Interesting Reading #369 - 3D TV, LCD motion blur, 48 core chips, bicycle-powered house and much more...

by | Dec 3, 2009 07:00 PM ET

Intel unveils 48-core silicon chip - "Intel has unveiled a prototype chip that packs 48 separate processing cores on to a chunk of silicon the size of a postage stamp..."

LCD Motion Blur: Fact and Fiction - "Consumers, especially the technically savvy, have become enthralled with the response time specifications and the various proprietary motion-enhancement technologies each manufacturer offers, which all spiral in a vicious cycle of one-upmanship. Unfortunately, none of this stands up to objective scientific testing. As we'll demonstrate, though motion blur with moving test patterns was much worse than what's claimed in the manufacturer's specifications, performance during extensive viewing tests with a wide range of live video content viewed simultaneously on a large number of HDTVs turned out much better than we expected. Motion blur proved to be a non-issue for live video in all of the mid-to-high-end LCDs in our tests..."

Top 30 Failed Technology Predictions - "Throughout history man has been making predictions of the future. With the advent of technology, the predictions moved away from religious topics to scientific and technological. Unfortunately for the speakers, many of these failed predictions have been recorded for all future generations to laugh at. Here is a selection of the 30 best..."

Scientists hail robotic hand 'breakthrough' - "A group of European scientists have successfully connected a robotic hand to an amputee, allowing him to feel sensations in the artificial limb, and control it by thought..."

Electromagnetic Pulses Cut Through Steel in Milliseconds - "You need to cut up some chunks of steel. Mechanical tools are prone to wearing out and lasers are just too expensive, so what do you use? Fast-cutting electromagnetic pulses, what else..."

A Decade of Great Moments in Science - "Has it really been 10 years since we were all panicking about the Y2K bug? Yes, it's the end of another decade, and as with any good publication, we're going to overload you with lists as we pause to reflect. What's first? The 10 greatest moments in science, in ascending order..."

Top Ten Discoveries of 2009 - "National Geographic News's most popular coverage of 2009 scientific finds is swarming with megamouth sharks, giant snakes, a transparent-headed fish, and rare species rescued from obscurity—then eaten. .."

Microsoft's Billion Dollar Nevada Tax Dodge - "Microsoft makes its home in Redmond, Washington. It has 40,224 employees and 79 physical sites here. Since 1997, Microsoft has dodged $782 million in taxes by recording its software licensing revenue in Nevada. If this practice is proven to be illegal, the company could owe as much as $1.24 billion with interest and penalties..."

The 10 Oldest Still-Inhabited Cities - "Urban society may seem a modern phenomenon but cities have been around for a lot longer than one might think. Indeed, once nomadic tribes began to settle in one location, they saw that it was good, became fruitful, and multiplied. Decades, centuries and millennia passed while war, climate change and human migration all took their toll. Relatively few ancient cities have managed to survive the test of time. Here are 10 that have not only survived, but continue to thrive..."

Struggling media will need government help: US congressman - "The newspaper industry is suffering "market failure" and the government will need to help preserve serious journalism essential to democracy, an influential US congressman said Wednesday..." Also: FTC explores future of journalism in Internet age

Susan Boyle Destroys U.S. Chart Records - "You've had a good week, Susan Boyle. The 'Britain's Got Talent' star sold an astounding 701,000 copies of her debut album, 'I Dreamed a Dream,' in the U.S., giving her the best first week sales of 2009 and the best-selling debut album by any woman since SoundScan began tracking in 1991..." (we covered her rise in this post)

Playing tricks with the speed of light - "The mechanics of slowing light down, as well as speeding it up, is governed by methods and equations that are pretty well understood. Now scientists just have to figure out what to do with it..."

When Big Brother turns bad - "For six months, every detail of his life, and that of his girlfriend, Tanya Corrin, was captured and broadcast live while Harris interacted with fans in a chatroom. During that six months, his girlfriend left him, his multi-million fortune was destroyed when the dotcom bubble burst, and he had a mental breakdown - all on camera. ..."

