Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pocket-Sized Holographic Projectors


Pocket-sized projectors capable of screening movies from a laptop or mobile phone could be on the market within three years, following a new deal agreed by the University of Cambridge.

The global electronic components manufacturer Alps Electric Co., Ltd has been granted an exclusive license to the University’s core patent for a revolutionary holographic video projector technology, developed in the Department of Engineering.

The company intends to manufacture miniature projectors based on the University’s patented technology that will be highly energy efficient, will always be in focus and will be extremely robust. These qualities would make them ideal for building into laptops, mobile phones and all manner of devices.

“This may be the first mass-market application of real-time holography,” he said. “I have been working on this idea with my colleagues for over 10 years, looking forward to the day when computer processing power, lasers and liquid crystal technology would become sufficiently advances to put our ideas into practice.”

More.

Graffitti Art in Rio


To set foot in Rio is to set foot in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

From the stunning beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, to the soaring granite rock towers dotted around the city like exclamation marks of awe.

But more and more there is an encroaching beauty engaging the eye in Rio: Graffiti.

For the past 11 years, the paint sprayed on the walls in Rio has moved away from simple scrawls of names and epithets to eye-catching displays of wonder.

"I know the definition of art is something very relative, today, so many things could be consider art. But I believe, that even when a guy signs his name on the walls, that it is art because the letters are calligraphy, and there is such care and and love in that."

Echos of Warhol, Kandinsky, da Vinci, and Peter Blake intermingle with Japanese anime as well as the graffiti artists own ideas and concepts.

More.
Thanks to Dr. Dan.

2,000+ Year Old Computer Hacked




It was sunk with a wrecked ship in 80BC, found by divers in 1900 and until now has baffled scientists.

The device is a complex arrangement of more than 30 bronze gears, wheels and dials, and is at least 1,000 years ahead of its time.

Now, after painstaking reconstruction, physicists say it could track astronomical movements with remarkable precision.

It was also able to follow the movements of the Moon and the Sun, predict eclipses and even recreate the irregular orbit of the Moon.

It may have predicted the positions of some of the planets. Lead researcher Prof Mike Edmunds, from Cardiff University, said: 'The design is beautiful, the astronomy is exactly right. The way the mechanics are designed makes your jaw drop. Whoever has done this has done it extremely well.'

The findings, published in Nature, suggest Greek technology was far more advanced than previously thought. No other civilisation created anything as complicated for another 1,000 years.

Other marvels from the past...

- A 14cm clay battery was found near the Iraqi capital Baghdad. It appears to be 2,000 years old
More and here too.


Thanks to Mr. Battle.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

La, la, la la la la... la, la la la la


SMURF VILLAGE! Yes, a real life sized replica of Smurf Village is currently sitting within the space of MoCCA.

On Monday, November 27th, the “Saturday Morning: Art and Artifacts from a Golden Age of Television” exhibit curator, Matt. Murray, will [offer] a guided tour through the history of the Smurfs - from their creation, to the marketing, the animated series, the phenomenon, and even conspiracy theories - a screening will follow.

The exhibit itself will be up through March of 2007, hours are Friday through Monday 12pm till 5pm. A list of all the cartoons you'll find in the exhibit, after the jump...

Looney Tunes, NBC TeleComics, Casper, The Woody Woodpecker Show, Tom & Jerry, The Huckleberry Hound Show, The Yogi Bear Show, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Mr. Magoo, The Alvin Show, Jonny Quest, The Pink Panther, Underdog, Space Ghost, The Herculoids, Speed Racer, The Archies, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, Harlem Globetrotters, SeaLab 2020, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Schoolhouse Rock, Star Trek, Super Friends, Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, Captain Caveman, Godzilla Power
HourBattle of the Planets, New Fantastic Four, New Adventures of Flash Gordon, The Plastic Man Comedy Adventure Show, The Smurfs, Amazing Spider-Man & The Incredible Hulk, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, GI Joe, Inspector Gadget, Jim Henson's Muppet Babies, Dennis the Menace, Hulk Hogan's Rock and Wrestling, The Wuzzles, Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears, The Ewoks, The Care Bears, My Little Pony, The Real Ghost Busters, The Original Ghost Busters, Rainbow Brite, Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, ALF Tales, Garfield and Friends, New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Beetlejuice, The Simpsons, Bobby's World, Darkwing Duck, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Where's Waldo, Doug, The Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, ProStars, Batman: The Animated Series, X-Men, Pinky and the Brain, Sonic The Hedgehog, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego, The Tick, The Powerpuff Girls, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Samurai Jack, Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, and The Batman

More.

Thanks to Dr. Dan

Plastic Man!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Blow Here, Please


The LG Breathalyzer Phone

The phone has a built-in breathalyzer and is selling very well in Korea. Indeed, given that between 15 and 30% of all road deaths (depending on your country) involve drivers over the legal blood alcohol limits(..) "this phone will not be launching in the US this year, and at this time there are no plans to bring it over to the US at all. The original article announcing this phone was incorrect."
More.

Apparently this phone will show a "car crashing" when your alcohol level is above a certain limit, and will also let you block (special someone) numbers from being called if you're too drunk.

See also Study Finds Drivers on Cell Phones Are as Bad as Drunk Drivers.

