Interesting Reading #410 - Seeing through walls, reusable paper, amazing trans-atlantic blimps, drilling square holes, robot frigates and much more...

by | Feb 4, 2010 01:05 AM ET

Intel Details Upcoming Mobile and Six-Core Processors - "With the International Solid-State Circuits Conference less than a week away, Intel has released additional details on its hexa-core desktop, next generation mobile and dual-core Westmere processors. Much of the dual-core data was revealed last month when the CPU manufacturer launched Clarkdale (our review is here if you want additional information on the CPU and its integrated graphics core). When Intel set its internal goals for what its calling Westmere 6C, the company aimed to boost both core and cache count by 50 percent without increasing the processor's thermal envelope. Towards this end, the new Westmere chips will incorporate additional technologies to reduce the CPU's power consumption at idle..."

US Troops In Afghanistan to Get Sensors That See Through Walls - "As if aerial robots and bionic limbs didn't make the Army seem futuristic enough, it looks like another hallmark of sci-fi, X-ray vision, will ship off to Afghanistan later this year. The device in question is the TiaLinx Eagle Scanner, which uses radio waves to see through the ground, walls, and other kinds of cover..."

Video of the week: aerogel insulation hits housing market - "GreenTech reported that some aerogel companies are offering thin blankets that serve as replacements for traditional fiberglass, foam or cellulose insulation. It's still more expensive upfront but the costs have fallen to the point that it can make sense in certain cases, particularly masonry or curved walls. The video posted above shows aerogel insulation over bent tubing...."

Flying to New York? Then why not go by luxury airship (but it will take you 37 hours) - "Towering, kite-shaped airships could herald a new era of luxury transport following today's introduction of the Aircruise concept. Standing 98ft taller than Canary Wharf, packing 330,000 cubic metres of hydrogen gas and capable of lifting 396 tonnes, the Aircruise concept features penthouse apartments, bars and even dizzying glass viewing floors..."

Hubble Detects Mysterious Spaceship-Shaped Object Traveling at 11,000MPH - "Hubble has discovered a mysterious X-shaped object traveling at 11,000mph. NASA says that P/2010-A2 may be a comet, product of the collision between two asteroids. Or a Klingon Bird of Prey. Either way, UCLA investigator David Jewitt is excited..."

Unidentified object crossing the solar disk, 10.50am, 30.1.10 (First mentioned (with video) in Interesting Reading #403)

Bogota's bulletproof tailor - "Colombian tailor Miguel Caballero specializes in making garments that enable the wearer to get shot at point-blank range with nary an injury besides, maybe, a bruised ego. At-high-risk-of-catching-a-bullet demographics, such as rappers and politicians all over the world, rely on Miguel's handiwork. And, lucky me, when I was recently in Bogota for VBS.TV covering a few stories, I had the chance to visit Miguel's shop, learn about his protective clothing, and get shot in the gut by him. Seriously..."

Reusable paper can be erased and reprinted many times:

SilverStone Announces Hybrid SSD-Hard Disk Device - "SilverStone's recently announced HDDBoost delivers SSD speed for Terabytes of storage. SilverStone has just announced its HDDBoost, a device that teams an SSD with a hard disk. The aim is to offer the incredibly fast data access speeds typical of SSDs with the high capacity of a hard disk but to make it easy to use, so both appear as a single storage device in Windows. Essentially, the HDDBoost uses an SSD as an huge cache for your hard disk, theoretically delivering the best of both technologies with no compromise. This sounds almost as magical as the Lucid Hydra, but with a much better chance of success."

Who owns a piece of Va. space rock? Docs send to Smithsonian, landlord may have other ideas - "Gallini, who has run his family practice in Lorton, Va., since 1978, said he notified his property owner, Erol Mutlu, of plans to hand the object over to the Smithsonian, which holds the world's largest museum collection of meteorites. Gallini says he got Mutlu's permission. Later in the week, though, Mutlu sent the doctors an e-mail warning that his brother and fellow landlord Deniz Mutlu was going to the Smithsonian to retrieve the rock, Gallini said..."

Crystals in meteorite harder than diamonds - "Crystalline carbon had never been found in nature until now..."

Square Holes Drilled With A Watts Drill Blows My Mind - "Now the idea of using a spinning drill bit to create a square hole is kind of counter-intuitive, but the animation on the right, while not exactly what a Watts drill looks like, helps you wrap your head around the concept..."

Better to React Than to Act - "Have you ever noticed that the first cowboy to draw his gun in a Hollywood Western is invariably the one to get shot? Nobel prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr did, once arranging mock duels to test the validity of this cinematic curiosity. Following Bohr's example, researchers have now confirmed that people move faster if they are reacting to another person's movements than if they are taking the lead themselves. The findings may one day inspire new therapies for patients with brain damage, the team speculates..." See also: Why does the gunslinger who draws first always get shot? - "Western films, the gunslinger that draws first always gets shot. This seems like a standard Hollywood trope but it diverted the attention of no less a scientist that Niels Bohr, one of history's greatest physicists. Taking time off from solving the structure of the atom, Bohr suggested that it takes more time to initiate a movement than to react to the same movement. Perversely, the second gunslinger wins because they're responding to their opponent's draw..."

