Recent Entries in Sci-Tech

A neat article, which shows what else you could buy for $599 U.S. instead of an iPhone.

PC World - What You Need to Know Before Taking the iPlunge

What could go wrong with the iPhone? The iPhone could be too delicate -- its screen cover is glass, not plastic, and there's a lot packed into the case, far more than in an iPod's innards -- to stand up to street use. AT&T's slow EDGE network may make browsing not just painful, but just not worth it. The touch-screen keyboard might be unusable for many, or just frustrating for some. A production or supplier problem -- and Apple's not immune to those -- could taint the iPhone's reputation. Or buyers might bash it for any number of missing features, including voice dialing (no), instant messaging (nope), extra ring tones beyond the 35 included (can't help ya), and video recording (nix on moving pix).

Interesting perspective. Also, this is the first I've heard of the OpenMoko project.

Think Thick: Are you going to get an iPhone?

iPods bring me to apple's historical weak spot: hardware. Apple's infamous for selling crappy hardware. I've heard stories of Macbooks falling apart at the seams, iPod nanos getting scratched, even the mighty mouse having issues. Honestly, I cannot complain personally about apple produced hardware. I own a 3 year old iPod mini, and it runs fine. I own 2 mighty mice, one Bluetooth and one corded, and they run like they are expected to run. My wife has a Macbook, and except for a gray screen of death the other day, she loves it, and after a few months it is still in (almost) mint condition. So even though I cannot argue against apple's hardware quality from personal experience, I really do not think that all of the stories I've heard are made up. Finally, the main reason why I am not getting an iPhone is because I have my eyes set on another beauty. I have to admit that I have become addicted to open source software. I cannot live any more without the freedom that open source has brought to my experience with technology.

I thought we already had giant robots... this is a cool website showing how people viewed the future at different times during past decades.

giant_robots_future.jpg

Paleo-Future: 1930s

The article "Gigantic Robots, Controlled by Wireless, to Fight Our Battles," from the April 29, 1934 Fresno Bee (Fresno, California) was exceptionally sensationalistic.

Professor [Felix Gaston] Gauthier disclosed in his address that two pacifistic-minded nations are today secretly (and supposedly unknown to each other) planning to construct gigantic fighting robots, controlled by wireless.

"These mechanical soldiers," declared Professor Gauthier, "will be of unexampled proportions. My informants, whose authentic statements I have never had reason to question before, have conveyed to me the startling news that each of these nations hopes some day to build robots 1,000 feet high!"

  The history of email

Neat. Email History, How Email Was Invented

Electronic mail is a natural use of networked communication technology that developed along with the evolution of the Internet. Indeed, message exchange in one form or another has existed from the early days of timesharing computers. Network capable email was developed for the ARPANET shortly after it's creation, and has now evolved into the powerful email technology that is the most widely used application on the Internet today.

Ha ha.

Cisco sues Apple over use of iPhone name - Yahoo! News

Cisco Systems sued Apple Inc. in federal court Wednesday, saying the computer maker's new iPhone violates its trademark.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, came just a day after Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iPhone in dramatic fashion at a trade show in San Francisco.

But even while Jobs was trumpeting the product during his keynote address to Apple faithful, the matter of the product's naming had not been resolved behind the scenes between two of the biggest names in Silicon Valley.

With the announcement of the iPhone during Steve Jobs's keynote on Tuesday, Apple has put a tremendous amount of pressure on handset makers like Motorola and Nokia, according to industry analysts. Capitalizing on its legendary talent for creating easy-to-use products, Apple will be a competitor out of the gate.

"There was so much demand for the iPhone, it should serve as a wake-up call to the rest of the industry," says Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director of Jupiter Research. "It's going to put a lot of pressure on the other handset makers in the high-end market, and that's where the money is."

PC World - IPhone a 'Wake-Up Call' for the Industry

12 Particle accelerator mishap Theodore Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, raved that a particle accelerator experiment could set off a chain reaction that would destroy the world. Surprisingly, many sober-minded physicists have had the same thought. Normally their anxieties come up during private meetings, amidst much scribbling on the backs of used envelopes. Recently the question went public when London's Sunday Times reported that the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) on Long Island, New York, might create a subatomic black hole that would slowly nibble away our planet.

20 Ways the World Could End - - science news articles online technology magazine articles 20 Ways the World Could End

Lost dad found dead in wilderness - CNN.com

The body of a San Francisco man who had walked into the Oregon wilderness to summon help for his stranded family was found Wednesday in a steep ravine where he had left clues for searchers.

