Interesting Reading #676 - 123,000 MPH Plasma Engine, Google Wins “Super Wi-Fi”, printing food in 3-D and much more!

by | Jan 31, 2011 11:25 PM ET

The 123,000 MPH Plasma Engine That Could Finally Take Astronauts To Mars - "Veteran astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz has spent four decades developing his rocket fueled by nuclear reactors and liquid hydrogen. Now NASA just might let it fly..."

Google Wins Access To “Super Wi-Fi” Broadband Spectrum - "The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken new steps to open up the “white space” wireless spectrum, a move that could lead to the development of next-generation Wi-Fi. The FCC has given nine companies permission to manage and administrate the white space wireless spectrum, an unused spectrum used previously as a buffer between TV channels. With the transition to digital TV, buffer space has become unnecessary...."

ARM launches Cortex-R5, Cortex-R7 chips - "British chip design giant ARM has announced its latest chips for the smartphone market, the Cortex-R5 MPCore and Cortex-R7 MPCore, adding in support for LTE and LTE-Advanced platforms...."

FOUND: Gene Roddenberry's original 1964 pitch for Star Trek! - "Who was the first captain of Star Trek's U.S.S. Enterprise? And—was the Enterprise even the ship's name? You can find out all this and more by reading creator Gene Roddenberry's original pitch for his now-classic series...."

CU research focuses on printing food in 3-D - ""Everyone recognizes that someday everyone will have a 3-D printer in their home, downloading stuff off the Internet," he said. "Food printing will be the first reason they will want them in their homes.".."

Gene and the Machine: The shocking truth about the electric Volt - "K.C. Hernandez is 32, a marketing associate visiting from Chicago. I assure her that I am a working journalist and that my question is purely hypothetical. Judging by appearances alone, I ask, what would be my theoretical chance of having sex with her, expressed as a percentage? "

Scientists develop train that can go faster than airplane - "A model Maglev train that can travel as fast as a plane has been successfully developed in a laboratory in Southwest China, but putting the technology to use is still a long way away, an official from the lab told the Global Times Sunday...."

MoS2 offers tiny chips, with huge energy savings, Swiss find - "PFL researchers in Lausanne have shown that a material now used in lubricants could herald a long-awaited leap forward in the electronics industry, allowing smaller and more energy-efficient electronic chips: a material with “distinct advantages over traditional silicon or graphene”. EPFL says molybdenite, also known as MoS2, could replace these two materials. It is the key to major energy savings, they note. If the electronics industry begins to move away from silicon the implications could be far-reaching...." See also: Now, 100K times more efficient transistors possible using molybdenite

Toshiba Qosimo T750 – the world's first color-changing notebook - "If you're concerned about how stylish your devices look, you may like the latest product announcement to come out of Toshba's labs: the Qosimo T750, the world's first color-changing notebook...."

How Was Egypt's Internet Access Shut Off? - "Preliminary investigations indicate that most of the country's ISPs cut Internet access within a 20-minute period, likely at the government's behest..." See also: As Egypt goes offline US gets internet 'kill switch' bill ready

Hulu Owners Looking To Make Hulu Even More Useless - "It's been almost two years since we suggested it might be impossible for Hulu to survive, given that it was in a bit of a "rock and a hard place" situation. The only way for it to really succeed long-term online was to disrupt the existing TV business. Because, if it didn't do that, others would and would kill Hulu. However, Hulu is owned by the existing TV business, and that means the company can't do what it needs to do...."

As Egypt goes offline US gets internet 'kill switch' bill ready - "As Egypt's government attempts to crackdown on street protests by shutting down internet and mobile phone services, the US is preparing to reintroduce a bill that could be used to shut down the internet...."

Research team casts light on asteroid deflection - "So you think global warming is a big problem? What could happen if a 25-million-ton chunk of rock slammed into Earth? When something similar happened 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs and other forms of life were wiped out...."

Should You Sell Your Apple Stock? - "Last Monday, Apple Inc. (AAPL) announced that its chairman and CEO, Steve Jobs, would be taking another leave of absence from the company after receiving a liver transplant only a year and a half ago. The news made national headlines beyond the business and financial media, and the buzz it created is a testament to the power and influence of one of the world's most dynamic CEOs...."

