Saturday, January 24, 2004

Cell Phone Still Too Big? Micro-Oscillators May Help
A tiny, novel device for generating tunable microwave signals has been developed by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Described in the Jan. 16 issue of Physical Review Letters, the device measures just a few micro-meters square and is hundreds of times smaller than typical microwave signal generators in use today in cell phones, wireless Internet devices, radar systems and other applications.
Spooky Atomic Clocks
NASA-funded researchers are using a spooky property of quantum mechanics called "entanglement" to improve atomic clocks--humanity's most precise way to measure time.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Kurt Vonnegut Commencement Address at MIT
Kurt Vonnegut didn't really write it. The lady who did (Mary Schmichs)
didn't expect it to get such exposure and has apologized to vonnegut
- he liked it and wished that he wrote it.
Piero Ferrucci
"Eliminate something superfluous from your life. Break a habit. Do something that makes you feel insecure."
HAGUE: Lawyers Say British Military's Use Of Cluster Bombs Could Be Considered War Crime...
LONDON (Reuters) - British use of cluster bombs in the Iraq war could count as a war crime and justifies further investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor in the Hague, a group of international lawyers say.

"There is a considerable amount of evidence of disproportionate use of force causing civilian casualties," one of the lawyers, Professor Bill Bowring of London Metropolitan University, told a news conference on Tuesday.

"The U.S. cannot be tried before the court because it refuses to sign up to it. The UK did."
Taiwan scientists accidentally develop two-headed fish...
They genetically engineered the two-headed fluorescent zebrafish during studies into muscular dystrophy.
RFID tags get a push in Germany
German retail giant Metro plans to install an RFID-based tracking system at wholesale stores and supermarkets this year--a boost for the emerging inventory-tracking technology.
VeriSign chosen to run RFID tag network
The company that maintains the Internet's .com and .net domain registry will also run a new directory to be used to keep tabs on consumer goods using radio frequency identification.
W3C recommends mobile Web standard
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published on Thursday a recommended standard for improving the Web-surfing capabilities of handheld devices such as cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs).
Phillip lives the active geek life
Phillip Torrone is my favorite geek. Here he shows off his new shades with monitor built in. It connects to a Pocket PC with a video out card. That is hooked up to his phone via bluetooth and is also tied into a bluetooth GPS. When he runs near something his application (Flash based) will kick off a video, so he basically made location-based video. His first goal is to have email always checking as he jogs. The glasses cost $500.
Little Green Martian Mineral
The code that must be cracked
The honeybee has been sequenced - and nobody noticed. Opening this six-page special, Steven Rose asks why we no longer care about genes
U.S. Eyes Space as Possible Battleground (Reuters)
Reuters - President Bush's plan to expand the
exploration of space parallels U.S. efforts to control the
heavens for military, economic and strategic gain.
"At the end of the day it will be political choices by governments, not technology, that determines if the nearly 50- year taboo against arming the heavens remains in place,"
NASA Reorganizes to Address Bush's Moon/Mars Plan (Reuters)
Reuters - NASA has reorganized some of its top
management to focus on President Bush's newly-announced plan to
send humans to the moon and Mars, the U.S. space agency said on
The reorganization began more than a year ago, but was made public one day after Bush unveiled his plan to establish a base on the moon by 2020 and eventually send people to Mars.
NASA Cancels Shuttle Missions to Hubble (AP)
AP - The Hubble Space Telescope will be allowed to degrade and eventually become useless, as NASA changes focus to President Bush's plans to send humans to the moon, Mars and beyond, officials said Friday.
Space Station Faces Uncertain Future (AP)
AP - President Bush's vision of astronauts on the moon and Mars dims the spotlight on the international space station, leaving its future murky.
Donations, Russian service mission could help Hubble
Hubble Space Telescope operators plan to ask Russia for help in keeping the observatory alive and will even consider accepting private donations, which have already been offered.
Making way for designer insects
Risks and Benefits of Gene-Altered Bugs Merit Thorough Study, Report Says
A credit card sized cell phone
A credit card sized cell phone?  Wow.  Makes you think that if they get rid of the buttons and screen you could slip it into your wallet, pocket, or purse and forget about it.  All the control would be in your headset using voice controls (like Wildfire's breakthrough voice interface).
Mobile Phone Webcam
What if we combine Webcam, Windows Media Technology, GPRS and a SmartPhone together?
Spacewatch Scores Hit
The Spacewatch program examines images from the Kitt Peak telescope in Arizona to find fast moving space objects, like asteroids. A discovery on January 19 from a volunteer caught just such a light streak, destined to pass within five earth-lunar radii yesterday.
Nasa seeks contact with Mars rover
Nasa scientists try to restore links with their probe on Mars, which has sent no useful data for more than 24 hours.
The Many Faces of Mount Everest
Space is a good place to ponder the world’s extremes and nature’s variability. For example, photographing the highest point on the planet is a favorite target (and a long-standing challenge) for astronauts orbiting the Earth. Despite Everest’s planetary stature, it is not an easy peak to locate while zipping over the mountains at 7 kilometers per second
mashuga`s Fotolog
Homeless, In front of the Bowery Mission, New York City

