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Interesting Reading #453 – Feeling real pain in a video game, Cosmic rays zapping Toyotas, Loud sounds can kill people, When Will We Become Cyborgs? and much more…

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Gaming Vest Makes Virtual Fights Real and Painful – “tactile-gaming-vestNext time your character gets shot while playing Call of Duty it could hurt for real. A tactile gaming vest created at the University of Pennsylvania can make wearers feel a punch or a gunfire hit in sync with what’s happening on screen. Ouch!”

Toyota Recall Might Be Caused by Cosmic Rays – “It may not lessen Toyota’s woes to hear that the problems the company has been having with faulty gas pedals could be blamed on cosmic rays from space. Sound unbelievable? The concept is actually a lot more plausible than you might think…”

Masdar: Abu Dhabi’s carbon-neutral city – “The world’s first zero-carbon city is being built in Abu Dhabi and is designed to be not only free of cars and skyscrapers but also powered by the sun…”

New RFID Tag Could Mean the End of Bar Codes – “Lines at the grocery store might become as obsolete as milkmen, if a new tag that seeks to replace bar codes becomes commonplace. Researchers from Sunchon National University in Suncheon, South Korea, and Rice University in Houston have built a radio frequency identification tag that can be printed directly onto cereal boxes and potato chip bags. The tag uses ink laced with carbon nanotubes to print electronics on paper or plastic that could instantly transmit information about a cart full of groceries…”

NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 480 and GTX 470: 6 Months Late, Was It Worth the Wait? – “Fermi/GF100/GTX400 has been a long time coming. For an industry where the major players are usually in lockstep with each other in some fashion, this latest cycle has been distinctly out of sync. In September of 2009 we saw AMD launch their Radeon 5000 series, and spend the next 6 months as the performance leader for the discrete graphics market for virtually every price point. NVIDIA on the other hand missed the latest cycle by a mile, and when AMD was delivering 5000 series cards NVIDIA could only talk about the High Performance Computing applications of their next GPU, Fermi. It would be the next big thing, both figuratively and literally…” See also: GeForce GTX 480 And 470: From Fermi And GF100 To Actual Cards!

Why Does Food Cost So Much? – “World food prices have been increasing steadily and experienced a major spike between 2005 and 2008. During this time, average world prices for rice rose by a staggering 217%. In response, some retailers — like Sam’s Club — instituted a limit on how much rice restaurants could purchase. Globally, concern mounted over the ability of the food supply chain to meet demand. By mid-2008, countries began restricting exports, reflecting concerns about their own domestic food security…”

GM Unveils Self-Driving Electric Concept Car ‘EN-V’, Which Can Talk to Other Cars – “Ever thought of a car which can drive automatically and communicate with vehicles around it to avoids accident? If it was something that you fantasized, the good news is that General Motors Corp. has come up with concept of a future car, EN-V (Electric Networked-Vehicle), which will turn these things into reality…”

PepsiCo Develops ‘Designer Salt’ to Chip Away at Sodium Intake – “Later this month, at a pilot manufacturing plant here, PepsiCo Inc. plans to start churning out batches of a secret new ingredient to make its Lay’s potato chips healthier…”

Global cooling: What happens if the Iceland volcano blows – “The potential eruption of Iceland’s volcano Katla would likely send the world, including the USA, into an extended deep freeze. “When Katla went off in the 1700s, the USA suffered a very cold winter,” says Gary Hufford, a scientist with the Alaska Region of the National Weather Service. “To the point, the Mississippi River froze just north of New Orleans and the East Coast, especially New England, had an extremely cold winter. “Depending on a new eruption, Katla could cause some serious weather changes.””

A Cannon ‘Stun Gun’ – “Israel’s Ministry of Defense recently approved a license for ArmyTec, a Netanya, Israel, technology development advisory firm, to market military and paramilitary versions of the Thunder Generator cannon. Developed and produced for the agricultural industry by PDT Agro, a small firm based in Herzliya, Israel, the system detonates a mixture of common liquefied petroleum (LPG), cooking gas and air to generate a series of loud, stunning shock waves…”

Formula 1 IT – “In accordance with the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) regulations, each car has roughly 100 sensors placed in key data capture positions and send anywhere up to 20 gigabyes of data back to the pits during a race….”

