Saturday, February 26, 2005

Crushing by elephant

An unusual form of capital punishment used throughout history.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Lord of the loops - the perfect circle

A US military pilot carrying out an air test at 35,000 feet - about six and a half miles high - flew a perfect circle above Dereham.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Surgeons can place implants, measuring devices, and surgical instruments directly into the radiologically-accurate life-sized Voxgram image to select and plan the best surgical approach. It is as if they were actually navigating within their patient's anatomy.


Phone2Fun Digitizer allows camera phones users to send hand-written messages with text, drawings or pre-printed information, such as newspaper ads, portions of printed pages, etc. as if using their phone as a “connected scanner”.

Java Music Specification Language v103 Available

" announced immediate availability of Java Music Specification Language (JMSL) v103, a music composition toolbox written in Java. Programmers can use JMSL to develop interactive music systems that can be run as stand-alone applications, or as Applets in a web page. Composers can create notated works for live ensembles and deploy their scores on the Web. Because JMSL is Java based, the applications are cross-platform and can run on Macintosh, PC, or Linux without recompiling. JMSL supports MIDI, JSyn (Java Synthesizer by, and Sun's JavaSound."

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Our Favorite Fonts of 2004

"As the new year began Typographica readers and contributors were asked to share their top picks from the fonts released during 2004."

Aubrey de Grey Video Clips

"Methuselah Foundation volunteer Kevin Perrott has put together a pair of video clips of coverage relating to Aubrey de Grey's presentation at the University of Alberta"

Boston Molasses Disaster

Twenty-one people die when a confectionery factory explodes, sending a wave of molasses down the streets of Boston.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Wearable Warnings

"The prototype design is a coat with warning strips of fur that become electro-statically charged in situations where the wearer feels threatened. When charged the fur begins to stand on end; a visual indication that the wearer is uncomfortable. If someone invades the wearer's personal space they will begin to feel a second warning; as they enter the coat's electrostatic field they will feel tingling skin sensations and their hair will stand on end. The fur will begin to twitch toward them and emit crackling sounds. If the 'threat' proceeds to touch the fur then 100,000 volts of electro-static charge discharges from the fur, into the offender's body (non-lethal but definitely a bite)."

Queen 'does great cockney accent'

"The Queen, she confirmed, is particularly good with cockney and Norfolk accents."

Orb Networks

Play anything anywhere. Stream content from your Media PC to any other device

Music Band Fonts

school memories...

Virtual Keyboard-Enabled SX-1

The projection system (custom laser technology) projects the image of a full-size keyboard on any nearby flat surface. The detection system (IR Beam and CMOS sensing unit) allows complete detection of user finger movements and keystrokes.


"And here's the proof, people. Listen to their first godawful hit, played through the left speaker. At the same time, an equally shite single (released two years later) will be played through the right speaker. Can you spot the difference?"

the biggest web design mistakes in 2004

"These ladies are laughing at you. Why? You designed your web site for your needs, not their needs. It gets worse. After they stop laughing, they're going to one of your competitors' sites and buy something."

Signs of current life on Mars, researchers claim

"A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space officials at a private meeting here that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and sustained by pockets of water."

bent out of shape

A Dozen New Planets Found

"The past four weeks have been heady ones in the planet-finding world: Three teams of astronomers announced the discovery of 12 previously unknown worlds, bringing the total count of planets outside our solar system to 145."

SHA-1 Broken

"SHA-1 has been broken. Not a reduced-round version. Not a simplified version. The real thing."

The Free Lunch Is Over: A Fundamental Turn Toward Concurrency in Software

" What’s the clock speed on the CPU(s) in your current workstation? Are you running at 10GHz? On Intel chips, we reached 2GHz a long time ago (August 2001), and according to CPU trends before 2003, now in early 2005 we should have the first 10GHz Pentium-family chips. A quick look around shows that, well, actually, we don’t. What’s more, such chips are not even on the horizon—we have no good idea at all about when we might see them appear."

New Robots Walk Like Humans

In what could be described as one small step for a robot, but a giant leap for robot-kind, a trio of humanoid machines were introduced Thursday, each with the ability to walk in a human-like manner.

Each bipedal robot has a strikingly human-like gait and appearance. Arms swing for balance. Ankles push off. Eyeballs are added for effect.

