Thursday, September 16, 2010

Funny repair Jobs

Race Pits Pigeons Against Poor UK Rural Broadband

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday September 16, @09:30AM
from the heard-this-before dept.
Mark.JUK writes"Rural internet access in the United Kingdom, like many other countries around the world, is slow. So slow in fact that Trefor Davies, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at business ISP Timico, has decided to pit a typical rural broadband connection against homing pigeons (with attached memory cards) to see which can get 200MB of HD video data across an 84 mile trip the fastest. Meanwhile a farmer will attempt to upload the same video file to YouTube before the pigeons can complete their journey. The comical stunt is designed to raise awareness of the often woeful broadband speed experienced by many people who live in remote and rural parts of their country. However Davies does admit that "there isn't a benchmark for pigeon data speeds", yet."

Blood Test Accurately Predicts Death from Prostate Cancer Up to 25 Years in Advance

ScienceDaily (Sep. 14, 2010) — A blood test at the age of 60 can accurately predict the risk that a man will die from prostate cancer within the next 25 years, according to researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York, and Lund University, in Sweden.

Children Under Four and Children With Autism Don't Yawn Contagiously

ScienceDaily (Sep. 15, 2010) — If someone near you yawns, do you yawn, too? About half of adults yawn after someone else does in a phenomenon called contagious yawning. Now a new study has found that most children aren't susceptible to contagious yawning until they're about 4 years old -- and that children with autism are less likely to yawn contagiously than others.

Low Carbon Hemp House Put to the Test

ScienceDaily (Sep. 15, 2010) — Used to make paper, clothing and car body panels, hemp could also be used to build environmentally-friendly homes of the future say researchers at the University of Bath.

Morphing Metals

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday September 16, @05:38AM
from the forge-ahead dept.
aarondubrow writes"Imagine a metal that 'remembers' its original, cold-forged shape, and can return to that shape when exposed to heat or a magnetic pulse. Like magic out of a Harry Potter novel, such a metal could contract on command, or swing back and forth like a pendulum. Believe it or not, such metals already exist. First discovered in 1931, they belong to a class of materials called 'shape memory alloys (SMA),' whose unique atomic make-up allows them to return to their initial form, or alternate between forms through a phase change."

Quadrocopters can now fly through thrown hoops, the end really is nigh (video)

By Vlad Savov posted Sep 16th 2010 4:58AM

The future of humanity is assured. Assuredly doomed, that is. That blur you see up above is one of our familiar foes, the GRASP Lab's autonomous quadrocopter, flying through a thrown hoop without the assistance of a human director. Yes, it's downright insane that we're allowing this so-called research to continue our descent toward the robot uprising -- where's the FBI, the CIA, hell, why is DARPA sleeping on this thing? The lethal precision of these quadrotor helis doesn't end there, however, as they've now been enhanced with the ability to recover from "extreme" starting conditions. In simpler terms that just means you can toss one up into the air and it'll right itself into a steady hovering position. From where it can strike upon the unsuspecting and complacent humanoid populace.

Boeing Teams To Offer Spaceflight Trips

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday September 16, @04:34AM
from the to-the-moon-alice dept.
coondoggie writes"Aerospace giant Boeing and outer space tourism proprietors Space Adventures teamed up today to offer low Earth orbit (LEO) flight services onboard Boeing's future commercial crew spacecraft. Under this agreement, Space Adventures will market passenger seats on commercial flights aboard the Boeing Crew Space Transportation-100 (CST-100) spacecraft. Boeing's (CST)-100, which is under development, can hold seven and is bigger than NASA's Apollo orbiter but smaller than NASA's Orion."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dell's 'Dual Personality' Laptop

Posted by CmdrTaco on Tuesday September 14, @03:18PM
from the i-still-want-one dept.
njkobie writes"Dell was the unlikely star of today's keynote at IDF, unveiling a convertible tablet. While that might sound a bit been there, done that, the Inspiron Duo can be used as a tablet or opened up to offer a keyboard. The screen rotates inside the frame, taking it to the netbook form factor. It runs on an Atom processor and will be available at the end of the year, Dell said."

