Tuesday, December 30, 2008

LG Introduces Wrist Cell Phone

Korea-based LG has introduced its latest mobile device, the LG-GD910 wrist-phone featuring support for both 3G and HSDPA technology. The user interface is presented through a 1.43-inch color LCD touchscreen, while a video camera has been integrated into the watch face for video recording or conferencing.

The device also offers text-to-speech (TTS) capabilities, Bluetooth, MP3 playback and voice dialing with speech recognition. The company claims download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps when using HSDPA.

The LG-GD910 is scheduled for an official debut at CES in January.

More from HitChrome

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bio-Printing Technology To Produce Functional Human Organs

Medical science could change forever thanks to a “special” inkjet-printer as a Japanese professor says that his machine could generate human organs. Makoto Nakamura from the Toyama University, Japan claims that the technology is very simple and it works just like a conventional inkjet printer, but instead of jetting out ink droplets, the machine will jet out hundreds, maybe thousands of cells per second.

The professor from Toyama city is not sure that the inkjet printer-like machine can produce human organs, but it’s worth trying as the preliminary tests were encouraging.

“It would be like building a huge skyscraper on a micro level using different kinds of cells and other materials instead of steel beams, concrete and glass,” said Nakamura. “Ultimately I hope to make a heart.”

Nakamura is aware that developing a heart could take him about 20 years, but he is also very confident that this technology could lead to producing good hearts for people in need of heart transplants. The advantage of this inkjet-like technique is that the heart will be produced with cells coming from the patient therefore the body will not reject it.

The organ printing technique should be world’s finest printed 3D structure, as Nakamura likes to say. The technology is also compared to slicing a fruit as the organ will be cut horizontally and the researchers will observe the pattern of the cells.

More about Bio-Printing

Thanks to RM

Monday, December 22, 2008

Diaper Rash Cream Makes New Light Source

Duke adjunct physics professor Henry Everitt, chemistry professor Jie Liu and their graduate student John Foreman have discovered that adding sulfur to ultra-fine powders of commonplace zinc oxide at about 1,000 degrees centigrade allows the preparation to convert invisible ultraviolet light into a remarkably bright and natural form of white light.

They are now probing the solid state chemistry and physics of various combinations of those ingredients to deduce an optimal design for a new kind of illumination. Everitt and Liu have applied for a patent on using the preparations as a light source. "Our target would be to help make solid state lighting with better characteristics than current fluorescent ones," said Everitt, who also works with Foreman at the Army's Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.

The researchers said they are producing white light centered in the green part of the spectrum by forming the sulfur-doped preparation into a material called a phosphor. The phosphor converts the excited frequencies from an ultraviolet light emitting diode (LED) into glowing white light.

Zinc oxide would be both a less-toxic and cheaper light source than the combinations used in today's commercial LEDs -- gallium nitride and cerium-doped yttrium oxide, they said. Cerium-doped yttrium oxide is also used in today's mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs, Everitt added.
Liu's lab originally stumbled on to the light emitting potential of sulfur-doped zinc oxide while studying its electronic conductivity. "We just lit it up with an ultraviolet laser and -- whammo -- there was a lot of white light coming out," Everitt said.

More at The Bright White Light article from Science Daily.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Time Traveling Watch Mystery

Time Traveling Watch Mystery

The watch ring was discovered as archeologists were making a documentary with two journalists from Shangsi town.

"When we tried to remove the soil wrapped around the coffin, a piece of rock suddenly dropped off and hit the ground with a metallic sound", said Jiang Yanyu, former curator of the Guangxi Autonomous Region Museum.

"We picked up the object, and found it was a ring. After removing the covering soil and examining it further, we were shocked to see it was a watch."

The time was stopped at 10:06am, and on the back was engraved the word "Swiss", reports the People's Daily.

Local experts say they are confused as they believe the tomb had been undisturbed since it was created during the Ming dynasty 400 years ago.

They have suspended the dig and are waiting for experts to arrive from Beijing and help them unravel the mystery. An archeologist joked saying "whoever traveled back in time, had lost his watch."

More at Holy-Web

Princess Bride Goes Star Wars

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Live Action Animal Kaleidoscope

Take two mirrors, a handful of mice and some slightly confused looking birds and this is what you get.
Via Holy Web!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Scientists extract images directly from brain

Researchers from Japan’s ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories have developed new brain analysis technology that can reconstruct the images inside a person’s mind and display them on a computer monitor, it was announced on December 11. According to the researchers, further development of the technology may soon make it possible to view other people’s dreams while they sleep.

The scientists were able to reconstruct various images viewed by a person by analyzing changes in their cerebral blood flow. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, the researchers first mapped the blood flow changes that occurred in the cerebral visual cortex as subjects viewed various images held in front of their eyes. Subjects were shown 400 random 10 x 10 pixel black-and-white images for a period of 12 seconds each. While the fMRI machine monitored the changes in brain activity, a computer crunched the data and learned to associate the various changes in brain activity with the different image designs.

