Interesting Reading #567 - WePad, Darwin's experimental island, Digg digging grave, Free Google classes and much more...

by | Sep 1, 2010 09:52 PM ET

Tiny, Five-Nanometer Silicon Oxide Switches Could Create Single Chips With Terabyte Storage - "Even with great strides being made regularly in the realms of nanotech and materials science, Moore's Law – the notion that the number of transistors that can be placed on a given integrated circuit doubles every 18-24 months – has for several years been bearing down on engineers who have shrunk conventional chip technology about as far as material limitations will let them. But a graduate student at Rice University has demonstrated that a well-known insulator – silicon oxide – may just be the minuscule digital switches of the very near future..."

Google's Earth - "Google is not ours. Which feels confusing, because we are its unpaid content-providers, in one way or another. We generate product for Google, our every search a minuscule contribution. Google is made of us, a sort of coral reef of human minds and their products. And still we balk at Mr. Schmidt's claim that we want Google to tell us what to do next. Is he saying that when we search for dinner recommendations, Google might recommend a movie instead? If our genie recommended the movie, I imagine we'd go, intrigued. If Google did that, I imagine, we'd bridle, then begin our next search...."

Diaspora, the 'anti-Facebook', is doomed - "I know we're all cheesed off at Facebook for changing its privacy settings what seems like every couple of weeks, and perhaps we're disturbed too at some of its CEO's remarks about the future of our personal information. But do we really need an entirely new social network that exists solely to register our disapproval at Mark Zuckerberg? I don't think so..."

Charles Darwin's ecological experiment on Ascension isle - "A lonely island in the middle of the South Atlantic conceals Charles Darwin's best-kept secret. Two hundred years ago, Ascension Island was a barren volcanic edifice. Today, its peaks are covered by lush tropical "cloud forest"..."

WePad Outsells iPad In Germany - "While the WePad is just under a month away from selling in Germany, it's become the best-seller at Amazon.de with the ASUS Eee PC T101MT in 2nd place and Apple's iPad sits in 3rd place..."

Hannspree pairs Android 2.2 with Tegra 2 for a 10.1-inch multitouch tablet - "There's no lack of spec sheet ambition here: a 1GHz Tegra 2 SOC is surrounded by 16GB of internal storage (expandable via MicroSD), an accelerometer, WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, a 1,024 x 600-pixel capacitive touchscreen, and mini versions of HDMI and USB ports..."

i-Station Intros 3D Android Tablet (Glasses Required) - "Korea-based gadget manufacturer i-Station isn't going to let a little thing like basic convenience get in its way, however. The company has introduced the Z3D, a seven inch Android tablet features a 3D effect that can only viewed through glasses..."

Just how bad is Flash on Android? - "What does this demonstrate? Simply that the idea that Apple could simply magically put Flash on the iPad (which runs a processor in the same class as the Nexus One) is fantasy. Ignoring the broader reasons for Apple wanting to keep Flash off its platform, it's clear that Flash is simply too processor-intensive to work properly on mobile-class processors as currently specified..."

Pentagon: A Space Junk Collision Could Set Off Catastrophic Chain Reaction, Disable Earth Communications - "Every now and again someone raises a stern warning about the amount of space junk orbiting Earth. Those warnings are usually met with general indifference, as very few of us own satellites or travel regularly to low Earth orbit. But the DoD's assessment of the space junk problem finds that perhaps we should be paying attention: space junk has reached a critical tipping point that could result in a cataclysmic chain reaction that brings everyday life on Earth to a grinding halt..."