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Deep Fried Mars Bars
This recipe involves deep frying with hot oil which can be dangerous ... in fact, they’re so darn unhealthy that they could well kill you
[Listening to: 99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bobb Todd - Half Man Half Biscuit - The Back In The D.H.S.S./Trumpton Riots EP [UK] (04:39)]

Sunday, January 18, 2004

US military 'brutalised' journalists
Although Reuters has not commented publicly, it is understood that the journalists were "brutalised and intimidated" by US soldiers, who put bags over their heads, told them they would be sent to Guantanamo Bay, and whispered: "Let's have sex."

Last night the nephew of veteran Reuters driver and latterly cameraman Mr Ureibi said that US troops had forced his uncle to strip naked and had ordered him to put his shoe in his mouth.

"He protested that he was a journalist but they stuck a shoe in his mouth anyway. They also hurt his leg. One of the soldiers told him: 'If you don't shut up we'll fuck you.'"

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Douglas Adams Hand
quote "(Caps=lower, some fudged punctuation) -- Douglas Adams, one of my favorite authors, died from a heart attack. Here's a font made from a handwriting sample he gave me in 1999 (with some fudged punctuation to make it usable). Contains a few traced pictures of him, too. Doug, I'll let you go on that pen you owe me... so long, and thanks for all the fish!"
NASA Releases Dazzling Images From New Space Telescope
A new window to the universe has opened with Dec 18th release of the first dazzling images from NASA's newly named Spitzer Space Telescope, formerly known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility.
Multimedia PC with instant start-up launches
Rather than sitting on a hard drive, LinDVD is small enough to be held in a read-only memory chip and boots in 10 seconds flat.
Crashed cars to text message for help
There is no good place to have a car crash - but some places are worse than others. In a foreign country, for instance, trying to explain via cellphone that you are upside down in a ditch when you cannot speak the local language can fatally delay the arrival of the emergency services. If you are conscious at all, that is.
Polio eradication plan agreed
Emergency meeting announces mass immunization campaign.
The planet could become polio-free by the end of the year, under plans outlined by health ministers from the six remaining polio-endemic countries at an emergency meeting this Thursday. Some 250 million children are to be vaccinated this year in a series of massive immunization campaigns.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Researchers create first ever integrated silicon circuit with nanotube transistors
The discovery of carbon nanotubes heralded a new era of scientific discovery that included the promise of ultra-sensitive bomb detectors and super-fast computer memory chips. But finding a way to incorporate nanomaterials into a working nanoelectronic system has been a frustratingly elusive achievement - until now.
The Future of String Theory -- A Conversation with Brian Greene
The physicist and best-selling author demystifies the ultimate theories of space and time, the nature of genius, multiple universes, and more
Six Wheels on Mars! Spirit Free to Roam
NASA’s Spirit Mars rover has wheeled itself onto martian landscape, leaving its stationary lander that served as the robot’s home base for 12 days on the red planet.
NASA Spirit's Surroundings Beckon in Color Panorama
The first 360-degree color view from NASA's Spirit Mars Exploration Rover presents a range of tempting targets from nearby rocks to hills on the horizon.
Lasers tackle radioactive waste
One of the biggest challenges facing the nuclear industry today is the storage and disposal of waste that will remain radioactive for millions of years. One approach to this problem involves bombarding the waste with neutrons to speed up the decay of long-lived isotopes into nuclei with much shorter half-lives. However, physicists in the UK and Germany have now demonstrated a new laser-driven approach to "transmutation" by converting iodine-129, which has a half-life of 15.7 million years, into iodine-128. The half-life of this lighter isotope is just 25 minutes (K Ledingham et al. 2003 J. Phys. D36 L79).
Extracting electricity from water
Engineers in Canada have discovered a new way to generate electricity. Larry Kostiuk and colleagues at the University of Alberta pumped water through tiny microchannels in a glass disk to directly generate an electrical current (J Yang et al. 2003 J. Micromech. Microeng. 13 963). "This is the first new way to produce sustainable electricity in 160 years," says Kostiuk. "It allows for the direct conversion of energy of moving liquid to electricity with no moving parts and no pollution."