Then, when the test subjects were shown a completely new set of images, such as the letters N-E-U-R-O-N, the system was able to reconstruct and display what the test subjects were viewing based solely on their brain activity.
For now, the system is only able to reproduce simple black-and-white images. But Dr. Kang Cheng, a researcher from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, suggests that improving the measurement accuracy will make it possible to reproduce images in color.

“These results are a breakthrough in terms of understanding brain activity,” says Dr. Cheng. “In as little as 10 years, advances in this field of research may make it possible to read a person’s thoughts with some degree of accuracy.”

The researchers suggest a future version of this technology could be applied in the fields of art and design — particularly if it becomes possible to quickly and accurately access images existing inside an artist’s head. The technology might also lead to new treatments for conditions such as psychiatric disorders involving hallucinations, by providing doctors a direct window into the mind of the patient.
ATR chief researcher Yukiyasu Kamitani says, “This technology can also be applied to senses other than vision. In the future, it may also become possible to read feelings and complicated emotional states.”

The research results appear in the December 11 issue of US science journal Neuron.

More on Brain Imaging
Original article in Japanese

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bees Dance to Quantum Fields and Six-Dimensions

When a bee finds a source of food, he realized, it returns to the hive and communicates the distance and direction of the food to the other worker bees, called recruits. On the honeycomb which Von Frisch referred to as the dance floor, the bee performs a "waggle dance," which in outline looks something like a coffee bean--two rounded arcs bisected by a central line. The bee starts by making a short straight run, waggling side to side and buzzing as it goes. Then it turns left (or right) and walks in a semicircle back to the starting point. The bee then repeats the short run down the middle, makes a semicircle to the opposite side, and returns once again to the starting point.

It is easy to see why this beautiful and mysterious phenomenon captured Shipman's young and mathematically inclined imagination. The bee's finely tuned choreography is a virtuoso performance of biologic information processing. The central "waggling" part of the dance is the most important. To convey the direction of a food source, the bee varies the angle the waggling run makes with an imaginary line running straight up and down. One of Von Frisch's most amazing discoveries involves this angle. If you draw a line connecting the beehive and the food source, and another line connecting the hive and the spot on the horizon just beneath the sun, the angle formed by the two lines is the same as the angle of the waggling run to the imaginary vertical line. The bees, it appears, are able to triangulate as well as a civil engineer.

Direction alone is not enough, of course--the bees must also tell their hive mates how far to go to get to the food. "The shape or geometry of the dance changes as the distance to the food source changes," Shipman explains. Move a pollen source closer to the hive and the coffee-bean shape of the waggle dance splits down the middle. "The dancer will perform two alternating waggling runs symmetric about, but diverging from, the center line. The closer the food source is to the hive, the greater the divergence between the two waggling runs."

If that sounds almost straightforward, what happens next certainly doesn't. Move the food source closer than some critical distance and the dance changes dramatically: the bee stops doing the waggle dance and switches into the "round dance." It runs in a small circle, reversing and going in the opposite direction after one or two turns or sometimes after only half a turn. There are a number of variations between species.

Von Frisch's work on the bee dance is impressive, but it is largely descriptive. He never explained why the bees use this peculiar vocabulary and not some other. Nor did he (or could he) explain how small-brained bees manage to encode so much information.

One day Shipman was busy projecting the six-dimensional residents of the flag manifold onto two dimensions. The particular technique she was using involved first making a two-dimensional outline of the six dimensions of the flag manifold. This is not as strange as it may sound. When you draw a circle, you are in effect making a two-dimensional outline of a three-dimensional sphere. As it turns out, if you make a two-dimensional outline of the six-dimensional flag manifold, you wind up with a hexagon. The bee's honeycomb, of course, is also made up of hexagons, but that is purely coincidental. However, Shipman soon discovered a more explicit connection. She found a group of objects in the flag manifold that, when projected onto a two-dimensional hexagon, formed curves that reminded her of the bee's recruitment dance. The more she explored the flag manifold, the more curves she found that precisely matched the ones in the recruitment dance. "I wasn't looking for a connection between bees and the flag manifold," she says. "I was just doing my research. The curves were nothing special in themselves, except that the dance patterns kept emerging." Delving more deeply into the flag manifold, Shipman dredged up a variable, which she called alpha, that allowed her to reproduce the entire bee dance in all its parts and variations. Alpha determines the shape of the curves in the 6-D flag manifold, which means it also controls how those curves look when they are projected onto the 2-D hexagon. Infinitely large values of alpha produce a single line that cuts the hexagon in half. Large' values of alpha produce two lines very close together. Decrease alpha and the lines splay out, joined at one end like a V. Continue to decrease alpha further and the lines form a wider and wider V until, at a certain value, they each hit a vertex of the hexagon. Then the curves change suddenly and dramatically. "When alpha reaches a critical value," explains Shipman, "the projected curves become straight line segments lying along opposing faces of the hexagon."
If Shipman is correct, her mathematical description of the recruitment dance would push bee studies to a new level. The discovery of mathematical structure is often the first and critical step in turning what is merely a cacophony of observations into a coherent physical explanation. In the sixteenth century Johannes Kepler joined astronomy's pantheon of greats by demonstrating that planetary orbits follow the simple geometric figure of the ellipse. By articulating the correct geometry traced by the heavenly bodies, Kepler ended two millennia of astronomical speculation as to the configuration of the heavens. Decades after Kepler died, Isaac Newton explained why planets follow elliptical orbits by filling in the all-important physics--gravity. With her flag manifold, Shipman is like a modern-day Kepler, offering, in her words, "everything in a single framework. I have found a mathematics that takes all the different forms of the dance and embraces them in a single coherent geometric structure."