I think the GPS in cell phones should be used to limit conversations to a minute or so if you're going over 25 miles an hour. Or as some friends suggested, If you're on a cell phone while an accident happens you should automatically take the blame, even if you were hit from behind.

Vishing Crooks to Go to Hell


And consumers thought they were safe by not clicking on links in unsolicited e-mails.

Now comes a new batch of phishing scams that rely on an old tool — the phone — to trick people into giving away their personal information.

Vishing — short for voice phishing — is one of the latest iterations of phishing, a long-running e-mail scam that instructs recipients to click a link in the e-mail to confirm data such as their Social Security number and credit card number. But the link is really connected to a bogus website where the data are stolen.

Vishing has emerged as a new threat with the rise of Voice over Internet Protocol, technology that allows cheap and anonymous Internet calls.

The new batch of e-mails appear to come from PayPal, eBay's online payment service, and — like most phishing e-mails — they warn the recipients about a problem with their account. An e-mail advises victims to call a number to verify basic data. But the number is actually recording data with the intent to steal it. The information often winds up on cybercrime forums, websites that function as digital marketplaces for stolen personal data.

Some vishing attacks don't even begin with an e-mail. They come as calls out of the blue in which the caller already knows the recipient's credit card number, and asks for the three-digit security code on the back of the card.

"Hackers are moving away from the Web and using something victims are more comfortable with: making a call," said Paul Henry, vice president of technology evangelism at Secure Computing. "Consumers are programmed to enter in information on the phone. It's a natural evolution of phishing."

More.


Also check out Phishtank.com.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Amazing Percussive Guitar


Brazilian musician Arthur Kampela composed this "Percussion Study for Guitar I", performed here by Marlon Titre.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Some Things You Don't Want to See in High-Def

I just caught "Eats of Strength" on INHD. Trust me, you don't want to see ugly, overweight guys gobbling food like maniacs in High-Def.

Notably, champion eater Takeru Kobayashi (photo) is 5 feet 7 inches and weighed about 165 pounds (more now, but apparently it's more muscle mass, he's still under 10% body fat).

Still, competitive eating is not a pretty sight, especially in HD.

Microsoft Photo Magic


The Photosynth Technology Preview is a taste of the newest - and, we hope, most exciting - way to view photos on a computer. Our software takes a large collection of photos of a place or an object, analyzes them for similarities, and then displays the photos in a reconstructed three-dimensional space, showing you how each one relates to the next.

In our collections, you can access gigabytes of photos in seconds, view a scene from nearly any angle, find similar photos with a single click, and zoom in to make the smallest detail as big as your monitor.
If this does all it says, it will be really amazing. Unfortunately I can't try it on my home machine (not XP). Try it here and let me know.

Thanks to Dr. Dan.

How To Download Videos From YouTube



1. Read the YouTube.com Terms of Service. You may copy content for personal use so long as you do not (1) distribute it further (no torrentz, dudes) and (2) do not alter copyright notices.

2. Find the YouTube Video ID. It's the part of the URL after the "/v/" or "?v=" strings. For example, in the following URLs, the video id is nkp9OXAVD88. You'll find this ID in the direct YouTube viewing page URL: http://www.youtube.com/v/nkp9OXAVD88

3. Use the following URL to retrieve the video for download. If you like, you can paste this URL directly into [your browser or] Safari. The file downloads to your desktop as
"get_video": http://youtube.com/get_video.php?l=165&video_id=PLACE_VIDEO_ID_HERE
e.g.: http://youtube.com/get_video.php?l=165&video_id=nkp9OXAVD88

4. Rename the Video. Give it a meaningful name and the add a flv extension. e.g. cowboys.flv, or whatever.

From here, more here.

Here's another method, on a video tutorial. There are several video tutorials on this subject on youtube itself.

Denmark Speed Control


Denmark apparently has a problem with speeding motorists that's so out of hand it's deployed the Speedcontrol Bikini Bandits, what the broadcaster in this linked video calls "a specially trained team of enthusiastic young women not afraid to do whatever it to make sure motorists pay more attention to the speed limit." These Danish dames stand off to the side of the road wearing only high heels and bright red Daisy Dukes while holding a speed limit sign.

Click to watch. Adult content. More.

Thanks to Mike W.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Images From the Wombs


An unborn elephant, tiny but perfect in every way. A dolphin swimming in the womb, just as it will have to swim in the ocean the moment it is born. An unborn dog panting.

Each one amazing and now, thanks to these remarkable pictures, they can be seen for the first time.

Amazing - More.

Obama Apologizes for Blocking Shot at Girl



U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. (...), in a phone call to reporter Nicklaus Lovelady of the Daily Herald that aired on National Public Radio's "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me" program, apologized to the reporter for saying he had a "baby face" at a news conference in southern Illinois two years ago, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

Lovelady wrote earlier this month that Obama's comment prevented him from impressing a woman he was speaking to.

"Thanks to everyone's favorite new senator, I lost big time,(...) Obama owes me a public apology for making me look like a court jester and for blocking my shot."

"I'm calling to publicly apologize for messing up your game," the senator told Lovelady. "I read that. I felt terrible. I didn't know there were any ladies around. I just wanted to let you know that I'm deeply sorry. But if she was that superficial, she wasn't worth it."
More.