The 3D home theater

The beneficial power of pressure washing - NYC edition

They Crawl, They Bite, They Baffle Scientists - "In comparison to other insects that bite man, or even only walk across man's food, nibble man's crops or bite man's farm animals, very little is known about the creature whose Latin name means — go figure — “bug of the bed.” Only a handful of entomologists specialize in it, and until recently it has been low on the government's research agenda because it does not transmit disease. Most study grants come from the pesticide industry and ask only one question: What kills it? "

MMR – the vaccine damage myth that will not die - "It is now well-established that the evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of the view that MMR does not cause autism. The front page of the Mail on Sunday at the weekend has the headline "FAMILY WIN 18YR FIGHT OVER MMR DAMAGE TO SON" and a strap-line reading "£90,000 pay out is first since concerns over vaccine surfaced"..."

Electrified Cotton Filter Soaked in Nanotech Cheaply and Quickly Purifies Large Volumes of Water - "Water, water everywhere, but in the developing world or in areas ravaged by natural disasters – like the ongoing flooding in Pakistan, for instance – there's often not a clean, purified drop to be found. Water is usually made potable in such places via filters that physically trap bacteria as water flows through, but researchers at Stanford have shown devised a high-speed filter composed of nothing but plain cotton cloth and nanotubes that can quickly filter nearly all bacteria from dirty water using less power than slower conventional water purifiers..."

How Digg could have EASILY avoided the turmoil - "Instead, they are getting tons of negative press, backlash from users, and have become the target of ridicule by other sites such as Reddit. They are dealing with a public relations nightmare of legendary status. They are becoming a case study on how not to roll out major functionality changes...."

Has Digg Dug its Own Grave? - "Some people just don't like change. Less than a week after Digg released version 4 of its social news-sharing site, fans have rebelled, flooding Digg with links from a rival sharing site, staging a "Quit Digg Day," and prophesying a major drop-off in traffic if the site doesn't return to its roots. Has Digg dug its grave, or is this yet another kneejerk neophobic reaction?"

Reddit benefits from Digg site revamp - "A revamp of the social-news site Digg has unexpectedly backfired on its owners. Members of the site who wanted to express their dissatisfaction with a recent redesign hijacked the front page to redirect users to rival service Reddit..."

Digg Hires New C.E.O. Amid Site Changes - "Meanwhile, Kevin Rose, Digg's founder and interim chief executive, announced that he will step down from managing day-to-day operations of the service, and that Matt Williams, formerly of Amazon.com, will run the company as chief executive. Mr. Rose's move was expected, but adds a little more drama to the week..."

"YouTube Is UsTube": Creators Step in to Defend YouTube - "Plenty of folks, from copyright lawyers to Internet entrepreneurs to investment bankers, have been watching the long-running legal battle between Viacom and Google/YouTube carefully, well aware that a decision in the case could have a profound effect on the future of the Internet. But most YouTube users probably haven't given it the same attention. They should, and in an amicus brief filed in support of YouTube last week, a group of YouTube video creators explains why..."

PhysX87: Software Deficiency - "One of the latest challenges in computer gaming is modeling the game environment, with a high degree of realism. The most gaming obvious improvements in the last 25 years have been graphical – from the early days of 2D sprites like Metroid or King's Quest, to 3D rendering with Glide and later DirectX and OpenGL, powering the latest games like Crysis. Features such as multi-sample anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering produce more attractive images and increasing amounts of effort and computational capacity are spent on accurately portraying difficult phenomena such as smoke, water reflections, hair and shadows. However, an accurate visualization of an object is only as convincing and realistic as the modeling of the object itself; a glass hurled against a wall that bounces away harmlessly is unlikely to be convincing, no matter how beautifully rasterized (or ray traced). Consequently, as graphics have improved, modeling the underlying behavior becomes increasingly important. This article delves into the recent history of real-time game physics libraries (specifically PhysX), and analyzes the performance characteristics of PhysX. In particular, through our experiments we found that PhysX uses an exceptionally high degree of x87 code and no SSE, which is a known recipe for poor performance on any modern CPU..."

Ban Drone-Porn War Crimes - "Are the masters of "drone porn" committing war crimes by remote control? It's a bit shocking that more people aren't asking this question. I have a feeling that many of us, particularly liberal Obama supporters (like myself, for instance), haven't wanted to look too closely at what is being done in his name, in our name, when these remote-controlled and often tragically inaccurate weapons of small-group slaughter incinerate innocents from the sky, in what are essentially video-game massacres in which real people die..."