Climate change causes wolverine decline across Canada - "The wolverine, a predator renowned for its strength and tenacious character, may be slowly melting away along with the snowpack upon which it lives..."

Why spider webs glisten with dew - "Researchers have puzzled out how spider silk is able to catch the morning dew. Their findings may lead to the development of new materials that are able to capture water from the air..."

You don't have to be bipolar to be a genius – but it helps - "Scientists have for the first time found powerful evidence that genius may be linked with madness. Speculation that the two may be related dates back millennia, and can be found in the writings of Aristotle, Plato and Socrates. Aristotle once claimed that "there is no great genius without a mixture of madness", but the scientific evidence for an association has been weak – until now..."

Iran sends mouse, worms, turtles into space - "Iran announced Wednesday it has successfully launched a 10-foot-long research rocket carrying a mouse, two turtles and worms into space — a feat President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said showed Iran could defeat the West in the battle of technology..." See also: Iran launches rocket carrying animals into orbit

Tattletale pills, bottles remind you to take your meds - "If you have problems remembering to take your meds -- or whether you've taken them already -- some high-tech products on the horizon may be able to help you. Companies are using wireless technology, the same mechanism by which you use a cell phone or the Internet, to develop devices that monitor whether you took your pills as the doctor ordered, beaming information back to you, your doctor or a designated family member. In some cases, this requires swallowing a microchip about as thin as a few human hairs..."

US plans crewless automated ghost-frigates - "Those splendid brainboxes at DARPA - the Pentagon's in-house bazaar of the bizarre - have outdone themselves this time. They now plan an entirely uncrewed, automated ghost frigate able to cruise the oceans of the world for months or years on end without human input..."

Three years later, Apple TV remains a hobby - "Nearly three years after its introduction, the Apple TV remains a hobby in the eyes of Apple. This view was confirmed by CEO Steve Jobs during a post-iPad Town Hall meeting among employees, where he reiterated that the company still views the set-top box as experimental...."

Apple's iPad May Gain an Intelligent Bezel in the Future - "Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially published two major granted patents of Apple's covering tablets and advanced touch technologies. The first patent may provide us with a glimpse of a future implementation of an intelligent tablet bezel..."

Is Amazon Building a Superkindle? - "If you were Amazon, and Apple released the iPad, what would you do? Scurry away into the corner, or buy a small company in New York and use its technology to build a Superkindle, with a multitouch color screen and built-in applications? If you guessed the latter, you'd be right..."

Touch Book, Netbook reloaded. - "Detachable keyboard. 10-hour batteries, Updated hardware with 512MB RAM, Multiple open source OS available..."

No, There's Still No Zune Phone - "But using Zune as a component service in their new OS doesn't make Windows Mobile 7 a "Zune phone" any more than it is anticipated to be an "XBox phone" or a "Windows Live phone" or, for that matter, an "Exchange phone." (And no, there's no inside knowledge there either, except for common sense.)"

Powering cube satellites - "An electric propulsion technology for miniature satellites aims to give them more mobility — and may eventually allow them to take on deep-space missions..."

Do we really need driver's licenses for the Internet? - "Cyber attacks are on the rise and everyone who connects to the internet needs to educate themselves in possible attacks and be diligent in keeping them at bay. The International Telcommunications Union, a UN agency, believes that the only way to do this is to require a type of driver's license for anyone who wishes to connect to the internet..."

Textbook publishers heading to iPad - "Publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Kaplan Publishing, McGraw-Hill Education, and Pearson have signed deals to be among the first to port their textbooks over to Apple's new tablet. Heading to the iPad as well as the iPhone and iPod Touch will be their textbooks, study guides, and test prep manuals..."

Weather Channel distributes Android app via on-screen QR code - "Google's been doing some pretty slick stuff with QR codes lately, and now it looks like The Weather Channel's getting in on the fun -- it's running a little on-screen graphic prompting Android owners to download their app by scanning their TV screens. Sure, it's not the craziest thing in the world -- it just takes you to a webpage -- but it's certainly fun, and one of the more mainstream uses of QR codes we've seen in a while...."

New Research Rejects 80-Year Theory of 'Primordial Soup' as the Origin of Life - "For 80 years it has been accepted that early life began in a 'primordial soup' of organic molecules before evolving out of the oceans millions of years later. Today the 'soup' theory has been over turned in a pioneering paper in BioEssays which claims it was the Earth's chemical energy, from hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, which kick-started early life...."