Shipman is not, however, content to play Kepler. "You can look at this idea and say, `That's a nice geometric description of the dance, very pretty,' and leave it like that," she says. "But there is more to it. When you have a physical phenomenon like the honeybee dance, and it follows a mathematical structure, you have to ask what are the physical laws that are causing it to happen."

Researchers have in fact already established that the dance is sensitive to such properties. Experiments have documented, for example, that local variations in Earth's magnetic field alter the angle of the waggling runs. In the past, scientists have attributed this to the presence of magnetite, a magnetically active mineral, in the abdomen of bees. Shipman, however, along with many other researchers, believes there is more to it than little magnets in the bees' cells. But she tends not to have much professional company when she reveals what she thinks is responsible for the bees' response. "Ultimately magnetism is described by quantum fields," she says. "I think the physics of the bees' bodies, their physiology, must be constructed such that they're sensitive to quantum fields--that is, the bee perceives these fields through quantum mechanical interactions between the fields and the atoms in the membranes of certain cells."
There is some research to support the view that bees are sensitive to effects that occur only on a quantum-mechanical scale. One study exposed bees to short bursts of a high-intensity magnetic field and concluded that the bees' response could be better explained as a sensitivity to an effect known as nuclear magnetic resonance, or NMR, an acronym commonly associated with a medical imaging technique. NMR occurs when an electromagnetic wave impinges on the nuclei of atoms and flips their orientation. NMR is considered a quantum mechanical effect because it takes place only if each atom absorbs a particular size packet, or quantum, of electro-magnetic energy.

More about the Bees Dancing

A young Chinese woman was left partially deaf following a passionate kiss from her boyfriend.
The 20-something from Zhuhai in Guangdong province arrived at hospital having completely lost the hearing in her left ear, said local reports.
"The kiss reduced the pressure in the mouth, pulled the eardrum out and caused the breakdown of the ear."

More: Suck the air out of the kiss of deaf

Monday, December 01, 2008

Venice Floods: The Difference Between Europe and The US? Look at people smiling through the ordeal

Check out the other pictures. How can they be like this? Let's ask FEMA... How about real preparation? Text-message warnings, workers setting up elevated platforms, etc.

Egyptian "Hulk" Supertstrong Man (maybe)

Egypt's strongest man generates 240 horsepower, is medically exempt from working because he might hurt someone in the workplace, and, well, it just gets better from there. Oh, and HE'S NEVER SLEPT...

Of course, he refuses to demonstrate too much to prevent a "burst of energy", so... I'd take it with a grain of salt.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Star Trek Trailer Looks Awesome!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Honeycomb Tires are Bullet-Proof and More

The University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Wausau, Wis., company have come up with a 37-inch, bullet and bomb-proof Humvee tire based on a polymeric web so cool looking there's no need for hub caps.

Resilient Technologies and Wisconsin-Madison's Polymer Engineering Center are creating a "non-pneumatic tire" (no air required) that will support the weight of add-on armor, survive an IED attack, and still make a 50 mph getaway. It's basically a round honeycomb wrapped with a thick, black tread.

The military wants an alternative to the current Humvee "run flat" tires, which despite the name, still need a minimal amount of air pressure to roll and can leave troops stranded after being shot or blown out.

This particular geometry also does a great job of reducing noise and heat levels while rolling-two common problems with past models.

Costs per tire are expected to be the same or less than current units. Delivery is anticipated for 2011.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Evolution of the USS Enterprise

Yesterday, Paramount released the first full photo of the USS Enterprise from JJ Abrams‘ Star Trek.

More Evolution of the Enterprise

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The opening chord to "A Hard Day’s Night" is also famous because, for 40 years, no one quite knew exactly what chord Harrison was playing.

Four years ago, inspired by reading news coverage about the song’s 40th anniversary, Jason Brown of Dalhousie’s Department of Mathematics decided to try and see if he could apply a mathematical calculation known as Fourier transform to solve the Beatles’ riddle. The process allowed him to decompose the sound into its original frequencies using computer software and parse out which notes were on the record.

It worked, to a point: the frequencies he found didn’t match the known instrumentation on the song. “George played a 12-string Rickenbacker, Lennon had his six string, Paul had his bass…none of them quite fit what I found,” he explains. “Then the solution hit me: it wasn’t just those instruments. There was a piano in there as well, and that accounted for the problematic frequencies.”

“Music and math are not really that far apart,” he says. “They’ve found that children that listen to music do better at math, because math and music both use the brain in similar ways. The best music is analytical and pattern-filled and mathematics has a lot of aesthetics to it. They complement each other well.”