Photo Essay: Spectacular Waterfalls of the World

Childhood obesity linked to habits, not heredity: U-M study - "Are some children genetically tuned to be overweight, or is lifestyle to blame for childhood obesity? Check-ups of 1,003 Michigan sixth-graders in a school-based health program showed children who are obese were more likely to consume school lunch instead of a packed lunch from home and spend two hours a day watching TV or playing a video game...."

The lost tribe: Extraordinary new pictures of life in the depths of the Amazon jungle - "These incredibly detailed photographs offer a unique insight into the lives of one of the world's last uncontacted tribes. Spears aloft, faces daubed with vivid red paint these bewildered villagers stare up at the helicopter high above them...."

New Transistor for Plastic Electronics Exhibits the Best of Both Worlds - "In the quest to develop flexible plastic electronics, one of the stumbling blocks has been creating transistors with enough stability for them to function in a variety of environments while still maintaining the current needed to power the devices. Online in the journal Advanced Materials, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology describe a new method of combining top-gate organic field-effect transistors with a bilayer gate insulator. This allows the transistor to perform with incredible stability while exhibiting good current performance. In addition, the transistor can be mass produced in a regular atmosphere and can be created using lower temperatures, making it compatible with the plastic devices it will power...."

New Handheld Melanoma Scanner Instantly Identifies Skin Cancers With Laser Light - "Called the Verisante Aura, the device employs Raman spectroscopy to identify the molecular makeup of moles by changing the vibrational state of the molecular bonds in a skin growth. Shining a particular laser light on those bonds causes a shift in the kind of light that is reflected back to a sensor, and that shift belies exactly what kinds of molecules are there and in what concentration they exist...."

Scientists reveal key mechanism governing nicotine addiction - "Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have identified a pathway in the brain that regulates an individual's vulnerability to the addictive properties of nicotine. The findings suggest a new target for anti-smoking therapies...."

Researchers Find Method for Recycling Rubble, Rebuilding Haiti - "A year following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a method to recycle rubble into a strong construction material, which could be a possible solution for safely and inexpensively rebuilding Haiti's structures...."

Scientists See Dangers in Energy Drinks - "With widespread alarm about deaths linked to alcohol-and-caffeine-laced commercial drinks like the fruity malt beverage Four Loko, it's easy to overlook problems that may be linked to the so-called energy drinks that spawned them...."

Acid attack victim: I heard a horrible screaming sound... it was coming from me - "It was just a normal mirror but as I reached for it, my hand trembled. 'Take your time, Katie,' my psychologist Lisa said gently. 'Look at your chest first, then work your way up slowly.'..."

Roger Stockham Arrested With Explosives Outside Major U.S. Mosque - "A 63-year-old Southern California man who was traveling with explosives in his vehicle with the intention of blowing up one of the nation's largest mosques where mourners had gathered for a funeral was arrested in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan authorities said Sunday...."

The Organic Community Must Come Out Swinging at the Right Opponents - "On Thursday the USDA announced a policy that supports the interests of Monsanto and big biotech and deals a major blow to organic farming. They decided to “deregulate” genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa, meaning to allow its unrestricted use. In the months leading up to this decision, a coalition of us has been working ceaselessly to fight for any and all alternatives. I've personally spent days, nights, weekends and vacations as we worked right though the holidays along with our colleagues to try to prevent this chemical giant from steamrolling over farmers, consumers and organic foods supporters. So, it is particularly sad for me to report to you that in this latest round, which is surely just one chapter, they won and we lost...."

Virtual Self - "If you spend a lot of time online, you may even have an electronic alter ego--an avatar. An avatar is a movable image that people design to represent themselves in virtual reality environments or in cyberspace...."

Why is America so afraid? - "I thought this is what he wanted for the Arab world: democracy! But the market dropped, and the cable shows are filled with mistrust of the Arab street. Our talking heads can't stop talking about the Islamists. Chris Matthews cried out against the Muslim Brotherhood and shouted, Who is our guy here? -- as if the U.S. can play a hand on the streets. While his guest Marc Ginsberg, a former ambassador to Morocco whose work seems to be dedicated to finding the few good Arabs out there, said that forces outside Egypt are funding the revolt -- a grotesque statement, given the homegrown flavor of everything we have seen in the streets; and when Matthews pressed him, Ginsberg said, Hamas... Iran...."

What next for Egypt, the USA and the Middle East? - "As Washington struggles to come to terms with a rapidly changing Middle East, US President Barack Obama is acutely aware he must get Egypt right, for the wrong side of history eagerly beckons...."