Good Super-bowl commercial clips

Astronomers Find Diamond Star 4,000 km Wide

Posted by CmdrTaco on Tuesday September 14, @10:25AM
from the sharon-osborne-summoned dept.
tclas writes"The cosmic diamond is a chunk of crystallized carbon, 4,000 km across, some 50 light-years from the Earth in the constellation Centaurus. It's the compressed heart of an old star that was once bright like our Sun but has since faded and shrunk. Astronomers have decided to call the star 'Lucy,' after the Beatles song 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.'"

HDCP Master Key Revealed

Posted by CmdrTaco on Tuesday September 14, @09:00AM
from the wow-that's-a-big-one dept.
solafide writes"The HDCP Master Key has allegedly been revealed. If true, this information will allow anyone to create their own source or sink keys, essentially making HDCP useless for content protection permanently. No word yet on how it was obtained, but if true, this is a great day for content freedom around the world!"

Criminals Steal House Thanks To Hacked Email

mask.of.sanity writes with this quote from ZDNet: "An international cybercrime investigation is underway into a sophisticated scam network that used email and fax to sell an Australian man's AU$500,000 property without his knowledge. The man was overseas when the Nigerian-based scammers stole his credentials and amazingly sold two houses through his real estate agent. He rushed home and prevented the sale of his second home from being finalized. Australian Federal Police and overseas law enforcement agencies will investigate the complex scam, which is considered the first of its kind in Australia. It is alleged scammers had stolen the man's email account and personal and property documents to sell the houses and funnel cash into Chinese bank accounts. Investigating agencies admit the scammers hoodwinked both the selling agents and the government, and said they had enough information to satisfy regulatory requirements. The police did not rule out if the scammers had links to the man."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

25 Years of Super Mario Bros.

Posted by Soulskill on Monday September 13, @04:16PM
from the don't-let-him-get-into-the-birthday-beer dept.
harrymcc writes"On September 13th 1985, Nintendo released Super Mario Bros. for the Famicom (NES) in Japan. It went on to become the best-selling video game of all time, a title it only recently lost. Over at Technologizer, Benj Edwards is celebrating the anniversary with a look at some of the weirdest variations, spinoffs, and tributes the game has inspired over the years, from edibles to art projects."The Guardian's games blog adds a bunch of Mario-related trivia, and CVG attempts to explain the history of Mario games. Nintendo is capitalizing on the anniversary by announcing an upcoming collection of classic Mario games (Japanese site,English explanation) that have been ported to the Wii.

Cheerleader-Eating Mascot Terrorizes NFL Sidelines

Yet another sideline cheerleader has been eaten by an overzealous and crazed sports mascot. Even worse, this isn't the first time it's happened.

Gamers Better at Fast Decision-Making

Playing shoot-'em-up, action-packed videogames strengthens a person's ability to translate sensory information quickly into accurate decisions. This effect applies to both sexes, say psychologist Daphne Bavelier and her colleagues at the University of Rochester in New York.

B Vitamins Slow Brain Atrophy in People With Memory Problems

ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2010) — Daily tablets of certain B vitamins can halve the rate of brain shrinkage in elderly people who suffer from mild memory problems, an Oxford University study has shown.

The Advent of Religious Search Engines

Posted by Soulskill on Tuesday September 14, @05:16AM
from the finding-god-with-seo dept.
Beetle B. writes"Do Google search results contradict your religious views? Tired of getting pornographic results and worried you'll burn in Hell for it? Are you Christian? Try SeekFind — 'a Colorado Springs-based Christian search engine that only returns results from websites that are consistent with the Bible.' Muslim? Look no further: I'm Halal. Jewish? Jewogle is for you. NPR ran a story on the general trend of search engines cropping up to cater to certain religious communities. I wonder how many other 'filtered' search engines exist out there to cater to various groups (religious or otherwise) — not counting specialized searches (torrents, etc)."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chattanooga becomes home to 1Gbps internet service, just $350 per month