Sony accuses Beyonce of piracy for putting her videos on YouTube – “Sony Entertainment has shut down Beyonce’s official YouTube site. Congrats to Sony Entertainment for wisely spending its legal dollars and working on behalf of its artists…”

All the world’s aircraft carriers – There are 64

The dirt on death

Kinetic Sculpture, BMW Museum, Munich

Slicing the profit pie (for music)

280,000 pro-China astroturfers are running amok online – “If you thought corporate “astroturfing” (fake grassroots activity) was a problem at sites like Yelp and Amazon that feature user reviews of products, imagine how much worse it would be if the US government employed a couple hundred thousand people to “shape the debate” among online political forums. Crazy, right? What government would ever attempt it? According to noted China researcher Rebecca MacKinnon, the answer is China, which allegedly employs 280,000 people to troll the Internet and make the government look good…”

Harvard profs trash ACTA, demand oversight, threaten lawsuit – “Harvard Law School professors Lawrence Lessig and Jack Goldsmith took to the op-ed page of the Washington Post today to slam the Obama administration’s approach to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)—and to threaten a lawsuit if ACTA is signed without Congressional oversight…”

What’s It Like to Fly the Space Shuttle? We Find Out – “As a person who really enjoys flying airplanes, I never thought I would ever say this, but flying a simulator can be as much fun as flying the real thing. Of course it helps when the simulator is a replica of the space shuttle cockpit at the Johnson Space Center in Houston…”

Another example of augmented reality:

Of Mice and Memory: ‘Working Memory’ of Mice Can Be Improved – “Mice trained to improve their working memory become more intelligent, suggesting that similar improvements in working memory might help human beings enhance their brain power…” See also: Memory Decline Linked to an Inability to Ignore Distractions

Gravity Emerges from Quantum Information, Say Physicists – “One of the hottest new ideas in physics is that gravity is an emergent phenomena; that it somehow arises from the complex interaction of simpler things…” See also: It From Bit – Entropic Gravity For Pedestrians

Sleep Differences Among Ethnic Groups Revealed in New Poll – “The 2010 Sleep in America poll by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) reveals significant differences in the sleep habits and attitudes of Asians, Blacks/African-Americans, Hispanics and Whites. It is the first poll to examine sleep among these four ethnic groups…”

New NREL Robots Scrutinize Thin Film Solar For Potential Flaws – “What’s new at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)? Robots that fabricate and analyze thin film solar for flaws, with significantly greater speed and precision than their human counterparts…”

Earth images captured by balloon – “A British inventor, Robert Harrison, managed to film pictures of earth by using a digital camera, loft insulation, a balloon and some duct tape…” See also: Million Dollar NASA Photos Beaten by Budget Balloon

Light Bends Matter, Surprising Scientists – “Light can twist matter, according to a new study that observed ribbons of nanoparticles twisting in response to light. Scientists knew matter can cause light to bend – prisms and glasses prove this easily enough. But the reverse phenomenon was not shown to occur until recently…”

When Will We Become Cyborgs? – “The idea of a cyborg — a human-machine hybrid — is common in science fiction and although the term dates back to the 1960s it still generates a lot of curiosity. I often hear people asking, When will we become cyborgs? When will humans and machines merge? Although some researchers might have specific time frames in mind, I think a better answer is: It’s already happening…”

13 of the Brightest Tech Minds Sound Off on the Rise of the Tablet – “Steve Jobs is the preeminent figure of the late 20th century; he is our Ford, our Disney. Like them, Jobs is a great success in business. Others may have similar thoughts, similar predictions — in fact, if he were truly original he would not be so popular — but the fearlessness and simplicity of his attack on the old type of humanistic consciousness makes him a hero…”

Android Tablet gives iPad run for the Money – “Notion Ink demoed its final version of the Android tablet called Adam prior to Mobile World Congress 2010. In the video cofounder Rohan Shravan shows off some awesome hardware innovation…”

Can’t find a parking spot?

