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Interesting Reading #361

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Inventor’s 2020 vision: to help 1bn of the world’s poorest see better – “What if it were possible, he thought, to make a pair of glasses which, instead of requiring an optician, could be “tuned” by the wearer to correct his or her own vision? Might it be possible to bring affordable spectacles to millions who would never otherwise have them?”

You can cut back on alcohol – “Seventy years ago, Bill Wilson — the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous — declared his powerlessness over alcohol in a book by the same name. The failed businessman contended that, as an alcoholic, he had to “hit bottom” before changing his life and that sobriety could only be achieved through complete abstention. For generations, Americans took these tenets to be true for everyone. Top addiction experts are no longer sure…”

MILLION HIT BY ‘PLAGUE WORSE THAN SWINE FLU’ – “A cocktail of three flu viruses are reported to have mutated into a single pneumonic plague, which it is believed may be far more dangerous than swine flu. The death toll has reached 189 and more than 1 million people have been infected, most of them in the nine regions of Western Ukraine…”

Medicines to Deter Some Cancers Are Not Taken – “there is a way to prevent many cases of prostate cancer. A large and rigorous study found that a generic drug, finasteride, costing about $2 a day, could prevent as many as 50,000 cases each year. Another study found that finasteride’s close cousin, dutasteride, about $3.50 a day, has the same effect. Nevertheless, researchers say, the drugs that work are largely ignored. And supplements that have been shown to be not just ineffective but possibly harmful are taken by men hoping to protect themselves from prostate cancer…”

The Making of a Mind-Blowing Space Photo – “Two years of intensive study, rigorous practice, and perhaps $10,000 of equipment later, he knows. And he let Wired.com in on his process. Step-by-step, we’ll break down how he went from the black-and-white star scene below to the mind-blowing space photo above…”

Underwater Glider Hunts, Records Cryptic Whales – “A Seaglider unmanned underwater vehicle with an underwater microphone began patrolling the coast of Hawaii on October 27 and will finish up its initial mission on November 17. By then, it will have collected half a terabyte of data…”

Flash flaw puts most sites, users at risk, say researchers – “Hackers can exploit a flaw in Adobe’s Flash to compromise nearly every Web site that allows users to upload content, including Google’s Gmail, then launch silent attacks on visitors to those sites, security researchers said today…”

Blockbuster Kiosks to Rent Movies on Dissolving SD Cards – “6 stores will begin a trial program in which customers may rent a movie via SD card from kiosks for $1.99. You’re given 30 days to watch your flick (no late charges occur), and once you hit play, it will dissolve itself and vanish completely after 48 hours…”

Projections on 3D buildings – “Projections on buildings are very spectacular and really stand out. That is why many people capture it on film (video camera or mobile phone). It has shown that recordings of these spectacular projections are being placed on internet video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. Because of this the message / performance will not just have a broader audience, but also the lifespan of these projections are far greater than the lifespan of a regular advertisement…”

In Smartphone Wars, Darwinism Triumphs Over Intelligent Design – “With the release of the Verizon Droid, the smartphone market now has two apex predators with advanced, feature rich mobile embedded operating systems. There’s no room for smaller or less evolved players, and survival of the fittest in the war of the handsets may very well mean industry and carrier consolidation…”

How to Deny Service to a Federal Wiretap – “Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania say they’ve discovered a way to circumvent the networking technology used by law enforcement to tap phone lines in the U.S…”

Vibram Five Fingers Shoes: The Barefoot Alternative – “After two weeks of wearing them, the lower-back pain I’d had for more than 10 years disappeared and hasn’t returned since I started experimentation about 8 weeks ago…”

The History of the Internet in a Nutshell – “If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you spend a fair amount of time online. However, considering how much of an influence the Internet has in our daily lives, how many of us actually know the story of how it got its start?”

Vega: Android Leaps from Phone to Tablet – “Innovative Converged Devices is showing off their Vega line of tablets, powered by Google’s Android. The Vega should come in three flavors, 7” 11” and 15”, will support WiFi as well as 3G and feature the Nvidia Tegra processor for HD media support…”

Madagascar’s limestone towers – “A city of limestone towers rises in western Madagascar…”

Titanic Thirty Meter Telescope Will See Deep Space More Clearly – “The enormous Thirty Meter Telescope, with a primary mirror the size of a blue whale, is part of a new generation of super powerful ground-based telescopes. Scheduled for completion in 2018, it will have nine times the collecting power of the Keck telescopes and 12 times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. From its recently selected location atop the volcanic dome of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, the pioneering telescope will provide an extremely detailed look at the universe…”

Radioactive Quack Cures – Yikes

Android’s Rapid Growth Has Some Developers Worried – “Good news for Android fans, right? Not really, say some developers. A slew of problems have made managing Android apps a “nightmare,” they say, including three versions of the OS (Android 1.5, 1.6 and 2.0), custom firmware on many phones, and hardware differences between different models…”

Kaboom! Blitzer Railgun Completes First Successful Test Firing – “Railguns were first proposed over a century ago, but have not yet made their appearance on the battlefield. They are similar to regular artillery pieces, in that they fire a giant shell, but different in that they do so without the use of combustion…”

Could This Lump Power the Planet? – “Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Lab are betting $3.5 billion in taxpayer money on a tiny pellet that could produce an endless supply of safe, clean energy. For some, that’s hard to swallow…”

Atlantis’ 11-day mission to deliver spare parts to space station – “The supply run should keep the space station humming for years to come, and the shuttle astronauts in space through Thanksgiving…”

Barrick shuts hedge book as world gold supply runs out – “Global gold production is in terminal decline despite record prices and Herculean efforts by mining companies to discover fresh sources of ore in remote spots, according to the world’s top producer Barrick Gold…”

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