Monday, March 31, 2008

Oil Spill Protection robots


It's a well known fact that oil spills have quite a negative impact on the marine environment. However it's impossible to guarantee that no oil tankers will be shipwrecked. But in case of a shipwreck the first thing to be done is to prevent the expansion of an oil spill. In fact it's not an easy task because the only way to do so is to surround it. Till now there wasn't a certain way to eliminate the oil spills from the water surface. Yet this gadget represents a great achievement in this domain.

It was called OSP robot. Using advance technologies, these robots autonomously work together to contain an oil spill by surrounding it with an inflatable barrier. So once contained, clean-up crews can clean the water surface.

Given gadget consists of three important modules:

  1. Boom control module: by the help of which it's possible to plan and control the motion of the whole system.

  2. Communication module: due to the installed GSP system and radio antenna OSP can communicate with other units.

  3. Propulsion module: two motor-driven propeller screws are mounted in the unit and can be easily exchanged in case of malfunction

In addition to this OSP robot has a solar panel that can collect photo voltaic energy, supplying thus power to drive motor. As regards its oil protection boom it should be mentioned that it's stored in body and is rapidly rolled out in oil spill protection operation.

With the help of its simple and modular structure, OSP unit can be transported to the accident site rapidly and commence its mission immediately. Like a torpedo and mine operation in navy, OSP can be deployed from a helicopter or boat and accomplish its mission through the multi-robot control algorithms, being thus an extremely useful invention.  - gadgetreviews

Stunning bowling trick!

For Kids By Kids: Chocolate Flavored Brussel Sprouts

brusselssprouts.jpgIf three kid inventors have anything to say about it, all vegetables will taste like chocolate... even brussel sprouts! Yep! Three third-graders from Annapolis, MD have invented "The Micro Flavor Machine," and won a shot at the finals of the 2008 Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Awards.The challenge to grade-school and high-school students throughout the U.S. and Canada was to design a technology that could exist in year 2028 based on current technologies and scientific principles. Toshiba has held the ExploraVision contest for 16 years. The Flavor Machine team was one of 4,527 teams making it to the semi-finals, where 68 judges will be deciding their fate!

The 8 and 9-year olds on the Micro Flavor Machine team, Ashley Rambo, Samantha Cooke, and Katie White decided to find a way to get kids to want to eat what is healthy for them. Ashley described the invention to The Capitol newspaper of Annapolis, Md.

"Katie made a little prototype machine with two magnetrons. The food still looks the same, but the flavor changes. The magnetrons change the food's flavor into a gas, another flavored gas replaces it. If we used a liquid, it would turn food into mush."

How does a 9-year old create two magnetrons? Beyond me. But whether this team wins the ExploraVision Contest or not, I hope they didn't sign their rights away.... The Micro Flavor Machine is an idea that has legs and wings! And not just for kids.

The Toshiba/National Science Teacher ExploraVision Awards will be announced at the beginning of May. Good luck to the Annapolis "dream team" and all the other kid inventor teams that are participating in the semi-finals of this event. - inventorspot

Mobile phones 'more dangerous than smoking'

mobile_21755t.jpg Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos, a study by an award-winning cancer expert has concluded. He says people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take "immediate steps" to reduce exposure to their radiation. The study, by Dr Vini Khurana, is the most devastating indictment yet published of the health risks.

It draws on growing evidence – exclusively reported in the IoS in October – that using handsets for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain cancer. Cancers take at least a decade to develop, invalidating official safety assurances based on earlier studies which included few, if any, people who had used the phones for that long.

Earlier this year, the French government warned against the use of mobile phones, especially by children. Germany also advises its people to minimise handset use, and the European Environment Agency has called for exposures to be reduced.

Professor Khurana – a top neurosurgeon who has received 14 awards over the past 16 years, has published more than three dozen scientific papers – reviewed more than 100 studies on the effects of mobile phones. He has put the results on a brain surgery website, and a paper based on the research is currently being peer-reviewed for publication in a scientific journal.

He admits that mobiles can save lives in emergencies, but concludes that "there is a significant and increasing body of evidence for a link between mobile phone usage and certain brain tumours". He believes this will be "definitively proven" in the next decade.

Noting that malignant brain tumours represent "a life-ending diagnosis", he adds: "We are currently experiencing a reactively unchecked and dangerous situation." He fears that "unless the industry and governments take immediate and decisive steps", the incidence of malignant brain tumours and associated death rate will be observed to rise globally within a decade from now, by which time it may be far too late to intervene medically.

"It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking," says Professor Khurana, who told the IoS his assessment is partly based on the fact that three billion people now use the phones worldwide, three times as many as smoke. Smoking kills some five million worldwide each year, and exposure to asbestos is responsible for as many deaths in Britain as road accidents.

Late last week, the Mobile Operators Association dismissed Khurana's study as "a selective discussion of scientific literature by one individual". It believes he "does not present a balanced analysis" of the published science, and "reaches opposite conclusions to the WHO and more than 30 other independent expert scientific reviews". - independent

Darn. I spent all this time not smoking and drinking and eating healthy and now I might get a brain tumor anyway?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bikini Girl Shadow Illusion


Earliest Known Sound Recording Discovered

phonautograph_0.pngThomas Edison has long been credited for the invention of sound recording, thanks to his phonograph. However, researchers have recently discovered a a 10-second recording that was created 17 years before the phonograph was invented. It is believed to be history's earliest recording of sound.

Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville was a French typesetter who invented a device called a phonautograph in 1857. The phonautograph recorded sound by directing it through a large barrel, where the vibrations would cause a stylus to move, etching the sound onto paper blackened by smoke. It was through this invention that history's first recordings of a human voice were made.

Scott's invention had recorded sound a few times, but it was an April 9, 1860 recording that was the most clear. This recording was of a person singing a song called Au Clair de la Lune. The result - called a phonautogram - was merely a visual recording of sound. In fact, sound reproduction in any other format was still inconceivable at that point in history. It was only very recently that audio historians and sound engineers were able to translate the phonautogram into more than just an etching. Working with a high-resolution scan of the phonautogram, they used optical imaging along with a "virtual stylus" to turn the recording into something that could be played back. This is impressive, considering the inventor of history's first sound recordings never intended for them to be heard. - inventorspot

Cyber Goggles: High-tech memory aid


Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a smart video goggle system that records everything the wearer looks at, recognizes and assigns names to objects that appear in the video, and creates an easily searchable database of the recorded footage. Designed to function as a high-tech memory aid, these “Cyber Goggles” promise to make the act of losing your keys a thing of the past, according to head researcher professor Tatsuya Harada.

Cyber Goggles are equipped with a compact camera that feeds video to a computer worn on the user’s back. The computer records the footage and relies on ultrahigh-speed image recognition processing software to analyze, name and file the objects that appear in the video. Later, when the user types in a keyword to search for a particular item, the corresponding video plays on a tiny LCD screen attached to the right-side lens, helping the user remember the location of the item in question.

