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Interesting Reading #485 – Coke’s amazing new Freestyle Machines, New Bionic Arms, the SR-71’s flight manual, The World’s First Printed Building, Printing the costumes for Iron Man 2 and much more…

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New Bionic Arms Are Strong, Sensitive, Human-Friendly – “Robotics and prosthetics designers have been making great advances in the power, sensitivity and humanity of their creations. Case in point: The i-Limb Pulse is a new bionic arm that allows users to handle heavy objects or delicate items, as well as customize the grips to fit their needs…”

Iron Man 2’s Secret Sauce: 3-D Printing – “On screen, with all those suits whirling into place, you’d probably assume that the “costumes” are merely virtual. Actually, they’re not: Maybe the most cutting-edge facet of Iron Man 2’s production was the real-life fabrication of the suits. Using 3-D printers, the film’s production company, Legacy Effects, was able to have artists draw an art concept–and then physically make that concept in just four hours…”

SR-71 Flight Manual – “For the first time, the SR-71 Flight Manual is available online. The manual was declassified several years ago and has now been made free to the public. When a document becomes declassified, it also becomes public domain. No copyright is asserted for the content that is presented on this web site from the SR-71 Flight Manual…”

CRAY-1 COMPUTER SYSTEM® HARDWARE REFERENCE MANUAL – “The CRAY-1 Computer System is a powerful general-purpose computer capable of extremely high processing rates. These rates are achieved by combining scalar and vector capabilities into a single central processor which is joined to a large, fast, bi-polar memory. Vector processing by performing iterative operations on sets of ordered data provide results at rates greatly exceeding result rates of conventional scalar processing. Scalar operations complement the vector capability by providing solutions to problems not readily adapted to vector techniques…”

Reverence Reigns Over NASA’s Final Shuttle Missions – “From top mission controllers on through the ranks of astronauts and shuttle workers, reverence reigns over the upcoming last flight of the space shuttle Atlantis – the first of NASA’s final shuttle missions this year…”

Nanoscale magnetic particles could give data storage a boost. – “A more reliable way to grow magnetic nanoparticles could help create the densest form of computer memory yet. The new technique, developed by researchers at North Carolina State University, makes it possible to arrange magnetic “nanodots”–particles around six nanometers wide–in orderly arrays, making it easier to use them to store bits of information magnetically…”

Coke’s Freestyle Machines Ready to Rock Tongues With 104 Flavors – “Coca-Cola is about to light the rocket beneath a project that may, with luck, slightly reinvent the brand for the 21st Century: It’s ready to take its amazing Freestyle drinks makers mainstream, with 104 user-controlled flavors…

Mapping Ancient Civilization, in a Matter of Days – “For a quarter of a century, two archaeologists and their team slogged through wild tropical vegetation to investigate and map the remains of one of the largest Maya cities, in Central America. Slow, sweaty hacking with machetes seemed to be the only way to discover the breadth of an ancient urban landscape now hidden beneath a dense forest canopy…”

Who’s using the Internet?

BP Considers Options As Oil Keeps Pouring Into Gulf – “Weeks or months could pass before the flow of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from a destroyed deep-sea well can be stanched, the head of oil giant BP told NPR on Monday…”

X-Ray Vision, Without the Radiation – “X-ray-like imaging without the harmful radiation and cell phones with more bandwidth are closer to reality now that researchers have developed a novel type of lens that works with terahertz frequencies. The new lens is a metamaterial, an artificial material with a structure made from many tiny parts, and it could drastically expand what lenses can do…”

Web 3.0 – “A story about the Semantic Web – Interviews with: Tim Berners-Lee, Clay Shirky, Chris Dixon, David Weinberger…”

Social Media Revolution 2:

10 Reasons You’ll Never Quit Facebook – “Facebook is a social networking website that is operated and privately owned. The site was started by Mark Zuckerberg when he was an undergraduate student at Harvard and grew rapidly to include hundreds of millions of users…”

Gizmodo breaks Twitter, now no one is following anyone – “Less than an hour ago, Gizmodo posted a handy guide to forcing anyone on Twitter to follow you. The method was very simple, and reportedly it worked on high profile accounts like Coco’s and Oprah’s. These were the five crucial steps…”

4Mbps broadband for all to cost $23 billion, won’t use fiber – “The FCC has set a 4Mbps download target for universal US broadband—but how to get those (modest) speeds to underserved areas? According to a new report (PDF) from the Commission, we can forget about fiber—it costs too much. Underserved areas would be served best by DSL, some 4G wireless coverage, and satellite service for those who truly live in the boondocks…” See also: $200 Billion Broadband Scandal

UT ACTLab shutdown amid record courses and enrollment. – “As reported in the Daily Texan, classes for the ACTLab program in New Media at the University of Texas at Austin, for which I helped both build as a student and as a teacher, have been cancelled effective Fall 2010. This unfortunate event has come due to the retirement of its founder, Professor Allucquére Sandy Stone. Professor Stone is retiring from active teaching, however she will become a Professor Emerita, thus retaining the ability to teach courses at the University of Texas at Austin. Myself and other students have formally requested both the Radio-Television-Film Department and the College of Communications to reconsider their decision and retain ACTLab courses. The impact of the ACTLab’s closing is not limited to the RTF department, but to the art and technology community in the city of Austin and around the world…” (Demos at the bottom of the page)

The language divide at the heart of a split that is tearing Belgium apart – “There is no mention of Belgium. That does not exist. You are in a country called Flanders. That does not exist either, but if many of the politicians running this divided society get their way it is only a matter of time. “Long live free Flanders, may Belgium die” was the battle cry ringing out in Belgium’s federal parliament on Thursday as the 150 elected deputies cleared their desks and returned home to prepare to fight an early election next month, triggered by the latest collapse of the national government…”

Apple’s policy means fashion mags are censoring their iPad editions – “A D&C insider revealed that the mag’s iPad edition has been nicknamed the Iran edition by the people putting it together, given the parallels between censorship in the Muslim theocracy and the iTunes store…”

Farmville creators Zynga mulling split with ‘greedy’ Facebook – “Facebook could be on the verge of losing a key part of what makes it so popular. Zynga – the company behind four of Facebook’s top 10 social gaming apps – has had enough of the site’s increasing love of cash, according to Techcrunch…”

Twelve things the world should toss out – “Spring is fast slipping away — and you still need to go through your closets, basement and kitchen drawers and get rid of all that random stuff you haven’t used or worn in years. But what about a little spring cleaning for your brain, your country, your world? Outlook asked a dozen writers, thinkers and doers to each suggest one thing we’d all be better off without…”

The World’s First Printed Building – “In a small shed on an industrial park near Pisa is a machine that can print buildings. The machine itself looks like a prototype for the automotive industry. Four columns independently support a frame with a single armature on it. Driven by CAD software installed on a dust-covered computer terminal, the armature moves just millimetres above a pile of sand, expressing a magnesium-based solution from hundreds of nozzles on its lower side. It makes four passes. The layer dries and Enrico Dini recalibrates the armature frame. The system deposits the sand and then inorganic binding ink. The exercise is repeated. The millennia-long process of laying down sedimentary rock is accelerated into a day. A building emerges. This machine could be used to construct anything. Dini wants to build a cathedral with it. Or houses on the moon…”

[[[Jump to - Interesting reading #484 - WiFi to get 10 times faster, Should you do a New, Used or Leased car?, 15 Automotive Atrocities, the zombie satellite, ‘Hangover’ Molecule in Brain Found and much more... ]]]

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