NASA Extends Cassini's Tour of Saturn, Continuing International Cooperation for World Class Science - "NASA will extend the international Cassini-Huygens mission to explore Saturn and its moons to 2017. The agency's fiscal year 2011 budget provides a $60 million per year extension for continued study of the ringed planet. "This is a mission that never stops providing us surprising scientific results and showing us eye popping new vistas," said Jim Green, director of NASA's planetary science division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The historic traveler's stunning discoveries and images have revolutionized our knowledge of Saturn and its moons." "

NASA Plans Manned Missions To Mars - "Obama's proposed cancellation of Constellation moon program means more money for research into deep space travel, NASA chief says..."

Earth science, deep space probes get budget boost - "NASA's new proposed budget includes $5 billion for science, bolstering the agency's fleet of Earth science missions and restarting production of plutonium to power robotic probes to the outer solar system..."

X Prize CEO Thinks Obama's 2010 NASA Budget Good for Space - " Today PM caught up with Peter Diamandis, the CEO and chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation, at the Google Lunar X PRIZE summit at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. News that private space will be playing an expanded role in NASA's 2010 budget has created a buzz among the competition's 20 teams. "Everyone's excited this might mean a chance for a much larger market for the technology that the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams are creating," Diamandis says. Here's his personal take on the budget..."

Google Pours “Incredible” Computing Power into Antibody Drug Discovery With Adimab - "Google is the undisputed king of Internet search and advertising, but its second act as a company might be to invent a new computer model for efficiently discovering targeted antibody drugs. “Google is committing incredible resources to it. Incredible resources,” says Tillman Gerngross, the founder and CEO of Lebanon, NH-based Adimab. “The infrastructure alone is in the millions of dollars of raw computational power.”"

iiNet slays Hollywood in landmark piracy case - "The giants of the film industry have lost their case against ISP iiNet in a landmark judgment handed down in the Federal Court today. The decision had the potential to impact internet users and the internet industry profoundly as it sets a legal precedent surrounding how much ISPs are required to do to prevent customers from downloading movies and other content illegally..."

Corporation Says It Will Run for Congress - "With more than a twinge of irony, Murray Hill Incorporated, a liberal public relations firm, recently announced that it planned to run in the Republican primary in Maryland's 8th Congressional District..."

France in Miniature - "France Miniature is a 5-hectare outdoor park in the shape of France that contains about 160 outdoor 1/30-scale models of major French monuments and landmarks. Monuments are placed in the park to correlate approximately with their real-world locations in France. Many of the models are animated, and all of the country's best known landmarks are represented (the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Lourdes...). A system of model trains runs through the park, and animated boats ply the “Atlantic Ocean” and the “Mediterranean Sea” (lagoons positioned appropriately around the perimeter of the park). Visitors walk along paved paths to visit the various models..."

Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury - "lmost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies..."

Farmer loses High Court fight to save hidden castle - "A farmer who built a castle hidden behind a stack of straw bales has lost a High Court bid to save it from being demolished..."

Aliens vs. Predator game demo

ARM: our netbooks will fly with or without Windows - "ARM chief executive Warren East has claimed that netbooks could swallow 90% of the PC market, in an exclusive interview with PC Pro. The British chip design firm, which is the biggest rival to Intel's dominant Atom processors in the netbook space, claims the low-budget laptops could transform the PC market. And East says the chip firm will succeed "with our without" Windows support for its processors..."

Scripps Research scientists find two compounds that lay the foundation for a new class of AIDS drug

- "For Immediate Release -- A team of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has identified two compounds that act on novel binding sites for an enzyme used by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. The discovery lays the foundation for the development of a new class of anti-HIV drugs to enhance existing therapies, treat drug-resistant strains of the disease, and slow the evolution of drug resistance in the virus...."

Trace of Thought Is Found in ‘Vegetative' Patient - "He emerged from the car accident alive but alone, there and not there: a young man whose eyes opened yet whose brain seemed shut down. For five years he lay mute and immobile beneath a diagnosis — “vegetative state” — that all but ruled out the possibility of thought, much less recovery. But in recent months at a clinic in Liège, Belgium, the patient, now 29, showed traces of brain activity in response to commands from doctors. Now, according to a new report, he has begun to communicate: in response to simple questions, like “Do you have any brothers?,” he showed distinct traces of activity on a brain imaging machine that represented either “yes” or “no.” "

Medical journal retracts study linking autism to vaccine - "The medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday retracted a controversial 1998 paper that linked the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism. The study subsequently had been discredited, and last week, the lead author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was found to have acted unethically in conducting the research..."

Twitter reveals torrent scam details - "Twitter has revealed the back story on why it reset passwords this week for many of its users. The phishing attacks that forced Twitter to change account passwords stemmed from discovery of a scam being run by a torrent Web site creator, explained Del Harvey, Twitter's director of trust and safety, in a blog post Tuesday evening. "

[[[Jump to - Interesting Reading #409 – Walking on walls, The Woz's Toyota revelation, Antidepressant fail, 10 coolest Google experiments, Quakes in Yellowstone's super-volcano and much more...]]]

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