Sunday, January 31, 2010

The IPad’s Five Best Surprises

The “Apple tablet” is finally official, and it has a name: iPad. Though this super-sized iPod touch is largely what we expected, Apple’s announcement included a number of nice surprises, as well as a couple bombshells. I’m not talking about those things we assumed would be true, such as a large screen and support for existing iPhone apps. I mean those features we hoped for, expecting disappointment, or those that caught us off guard.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Top 10 Photos of the Week

The week began with a lonely button lying on the side of the road. Then the stock market went crazy, the economy jumped up and down, many people lost their jobs, and the US President made a series of speeches about things that no one cared about. Throughout all of these activities, the lonely button remained unflinching on the side ofthe road. Let that be a lesson to you.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hitachi Develops World’s Fastest Elevator

Hitachi is stepping up efforts to finalize the design of the world’s fastest elevator.   In April, it will open the 213-metre tall G1 Tower in Japan, where it will conduct verification tests on an elevator with a speed of 1,080 metres per minute (m/min).

The tower will also be used for development of the world’s largest high-speed, high-capacity elevator, targeted to carry five tons at 600 m/min.
To improve riding comfort in high-speed elevators, Hitachi is developing new vibration control and air pressure adjustment devices.
Further efforts focus on reducing the space required for elevator shafts and reducing the weight of the elevator cars.

Honda’s Solar Hydrogen Station

Honda began operation of a next generation solar hydrogen station prototype at the Los Angeles Center of Honda R&D America. Designed as a single, integrated unit to fit in the user’s garage, Honda’snext generation Solar Hydrogen Station reduces the size of the system, while producing enough hydrogen (0.5kg) via an 8-hour overnight fill for daily commuting (10,000 miles per year) for a fuel cell electric vehicle. Compatible with a Smart Grid energy system, the Honda SolarHydrogen Station would enable users to refill their vehicle overnight without the requirement of hydrogen storage, which would lower CO2 emissions by using less expensive off-peak electrical power.

Taking A Break After Learning Something Helps You Remember It

Scientists have always known that sleeping helps consolidate memory by allowing your mind to sift through recently gained knowledge and file it in the brain.   But this new research suggests that even a short rest or break while conscious could help it sort and retain information.
The findings by New York University, which appear in the latest issue of the journal Neuron, expand our understanding of how memories are boosted.

How Sunlight Causes Skin Cells to Turn Cancerous

A new study by Loyola University Health System researchers could lead to alternative treatments that would shrink skin cancer tumors with drugs. The drugs would work by turning on a gene that prevents skin cells from becoming cancerous, said senior author Mitchell Denning, Ph.D.
The study was published Jan. 15, 2010 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Diamonds Become Stronger When Squeezed Rapidly Under Extreme Conditions

Most people know that diamond is one of the hardest solids on Earth, so strong that it can easily cut through glass and steel.

Surprisingly, very little is known about the strength of diamond at extreme conditions. But new research by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists shows that diamond becomes even stronger during rapid compression.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

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Everybody Laughs, Everybody Cries: Researchers Identify Universal Emotions

Here’s a piece of research that might leave you tickled: laughter is a universal language, according to new research. The study, conducted with people from Britain and Namibia, suggests that basic emotions such as amusement, anger, fear and sadness are shared by all humans.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ambidextrous Children More Likely To Perform Poorly In School

Ambidextrous children are twice as likely to do badly at school and suffer from attention problems as right-handers, a study published yesterday shows. Researchers from Imperial College London tested 7,871 children’s language, behaviour and academic skills at the ages of seven or eight and again at 15 or 16.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

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Leonardo da Vinci’s Bones To Be Dug Up By Italian Scientists

Scientists seeking permission to exhume the remains of Leonardo da Vinci plan to reconstruct his face to discover whether his masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, is a disguised self-portrait.
A team from Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage, a leading association of scientists and art historians, has asked to open the tomb in which the Renaissance painter and polymath is believed to lie at Amboise castle, in the Loire valley, where he died in 1519, aged 67.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The World’s Most Beautiful Mushrooms

A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The word “mushroom” can also be used for a wide variety of gilled fungi, with or without stems, and the term is used even more generally, to describe both the fleshy fruiting bodies of some Ascomycota and the woody or leathery fruiting bodies of some Basidiomycota, depending upon the context of the word.
It’s almost a shame to eat something as beautiful as the mushrooms on the most beautiful list… of course, most of them are probably poisonous, so you probably wouldn’t want to anyway…

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Top 10 Photos of the Week

Our lives happen one incident at a time. If some incidents were somehow able to overlap other incidents, then we could finally learn to be in many places at one time. And we would catch ourselves coming and going. Now I’m not saying it would be a good thing, but until we are somehow freed of these sequential constraints, we will continue to deal with the same problems that caused me to fall down the steps to begin with.