More on the Mystery Beatles Chord

Futuristic Atlantis Hotel In Dubai

Looks a lot like the one here in the Bahamas. Look forward to visiting both. ;-)

More Atlantis

3D Printers Now as Cheap As Laser Printers Were

We do go on about the possibilities of downloadable designs, where you can pick the best from around the world and get it printed up at some form of 3D Kinko that might some day be in every neighbourhood.

Perhaps that vision isn't wild enough; the Ponoko blog notes that the desktop publishing revolution was born when the Apple LaserWriter was released in 1985 for $6995. Now Desktop Factory is launching a 3D printer that isn't much bigger than that laser printer, and at $5,000 in 2008 dollars a whole lot cheaper.
More about 3d printers.

Monday, October 27, 2008


NISG: Not Something I'd Google

For example:
- Britney Spears New Single: NSIG
- Pequena Sarah Palin: NSIG
- 2G1C/ Goatse/ Lemon Party: NSIG

Any other examples?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Face Music

Daito Manabe:Direction,programming and composer.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yeti (Bigfoot) Footprints Found in Nepal by Japanese Explorers

Footprints from the legendary Yeti have been found in the snow-covered slopes of the Himalayas, a Japanese team of explorers claimed today.

The adventurers could hardly contain their excitement as they told of finding the 8in-long footprints which bore a close resemblance to those of humans.

But, said team leader Yoshiteru Takahashi, they were not human - neither were they the footprints of wolves, deer or snow leopards.

Stories of the Yeti - also known as the Abominable Snowman - have been passed down through generations of Nepalese families whose ancestors have told of a half-man, half ape, living in the Himalayas, where the world's tallest mountain, Mt Everest, is located.

The yeti can be considered a Himalayan parallel to the Bigfoot legend of North America.

In 1954, the Daily Mail reported the discovery of hair specimens from what was said to be the scalp of a Yeti. Professor Frederick Woods Jones, an expert in human and comparative anatomy, failed to reach a conclusion, but said the dark brown hair was not from a bear or an anthropoid (manlike) ape.

More Yeti at the DailyMail

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Transformers Economics

From sinfest.

The Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever

Three gods A, B, and C are called, in some order, True, False, and Random. True always speaks truly, False always speaks falsely, but whether Random speaks truly or falsely is a completely random matter. Your task is to determine the identities of A, B, and C by asking three yes-no questions; each question must be put to exactly one god. The gods understand English, but will answer all questions in their own language, in which the words for yes and no are 'da' and 'ja', in some order. You do not know which word means which.

Details here (don't cheat!)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Real Transformer: The F-35B

Via Gizmodo, more details there.

The one depicted is the X-35 [the prototype that won the contract for the Joint Strike Fighter and became the F-35]. I don’t know who posted it on YouTube, but the level of NDA’s was substantial where we were not even allowed to showcase it on our demo reel.

The above looks like CGI though (not real footage), unlike the one below:

According to a friend, the problem with the vertical takeoff is exhaust. The engine tends to stall since there's no oxygen to draw in, so they need special absorbing landing pads.

Black Silicon Discovery: Digital Photography, Night Vision, Solar Cells, etc. Improved

With the accidental discovery of "black silicon," Harvard physicists may have very well changed the digital photography, solar power and night vision industries forever. What is black silicon, you say? Well, it's just as it sounds. Black silicon. It's what this revolutionary new material does that's important, starting with light sensitivity. Early indications show black silicon is 100 to 500 times more sensitive to light than a traditional silicon wafer.

To create the special silicon, Harvard physicist Eric Mazur shined a super powerful laser onto a silicon wafer. The laser's output briefly matches all the energy produced by the sun falling onto the Earth's entire surface at a given moment in time. To spice the experiment up, he also had researchers apply sulfur hexafluoride, which the semiconductor industry uses to make etchings in silicon for circuitry. Seriously, he did this just for kicks and to secure more funding for an old project.

“I got tired of metals and was worrying that my Army funding would dry up,” he said. “I wrote the new direction into a research proposal without thinking much about it — I just wrote it in; I don’t know why," he said.

The new experiment made the silicon black to the naked eye. Under an electron microscope, however, the dark sheen was revealed to be thousands, if not millions, of tiny spikes. As we said above, those spikes had an amazing effect on the light sensitivity of the wafer. Mazur said the material also absorbs about twice as much visible light as traditional silicon, and can detect infrared light that is invisible to today's silicon detectors.

Black Silicon at Gizmodo

More Mind Blowing Sun Photos & More

Click for More Sun Images.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How the markets really work (from 2007)

How did these comedians see it coming when financial reporters did not?
From here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Beautifful Sun Spot Picture


McCain Refuses to Shake Hands With Obama

I guess this makes sense in a world where you "refuse to sit down and face your enemies without preconditions"? Well... here is a "sit down" with rules and I'd say some pre-conditions as well... Then McCain acts like a child without manners? Shameful.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

SpaceX: Private Rocket Makes it to Space

SpaceX has made history. Its privately developed rocket has made it into space.
After three failed launches, the company founded by Elon Musk worked all of the bugs out of their Falcon 1 launch vehicles.
The entire spectacle was broadcast live from Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific. Cameras mounted on the spacecraft showed our planet shrinking in the distance and the empty first stage engine falling back to Earth.
Eight minutes after leaving the ground, Falcon 1 reached a speed of 5200 meters per second and passed above the International Space Station.