Hilarious, I heard the call on NPR, although one can tell Obama was sincere he definetly knows how to take himself not too seriously, which is great.

Jones New Bizarre Soda



Here they go again, after the huge success last Thanksgiving.
Flavors: Turkey and Gravy soda, Sweet Potato Soda, Dinner Roll Soda, Pea Soda, Antacid Flavored Soda

[Dessert] Flavors: Cherry Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Key Lime Pie, Apple Pie, Blueberry Pie.

Also included: medicinal cup for accurate servings!
Flavors (click to see nutritional information):Cherry Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Key Lime Pie, Apple Pie, Blueberry Pie.

Fun fact: All sodas are completely vegetarian, certified kosher, and contain zero caffeine, calories, and carbs.
More.

A Brief History of Rhyme



MC Hawking is the persona of a nerdcore artist who parodies gangster rap and theoretical physicist Stephen W. Hawking. MC Hawking gained some popularity in the early 2000s, largely due to the availability of his music on the Internet. The music is in the rap style but the lyrics are synthesized by the now defunct commercial text-to-speech program WillowTalk. Originally released in MP3 format, after the popularity of the website MC Hawking got a record deal with Brash Music to release a so-called "greatest hits" album.

Background

MC Hawking's entire body of work and his rapper persona were created by American web developer Ken Leavitt-Lawrence. The official MC Hawking website (created and maintained by Leavitt-Lawrence) is set to look like a personal fan site for the MC. From the mchawking.com home page: "While there are dozens of other sites on the web devoted to Stephen Hawking's scientific achievements, I am unaware of a single site (aside from this one) devoted to his career as a lyrical terrorist."

The lyrics are a mixture of gangsta rap topics, science topics and Stephen Hawking quotes (such as the famous "When I hear of Schrödinger's cat, I reach for my gun."). Stephen Hawking has said that he is "flattered, as it's a modern day equivalent to Spitting Image". [1] Among subjects of MC Hawking songs are various scientific topics, Hawking's professional relationships with MIT rivals, as well as the standard fare of gangsta rap, including street violence and drug use.

The beats for MC Hawking are provided by DJ Doomsday. Most of the beats are samples of classic hip hop tracks, or taken from commercial royalty-free loop libraries.

The lyrics reflect an insight in to many aspects of current scientific thought and a surprising lyrical flow:

* "I explode like a bomb. No one is spared. My power is my mass times the speed of light squared." - From "E = MC Hawking"

Trivia

* The program used to create the Hawking voice is called WillowTALK, a software program that is no longer available.

Hilarious. Click to Listen to MC Hawkings. More info.

Malevolent Nuzzle Engrish


Yu-Gi-Oh! playing cards have some of the most bizarre names I've ever seen, some highlights:
  • Mystic Plasma Zone
  • Magic Jammer
  • Gazelle the King of Mythical Beasts
  • Beaver Warrior
  • Man-Eating Treasure Chest
  • Pineapple Blast
  • Miracle Jurassic Egg
  • Whirlwind Weasle
  • Swift Birdman Joe
  • Mokey Mokey
  • My Body as a Shield
  • Pandemonium Watchbear
  • Unshaven Angler
More from yugiohcardguide.com, a really complete Yu-Gi-Oh! card pictures and information site.

Is this because of Engrish? (follow the link for tons of mistranslation entertainment)

Thanks to Jonathan G.

Google Maps + Wiki Mashup


Wikimapia is a Web 2.0 Google Maps + Wiki mash up. Basically a Geo-based wiki. Very cool, check it out.

Thanks to M. Batalha.

Photos from Brazil Airplane Accident



These were allegedly found in a digital camera from one of the passengers on the Gol Airlines flight that crashed (read here for more on the accident). Translation from the email that had the photos:

The photos were found on a Casio Z750 digital camera, between debris on "Serra do Cachimbo" hills. Although the equipment was destroyed, the Memory Stick card was recovered.

Major A. Nelson of the Air Force is investigating how did the photos leaked on the Internet. Through the serial number on the camera it was possible to track the owner, Paulo G. Muller...

Air Force's Major A. Nelson, in a report declared the guilt lies with the traffic controllers from Brasilia, that don't speak English and did not press the emergency button on the control tower so the Air Force could intervene and remove the airplane from the collision route...


Here's why I think this is a hoax:
  • Casio cameras don't use memory sticks, only Sony.
  • If the photos leaked, how come the email carries even more information; did all that leak too?
  • I find it hard to believe they could track down the owner with the serial number of the camera.
  • How would the Air Force intervene and remove the airplane from the collision route on time? Makes no sense.
  • It looks like (and the email mentions this too) that the photographer standing. While the plane crashed? And he took photos the exact moment someone was sucked out?

Thanks to Mike W.

UPDATE: This is definetly a hoax. Gol's airplane's tails are red with the Gol logo (See here). These seem to be from the movie "Alive". Thanks to Barry G.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Can Second Life Fix Copyright?



Businesses in Second Life are in an uproar over a rogue software program that duplicates "in world" items. They should be. But the havoc sewn by Copybot promises to transform the virtual word into a bold experiment in protecting creative work without the blunt instrument of copyright law.