10 Million iPods, Previewing the CD's End

"Classic-rock fan George Petersen doesn't need another copy of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" or Cream's "Disraeli Gears." He has spent the past four decades buying and re-buying his favorite music in a succession of new formats: vinyl, 8-track, cassette, compact disc, Super Audio CD, DVD-Audio.

Enough is enough. The basement is full."

Bat bomb

World War II plan to bomb Japan with bats carrying tiny Incendiary bombs

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Durable mobile robots for extreme conditions

Rotundus develops mobile robots very well suited for surveillance and inspection in rough environments.

Its spherical shape makes the robot tight, durable and fast. It can run in most terrain - snow, mud, sand, water.

Software for the blind

" A melody of staccato piano notes sings out from the speakers of Victor K. Wong's desktop computer. But it is not a melody made by Bach, or Liberace, or even Alicia Keys. It is the melody of color.

Wong, a Cornell University graduate student from Hong Kong who lost his sight in a road accident at age seven, is helping to develop innovative software that translates color into sound. 'Color is something that does not exist in the world of a blind person,' explains Wong. 'I could see before, so I know what it is. But there is no way that I can think of to give an exact idea of color to someone who has never seen before.'"

"Women will get sterile just looking at you."

made me laugh


A genius explains

Tammet is calculating 377 multiplied by 795. Actually, he isn't "calculating": there is nothing conscious about what he is doing. He arrives at the answer instantly. Since his epileptic fit, he has been able to see numbers as shapes, colours and textures. The number two, for instance, is a motion, and five is a clap of thunder. "When I multiply numbers together, I see two shapes. The image starts to change and evolve, and a third shape emerges. That's the answer. It's mental imagery. It's like maths without having to think."

An evening with Dean Radin

More about the Global Consciousness Project which claims that random numbers are in tune with Oprah:

"Radin gave several examples of how GCP had detected 'global consciousness'. One was the day O.J. Simpson was acquitted of double-murder. We were shown a graph where - no doubt about that - the data formed a nice ascending curve in the minutes after the pre-show started, with cameras basically waiting for the verdict to be read. And yes, there was a nice, ascending curve in the minutes after the verdict was read.

However, about half an hour before the verdict, there was a similar curve ascending for no apparent reason. Radin's quick explanation before moving on to the next slide?

'I don't know what happened there.'

It was not to be the last time we heard that answer."

'Cannabis gran' remains defiant

"The woman known as Britain's 'cannabis gran' explains why she eats marijuana five times a day - and why she'll keep on doing it despite the threat of a jail term."

A rough sketch by Francis Crick showing his first impression of the DNA molecule has been released on the web.

0 (year)

Was there a year between 1 BC and 1 AD?


"The Methuselah Mouse Prize is the premiere effort of The Methuselah Foundation; a scientific competition designed to draw attention to the ability of new technologies to slow and even reverse the damage of the aging process, preserving health and wisdom in a world that sorely needs it. A financial award derived from private donations is won by the research team that breaks the record for the world's oldest mouse. Once healthy life-extension is demonstrated in mice, the attitude that 'aging is inevitable' will no longer be possible and will give way to an all-out 'war on aging'. The funding necessary to develop human interventions will be then be made available. The Prize will use the ancient incentives of competition, money and fame to harness the power of human ingenuity to fight an ancient problem. Will it work? With your help, it cannot fail."

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Alesis Fusion Synth Leaked, Brand new synth workstation to debut at NAMM05

With up to 180 voice polyphony, the Fusion Engine Synthesis can provide: Sample Playback, Virtual Analog, FM and Physical Modeling to get you started. You also get a 32 track sequencer with a 40GB of “whatever you want”. Namely 8 tracks of 24-bit audio.
With plenty of internal effects, plus 64MB standard RAM (expandable to 192MB), you’ll be able to store your creations on Compact Flash (I+II), SATA HD and later in the year CD-RW. I couldn’t see a USB connection specified but a close inspection of the rear panel shows that there is one, so presumably you can transfer between your PC and the Fusion with no great difficulty.

The Fusion is well connected too, you get:
Stereo Input L-Mono/R (Standard 1/4 Jack), Stereo Headphone Output (Standard 1/4 Jack),Stereo Main Output L/R (Standard 1/4 Jack), Stereo Aux Output L/R (Standard 1/4 Jack), S/PDIF Output (Coax/Optical), ADAT Output (Optical), MIDI In/Out/Thru, Sustain Pedal, Footswitch, Expression Pedal, USB (to Host), HD Recording Inputs 1-8 (Standard 1/4 Jack), External Drive (SATA) and of course an AC Inlet.

