Interesting Reading #386 - Geek to-do list, mystery sea lions, compact Hummer, halfway to Pluto and much more...

by | Dec 29, 2009 09:40 PM ET

The Toilet Than Can Save Our Water and Energy Problems - "Jeff Conant, author of The Community Guide to Environmental Health, has traveled the world in search of the perfect "waterless toilet." He found it in the Mexican town of Tepotzlan, which boasts hundreds of "non-traditional waterless" eco-loos..."

The technology and the terrorist - "On this past Christmas Day, a holiday nightmare was averted when a passenger and good luck kept a terrorist from blowing apart Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it prepared to land in Detroit. While this story has a happy ending, we're left to wonder why the automated systems designed to catch such people in the first place failed..."

President Obama, It's Time To Fire the TSA - "So what has the TSA done in response to the attempted attack? They've told airlines to make passengers stay in their seats during the last hour of flight. They've made it verboten for passengers to hold anything in their laps, again only during the last hour of flight. Perhaps most hilariously telling, they've forbidden pilots from announcing when a plane is flying over certain cities and landmarks. There is no other way to interpret it: The TSA is saying clearly that they can't prevent terrorists from getting explosives on airplanes, but by god, they'll make sure those planes explode only when the TSA says it's okay..." See also: It's time for more security theater!

CU Students to Build Tiny Spacecraft to Observe 'Space Weather' Environment - "The University of Colorado at Boulder has been awarded $840,000 from the National Science Foundation for students to build a tiny spacecraft to observe energetic particles in space that should give scientists a better understanding of solar flares and their interaction with Earth's atmosphere..."

8 Things Every Geek Needs to Do Before 2010 - "It's one thing to have resolutions for the new year. I, for example, plan to lose weight, learn Python and design the perfect handbag. But since nothing satisfies like the quick achievement of a short-term goal, here are eight things every good nerd needs to to before the ball drops later this week. These tasks comprise a quick to-do list that will leave you feeling competent and prepared for the decade that approaches. Also, you can play the condescension chip and start chiding friends who haven't checked off these items yet..."

Famous San Francisco Sea Lions Abandon Their Pier 39 Post - "The blubbery sea lions at Pier 39, one of San Francisco's smelliest and most famous tourist attractions, are gone. During the last week of November, they left the wooden docks on which they've spent the last 20 years and no one knows if they'll be coming back..."

Antibody finds, wipes out prostate cancer - "US researchers have found an antibody that hunts down prostate cancer cells in mice and can destroy the killer disease even in an advanced stage, a study showed Monday...."

Top scientists share their future predictions - "From virtual brains and Matrix-like thought connections to disease-making bacteria, what the next decade could bring..."

Big wireless unveils plan to reduce TV spectrum use - "Big wireless has been complaining for a while about an impending shortage of spectrum licenses. Now they've submitted a plan to free some up. The proposal involves reorganizing the television bands by replacing high-power transmitters with networks of low-power towers. No word yet on what the TV broadcasters think of this scheme...."

Intel Introduces New Atom Chip Platform - "Intel is unveiling its next-generation Atom chip platform, which includes integrated graphics capabilities and an on-board memory controller, changes that Intel says will improve the Atom platform's performance, size and energy efficiency. As part of the platform, Intel is rolling out two CPUs aimed at the entry-level desktop space, as well as another one designed for netbooks..."

How Your Income Stacks Up - "Where do you rank as a taxpayer? You may not feel rich earning $35,000 a year, but you're in the top half of taxpayers. Make $70,000, and you earn more than 75 percent of fellow taxpayers..."

Top 10 Scientific Achievements We Are Waiting For - "Science has grown exponentially over the past few centuries, making things possible that were once absolutely considered completely impossible. Science has done a lot to cure many of our worldly troubles, but one thing about science is that it isn't perfect, and never will be. The reason for this is that science is always getting better. There is always more to discover. These are the top ten scientific accomplishments that haven't been achieved... yet...."

Visualizing Density - Brilliant infographic

best introductory books - "Introductory books in dozens of specialties..."

A phone application to detect fake notes - "If engineering student Neha N never has a doubt whether the currency note in her hand is a fake. The 21-year-old has developed a mechanism using which a cellphone can double up as a counterfeit note detector..."

In New Way to Edit DNA, Hope for Treating Disease - "Only one man seems to have ever been cured of AIDS, a patient who also had leukemia. To treat the leukemia, he received a bone marrow transplant in Berlin from a donor who, as luck would have it, was naturally immune to the AIDS virus..."

Panasonic's new home battery could store a week's-worth of electricity - "Panasonic is charging into the green space headlong — first with deals to supply batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles — and now announcing that it will launch a massive lithium-ion storage battery capable of powering an average home for up to a week, the company says..."

New materials designed to deal with hypersonic and supersonic hot stuff - "In high speed aircraft, air friction can cause extreme heating of the leading edge — temperatures on the surface of an object travelling at Mach 5 can reach 1000 degrees C (1800 deg F). These high temperatures can not be sustained by most materials..."

Can nuclear solve the global water crisis? - "A single nuclear reactor at Aktau on the shore of the Caspian Sea successfully produced up to 135 megawatts of electricity and 80,000 cubic metres of potable water a day between 1972 and 1999, when it was closed at the end of the reactor's life..."

Halfway to Pluto! - "Today, December 29, 2009, the New Horizons Pluto probe crosses an arbitrary but psychologically important line: it is now closer to Pluto than it is to Earth..."

Rendered Speculation: Hummer HB compact off-roader - "Ciprian included two separate windshield designs, one of which sees the screen sectioned into thirds with a slew of cameras relaying additional information to the pilot. We'd go with the more production-likely single-piece glass. In any case, see the stunning high-res renderings in our gallery below..."

Study: Women Can Smell Attraction in Sweat - "The smell of men's sweat can tell women if they are attracted to them, according to a new study . The study showed that the smell of a man's sweat differs according to what mood he is in and women can pick up on changes that indicate attraction..."

[[[Jump to - Interesting Reading #385 – Radioactive toys, fireworks warfare, de-crapify your PC, body tricks, banning Facebook and much more...]]]

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