Interesting Reading #590 - Star Wars in 3D, Martin Jetpack, Cable TV's death, Near miss asteroid and much more...

by | Sep 29, 2010 06:45 PM ET

Lucas Converting 'Star Wars Saga' To 3D - "This is big news and Lucafilm intends to make a big announcement about this long-awaited live-action Star Wars Saga conversion to stereoscopic 3D tomorrow. Can you imagine the Death Star trench run and the Tatooine Podraces in that format? Yikes! " See also: 'Star Wars' saga set for 3D release starting 2012

Rumor: Amazon working on an Android tablet to complement its App store? - "Earlier, a rumor out of TechCrunch suggested Amazon was launching its own App store for the Android platform. Hot on heels of this exciting information is a second rumor that suggests Amazon is also working on an Android tablet to complement this supposed app store. The details are sketchy and they come from a single source so this is one rumor that may not pan out. The source, though, was reportedly spot on with his or her information about the app store and it stands to reason that he or she may be correct on the tablet information as well..."

Martin Aircraft's commercial jetpack looks to take flight - "Imagine one day soon, you kiss the spouse good bye, walk the kids off to the school bus, then you prepare for the commute to work. But rather than sitting in traffic and squeezing your steering wheel in frustration as the car in front of you apparently believes the old adage of “speed kills”, so they are driving 15 MPH under the speed limit, you simply throw on your jetpack, terrify a few birds, and make it to work in record time. Sure there might be a few details that you would need to work out, like the practicalities on your hygiene after ripping through the wind with an engine strapped to your back, or the fact that you are betting your life on the reliability of the vehicle, but we are talking about a jetpack- practicalities be damned!"

Cable TV's impending death: 4 signs - "Cable TV's impending death: 4 signs Consumers are cutting the cord and ditching their cable subscriptions for online options like Hulu and iTunes. Is cable TV not long for this world?"

'Credible But Not Specific' Threat of New Terrorist Attack - "US and European officials said Tuesday they have detected a plot to carry out a major, coordinated series of commando-style terror attacks in Britain, France, Germany and possibly the United States..."

Are we about to get full disclosure about the presence of UFOs on Earth? - "This morning in Washington, DC, several former US military officers confirmed in a press conference that they had witnessed UFOs tampering with US nuclear missile control sites. This press conference took place at the National Press Club in Washington, DC."

College Kid to Millionaire - "For most students, college is a time to make new friends, and possibly, if one is feeling industrious, a really killer beer bong. But for some enterprising college kids, their time at school was when they started making their millions. Mark Zuckerberg, shown here, started Facebook from his Harvard dorm room (though the provenance of the idea is hotly debated). Now, the social networking site is the most visited Web site in the U.S., and Forbes pegs Zuckerberg's worth at around $4 billion. .."

Anatomy of a typical phone conversation

Most hazardous jobs in America

The Bad News — and Some Good News — About Depreciation

16 Creative Motorcycle Helmet Designs

Photos: 50+ years of Japanese concept cars

Not Just Another Pretty Face - "A new study claims men focus on women's bodies when they're seeking a quick hookup, but look above the neckline for a long-term mate. It may ring true, but is it Stone Age psychology at work?" See also: Unlocking the secret of beauty: Scientists discover the complexities of attractive female bodies

Google CEO: the Internet of things will augment your brain - "For Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the next step in technology is the same that it has always been — augmenting humanity to handle information that a human brain couldn't otherwise keep up with, and just make things work..."

Should We Clone Neanderthals? - "If Neanderthals ever walk the earth again, the primordial ooze from which they will rise is an emulsion of oil, water, and DNA capture beads engineered in the laboratory of 454 Life Sciences in Branford, Connecticut. Over the past 4 years those beads have been gathering tiny fragments of DNA from samples of dissolved organic materials, including pieces of Neanderthal bone. Genetic sequences have given paleoanthropologists a new line of evidence for testing ideas about the biology of our closest extinct relative..."

9 Ways to Reinvent Your Lunch - "Easy tweaks to your lunch can go a long way towards increasing your nutrition and energy levels..."

New findings buffer evolutionary biology against criticisms of ID proponents - "The more complex a plant or animal, the more difficulty it should have adapting to changes in the environment. That's been a maxim of evolutionary theory since biologist Ronald Fisher put forth the idea in 1930. But if that tenet is true, how do you explain all the well-adapted, complex organisms---from orchids to bower birds to humans---in this world?"

5 Reasons to Pay Attention to Windows Phone 7 - "With iOS and Android, two major mobile operating systems taking up a valuable share of the market and becoming increasingly popular, it may be easy to disregard the new kid in town, Windows Phone 7. Windows Phone 7 is practically a total rebranding of what used to be Windows Mobile. A system that served us well early on, but began to show its age as newer mobile operating systems started taking the spotlight. Eventually, the stylus began to be phased out, making ways for screens that used our fingers for input. Many of the applications for the older Windows Mobile OS were designed with a stylus in mind, and quickly became frustrating for users...."