Using Lab grown Human Tissue for Jewelry

Remember when getting your girlfriend’s name tattooed wasn’t old fashioned? These days, you could get talked into undergoing a biopsy in which you and your partner would have to donate a sample of your bone cells, the tissues then get harvested in a lab, grown until a mass of bone has developed and then used as material for a ring.

Science Fiction Becomes Reality With New Holograph Machine

Update on the Heilodisplay

The Darwinian Interlude

"Carl Woese published a provocative and illuminating article, “A New Biology for a New Century,” in the June 2004 issue of Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews. His main theme is the obsolescence of reductionist biology as it has been practiced for the last hundred years, and the need for a new biology based on communities and ecosystems rather than on genes and molecules. He also raises another profoundly important question: when did Darwinian evolution begin?"

Can This Black Box See Into the Future?

"DEEP in the basement of a dusty university library in Edinburgh lies a small black box, roughly the size of two cigarette packets side by side, that churns out random numbers in an endless stream.

At first glance it is an unremarkable piece of equipment. Encased in metal, it contains at its heart a microchip no more complex than the ones found in modern pocket calculators.

But, according to a growing band of top scientists, this box has quite extraordinary powers. It is, they claim, the 'eye' of a machine that appears capable of peering into the future and predicting major world events."

A long winding road out of beta

"Once considered the final stage of software development, beta versions are taking on a life of their own, as companies tinker endlessly with their products in public."

Opera to MS: Get real about interoperability, Mr Gates

"Last week Bill Gates got the interoperability religion. Allegedly - given Microsoft's long and sometimes less than constructive history in the field of interoperability, a certain amount of scepticism is perhaps appropriate. Hakon Lie, Chief Technology Officer of long-standing Microsoft competitor Opera Software, welcomes Gates' new-found enthusiasm for interoperability, but in the following response to Gates, has just a few suggestions about what Microsoft might do to actually achieve it."

I.D. Issues

"When investigating any crime, it is important to establish that the person you have under arrest is the person who committed the crime. Establishing what is known as “continuity” of identification evidence is vital before any case goes to court."

Wallpaper: Barred Spiral NGC 1300

"One of the largest Hubble Space Telescope images ever made of a complete galaxy is being unveiled today at the American Astronomical Society meeting in San Diego, Calif."

Europe's super-rocket rides high

Europe has launched its most powerful rocket to date - the Ariane 5-ECA.

The 50m-high (160ft) vehicle blasted off from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana at 2103 GMT, putting eight tonnes of satellite payload into orbit.

It was the ECA's first flight following its disastrous maiden outing in 2002, when the rocket was destroyed as it veered out of control over the ocean.

Bunker-busting bombs back on US agenda

It seemed too good to be true when the US Congress last year blocked funding for bunker-busting nuclear weapons. And so it was. This week the administration has come back with a request for $8.5 million to revive the project.

EST ( Expanding Spacetime Theory ) Pioneer 10 acceleration anomaly

"A small discrepancy between the velocity derived from ephemeris modeling based on distance ranging and the velocity measured from the Doppler shift has been detected and confirmed. It appears that the probe is subjected to a tiny constant acceleration toward the Sun that neither depends on the time nor on the distance. In addition to this constant acceleration discrepancy, periodic annual and diurnal acceleration variations have been observed. The same acceleration anomaly has been seen with Pioneer 11, which is moving outward in the opposite direction and also with other spacecrafts. No physical explanation has yet been found."

Wiki:Pioneer Anomaly
NS:Are there two types of gravity?


"Thin-slicing is little more than intuition - the conscious recognition of something sub-conscious - but Gladwell tarts it up in scientific experiments and offers it as the next buzzword du jour."

Turing Train Terminal

"Scale trains have existed for almost as long as their archetypes, which were developed for the purposes of traffic, transportation and trade. Economy and commerce have also been the underlying motivations for the invention of computers, calculators and artificial brains.

Allowing ourselves to fleetingly believe in an earlier historical miscalculation that '... Computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1 1/2 tons.' (Popular Mechanics, March 1949), we decided to put some hundred tons of scaled steel together in order to build these calculating protozoa. The operating system of this reckoning worm is the ultimate universal calculator, the Turingmachine, and is able to calculate whatever is capable of being calculated. One just would have to continue building to see where this may lead..."

