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Old 10-27-2008, 12:51 PM   #676
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/mai..._deankamen.xml

Dean Kamen: part man, part machine

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 27/10/2008
Page 1 of 3

Some see Dean Kamen as a Willy Wonka character whose most famous invention - the Segway personal transporter - is still the butt of jokes. Others compare him to Henry Ford. His next project, after perfecting an electric car, is to 'to fix the world' - using a 200-year-old engine nobody else thinks can work.
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Old 10-27-2008, 12:52 PM   #677
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/26/bu...in&oref=slogin

If No One Sees It, Is It an Invention?

To share his innovation, Johnny Chung Lee posted a video on YouTube. In it, he uses a Wii remote controller and “head tracking” glasses to make a screen image come alive.
Johnny Lee

Mr. Lee's “Poor Man’s Steadycam.”

The video showed how, in a few easy steps, the Nintendo Wii remote controller — or “Wiimote” — could transform a normal video screen into a virtual reality display, with graphics that seemed to pop through the screen and into the living room. So far, the video has been seen more than six million times.

That video, together with others that Mr. Lee, now 28, posted on YouTube, have drawn people to the innovator as well as his innovations. Video game companies have contacted him and, in September, M.I.T.’s Technology Review named him as one of its top innovators under 35.

When he completed his degree this year at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute of Carnegie Mellon, he received “lots of offers from all the big places,” according to Paul Dietz, who convinced Mr. Lee to join him in the applied sciences group of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division. “When we told Bill Gates we were trying to recruit Johnny, he already knew about his work and was anxious to bring him to Microsoft,” adds Mr. Dietz, a research and development program manager.

Contrast this with what might have followed from other options Mr. Lee considered for communicating his ideas. He might have published a paper that only a few dozen specialists would have read. A talk at a conference would have brought a slightly larger audience. In either case, it would have taken months for his ideas to reach others.

Small wonder, then, that he maintains that posting to YouTube has been an essential part of his success as an inventor. “Sharing an idea the right way is just as important as doing the work itself,” he says. “If you create something but nobody knows, it’s as if it never happened.”

Before posting his own ideas, Mr. Lee watched other people’s videos about the Wiimote. An online community of electronics hobbyists share ideas in video form not only on YouTube, but also at sites like instructables.com and makezine.com.

Thirty years ago, pioneers of the personal computer industry swapped ideas and tried to outdo one another at meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club in an auditorium at Stanford. Today, these “meetings” happen virtually and globally, with people modifying, improving and otherwise riffing on one another’s ideas — then posting the results in video form. This wide-scale collaboration, Mr. Lee says, lets the hobbyists “take advantage of economies of scale of innovation.”

In late 2002, Mr. Lee started a small company to build and sell an invention that helps filmmakers minimize camera-shaking. He sells this “Poor Man’s Steadycam” for $39.95 online — commercial versions start at five times that price — though he encourages people to download free instructions from his Web site and to build the device themselves for $14 in parts.

Mr. Lee says that the company is profitable, with revenue of about $250,000 in its first five years, but he adds that he is not much of a businessman. He has been out of inventory for over a year.

The steadycam company is his only foray into business. His decision to share, rather than sell, most of his ideas is linked to his definition of success, which he measures in terms of impact, not dollars. This, he says, is a reason he chose to join Microsoft: the company’s enormous customer base represents “real potential to help other people.”

He chooses his personal projects based on what he calls their “work-to-wow” ratio. “I want to get the biggest wow for the smallest amount of work,” he explains, adding that for him, wow is synonymous with impact.

The ratio of the Wiimote projects was fantastic: each idea that has reached millions of people took only three to four days to conceive, build, film and post.

Mr. Lee encourages innovators to ask themselves, “Would providing 80 percent of the capability at 1 percent of the cost be valuable to someone?” If the answer is yes, he says, pay attention. Trading relatively little performance for substantial cost savings can generate what Mr. Lee calls “surprising and often powerful results both scientifically and socially.”

As evidence, he might point to a do-it-yourself interactive whiteboard, another of his Wiimote innovations. Interactive whiteboards, which in commercial form generally sell for more than $1,000, make it possible to control a computer by tapping, writing or drawing on an image of the desktop that has been projected onto a screen. Mr. Lee’s version can be built with roughly $60 in parts and free open-source software downloadable from his Web site.

Some 700,000 people, many of them teachers, have downloaded the software, Mr. Lee says. Much more expensive whiteboards may offer more features and better image resolution, but Mr. Lee’s version is adequate for most classroom applications.

It is also easy to build. An after-school Lego robotics club for fifth graders at Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School in Williamsburg, Va., built a Wiimote whiteboard in four one-hour sessions. “Once it was done, the kids were so excited,” recalls Kofi Merritt, then the school’s computer resource specialist, who suggested and advised the project. “They recognized themselves as innovators and demonstrated the whiteboard in classroom after classroom.”