In a demonstration at the University of Tokyo last week, 60 everyday items — including a potted begonia, CD, hammer and cellphone — were programmed into the Cyber Goggle memory. As the demonstrator walked around the room viewing and recording the various objects, the names of the items appeared on the goggle screen. The demonstrator was then able to do a search for the various items and retrieve the corresponding video.

In addition to functioning as a memory aid for the elderly, Cyber Goggles have a number of other potential uses, says professor Harada. For example, the image recognition processing technology can be used to sift through enormous amounts of video in search of specific images. It might also help in the development of robots with human-like abilities, he says.

[Sources: Asahi, Sankei]

What it is like to take a ride in the Space Shuttle

I've wondered what the ride is like during lift off. A bit bumpy but you are in space before you know it.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.491725&w=425&h=350&fv=] from www.random-good-stuf posted with vodpod

Simroid (a.k.a. 'Pain Girl')

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.491722&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26] from posted with vodpod

New Google Office!

No wonder people want to work for Google. Brilliant. Relaxed happy workers are more productive.


[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.491703&w=425&h=350&fv=] from photowebs.blogspot.c posted with vodpod

The first new $5 bill was issued by the Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve banks will begin distributing the redesigned $5 bills to customer banks, which will then distribute them to businesses and consumers. The new $5 bill designs will circulate first in the U.S. and gradually spread to other countries as international banks place orders for them from the Federal Reserve. You don’t have to trade in your old bills for new ones. Both the new $5 bills and the older-design $5 bills will continue to maintain their full face value.

The new $5 bill incorporates new security features:


Watermarks: There are now two watermarks on the redesigned $5 bill. A large number “5″ watermark is located in a blank space to the right of the portrait replacing the previous watermark portrait of President Lincoln found on the older-design $5 bills. A second watermark – a column of three smaller “5″s – has been added to the new $5 bill design and is positioned to the left of the portrait.


Security Thread: The embedded security thread runs vertically and is now located to the right of the portrait on the redesigned $5 bill. The letters “USA” followed by the number “5″ in an alternating pattern are visible along the thread from both sides of the bill. The thread glows blue when held under ultraviolet light.

Lichtinfusion - the Horror Intravenous Lamp

Intravenous Lamp by Christian Maas looks like an intravenous units.

Via blogpcnews

Self cleaning Windshield doesn't Need Windshield Wipers

self-cleaning-windshield-1.jpgNanotechnologies just keep on getting more and more popular nowadays. They are a true marvel of technological progress, and can aid us in many ways usual things cannot. When it comes to cleaning, nanotechnologies do their best because of size. We already wrote about self-cleaning fabrics earlier, now it is the time for another way of using those modern helpers - to clean the windshield from water and dirt without any need of windshield wipers!

The Italian automobile designer Leonardo Fioravanti from the Pininfarina design studio has made a prototype of a windshield that uses nanoparticles to clean itself. All dirty work is done by micro layers that cover the windshield. First layer has water-repellent and sunrays-shielding capabilities. The second layer consists of microscopic nanoparticles, which will repel the dirt to the sides of this windshield. Third layer is control one, which detects the dirt and when finds it on the windshield, it will activate the nanoparticles to do the cleaning. And the fourth layer, which acts as energy source for others three, brings them electricity to operate. The air will aid the cleaning process, because of good aerodynamic design of both windshield and the car "Hidra".

Fioravanti thinks that this technology will be widely spread among new cars in five years. It is hard to believe that modern machines will be fully without any wipers, but who knows, maybe he is completely right, and the windshield cleaning will be completely done by nano particles? This new nanoparticle windshield is a working prototype now, exists only in a unique quantity and can be seen on a concept car "Hidra".

It is interesting how this technology will be introduced in mass production. Will it be a proprietary feature of some car manufacturer, or it will be widely spread among all new cars? However, we can be assured that as the time passes, nanotechnologies will play bigger role in everybody's life. -gr

Yoda Pizza


It's even better if you squint a bit... . From Mbw

Musical Genius | Miniature Brainwave

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.491690&w=425&h=350&fv=] from www.miniaturebrainwa posted with vodpod

Energy producing door from Fluxlab

revolving-door-generator-gadget.jpgNowadays people try to use alternative energy sources wherever it's possible. There are a lot of reasons for this, among which the lack of natural resources and will to protect the environment are the most important. One of the methods to produce power real-time consists in the idea of using human efforts and energy that seems to be promising enough. Gadgets like crowd farm produce electricity when people walk on them, another good idea was to combine a revolving door with an electricity generator.

 The Revolution Door from Fluxlab has a generator built in and whenever a person goes through the door he/she produces energy. Apparently the idea for creation of such a device can not be considered as an innovative one, yet before this time there were some problems with its implementation. However this gadget is much more detailed and was probably designed as a conceptual piece to get people thinking about the usefulness of such a structure.

To my mind in the near future people will start to use such devices because of their efficiency and ecological compatibility. Moreover I hope that more efforts will be made in this domain, i.e. to make the power be generated by our own efforts without making any additional efforts. - gr

Pen-shaped wireless mouse

wireless-mouse-pen-gadget.jpgThere is no need to explain the importance of a mouse as a controlling device for any PC user. It's hard to imagine that there may be an alternative to this well-known device that we've got accustomed to. Yet, it's not the fact that the traditional shape of the mouse is the most convenient and efficient one. Thus, some designers think that there is a possibility to change the way mouse looks.

The proposed gadget being a wireless mouse looks like a standard pen. Actually this unique device functions as a simple pen as well enabling you to put down everything you want, but when you detach the receiver and insert it into your USB port, the pen turns into a wireless mouse. So functionality and portability of the concept represents its key advantages in comparison with a usual mouse.

It has three buttons positioned on its side in the row. So the user can still have the three buttons to use. However, it does not have a scrolling wheel, which reduces its usability.

I have no doubts that this gadget is great for casual browsing; however, if you deal with graphics design or something like this, you will probably encounter some problems, at least at the first dash. No information is available about refillable cartridges, but I hope that the pen comes with them, because otherwise it would be a waste of money to purchase a new unit each time you need one. Nevertheless it is quite a decent idea that most likely will have its proponents. -gadgetreviews

Stylish Solution for Your Cat Scratching Instinct

itch-cat-scratch-pad.jpgEverytime you look at the tattered corners of your sofa, your shredded curtains or claw marks on any other piece of furniture, I’m sure that you wish that your kitty didn’t had claws.Now you have the occasion to make your feline happy by providing a stylish alternative for her scratching instinct, with the Itch Scratch Pad. Made from 100% renewable bamboo (environment friendly too), the pads can be hung up (or placed horizontally) at strategic locations in your home to entice your kitty. The Itch Scratch Pad is available on, for about 50 $. - Via - Gadgetroad

Toast Art.

For many of us the moment we think of toast; we think of jam, marmalade or perhaps an egg on top. But the very same loaf of bread in hands of creative people turns out to be work of art. Now this is a unique way to earn your 'bread' & butter. - bbc


First successes against Parkinson disease

76911.jpg Cloned cells were transplanted into the brain of mice who suffered from this disease and they replaced sick neurons.