Officials confirmed that James Kim, 35, an editor at the Web site CNET, had been found dead.

Brian Anderson, Undersheriff of Josephine County, broke down and could not finish speaking as he announced that Kim's body was found at 3:03 p.m. ET.

Searchers were attempting to remove Kim's body, and his family members have requested that their privacy be respected, officials said.

Kim walked into the snowy Oregon mountains Saturday to find help for his wife and two young daughters. They were rescued by searchers on Monday.

  Making Faraday Cages

The reality of needing to protect all electronic equipment against EMP from a nuclear explosion over our shores is becoming imminent. We now live in perilous times. The world is a becoming dangerous place, with China now threatening Taiwan with annihilation from hundreds of neutron bombs. Russia is modernizing their military infrastructure with an emphasis on first strike capability, they have an stretegic alliance with China, and Putin is exporting "special nuclear materials" to Iran, Syria and Egypt. President Clinton renounced "launch on attack" in favor of absorbing a first strike without retaliation, while President Bush wants "first strike" authority to attack anywhere with nukes without warning, and it is easy to see that our enemies are virtually being invited to hit us with nukes! Iran has plans to do just that!

Faraday Cages

If his experiment with splitting photons actually works, says University of Washington physicist John Cramer, the next step will be to test for quantum "retrocausality."

That's science talk for saying he hopes to find evidence of a photon going backward in time.

"It doesn't seem like it should work, but on the other hand, I can't see what would prevent it from working," Cramer said. "If it does work, you could receive the signal 50 microseconds before you send it."

Going for a blast into the real past

  Better Than Blood?

Oxycyte is the newest product in a family of compounds known as artificial blood. The search for a synthetic substitute for human blood began at least as early as the 19th century, when doctors actually tried using milk to replenish blood loss. With the onset of the AIDS crisis in the early 1980s, pharmaceutical companies took on the cause in force, competing to create an artificial substance that could eliminate the problemsâ..including tainted blood and supply shortagesâ..associated with donated blood. The idea was that these substitutes could replace the use of donated blood in transfusions, during surgery, and in patients who had experienced major blood loss through injury.

Better Than Blood? - Popular Science

The events of the past two weeks, which have seen the two largest companies in the world enter the Linux space, demonstrates that the party is over and the Linux game has changed forever. Red Hat is making a brave stand but stands little chance against the likes of Oracle and Microsoft.

One very much gets the feeling that in the enterprise at least, both Oracle and Microsoft are now ready to acknowledge that Linux is a game that they cannot afford to ignore. Both companies realize that they are missing out on a potential growth business by leaving to others what they could do themselves.

In Oracle's case, the company has weighed up the pros and cons and come to the conclusion that it has the people resources, expertise and existing customer base to usurp a growing Red Hat Linux support business worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually. There is little Red Hat can do except fight the good fight, but it is badly outgunned by a much more powerful opponent with little barriers to entry into its market.

iTWire - The Linux game has changed forever

  Pluto is Demoted

Capping years of intense debate, astronomers resolved today to demote Pluto in a wholesale redefinition of planethood that is being billed as a victory of scientific reasoning over historic and cultural influences. But already the decision is being hotly debated.

Officially, Pluto is no longer a planet.

"Pluto is dead," said Caltech researcher Mike Brown, who spoke with reporters via a teleconference while monitoring the vote. The decision also means a Pluto-sized object that Brown discovered will not be called a planet.

SPACE.com -- Pluto Demoted: No Longer a Planet in Highly Controversial Definition

The tally of planets in our solar system would jump instantly to a dozen under a highly controversial new definition proposed by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Eventually there would be hundreds as more round objects are found beyond Neptune.

The proposal, which sources tell SPACE.com is gaining broad support, tries to plug a big gap in astronomy textbooks, which have never had a definition for the word "planet." It addresses discoveries of Pluto-sized worlds that have in recent years pitched astronomers into heated debates over terminology.

- The asteroid Ceres, which is round, would be recast as a dwarf planet in the new scheme.

- Pluto would remain a planet and its moon Charon would be reclassified as a planet. Both would be called "plutons," however, to distinguish them from the eight "classical" planets.

- A far-out Pluto-sized object known as 2003 UB313 would also be called a pluton.

planets_12.jpg

SPACE.com -- Nine Planets Become 12 with Controversial New Definition

  How Intelligent are Cats?

Interesting article discussing intelligence tests on cats.

Do Cats Have Intelligence/How Intelligent Are Cats?

