Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ariel Atom - fantastic video

[See previous]

A friend sent this video in on the Aerial Atom - you have to see the video to believe this car:

Ariel Atom

Specs:More specs here

Tired of waiting?

A friend of mine is raving about this board:

Gigabyte's i-RAM storage device

It lets you make a very fast 4GB disk drive out of RAM. How fast? This video shows how you can use it to load Windows XP in about 6 seconds:

Loading Windows

The board is particularly handy if you have a smallish database (less than 4GB) and you need to make it go really fast.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The world's best books

The world's best books

By "best" they mean "most influential," as in "changed mankind."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Another video care package

[See previous]

Another video care package arrived:

Amazing boat

At least it looks amazing - check out the photos:

M80 Stiletto project

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Good or bad - in-car video

A couple of weeks ago in Raleigh there was an accident that killed four teenagers. They were coming home from a basketball game, and the driver was going about 100 MPH in an RX-8. He went out of control on an exit ramp and flipped over a wall. The car fell about 50 feet to the ground below and exploded.

There was much coverage of the accident, and one parent asked the question: We have parental controls on AOL accounts and TV programs - why not on cars that our teenagers drive?

There seem to be two technologies designed to keep an eye on teenagers and detect when they are having problems as new drivers. One of them is in-car GPS-based vehicle tracking systems. Lots of companies sell these systems, and here is one example:

AllTrack USA

One quote from the site: "­Speed Threshold Alert- Alerts you when, where, and by how much a vehicle speeds. Tell your teen to neverdrive over, say, 60 miles per hour in the car. You'll know right away if they ever do !!" There are lots of other variations on the theme offered by these companies.

Another system is called DriveCam. It places a camera in the car that can store video into flash memory, and uses an accelerometer to decide when to record information. Anytime there is a sudden maneuver (turning, braking, bumping), it will set off the accelerometer and 10 seconds of video pre- and post-incident gets recorded. This video from CNN shows the system in use.

Combining these two systems would create an environment that would make it very un-fun to be a teen with a car, but it would be likely to significantly decrease the number of accidents.

Interesting film on origins of the internet

It is a historical film talking about the internet, circa its birth:

Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing

Friday, March 17, 2006

idea - Time for a new cookbook

[See previous]

What if you took this list:

The 29 Healthiest Foods on the Planet

... and created a cookbook that contained only those 29 ingredients? Then if you ate nothing but food from this cookbook you be be one of the healthiest people on the planet. Combine it with the right exercise program, and perhaps importality is within reach...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

New idea - Amazon storage service

[See previous] S3 storage service available today

From the article:I am sure that other smaller companies are offering services like this, but Amazon is a big player and makes it legitimate.

What I will be interested to see is whether or not other companies now start offering the same thing at a lower price. Hard disk space is cheap these days. Here is a 250GB drive for $89. That's only 36 cents per gig. In other words, it takes only two months for Amazon to recover the cost of the hard disk space you use. Yes, Amazon has bandwidth and backup costs, but there is likely still a large markup in there, meaning plenty of room for competition.

A couple weeks ago I discussed the idea of doing this sort of thing using peer-to-peer networks. See this post for details. In that case, storage space on the network would be free.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Is it Noah's Ark?

Satellite closes in on Noah's Ark mystery

This story has been floating around on the Internet for awhile, but it has now gotten all the way up to the level that CNN is reporting on it. CNN says:It is interesting that CNN is covering this story. The reason it is interesting is because we know with 100% certainty that it is a strange rock or ice formation. It is not "Noah's Ark" because "Noah's Ark" never existed. Noah's Ark is no different from Jack's Beanstalk.

How do we know that? Because in order for Noah's Ark to have come to rest at 15,300 feet, the entire planet would have had to have been covered in nearly 3 miles of rain water. About 400 feet of rain would have had to fall per day (planet-wide) for the water level on Earth to get that high. That leads to two obvious problems:
  1. Where did all that water come from, and where did it go after the flood?

  2. Why do we have whales, tuna, etc. on the planet? That much fresh water would have killed all of the salt-water fish in the ocean.
Because of these two problems, along with myriad others (one simple example - there is no DNA evidence that all animals on earth came from single breeding pairs 4000 years ago) we can say with total certainty that the Great Flood in Genesis is a simple myth and nothing more. It is no different from the Roman myths of Zeus and Athena.

Why didn't CNN say in the story, "We all know that it is not Noah's Ark, so this guy is a crackpot"?

Monday, March 13, 2006

New idea - the 65 degree egg

[See previous]

I heard about the 65 degree egg this weekend. Apparently it is very big in Europe right now. It is a new way to create "hard boiled" eggs. Instead of cooking the eggs at 100 degrees C (212 degrees F), you cook them at 65 degrees C (150 degrees F).