Terror in Dayton: Chemical Irritant Sprayed in Mosque

I've often said that the opposite of radical Muslims are NOT radical Christians. The opposite of radical religious nuts is a rational, independent thinker.

...several affected when a suspected chemical irritant was sprayed into the mosque at 26 Josie St., bringing Dayton police, fire and hazardous material personnel to the building at 9:48 p.m.

Someone "sprayed an irritant into the mosque," Dayton fire District Chief Vince Wiley said, noting that fire investigators believe it was a hand-held spray can.

According to fire dispatch communications, a child reported seeing two men with a white can spraying something into a window. That child was brought to the supervising firefighter at the scene.


This site says this came right after the release of an anti-muslim DVD, and claims:

"She told me that the gas was sprayed into the room where the babies and children were being kept while their mothers prayed together their Ramadan prayers. Panicked mothers ran for their babies, crying for their children so they could flee from the gas that was burning their eyes and throats and lungs. She grabbed her youngest in her arms and grabbed the hand of her other daughter, moving with the others to exit the building and the irritating substance there.

"The paramedic said the young one was in shock, and gave her oxygen to help her breathe. The child couldn't stop sobbing.

Palin/ Couric SNL Spoof

In case you haven’t heard, supposedly a segment of the sketch was taken verbatim from the actual interview. The lines in question:

FEY AS PALIN: “Like every American I’m speaking with, we’re ill about this. We’re saying, ‘Hey, why bail out Fanny and Freddie and not me?’ But ultimately what the bailout does is, help those that are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy to help…uh…it’s gotta be all about job creation, too. Also, too, shoring up our economy and putting Fannie and Freddy back on the right track and so healthcare reform and reducing taxes and reigning in spending…’cause Barack Obama, y’know…has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans, also, having a dollar value meal at restaurants. That’s gonna help. But one in five jobs being created today under the umbrella of job creation. That, you know…Also…”

From here.

CNN Laughs it up about it:

P.S. Also here's the debate spoof:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

10 Tips to Prevent Car Accidents

The Edmunds editors should know something about safety. Their jobs entail extensive test driving, and they've seen it all—or at least most of it—from closed-course tests to interaction with drivers on the L.A. Freeway. Here is what they recommend:

1. Stay out of the fast lane.
2. Keep your eyes scanning the area ahead.
3. Beware of blind spots.
4. Get 'racecar driver control' of the wheel (...) so that, with your arm outstretched and your back against the seat, your wrist could rest on the top of the wheel.
5. Place your hands at 9 and 3.
6. Judge drivers by their cars. Cars with body damage or dirty windows could be indicative of an inattentive driver.
7. Know thy vehicle.
8. Keep your vehicle in shape.
9. Nighttime may not be the right time.
10. Consider high-performance training.

Read more.

Thanks to T&J

Friday, September 19, 2008

What it costs to fire a worker around the world

America, New Zealand and Tonga are among the most company-friendly countries, requiring no penalties or compensation to fire a full-time employee of 20 years. By contrast, a business in Zimbabwe must shell out well over eight years' worth of pay to sack a worker. But companies in Venezuela and Bolivia are even more tied—workers there cannot be fired at all.

From the Economist.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Swipe: The Future of Text Input

Absolutely brilliant!

Swype provides a faster and easier way to input text on any screen. With one continuous finger or stylus motion across the screen keyboard, the patented technology enables users to input words faster and easier than other data input methods—at over 50 words per minute. The application is designed to work across a variety of devices such as phones, tablets, game consoles, kiosks, televisions, virtual screens and more.

Simply Trace a Path

The word “quick” was generated from tracing the path shown above in a fraction of a second, by roughly aiming to pass through the letters of the word. A key advantage to Swype is that there is no need to be very accurate, enabling very rapid text entry.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Breast cancer vaccine kills tumors in mice

DETROIT, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Wayne State University researchers say a breast cancer vaccine completely eliminated HER2-positive tumors in mice -- without any toxicity.

The study, published in the journal Cancer Research, suggests the vaccine could treat women with HER2-positive, treatment-resistant cancer or help prevent cancer recurrence. The researchers also say it might potentially be used in cancer-free women to prevent initial development of these tumors.

"The immune response against HER2-positive receptors we saw in this study is powerful, and works even in tumors that are resistant to current therapies," lead investigator Wei-Zen Wei says in a statement.

"The vaccine could potentially eliminate the need to even use these therapies."


Star Wars vs. Harry Potter

Funny. From here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008

Move Your Hand to Control the TV?

Scientists at a Toshiba research laboratory in Cambridge have created the technology that allows viewers to operate their TV purely by gestures.
Catherine Breslin, 22 demonstrates the hand signal which allows you to pause TV

For example, raising a hand in a 'stop' sign will pause the action on TV. Flapping a hand up or down can raise or lower the volume.

