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Interesting Reading #471 – colleges are banning laptops, Honda has a new jet, new speed cameras in space, The new $100 bill, An explanation of LOST (the TV show), A new way of remembering and much more…

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Can Honda Bring Corporate-Style Jet Travel to the Masses? – “Private jet travel is convenient, luxurious and, of course, very expensive. The HondaJet represents an effort at changing that, by using technology and design to bring costs down and allow private-jet travel at costs that approach commercial ticket prices…”

Why more colleges are banning laptops in the classroom – “As a culture, we’re at an odd crossroads regarding personal computers. For years, educators have been clamoring to put technology in the hands of young students through partnerships with big tech companies, best symbolized by the One Laptop Per Child initiative. But by the time those kids grow up, they may well find university authorities waging a war on laptops in the classroom…”

New speed cameras trap motorists from space – “A new type of speed cameras which can use satellites to measure average speed over long distances are being tested in Britain…”

U.S. Treasury Jumps on 3-D Bandwagon, Unveils Redesigned Benjamins – “A running battle between the U.S. Treasury and the counterfeiting efforts of drug lords and North Korea just got even more high-tech, with 3-D interactivity. Now everyone can check the authenticity of their Benjamins, courtesy of color-changing and moving images of bells and numbers…” See also: Video: The new $100 note

As Lost Ends, Creators Explain How They Did It, What’s Going On – “In 2004, ABC called on producer J.J. Abrams to create a prime-time drama that capitalized on the success of Survivor: something tropical, Cast Away-ish, and closer to Lord of the Flies than Gilligan’s Island. Oh, they asked, and could you make it a towering, mainstream megahit, please? What executives got from the guy best known for a brainy college soap (Felicity) and an even brainier spy soap (Alias) was Lost, a fiendishly obscure, cast-of-thousands epic about … well … to say it’s about people on a magic island is selling it short. To say it’s about Everything — which its adherents swear it is — is a bit grandiose. So let’s just say it’s about destiny. And metaphysics. And quantum physics. And leadership, torture, time travel, synchronicity, Skinner boxes, geodesic domes, polar bears, doomsday equations, comic books, the Casimir effect, and the no-less-potent Cass Elliot effect. It was weird. Even weirder: It was a hit. A towering, mainstream megahit. You’d think a show like this could happen only in some alternate television universe. Maybe so. Maybe for the past six years we’ve been living in that universe. That would be so Lost…”

Why your cell phone coverage stinks

Measuring the economic impact of marijuana legalization on California

Orbital mechanics – “The Cassini spacecraft has spent six years orbiting saturn, using the moon Titan’s gravity to propel into the complex trajectories required to observe the planet’s many rings, moons and other moving targets…”

Maxed out: What’s the human speed limit? – “Last year, Usain Bolt stunned athletics fans when he hacked 0.11 seconds off his previous world record for the 100-metre sprint. But what’s the ultimate human speed limit?”


Apple’s New Developer Agreement Unlevels the iAd Playing Field – “The change is similar to, and potentially as far-reaching as, the modification to terms that requires iPhone apps to be written only in Apple-approved programming languages and not on third-party platforms such as Adobe Flash, even if they are subsequently converted into iPhone OS code. The software development rule is an effective ban. The analytics rule is not a ban on third-party ad networks — but by creating a competitive advantage for Apple’s iAd offering, it could amount to the same thing…”

Legal spying via the cell phone system – ” Two researchers say they have found a way to exploit weaknesses in the mobile telecom system to legally spy on people by figuring out the private cell phone number of anyone they want, tracking their whereabouts, and listening to their voice mail.”

Field Guide: What’s the Best Smartphone Operating System? – “Sure, a smartphone’s specs matter—you’ll want one with a fast processor, bright screen and decent camera. But the horsepower is wasted if the phone is difficult to use. When it comes to user experience, nothing is more important than a phone’s operating system (OS). Here’s what you need to know about the five top smartphone platforms…”

A Chinese ISP momentarily hijacks the Internet – “For the second time in two weeks, bad networking information spreading from China has disrupted the Internet. On Thursday morning, bad routing data from a small Chinese ISP called IDC China Telecommunication was re-transmitted by China’s state-owned China Telecommunications, and then spread around the Internet, affecting Internet service providers such as AT&T, Level3, Deutsche Telekom, Qwest Communications and Telefonica. ..”

How the Dukan Diet works – The French diet that is supposed to end the obesity epidemic – “Are you looking for a diet that will take off the pounds and keep them off?” Who isn’t?

IT disaster recovery planning and earthquake emergency response: Lessons learned from Haiti – “
The 2010 Haiti earthquake killed more than 210,000 people, and approximately 1 million people were evacuated from their homes. That disaster was followed about a month later by the 2010 Chilean earthquake, which scientists said shifted the earth’s axis, and generated a blackout that affected 93% of the country and lasted for several days in some areas. And more recently, the death toll from China’s recent earthquake is nearing 2,400 according to reports…”

Call to action: Tell Congress you support the Federal Research Public Access Act – “All supporters of public access – universities and colleges, researchers, libraries, campus administrators, patient advocates, publishers, consumers, individuals, and others – are asked to ACT NOW to support this bill. See below for actions you can take…”

Oxford University Press launches the Anti-Google – “Crowdsourced knowledge repositories like Wikipedia are great for finding the answer to questions that aren’t particularly urgent or critical, but their problems are legion, well-documented, and oft-lamented if you’re trying to use them for serious work—especially scholarly work. Search engines aren’t any better for scholars, because Google searches not only produce way too much information for even the most obscure topics, but they also don’t tell you which sources experts would consider really important…”