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Xylophone Man
Xylophone man is without a doubt one of the most bizarre yet famous musicians in Nottingham.
Aaron Swartz's unexpurgated file-sharing editorial
Aaron Swartz was invited by the New York Times to write an editorial explaining why he thinks that file-sharing is ethical, but before the piece ran, the Times edited it, because they "had decided not to tell kids to break the law." Aaron has published the whole piece on his blog:

Downloading may be illegal. But 60 million people used Napster and only 50 million voted for Bush or Gore. We live in a democracy. If the people want to share files then the law should be changed to let them.

And there's a fair way to change it. A Harvard professor found that a $60/yr. charge for broadband users would make up for all lost revenues. The government would give it to the affected artists and, in return, make downloading legal, sparking easier-to-use systems and more shared music. The artists get more money and you get more music. What's unethical about that?

RIAA knocking at your Door?
Seems the RIAA is planning on sending the RIAA police out on patrol. Soon we will have a Federal Bureau...
Hi-res Mars QTVR panos

The first hi-res panorama images from Mars are here in full QTVR glory. Link. Also: spotted on Wiley's website, Steven Frank blogs -- "Confidential to T-Mobile: NASA is downloading 36 MB TIFFs from Mars and I only get 2 bars of signal on my cell phone inside my house. Please look into upgrading."
Hack your car. AutoXRAY scans internal vehicle computers and gives detailed diagnostics and real-time graphing output.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The feed URI scheme (PRE-DRAFT)
This document specifies the "feed" URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) scheme for identifying data feeds used for syndicating news or other content from an information source such as a weblog or news website. In practice, such data feeds will most likely be XML documents containing a series of news items representing updated information from a particular news source.

[Listening to: The Spirit of Radio - Rush - Permanent Waves (04:59)]
On Postel, Again
Mark Pilgrim has echoed Aaron Swartz’s earlier call for, in general, forgiving parsing of Internet content and, in particular, the application of this “liberal” policy to the parsing of subscription feeds, and in particular particular, to the parsing of the Atom format.

[Listening to: Kill Your Television - Ned's Atomic Dustbin - God Fodder (02:59)]
One of the more memorable commercials of the Reagan-era anti-drug campaign featured an egg sizzling in a frying pan, along with the ominous warning: This is your brain on drugs. Though the imagery was powerful, the problem with the message is that your brain is always on drugs. Fear, love, depression, anxiety: Each of these corresponds to a rush of chemicals through your head.

