Interesting Reading #579 - The Downside of Twitter, Spacewalking, EULAs, Programming, Google, Microsoft, E!, Internet and much more...

by | Sep 16, 2010 08:45 PM ET

The Worst Part of Going to Space? Your Fingernails Come Off - "Oh, It Hurts Some astronauts report losing their fingernails on spacewalks because of bulky gloves that cut off circulation and chafe against their hands. To avoid this inconvenience, a couple astronauts have taken to ripping off their own fingernails before reaching orbit..."

Celebrities discover the downside of Twitter - "When singer John Mayer, one of Twitter's most high profile users with 3.7 million followers, shut his account on Monday, he was just the latest celebrity to quit the micro-blogging site..."

How piracy works. - "Large parts of the culture these days exists in a world where copies are free. Copying a physical book costs money, but copying a digital movie is free. In fact, simply moving a movie from one hard drive to another actually copies the movie first, then deletes the original. Copying games is also free. No resources are lost, nobody loses any money, and more people are having fun..."

Google planning to ape Facebook for "Google Me" social network - "Google plans to incorporate more social networking features across its services this fall according to comments made by CEO Eric Schmidt during the Google Zeitgeist conference on Tuesday. The initiative is internally referred to as "Google Me" inside the company, though according to Schmidt it won't be a separate service..."

Laminated Linen Protected Alexander the Great - "Alexander's men wore linothorax, a highly effective type of body armor created by laminating together layers of linen, research finds..."

HP Unveils New Ultrathin Monitor - "Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday unveiled its newest monitor, the HP 2310e, a 23-inch LCD monitor that's less than an inch thick. The 2310e can also utilize ATI's Eyefinity technology for spreading screen images across up to six displays, a boon for gamers..."

As director James Cameron plans to film Avatar sequel seven miles below the sea's surface, we go into the deadly deep with the only two men who've been there - "Now it has been announced that the multi-Oscar-winning film director James Cameron plans to add his name to the very exclusive club of those who have travelled to the ­bottom of the Challenger Deep, part of the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific, and the deepest known point in the world's oceans..."

Facebook alternative Diaspora rolls out first code - "Developers have been given their first glimpse of a community-funded and open alternative to Facebook...." See also: Facebook Competitor Diaspora Revealed: Sparse, But Clean; Source Code Released

Ancient African Nuclear Reactors - " The remnants of nuclear reactors nearly two billion years old were found in the 1970s in Africa. These reactors are thought to have occurred naturally..."

Carbon Nanotubes Twice as Strong as Once Thought - "Carbon nanotubes -- those tiny particles poised to revolutionize electronics, medicine, and other areas -- are much bigger in the strength department than anyone ever thought, scientists are reporting. New studies on the strength of these submicroscopic cylinders of carbon indicate that on an ounce-for-ounce basis they are at least 117 times stronger than steel and 30 times stronger than Kevlar, the material used in bulletproof vests and other products..."

Carrier pigeon versus broadband in data speed race - "Broadband is the most modern of communication means, while carrier pigeons date back to Roman times. But on 16 September the two will be pitted against each other - and the pigeon is expected to win..."

Tim Berners-Lee calls for free internet worldwide - "The inventor of the Web has called for everyone to have access to his creation for free. Tim Berners-Lee said that he would like to see everybody given a low-bandwidth connection "by default". He said the web could be instrumental in giving people access to critical services such as healthcare. Currently, he said, just one-fifth of the world's population has access to the web..."

Time to close the global energy gap - "It is time to close the global energy gap, say Carlos Slim and Kandeh K Yumkella. In this week's Green Room, they explain how universal access to modern energy sources can help make progress towards a number of Millennium Development Goals..."

Report: Voting Machine Errors Highlight Urgent Need for U.S. Database - "In 2008 in Ohio, election officials discovered that voting systems made by Premier Election Solutions dropped at least 1,000 votes in 9 county elections. Premier (formerly Diebold Election Systems) initially blamed the problem on anti-virus software the county had installed on systems running the election software, but eventually conceded the problem was a logic error in its own software and sent a notice to 29 other states using its voting systems advising them how to work around the problem..."

Artificial ovary grown using 3-D Petri dish - "Scientists have invented the first artificial human ovary and successfully used the lab-grown organ to mature human eggs. The advance provides a potentially powerful new means for conducting fertility research and could also yield infertility treatments for cancer patients. Details are reported in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics..."

Three of the web's most awkward phrases

Self-organizing traffic lights - "A new patent may revolutionarize traffic control, saving fuel, reducing travel times and emissions, and doing it all without limiting drivers' mobility. This truly "green" idea will have drivers waiting less and help us preserve our environment..."

Sarah Palin Revisited: Why Terms of Use Shouldn't Be Enforced Through Computer Crime Law - "Last week, we questioned whether Sarah Palin may have violated Facebook's terms of use by using a ghostwriter to update her profile. We also criticized Facebook's attempts to enforce those terms with state and federal computer crime laws — which carry both civil and criminal penalties — in Facebook v. Power Ventures...."

Falling in love costs you friends - "Oxford University researchers asked people about their inner core of friendships and how this number changed when romance entered the equation. They found the core, which numbers about five people, dropped by two as a new lover came to dominate daily life..."

Children Under Four and Children With Autism Don't Yawn Contagiously - "If someone near you yawns, do you yawn, too? About half of adults yawn after someone else does in a phenomenon called contagious yawning. Now a new study has found that most children aren't susceptible to contagious yawning until they're about 4 years old -- and that children with autism are less likely to yawn contagiously than others..."