Three arguments for the consciousness of cephalopods - "The problem with measuring something like "consciousness" is that there is no agreed-upon definition. However, scientists can use a few basic tools to determine whether animals think in ways that humans would recognize as similar to themselves. You can measure (to a certain degree) whether a creature has self-awareness, independent problem-solving abilities, and exhibits brain activities that resemble "thinking" in the human brain...."

Another Stonehenge Discovered Under Lake Michigan? - "A group of researchers using sonar to find shipwrecks on the bottom of Lake Michigan have found something far older than crashed cargo ships. They believe they've found a 10-thousand-year-old stone structure like Stonehenge, including a rock carved with the image of a mastodon. io9 pal Geoff Manaugh reports over at BLDG BLOG that the researchers' report (with cool sonar images) was released last year to surprisingly little fanfare..."

White LEDs with super-high luminous efficacy could satisfy all general lighting needs - "Researchers from the Nichia Corporation in Tokushima, Japan, have set an ambitious goal: to develop a white LED that can replace every interior and exterior light bulb currently used in homes and offices. The properties of their latest white LED - a luminous flux of 1913 lumens and a luminous efficacy of 135 lumens per watt at 1 amp - enable it to emit more light than a typical 20-watt fluorescent bulb, as well as more light for a given amount of power. With these improvements, the researchers say that the new LED can replace traditional fluorescent bulbs for all general lighting applications, and also be used for automobile headlights and LCD backlighting..."

A New Species of Armored Catfish That Eats Wood. Yes, Wood. - "An armored, Amazonian catfish. That eats wood from fallen logs – and, when desperate, the feces of its fellow catfish. With teeth shaped like spoons to make the eating easier. And oh, it's a new species..."

Girls' early puberty linked to unstable environment via insecure attachment in infancy - "Girls are hitting puberty earlier and earlier. One recent study found that more than 10 percent of American girls have some breast development by age 7. This news has upset many people, but it may make evolutionary sense in some cases for girls to develop faster, according to the authors of a new paper published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science..."

Live from Apple's fall 2010 event

New Evidence That Fat Cells Are Not Just Dormant Storage Depots for Calories - "Scientists are reporting new evidence that the fat tissue in those spare tires and lower belly pooches -- far from being a dormant storage depot for surplus calories -- is an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body, perhaps increasing the risk of heart attacks, cancer, and other diseases..."

After BlackBerry, India now wants access to Google, Skype, VPN data - "A day after giving the maker of BlackBerry two months to open its data to authorities, Indian regulators have put all telecom firms on notice that they have "lawful access" to their data. That puts a bull's-eye on Google's Gmail, Skype's VoIP calls and corporate virtual privacy networks...."

Gators thrived on swampy Arctic island - "Ancient alligators and giant tortoises were able to flourish on Ellesmere Island well above the Arctic Circle some 50 million years ago, even as they endured six months of darkness each year. Now scientists think they know why..."

Physicists propose quantum refrigerator - "Scientists at the University of Bristol in the UK have proposed a refrigerator that consists of just a few quantum particles -- qubits..."

This Is the Nuclear Bunker Where Wikileaks Will Be Located - "This is Pionen White Mountains, the nuclear bunker in which Wikileaks will locate some of its servers. It was excavated 98 feet underground, in a rock hill in the center of Stockholm, Sweden, during the Cold War..."

Obama administration: "Piracy is flat, unadulterated theft" - "US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke went to Nashville yesterday to address a symposium on intellectual property enforcement, and he threw down the gauntlet: the Obama administration will find, board, and scuttle digital pirate ships, and the SS Copyright is going to get a new coat of armored plating..."

