Interesting Reading #370 - Tiger's physics book, better maps, the death of larrabee, robot scientists and much more...

by | Dec 5, 2009 09:05 AM ET

Tiger Woods drives sales of physics book sky-high - "A photograph showing a copy of Get A Grip On Physics by John Gribbin on the floor of Tiger Woods's wrecked SUV has seen the book rocket up Amazon's bestseller chart..."

Record-attempting solar powered plane's first 'hop' - "The Solar Impulse prototype plane, part of a planned solar-powered circumnavigation of the globe, has left the ground for the first time..."

24 Tales of Ghost Towns and Abandoned Cities - "What in the world could cause an entire city to be abandoned? Some become unlivable due to environmental disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis to nuclear meltdowns (as with Pripyat, shown below). Others become the center of military activity and remain contested and uninhabited as a result – or are simply left as memorials to the terrible events that took place in them. Still others are simply deserted when they outlive their usefulness as trade outposts or mining towns..."

Scientific and medical art

Download Your Own Robot Scientist - "Ever wanted to have a robot to do your research for you? If you are a scientist, you have almost certainly had this dream. Now it's a real option: Eureqa, a program that distills scientific laws from raw data, is freely available to researchers..."

Where is The Scarlet Knight Today? - "On April 27, 2009, students and scientists from Rutgers University launched a small underwater robotic glider off the coast of New Jersey. The glider was christened The Scarlet Knight by Zdenka Willis, director of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System. While previous explorers like Columbus and Lindbergh used boats or planes to cross the Atlantic, The Scarlet Knight will attempt to be the first underwater robot to cross the Atlantic Ocean. With help from a number of international partners, students from the Coastal Ocean Observation Lab will pilot The Scarlet Knight Glider on its eight-month voyage..."

Microsoft, Google Take Maps in New Direction - "The battle between Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. has shifted into new territory: a race to see who can make online maps that make people feel like they're really there..."

Gallery: The Year's Most Amazing Scientific Images

Technically speaking, what makes Google Chrome fast? - "A lot of engineering effort is involved in making sure that a browser continually provides a fast, responsive, and satisfying experience on the web. We're excited to see modern browsers continue to push the envelope in designing and optimizing browser architecture for speed and performance..."

Net piracy: The people vs the entertainment industry - ""THIS is the kind of snooping you'd expect in China, not a modern western democracy. It raises huge questions over privacy invasion and freedom of expression." So says Andrew Heaney - who is not, as you might imagine, a civil liberties campaigner, but a senior executive at TalkTalk, one of the UK's largest internet service providers. Along with other ISPs, his company faces the prospect of being forced to spy on its customers' downloads for signs of potential copyright infringement..."

Apple Has Acquired Lala - "Earlier today we covered rumors that Apple was in talks to acquire streaming music service Lala. Now New York Times tech reporter Brad Stone has tweeted that it's a done deal. He writes, “Apple has acquired digital music startup Lala. Now updating our story”. You can find the NYT story here. This could be bad news for Lala users..."

Mailman Forgets to put Truck in Park With 'Amazing' Results

Intel cancels Larrabee consumer graphics chip - "In other words, it's not entirely dead. It's mostly dead. Instead of launching the chip in the consumer market, Intel will make it available as a software development platform for both internal and external developers. Those developers can use it to develop software that can run in high-performance computers..."

Chrome OS: Rise of the lean, mean netbook - "What's not to like about a $300 (or less) netbook, lighter than a pound, traveling with me everywhere I go, booting up in 7 seconds and running much faster than my current Windows XP (or Windows 7) laptops or Mac computers? Since Chrome OS runs all its software on a cloud I won't need to buy, install or update any software – bye Microsoft!"

A Lost European Culture, Pulled From Obscurity - "Before the glory that was Greece and Rome, even before the first cities of Mesopotamia or temples along the Nile, there lived in the Lower Danube Valley and the Balkan foothills people who were ahead of their time in art, technology and long-distance trade..."

Cash prizes for catching CCTV criminals - "There are 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain watching our every move. In London, there are more CCTV cameras than any other city in the world with one camera for every eight Londoners..."

Grid computing tunes tiny transistors for future chips - "Simulations of transistors smaller than 30 nanometres (billionths of a metre) are being run on the UK e-science grid, which links thousands of computers. The results will help designers cope with the physical constraints that occur when working at such tiny scales. About 20 years worth of processing time has been used by simulating hundreds of thousands of tiny transistors..."

Single-atom transistor discovered - "Researchers from Helsinki University of Technology (Finland), University of New South Wales (Australia), and University of Melbourne (Australia) have succeeded in building a working transistor, whose active region composes only of a single phosphorus atom in silicon. The results have just been published in Nano Letters..."

FCC questions Verizon's early termination fees - "US regulators are demanding that Verizon Wireless explain why it's doubling early termination fees for smartphone customers and why subscribers without a data plan are charged for inadvertently accessing its mobile web service..." (We covered this problem in How Verizon's Billing Practices Don't Work)

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