Mapping the Brain on a Massive Scale - "Scanning 1,200 brains could help researchers chart the organ's fine structure and better understand neurological disorders..."

Hacker Dojo: an innovative way to nurture young innovators - "Consider Hacker Dojo, a do-it-yourself tech incubator that last week staged its first startup showcase at its Mountain View quarters -- a rather low-rent rendezvous in contrast to DEMO, a glitzy three-day exhibit at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara earlier this month where startups paid $18,500 to strut their stuff..."

The Best Candy for Halloween Ever, That's Right, Ever. - "Don't lie. We know you've already bought your Halloween candy -- and we know it's not going to make it to October 31. So what'dya get? As far as we're concerned, you can keep your gummy skulls covered in marshmallow, then dipped in chocolate and rolled in sour sugar. We just want our favorites..."

Incredible Residence in Lithuania, a Perfect Escape from the Urban Jungle - "This magnificent looking home comes from Architectural Bureau G. Natkevicius & Partners and is located in Lithuania. Especially designed for an agricultural entrepreneur and his wife (student at the School of Art, who is quite interested in furniture design), the residence contrast beautifully with the green surrounding landscape. This project was resembled with “Noah's Ark”, a place where all the family (together with their belongings and even pets) decided to turn to in order to escape the urban jungle. Featuring a fascinated cantilevered volume, a garage hidden underneath, floor to ceiling windows and contemporary arrangements, you are looking at more than just a living space. This project is a true display of art and good taste, the perfect way to start over far away from the urban racket. What do you think? Would this home be a good enough reason for you to leave city life?" See also: Chris Bosh's New $12 Million House in Miami

First Hourglass Dolphin in 150 Years Found on New Zealand Shores - "When Dr. Karen Stockin, a marine ecologist at Massey University in New Zealand, was called in to perform an autopsy, she was expecting to find a carcass of the relatively common dusky dolphin. Instead, she was surprised to see that it was, in fact, an hourglass dolphin—the first to wash up on the shores of New Zealand in more than 150 years..."

Awesome jQuery Plugins And Techniques To Create Visually Excellent Websites - "Are you looking for some cool and handy jQuery Plugins, you landed at right place. Below we are presenting 45 most useful and handy plugins that you can use in your next project and make it stand out..."

Being Glenn Beck - "At some point in the past few months, Beck ceased being just the guy who cries a lot on Fox News or a “rodeo clown” (as he has described himself) or simply a voice of the ultraconservative opposition to President Obama. In record time, Beck has traveled the loop of curiosity to ratings bonanza to self-parody to sage. It is remarkable to think he has been on Fox News only since January 2009..."

15 Shocking Facts Show That the Middle Class is Being Wiped Out - "The "America" that so many of us have taken for granted for so many decades is literally disintegrating right in front of our eyes. Most Americans are still operating under the delusion that the United States will always be "the wealthiest nation" in the world and that our economy will always produce large numbers of high paying jobs and that the U.S. will always have a very large middle class. But that is not what is happening. The very foundations of the U.S. economy have rotted away and we now find ourselves on the verge of an economic collapse. Already, millions upon millions of Americans are slipping out of the middle class and into the devastating grip of poverty. Statistic after statistic proves that the middle class in the United States is shrinking month after month after month. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are starting to wake up and are beginning to realize that we have very serious problems on our hands, but they have no idea what is causing our economic distress and they are unaware that most of our politicians have absolutely no idea how to fix the economic disaster that we have created..."

Amtrak rolls out ambitious, high-speed service plan - "Amtrak officials Tuesday unveiled their vision for true high-speed service along the Northeast Corridor, with trains that could travel between Philadelphia and New York in 38 minutes..."

Hawking radiation glimpsed in artificial black hole - "You might expect black holes to be, well, black, but several decades ago Stephen Hawking calculated that they should emit light. Now, for the first time, physicists claim that they have observed this weird glow in the lab..."

Pan-STARRS Discovers Its First Potentially Hazardous Asteroid - " The Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) PS1 telescope has discovered an asteroid that will come within 4 million miles of Earth in mid-October. The object is about 150 feet in diameter and was discovered in images acquired on Sept. 16, when it was about 20 million miles away. It is the first "potentially hazardous object" to be discovered by the Pan-STARRS survey and has been given the designation "2010 ST3." "

7 Tricks TV News Producers Use to Make Computers Exciting - "Here are seven tricks we've noticed TV news crews using that make working on a computer seem as fun as a spin through a house on MTV Cribs..."

Better Boost Your Stats: Gild Turns Hunting For A Tech Job Into A Game - "If you've ever gone job hunting online (and who hasn't these days?) you know just how incredibly inefficient the process can be. Job listings are littered across the web, making it difficult to filter for the ones that match your skillset. And then when you actually go about applying to a job, you have no idea how you stack up against the competition — or even how many other people have applied. Gild is a new site launching today at TechCrunch Disrupt that wants to make the whole process more efficient for technology professionals.. and maybe even a bit more fun..."

