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.

Sports News: CBSSports.com