The success of therapeutic cloning in mice. Researchers of the Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York, led by neuro-scientist Lorenz Studer, have treated the guinea pigs suffering from Parkinson with the transplantation of embryonic stem cells obtained from the skin of rodents themselves sick. The experiment, described in Nature Medicine, not only has recorded cases of rejection, but also significant improvements in the evolution of clinical pathology.

The group Studer - after having caused lesions in the brains of mice that would determine the same effects of Parkinson's disease - has transferred the nuclei of cells inside the tail skin cell mouse egg "emptied" of its nucleus, through the technique known as therapeutic cloning (or Scnt, Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer). The cloned cells, cultivated, were then developed into blastocysts. The researchers thus generated 187 lines of embryonic stem cells from 24 different mice, most of which later differentiate into neurons capable of producing dopamine.

In the treated mice, new cells have effectively replaced those sick, allowing a significant increase in the capacity of the guinea pigs to control the movements of feet. A success only if there was a genetic match between the transplanted neurons in the guinea pig: if not, in fact, the experiment was concluded with rejection. Experimenting, while marking an important point in favour of therapeutic cloning, will be limited only to the study of rodents: "There are still many difficulties to be resolved with regard to the human being," says Studer, "starting with ethical problems" . - coolstuff

Mice know to apply rules!


The rodents, as primates, are able to learn simple abstract principles for later use in different situations...

A long considered exclusive to primates appears in reality shared by other species. Having already been demonstrated in some birds in fact, the ability to apply abstract rules just learned, and to to adapt to new situations was also observed in mice. The study, published in a number of Science, was conducted by Robin Murphy of University College London.

The experiments were carried out by subjecting the animals to visual and acoustic stimuli. In the first phase mice, divided into three groups, have responded to three different sequences of visual stimuli, consisting of the sequence of light and dark. For each group only a sequence was associated with the food. After an initial period of "training", the mice were able to distinguish between those identifying sequences associated with reward.

Bush Plan May Forgive Some Mortgage Loans, Washington Post Says

business-bush-economy-mortgage-dc_290308.jpg A Bush administration plan to aid borrowers whose mortgages are greater than the value of their homes may call on lenders to forgive part of the loans, the Washington Post said, citing unidentified government officials.Under the proposal, the Federal Housing Administration would encourage lenders to forgive parts of loans and reissue smaller mortgages in exchange for financial backing from the federal government, the newspaper reported today. Borrowers would have to agree to stay in their homes, be able to afford the new payments and have lenders who sign off on the changes.

Administration officials are still ironing out details, such as how big a mortgage would have to be compared with the home's value, the newspaper said. One unidentified official said the plan likely won't be announced before President George W. Bush returns from next week's European trip, the Post said.

The concept is similar to elements in legislation proposed earlier this month by U.S. Representative Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, the newspaper said. - bloomberg

Well, that would be great. It would be great if lenders were forced by law to take partial payments so your credit would only be damaged in the amount that you couldn't afford to pay.

Comcast's P2P Conversion: I'll Believe It When I See Results

Some friends of mine did some commercials for BitTorrent.
Is Comcast serious about making nice with the “peer to peer” technology crowd? That would seem to be the case given the deal announced yesterday with BitTorrent Inc., in which the cable giant agreed to stop throttling the performance of heavy P2P users during peak times, and instead pledged to invest in the bandwidth and technologies to be able to handle that traffic. Says BitTorrent CEO Ashwin Navin: “It’s a great day for us. A lot of good can come out of this.”

Friday, March 28, 2008

Obama Speech: 'A More Perfect Union'

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.490546&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26] from posted with vodpod

Oregon Transgender Man Is Five Months Pregnant

news_15608.jpgThomas Beatie, a woman who changed her sex and now calls herself a man, is five months pregnant with a baby girl.

The Oregon resident said in an article of "The Advocate", a national magazine for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender readers, that he went through a sex change but reconstructed only his chest and had testosterone therapy. He kept his female reproductive organs and became pregnant through artificial insemination.

Thomas and his wife Nancy decided to have a baby, but when the latter went through a hysterectomy due to severe endometriosis 20 years ago, they came up with the idea that Thomas should carry their child.

"I stopped taking my bimonthly testosterone injections. It had been roughly eight years since I had my last menstrual cycle, so this wasn’t a decision that I took lightly," Beatie said in the article.

"My body regulated itself after about four months, and I didn’t have to take any exogenous estrogen, progesterone, or fertility drugs to aid my pregnancy," he added.

Beatie labeled as "incredible" the experience of carrying the pregnancy for his wife. And it’s not a first for him. Beatie is now at his second pregnancy after he went through an ectopic pregnancy with triplets.

He described his first pregnancy as a “life-threatening event” because it required surgical intervention. Beatie lost all his embryos and his right fallopian tube in the intervention.

He acknowledged the fact that he and his wife are facing the anger of some people who feel offended by their decision. Among those feeling offended by this were doctors, health care professionals, receptionalists, friends and family.

Asked about his identity regarding the fact that his stomach is now growing, Beatie said that he "constantly" remained a man.

"I am so lucky to have such a loving, supportive wife. I will be my daughter’s father, and Nancy will be her mother. We will be a family," he said. -efluxmedia

Lights Out For One Hour, 8 PM Tonight Could Improve Life on Earth


Houses across the world are switching off their lights for one hour at 8 p.m., on Saturday, March 29, to make a statement about the greatest factor of global warming – coal-fired electricity.

The Earth Hour is a project started last year by the World Wildlife Federation.

"It's largely symbolic," said Monica Echeverria, a spokeswoman for the World Wildlife Federation, according to the Los Angeles Times. "The purpose is to keep getting the word out about how important it is to reduce energy and carbon emissions. It's all about climate change."

The Earth Hour project aims to make people more aware about the consequences of global warming and make them feel like they are working together as a team, to save the health of our planet. The WWF hopes that the participants will think of changing the light bulbs in their homes with compact fluorescents, which are much more economical and efficient.

The global warming issue is one of the most difficult challenges Earth faces, and it can only be solved if a large number of people work together, trying to change something.

On the project’s website,, WWF informs that on March 31 2007, when Earth Hour started in Australia, over 2.2 million Sydney residents and over 2,100 businesses turned off the lights for one hour, resulting in a 10.2 percent energy reduction across the city.

This year, Earth Hour spread all around the globe and 24 important cities in the world are expected to participate in the action on March 29, at 8 p.m. - eflux

I'll do it. It is good practice so the Earth can turn out all the lights and hide if some evil aliens fly by. "Nope, no one to eat on this planet either. Let's try that other one."

Arrest warrant issued for 'God'



A MAGISTRATE has issued an arrest warrant for a man who failed to turn up to court because he is "God" and above the law.

Richard James Howarth was remanded to appear in the Ipswich Magistrate's Court to answer a string of traffic offences, including four counts of driving with a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit.

However, his lawyers said he failed to appear after having earlier informed them he would not talk to them because he is was the almighty and above answering to Queensland laws.

Early this month, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service solicitor Kevin Rose, for Howarth, told the court his client refused his office's attempts to talk to them.

A court and a mental health expert have already deemed Howarth was mentally fit for trial, but Mr Rose maintained he has obvious mental health issues.

