Thursday, December 29, 2005

DIY Science Eco-sphere

[see previous]

For anyone who was once intrigued by the small handheld ecospheres, or the massive Biosphere 2 project, this article is interesting:

DIY Science Eco-sphere

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The best free iPod content

Beyond Porno: Free IPod Content

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What happens when video games get too real.

The Xbox 360 - What happens when video games get too real.

Here is the opening paragraph: "The Xbox 360 is the best game console ever designed. It's fast and powerful - games look as good on the 360 as on high-end PCs that cost six times as much. It's easy to navigate and has lots of useful secondary features - the ability to play digital video, stream MP3s, and so on. The lineup of launch games is solid: Call of Duty 2 (into which I've already poured too many hours) is an exceptional World War II shooter; the spy/stealth thriller Perfect Dark Zero is smooth and entertaining; the visually spectacular fantasy game Kameo: Elements of Power is loaded with eerily beautiful backgrounds and insanely detailed battle scenes featuring hundreds of creatures. So, after spending countless hours with my 360, why do I find myself thinking: Is that all there is?"

The author then tries several hypotheses to explain his malaise:But he misses the real reason. The real reason is that we have these hyper-real characters in hyper-real environments, yet we are still controlling the characters with our thumbs. The basic human interface (a couple of joysticks and a few buttons) has not changed in 30 years, while everything else has gotten better and better. And let's face it -- controlling a hyper-real character with your thumbs is insane. Your body has hundreds of muscle groups, and the brain can control them all simultaneously. Yet you use just a handful of those muscles to control everything about your character. The interface is so limiting that it drives you nuts.

We do not want to use our thumbs -- we actually want to BE in the game, using all of our muscles and all of our senses inside the game world as we do in the real world.

See The Day We Discard Our Bodies for details.

Helpful - How to detect lies

[see previous]

An hypothetical way to detect if a lie is being told. Try it and see what you think:

Eye Movement and Lying - How to detect lies

Monday, December 19, 2005

SpaceX Launch scrubbed

Historic SpaceX Launch Set for December 19: The World's Lowest Cost Rocket to Orbit

This rocket is a private-sector attempt to provide the lowest-cost ride into orbit. It was supposed to launch today, but the flight was scrubbed. According to SpaceX:

"The SpaceX launch is scrubbed until early next year, as there is a structural issue with the 1st stage fuel tank that will require repair. We will provide further comment as soon as this has been carefully analyzed. Consistent with our policy, we must be 100% green for launch with no outstanding concerns whatsoever. It is not just a matter of repairing the damage, but also understanding at a fundamental level how to ensure it never happens again."

Why is this so hard? Obviously space flight IS hard, because there are always problems, but what is it that makes it so hard?

Two other questions:
  1. Why did SpaceShipOne make it look relatively easy?

  2. What was going on in the 1960s?
The 1960s continue to amaze me. In 1961, we launched the Mercury rocket. It was a simple, single stage rocket that went into orbit. They have one of these rockets at a museum about 30 miles away from my home. You can walk right up to it and touch it. It looks so simple - a metal tube made from curved pieces of metal that have been riveted together.

And yet here we are, 45 years later, and it is still hard. You would assume that, by now, rockets that fly into low-earth orbit would be as common and safe and straightforward as school buses, yet they are not.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

New idea - tiny containers to carry medicine

[See previous]

Tiny Self-Assembling Cubes to Carry Medicine, Cell Therapy

From the article: "Our group has developed a new process for fabricating three-dimensional micropatterned containers for cell encapsulation and drug delivery," said David H. Gracias, who led the lab team. "We're talking about an entirely new encapsulation and delivery device that could lead to a new generation of 'smart pills.' The long-term goal is to be able to implant a collection of these therapeutic containers directly at the site or an injury or an illness."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fascinating future timeline

Move over to machines - Peek into a reassuring past and an unsettling future

The British Telecom’s futurology department has put out a timeline listing future events and when they will happen. Here's the top 10:This list has some problems. For example, if robots are superior to humans in 2030, then they will be beating humans at soccer in 2030 too. Once robots have the right to vote, humans become irrelevant (because the number of robots will quickly overwhelm the number of humans, and robots will likely vote for robot leaders), so it seems unlikely people will give robots voting rights any time soon. But it does make you think.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Fun facts - Chinese workers playing games

[See previous]

Ogre to Slay? Outsource It to Chinese

This article contains a number of interesting facts:This says something about how things are going in China. Most people in the U.S. would consider an 84-hour work week, earning 75 cents an hour, to be a form of slavery.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Hard to believe but true...

[See previous]

Natural Christmas trees don't look the same after you watch this video:

Christmas Tree Fire

Friday, December 02, 2005

Fascinating idea

It is not a "new" idea, but a fascinating twist on an old one:There are definite applications to How to make a million dollars here.

ARCHIVES © Copyright 2003-2005 by Marshall Brain


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