Second Life, operated by Linden Labs, has developed differently from other virtual worlds because it allows custom content and encourages in-world enterprise. It's a hospitable place for creators to sell virtual goods like clothing, furniture and hairstyles.

As in any economy, the value of those goods depends on their scarcity: people will pay more for a fantastic hairdo that no one else has. If Copybot can indiscriminately duplicate these items, no one has to pay the creator for them. Copying is a value killer.

So you would think that Linden Labs would be pulling out the big guns, including digital rights management technology, or DRM, and intellectual property lawyers, to fight the Copybot problem. After all, there's a lot of liability to go around.

But Linden Labs has confronted this threat to its bottom line in a different and novel way. DRM won't work, says CEO Phillip "Linden" Rosedale. Nothing can stop someone from copying textures or shapes off their own computer, any more than technology can stop someone from copying audio streaming through their speakers. Also, the company doesn't want to be in the business of adjudicating copyright disputes.

As Rosedale succinctly put it, given the ambiguity in copyright enforcement, Linden will inevitably make mistakes, and it doesn't want to make mistakes.

Instead, Linden Labs will take another approach. In the short run, it believes that use of Copybot violates its terms of service agreement, allowing the company to ban an offender's account. Long term, Linden says it will create better information identifying creators and dates of creation for in-world content. This will allow copyright owners who've been aggrieved to bring infringement claims against offenders personally, at least in theory.

More.

I need to start playing SL again (I'm Arpie Perkins).

Bluetooth Retro Handset / MySpace takes on Youtube

Not only this gadget is cool, and of course Mad's Dick DeBartolo is great, but here's MySpace surreptitiously adding embeddable videos... do they want to take on YouTube?
The Think Geek Retro Bluetooth Handset

Is There a Brain on Spears?


Britney Spears is planning to put her homemade sex tape on the internet to prevent estranged husband Kevin Federline from cashing in on it.

To prevent the former dancer from profiting from the footage, which could be worth up to £120 million, Britney has apparently made the decision to give it away for free.

Nyla Price, a friend of Britney's, is quoted by Britain's Daily Star newspaper as saying: "She figures she'll beat the sucker to the punch. Half of nothing is nothing and that's what her lying skunk of a husband will get if she gives that video away before he can find some sleazeball to buy it. He's the only one that comes out looking stupid."

More.


If Britney herself had this idea, I have gained a whole new respect for her...

Is "the Draft" a Draft?


U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., is not insane. His proposal to reinstate the draft has been met with a virulent response from the left and the right, and the outrage is understandable. However, most bewildered critics and Americans hearing about it on the news don’t have any more than an elementary understanding of Rangel’s proposal. Offering an idea this controversial is meant to trigger a larger debate: How can we sustain our military in a long-term struggle against pseudo-Islamic extremism and the philosophy of terror?

A mandatory draft would mean a dramatic cultural change for our nation. I’m not sold on the idea, but it’s worth serious thought. Further, Mr. Rangel is not suggesting that everyone of age should be shipped off to war. “Young people (would) commit themselves to a couple of years in service to this great republic, whether it’s our seaports, our airports, in schools (or) in hospitals,” he said in an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” He added that service would come with a promise of educational benefits.

Note the last paragraph, "a couple of years in service to this great republic, whether it’s our seaports, our airports, in schools (or) in hospitals". The media is not covering this aspect of the proposal. I think it's a worthy idea in itself, but even if only to spark debate about military service.


As far as politics go, it seems that politicians just want to say they're opposed to the draft because it's a political hot potato issue they don't want to associate with.


More.

Why Bother With Facts?


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House dismissed a classified CIA draft assessment that found no conclusive evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program, The New Yorker magazine reported.

The article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said the CIA's analysis was based on technical intelligence collected by satellites and on other evidence like measurements of the radioactivity of water samples.

"The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency," according to the article.

"A current senior intelligence official confirmed the existence of the CIA analysis, and told me that the White House had been hostile to it," it said.

The United States has accused Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian energy program.
(...)
"If the Democrats won on November 7th, the vice president said, that victory would not stop the administration from pursuing a military option with Iran," Hersh wrote, citing an unidentified source familiar with the discussion.

More.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pee Power



Urine Battery Turns Pee Into Power

To make the battery, Lee and his colleagues soaked a piece of paper in a solution of copper chloride and sandwiched it between strips of magnesium and copper. This sandwich was then laminated between two sheets of transparent plastic.

When a drop of urine is added to the paper through a slit in the plastic, a chemical reaction takes place that produces electricity, Lee said.

The prototype battery produced about 1.5 volts, the same as a standard AA battery, and runs for about 90 minutes. Researchers said the power, voltage, and lifetime of the battery can be improved by adjusting the geometry and materials used.

More.

Turistas in Brazil


"Turistas" is a tense, unsettling thriller centering around a diverse group of young adventure travelers. After a terrifying bus accident maroons them in a remote Brazilian beach town, they slowly discover that the white sand beaches and lush jungles are concealing a darker, unsettling secret...

The discovery of the beautiful and secluded beach gives way to a day in the sun and surf, an afternoon at the bar, and a night of exotic liquors and hot dancing with the locals. It's everything their vacation is supposed to be, until they wake up face down in the sand the following morning, drugged and robbed, their possessions gone, and the trace of very real danger in the air. There are places where Americans can travel without worry or fear, but this remote paradise is not one of them.