Mr Rose said he did not doubt Howarth genuinely believed he was God. -

One person has already found God guilty of crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. In addition to murdering nearly all humans with a great flood, he seems to have done the same thing with the dinosaurs he created, a fact he tried to cover up by not including them in the Bible.

TSA Forces Woman To Remove Nipple Rings For Flight

"The last time that I checked a nipple was not a dangerous weapon," well-known L.A. attorney Gloria Alred said.

mandihamlin.jpg A Texas woman who claims she was forced to remove a nipple ring with pliers in order to board an airplane called Thursday for an apology by federal security agents and a civil rights investigation.

"I wouldn't wish this experience upon anyone," Mandi Hamlin, 37, said at a news conference in Los Angeles. "My experience with TSA was a nightmare I had to endure. No one deserves to be treated this way."

Hamlin said she was trying to board a flight from Lubbock to Dallas on Feb. 24 when she was scanned by a Transportation Security Administration agent after passing through a larger metal detector without problems.

The female TSA agent used a handheld detector that beeped when it passed in front of Hamlin's chest, the Dallas-area resident said.

Hamlin said she told the woman that she was wearing nipple piercings. The female agent then called over her male colleagues, one of whom said she would have to remove the body piercings, Hamlin claimed.

Hamlin said she could not remove them and asked if she could instead display her pierced breasts in private to the female agent. But several other male officers told her she could not board her flight until the jewelry was removed, she said.

She was taken behind a curtain and managed to remove one bar-shaped nipple piercing but had trouble with the second, a ring.

"Still crying, she informed the TSA officer that she could not remove it without the help of pliers, and the officer gave a pair to her," said Hamlin's attorney, Gloria Allred, reading from a letter she sent Thursday to the director of the TSA's Office of Civil Rights and Liberties. Allred is a well-known Los Angeles lawyer who often represents high-profile claims.

Hamlin showed reporters at the news conference how she took off the second ring by applying pliers to the torso of a mannequin that had a peach-colored bra with the rings on it.

She said she heard male TSA agents snickering as she took out the ring. She was scanned again and was allowed to board even though she still was wearing a belly button ring.

Ancient Petroglyph May be Key to Christmas Legend


This year, Santa can't wait for Christmas. A small, but dedicated group of rock art preservationists in Utah - the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition, and their allies - are fighting to preserve what may be the original Santa Claus.

Nine Mile Canyon: Located high on the side of a sheer cliff in a rugged place in central Utah, is an ancient petroglyph that dates back over 1,000 years; it has an uncanny resemblance to the modern day Santa, an elf, and his nine reindeer.

A petroglyph is a work of prehistoric Indian rock art that is chiseled or "pecked" into rock, usually into a dark patina surface; the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition and their preservationist friends are seeking to save this ancient petroglyph from destruction.

An industrial gas and oil development in the area is slowly destroying this and thousands of other petroglyphs that call this canyon home.

According to Pam Miller, a trained archaeologist and Chair of the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition, "'Santa' is one of more than 10,000 unique petroglyphs and pictographs (prehistoric Indian art painted on rock) found in the canyon that are being obliterated by dust and destroyed by dust-suppressant chemicals (magnesium chloride) that is being sprayed on roads. Additionally, the vibrations of huge trucks, drill rigs, bulldozers, and industrial traffic are also affecting these ancient works of art."

Bill Bryant, the photographer who managed to photograph "Santa" using a super-telephoto lens said that, "The destruction going on here is tragic. This entire canyon is a national treasure that should be made into a national monument or park." ...

Petro-Canada Resources (USA) is also drilling in the area. Public comments can be submitted electronically and all information can be found on the Nine Mile Coalition web site at:

"While the intentions and beliefs of the original artist(s) will never be known, the beauty of rock art is that future generations will continue to be inspired by it," Miller explained. "Of course this 'Santa' interpretation must clearly be seen as ethnocentric by later observers; it is not likely that Santa, the elf, and reindeer were in the mind of the original people making the markings."

According to Miller, "The only way to save 'Santa' and the world-renown rock art of Nine Mile Canyon from destruction is for people to get involved and make their voices heard to BLM and their elected officials across the country. This place needs to be saved for future generations." - send2press

Science behind the Antarctic ice shelf collapse (2008.03.26)

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.490481&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26] from posted with vodpod

Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctic break-up! (2008.03.25)

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.490479&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26] from posted with vodpod

$10 Million X Prize Offered for 100-MPG Car


Competition has a way of bringing out the best in people. If there is a gauntlet that you think needs picking up, start by throwing it down. The Automotive X Prize has done just that.In 1919, hotelier Raymond Orteig offered a $25,000 prize for the first nonstop solo flight from New York to Paris, a challenge ultimately met by Charles Lindbergh in 1927. Within months of the flight, aircraft and airfield construction boomed in the U.S.

We're reminded of this by Mark Goodstein, executive director of the Automotive X Prize. This group plans to award a multimillion-dollar purse to teams that win a series of races in a production-ready vehicle capable of exceeding 100 mpg. The X Prize people hope that a boom in practical, high-mileage cars will surely follow.

The real question might be whether it is possible to build a winning entry for less money than the prize.

In This Contest, 100 mpg Is the Easy Part
The first X Prize was announced in 1995, a $10 million award to the first non-governmental organization to achieve space flight in a reusable craft. It was won on October 4, 2004, by SpaceShipOne, built by Mojave Aerospace Ventures. Now the X Prize group has focused its attention on the need for mainstream, mass-produced cars capable of extraordinary fuel mileage.

While it isn't terribly hard to build a vehicle that will propel itself 100 miles on only a gallon of gas, the X Prize rules call for a car that can carry four adults and sip gas while traversing all kinds of terrain and negotiating real-world traffic. And the car builder must demonstrate that the vehicle can be profitably offered for sale in volumes of 10,000 units in a form that meets federal crash safety and emissions requirements. If this weren't enough, the competition really is a race, because the money goes to the fastest car that can do all of these things.

"Achieving 100 mpg? Any bright engineer can go do that," declares Chris Theodore, vice chairman of ASC Inc., who advised the X Prize committee. "But with the rules of cost and safety and desirability and functionality, it becomes much more challenging. I'm not sure the public appreciates how difficult it is."

That much is certain, if the X Prize group's own survey is accurate. The contest organizers conducted a poll and found that 52 percent of Americans believe there is a conspiracy between car manufacturers and oil companies to deprive consumers of technologies that produce high fuel economy.

No souped-up Prius with extra batteries is going to be successful in this contest, says S.M. Shahed, senior research fellow at Honeywell Turbo Technologies. "It will require a huge weight reduction," he notes. "You can't simply add more heavy batteries."