MR. LEE’S ideas have acquired a momentum independent of Mr. Lee himself. At educational conferences, teachers have presented how-to tutorials for their colleagues. And at Microsoft, his appreciation for online video has rubbed off on others. The company recently gave Mr. Dietz permission to go public with a new invention of his own: a drinking glass that, when placed on the Microsoft Surface table — a table with an interactive, multitouch display built into the top — alerts a waiter to offer a refill.

After writing a paper on his invention, Mr. Dietz wanted to test the concept in the market. His first step? He posted a video on YouTube.

Leslie Berlin is project historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford. E-mail: prototype@nytimes.com.
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Old 10-27-2008, 12:53 PM   #678
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http://www.newsweek.com/id/165678

Why We Believe

Belief in the paranormal reflects normal brain activity carried to an extreme.
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Old 10-27-2008, 12:53 PM   #679
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http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2...is-lets-r.html

Hypnosis Lets Regular People See Numbers as Colors
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Old 10-27-2008, 12:56 PM   #680
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http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/s...9-3102,00.html

DESPITE posessing a tiny brain the size of a sesame seed, honey bees can be trained to count up to four, according to Queensland researchers.
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Old 10-27-2008, 01:01 PM   #681
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Old 10-27-2008, 01:03 PM   #682
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2664373.stm

Edible bananas may disappear within a decade if urgent action is not taken to develop new varieties resistant to blight.

A Belgian scientist leading research into the fruit loved by millions, and a staple for much of the world's poor, has warned that diseases and pests are steadily encroaching upon crops.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:12 PM   #683
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Technoccult interviews Alex CF, cryptozoological pseudoscientific artist

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Old 10-28-2008, 01:15 PM   #684
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:29 PM   #685
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http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archiv...nce_of_a_g.php

Evidence of a Global SuperOrganism

I am not the first, nor the only one, to believe a superorganism is emerging from the cloak of wires, radio waves, and electronic nodes wrapping the surface of our planet. No one can dispute the scale or reality of this vast connectivity. What's uncertain is, what is it? Is this global web of computers, servers and trunk lines a mere mechanical circuit, a very large tool, or does it reach a threshold where something, well, different happens?

So far the proposition that a global superorganism is forming along the internet power lines has been treated as a lyrical metaphor at best, and as a mystical illusion at worst. I've decided to treat the idea of a global superorganism seriously, and to see if I could muster a falsifiable claim and evidence for its emergence.

My hypothesis is this: The rapidly increasing sum of all computational devices in the world connected online, including wirelessly, forms a superorganism of computation with its own emergent behaviors.

Superorganisms are a different type of organism. Large things are made from smaller things. Big machines are made from small parts, and visible living organisms from invisible cells. But these parts don't usually stand on their own. In a slightly fractal recursion, the parts of a superorganism lead fairly autonomous existences on their own. A superorganism such as an insect or mole rat colony contains many sub-individuals. These individual organisms eat, move about, get things done on their own. From most perspectives they appear complete. But in the case of the social insects and the naked mole rat these autonomous sub individuals need the super colony to reproduce themselves. In this way reproduction is a phenomenon that occurs at the level of the superorganism.

I define the One Machine as the emerging superorganism of computers. It is a megasupercomputer composed of billions of sub computers. The sub computers can compute individually on their own, and from most perspectives these units are distinct complete pieces of gear. But there is an emerging smartness in their collective that is smarter than any individual computer. We could say learning (or smartness) occurs at the level of the superorganism.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:30 PM   #686
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ed-London.html



While a pink sky at night might be a shepherd's delight, London residents were left scratching their heads last night as a mysterious pink cloud drifted over the city.

Bemused bystanders in Mayfair craned their necks to witness the strange alien-like cloud that appeared for just under an hour at around 8:30pm.

It hovered over buildings before breaking up and slowly disappearing
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:32 PM   #687
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http://www.philipcoppens.com/ripper.html



Ripper magic

Long before Hannibal Lecter, Jack the Ripper was the first serial killer that attained worldwide notoriety. But could he have been a murderer that was performing a magical ritual?
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:35 PM   #688
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7687346.stm

A former British Army interpreter who is accused of spying for Iran was a Cuban black magic priest, he has told the Old Bailey.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:42 PM   #689
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http://www.nextnature.net/?p=2760

More realistic airplane safety instructions
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:46 PM   #690
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Solar Material Absorbs Entire Spectrum


Solar Material Absorbs Entire Spectrum
October 28th, 2008

Via: EETimes:

Current solar materials must be chosen to match a specific wavelength of sunlight, but a new hybrid inorganic/organic material could usher in solar cells that absorb all solar wavelengths.

The new polymer could also enable much more efficient charge separation since electrons dislodged by light in the material remain free much longer than in conventional solar cells.

The inorganic/organic hybrid polymer material can be made into polymer blends that can “absorb essentially across the entire solar spectrum–they go from about 300 nanometers down to about 10,000 nanometers,” said professor Malcolm Chisholm of Ohio State University.

Solar materials work by using incident light to boost the energy of electrons, thereby separating then from the hull of atoms in the material. They can then be harvested to generate electricity.