Apollo 11 - 17 Mission First man on the Moon - Fullscreen QTVR photo

"Less known is that during all the missions they made image sequences which with todays computer technics can be stitched together into 360o interactive panoramas giving you the possibillity to view the moon almost as you were there."

Saturday, February 12, 2005

"Star Wars" despots vs. "Star Trek" populists

"By now it's grown clear that George Lucas has an agenda, one that he takes very seriously. After four 'Star Wars' films, alarm bells should have gone off, even among those who don't look for morals in movies. When the chief feature distinguishing 'good' from 'evil' is how pretty the characters are, it's a clue that maybe the whole saga deserves a second look."

Friday, February 11, 2005

Viral architecture

"R&Sie architecture company's project for the future Bangkok Art Museum feeds of the city's pollution. Called Dusty Relief, the edifice will be surrounded by electrically charged wire that 'grows fur' by statically attracting airborne filth."

Google hosting - From Meta; discussion about Wikimedia projects

"Google Inc. has made a proposal to host some of the content of the Wikimedia projects.

The terms of the offer are currently being discussed by the board. The developer committee has been informed of some of the details via email. A private IRC meeting with Google is planned for March, 2005.

Please note that this agreement does not mean there is any requirement for us to include advertising on the site.

More details will be put here when the offer is allowed to be made public."

Heavy metal umlaut: the movie

Screencast from Jon Udell about the evolution of the a single page on Wikipedia.

Towards a truly clever Artificial Intelligence

A pioneering new way of creating computer programs could be used in the future to design and build robots with minds that function like that of a human being, according to a leading researcher at The University of Reading.

Dr James Anderson, of the University’s Department of Computer Science, has developed for the first time the ‘perspective simplex’, or Perspex, which is a way of writing a computer program as a geometrical structure, rather than as a series of instructions.

U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings

"More than 200 scientists employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say they have been directed to alter official findings to lessen protections for plants and animals, a survey released Wednesday says."

The 5,000-year-old man

Another interview with Aubrey de Grey. "de Grey has helped create the Methuselah Mouse Foundation, which is offering substantial financial awards to scientists who can profoundly increase the lifespans of mice. The award’s name—the “M-Prize”—is a variation on the X-prize, which rewards researchers working to create low-cost space flight for the development of space tourism."

McLaren became the latest team to adopt a novel solution to the 2005 aerodynamic rules when their MP4-20 sprouted a pair of horn-like mid-wings at Jerez on Tuesday.

Fowl play

"One theory is that someone is using a giant slingshot to launch the birds into the air."


"Currently in the final design stages, Poseidon will be the world's first sea floor resort complex."

Ocean Base - JMS Naval Architects & Salvage Engineers

"The hallmark of the video is the ocean floor habitat, similar to an undersea 'space station,' called Ocean Base One."

Jules Underwater Hotel

Although Jules' still functions as a research lab, you will be pleased to know that it has air-contitioning, hot showers, stereo music, VCR's, a fully stocked galley, and unlimited diving for certified divers

HYDROPOLIS - The Project

220 underwater suites, 66 feet below the surface in the Persian Gulf

Luftwaffe 'mistake' now on stage

"The true story of how two men used a flare gun and a teapot to capture a German plane, helping to change the course of World War Two, is now a play."


Route planner and maps for the UK, Europe and USA. Check out the funky zooming.

Exclusive Pics: The Vogons of Hitchhiker's Guide

The first official production stills from the forthcoming Douglas Adams adaptation of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy showing the Vogons.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Jux2position Denver Virtual Tour

"Jux2position has just come out with a massive, totally interactive virtual reality tour of the city of Denver and its surrounding areas."

Total Immersions D'Fusion Technology

Total Immersion’s D’Fusion software solution allows for real-time video capture and perfect merges between video streams and 3D objects.

All-day drink licences available

"Pubs can now apply for licences to open for up to 24 hours ahead of changes due to come in later this year."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Tool For Thought

"So the proper unit for this kind of exploratory, semantic search is not the file, but rather something else, something I don't quite have a word for: a chunk or cluster of text, something close to those little quotes that I've assembled in DevonThink. "

Superfluid helium-4 whistles just the right tune

" Hear the synchronized vibrations from a chorus of more than 4,000 nano-whistles, created when physicists pushed superfluid helium-4 though an array of nanometer-sized holes. Note that the pitch drops as the pressure drops."