"TURISTAS" is the first American production to shoot entirely in the country of Brazil.

More.

My predictions:
- This movie will suck;
- People in Brazil will (rightfully) complain about the portrayal of the country;
- Someone will speak Portuguese with a bad American accent;
- Someone will speak English with a supposedly Brazilian accent, but actually Spanish;
- Oh, and the movie will suck.


P.S. At least from the clip above I see at least the extras in the movie actually speak Brazilian Portuguese, with a Rio de Janeiro accent, I might add.

Fire, Music and Physics

Sony Uses Tons of Paint


Our latest TV ad - featuring massive paint explosions - took 10 days and 250 people to film. Huge quantities of paint were needed to accomplish this, which had to be delivered in 1 tonne trucks and mixed on-site by 20 people.

The effect was stunning, but afterwards a major clean-up operation was required to clear away all that paint!

The cleaning took 5 days and 60 people. Thankfully, the use of a special water-based paint made it easy to scrape-up once the water had evaporated.

Keeping everyone safe was also an important factor. A special kind of non-toxic paint was used that is safe enough to drink (it contains the same thickeners that are sometimes used in soups). It was also completely harmless to the skin.

Nice! No CGI. More.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Brazilian Model Dies of Anorexia


The mother of 21-year-old Brazilian stunner ANA CAROLINA RESTON has made an emotional plea for parents to take better care of aspiring young models. Reston died from complications due to anorexia on Tuesday (14NOV06), sparking further outrage about underweight models in the fashion world. The latest tragedy comes after another model, LUISEL RAMOS, died of heart failure during a fashion show in Montevideo, Uruguay in August (06). Reston died in a Sao Paulo hospital from a generalised infection caused by anorexia, in which sufferers deprive themselves of food in order to be ultra-slim. She weighed only 88 pounds (40 kilograms) - the weight of an 11-year-old girl. And now her grief-stricken mother is speaking out, urging other parents of wannabe models to keep a close watch on their daughters' eating habits. MIRIAM RESTON says, "Take care of your children... No money is worth the life of your child, not even the most famous (fashion) brand is worth this."

From here.
Girls especially, please get into your heads that the images you see are just not true. Click here to see what I'm talking about (I blogged this link a while ago), or watch the excellent video below.

Public Beer Relief


In an effort to handle its nighttime public urination problem, Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is considering installing urinals that disappear below street level during the day. Unlike the automated, self-cleaning toilets planned for Toronto and Vancouver, which are enclosed booths with doors that that automatically open after a set time period, the Urilift system is a two-meter high stainless steel cylinder with three alcoves, each with a urinal, and no doors.

By day, the Urilift is lowered below street level for a nice clean look. Then at night, an operator comes by with a remote and the Urilift hydraulically lifts to sidewalk level in about two minutes. Then the unit is ready to serve all the nighttime party animals who don’t mind peeing in a very exposed public urinal.

More.


Geez, this is the second urinal story here... what's up with that?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Nail This!


Now this is one of the best ideas I've seen in a while. By re-engineering something as simple as a nail, you can improve the chances of houses whitstanding hurricanes and earthquakes... for an alleged cost of about $15/house! Beautiful.
There are four main features to the [Bostitch] hurriquake nail: the head, the shear shank, the body, and the deep ring anchors. The head is 25% larger than conventional nails and is marked for easy code inspection. The shear shank has great sheer strength at a major stress point. The body is made of “improved plastic collation” that allows for easier driving. And the deep ring anchors have tremendous holding power. The net result is a 2x resistance to high winds. It is rated up to 170 mph winds. But this is the hurriquake nail. It is also built to withstand earthquakes too.

In fact, the nail can decrease structural failure in earthquakes by up to 50%. This is where the shear shank does a good job. The perpendicular forces of an earthquake acting on the nail usually break it. The hurriquake nail does a better job in that area. This is a smart project because it basically covers the entire US in terms of practicality. You will probably be dealing with high winds or earthquakes. Maybe not all the time, but the cost is pretty minimal for better protection.

More.

Produced by Bostitch.

Heard on the Daily GizWiz.

Oozing Conspiracy


From NYMag.com... Not very new (from March 2006), and it oozes so much conspiracy theory that I wasn't able to read through all the 9 pages. I think it's worth the mention, though, even if only for entertainment purposes.
How, if no steel-frame building had ever collapsed from fire, did three such edifices fall that day, including 7 World Trade Center, which was not hit by any airplane?

And why, if hydrocarbon-fueled fire maxes out at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and steel melts at 2,700 degrees, did the towers weaken sufficiently to fall in such a short time—only 56 minutes in the case of the South Tower?

And why, if the impact destroyed the planes’ supposedly crash-proof flight-recorder black boxes, was the FBI able to find, in perfect condition, the passport of Satam al Suqami, one of the alleged American Airlines Flight 11 hijackers?

And how to explain the nonperformance of the FAA and NORAD?

How could they, an hour after the first World Trade Center crash, allow an obviously hostile airplane to smash into the Pentagon, headquarters of the entire military-industrial complex, for chrissakes? And why did the Defense Department choose to stage an extraordinary number of military exercises on 9/11—occupying matériel and spreading confusion about who was who on that day?