What if all coral reefs die? Experts are scared – “Coral reefs are dying, and scientists and governments around the world are contemplating what will happen if they disappear altogether. The idea positively scares them…”

Artificial Leaf Is Key To Carbon-Free Hydrogen Economy – “Scientists have raided the photosynthetic structures of leaves to figure out the most efficient way to use solar energy to turn water into hydrogen fuel. The Artificial Inorganic Leaf, or AIL, potentially represents a major step towards a hydrogen-powered world…”

19 of the Greatest Science Fiction Book Series – “Science Fiction writers—much like their cousins over in Fantasy—are renowned for being able write volume upon volume of prose, great tracts of novels, seemingly without end. Often these tomes are filled with nothing so much as overly lengthy location descriptions and predictable plots. However, some of the true greats of Science Fiction have surpassed the limits of the form, and created vast inter-twined plots set across multiple novels, and multiple time periods…”

Five Left Dead By Killer Rooftop Icicles – “Icicles falling from the rooftops in St Petersburg have killed and injured a record number of people after one of the bitterest Russian winters in years…”

How to Self-Diagnose Your Financial Health – “YOU probably get an annual physical. Your doctor will ask about your concerns, take your blood pressure and 30 minutes later you’re out of the paper gown and off to work — maybe with a new prescription for Lipitor. A similar annual checkup takes place in another type of practitioner’s office: financial planners. But instead of analyzing your good and bad cholesterol levels, a planner may evaluate your good debts (mortgage) and bad debts (credit card). And instead of testing your reflexes, they may look at your savings and assess your ability to respond to a financial emergency…”

Athena gets nod for small satellite launches – “The booster rocket Athena will be placed back into production by Lockheed Martin and Alliant Techsystems as business grows for small satellite launches from NASA, DoD, and others…”

Security pros see iPhone as worst workplace risk – ” The iPhone is the highest-risk smartphone to carry into the workplace, a study of security professionals found on Thursday. Of those asked by nCircle, 57 percent said Apple’s phone is the worst mobile device threat, followed in a distant second by Android at 39 percent. Only 28 percent said the BlackBerry line is the problem, while Nokia’s Symbian-based phones accounted for just 13 percent of smartphone security fears…”

Cisco buys into WiMax for Smart Grid, acquires stake in Grid Net – “Most utilities and meter makers rely on cellular networks or proprietary broadband networks to get the job done, arguing that WiMAX is still too expensive for broad deployment. But Grid Net says price won’t be an issue for long. Not only does WiMAX offer higher speeds and more bandwidth, but it will be extremely cheap in the future because it’s an open standard, says Grid Net CEO Ray Bell…”

Russian maths genius Perelman urged to take $1m prize – “Russian maths genius Grigory Perelman, who declined a prestigious international award four years ago, is under new pressure to accept a prize…”

Idiot users still intentionally opening, clicking on spam – “Internet users are still opening their spam e-mail with abandon and clicking the links and/or opening the attachments within. These are the latest findings from the Ipsos Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG), which found once again that people continue to practice poor e-mail habits despite awareness of the consequences. A healthy dose of denial and ignorance about who should protect them is apparently enough to keep users clicking away…”

4G in America: Lies, Lies, and More Lies – “Listen up America, by the end of this year, and most definitely during 2011, you’re going to be bombarded with advertisements that stretch across all forms of media, tempting you to hop on board a 4G network. Let’s get this out of the way right now: 4G, as the word is currently being used, is nothing but a marketing term…”

Eye-Tracking Tablets and the Promise of Text 2.0 – “The best thing about reading a book on a tablet (so far) is how closely it approximates reading a “real” book — which is why the Kindle’s screen is matte like paper rather than luminescent like a laptop. Some (not all) fear for the demise of real reading and writing, but it’s more likely we’re really at the leading edge of an innovation curve that could breathe new life into the written word. For example: What if those written words were watching you reading them and making adjustments accordingly?”

The Ten Greatest Modern-Day Recreations Of Ancient Technologies – “The Ten Greatest Modern-Day Recreations Of Ancient TechnologiesFor some people, studying the past isn’t enough. They recreate millennia-old tools, boats, and even towns to better understand how ancient peoples lived. They are called experimental archaeologists, and these are ten of their greatest triumphs…”

[[[Jump to - Interesting Reading #452 – Men Take More Risks When Pretty Women Are Around, ISS to get ‘Man Cave’, How to Erase Fear, Universities look better when it is overcast and much more…]]]

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