Saturday, December 6, 2008

A fuw funny vids

Roomba Driver

SMB with an RC car?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Shrinking Glaciers Reveal Hidden Forests And A Warmer Climate

ScienceDaily (Dec. 5, 2008) — Uniquely old tree remains have recently been uncovered by the thawing of the rapidly shrinking Kårsa Glacier west of Abisko in Lapland, in northernmost Sweden. The finds show that in the last 7,000 years it has probably never been so warm as during the last century.

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IBM Launches Microsoft-Free Linux Virtual Desktop

Posted by kdawson on Friday December 05, @12:43PM

from the open-collaboration-client dept.
VorlonFog writes"According to Information Week, IBM has introduced a line of business computers that avoid Microsoft's desktop environment in favor of open source software. IBM worked with Canonical and Virtual Bridges to create the platform, which IBM claims saves businesses $500 to $800 per user on software licenses and an additional $258 per user 'since there is no need to upgrade hardware to support Vista and Office.'"

I just hung my lights

The wife has been on my case to get the Christmas lights up for a couple
 of weeks now. 
They are up now and for some reason she will not talk to me.

Light Echoes Solve Mystery of Tycho's Supernova

Posted by timothy on Friday December 05, @09:00AM

from the bouncy-bouncy dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes"Powerful telescopes in Hawaii and Spain are using 'light echoes' from the original supernova explosion that have bounced off dust in the surrounding interstellar clouds to identify the precise type of supernova that Tycho Brahe saw 436 years ago. Although the echoed light from Tycho's supernova is around 20 billion times fainter than the original light observed in 1572, the team took identical images of the sky a few months apart and then digitally subtracted one from the other to find evidence for several sets of light echoes rippling across patches of dust in the northern Milky Way. 'Using light echoes in supernova remnants is time-travelling in a way, in that it allows us to go back hundreds of years to observe the first light from a supernova event. We got to relive a significant historical moment and see it as the famed astronomer Tycho Brahe did hundreds of years ago,' said Tomonori Usuda, of the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii. Tycho's original observations were particularly important as he immediately concluded that the new star, visible even by day, could not be closer than the Moon challenging the Aristotelian view of the cosmos, widely accepted since ancient times, which held that the sky beyond the Moon never changed."

A Little Wine Boosts Omega-3 In The Body: Novel Mechanism For A Healthier Heart Found

ScienceDaily (Dec. 5, 2008) — Moderate alcohol intake is associated with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in plasma and red blood cells. This is the major finding of the European study IMMIDIET that will be published in the January issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Even the Army is Going Green(er)

army in the desertOkay, now the fight to beat global warming is getting real. The United States Army issued its first Sustainability Report in September, and I have to applaud them for their ambitious and outstanding example.

All new Army building construction will be LEED certified, they're decreasing their water use (already down 33% between 2004 and 2007!) and they're insulating tents!

Some of it is for the environment, but most of it is to help the cash strapped organization save some money. As we all know, greener practices make excellent financial sense. 

They're still trying to figure out how to reduce their production of toxic waste, and using renewable energy is still more of an idea than a practice. You have to believe that there is enough sun and wind in Afghanistan and Iraq to power all of the armies in the world -- and it's basically free -- so I'm sure we'll see more activity in that area.

It's a great start - GO ARMY!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Flying Cars the way of the Future?

What if you could travel "as the crow flies" with no more of a carbon footprint than taking your SUV? This is the claim made by Moller and their new M400 Skycar.

This ethanol fueled vehicle takes off and lands vertically requiring only 35 feet in diameter of landing space. It carries four passengers up to 36,000 feet at 360 miles per hour. A single tank could carry you as far as 750 miles -- that's New York, NY to Louisville KY.

Now granted, you can't actually purchase a Skycar yet for under 3.5 million but Moller is happy to take a deposit! Check out some of the other flying cars in the works.

Preoperative Radiation May Improve Survival Rates In Advanced Rectal Cancer Patients

ScienceDaily (Dec. 4, 2008) — Patients treated with radiation prior to surgery for advanced rectal cancer have fewer instances of cancer recurrence and better overall survival rates, according to a recent Geisinger report.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Al Gore - Cars, Climate and the Clean Coal "Unicorn"

Newsweek has a new interview with Nobel Prize winning Former Vice President Al Gore, and they cover some interesting ground, including the auto industry bailout, climate change reactions around the world and the myth (it doesn't exist!) of clean coal.

As far as the car makers go, Al puts the blame squarely on the lame, outdated and lazy leaders who resisted new technology for so long. 