[Listening to: Teenage Kicks - Buzzcocks - (02:27)]
Theory: Mass Extinction by Our Own Sun
The second-largest extinction in the Earth's history, the killing of two-thirds of all species, may have been caused by ultraviolet radiation from the Sun after gamma rays destroyed the Earth's ozone layer.
10 things we'll know by this time next year
What will be the big scientific hits and misses of the next 12 months? Alok Jha looks ahead
Adobe Helped Gov't Fight Counterfeiting
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Adobe Systems Inc. acknowledged Friday it quietly added technology to the world's best-known graphics software at the request of government regulators and international bankers to prevent consumers from making copies of the world's major currencies.
Professor Lives Life As a Cyborg
TORONTO (AP) -- When you first meet Steve Mann, it seems as if you've interrupted him appraising diamonds or doing some sort of specialized welding. Because the first thing you notice is the plastic frame that comes around his right ear and holds a lens over his right eye.
Asian Postal Workers to Use Hand-Held PCs
HYDERABAD, India (AP) -- Postal workers in the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan will bring modern technology to remote villages by carrying an Indian-designed hand-held computer on their rounds, the gadget's maker said Monday.
New browser for users with learning difficulties.
Widgit Software have announced a new browser aimed at users with learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyscalculia.

The developers say that it can process most web pages, and automatically turn text into symbols that help. The software is expected to cost around £70. However, one drawback is that it will not be able to process embedded Java and Flash applications.

Further references
A random selection of sites that show rounded c...
A random selection of sites that show rounded corners, shadows, tab panes, and other CSS tricks; some simple, some more flexible: Mark Schenk's CSS experiments, Ian Andolina's (Nontroppo) CSS sketchbook, the css-discuss Wiki's rounded corners page, Douglas Bowman's (A List Apart) sliding doors and's dynamic tabs.
Imagine a world in which
  • Osama Bin-Laden was trained by the CIA in childcare not terrorism

  • Britain and USA supplied Al Qaida with tractors instead of surface to air missiles

  • The USA spent $364 billion on providing food, shelter and healthcare for the people of the world instead of the military

  • Britain spent £760million on building 10 new hospitals or 100 new schools instead of providing subsidies to arms exporters

  • When Saddam gassed his own people the USA and Britain had supported the Iraqi people and not Saddam

  • The bullies were stopped, not just in the playground but in parliament and the UN

  • The energy of diversity was celebrated rather than the push for McMonoculture
XMLTV is a set of utilities to manage your TV viewing. They work with TV listings stored in the XMLTV format, which is based on XML. The idea is to separate out the backend (getting the listings) from the frontend (displaying them for the user), and to implement useful operations like picking out your favourite programmes as filters that read and write XML documents.
New-Found Old Galaxies Upsetting Astronomers' Long-Held Theories on the Big Bang
Astronomers have found that the early universe, a couple of billion years after the Big Bang, looks remarkably like the present-day universe.
Subatomic Tracking Finds Clues to the Unseen Universe
An experiment that tracks subtle motions of subatomic particles called muons has found tantalizing evidence for a vast shadow universe existing side by side with ours.
Iraq's hidden weapons did not exist, say reports
Two detailed reports have thrown serious doubt on whether Iraq had any nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, or even the means to make them, at the time when the US cited this as its major reason for going to war.
Casino chips to carry RFID tags
When rumours surfaced in 2003 that the European Central Bank was quietly planning to put RFID (radio frequency identification) tags in euro banknotes to combat fraud and money laundering, privacy groups balked at the possibility that anybody with an RFID reader could count the money in wallets of passers by.
Secrets of stone skimming revealed
Magic angle boosts bounces.
Star twins
Astronomers have realized that a rare set of double stars is made up of two pulsars. This unique discovery will allow them to test Einstein's theory of relativity in novel ways, and to better understand the energy beams that pulsars generate.
Squid's Built-In Light to Inspire New Gadgets?
A nocturnal squid that cruises the ocean around Hawaii for prey and mates uses a built-in flashlight to hide its shadow from predatory fish on the seafloor.

The unique light organ found in the Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymma scolopes) is composed of stacks of silvery reflector plates called reflectins that surround colonies of luminescent, symbiotic bacteria.