By Darren Murph posted Sep 13th 2010 11:48AM

It pales in comparison to Sigbritt Löthberg's home internet connection, but it sure makes Comcast'sExtreme 105Mbps broadband package look downright sluggish. EPB Fiber Optics (Chattanooga's municipally-owned fiber-to-the-premises network) and Alcatel-Lucent have teamed up to offer America's fastest home broadband service -- a service that brings 1Gbps (or 1000Mbps, if that strikes you better) directly to your PC. Best of all, the service is actually on sale starting today, and every single home and business within EPB's 600 square-mile, nine-county service area will be able to access the network. Oh, and in case you're wondering, this actually isn't affiliated in any way with Google's ownproposed 1Gbps service, which likely means that this record will only sit in southeast Tennessee for a few months. Still, we hear this place is some kind of beautiful in the fall, but make sure you're cool with a $350 monthly charge before pulling the trigger on a relocation.

How Good Software Makes Us Stupid

Posted by CmdrTaco on Monday September 13, @10:11AM
from the i-are-not-dum dept.
siliconbits writes"The BBC has an interesting article about how ever improving software damages our ability to think innovatively. "Search engines(TM) function of providing us with information almost instantly means people are losing their intellectual capacity to store information, Nicolas Carr, said". This sadly convinced some journos to come up with wildfire titles such as "Google damages users' brains, author claims"."

Supernova Shrapnel Found In Meteorite

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday September 09, @12:52PM
from the just-missed-the-dinosaurs dept.
coondoggie writes"Talk about finding a needle in a cosmic haystack. Scientists this week said they found microscopic shrapnel in a meteorite of a star they say exploded around the birth of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago."

Biofeedback for your brain?

There is new evidence that people can learn to control the activity of some brain regions when they get feedback signals provided by functional magnetic resonance brain imaging (fMRI).

Gallery: Earth's Most Stunning Natural Fractal Patterns

Take a look at some of the most stunning fractals found on Earth.

Flying Fish Ace Wind-Tunnel Tests

Put flying fish in a wind tunnel, and you'll find their gliding performance is just about as good as a hawk.

Darpa Wants to Create Brainiac Bot Tots

A Pentagon-funded scientist has come up with a comprehensive program to turn today’s robots into tomorrow’s A.I. overlords. Step one: Imbue them with toddler-level intelligence.

Early Warning Signs Could Show When Extinction Is Coming

Animal populations headed for extinction may give the same signals seen before crashes in coral reefs, the Sahara’s climate and even stock markets.

Biofeedback for Your Brain?

ScienceDaily (Sep. 10, 2010) — There is new evidence that people can learn to control the activity of some brain regions when they get feedback signals provided by functional magnetic resonance brain imaging (fMRI).

DIY Jet Ready to Resume Testing

  • 8:00 am |
  • Categories: Air Travel, Design

    The guys over at Sonex Aircraft in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, have had a very busy year so far. After starting the year with the announcement of the first engine runs on their single seat DIY jet known as the SubSonex, the company has been busy with the development of another new single-seat airplane and improvements to existing models.

    Unfortunately, similar to the development of other recent jet aircraft (787 & Joint Strike Fighter), even the little guys can run into a few hiccups along the way. The SubSonex is no exception.

    After firing up the tiny jet engine for the first time last winter, the team at Sonex were excited to make the first flight in their single seater. But initial taxi testing uncovered some stability issues with the ground handling and the engineers went back to the drawing board.

    At Airventure in Oshkosh earlier this summer, the SubSonex was back. Now it has a more stable tricycle gear configuration as compared to the single wheel/tail dragger configuration that caused concern during the taxi testing.

    Sonex founder John Monnett remains committed to the SubSonex and says the issues facing the new jet are all part of the research and development process. The company runs the project out of its “Hornet’s Nest,” the R&D side of the hangar, sort of like a small scale Skunkworks.