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

AOL to Drop Usenet, Angering Three Customers

"Mega industry powerhouse A.O.L. has announced that sometime in early February it will be dropping Usenet. At that time the few AOL customers who know what a newsgroup is, let alone how to use and access them will no longer be able to. has been able to find three intelligent AOL users who are none to happy about this."

Monday, February 07, 2005

Jailed for using a nonstandard browser

"A Londonder made a tsnuami-relief donation using lynx -- a text-based browser used by the blind, Unix-users and others -- on Sun's Solaris operating system. The site-operator decided that this 'unusual' event in the system log indicated a hack-attempt, and the police broke down the donor's door and arrested him."

Soviet bomb-makers retrain in UK

"Nuclear weapons scientists from the former Soviet Union are re-training for 'more peaceful' work in the UK.

Experts who once built bombs aimed at the capitalist West are learning about business and cultural awareness at De Montfort University, Leicester."

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Lexus cars potentially vulnerable to virus?

"Russian anti-virus research firm Kaspersky Lab says you can now add cars to the growing list of things that can be infected with a computer virus."

Replacing Hubble

"Instruments destined for the venerable space telescope could form the basis for its replacement."

Friday, February 04, 2005

Natural Phenomena Named After Frank Zappa

This series of articles describes a variety of Natural Phenomena - marine, terrestrial and extra-terrestrial - which have been named in honour of Frank Zappa, the smallest being a gene belonging to a bacterium, the largest being an entire planet.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The horrible grunt of the Tasmanian devil

"Jim Mitchell sez: 'There's an unbelievably good audio file of a howling Tasmanian Devil in the travel section Sunday's This may be the worst sound ever emitted by a carbon-based life form.'"

Flickr / Color Fields - Experimental Color Picker - Jim Bumgardner

Name Statistics

Have you ever wondered how popular your first and last names are?

Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy

"And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be done later this year to create mice with human brains."

If you don't take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

'Now that prostitution is no longer considered by the law to be immoral, there is really nothing but the goodwill of the job centres to stop them from pushing women into jobs they don't want to do.'

Flickr mosaics

Iraq reconstruction funds missing

"On one occasion, $1.4bn had to be transported to a bank in three helicopters, as it weighed 14 tons, but no deposit slip was obtained when it was paid in."

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Amazon's A9 adds pictures to Yellow Pages

To compile the database of pictures, Amazon sent out a fleet of vans with digital cameras strapped to their roofs. The images were then synchronized to a GPS unit to match them with specific addresses. To account for potential GPS inaccuracies, Amazon developed custom software to tighten up the linkage between picture and street address.

What Is the US Trying to Hide in Fallujah?

"In the center of the Julan Quarter they are removing entire homes which have been bombed, meanwhile most of the homes that were bombed are left as they were. Why are they doing this?"

MusicPlasma allows you to enter a band and see related artists

Falling Down the TM Rabbit Hole, How TM Really Works, a Critical Opinion

"Suggestions are carefully planted on you at a couple of 'introductory lectures', where you are pitched the idea that Mahesh somehow has the inside scoop on some sort of ancient knowledge from India. If you don't buy this 'ancient wisdom' pitch then you may buy the concurrently presented 'scientifically validated simple relaxation technique' pitch. "

The Preparation: Book on Space colonization, transhumans, nanotechnology.

"With the dawn of the 21st century comes the advent of new technologies - human life extension with perfect health - nanotechnology - the neural-to-computer interface - mental enhancement devices - genetic engineering"

Unknown Beethoven Work to Be Performed

"AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - A long-lost adagio by Beethoven will be performed for the first time next month. The Rotterdam Chamber Orchestra will perform the eight-minute piece on Feb. 1, conductor Conrad van Alphen said Friday."

Blinkx. Yet another video search beta.

Latvian man survives deadly binge

"A Latvian man has recovered after drinking enough alcohol to kill two normal people.
He said he had got drunk because his wife left him - and his wife left him because he drank too much.
Police spokeswoman Ieva Zvidre said an average person would vomit at a level of about 1.2, lose consciousness at 3.0 and stop breathing at around 4.0.

She told the BBC she did not know whether the man who survived 7.2 parts per thousand had set a world record.

But she added: "I don't think this is a good way to get into the record books.""

New roads can cause congestion

"Traffic should flow best in cities when only a limited number of roads lead to the centre. This counter-intuitive finding could allow planners to prevent gridlock by closing roads rather than building new ones."