Egypt and Tunisia usher in the new era of global food revolutions - "Political risk has returned with a vengeance. The first food revolutions of our Malthusian era have exposed the weak grip of authoritarian regimes in poor countries that import grain, whether in North Africa today or parts of Asia tomorrow...."

Al Jazeera English Blacked Out Across Most Of U.S. - "Canadian television viewers looking for the most thorough and in-depth coverage of the uprising in Egypt have the option of tuning into Al Jazeera English, whose on-the-ground coverage of the turmoil is unmatched by any other outlet. American viewers, meanwhile, have little choice but to wait until one of the U.S. cable-company-approved networks broadcasts footage from AJE, which the company makes publicly available. What they can't do is watch the network directly...."

Sourceforge Attack: Full Report - "As we've previously announced, SourceForge.net has been the target of a directed attack. We have completed the first round of analysis, and have a much more solid picture of what happened, the extent of the impact, our plan to reduce future risk of attack. We're still working hard on fixing things, but we wanted to share what we know with the community...."

Plentyoffish CEO: We Were Hacked, Almost Extorted – So I Emailed The Hacker's Mom - "The title of strangest WTF story of my morning is Plentyoffish CEO Markus Frind recounting how his online dating site got hacked, he and his wife were harassed and someone clumsily attempted to extort his company in the aftermath of the events. If that is in fact what happened..."

Plenty of Fish Hacked - Chris Russo explains what happened - "I just got in contact with Chris Russo who managed to hack into the largest dating site on the world PlentyOfFish.com. Marcus Frind, Founder of POF wrote an article accussing Chris of hacking /extorting POF and harassing his wife...."

Even More Millionaires Defaulting on Mortgages - "Thomas has gone into strategic default. He could make payments but is refusing to put more money into a home that is worth less than his mortgage. Among luxury homeowners he is not alone. One in seven homeowners with loans over $1 million are seriously delinquent compared to one in 12 with mortgages below $1 million.... "

Money for nothing at Goldman - "How might you compensate management for a year in which profits plunged, you spent $550 million of shareholder money to settle a fraud investigation and your stock ended up more or less exactly where it started (see chart, right)? You might be tempted to nix raises or withhold bonuses to send a responsible message about linking pay to performance. But if so, you wouldn't be Goldman Sachs (GS). It just had the year described above – and responded by tripling everyone's base salary while boosting bonuses by 40%. Is this a great country or what?"

Swinging Stunt Scene from the SPIDER-MAN Movie Set Caught on Video - "Pictures of an certain scene in the Spidey reboot, currently filming in LA, have appeared all around the net this past week; but now a local resident managed to catch the action unfold on video...."

Thor Script Leaked Online and Paramount Nukes it - "Last night, an anonymous poster on the Comic Book Movie forums posted what was claimed to be the full script for Thor. The script appeared to confirm just about everything shown or rumored about the movie, and was said to be extremely faithful to the source material..."

An immigration reform window opens - "The economic downturn in the U.S. means it's a good time to stitch together comprehensive and politically palatable policies..."

Climber found standing after 1,000ft plunge - "Rescuers said a climber was lucky to be alive after he survived a 1,000ft (305m) plunge down a mountain...."

What Does Google's Subtle Censorship Say About Us? - "The latest news from Google is that searches related to online piracy through torrent downloads are being dropped from the much touted 'autocomplete' and 'instant search' functions. As we have noted in the past, the notion of Google shaping or even suggesting searches is a relatively strange concept on its own. And now terms like 'BitTorrent,' and 'Vodo' will no longer show up automatically in your search bar. Yet the filter seems somewhat arbitrary: An autocomplete search for 'how to pirate music' yields the large torrent site the Pirate Bay, and as plenty of critics have pointed out, a significant number of torrent downloads are legitimately legal. What gives? Did Google buckle to pressure from the MPAA, RIAA, and other entertainment industry interests?"

Weather Forecast Calls for a Hot 2011 - "Sure, the East Coast has been hit especially hard with snowstorms this winter. But be prepared. The weather forecast calls for a hot 2011. In fact, last year tied for the hottest year on record, the result of a long-term warming trend which will continue, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)...."

[[[Interesting Reading #675- Facebook causes unhappiness? Dr. Snake-Bot, twentyfold Internet increase, Laptop failure rates and much more!]]]

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