    “The challenges we face with the SubSonex perfectly illustrate our reasoning for unveiling this project under the banner of the Hornets’ Nest Research and Development program” Monnett says. “We have been very deliberate in not publishing timetables for development of the aircraft or guarantees of kit availability because there are no guarantees in R&D, despite our best efforts.”

    During much of the summer the jet project, which Monnett himself calls his “Walter Mitty” airplane, has been put on the back burner at Sonex while the company focuses on some of its other new projects including a more traditional piston powered, high-performance single seater. And a new turbo charged version of its Volkswagen based engine.

    Sonex's SubSonex Jet

    Like the SubSonex, the new OneX features just a single seat and promises a lot of performance. But unlike the jet, which could cost well north of $80,000 (though the company has yet to announce a price), the tiny OneX is expected to cost just $21,000 ready to fly.

    Such a low price eliminates one of the main complaints of many pilots and would-be pilots, the cost of buying a fun to fly airplane. Sure there are a fair number of older, used airplanes that could be bought for the same price. But with the OneX you’re getting a brand new airplane that is fully aerobatic and capable of cruising at 140 miles per hour.

    “Obviously some assembly required,” notes Sonex CEO Jeremy Monnett.

    Sonex's Single Seat OneX (canopy removed)

    Like all Sonex designs, the OneX falls into the experimental category of home-built aircraft and can be flown with a light sport pilot license. The younger Monnett says most of their planes are built in about 700 hours. The single-seat OneX has fewer parts and combined with its smaller size it should take less time to build. Because many of the parts come ready to assemble from the factory, the DIY airplane doesn’t require previous experience, Monnett says.

    “You have to have a lot of motivation to finish a project like that, but you don’t have to have a ton of skills.”

    The experimental moniker is actually a bit misleading as the airplanes aren’t really an experiment. It’s simply the term the industry uses to describe aircraft that don’t fall under the Federal Aviation Administration’s rules for factory-built and certified aircraft. There are tens of thousands of these kinds of experimental aircraft safely flying around the world.

    Best of all with the Volkswagen-based Aerovee engine, the low-fuel burn keeps the cost low once you’re flying, just four gallons per hour during typical cruise.

    “Our airplanes are like little roadsters,” says Jeremy Monnett.

    The analogy is a good one. Like cars such as a Porsche Boxster or Mazda Miata, the Sonex airplanes are fairly minimalist and don’t have any room to bring the family. But they are really well designed to head out and have a lot of fun on your own or with a friend.

    And like many of the roadsters cruising the mountain roads and valleys, Sonex is no stranger to boosting the power. The company recently unveiled a turbocharged version of its Aerovee engine.

    AeroVee with Turbocharger

    Still in development, the new turbocharged engine should be welcome news for pilots flying at high altitude or who find themselves needing power during take off on a hot day.

    The stock Aerovee engine produces 80 horsepower. No word yet on how much additional power the system will provide.

    Photos: Sonex, Jason Paur/

    Read More

    Funneling Solar Energy: Antenna Made of Carbon Nanotubes Could Make Photovoltaic Cells More Efficient

    ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2010) — Using carbon nanotubes (hollow tubes of carbon atoms), MIT chemical engineers have found a way to concentrate solar energy 100 times more than a regular photovoltaic cell. Such nanotubes could form antennas that capture and focus light energy, potentially allowing much smaller and more powerful solar arrays.

    Gene Discovery Could Yield Treatments for Nearsightedness

    ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2010) — Myopia (nearsightedness) is the most common eye disorder in the world and becoming more common, yet little is known about its genetic underpinnings.

    Is DIY Algae Farming the Future?

    Posted by timothy on Sunday September 12, @06:30PM
    from the for-fun-and-food-and-friendship dept.
    hex0D points to this"interview with Aaron Baum explaining why people growing algae at home for food can help the environment and their health, and what he's doing to facilitate this. 'We'd like to create an international network of people growing all kinds of algae in their homes in a small community scale, sharing information, doing it all in an open source way. We'd be like the Linux of algae – do-it-yourself with low-cost materials and shared information.' And one of the low-cost materials is your household urine."