Researchers discover how to conduct first test of 'untestable' string theory - "Over the last 25 years, string theory has become physicists' favourite contender for the 'theory of everything', reconciling what we know about the incredibly small from particle physics with our understanding of the very large from our studies of cosmology. Using the theory to predict how entangled quantum particles behave provides the first opportunity to test string theory by experiment..."

Awesome Trick to Speed Up Your Netbook Running Windows – Finally - "If you're not too saavy, here's a quick tip to improve speed, i.e. performance on your netbook that you probably didn't know about..."

How free streaming video threatens the porn industry - "The troubles for the porn studios began with a technology called BitTorrent, introduced in 2001, which made it easy for people to share data files over the Internet. This technology provided the world with unlimited free music, much to the dismay of the giant music publishers. But it was still somewhat clunky. If you wanted to watch a video, you had to download it, which took time and ate up space on your hard drive..."

Finding Suggests New Aim for Alzheimer's Drugs - "It was mostly these funds and federal government grants that allowed him to find a new protein that is needed to make beta amyloid, which makes up the telltale plaque that builds up in the brains of people with Alzheimer's. The finding, to be published Thursday in the journal Nature, reveals a new potential drug target that, according to the prevailing hypothesis of the genesis of Alzheimer's, could slow or halt the devastating effects of this now untreatable disease..."

Google Chrome Is The New “Down For Everyone Or Just Me” - "You hit a site; it's down. You immediately reload; it's still down. You start to freak out. “How the hell are they down again!? Is anyone in charge over there?! WTF?!” But quite often, it's just you. And you look like an ass for your rant that you just spewed on Twitter (or on Facebook when it's Twitter that is down). Thankfully, it looks like Chrome can now potentially save you from that embarrassment..."

How do you spell device mandate failure? U-H-F - "Man, the broadcasting industry is on a device mandate rampage these days. For weeks, we've been covering the National Association of Broadcasters call for Congress to require all smartphones to include FM receivers. This requirement is apparently what would make passage of the Performance Rights Act acceptable to the NAB—the bill would require radio broadcasters to pay royalties to performers as well as song copyright holders..."

I've Seen Your Future and It's Been Edited - "The show's producers had edited down hundreds of hours footage and deftly employed some time-shifted cutaways and voice-overs to turn my friends into the characters the show supposedly needed. If you've watched any reality TV, you've seen these personas before. She was the needy, unsupportive complainer who demanded constant hand-holding, and he was the non-committal boyfriend whose general ambivalence was interrupted only by memorable outbursts of uncontrolled anger."

With Neighbors Unaware, Toxic Spill at a BP Plant - "While the world was focused on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a BP refinery here released huge amounts of toxic chemicals into the air that went unnoticed by residents until many saw their children come down with respiratory problems..."

A new off-the-air GSM device tracks phone calls, e-mail and SMSes, helping the state spy on its own folk - "Every day, at a secret facility of the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) near Kala Ghoda in south Mumbai, a team of 18 operators sits peering through massive amounts of data coming in through undersea cables from across continents into an international gateway facility several kilometres away in Malad. The cables carry voice and internet data from Europe to Asia and vice versa, and by tapping into them, Indian intelligence is now playing Big Brother with a vengeance."

Google Offering Programming Courses for Free Including Android Developement Course - "I was just messing around on googles code site trying to find some open source code for a few apps so I could see how they were done because I would like to get into Android Developement when I noticed something amazing that I had never heard of before. I stumbled onto a page where Google was offering a bunch of different programming courses on different languages like C++ and Python. At first this didn't seem like a big deal because Ive seen C++ and other language tutorials all over the place. As I was looking around I noticed something that would be very usefull to anyone trying to learn Android Developement, google is actually offering two courses in android programming, the first one is a beginner course which is actually a legitimate course that was taught as a 10 week course at California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo..."

[[[Jump to - Interesting Reading #566 – Chipping preschoolers, Gmail Priority Inbox, coolest research facilities, Shrinking Computer Chips and much more...]]]

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