And why was it so important, as decreed by Mayor Giuliani, to clear away the debris, before all the bodies were recovered?

And what about the short-selling spree on American and United airlines stock in the days before the attacks? Betting on the stocks to go down—was this real sicko Wall Street insider trading?

There were so many questions. But when it came to the big “why” of 9/11, there was only the classic conspiratorial query: “Who benefits?”

Check out this previous post for related entertainment.

O.J. Simpson's Confession


Publisher calls book a confession by O. J. Simpson

The publisher of a book by O. J. Simpson, in which he hypothesizes about how he could have committed the 1994 murder of his ex-wife and her friend, said on Thursday that she believed Simpson's statements were, in fact, a confession.

Titled "If I Did It," the book is scheduled for release on Nov. 30. A two-part television interview of Simpson is to be broadcast on Fox on Nov. 27 and Nov. 29.

Regan also said she was told that the advance and royalties for the book, which was written with an uncredited ghostwriter, would go to Simpson's children and not to him. Simpson owes $33.5 million plus accumulated interest to the victims' families after being judged responsible for the deaths in civil court.

Denise Brown, the sister of Nicole Brown Simpson, issued a statement accusing Regan of "promoting the wrongdoing of criminals."

Regan defended her actions, saying that she was approached with the idea of a book by "a manager who represents a third party," and that the third party owned the rights to the story.

"We contracted with the third party," she said. "I was told that the money would go to his children. They said the money was not going to Simpson. If it is I hope Fred Goldman and the Browns and everyone else can get it."

Asked if she would help the victims' families gain access to the money to help satisfy the court judgment against Simpson, Regan said, "If they want any information I'm happy to give it to them."

More.


Ok... I'm not sure if I buy the "money is not going to OJ" part, but I hope it's true. Skipping over the fox interview is probably a good idea in any case, since Fox is probably paying OJ.

Tech Talk: Cross-Domain Javascript Injection (XDJI)


Disclaimer: If tech stuff is not your turf, just skip over this one,ok?


Although I don't usually do a lot of very specific tech-talk here, I coined a term that I want to record: XDJI, or Cross-Domain JavaScript Injection.


It is covered here, although not with this name:
Making requests to third-party web services from an AJAX application is a pain, but new web services that offer the option of returning JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) instead of XML can provide significant relief. In fact, if you make web services requests using the dynamic script tag approach -- and the web service lets you specify a JavaScript callback function -- you can have unfettered access to the web service in a seamless, cross-domain, cross-browser fashion.

This is covered by the DOJO Ajax framework ScriptSrcIO, which solves most of the problems the article mentions with this technique.

1000 Year Old Nanotube Swords


Think carbon nanotubes are new-fangled? Think again. The Crusaders felt the might of the tube when they fought against the Muslims and their distinctive, patterned Damascus blades.

Sabres from Damascus, now in Syria, date back as far as 900 AD. Strong and sharp, they are made from a type of steel called wootz.

Their blades bear a banded pattern thought to have been created as the sword was annealed and forged. But the secret of the swords' manufacture was lost in the eighteenth century.

Materials researcher Peter Paufler and his colleagues at Dresden University, Germany, have taken electron-microscope pictures of the swords and found that wootz has a microstructure of nano-metre-sized tubes, just like carbon nanotubes used in modern technologies for their lightweight strength.

The tubes were only revealed after a piece of sword was dissolved in hydrochloric acid to remove another microstructure in the swords: nanowires of the mineral cementite.


More.

Italian Police Lamborghini


Nice!

Good Deal on Roomba


Really good deal on Woot. Roomba Discovery for $155, shipped. This would be a great christmas gift. This will probably sell out fast.


BTW, Woot is a very interesting site. They sell only one product a day, usually a very good deal.

Animusic

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fire and Ice... Cream


Scott Wilson won't eat his newest flavor of ice cream.

He warns customers at his ice cream shop away from it. And he's not even sure whether he'll make another batch when he runs out.

It's called Cold Sweat.

Along with milk, sugar and the other usual ingredients, the ice cream is made with three kinds of peppers and two kinds of hot sauce. It's so spicy that just touching it makes your fingers feel hot.

Yummy.


Personally, I've had great spicy ice cream: Ginger is an easy classic (available at Whole Foods and others), ColdStone had Wasabi Ice Cream at one point, and I've had white chocolate and red peppercorns, which was very good.

I also highly recommend black pepper on chocolate ice cream (on hot chocolate too, BTW!)


Also see this recipe from John C. Dvorak...

The Original '96 Google Storage


The development of the Google algorithms was carried on on a variety of Computers, mainly provided by the NSF-DARPA-NASA-funded Digital Library project at Stanford. Click to see the equipment in its laboratory setting on the basement floor of Gates Information Sciences. Crawling the web to obtain its link structure required an enormous amount of storage in comparison with typical student projects at that time. We show here the original storage assembly, containing 10 4 Gigabyte disk drives, giving 40 Gbytes total.

More.

Durian Fruit


Interesting. The text is quite funny too.
The durian is a large, spiky fruit, native to the tropical rainforests of South-East Asia - where is is known as "the king of the fruits".