How Much Should We Practice? - "Somewhere, right now, a little kid is fighting with his parents about how much he needs to practice the piano. Or maybe it's the clarinet. I fought with my parents about practicing everything. I didn't want to practice my major chords, or my tennis swing, or my multiplication tables. I insisted that I already knew how to do it – I'd just done it – so why did I need to do it again?"

Autism Researchers Believe They're Close To Cur - "Researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute believe a new treatment could make signs of autism disappear in their patients..."

7 Military Robots, Now Modified for Your Living Room - "Dozens of robotics companies are customizing military robots with gear like interchangeable tools, 3D radar vision and voice controls. The resulting bots, tested and refined in the field, may soon find their way into homes, gardens and places of work near you. Here's how..."

Exoskeleton defines a new class of warrior - "Technology has always defined how wars are fought, from swords to bows and arrows through the invention of gunpowder and the dawn of the aircraft and, now, to the presence of laser-guided unmanned aerial drones and bomb-diffusing robots. The U.S. military is now hoping the next decade will see a new class of warrior—a faster, stronger and more durable exoskeleton-empowered infantryman..."

Make The Revolution - "Malcolm Gladwell gets started with "The revolution will not be tweeted" in this week's New Yorker, condemning social media's ability to enact real cultural change with an argument he sums up early in the piece..."

Chinese Company's Device Turns IPod Into IPhone - "Yosion Technology's Apple Peel 520. A Chinese company is trying to overcome copyright restrictions before releasing a device that can provide Apple Inc.'s iPod Touch with iPhone functions..."

SimplyContrast - "SimplyContrast is an online application that makes HDR imaging extremely easy. Just load any photo from your computer and have a try, you will be amazed. "

Why We Sold TechCrunch To AOL, And Where We Go From Here - So how did all this happen? And What happens to TechCrunch now? In May I had a chance to interview Tim on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt: New York. After the talk we went to the speaker room for a quick private chat (this happens after most talks unless the speaker has to rush out)...""

British team proves flapless flight with Demon UAV - "Manoeuvring without the aid of control surfaces has been demonstrated by an unmanned air vehicle designed by a British team of industry and academic specialists..."

Nano-violin has strings a millionth of an inch thick...but you can hear it play - "The micronium is a musical instrument with strings a millionth of an inch thick, and thanks to some nifty engineering it's the tiniest instrument ever producing audible notes. This really is the world's tiniest violin, but it's playing for everybody...."

RIM unveils PlayBook tablet with dual-core CPU, 1080p support - "RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazardis used his keynote speech at the 2010 BlackBerry Developer Conference on Monday to show off the company's new BlackBerry PlayBook touchscreen tablet. Lazardis called the 7" widescreen device the "first professional tablet," touting its BlackBerry enterprise integration and full web experience with HTML5 and Flash 10.1 compatibility..."

6 mysteries about Stuxnet - "By now, you've probably heard of Stuxnet, the mysterious computer worm that infects Windows computers running software designed by Siemens, the German industrial giant. The software, Simatic WinCC, is what's known as a SCADA system -- "supervisory control and data acquisition" -- and it's used to help run everything from traffic systems and pipelines to nuclear plants..."

DARPA Challenging Students to Design Cyber-Electro-Mechanical Systems - "To reignite a passion for exploration among our nation's youth, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is launching its Manufacturing Experimentation and Outreach (MENTOR) initiative. For MENTOR, DARPA will contract multiple organizations to deploy a variety of programmable manufacturing equipment, such as 3D printers, to high schools throughout the country and orchestrate a series of prize-based challenges to encourage competition and collaboration within high school teams as they design and build cyber-electro-mechanical systems. “The systems will be of moderate complexity,” said Paul Eremenko, DARPA program manager. “Challenges will involve the design and building of things like go-carts, mobile robots and small unmanned aircraft. And we'll encourage collaboration during the challenges through the use of social media and social networking applications.”"

Sneaky Tricks Spammers Use to Get Your Attention - "I don't know about you, but I've been inundated with spam lately. I've seen an increase of spam on Twitter. I've been hit with a wave of LinkedIn-related spam (via email), and due to switching Web hosts and having my spam filter settings reset in the process, my inbox has been completely flooded with all kinds of spam..."

How Elon Musk Turned Tesla Into the Car Company of the Future - "Elon Musk looks like a kid who just walked into a toy factory. The 39-year-old CEO of upstart car company Tesla Motors stands on the main floor of the New United Motor Manufacturing plant and looks with awe from one giant piece of machinery to the next. The car factory, known as Nummi, is located in Fremont, California, but it's an industrial city unto itself. It encompasses 5.5 million square feet and contains a plastics molding factory, two paint facilities, 1.5 miles of assembly lines, and a 50-megawatt power plant. Since 1984, Toyota and General Motors had run Nummi together, producing as many as 450,000 cars a year here until it was shuttered in April. Now, in a remarkable turn of events, Musk owns the place..."

FBI drive for encryption backdoors is déjà vu for security experts - "The FBI now wants to require all encrypted communications systems to have backdoors for surveillance, according to a New York Times report, and to the nation's top crypto experts it sounds like a battle they've fought before..."

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