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Interesting Reading #531 – Packs of quadrocopters, Gravity mystery, India’s population, death by sitting and much more!

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Revenge of the quadrocopters: now they move in packs (video) – “the GRASP Lab out of the University of Pennsylvania has gone and added a bit of cooperative logic to the recipe so that now multiple little drones can work together….”

Apple Stock Drops Since iPhone 4; Analysts, Consumers Unfazed – “Apple stock may have taken a beating in the weeks since the iPhone 4 was released, dropping nearly eight percent as of Wednesday morning. Nonetheless, indications remain that demand for the devices is brisk. Consumers aren’t returning the phones much, despite word spreading about a reception issue that can plague the phone when held a certain way, and apparently supplies remain low at retail outlets…”

What Caffeine Actually Does to Your Brain – “What Caffeine Actually Does to Your BrainWhile there’s a whole lot one can read on caffeine, most of it falls in the realm of highly specific medical research, or often conflicting anecdotal evidence. Luckily, one intrepid reader and writer has actually done that reading, and weighed that evidence, and put together a highly readable treatise on the subject. Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine, by Stephen R. Braun, is well worth the short 224-page read. It was released in 1997, but remains the most accessible treatise on what is and isn’t understood about what caffeine and alcohol do to the brain. It’s not a social history of coffee, or a lecture on the evils of mass-market soda—it’s condensed but clean science…”

A Scientist Takes On Gravity – “It’s hard to imagine a more fundamental and ubiquitous aspect of life on the Earth than gravity, from the moment you first took a step and fell on your diapered bottom to the slow terminal sagging of flesh and dreams. But what if it’s all an illusion, a sort of cosmic frill, or a side effect of something else going on at deeper levels of reality? “

YouTube Acknowledges Site Issue, Outages – “YouTube has confirmed “an issue” with the site, which has generated HTTP 503 “service unavailable” errors on Wednesday. A site spokesman whimsically denied that it had anything to do with the flood of traffic flowing toward the YouTube “Old Spice” page, which generated huge amounts of traffic and attention for the brand with its viral videos…”

LUMENHAUS is Virginia Tech’s entry to the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Solar Decathlon competition:

Blind Spot Avoidance Systems: Take Your Pick – “What lady MacBeth couldn’t do, the automotive technology community may accomplish if their efforts to eliminate the ever dangerous blind spot come together. Responsible for possibly 395,000 crashes a year, the temporary visual black hole is now under assault on a number of fronts…”

GE Unveils Their Electric Vehicle WattStation (w/ Video) – “On Tuesday GE announced their new smart-grid-connected electric vehicle charger called the WattStation. The WattStation will help accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles by significantly cutting charging time on a 24 kWh car battery for an EV from 12-18 hours to approximately 4-8 hours by using Level 2 (240V) charging…”

Scientist: We Have Proof That The Chicken Came Before The Egg – “”It had long been suspected that the egg came first, but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first,” says Dr. Colin Freeman, from Sheffield University. Here’s the explanation…”

What is the First Thing Young Women Do in Morning Before Going to Bathroom? Check Facebook [Report] – “According to a new report released by Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research, about one-third of women on Facebook between 18 to 34 in age check this social networking site in the morning as the first thing even before going to bathroom. Some of the other astonishing facts deduced from this research on young women are as follows…”

Google Loses Search Share to Yahoo, Microsoft’s Bing – “Google’s share of the search market dropped slightly in June, as Yahoo and Microsoft saw small increases thanks to their reliance on contextual search, according to Tuesday data from comScore…”

How Microbes Defend and Define Us – “In 2008, Dr. Khoruts, a gastroenterologist at the University of Minnesota, took on a patient suffering from a vicious gut infection of Clostridium difficile. She was crippled by constant diarrhea, which had left her in a wheelchair wearing diapers. Dr. Khoruts treated her with an assortment of antibiotics, but nothing could stop the bacteria. His patient was wasting away, losing 60 pounds over the course of eight months. “She was just dwindling down the drain, and she probably would have died,” Dr. Khoruts said. Dr. Khoruts decided his patient needed a transplant. But he didn’t give her a piece of someone else’s intestines, or a stomach, or any other organ. Instead, he gave her some of her husband’s bacteria…”

The Chinese government wants its own Internet – “THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY is planning to use the Internet as a weapon to keep it in power. An internal memo that accidentally ended up on the party’s website detailed a plan to use the Internet in order to “create an international public opinion environment that is objective, beneficial and friendly to us.””

Paper puts up a paywall for comments – “How about this for a paywall twist…. a US newspaper publisher has decided to charge users a fee for posting comments on its newspaper website. From tomorrow, the Sun Chronicle, a Massachusetts paper, will charge would-be commenters a nominal one-off fee of 99 cents. But it has to be paid by credit card, which means providing a real name and address. And the name on the credit card will be the name that will appear on comments. So it’s goodbye to anonymity…”

Glacier Loses Nearly 3 Miles of Ice — Overnight – “The latest spasm of geography on the world’s largest island was recorded last week, when between July 6 and 7, scientists monitoring satellite images of Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier in west Greenland saw that it lost a 2.7-square-mile chunk of ice in a 24 hour window. Here’s an aerial view of the back-t0-back images, posted by NASA…”

Smoking Mind Over Smoking Matter: Surprising New Study Shows Cigarette Cravings Result from Habit, Not Addiction – “Nicotine patches and gum are common — and often ineffective — ways of fighting cigarette cravings, as most smokers have discovered. Now a new study from Tel Aviv University shows why they’re ineffective, and may provide the basis for more successful psychologically-based smoking cessation programs….”

Britain’s debt: The untold story – “The true scale of Britain’s national indebtedness was laid bare by the Office for National Statistics yesterday: almost £4 trillion, or £4,000bn, about four times higher than previously acknowledged…”

Revealing Japan’s low-tech belly – “Police stations without computers, 30-year-old “on hold” tapes grinding out tinny renditions of Greensleeves, ATMs that close when the bank does, suspect car engineering, and kerosene heaters but no central heating….”

NHTSA: No, Toyotas Do Not Suddenly Accelerate Unless You Press the Accelerator – “At the apex of PJ O’Rourke’s description of the 1980s Sudden Acceleration Incident craze of the 1980s (found in the brilliant Parliament of Whores), he describes what happened when the National Highway Safety Transportation Authority released its report on the phenomenon…” See also: Early Tests Pin Toyota Accidents on Drivers

Anti-oilsands ad urges tourists to ‘rethink’ visit to Alberta – “”Alberta is spending millions to brand itself as an environmentally friendly destination for tourists, when in fact we think it’s the most environmentally unfriendly place in North America because of the tarsands,” said executive director Michael Marx…”

India population: Is sterilization the answer? – “Every year in India, shanty towns mushroom in the cities, cities sprawl into farmland and the country increases by the population of Australia…”

Belly-buttons key to success in sport – “Scientists have found the reason why blacks dominate on the running track and whites in the swimming pool – it’s in their belly-buttons…”

Phys Ed: The Men Who Stare at Screens – “What was unexpected was that many of the men who sat long hours and developed heart problems also exercised. Quite a few of them said they did so regularly and led active lifestyles. The men worked out, then sat in cars and in front of televisions for hours, and their risk of heart disease soared, despite the exercise. Their workouts did not counteract the ill effects of sitting….”

[[[Jump to - Interesting Reading #530 – NASA’s Project M, Windows7 Slates, DIY Android Apps and much more!]]]

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