Washed Up Whale Found with Gallons of Our Garbage In Its Gut – “A young 37-foot whale stranded on the shore in West Seattle, and it had a summary of what we’re doing to our oceans held within its stomach. As photographer Chris Jordan documented in birds’ guts, our marine animals are filling up not on nutritious sea life, but the junk we toss out that makes its way into the oceans. Fifty gallons of contents were examined from this near-adult male gray whale, and you won’t believe some of the garbage this poor beast had swallowed…”

Ten Things You Don’t Know About Comets – “They used to be considered harbingers, omens up for interpretation by mystics and people looking for reasons things happened the way they do. In reality, comets are just a class of objects in our solar system along with planets, asteroids, dust, and one biggish star…”

The Nuclear Dilemma – “Dr. Henry Kissinger, Carl Sagan, Brent Scowcroft, William F. Buckley, Jr., Elie Wiesel, and Robert McNamara talk about nuclear weapons in 1983…”

Why More U.S. Expatriates Are Turning In Their Passports – “Chicago native Ben loves his country and is proud to be an American. Yet the longtime resident of Melbourne has just relinquished his U.S. citizenship. “This is not something I did lightly or happily, but I saw no other choice,” says Ben, a businessman who became an Australian citizen two years ago…”

Mount St. Helens – “Thirty years after the blast, Mount St. Helens is reborn again….”

Study: Brain Exercises Don’t Improve Cognition – “You’ve probably heard it before: the brain is a muscle that can be strengthened. It’s an assumption that has spawned a multimillion-dollar computer game industry of electronic brain-teasers and memory games. But in the largest study of such brain games to date, a team of British researchers has found that healthy adults who undertake computer-based “brain-training” do not improve their mental fitness in any significant way…”

Zeus banking virus is back warns security firm – “Zeus, a virus that steals online banking details from infected computer users, is more powerful than ever, warns a web security company…”

Studio does content-ID takedown of my Hitler video about takedowns – “In a bizarre twist of life imitating art that may be too “meta” for your brain, Constantin Films, the producer of the war movie “Downfall” has caused the takedown of my video which was put up to criticise their excessive use of takedowns…”

Amazing….Bell Labs Pushes DSL Speeds to 300 Mbps – “In this era of fiber to the home, it is easy to dismiss copper-based DSL, the broadband connectivity technology commonly sold by phone companies world wide. Looks like it is too soon to completely write off this technology. Alcatel-Lucent, a company whose lineage is as old as the phone itself says its research arm, Bell Labs has been able to achieve downstream speeds of about 300 Mbps (over a distance of 400 meters) or 100 Mbps over a distance of one kilometer…”

Climate sceptic wins landmark data victory ‘for price of a stamp’ – “An arch-critic of climate scientists has won a major victory in his campaign to win access to British university data that could reveal details of Europe’s past climate. In a landmark ruling, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office has ruled that Queen’s University Belfast must hand over data obtained during 40 years of research into 7,000 years of Irish tree rings to a City banker and part-time climate analyst, Doug Keenan…”

Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano is nothing to ‘Angry Sister’ Katla – “Every time in recorded history that Eyjafjallajökull volcano has erupted, the much larger Katla volcano has also erupted. Scientists are watching Katla carefully…”

More from Eyjafjallajokull – “As ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano continued to keep European airspace shut down over the weekend, affecting millions of travelers around the world, some government agencies and airlines clashed over the flight bans. Some restricted airspace is now beginning to open up and some limited flights are being allowed now as airlines are pushing for the ability to judge safety conditions for themselves. The volcano continues to rumble and hurl ash skyward, if at a slightly diminished rate now, as the dispersing ash plume has dropped closer to the ground, and the World Health Organization has issued a health warning to Europeans with respiratory conditions. Collected here are some images from Iceland over the past few days…”

Japanese spacecraft to land in Australia – “A Japanese spacecraft is due to land on the Woomera test range in South Australia’s outback in June. If the mission is successful, it will be the first time a spacecraft has made contact with an asteroid and returned to Earth…”

Under Threat, Women Bond, Men Withdraw – “hen we’re under immediate stress—say, we are about to give a speech or about to be mugged—we either fight or flee, or so scientists have long preached. But some psychologists are now suggesting that this scenario may apply mainly to males. Men get antisocial under pressure, but women tend to react in the opposite way: they “tend and befriend,” engaging in nurturing and social networking, perhaps as a way to protect their offspring, according to a theory proffered by neuroscientist Shelley Taylor of the University of California, Los Angeles. Here at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society 2010 annual meeting, psychologist Mara Mather of the University of Southern California presented powerful new support for Taylor’s hypothesis in the divergent ways that stressed men and women respond to faces…”

Richard Clarke On The Growing ‘Cyberwar’ Threat – ” Richard Clarke served as a counterterrorism adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He spent much of 2001 warning members of the Bush administration about the possibility of an impending al-Qaida attack. Clarke has now turned his attention to another potential security catastrophe: computer-based terrorism attacks…”

Google reveals government data requests and censorship – “For the first time Google has released details about how often countries around the world ask it to hand over user data or to censor information…” See also: Government requests directed to Google and YouTube and Google Announces New Tool To Track Information Requests From Governments

[[[Jump to - nteresting Reading #470 – How volcanic lightning works, The reason why SSDs are so expensive, New Low-power version of Bluetooth for toys, The secret lurking inside web coupons, 16 of the Weirdest Things Dogs Have Ever Eaten and much more…]]]



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