Placebo successful in treating women with sexual dysfunction - "A new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals that women with low sexual arousal experienced clinically significant symptom changes after taking a placebo..."

Suds vs. Buds - "Unless the beer distributors in California have suddenly developed a philosophical opposition to the use of intoxicating substances, the motivation behind this contribution is clear. Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition. They know that marijuana is less addictive, less toxic and less likely to be associated with violent behavior than alcohol..."

Big Ball of Mud, Still the Most Popular Software Design - "Big Ball of Mud, is a code jungle which is haphazardly structured, sprawling, sloppy and connected by duct-tape. Over the years we have been introduced to various guidelines such as SOLID, GRASP and KISS amongst age old, high cohesion and low coupling to deal with this Mud. However, the situation still remains bleak and Big Ball of Mud still seems to be the most popular way to design and architect software..."

Introducing the Go Playground - "The Playground allows anyone with a web browser to write Go code that we immediately compile, link, and run on our servers. There are a few example programs to get you started (see the "Examples" drop-down). We hope that this will give curious programmers an opportunity to try the language before installing it, and experienced Go users a convenient place in which to experiment. Beyond the front page, this functionality has the potential to make our reference and tutorial materials more engaging. We hope to extend its use in the near future..." See also: The Go Playground

Microsoft: IE9 will never run on Windows XP - "Microsoft has ruled out putting Internet Explorer 9 on Windows XP, leaving millions of PCs open to Mozilla and Google browsers providing hardware-accelerated rich-internet..."

Massive fish kill reported in Louisiana - "What you see above isn't a rural gravel road. It's a Louisiana waterway, its surface completely covered with dead sea life -- a mishmash of species of fish, crabs, stingray and eel. New Orleans CBS affiliate WWL-TV reports that even a whale was found dead in the area, a stretch of coastal Louisiana hit hard this summer by oil from BP's busted Gulf well..."

Rush Limbaugh Apoplectic Over Rove's O'Donnell Diss (VIDEO) - "Add Rush Limbaugh to the list of prominent conservatives tearing into Karl Rove's hide today. As Rove continued his tour slamming freshly minted Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell over the considerable number of skeletons in her closet, Rush was almost literally beside himself with frustration at the idea that anyone -- much less The Architect -- would dare violate the 11th Commandment so brazenly..."

Clinton's warning: Tea Party is a corporate front - "Clinton lamented that "a distinguished former governor of Delaware was beaten tonight by the so-called tea party candidate" because enough primary voters had accepted a "new narrative" promoted by the extreme right. "They're saying that Barack Obama represents the spearhead of this vast socialist conspiracy to have government swallow up the fabric of American life and he's going to crush our individualism, and our freedom, and the vitality of small business ... They tell us that they they represent America the way it used to be, self-reliant, virtuous individuals and small businesses. And the truth is, what they want to do is dismantle government so corporations, big corporations will control our destiny.""

E! orders extreme plastic surgery bridal competition - "In one of the most shocking reality TV ideas yet, E! has ordered a new series that crosses a wedding competition with extreme plastic surgery..."

Researchers Create Fuel Cell Powered by Rat's Blood - "French researchers have created a fuel cell powered by rat blood that is more powerful and smaller than current pacemaker batteries..."

What Nokia (and everyone else) needs to learn about smartphones - "When Gene Roddenberry was devising the original Star Trek in 1965, he predicted humans would make common use of teleportation and faster-than-lightspeed travel. But one 23rd century innovation was either missing, or absent because nobody wanted it: converged electronic devices..."

Google Is Now Officially Evil - "Sorry, Google, but according to the lawsuit Skyhook filed against you today, you've crossed the line. Your "don't be evil" mantra is now officially a joke..."

Singel-Minded: Craigslist Took One for the Open Internet - "Despite having the law on its side Craigslist took down its Adult Services section at the end of August, replacing it with the word Censored. It did so without fanfare — and still no explanation. But the small change marked a big capitulation to a gaggle of state attorneys general and anti–child-trafficking groups who have been hounding the free classifieds listing service for years, casting Craigslist as an online pimp..."

The Most Dangerous Idea in the World - "To think scientifically is to think dangerously. Scientists, from Copernicus to Galileo to Darwin, are among the many “Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds,” as Einstein so eloquently put it. Daniel Dennett, a prominent New Atheist and philosopher of science, aptly named one of his tomes on evolution Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Constantly challenging the status quo, science is the engine of the future. Science generates the ideas and science fiction gives us whole universes in which to explore them. Science fiction classics like Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-four, Slaughterhouse-Five, and A Wrinkle in Time are oft challenged on the premise that they are dangerous or harmful to the impressionable minds reading them. So science and sci-fi push the envelope, but among all of the guesses, theories, and what-ifs, is there an idea most dangerous?.."

Gabe Newell: next-gen game engines will be ten times harder - "I was at Valve last month to interview pretty much everyone I could find, and play one of the most exciting PC games on the horizon: Portal 2. The preview I wrote, and the profile on Valve themselves, is in the new issue of PC Gamer in the UK. But we're also putting up the interviews here on the site, one a day for a week. Today's is my conversation with Gabe Newell, Erik Johnson and Doug Lombardi about the difficult but exciting future of game engines, and why they hire who they hire..."

[[[Jump to - Interesting Reading #578 – Miniature nuclear reactors, Immersion Cooled computers, Convertible Netbook/Tablet, Largest Lithium battery factory and much more...]]]

If you would like to follow Brainstuff on Twitter or Facebook, here are the links:

More To Explore