Maintaining safety in lightweight cars will be a challenge, Shahed acknowledges. But it can be met by having the car sacrifice itself to protect the occupants at a lower crash speed than is typical today. "If the price you have to pay for having a 100-mpg car is totaling the car at 25 mph, then I'm willing to pay that price," he says. -edmunds

Asparagus sauce accused of killing diner + Food Safety Video

WILLIAM Hodgins died just hours after being served up a sauce with fatally high levels of the toxic pathogen bacillus cerus by an award-winning Sydney restaurant, an inquest heard yesterday. A coronial inquest into the death of the 81-year-old heard he had eaten fish of the day with an asparagus cream-based sauce at the Tables restaurant in Pymble on the night of Friday, January 12, 2007.

Tests on the sauce carried out after Mr Hodgins' death by the Division of Analytical Laboratories found there was a presence of bacillus cereus at at 9.8 million per 10 million parts. Levels of 1.0 million parts per 10 million is toxic, the inquest heard.= The build up of bacteria could have been caused by the sauce being left out on the bench in a 30C kitchen for up to seven hours and possibly reheated and re-refrigerated a number of times over a 48-hour period, the inquest heard.

Tables restaurant owners Daniel Brukarz and Kim De Laive both denied during their evidence to the inquest that the sauce would have been out for any more than four hours. They said it would only have been served to customers that day and possibly for the following days' lunch. A chef of about 30 years experience, Mr De Laive admitted he had no formal food safety training but said he believed his taste and smell test was enough to ascertain its safety. -

Most people do not understand food safety, but they think they do. I've gotten food poisoning before from a cook who left mayonnaise too long at room temperature.

Police: Man Shoots Self Multiple Times In Staged Assault

15714536_240x180.jpgA man shot himself several times in what police called a staged assault designed to prove to his friends and ex-girlfriend that he lived a secret life as a gang member. Brownsburg police said the sordid tale began with a false report from Zachary Booso (pictured), 19, 6News' Renee Jameson reported.According to police, Booso said he was driving to a friend's house in a Brownsburg neighborhood Saturday when a man flagged him down. He said he stopped at a clubhouse, where the man demanded his wallet and shot him.

Booso phoned a friend and told him he was shot. His friend's father called 911.Booso's story that someone had shot him four times began to unravel when medics and his mother said his wounds might have been self-inflicted.When pressed by police, Booso confessed to shooting himself in the cheek, shoulder and thigh with a pellet gun."Attacking a major crime as we should, we found that he had possibly made a false report," said Brownsburg police Capt. Jeff Gray. Police said Booso, a member of the U.S. Navy who is on leave, had a history of prescription drug abuse. According to officers, Booso told them he did it to try to prove to his friends and ex-girlfriend that he led a secret life as a gang member. "Nobody believed him, so this was going to … show all of them that he had been involved in a gang," Gray said. Booso was taken to a hospital and then to jail, where he bonded out the same day. He faces a misdemeanor charge of false informing. - theindychannel

Not being believed can be emotionally painful to some people. In this person's case, it was so much so that he was willing to cause himself physical harm to gain the trust of his cohorts. Unfortunately, he chose to get his need for respect met by trying to create false evidence to prove a previous lie. With maturity, he might have been able to simply admit to his friends that he lied and laugh about it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Man not insured for failure to use karate on dogs

dogwiggetty110806_175x125.jpgAn insurance firm in China has told a man bitten by two dogs it was his own fault for not learning karate.

Wang Zhiqing of Meishan needed stitches in his hand and a rabies jab after being attacked by wild dogs.

But when he filed a claim, the China Pacific Insurance Group said: 'You should have fought the dogs off.

'If you had learned a martial art like karate you would have avoided the problem.'


I was once attacked by a pack of ..okay it was only two... by two wild ...okay, they were not exactly wild, but anyway... I was once attacked by two dogs while I was training for a marathon. I was running on a lonely country road. They ran up at full speed barking and snarling and just as they were trying to bite me I only survived by punching one dog in the nose and yelling like a banshee. This freaked them out enough that they turned around and ran for it.

Patriot Act haunts Google service

A bit of history. Where are we today?
Google Inc. is a year into its ground-shifting strategy to change the way people communicate and work.  But the initiative to reinvent the way that people use software is running headlong into another new phenomenon of the information technology age: the unprecedented powers of security officials in the United States to conduct surveillance on communications.

Eighteen months ago, Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., had an outdated computer system that was crashing daily and in desperate need of an overhaul. A new installation would have cost more than $1-million and taken months to implement. Google's service, however, took just 30 days to set up, didn't cost the university a penny and gave nearly 8,000 students and faculty leading-edge software, said Michael Pawlowski, Lakehead's vice-president of administration and finance.

U.S.-based Google spotlighted the university as one of the first to adopt its software model of the future, and today Mr. Pawlowski boasts the move was the right thing for Lakehead, saving it hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual operating costs. But he notes one trade-off: The faculty was told not to transmit any private data over the system, including student marks.

The U.S. Patriot Act, passed in the weeks after the September, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, gives authorities the means to secretly view personal data held by U.S. organizations. It is at odds with Canada's privacy laws, which require organizations to protect private information and inform individuals when their data has been shared.

At Lakehead, the deal with Google sparked a backlash. "The [university] did this on the cheap. By getting this free from Google, they gave away our rights," said Tom Puk, past president of Lakehead's faculty association, which filed a grievance against Lakehead administration that's still in arbitration.

Professors say the Google deal broke terms of their collective agreement that guarantees members the right to private communications. Mr. Puk says teachers want an in-house system that doesn't let third parties see their e-mails.

Some other organizations are banning Google's innovative tools outright to avoid the prospect of U.S. spooks combing through their data. Security experts say many firms are only just starting to realize the risks they assume by embracing Web-based collaborative tools hosted by a U.S. company, a problem even more acute in Canada where federal privacy rules are at odds with U.S. security measures.

"You have to decide which law you are going to break," said Darren Meister, associate professor of information systems at the Richard Ivey School of Business, who specializes in how technology enhances organizational effectiveness. "If I were a business manager, I would want to be very careful about what kind of data I made accessible to U.S. law enforcement."

Using their new powers under the Patriot Act, U.S. intelligence officials can scan documents, pick out certain words and create profiles of the authors - a frightening challenge to academic freedom, Mr. Puk said.

For instance, a Lakehead researcher with a Middle Eastern name, researching anthrax or nuclear energy, might find himself denied entry to the United States without ever knowing why. "You would have no idea what they are up to with your information until, perhaps, it is too late," Mr. Puk said. "We don't want to be subject to laws of the Patriot Act." - globeandmail

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Medicine's Cutting Edge: Re-Growing Organs, The Future Is Here: Regenerative Powder, Ink Jet Heart Cells And Custom-Made Body Parts

Regenerative powder?! Where have they been hiding that?
Imagine re-growing a severed fingertip, or creating an organ in the lab that can be transplanted into a patient without risk of rejection. It sounds like science fiction, but it's not. It's the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine, in which scientists are learning to harness the body's own power to regenerate itself, with astonishing results. Correspondent Wyatt Andrews brings you to the scientific frontier.

Three years ago, Lee Spievack sliced off the tip of his finger in the propeller of a hobby shop airplane. What happened next, Andrews reports, propelled him into the future of medicine. Spievack's brother, Alan, a medical research scientist, sent him a special powder and told him to sprinkle it on the wound."I powdered it on until it was covered," Spievack recalled.