Top 10 Dirtiest Hotels for 2010

What’s the dirtiest hotel you’ve ever stayed in? 
TripAdvisor®, the world’s most trusted source of travel advice, today announced the top 10 dirtiest hotels in America, based on TripAdvisor traveler ratings for cleanliness. For the fifth consecutive year, TripAdvisor reveals the truth about hotels around the world, from the most gleaming to the most grimy.

Man To Break Sound Barrier By Jumping From Edge of Space in 2010

Felix Baumgartner to jump from the edge of space
This man—looking as badass as Ed Harris in The Right Stuff—is Felix Baumgartner. He actually has The Right Stuff: The cojones to reach the edge of space in a weather balloon. Up to 120,000 feet—and then jump.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Stripped of Prize Over Staged Photo of “Wolf Jumping Over Fence”

The Natural History Museum’s wildlife photographer of the year has been stripped of his £10,000 prize, after judges found he was likely to have hired a tame Iberian wolf to stage the image of a species seen rarely in the wild.
The judges of the award, which attracted more than 43,000 entries from 94 countries, said they were convinced José Luis Rodriguez hired thewolf called Ossian from a Madrid wildlife park, contradicting his claim the image was taken in the wild after months of patient tracking of the dwindling species.

Video Gamers: Size of Brain Structures Predicts Success

Researchers can predict your performance on a video game simply by measuring the volume of specific structures in your brain, a multi-institutional team reports this week.

The new study, in the journal Cerebral Cortex, found that nearly a quarter of the variability in achievement seen among men and women trained on a new video game could be predicted by measuring the volume of three structures in their brains.
The study adds to the evidence that specific parts of the striatum, a collection of distinctive tissues tucked deep inside the cerebral cortex, profoundly influence a person’s ability to refine his or her motor skills, learn new procedures, develop useful strategies and adapt to a quickly changing environment.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bacteria Are More Capable of Complex Decision-Making Than Thought

It’s not thinking in the way humans, dogs or even birds think, but new findings from researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, show that bacteria are more capable of complex decision-making than previously known.

The discovery sets a landmark in research to understand the way bacteria are able to respond and adapt to changes in their environment, a trait shared by nearly all living things, and it could lead to innovations in fields from medicine to agriculture.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

3D-Printed Math and Science Sculptures

Bathsheba Grossman is a sculptor who uses cutting-edge technology to render math- and science-inspired shapes in three dimensions. You can buy 3D-printed laser-cut metal ones, or order them in plastic at lower costs from ShapeWays. That sound you hear is my jaw scraping my keyboard…

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Future of eBooks

If you think that the E Ink screen on the Kindle look like a wet newspaper, you’re not alone.  Inventor and technology futurist Ray Kurzweil thought the same thing. So the man who developed optical character recognition and voice recognition came up with Blio, a digital book software program that promises to put those gray-scale displays to shame.

Monday, January 18, 2010

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Yo-Yo: Biggest Toy Craze in 2010

The yo-yo is set to be this year’s biggest playground craze, according to retailers who have reported a ten-fold increase in sales over the past year.  The simple toy, which first became popular during the decade following the Wall Street crash of 1929, is taking off once again as the recession encourages children and parents to turn to “pocket money toys”.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Top 10 Photos of the Week

Its been a busy week for odd thinkers. Usually, the calamity in people comes out during the slowest of times, but in this case, there must have been a pent-up reservoir of weirdness looking for an escape hatch.  Well, they found it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

If You Thought Jaws Was Scary Take A Look At These Fish!

Eating fish can be healthy, doctors say. A little fish oil is good for the brain. What isn’t good for fish, however, is overfishing, pollution, and disassociation, like landlubbers who don’t concern themselves with the quality of life in our lakes and oceans. So here’s a look at some of the 10 scariest fish on the planet, with big teeth, ugly mugs, and extra creepiness. Some of these fish are endangered. We need to remember that the less cuddly the creature, the more the need for awareness and diligence to make sure they and their habitat are protected. Let the uncomfortable awareness begin.

Mutant Sheep Born With Human Face

A sheep gave birth to a dead lamb with a human-like face. The lamb was born in a village not far from the city of Izmir, Turkey.
Erhan Elibol, a vet, performed a caesarean on the animal to take the lamb out, but was horrified to see that the features of the lamb’s snout bore a striking resemblance to a human face.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How Galaxies Came to Be: Astronomers Explain Hubble Sequence

For the first time, two astronomers have explained the diversity of galaxy shapes seen in the universe. The scientists, Dr Andrew Benson of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Dr Nick Devereux of Embry-Riddle University in Arizona, tracked the evolution of galaxies over thirteen billion years from the early Universe to the present day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ancient Egyptian Cosmetics: ‘Magical’ Makeup May Have Been Medicine for Eye Disease

There’s more to the eye makeup that gave Queen Nefertiti and other ancient Egyptian royals those stupendous gazes and legendary beauty than meets the eye. Scientists in France are reporting that the alluring eye makeup also may have been used to help prevent or treat eye disease by doubling as an infection-fighter.