And the technology could be customised to suit individuals.

Touching your right ear, for instance, would increase volume, while touching your left ear would lower it. The software could also recognise viewers as they walk into a room and switch automatically to their favourite channel - opening a whole new area for family disputes.
Catherine Breslin, 22 demonstrates the hand signal which allows you to move the on
But, of course, there are always potential hazards, such as the TV misinterpreting a stretch or a sneeze.


Thanks to RM

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Creationist Paleontologists Discover Dinosaur Saddle

A team of creationist paleontologists from the Discovery Institute's main field research arm announced today that they had discovered the remains of a large manmade object confirmed to be an ancient dinosaur saddle. The Discovery Institute's discovery was discovered in the remote Dusty Rivers area of southwestern Arizona. A spokesman for the paleontological team said that the dinosaur saddle provides irrefutable proof that man and dinosaurs lived simultaneously, as predicted by most creationist or "intelligent design" doctrines.

"I can't tell you how thrilled we all were to stumble upon this groundbreaking historical find," said Dr. K. Firth Booble, leader of the expedition. "We knew there had to be some evidence for man-dinosaur concurrence buried somewhere around here, but didn't think we'd discover it so quickly."

Dr. Booble, who received his doctorate in paleontology from the respected Holy Patriot!™ Bible University and Correspondence College of Claptrappe, Oklahoma, had embarked on the search, funded by a $2 million Discovery Institute grant, expecting to remain in the field for at least two years. The dinosaur saddle was unearthed a mere two weeks after the expedition's launch.

"...we just started digging, and boom, there it was."

The stunning find, a large saddle Dr. Booble believes would have been used by early man in riding "a Velociraptor, or a small Stegosaurus" is in relatively good condition considering its age, which Dr. Booble estimates to be "between 6,000 and 6,500 years".

"We haven't yet found any human remains in the area, but that's merely a question of time," said Dr. Booble.

According to Dr. Booble and the Discovery Institute, a conservative think-tank based in Seattle with affiliates operating at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., dinosaurs were expelled from the Garden of Eden for excessive flatulence and "unruly behavior" at about the same time that Adam and Eve were forced to leave as a penalty for a serpent-related "apple conspiracy". Those descendants of Adam who were not captured and eaten by some of the larger carnivores are assumed to have domesticated the less spiky and more manageable species for livestock, along with cows, chickens, goats and pigs.

Read all here.

P.S. I think this is an Onion-like joke article, but I don't know anything more. The names indicate to me it's a big joke, but I'm sure some people would love to believe it.

As Adam Savage said:

What I do see as a huge issue is a very anti-science vibe. Like I said, the newspapers talking about evolution versus creationism is very much an attack on science as a type of religion—believing that the scientific method is some type of religious belief. And it's not! That kind of attack absolutely is damaging science exploration across the whole country. I do think that's a significant problem. And until we can get our head out of the sand and realize that science isn't about truth—it's why this debate about the "theory of evolution" bugs the hell out of me. What scientists mean by theory is very different than what people think.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Blogging from IM: IMified

Pretty cool... IMified (http://www.imified.com) provides IM widgets that let you do things straight from your IM client, very cool! I'm writing this from my IM. :-)

New Google Chrome Browser Available

Check it out here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chinese Discover Fortune Cookies

Here's a funny short video of Chinese people being exposed to fortune cookies (an American invention) for the first time:

Americans find high emotional attachment to the slips inside their cookies, looking to them for winning lottery numbers and becoming upset when the fortunes inside are unfortunate. The Chinese, on the other hand, would often tell me after trying the curved vanilla-flavored wafers, “Americans are so strange, why are they putting pieces of paper in their cookies?”

From BoingBoing

Zooming into Concrete

This video ... slowly zooms in on concrete until it reaches the atoms, while verbally explains what we're seeing.

Via here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight @ TED

About this talk

Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions -- motion, speech, self-awareness –- shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

About Jill Bolte Taylor

Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened -- and has become a powerful voice for brain recovery.

Go to TED

The Easy Glider

Not quite a segway killer, but interesting...

Kucinich @ DNC: Wake up America!

I like the energy. We need more of that.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Swedes Won't Allow Teaching Religion as Truth in Schools

The Swedish government has announced plans to clamp down hard on religious education. It will soon become illegal even for private faith schools to teach religious doctrines as if they were true. In an interesting twist on the American experience, prayer will remain legal in schools - after all, it has no truth value. But everything that takes place on the curriculum's time will have to be secular. "Pupils must be protected from every sort of fundamentalism," said the minister for schools, Jan Björklund.

Creationism and ID are explicitly banned but so is proselytising even in religious education classes. The Qur'an may not be taught as if it is true even in Muslim independent schools, nor may the Bible in Christian schools. The decision looks like a really startling attack on the right of parents to have their children taught what they would like. Of course it does not go so far as the Dawkins policy of prohibiting parents from trying to pass on their doctrines even in their own families - and, if it did, it would certainly run foul of the European convention on human rights. It does not even go as far as Nyamko Sabuni, the minister for integration - herself born in Burundi - would like: she wanted to ban all religious schools altogether. But it is still a pretty drastic measure from an English perspective.