To his astonishment, every bit of his fingertip grew back.

"Your finger grew back," Andrews asked Spievack, "flesh, blood, vessels and nail?"

"Four weeks," he answered.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.1029361&w=425&h=350&fv=autoPlayVid%3Dfalse] from posted with vodpod

Monday, March 24, 2008

Power Air Zinc Air Fuel Cells


Power Air Corporation's Zinc Air Fuel Cell technology offers an alternative to batteries, generators, and hydrogen fuel cells as it creates residual zinc oxide that, through electrolysis, can be recycled back into reusable zinc fuel.Power Air Corporation (OTC: PWAC) (PAC), a clean energy company, Is developing a commercially viable Zinc-Air Fuel Cell (ZAFC) technology that generates reliable, environmentally sustainable, zero emission energy for portable, stationary, light mobility, and transportation applications.

Power Air’s better way replaces batteries and engines with fuel cells that can be quickly recharged by a simple exchange of electrolyte. PAC’s ZAFC technology is made using low cost materials and conventional manufacturing techniques. Products powered by PAC’s ZAFC have all the advantages of batteries and engines, without the disadvantages.

The ZAFC is a metal oxide fuel cell using relatively simple physical chemistry. It uses a combination of atmospheric oxygen and zinc pellets in a liquid alkaline electrolyte to generate electricity with by products of zinc oxide and potassium zincates. - continues on the fraserdomain

Lunar Rover What was its power source on the moon? How was it assembled?

A visitor to my moon landing page sends the following. Click thumbnails to enlarge pictures.


jeepframe.jpg lunarrover.jpg

Wikipedia says this:
The Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle was an electric vehicle designed to operate in the low-gravity vacuum of the Moon and to be capable of traversing the lunar surface, allowing the Apollo astronauts to extend the range of their surface extravehicular activities. ... Each wheel had its own electric drive, a DC series wound 0.25 hp (200 W) motor capable of 10,000 rpm, attached to the wheel via an 80:1 harmonic drive, and a mechanical brake unit. Maneuvering capability was provided through the use of front and rear steering motors. Each series wound DC steering motor was capable of 0.1 hp (100 W). Both sets of wheels would turn in opposite directions, giving a steering radius of 10 feet (3 m), or could be decoupled so only one set would be used for steering. They could also free-wheel in case of drive failure. Power was provided by two 36-volt silver-zinc potassium hydroxide non-rechargeable batteries with a capacity of 121 A·h. These were used to power the drive and steering motors and also a 36 volt utility outlet mounted on front of the LRV to power the communications relay unit or the TV camera.

Considerable money was spent on the moon buggies.
Four were made – at a total cost of $38 million. Developed in just 17 months, the 3.1-metre vehicle was powered by two 36-volt silver-zinc potassium hydroxide batteries, enabling a top speed of 8mph. - carsmoneycantbuy

How do silver-zinc batteries compare to lithium ion batteries?
Silver-zinc chemistry has three significant advantages over lithium ion, according to Dueber: It’s inherently safer because it lacks the volatile cathode makeup that leads to a thermal runaway, it’s very green since both silver and zinc are non-toxic as well as recyclable, and, perhaps most importantly, it packs 40% more energy into a battery pack than lithium ion can. Silver-zinc has a long history.... It was used by the military and aerospace where programs could afford to pay for the higher-priced silver in exchange for increased energy density. - edn

Hard Time Killing Fraud


When a prominent Indian politician said her political opponents had put a black magic spell on her, one of India's largest Hindu TV stations invited Indian rationalist Sanal Edamaruku to debate black magic shaman Pandit Surinder Sharma on science and religion. That's where it got interesting:
During the discussion, the tantrik showed a small human shape of wheat flour dough, laid a thread around it like a noose and tightened it. He claimed that he was able to kill any person he wanted within three minutes by using black magic. Sanal challenged him to try and kill him.

The tantrik tried. He chanted his mantras (magic words): “Om lingalingalinalinga, kilikili….” But his efforts did not show any impact on Sanal – not after three minutes, and not after five. The time was extended and extended again. The original discussion program should have ended here, but the “breaking news” of the ongoing great tantra challenge was overrunning all program schedules.


He started sprinkling water on Sanal and brandishing a knife in front of him. Sometimes he moved the blade all over his body. Sanal did not flinch. Then he touched Sanal’s head with his hand, rubbing and rumpling up his hair, pressing his forehead, laying his hand over his eyes, pressing his fingers against his temples. When he pressed harder and harder, Sanal reminded him that he was supposed to use black magic only, not forceful attacks to bring him down. The tantrik took a new run: water, knife, fingers, mantras. But Sanal kept looking very healthy and even amused.

After nearly two hours, the anchor declared the tantrik’s failure. The tantrik, unwilling to admit defeat, tried the excuse that a very strong god whom Sanal might be worshipping obviously protected him. “No, I am an atheist,” said Sanal Edamaruku. Finally, the disgraced tantrik tried to save his face by claiming that there was a never-failing special black magic for ultimate destruction, which could, however, only been done at night. Bad luck again, he did not get away with this, but was challenged to prove his claim this very night in another “breaking news” live program. - reason

Truckers ‘going broke’ and threatening to strike


What started as a small, online grassroots effort now appears to have the potential for something bigger.Dan Little, the owner/operator of a livestock hauling company in Carrollton, Mo., estimated Tuesday that at least 1,000 other truckers from across the United States have committed so far to joining him in a strike on April 1.

Although none of the truckers interviewed Tuesday at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop, Walcott, which is just off Interstate 80 west of Davenport, has heard of the intended strike, some said they would shut down, too. Weldon Kinnison, a Virginia trucker who was hauling soft drink from Indiana to Denver, heard about the plans for a strike for the first time Tuesday while stopping at Walcott.

“I’m an owner/operator with the American Truckers Association,” he said. “I’d park my truck for a week with the cattle haulers. “The fuel is too high, and there’s no reason for it. I don’t listen to the CB (radio) that much, but I guess I’ll start now.”

At issue is the rising cost of diesel fuel, which has reached or exceeded $4 per gallon in at least 17 states. But Little does not expect his strike to bring down the per-gallon price of gas, nor does he expect to have any effect on the oil companies.

“What I would personally like to see is our federal and state governments, until our economy recovers, suspend federal and state fuel taxes,” the 49-year-old said. “The second thing I’d like to see is an oversight committee for truck insurance, which is part of what’s taking us down.

“The average owner/operator is paying $600 to $800 a month for truck insurance. It’s based on personal credit, which means the monthly cost is going up for a lot of truckers because their credit is going down.

“Everything in the world is going up (in price), except for what we do. I lose money if I start my truck, and that truck is paid for — free and clear.”

Mike Hills, a driver from Wyoming, Iowa, said he also would shut down to support Little and the others — if he could.

“I can’t strike with them because I’m company,” he said while at the Walcott truck stop. “If I owned the truck, I’d strike with them. As far as I’m concerned, the gas prices are driving the economy.

“It might be a good thing if the drivers strike. They can’t make payments. Maybe if the oil companies bought all the trucks, things would change. Everything in this country is trucked.”