The idea is that you take eggs, and instead of hard boiling them in boiling water, you put them in a 150 degree F (65 degree C) oven. I would not trust the dial that controls the oven for this -- use an oven thermometer and make sure the oven is at 150 degrees. Leave the eggs in the oven for a couple of hours.

The proteins in the egg will coagulate just like they do in a hard boiled egg, but the consistency of the resulting egg is completely different because of the lower cooking temperature.

The reason this is interesting to me (and labeled as a "new idea") is because I have been boiling eggs for several decades. It never occured to me to try to coagulate the protiens at a different temperature. Why not?

PS - I am told that salmonella dies at 140 degrees F, so these eggs are "safe" despite the lower cooking temperature. One thing I want to do before trying this is confirm that.

Peeking Into Google

Really interesting article on the technology of google:

Peeking Into Google

Friday, March 10, 2006

New idea - 6 stroke engine

[See previous]

An interesting take on a gasoline/steam hybrid engine:

Inside Bruce Crower’s Six-Stroke Engine

From the article:

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Super battery technology

If this were to be true, it would mean a big change in the way we think about batteries.

EEStor Capacitors- "This could change everything"

From the article: "Among EEStor's claims is that its 'electrical energy storage unit' could pack nearly 10 times the energy punch of a lead-acid battery of similar weight and, under mass production, would cost half as much.

It also says its technology more than doubles the energy density of lithium-ion batteries in most portable computer and mobile gadgets today, but could be produced at one-eighth the cost.

If that's not impressive enough, EEStor says its energy storage technology is 'not explosive, corrosive, or hazardous' like lead-acid and most lithium-ion systems, and will outlast the life of any commercial product it powers. It can also absorb energy quickly, meaning a small electric car containing a 17-kilowatt-hour system could be fully charged in four to six minutes versus hours for other battery technologies, the company claims."

See also this post on why we will likely never have electric cars that recharge in four minutes.

More on Origami, now UMPC

It's now called an "Ultra-Mobile PC" - a small tablet PC running a full version of Windows XP tablet 2005.

From Microsoft

Intel Device video

The high cost of video-on-demand

This article is interesting for two reasons:

BellSouth Chief Architect warns of HD VOD costs

First, the article claims that bandwidth currently costs a provider $1 per month. Pretty amazing since you are probably paying $30 or $40 for broadband service. Given that broadband service almost always piggy-backs in on an existing cable TV or phone line (meaning that there is virtually zero additional cost), this is an incredible profit margin.

Then the article makes this claim:It will be interesting to see how this gets resolved.

New idea - homes from cargo containers

[See previous]

Home Is Where the Cargo Was

Since the containers only cost about $2,000 each and provide maybe 300 sq ft of space ($7/sf) it is an interesting idea. But pretty ugly...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Idea - Google plans 'super database'

A friend and I have been talking for months about the need for something like this -- it would be a great way to solve the backup problem, for example. Being able to access all your files from anywhere would also be nice. Here's a description:

Google plans 'super database': "GOOGLE, the internet giant, is planning a massive online facility that could store copies of users' hard drives - a move set to spark alarm among civil liberties campaigners.

Plans for the 'GDrive', previously the subject of rumour among computer experts, were revealed accidentally after notes in a slideshow were wrongly published on Google's site.

The device would create a mirror image of data stored on consumers' computer hard drives, letting users search data stored on other computers via Google accounts."

The fact that Google can be in there snooping around, and that others may be able to see your data, is unfortunate. [Could good encryption solve that whole problem?]

One idea we came up with uses a peer-to-peer solution. You run our P2P backup software on your machine and "donate" a section of your hard disk to the cause. For example, if you want to backup 10GB of data on this peer-to-peer network, you would donate 30GB of your hard disk (since HD space is so cheap now, this is not a big deal). The software would keep backups of your data (encrypted) on other people's hard disks, and would keep copies of other people's data on your hard disk. You donate 3X more disk space than you need because of the system's desire to store redundant copies of your data on multiple hard disks across the network. It would store your 10GB of data in 3 different places, so if one of those places goes down, your data is still available.

Doing it in a P2P fashion like this means that the system can accomodate an unlimited number of users and there is no cost to any anyone using the system (besides the cost of the donated disk space). This would have all of the benefits of the Google system without any of the privacy concerns.

If a system like this were available (either through Google or P2P), would you use it?

This list is fun to watch:

Origami devices

Samsung shows its first Origami device

More photos here: Microsoft's Origami project is a mini tablet PC

Flash presentation here:

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ten Things That Will Change The Way We Live

Interesting because it excludes robots:

Ten Things That Will Change The Way We Live

ARCHIVES © Copyright 2003-2005 by Marshall Brain


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