An animated journey through the Earth's climate history - "As world leaders prepare to meet in Copenhagen to discuss climate change - how did the Earth's climate arrive at its current state and how do scientists delve into the secrets of our planet's past? The layers of ice laid down each year in Antarctica and Greenland store a record of the Earth's climate. Bubbles of air trapped in the ice as it froze can be analysed to give details on temperature at the time it froze, and on atmospheric concentrations of gases..."

A Cloud Still Hangs Over Bhopal - "This is the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster, an epic mess that started one night when a pesticide plant owned by the American chemical giant Union Carbide leaked a cloud of poisonous gas. Before the sun rose, almost 4,000 human beings capable of love and anguish sank to their knees and did not get up. Half a million more fell ill, many with severely damaged lungs and eyes..."

By feeding the birds, you could change their evolutionary fate - "Feeding birds in winter is a most innocent human activity, but it can nonetheless have profound effects on the evolutionary future of a species, and those changes can be seen in the very near term. That's the conclusion of a report published online on December 3rd in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, showing that what was once a single population of birds known as blackcaps has been split into two reproductively isolated groups in fewer than 30 generations, despite the fact that they continue to breed side by side in the very same forests..."

A Guide To Being The Local PC Repair Dude - "So you've turned your head in the direction of the dreams of every technology-savvy person – the idea of converting your computer skills into cash. You want to be the local computer repair guy. It's not like it's anything new to you – your uncles/nephews/parents/ cousins/friends/coworkers/ relatives/random people are always dumping their PC problems on your head anyway. So why not make a business our of your skills to give an excuse to charge them, and also make a little dough while you're at it? Everybody who knows how to work with a computer inside and out, and has some spare time, has at some time or another considered this idea. To be honest, it is a great idea to make some cash, provided you are lucky, know your stuff, and are able to use your wits under stressful situations. There are people out there who make a living out of casual computer repair and sales, and also a lot of those who make significant bonuses in their part time. So why not give it a try!"

Can 80 cyclists power a house for a day? - "How much electricity does the average British family of four use in a day? To find out, BBC's Bang Goes the Theory attempts to power a house for an entire day solely through human pedal power, while an unsuspecting family inside go about their normal Sunday routine. ..."

Plastic Solar Breakthrough: Efficiency Record Broken by Solarmer - "The Californian startup Solarmer has been making good progress with its plastic organic PV in the past few years. It hit 6% efficiency in 2007, 7.6% a few months ago, and they've now broken their own record with 7.9% (a number that has been certified by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory). This technology has the potential of bringing the cost of solar energy down, and also to allow us to put solar panels in all kinds of places..."

Sony's 3D TV Plans Become a Little Clearer - "Sony expects that 3D televisions will make up between 30 percent and 50 percent of all sets it sells in the financial year that begins in April 2012, a senior executive said late last week. The goal further indicates Sony's confidence in 3D entertainment ahead of a roll-out of the technology next year..."

Building the "Everything Machine" - "The ultimate self-replicating manufacturing unit would be based on nanoscale fabrication—the rapid manipulation of individual atoms to build large products from raw materials. In 1959, the legendary physicist Richard Feynman gave a talk to the American Physical Society called “There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom.” During the talk, he said “The principles of physics, as far as I can see, do not speak against the possibility of maneuvering things atom by atom.” Since Feynman's talk, we have made leaps and bounds towards the goal of bottom-up manufacturing, building tiny robotic arms that can manipulate single atoms, molecular switches, gears, “nanocars,” even a nanoscale walking biped..."

Vine seeds become 'giant gliders' - "Remarkable footage has been captured of falling Alsomitra vine seeds, which use paper-thin wings to disperse like giant gliders..."

How to Reduce Cell-Phone Radiation Exposure - "A new network architecture could dramatically reduce the radiation exposure from cell phones..."

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