Hills then removed his wristwatch, using it to explain his point of view: “Every piece of this watch was trucked from somewhere. If you can’t keep up with the trucks, we’re all screwed — not just this country, but the world.” - qctimes

Many things will change as the world runs out of oil.

Countrywide Reconstructed: PennyMac

As the largest mortgage lender in the United States, many believe Countrywide Financial helped fuel the subprime mortgage mess with its no-holds-barred approach to mortgage lending. Now a group of former Countrywide executives are looking for a new way to get paid: buy distressed mortgages at rock-bottom prices and resell them for a pretty penny.

On Monday investment management firms BlackRock (nyse: BLK - news - people ) and Highfields Capital Management announced they are funding the venture, which will be called Private National Mortgage Acceptance and will be run by Stanford Kurland, a 27-year veteran of Countrywide Financial (nyse: CFC - news - people ). Kurland served as president and chief operating officer at the lender through 2006.

Private National Mortgage, also known as PennyMac, will invest in and service resident mortgages with capital raised from private investors. The aim is to avoid home foreclosures and restructure loans so borrowers can maintain payments and stay in their homes.

PennyMac will acquire loans from financial institutions seeking to reduce their mortgage exposure. BlackRock Chief Executive Officer Laurence D. Fink said PennyMac is looking to bring “patient capital to the unprecedented distress in residential mortgages.”

Highfields Co-Founder Jonathon S. Jacobson said although there has been significant attention on write-downs of mortgage-related losses, "whole loan losses have barely begun to materialize.” But Jacobson expects losses to soar over the next two to three years. “PennyMac will be extraordinarily well positioned as both a buyer and servicer of these assets,” Jacobson said.

Meanwhile, some criticize the fact that executives from a company facing probes by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for securities fraud, as well as lawsuits and regulatory questioning, can profit from a downturn in the mortgage market it helped to create. (See “ Countrywide’s New Bad News”)

David Spector, the former co-head of global residential mortgages for Morgan Stanley, will be chief investment officer of Pennymac. The firm’s operations will be based in Calabasas, Calif., headquarters of Countrywide.

In January, Bank of America (nyse: BAC - news - people ) agreed to buy Countrywide for $4 billion. (See " Countrywide On Clearance") - forbes

U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Hits 4,000

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.1022218&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26] from posted with vodpod

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cheney Meets With Israelis and Palestinians

24mideast1_190.jpgVice President Dick Cheney met on Sunday with Israeli and Palestinian leaders here and in the West Bank city of Ramallah in what American officials described as a bid to move the peace process forward.
But Israeli officials seemed more interested in seeking Mr. Cheney’s input on broader regional issues, chief among them the perceived threat from Iran, while Palestinian officials expressed deep pessimism about the peace process and prospects of success.

Welcoming Mr. Cheney at a joint press conference at his residence here on Saturday night, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister of Israel, pointedly placed Iran before the peace process as one of “the many items on the common agenda” to be discussed.

“We are both very concerned about Iran; we are anxious to carry on the peace negotiations with the Palestinians,” Mr. Olmert said, adding Lebanon, Syria and the attacks on Israel from Gaza to the list.

Although Mr. Cheney only has a few months left in office, an Israeli official said he is seen in Jerusalem as “a significant player” who can influence “serious issues that cannot wait.”

Considered a hawkish member of the Bush administration, Mr. Cheney offered robust support for Israel before sitting down for dinner with Mr. Olmert on Saturday night.

“America’s commitment to Israel’s security is enduring and unshakable, as is our commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself always against terrorism, rocket attacks and other threats from forces dedicated to Israel’s destruction,” Mr. Cheney said. The United States, he said, “will never pressure Israel to take steps that threaten its security.”

Mr. Cheney, who is not known for previous involvement in the details of the peace process, sounded a little less committal regarding the Palestinians. He said that “history has clearly shown” that Israelis were prepared to make sacrifices for peace when they encountered Arab partners like Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and the late King Hussein of Jordan, “who accepted Israel’s permanence, and are willing and capable of delivering on their commitments.”

“I have no doubt this is equally the case with Palestinians,” Mr. Cheney said, refraining at that point from mentioning the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, by name. - nytimes

Someone should just scoop up the entire Middle East (along with Cheney) and all of the warring piss ants over there and put them on Mars. That place has been a center of strife for too long.

What about oil? One site's stats on oil say this:
Amount of U.S. oil consumption that comes from U.S. production: 7.3 mbd, or 42 percent. We produce fifty percent more oil than Iraq and Kuwait, almost as much oil as Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. Nevertheless, we import more than half the oil we use.

Amount of U.S. oil consumption that comes from the Middle East: 2 mbd -- 12 percent, only three percent from Iraq and Kuwait. The rest of our imported oil comes from places like Canada, Venezuela, Mexico, Nigeria, Algeria, Ecuador, and England. -sustainer

FBI: Click our link, go to jail.

jail.jpg The FBI has recently adopted a novel investigative technique: posting hyperlinks that purport to be illegal videos of minors having sex, and then raiding the homes of anyone willing to click on them.

Undercover FBI agents used this hyperlink-enticement technique, which directed Internet users to a clandestine government server, to stage armed raids of homes in Pennsylvania, New York, and Nevada last year. The supposed video files actually were gibberish and contained no illegal images.

A CNET review of legal documents shows that courts have approved of this technique, even though it raises questions about entrapment, the problems of identifying who's using an open wireless connection--and whether anyone who clicks on a FBI link that contains no child pornography should be automatically subject to a dawn raid by federal police.

Roderick Vosburgh, a doctoral student at Temple University who also taught history at La Salle University, was raided at home in February 2007 after he allegedly clicked on the FBI's hyperlink. Federal agents knocked on the door around 7 a.m., falsely claiming they wanted to talk to Vosburgh about his car. Once he opened the door, they threw him to the ground outside his house and handcuffed him.

Vosburgh was charged with violating federal law, which criminalizes "attempts" to download child pornography with up to 10 years in prison. Last November, a jury found Vosburgh guilty on that count, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 22, at which point Vosburgh could face three to four years in prison. -

A link is not always what it seems. Here is an example: If you click this CNN link,, it will take you to google because that's where I linked it. Most people don't even understand this.

This is a reminder to encrypt your wireless networks. I recently found someone sneaking onto mine at home. They only appeared briefly, but after that my network's connection slowed way down and I've put in multiple calls to my ISP about it. What if someone gets on my network and uses IP spoofing to impersonate my computer, or even installs a rootkit to remotely control it? (My computer has been acting very strangely.) Also, people can get redirected to bad sites by viruses, or by cross site scripting attacks, so this is really freaky.

I'm glad the FBI is out there trying to keep the Internet safe, but they would do the most good by going after people who make the stuff. That's where the actual child abuse takes place.