It was so frustrating to be reminded that the government invested abillion dollars in the Big Three during the 90s to develop high-efficiency vehicles. If the car makers had built on that momentum we'd have lots of choices now, but as soon as the Bush cabal took office in 2000 they dropped the ball. Toyota got a huge jump start and today the auto industry is looking for a hand out. 

So what now? Al says full speed ahead to plug in hybrid electric vehicles. No screwing around this time, and no getting complacent when oil prices go down. 

In the interview, Al talked about taxing gas and carbon, but avoiding adding to the burden on the poor and middle class tax payer, as well as the concept of "tax what we burn, not what we earn." That would certainly get people to start paying attention to their energy consumption!

Regarding climate change around the globe, Al says (again) that as soon as the U.S. takes some real steps to fight climate change, the rest of the world will follow. China and India always use our lack of response as an excuse for inactivity. That's an easy one to fix. 

My favorite part of the interview was when Al called shenanigans on "clean coal" aka the unicorn of alternative energy. The technologydoesn't exist! We keep building coal burning plants and promising to retrofit them "someday" when the science catches up with our intentions. 

As Al says "We cannot allow an illusion to be the basis of a strategy for human survival."

What can you add to that? He's a greenius.

Visual Hallucinations Are a Normal Grief Reaction

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday December 03, @08:13AM

from the who-goes-there dept.
Hugh Pickens writes"Vaughn Bell has written an interesting essay at Scientific American about grief hallucinations. This phenomenon is a normal reaction to bereavement that is rarely discussed, although researchers now know that hallucinations are more likely during times of stress. Mourning seems to be a time when hallucinations are particularly common, to the point where feeling the presence of the deceased is the norm rather than the exception. A study by Agneta Grimby at the University of Goteborg found that over 80 percent of elderly people experience hallucinations associated with their dead partner one month after bereavement, as if their perception had yet to catch up with the knowledge of their beloved's passing. It's not unusual for people who have lost a partner to clearly see or hear the person about the house, and sometimes even converse with them at length. 'Despite the fact that hallucinations are one of the most common reactions to loss, they have barely been investigated and we know little more about them. Like sorrow itself, we seem a little uncomfortable with it, unwilling to broach the subject,' writes Bell. 'We often fall back on the cultural catch all of the "ghost" while the reality is, in many ways, more profound.' "

New Strategy For Broad Spectrum Anti-viral Drugs Developed

ScienceDaily (Dec. 3, 2008) — Bavituximab, an anti-viral drug developed by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers, shows promise as a new strategy to fight viral diseases, including potential bioterrorism agents.

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Alien Comet May Have Infiltrated the Solar System

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday December 03, @05:37AM

from the starseed-lure dept.
New Scientist has a piece about Comet Machholz 1, whose uncommon molecular composition suggests, but does not prove, that it may be aninterloper from another star system."Comet Machholz 1 isn't like other comets. David Schleicher of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, measured the chemical makeup of 150 comets, and found that they all had similar levels of the chemical cyanogen (CN) except for Machholz 1, which has less than 1.5% of the normal level. Along with some other comets, it is also low on the molecules carbon-2 and carbon-3."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Guitarist Hopes To Play Again With The Help of Bionic Hand

Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday December 03, @12:55AM

from the we'll-rebuild-him dept.
Dorian Cox, the 27-year-old guitarist of the indie band The Long Blondes, thought his guitar playing days were over after he suffered a stroke. He now has a glimmer of hope thanks to some neurological physiotherapy which includes a cutting-edge piece of medical technology. The SaeboFlex helps patients by supporting their wrists and helping them grasp and release objects. "It's a fantastic service, it's helping tremendously and I think it can work wonders for me and others — it's almost like a gym for my hand. I know things might never be the same again and nobody can give me a definite answer about whether I'll play guitar again but I'm getting back on track with their help," Mr. Cox said. This thing looks really cool, and I'm sure many people will benefit from it, though I can't help but wonder if they make a model that lets you shoot your fist at an enemy.

Symptoms Of Depression Associated With Increase In Abdominal Fat

ScienceDaily (Dec. 2, 2008) — Older adults with symptoms of depression appear more likely to gain abdominal fat, but not overall fat, over a five-year period, according to a new report.

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Accelerated Melting Of Continental Icepacks Is Major Reason For Rise In Sea Level Between 2003 And 2008

ScienceDaily (Dec. 2, 2008) — Researchers at the Laboratoire d'Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales (1) (CNRS/Université Toulouse 3/CNES/IRD) and at a subsidiary of CNES (CLS) (2) have discovered that the accelerated melting of continental icepacks is the major reason for the rise in sea level over the 2003 to 2008 period, something which has minimized the effect of thermal expansion of seawater.

