist groups, but said security preparations were well under way.

Read more ....

More News On The MI5 Chief's Report On Cyber Attacks In The U.K.

MI5 boss: Cyber spies, web-enabled crooks threaten UK economy
-- The Register
MI5 chief: Massive cybercrime wave putting businesses at risk -- ZDNet
MI5’s cyber-attack warning -- The International News
MI5 chief: Cyber terror threat to UK companies is on an 'industrial scale', as he reveals one firm lost £800m -- This Is Money
MI5 chief: Cyber attack threat is "astonishing" -- Tech Eye
MI5 Chief Warns of 'Astonishing' Levels of Cyber Attacks -- International Business Times

Another Reason Why Coffee Is Good For You

New research shows a possible benefit from coffee consumption, but like with so many other things we consume, it really depends on how much coffee you drink, the researchers say. (Credit: © RTimages / Fotolia)

Moderate Coffee Consumption Offers Protection Against Heart Failure, Study Suggests -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (June 26, 2012) — While current American Heart Association heart failure prevention guidelines warn against habitual coffee consumption, some studies propose a protective benefit, and still others find no association at all. Amidst this conflicting information, research from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center attempts to shift the conversation from a definitive yes or no, to a question of how much.

Read more

My Comment: Two cups a day is what keeps me going.

Juliet Marine’s “Ghost” Ship

GHOST ship (image: Juliet Marine Systems)—Supercavitating ship from Portsmouth, NH-based Juliet Marine Systems

Juliet Marine’s “Ghost” Ship Emerges from Stealth Startup, Gears Up for War -- Xconomy

About an hour north of Boston, in a city by the sea, there’s a project underway to reinvent the marine industry. More specifically, the marine defense industry.

Imagine a boat that moves through the water differently from any other boat in existence. It uses “supercavitation”—the creation of a gaseous bubble layer around the hull to reduce friction underwater—to reach very high speeds at relatively low fuel cost. Its speed and shape means it can evade detection by sonar or ship radar. It can outrun torpedoes. Its fuel efficiency means it has greater range and can run longer missions than conventional boats and helicopters.

Read more ....

My Comment: A fascinating story .... read it all.

Monday, June 25, 2012

H1N1 Death Toll May Be 15 Times Higher Than Previously Reported

An Algerian doctor prepares a vaccine dose against the H1N1 flu in 2009 in a hospital in Algiers. CNN

Swine Flu Outbreak 15 Times Deadlier Than Thought, Study Finds -- MSNBC/MyHealthNewsDaily

The number of people who died of swine flu during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic may be about 15 times higher than originally calculated, according to a new study.

Researchers now estimate that 284,500 people worldwide died of infection from the H1N1 virus, commonly called the swine flu, between April 2009 and August 2010. At the time, 18,500 deaths had been laboratory-confirmed as being due to swine flu, according to the study from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It was expected that the original number would be revised upward, the researchers said.

In estimating the true number of deaths, the researchers gave a range of 151,700 to 575,400.

Read more

More News On Reports That The Swine Flu Outbreak Was 15 Times Deadlier Than Thought

2009 swine flu outbreak was 15 times deadlier: study
-- Reuters
Swine Flu Deaths May Have Been 15 Times Higher Than Reported -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Global H1N1 death toll may be 15 times higher than previously reported -- CNN
Swine flu likely claimed quarter of a million lives: study -- AFP
Swine flu pandemic killed 15 times more than thought -- New Scientist
H1N1 Swine Flu May Have Killed 15 Times More Than First Said -- ABC News
Swine flu death toll could be as high as 600,000, say experts -- Scotsman

The Most Amazing Tall Buildings Of The Year

Architects And Engineers Say These Are The Most Amazing Tall Buildings Of The Year -- Business Insider

In 2011, 88 new towers over 200 meters (656 ft.) high were built in the world--a record number, compared to the 32 new towers built in 2005. There are another 96 new towers slated for completion this year, with China being the biggest builder.

But with so many new additions to skylines around the world, which buildings are the best?

Read more ....

My Comment: Certainly different .... and certainly distinct.

Are The Sea Levels Rising?

California Sea Levels Flickr/Qfamily

Sea Level Rising Rapidly on Both Coasts, Could Even Flood San Francisco Airport in a Decade -- Popular Science

The Northeast U.S. has been taking the brunt of rising sea levels not just in the country but in the world, with waters rising three to four times faster than the global average, according to new data. But that doesn't spare the West Coast; in a decade, rising sea levels could flood the San Francisco International Airport.

Read more ....

My Comment: In other-words .... do not buy waterfront property.