FDA warns: Throw out cantaloupe

People should throw away cantaloupes from a Honduran manufacturer believed to be linked to a salmonella outbreak, the government said Saturday.The Food and Drug Administration issued the alert for the melons from Agropecuaria Montelibano. Grocers are advised to remove from their stock any cantaloupes from this company. People should check with stores to see if recently purchased cantaloupes came from Honduras. So far, 50 people have become sickened in 16 states -- including Illinois -- and nine have become ill in Canada after eating the cantaloupes. No deaths have been reported, although 14 people have been hospitalized, the FDA said. The FDA said it continues to investigate the outbreak with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and states. Symptoms of salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. - ap

GM Is Set On Hybrid Vehicles

250px-chevrolet-volt-dc.jpgVice Chairman of General Motors, Bob Lutz said his company is preparing to lose money for years on the Chevrolet Volt. He said “We won’t make a dime on this car for years, and the board is OK with that.”Lutz acknowledged it was a mistake that GM didn’t beat Toyota to the market with hybrid vehicles, stating GM wouldn’t make that error again. Even if that means losing money on initial Volt sales.

Lutz also said General Motors was hesitant to go into the market with hybrids a decade ago because the company would probably lose about $250 million a year selling such vehicles. Now he admits being late to the game has cost GM billions in sales because it lost its image of having superior technology. - sciencenews

The Volt is due out in 2010. There is, of course, the argument that you still have to burn fossil fuels to create the electricity and to produce the batteries but that is not always the case. Going electric allows you to take advantage of clean energy sources like solar, wind, hydro-electric, and others.

The main problem is that cars like the Prius are SO ugly. If the Volt can deliver mileage and power with looks like this, America will be back in the game. Imagine feeling proud of an American product again! Could the future be a bright clean place? I hope the production model gets to keep those 20 inch wheels.


The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid concept car created by General Motors. However, the company has avoided the use of the term "hybrid," preferring to call it an electric vehicle with a "range extender" due to its design.[2] The vehicle is designed to run purely on electricity from on-board batteries for up to 40 miles (64 km) —which is a large enough distance to cover the daily commutes of most Americans, which is around 25 miles (40 km). With use of a small internal combustion engine hooked to a generator to resupply the batteries, the vehicle's range is potentially increased to 640 miles (1,030 km) on the highway. General Motors Corp. had originally planned to build 60,000 of its Volt electric cars for their inaugural year[3], however have now scaled back production to 10,000 units[4], compared to the 15,000 of Toyota Motor Corp.'s hybrid Prius for their inaugural year. - wiki




Plug-in Kit for Your Hybrid Electric Vehicle

phev02.jpgHymotion PHEV system can average more than 100 miles per gallon. And if used only for short trips, 500 miles per gallon is possible. At 100 mpg, it could cost the equivalent of only 75 cents a gallon to operate and it needed to go to a gas station only every other month.

A production hybrid gets about double the fuel economy of a conventional car; A Hymotion Plug-in hybrid will get about again double the fuel economy of a hybrid. While conventional Hybrid obtains its energy from gasoline, the Hymotion PHEV acquires most of its energy from the electric grid during off peak hours. ...

Hymotion's Battery Range Extender Modules (BREMs) convert Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) into Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV) with 100+mpg fuel efficiency and the power to fight climate change. The advantages of Hymotion’s BREM PHEV conversions include better fuel economy, fewer visits to gas station, lower fuel costs, less pollution and a significantly longer all-electric drive range --- the solution for spiking gas prices, CO2 emissions and dependence on imported oil.

No factory parts or components will be replaced or taken out of the vehicle, the plug-and-play PHEV system engineered by Hymotion can boost the electric capacity of a vehicle by 7 times, making the extra range for all electric “stealth” mode. And since the whole system, which includes the smart charger, power electronic and battery, is smaller and lighter than factory NiMh battery box. This is made possible by A123Systems' proprietary Nanophosphate™ lithium ion battery technology that Hymotion employs in their plug-and-play PHEV system, and does not require a trunk full of batteries to achieve such efficiency and performance. ...

Hymotion's BREM PHEV system is not only small and lightweight, but also powerful and long-lasting. The system charges from the engine and braking system while driving, and from the power grid when the vehicle is parked and plugged in. Plug your converted hybrid in to a 120V outlet in the garage overnight and use the surplus electricity generated by power plants at night. The overnight charge will only cost an average of 75 cents for 50 extra miles.

Hymotion currently has systems available for the Toyota Prius. ... Individual conversion modules will be available in early 2008. To sign up to receive notice when our BREMs become available, please fill out our Hymotion BREM Request Form. - hymotion

For the record, a new 2008 Toyota Prius gets 39.8 MPG the way I drive. I can get 100 MPG if I drive down hill both ways.  I've discovered that there are certain roads (rubberized asphalt?) where I get 75 MPG both ways.

Gene Krupa Collage

A sampler of Gene Krupa playing the drums.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.488818&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26] from posted with vodpod

Gene Krupa- Sing, Sing, Sing

I've been working on a the music for a new show and I'm really getting into some old big band stuff. Gene Krupa's drums are amazing.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.488814&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26] from posted with vodpod

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Strange Exits: Stringray Leaps Out of Ocean and Kills Woman

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.488570&w=425&h=350&fv=] from posted with vodpod
A woman sunbathing on a boat has died after a stingray leaped from the water, hitting her in the face and knocking her to the deck. The incident, which happened in the Florida Keys, involved a 75lb spotted eagle ray and was described by wildlife experts as a freak accident. Judy Zagorski, 57, of Pigeon, Michigan, was relaxing in the bow of a small fishing pleasure boat going 25 nautical mph when the ray leaped out of the water.

The impact is likely to have killed the woman but it was not immediately clear whether she was also stung by the venomous barb on the ray's tail, said officials. The boat was being driven by the victim's father on the Atlantic Ocean side of Vaca Key when the creature, which had a wingspan of five to six feet, came out of the sea..

"He had absolutely no warning. It just happened instantaneously," said Jorge Pino of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The woman was taken to the Mariner Hospital in Tavernier, where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy will determine an official cause of death. Bobby Dube of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said: "The officer on the scene said she fell and maybe struck her head too. There was a lot of blood on the boat.

"She was just cruising on the boat, thinking they would enjoy a nice day of fun in the sun when something tragic happened." He said rays leaping out of the water was "natural to them and quite spectacular to watch". Rays sometimes jump out of the water when they feel threatened and it has been known for rays, who are protected in Florida waters, to mistake the shadow of a fast-moving boat for that of a shark.

Local media reported that the creature's barb had impaled the woman through the neck. Eagle rays, also called leopard rays or bonnet skates, can have a wingspan of up to 10ft, and, with an 8ft long tail, weigh up to 500lb. They have between two and six short, venomous barbs near the base of their whip-like tails. Lynn Gear, a local wildlife expert, said: "Rays jump to escape a predator, give birth and shake off parasites. They do not attack people."

This was not the first such incident in Florida. A spotted eagle ray stung James Bertakis, 83, in October 2006. Although the barb entered his heart chamber, he has made an almost full recovery. Steve Irwin, the Australian wildlife expert, died the same year when a stingray's barb pierced his chest off the Great Barrier Reef. - telegraph

Our Florida strange news correspondent, BC, tipped me to this one and summed it up nicely: The rays are pissed.