In the background to these announcements comes the release of a frightening documentary film on Swedish jihadis, which follows young men over a period of two years on their slow conversion to homicidal lunacy.

IMNSHO, I think this is pretty sensible. As I've said before, the opposite of radical extremism from one religion is NOT radical extremism from another religion -- it's critical thinking.


Blue Pencil Monster

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Steepest Stairs I've Ever Seen

Very cool... anyone knows where this is?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dead Bigfoot Body Found in Georgia

It’s more than 7-feet tall. Weighs over 500 pounds and walked upright -- three "Bigfoot" seekers, including a Redwood City man, Wednesday claimed they have proof that they have found the body of the elusive creature in the wilds of Georgia.

And on Friday, at a news conference in Palo Alto, they say they will present DNA evidence to prove the carcass of “Rickmat” is that of a bigfoot.

Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer, Georgia residents who lead Bigfoot-tracking expeditions, say they found the body of what appears to be a Bigfoot in the woods of northern Georgia and will join local Bigfoot researcher Tom Biscardi at the news conference, according to Robert Barrows, who is publicizing the event.

Among the creatures's other physical characteristics of the body -- according to the hunters website -- http://www.searchingforbigfoot.com/ -- were flat feet similar to human feet. Its footprint is 16 ¾ inches long and the length from palm to tip of the middle finger is 11 ½ inches long.

"I think you'll find that this is the real deal," Barrows said of the alleged discovery.

More here and here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Human Beatbox Beardyman

Very cool video from Boing Boing.

Aussies crack cancer secret

AUSTRALIAN scientists are hoping to cure leukaemia, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis after their breakthrough discovery of how to stop killer blood cells growing.

The team has unlocked the secrets behind the protein which controls the way the blood cancer cells spread when it is damaged - and have found a way to stop its deadly process.

Work is now starting to design a drug to prevent the damaged proteins operating, effectively stopping the cancer as well as asthma and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

After spending a decade uncovering the structure of the receptor protein, which sits on the surface of white blood cells, lead researcher Professor Michael Parker, of Melbourne's St Vincent's Institute, said scientists could now build a drug to attach itself to the protein and stop it sending messages into the cells telling them to multiply unchecked.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Hope for end to rejection drugs

Scientists have developed a procedure which may help end the need for transplant patients to rely on powerful anti-rejection drugs.

The complex procedure involves mixing the patient's infection-fighting white blood cells with cells from the donor.

One patient went eight months without immunosuppressive drugs and others were switched to low doses.

The new technique involves giving transplant patients an infusion of specialised cells known as a transplant acceptance-inducing cells (TAICs).

The TAICs are created by isolating a type of white blood cell from the donor, and modifying them chemically in the lab.

Once modified, the cells gain the ability to kill off cells in the immune system which trigger the rejection process, and to boost the action of another type of immune cell which plays a beneficial role in guarding against rejection.

The cells are then cultured alongside those from the recipient - which helps prime the immune system further - before being injected into the patient.

The technique has been tested on kidney transplant patients, some of whom were given the cells before surgery, and others after the transplant, as an additional drug therapy.


Contagious cancer

The [Tasmanian] devil, known to science as Sarcophilus harrisii, lives mostly by scavenging and sometimes by predation. It will eat, in addition to kangaroo meat, chickens, fish, frogs, kelp maggots, lambs, rats, snakes, wallabies, and the occasional rubber boot. It can consume nearly half its own body weight in under an hour, and yet—with its black fur and its trundling gait—it looks like an underfed bear cub. Fossil evidence shows that devils inhabited all of Australia until about 500 years ago, when competition with dingoes and other factors caused them to die out everywhere but in Tasmania, which dingoes had yet to colonize. More recently, Tasmanian stockmen and farmers have persecuted devils with the same ferocity directed elsewhere at wolves and coyotes. The devils’ reproductive rate, opportunistic habits, and tolerance for human proximity, however, have allowed localized populations to persist or recover, and at the time of Baars’s 1996 visit, their total number was probably around 150,000.

On his earlier visits, Baars had seen at least ten devils every night, and they were quick to adjust to his presence. They would walk into his blind, into his tent, into his kitchen, and he could recognize returning individuals by the distinctively shaped white patches on their chests. This trip was different. On the first night, his bait failed to attract a single devil, and the second night was only a little better. He thought at first that maybe the stockmen and farmers had finally succeeded in wiping them out. Then he spotted a devil with a weird facial lump. It was an ugly mass, rounded and bulging, like a huge boil, or a tumor. Baars took photographs. More devils wandered in, at least one of them with a similar growth, and Baars took more pictures. This was no longer wildlife photography of the picturesque sort; it was, or anyway soon would become, forensic documentation.