Top 10 Places You Can’t Go

The world is full of secret and exclusive places that we either don’t know about, or simply couldn’t visit if we wanted to. This list takes a look at ten of the most significant places around the world that are closed to the general public or are virtually impossible for the general public to visit.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Photo Of The Day

A Mother’s Love

 Unlike most people who connect the image of a loving mother with a smiling face, Xiong Mingqiang visualizes the pair of thin shoulders that have carried him for 35 years.

Born with a deformity, Xiong’s head is disproportionately large for his small 80-cm tall body, which prevents him from even standing up on his own.
The unfortunate man fortunately has a mother who chose to forever shoulder him in a bamboo basket, caring for him and keeping him in touch with the world outside of their timeworn earthen house.
“This is probably the 20th basket I’ve sat in, after the others broke,” said 35-year-old Xiong, who weighs 23 kg.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Russian Inventor Trained Computer to Recognize People

Beyond Las Vegas there is a world more pious. And in that holy world, a Russian inventor by the name of Aleksandr Syomochkin has developed a program that allows a computer to recognize people’s faces and then message them. The program is based on the input received by on-monitor cameras,

Our Brains Have a Distorted Concept of Time

A recent study published in the journal Psychological Science has found our concept of time is distorted, and we consistently underestimate how much time has passed since events in the past, condensing the time.

Cell Phones May Improve Memory and Reduce Alzheimer’s

Tests suggested that exposure to radiation from the devices had a beneficial effect on the mind and could even reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s.

The surprise findings contradict some previous studies that have suggested mobiles can cause Alzheimer’s and brain cancer.
But Professor Gary Arendash, of South Florida University, and colleagues say long-term mobile use improves the function of the organ instead of causing any damage following their study of mice.
Prof Arendash said: “It surprised us to find that cellphone exposure, begun in early adulthood, protects the memory of mice otherwise destined to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms.
“It was even more astonishing that the electromagnetic waves generated by cell phones actually reversed memory impairment in old Alzheimer’s mice.”

Space Telescope Finds Five New Planets

Nasa’s new planet-hunting telescope has discovered its first five worlds beyond our Solar System.
Numerous planets have been found before by other telescopes, such as Hubble, but the sole mission of the Kepler observatory – launched last year – has been to find potential ‘Earths’ elsewhere in our galaxy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

10 Weirdest Animal Friendships

Friends are the one thing you can rely on when you need a shoulder to cry on or someone to just listen to you rant. People have friends, so why can’t animals.
Dogs have always been known as man’s best friend, so why can’t animals have best friends of their own?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Astonishing Burj Dubai Opening Fireworks

Forget about any Olympics inauguration ceremonies or any Fourth of July: The Burj Dubai is the tallest building in the world, and it got the highest fireworks too for its opening ceremony. So colossal you’ll think they are destroying it…

Woman Brings a Bit of Color to Snowfall

An environmental artist in Fargo, N.D., says she paints the snow on her home’s yard a different coluor each time flakes fall.
While Fargo resident Stevie Famulari’s front yard currently is pink, the landscape architecture professor at North Dakota State University is eyeing purplish blue snow for the next snowfall.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Top 10 Photos of the Week

Every person’s life consists of a series of dots, and these dots can only be connected by smart people carrying number 2 pencils. Most often people live their entire life without ever getting their dots connected. They simply die having lived their entire life as nothing more that a pile of disconnected dots. Today’s photos are intended to make you feel less connected than ever. Sorry, we’re just not good at that dot thing either.

What Is the Most Complex Language in the World?

The Economist has an article about how languages can be said to be, comparatively speaking, more or less complex. The grand prize for most complex language goes to one in the Amazon:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Top 10 Gadgets of the Past Decade

We present the top 10 gizmos and gadgets from the last ten years.

12 of the Craziest Stories of 2009

12. 6 year-old boy misses bus and takes mom’s car instead (Jan 2009) In Virginia’s Northern Neck, on a random Monday morning, a 6-year-old boy drove his mother’s Ford Taurus for more than 10 miles, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic, to finally slam into a utility pole, no one got hurt. The first-grader missed his school bus and decided to drive his mom’s car to elementary school so he wouldn’t miss breakfast and PE. The boy’s parents were arrested and charged with felony child endangerment.