Cat owners often claim that cats are too intelligent to do the sort of tricks that dogs do willingly. Others believe cats are unintelligent because it's harder to train them to do tricks. In this article I aim to explain some of these differences and explore feline intelligence and the limitations on feline intelligence. This also means looking at how cats see the world and at some aspects of natural cat behaviour.

Complex Learning and Making Decisions
Trial and Error and Learning Through Observation
Counting Cats
Can Cats Learn Tricks?
Cats Using Tools?
Thinking, Consciousness and Self-Awareness

Laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is an operation that involves cutting a flap from the cornea of the eye. The interior of the cornea is then shaped with an ultraviolet excimer laser and the flap replaced. Using the flap greatly assists the healing process and is the reason when LASIK is so popular (as compared to PRK or LASEK eye procedures). The main requirements for LASIK candidacy are reasonable prescription (-0.75 to -11 diopter nearsightedness, 0.75 to 4 diopter farsightedness, and 0.75 to 4 astigmatism), a pupil diameter that is smaller than 8.5 mm, and a corneal thickness greater than 500 microns. (Requirements may vary due to prescription and specific eyes.)

...

At this point, I felt something rotating on my eye (the microkeratome). No pain, no irritating, I just felt the movement. Then the world started to fade back and the circle of light with the red dot was back - except now it had both a crisp and hazy quality to it.

Cooking For Engineers - Off Topic: LASIK

Asks the following question:

How can the human race survive the next hundred years?

In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?

Yahoo! Answers - How can the human race survive the next hundred years?

  Photoshopping Beauty

Who needs good looks when you can have a Photoshop makeover?

photoshop_chickie.jpg

Lunacore Photoshop Training - Beautify a Face tutorial (part 1/7)

This Photoshop tutorial will show you how to beautify a face. The corrections that we're going to do will make the face look different, but at the same time we avoid to make the results look unnatural like we tend to see in other Photoshop tutorials. Of course, the face we're going to work on is not going to look the same when we're done, but we will only make necessary and subtle changes. We will use Photoshop to fix skin, remove blemishes and wrinkles, whiten and fix teeth, fix hair, fix eyebrows, increase definition in the eyes and crop and sharpen the image in the final steps.

Here's a great excerpt from their (dis)honourable mentions:

Timex Data Link Watch (1995): This early wristwatch/PDA looked like a Casio on steroids. To download data to it, you held it in front of your CRT monitor while the monitor displayed a pattern of flashing black-and-white stripes (which, incidentally, also turned you into the Manchurian Candidate). Depending on your point of view, it was either seriously cool or deeply disturbing.

Here's the complete list:


  1. America Online (1989-2006)
  2. RealNetworks RealPlayer (1999)
  3. Syncronys SoftRAM (1995)
  4. Microsoft Windows Millennium (2000)
  5. Sony BMG Music CDs (2005)
  6. Disney The Lion King CD-ROM (1994)
  7. Microsoft Bob (1995)
  8. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (2001)
  9. Pressplay and MusicNet 2002
  10. Ashton-Tate dBASE IV (1988)
  11. Priceline Groceries and Gas (2000)
  12. PointCast Network (1996)
  13. IBM PCjr. (1984)
  14. Gateway 2000 10th Anniversary PC (1995)
  15. Iomega Zip Drive (1998)
  16. Comet Systems Comet Cursor (1997)
  17. Apple Macintosh Portable (1989)
  18. IBM Deskstar 75GXP (2000)
  19. OQO Model 1 (2004)
  20. DigitalConvergence CueCat (2000)
  21. Eyetop Wearable DVD Player (2004)
  22. Apple Pippin @World (1996)
  23. Free PCs (1999)
  24. DigiScents iSmell (2001)
  25. Sharp RD3D Notebook (2004)

PCWorld.com - The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time

Using a new design theory, researchers at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering and Imperial College London have developed the blueprint for an invisibility cloak. Once devised, the cloak could have numerous uses, from defense applications to wireless communications, the researchers said.

Such a cloak could hide any object so well that observers would be totally unaware of its presence, according to the researchers. In principle, their invisibility cloak could be realized with exotic artificial composite materials called "metamaterials," they said.

"The cloak would act like you've opened up a hole in space," said David R. Smith, Augustine Scholar and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke's Pratt School. "All light or other electromagnetic waves are swept around the area, guided by the metamaterial to emerge on the other side as if they had passed through an empty volume of space."

Theoretical Blueprint for Invisibility Cloak Reported


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