Original Recipe For Jack Daniel's Found

The history of Jack Daniel's is a mystery because the distillery's early records were destroyed in a courthouse fire Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Original Recipe For Jack Daniel's Found In Welsh Book Of Herbal Remedies -- The Telegraph

The original recipe for legendary American whiskey Jack Daniel's has been discovered in a book of herbal remedies in Wales, it has been claimed.

Businessman Mark Evans, 54, was researching his family history when he discovered the recipe in a book of herbal remedies.

It was written in 1853 by his great-great grandmother who was called Daniels and was a local herbalist in Llanelli, South Wales.

Her brother-in-law left the Welsh town at about the same time to move to Lynchburg Tennessee where the Jack Daniel's distillery was opened three years later.

And the Jack Daniel's website states the founder of the distillery was from Wales.

Read more ....

My Comment: Ice tea spiked with Jack Daniels .... a deadly combination.

A Cure For Balding Men?

Balding Men Offered Hope Of Waking Their 'Sleeping' Hair -- The Telegraph

Scientists have discovered that hair follicles in people who are balding are trapped in a "sleeping" state and are now developing a new treatment to combat baldness.

It sounds more like an explanation that would be used by nursery children than respected scientists, but researchers have found that rather than losing their hair altogether, people who are going bald are suffering from "sleeping" hair follicles.

Trichologists have discovered that hair follicles on the scalp can become trapped in a resting state where they do not grow new hair, leading to thinning.

Read more

My Comment: Faster please.

The Ultimate Zombie Gun

The Perfect Piece For The Zombie Apocalypse: Shop Owners Create The Perfect Rifle (With NINE 30-Round Magazines) To Take On The Undead Hordes -- Daily Mail

The Zombie Apocolypse will hit us all one day. That's basically a fact.

But whether it comes today - or 28 Days Later - these two shop owners from Jonesboro, near Atlanta, will be ready to deal with any of the area's Resident Evil when the undead finally arrives.

They have created the ultimate zombie gun - mounted with nine 30-round magazines, four flashlights, three lasers to pinpoint out their lumbering targets, and three different sightings so they can pick off their targets from 100, 200 or 300 yards away.

Read more ....

My Comment: Where do I put the bayonet?

Are U.S. Drones Vulnerable To Terrorist Hijacking?

EXCLUSIVE: Drones Vulnerable To Terrorist Hijacking, Researchers Say -- FOX News

A small surveillance drone flies over an Austin stadium, diligently following a series of GPS waypoints that have been programmed into its flight computer. By all appearances, the mission is routine.

Suddenly, the drone veers dramatically off course, careering eastward from its intended flight path. A few moments later, it is clear something is seriously wrong as the drone makes a hard right turn, streaking toward the south. Then, as if some phantom has given the drone a self-destruct order, it hurtles toward the ground. Just a few feet from certain catastrophe, a safety pilot with a radio control saves the drone from crashing into the field.

Read more

My Comment: It looks like the Iranians figured out this trick when they brought down this top secret U.S. drone last year.

A Successor To The Concorde?

Artist's impression of the new supersonic commercial passenger aircraft which will fly at speeds of 2,500 mph

The Race To Build A Successor To Concorde: Boeing, Gulfstream and Nasa Join Forces To Create A Supersonic Jet Capable Of Flying From London To Sydney In FOUR HOURS -- Daily Mail

Aircraft enthusiasts are waiting with growing anticipation for the unveiling of plans for a supersonic jet that may be able to fly London to Sydney in just four hours.

U.S. builders - helped by the Nasa space agency - will reveal the prototype successors to Concorde at the Farnborough air show next month.

Read more ....

My Comment: Being cooped up in an airplane for more than 4 hours has always been a pet peeve for me. Cutting that down to a quarter of the time will get no objections from me. But .... I suspect that the ticket prices will be expensive.

The Future Of Vehicles?

Unique features: No emissions, there is storage space in both the boot and the bonnet, and the Tesla can be fully charged up for the cost of £6.40

The Future Of Vehicles? PayPal Founder Unveils 'Tesla' Electric Car Which Accelerates Faster Than A BMW And Travels 300 Miles On A Top-Up Of £6.40 -- Daily Mail

Elon Musk, the creator of the Tesla Model S electric car, has already revolutionised the world twice.

He co-founded PayPal, one of the staple payment methods on the internet, then founded the Space X rocket project, which launched last month and made him the first commercial operator in space.

Now his electric car attempts a motor revolution - packing as it does an electric engine that can do 0-60 in a silent 4.4 seconds, two 'boots' as there is no engine in the bonnet, and 300miles between charges - which, when it comes, only costs £6,40.

Read more ....

My Comment:
With these cars at a price range between at $49,900 (£31,500) and $84,900 (£54,000) .... they are not going to be cheap.