Back in Hobart, Tasmania’s capital, Baars showed his pictures to Nick Mooney, a veteran officer of Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service who has dealt with the devil and its enemies for decades. Mooney had never seen anything like this. The lumps looked tumorous, yes—but what sort of tumor? Mooney consulted a pathologist, who suggested that the devils might be afflicted with lymphosarcoma, a kind of lymphatic cancer, maybe caused by a virus passed to the devils from feral cats. Such a virus might also be passed from devil to devil, triggering cancer in each.

The phenomenon of transmissible tumors isn’t confined to canines, Tasmanian devils, and Syrian hamsters. There have been human cases, too. Forty years ago a team of physicians led by Edward F. Scanlon reported, in the journal Cancer, that they had “decided to transplant small pieces of tumor from a cancer patient into a healthy donor, on a well informed volunteer basis, in the hope of gaining a little better understanding of cancer immunity,” which they thought might help in treating the patient. The patient was a fifty-year-old woman with advanced melanoma; the “donor” was her healthy eighty-year-old mother, who had agreed to receive a bit of the tumor by surgical transplant. One day after the transplant procedure, the daughter died suddenly from a perforated bowel. Scanlon’s report neglects to explain why the experiment wasn’t promptly terminated—why they didn’t dive back in surgically to undo what had been done to the mother. Instead, three weeks were allowed to pass, at which point the mother had developed a tumor indistinguishable from her daughter’s.

Weinberg went on to explain that the process is a little more complicated than classic Darwinian selection. Darwin’s version works by selection among genetic variations that differentiate one organism from another, and in sexually reproducing species those variations are heritable. But evolution in tumor lineages occurs by that sort of selection plus another sort—selection among epigenetic modifications of DNA. Epigenetic means outside the line of genetic inheritance: acquired by experience, by accident, by circumstance. Such secondary chemical changes to the molecule affect behavior, affect shape, and pass from one cell to another but do not, contrary to the analogy, pass from parent to offspring in sexual reproduction. These changes are peeled away in the process of meiosis (the formation of sperm and egg cells for sexual reproduction) but preserved in mitosis (the process of simple cell replication in the body). So cancerous cell reproduction brings such changes forward into the new cells, along with the fundamental genetic changes.

Does that mean tumors don’t evolve? Certainly not. They do. “It’s still Darwin,” Weinberg said. “It’s Darwin revised.”


New gene technique 'stops HIV in its tracks'

HIV can be stopped dead in its tracks using a revolutionary technique for "silencing" genes, a study has shown. The discovery raises the possibility of a treatment for HIV that does not involve potentially toxic anti-viral drugs.

Scientists have found that RNA interference – where genes are artificially silenced using a natural molecular switch in the cell – can inhibit the replication of HIV in human blood cells.

Professor Premlata Shankar of Texas Tech University, who carried out the work when she was at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said: "RNA interference has great potential as an antiviral treatment... We think it has real promise, but there is a lot more to be done."


Ferrofluid Magnetic Moving Sculptures

While most visual artists prefer traditional materials
such as oil, acrylic, bronze and ceramic, Tokyo-based
magnetic nanoparticles, ferrofluids often contain high
levels of iron and, as such, are deeply affected by
and responsive to the presence of magnetic fields.
While the NASA-developed ferrofluids are being used
increasingly for commercial applications - on
everything from compact disks to weight-responsive car
suspension systems - Kodama is revolutionary in
applying their widely dynamic qualities to the fine
arts arena.

Using a computer to manipulate electro-magnetic fields
in the sculptures, Kodama coerces her stunning
ferrfluid pieces to grow and disintegrate, flower and
shed, and constantly reinvent themselves without the
aid of animatronics or video wizardry.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Old Scool Dancing - Not So Old School With Daft Punk, eh?

Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment

New research with mice suggests that intravenous doses of vitamin C could one day reduce the size of cancerous tumors in people.

The findings are preliminary and still must be confirmed in humans. And even if the treatment works, it's not a cure but would likely be used in combination with other drugs, the researchers said.

Still, the research does show an unexpected use for vitamin C, which has previously been thought of as a nutrient, not a drug, said study co-author Dr. Mark Levine, chief of the U.S. National Institutes of Health's Molecular and Clinical Nutrition Section.

"There's potential promise that [vitamin C] is part of the armamentarium for treating some cancers," he said. "Which ones? We've got to do more and find out."

Vitamin C has long been one of the most respected of all vitamins, lauded for its supposed powers to treat many ills, from colds to heart disease. The late scientist Dr. Linus Pauling increased the vitamin's profile by touting it as a cancer treatment.

But getting heavy doses of vitamin C into the body is a challenge. Unlike some other vitamins, it's virtually impossible for people to overdose on vitamin C since the body only ingests a certain amount through the mouth and then stops allowing it to build up, Levine said. "The body wants to get to a certain place and no more," he said.
But Levine cautioned that the treatment isn't ready for prime time with humans. "Should patients with any kind of tumor go out and get IV ascorbate [vitamin C]? That's not the message here," he said.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Church Signs - Hopefully Not All Christians Are This Dumb

Not that all of these are completely dumb... but overall it doesn't bode well for Christianity.

More here.

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