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Study Confirms That Cars Have Personalities

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday December 02, @12:54AM

from the disney-is-unsurprised dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes"A study has confirmed that many people see human facial features in the front ends of automobiles and ascribe various personality traits to cars. Forty study participants assessed cars based on a system known as geometric morphometrics by viewing high-resolution, 3D computer reconstructions and printed images of 38 actual 2004-06 car models and rating each model on 19 traits such as dominance, maturity, gender, and friendliness, and if they liked the car. Study participants liked best the cars scoring high in the so-called power traits — the most mature, masculine, arrogant, and angry-looking ones. Researchers theorized that over evolutionary time, humans have developed a selective sensitivity to features in the human face that convey information on sex, age, emotions, and intentions. The lead researcher explained, 'Seeing too many faces, even in mountains or toast, has little or no penalty, but missing or misinterpreting the face of a predator or attacker could be fatal.'"

New Massive Botnet Building On Windows Hole

Posted by kdawson on Monday December 01, @10:29PM

from the so-patch-it-already dept.
CWmike writes"The worm exploiting a critical Windows bug that Microsoft patched with an emergency fix in late October is now being used to build a fast-growing botnet, said Ivan Macalintal, a senior research engineer with Trend Micro. Dubbed 'Downad.a' by Trend (and 'Conficker.a' by Microsoft and 'Downadup' by Symantec), the worm is a key component in a massive new botnet that a new criminal element, not associated with McColo, is creating. 'We think 500,000 is a ballpark figure,' said Macalintal when asked the size of the new botnet. 'That's not as large as some, such as [the] Kraken [botnet], or Storm earlier, but it's... starting to grow.'"

Bush Demands Amnesty for Spying Telecoms

Posted by kdawson on Monday December 01, @09:14PM

from the courtroom-battles-not-ended dept.
PrivacyGovernmentThe CourtsUnited States
The Bush administration and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are poised to square off in front of a San Francisco federal judge Tuesday to litigate the constitutionality of legislation immunizing the nation's telecoms from lawsuits accusing them of helping the government spy on Americans without warrants." 'The legislation is an attempt to give the president the authority to terminate claims that the president has violated the people's Fourth Amendment rights,' the EFF's [Cindy] Cohn says. 'You can't do that.' "

Monday, December 1, 2008


by Tim Stevens, posted Dec 1st 2008 at 7:32AM

Windspire vertical turbine on sale now, aiming to capture the consumer wind power market
We've covered plenty of wind turbines over the years, but most tend to be awfully conceptual or rather unsuited to consumer applications. Being eco-geeks at heart we're happy to report on a new one that is both consumer-friendly and in production now. Mariah Power's Windspire is a 9 meter tall vertical turbine intended for residential or commercial installation, capable of providing about a quarter of the power an "average" household needs (2000 kWh annually). It's "bird-friendly" thanks to a relatively slow maximum blade speed (2.5 times that of the wind) and even includes WiFi so you can watch your carbon footprint shrink wirelessly. The company is accepting orders now, and while prices aren't listed on the website (you'll need to request a quote), we hear you can get yourself into a 2009 model with a 5 year unlimited rotation warranty for around $5,000 -- plus customization if you want one in something other than "Soft Silver." We'll take ours in magenta, thanks. 

[Via Digg]

Windspire vertical turbine on sale now, aiming to capture the consumer wind power market

The Myth of Upgrade Inevitability Is Dead

Posted by kdawson on Monday December 01, @05:14AM

from the standing-pat dept.
Several readers pointed out a ComputerWorld UK blog piece on the expanding ripples of the Vista fiasco. Glyn Moody quotes an earlier Inquirer piece about Vista, which he notes "has been memorably described as DRM masquerading as an operating system":"Studies carried out by both Gartner and IDC have found that because older software is often incompatible with Vista, many consumers are opting for used computers with XP installed as a default, rather than buying an expensive new PC with Vista and downgrading. Big business, which typically thinks nothing about splashing out for newer, more up-to-date PCs, is also having trouble with Vista, with even firms like Intel noting XP would remain the dominant OS within the company for the foreseeable future."Moody continues: "What's really important about this is not so much that Vista is manifestly such a dog, but that the myth of upgrade inevitability has been destroyed. Companies have realized that they do have a choice — that they can simply say 'no.' From there, it's but a small step to realizing that they can also walk away from Windows completely, provided the alternatives offer sufficient data compatibility to make that move realistic."