It is known to those who hate it for its penetrating, powerful smell - and to those who love it for its wonderful taste.

The texture is like a sort of slighly fibrous custard.

The taste is unique. Custard, almonds, and perhaps a hint of garlic. Or perhaps banana, papaya, vanilla, and - rotting onions.

To those who appreciate it, eating durian is often an incredible, beautiful experience.

It seems similar to the Jackfruit, very common in Brazil.

More here and here.

Sacha "Borat" Cohen Lawsuit Fest



So, the guy makes a really funny movie, is really successful (except he doesn't get paid that much, really) and what happens? People sue him.
NOV. 7 Turkish freelance journalist Mahir Cagri -- who wears bad suits, sports a moustache, is obsessed with sex and speaks in mangled English -- claims Cohen ripped off the Borat character from him. He says he's considering a lawsuit unless Cohen apologizes publicly. Skeptics wonder why he waited until after the film's huge opening weekend to speak out -- and if he would have done the same if it had stiffed.

[Ed. Note: It seems the Borat character dates from before Mahir's Internet Celeb status]

NOV. 10 Two South Carolina frat boys, who are seen making racist and sexist comments in the movie, sue Cohen and the producers for US$25,000, claiming they were duped into participating and suffered humiliation and mental distress as a result. They also say they signed release forms to appear in the film only after producers intentionally get them drunk. Skeptics note the boys didn't need much prodding to imbibe -- or decry the demise of slavery, for that matter -- on screen.

NOV. 11 An out-of-costume Cohen reportedly gets punched in the face in Manhattan when he tried some Borat shtick on a non-amused passerby, who wailed away on Cohen until his drinking buddy for the evening, actor Hugh Laurie (of House fame), came to his rescue. Skeptics smell a rat, wondering why Cohen -- who's basically lived the last six months as Borat -- would ever do such a thing.

NOV. 14 Dirt-poor villagers in tiny Glod, Romania -- which stars as Borat's Kazakh hometown in the movie -- threaten to sue the filmmakers for mocking them and -- perhaps warming up to the ways of Hollywood -- for not giving them a share of Borat's box-office haul.

More.

Listen up... you know who really makes money in lawsuits? The lawyers.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Google Apps for Mobile Phones


Google has some really cool mobile apps. I've been using Gmail and Google Maps and they're really good. Go to gmail.com/app and www.google.com/gmm through your mobile browser to download the apps to your phone.

Ten People = 80% of all Spam?



Note sure if I believe this...

From the Inquirer:
According to Security Pro News, Spamhaus thinks that there are only ten people that are responsible for most of the spam in the world.

The worst is a "multi-aliased spammer" known variously as Alex or Alexey who lives in the Ukraine. Alex is alleged to work with Russian spam bandits called Pavka/Artofit, which use spam bots to churn out junk.

Leo Kuvayev, number two on the list, who also worked with Pavka/Artofit, has been in hiding after a Massachusetts court handed down $37 million in fines in October 2005 against him for his operations in the US.

Other names include Michael Lindsay of iMedia Networks who Spamhaus says runs a "full-fledged spam-hosting operation" and Jeffrey Peters who runs a fake Russian ISP for spam operations.

Four of the top ten spammers are from Russia, and one from the Ukraine works. Two are from the US, with the others from Israel, Hong Kong, and Canada.

More.

Image from 419 eater.

Family Who Walks on All Fours


From the BBC:
Three of the sisters and one brother have only ever walked on two hands and two feet, but another sister alternates between a bipedal and quadrupedal gait. Another brother walks on two feet all the time, but only with difficulty.

The siblings live with their parents and five other brothers and sisters. They were born with what looks like a form of brain damage.

MRI scans seem to show that they have a form of cerebellar ataxia, which affects balance and coordination.



Video here
.


I'm not totally buying this as a genetic scenario, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I love the smell of MetaSurfing in the morning


From The Movie Quote Generator:
I love the smell of MetaSurfing in the morning.

Apocalypse Now (1979)
(the word was 'napalm')

Very cool, click for more.

Thanks to M. Chow

Presidential Marketing for Dell?


GWB:"When people see carnage on their DELL Television screens..."

WTH? 

Dolphins Sing "Batman"


Scientists have taught dolphins to combine both rhythm and vocalisations to produce music, resulting in an extremely high-pitched, short version of the Batman theme song.

The findings, outlined in two studies, are the first time that nonhuman mammals have demonstrated they can recognise rhythms and reproduce them vocally.

"Humans are sensitive to rhythms embedded in sequences of sounds, but we typically consider this skill to be part of processing for language and music, cognitive domains that we consider to be uniquely human," says Professor Heidi Harley, lead author of both studies.



More.

Also: Dolphins use tools!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Multiply 3.0


Multiply, a social network that aims to foster connections between your real-world friends and relatives, are launching the latest version of their site today (Multiply is also a Mashable sponsor). The Florida-based company was founded at the end of 2003 and received $6 million in funding earlier this year.

Multiply is a very cool service, created by some very clever people I've had the chance to meet. Check it out.

From
Reuters.