Russia’s Plan To Save The Earth From A Collision With An Asteroid

Space scientists in Russia are preparing to boldly go where no man has gone before, except for the actor Bruce Willis.  The head of the Russian space agency said today that it was considering a Hollywood-style mission to send a spacecraft to bump a large asteroid from a possible collision course with Earth.

Top 10 Record Breakers of the Decade

chewing gum
Gary Duschl has made the world’s longest chewing gum wrapper chain out of 1,370,166 gum wrappers
What do a 990lb colossal squid, the first map of the human genome, and sprinter Usain Bolt have in common? They have all been voted in as the top 10 Guinness World Records of the decade. (Pics)

Since the launch of the latest records annual, thousands cast their vote for their favourite achievements of the noughties in entertainment, sports, technology, engineering and more.
‘With so many remarkable achievements over the past decade we decided to let the fans dictate the best of the best,’ said Craig Glenday,Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief.
‘After thousands of votes the Top Records of the Decade do not disappoint.’
Here are the top 10…
Stunts – Longest Chewing Gum-wrapper Chain
Since 11 March 1965, Gary Duschl of Virginia, USA, has been making a gum wrapper chain, which measures 17,760 m (58,266 ft) long and consists of 1,370,166 gum wrappers, 2,740,332 links and weighs 365.6 kg (806 lb), as of 11 March 2009.
Sports – Fastest 100metres
Fastest man alive
At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Usain Bolt achieved a landmark record when he ran the fastest 100m in 9.58 seconds on 20 August 2008.
Human Body – Shortest Man
World’s smallest man
The shortest known mobile living adult is He Pingping (China, b. 1988) who was measured by a team of doctors in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China, and found to be 74.61 cm (2 ft 5.37″) on 22 March 2008.
Science and Technology – First Map of the Human Genome
First full human genome ever decoded for an individual
The first publication of a human genome was by scientist and entrepreneur Dr Craig Venter (USA), who published his own genome (genetic code) in its entirety in September 2007. This complete record of his genetic make-up contained some 6 billion letters and was retrieved at an estimated cost of $35million (GBP 17.5million).
Society – First African-American US President
First African-American President: Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th US president
Barack Hussein Obama II (USA) was inaugurated as the 44th President of the USA on 20 January 2009, following a record-breaking campaign.
In the September before election, Obama raised a monthly record of $150 million (£82.5 million), taking his fundraising total to over $605 million (£332.9 million) – also a record.
Much of this went on advertising – an unprecedented $250 million (£137.5 million) was spent on TV ads in just five months. Over 136 million voters turned out on Election Day – the most since 1960 – and more than two million descended on the Capitol in Washington, DC for his inauguration.
Epic Achievements – Longest Time to Hold One’s Breath
breath hold
Tom Sietas held his breath for 17mins and 33secs
Tom Sietas (Germany), a man with a mass of AIDA achievements to his name, held his breath underwater for 17 minutes and 33 seconds on the set of ‘Guinness World Records’ in Madrid, Spain, on 30 December 2008.
Living Planet – Heaviest Colossal Squid
Fishermen caught the world’s largest Colossal squid
The heaviest squid ever caught was an adult male colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) weighing approximately 450 kg (990 lb) and measuring 10 m (33ft) long; it was caught by fishermen in the Ross Sea of Antarctica, and taken to New Zealand for research, where the catch was announced on 22 February 2007. Colossal squids are usually shorter than giant squid, but much heavier.
Arts & Entertainment – Longest Running Sitcom
TV Simpsons
In terms of episodes, the longest running sitcom in history is Matt Groening’s The Simpsons. The cartoon was first broadcast as short segments on the Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987 but proved popular enough to warrant a half-hour show in its own right.
The show debuted on 17 December 1989 and became an instant hit. To date the series has racked up 443 episodes and is in its 20th season.
Engineering – Tallest Structure
Ursa tension leg platform
The tallest structure on earth is the Ursa tension leg platform, a floating oil production facility operated by Shell in the Gulf of Mexico.
The top of its drilling rig is 1,306 m (4,285ft) above the ocean floor.
The platform is connected to the seafloor by oil pipelines and four massive steel tethers at each corner, with a total weight of approximately 16,000 tones (35 million lb).
Record claimants – Ashrita Furman
Record record claimant
Since 1979, Ashrita Furman has set more than 200 records including Most Pogostick Jumps in One Minute (238), Fastest Mile Somersaulting (19 min. 11 sec), and Most Sit-Ups in an Hour (9,628).
The 54-year old health food store manager from Queens, New York has broken records on every continent from standing on a Swiss Ball for the Longest Time at Stonehenge to Balancing a Pool Cue while Walking the Longest Distance at the Pyramids.

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