Scientists behind the find believe it may inspire a new generation of high-tech miniature gadgets.
As Consumerism Spreads, Earth Suffers, Study Says
Americans and Western Europeans have had a lock on unsustainable over-consumption for decades. But now developing countries are catching up rapidly, to the detriment of the environment, health, and happiness, according to the Worldwatch Institute in its annual report, State of the World 2004.
Russian May Have Solved Old Math Mystery
A publicity-shy Russian researcher who labors in near-seclusion may have solved one of mathematics' oldest and most abstruse problems, the Poincare Conjecture.
Evidence has been mounting since November 2002 that Grigori "Gisha" Perelman has cracked the 100-year-old problem, which seeks to explain the geometry of three-dimensional space.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Respected science fiction critic John Clute reviewed Heinlein's long-lost, unpublished novel, For Us, The Living, for, giving it a rave -- saying that this was the kind of science fiction that, if it had been published in its day, might have actually yeilded a generation of futurists who more-or-less accurately described the present-day-future.

source: boing boing


Sunday, January 11, 2004

Why can't Homeland Security tell the difference between Al Quaeda and my six-year-old daughter?
My six-year-old daughter is on the CAPPS (Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening) list as a security risk.
AudioMulch 0.9b14 patch 1
AudioMulch is an interactive musician’s environment for computers running Microsoft Windows. Bringing together the popular with what has up to now been considered experimental, AudioMulch merges the worlds of mainstream electronica and electroacoustic sound composition to create a fluid sonic environment only limited by the artist’s imagination.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

How to Achieve Contact: Five Promising Strategies
The scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) is expanding its array of search strategies. This is a highly appropriate change. The next section presents seven reasons why widening the array is so appropriate.
Brig Klyce: Cosmic Ancestry - The Modern Version of Panspermia
Our guest speaker today is panspermia theorist, Brig Klyce. Brig is the writer and creator of the internet's most comprehensive website on panspermia. Brig has actively studied evolution, the origin of life, and panspermia since 1980. In 1995 this activity became his full-time occupation. Today he conducts, promotes and publicizes research pertaining to the strong version of panspermia, which he would like to rename 'Cosmic Ancestry'. He has given many lectures and radio interviews, and presented papers on Cosmic Ancestry at colleges, universities and science conferences from NASA's Ames Research Center in California, to Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
An idea, with ancient roots, according to which life arrives, ready-made, on the surface of planets from space.
The Rise and Fall of Star Faring Civilizations in Our Own Galaxy

There's one hundred 10,000 year periods in a million year span. So over a million years there'll appear the wreckage of some 28,400 doomed civilizations across the galaxy. Much of this wreckage will be recognizable and salvagable in some way by anyone who happens across it.

The life-bearing space of the galaxy may be some 84 billion cubic lightyears in total. These 28,400 worlds would be spread across that, so each would possess its own region of space of some 2,957,746.5 cubic lightyears.

This results in the nearest such world being around 178 lightyears from our own.

There should be around 47 chronically struggling technological civilizations present throughout our galaxy at this time (the present 10,000 year cycle). The majority of these are likely millennia ahead of us in certain ways, although they will still suffer many problems similar to those we face today. A handful of the most prosperous may command a half dozen solar systems, but most will have achieved little outside their own system, even having possessed advanced technologies for millennia.

Each of the homeworlds of these will be surrounded by 1.79 billion cubic lightyears of space. This means that the nearest such world is likely some 1,506 lightyears from our own.

Of the seven robust and wealthy civilizations in existence during this 10,000 year cycle, the nearest one should be around 2,840 lightyears away. These civilizations are typically thousands of years ahead of us in virtually every measure. They almost certainly possess craft (or other transport means) capable of a high measure of lightspeed-- maybe even faster than light. Several of them may well have commandeered dozens of neighboring solar systems for their own use.

Friday, January 09, 2004

[Listening to: The Singles(entire) - Police - The Singles (50:16)]

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

[Listening to: Pure Morning - Placebo - Without You I'm Nothing (04:15)]
In Europe, Apple Threatens Linux
Everyone knows the Linux headlines and the hype. But the situation in Europe, on the ground, is a little more complex; and certainly subject to a different set of market and industry forces than in the United States. Here are four predictions for 2004 about Linux in Europe.