However, separated electrons fall back into their host atoms if not collected quickly. Usually, solar materials either fluoresce (called singlet emisson) or phosphoresce (triplet emission). The new hybrid material does both, further increasing potential efficiency.

“The materials we have made show both singlet and triplet emissions,” said Chisholm. “The singlet state lasts a relatively long time, in the region of about 10 pico seconds; the triplet lasts a lot longer–up to a 100 or so microseconds, which should be good for separating the electrons and the hull.”

The new material was designed at the Ohio Supercomputer Center and synthesized at the National Taiwan University. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation and Ohio State’s Institute for Materials Research.

A detailed description of the new material was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More: OSU Research News
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:47 PM   #691
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http://cryptogon.com/?p=4705

‘Constitution-Free’ Zones Extend 100 Miles from the Border


I didn't know that....
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:48 PM   #692
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Toy Car Company Worth More Than GM
October 28th, 2008

Via: Newsweek:

In the fad-driven fantasyland of toys, Hot Wheels has had an incredible ride. Those pocket rockets have been racing down their familiar orange tracks for four decades now and, unlike the real car market, show no signs of slowing down. Last year Hot Wheels set a record, as sales surged by 16 percent, and they continue to accelerate in 2008 even as the economy tanks. In fact, as Motown melts down, Hot Wheels is heating up. The tiny toy cars’ parent company, Mattel, now has a market capitalization that surpasses General Motors. That’s right—Wall Street thinks the maker of toy cars is worth more than the largest real carmaker in America.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:49 PM   #693
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http://cryptogon.com/?p=4694

Fluoride Added to Children’s Milk in Schools Throughout UK City
October 28th, 2008

Via: PrisonPlanet:

Fluoride is being added to children’s milk in 42 schools throughout the city of Sheffield in the UK, despite the chemical’s proven link to liver and kidney damage, cancer and the lowering of IQ.

“A new strategy with the focus of preventing dental problems among children is be introduced in Sheffield,” reports the Yorkshire Post.

The move comes in response to figures showing that the state of children’s teeth in the city is slightly higher than the national average.

“At present, fluoride is added to children’s milk in 42 primary schools in the city. This will continue, and the local NHS is also planning to begin talks on the possibility of adding fluoride to water.” the report continues.

While Fluoride has been proven to have a minimal effect in the prevention of tooth decay, the negative effects of the chemical are legion according to several medical studies, far outweighing any positive aspects.

A recent Scientific American study “Concluded that fluoride can subtly alter endocrine function, especially in the thyroid — the gland that produces hormones regulating growth and metabolism.”

The report also notes that “a series of epidemiological studies in China have associated high fluoride exposures with lower IQ.”

50 per cent of the fluoride taken in on a daily basis remains in the body for life, accumulating in the skeleton. This can cause, skeletal fluorosis, a crippling and painful condition.

“Epidemiological studies and tests on lab animals suggest that high fluoride exposure increases the risk of bone fracture, especially in vulnerable populations such as the elderly and diabetics,” writes Dan Fagin.

Fagin interviewed Steven Levy, director of the Iowa Fluoride Study which tracked about 700 Iowa children for sixteen years. Nine-year-old “Iowa children who lived in communities where the water was fluoridated were 50 percent more likely to have mild fluorosis… than [nine-year-old] children living in nonfluoridated areas of the state,” writes Fagin.

The study adds to a growing literature of shocking scientific studies proving fluoride’s link with all manner of health defects, even as governments in the west, including recently the UK, make plans to mass medicate the population against their will with this deadly toxin.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:55 PM   #694
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http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Cassini-...M5T4LZE_0.html

Cassini images bizarre hexagon on Saturn

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Old 10-28-2008, 01:56 PM   #695
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http://www.sciencenews.org/view/gene...99s_north_pole

Huge cyclone churns at Saturn’s north pole
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:57 PM   #696
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...ainforest.html


Nazis hoped to found empire in Amazonian rainforest
Nazis travelled into the Amazon rainforest to scout suitable sites for a South American colony, according to a new book.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:58 PM   #697
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http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=...rs-if-you-want

Ghost Lusters: If You Want to See a Specter Badly Enough, Will You?
Researchers set up "haunted" room to prove an electromagnetic theory of ghost sightings
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:02 PM   #698
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http://www.thunderbolts.info/thunderblogs/thornhill.htm


Assembling the Solar System
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:03 PM   #699
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http://environment.newscientist.com/...by-dating.html

Biblical 'Solomon's mines' confirmed by dating
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:03 PM   #700
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http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10...st_stage_test/

The VASIMR "helicon first stage" - which generates the plasma for acceleration by the rest of the drive - has achieved its full rated power of 30 kilowatts using Argon propellant, according to the company. This paves the way for further trials in which in which the ion-cyclotron second stage will get to strut its stuff, boosting the helicon plasma stream to the target power of 200 kW.

The successful first-stage fire-up was a collaborative effort between Ad Astra and Nautel of Canada.
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