Battery Fire Video


We intentionally created conditions in which the Li-ON battery pack would explode inside a generic portable. The results are dramatic. There are numerous conditions where these fires can occur in real life. Faulty battery packs (driving the recalls), faulty protection circuits inside the PC, exposure to excessive heat, and blunt force are some of the major ways that this could happen to you.

Sony's YouTube Bites


Sony's Grouper is offering some free famous movie clips. Worth checking out.
Months before YouTube made headlines in business magazines across the country for its sale to Google, Sony Pictures had already snapped up a smaller site of its own called Grouper. Since giving away free video clips is not a stellar business model, Sony and Grouper hit on a new plan to boost publicity and revenues: give away famous clips for free.

As part of Grouper's new "ScreenBites" program, the company is making available 100 of the most "famous scenes" from the Sony Pictures library. Consumers will be able to watch the clips for free, but can also embed them in blogs and websites. If you thought MySpace was annoying before, just wait until half of the pages include De Niro's "You talkin' to me?" bit.
From Ars Technica.

Parkour/ Martial Arts Video


I wish I could do that stuff...

From Darth Vader to Reagan's Brain in Schwarzenegger


Really funny stuff. Check out alt.NPR Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything, especially The MasturVader installment:

This piece was truly a collaboration, the sort I hadn't been a part of before. Ben called me and said he was doing a show called "The Dark Side" in two weeks and would I want to write something with him. He had a sketch of an idea about a Darth Vader impersonator who was pathologically obsessed with the character, even after his obsession had alienated the people who allowed him to live his dream. He wanted to write it as a mock public radio news report which is also something I'd never done before. After a couple of phone conversations just brainstorming different plot twists and details, Ben hammered out a rough, partial outline and I e-mailed him back with the first few minutes of the story. Ben e-mailed me back with changes. I changed his changes and e-mailed back more script. It went on this way for a week until I was sitting on Ben's couch reading the final script into his mini-disc recorder. (And even then we argued about the ending until we came up with some writing we both agreed on.) I recorded the "tracks" first, then me-as-interviewer asking "Darth" questions, then me-as-"Darth."
Thanks to Senta M.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Real Time Machine

This is a very cool feature of Mac OS X Leopard.

More (and higher quality video) at Apple.

SearchMash Ungooglified


Those curious about what enhancements Google may implement in its search engine should check out a new site called SearchMash.

Operated by Google, SearchMash is a testing ground for user interface changes that may or may not graduate to the Google.com search engine, a company spokeswoman said via e-mail.
(...)
The experimental search engine looks very different from Google's Web sites and lacks Google branding. In this way, Google believes the site will yield more objective feedback from users, the spokeswoman said.

More from InfoWorld.

Try SearchMash here.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Black Friday


Plan your Black Friday shopping here! Scanned ads.

Beryl 3d Window Manager for Linux

Pretty impressive. Let's see Windows (easily) do that...

Beryl is a combined window manager and compositing manager that runs on top of Xgl or AIGLX using OpenGL to provide effects accelerated by a 3D graphics card on the desktop.
More.

Vertical Mice




The 3M Ergonomic Optical Mouse positions the hand in a vertical position, as opposed to the not-as-healthy horizontal position with regular mice. This vertical position is also known as a "handshake" position, which enables the user to operate the mouse with very little wrist movement and absolutely no finger movement. You are required to mobilize the arm a bit more than usual, but anyone with RSI or pain in the fingers or wrist will appreciate the rest they get from the mouse.

I really like the idea, and the 3M (black) for $50 is a good deal. More.

Blurring the Line Between Books and Games


Hugo and Nebula award-winning sci-fi and fantasy author Orson Scott Card has made a name for himself with best sellers like Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. Now he's taking his storytelling abilities to the world of video games with independent game developer Chair Entertainment.

While Card's writing fueled classic LucasArts games The Dig and The Secret of Monkey Island, his latest book, Empire, is part of a multiformat franchise that was conceived from the ground up for video games, comic books, novels and films.

Empire, which hits bookstores Nov. 28 from Tor Publishing, is set in a near-future America in which a civil war has erupted between the political left and the right. Card was involved from day one in building the franchise across entertainment mediums. He took some time to talk about his latest venture and to explain why he doesn't enjoy playing video games any more.

More on Wired.

How Will Elections Affect Technology?


History will record the Democratic landslide of 2006 as a stinging rebuke of President Bush's war policy and the end of one-party rule in Washington. How it will record the election's impact on technology issues is less certain.

On the face of it, the Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives -- and appearing likely to hold a one-seat majority in the Senate -- would seem to be a positive in areas such as stem-cell research and the safeguarding of personal privacy, where technology plays a crucial role. But since nothing is a given in American politics, the best we can do is take an educated guess at what Tuesday's results might portend for the industry.

Wired News assesses the results from races deemed important because of their probable impact in several major areas, including stem-cell research, climate change, privacy and security, intellectual property and the gaming industry.

More from Wired.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lenses For Cell Phones


Very interesting. I didn't know this existed.
Are these extra plastic lenses for camera phones that you can get for 10 euros any good? If you asked me this question last month I would have said they are just toys and worthless. Now I say they are definitely worth the 10 euros though they might be toys (I ordered my from an finnish online gadget store). Let´s have a look at the photos I took.
More.

Sports News: CBSSports.com