Interesting Reading #678 - Billion dollar mistake, Interstellar marines, al-Qaeda dirty bomb imminent, Real invisibility cloak and much more!

by | Feb 2, 2011 11:19 PM ET

The State of Solid State in 2011 - "The picture isn't crystal clear just yet, but at CES we cleared part of the cloud surrounding companies 2011 solid state drive products. At the very least we will see seven new SSD controllers enter the market in 2011. Of those, four are directed at the consumer market and three are enterprise designs. Only time will tell which consumer controllers get converted to enterprise models and vice versa. Of the seven overall, we saw working samples of three and they were all twice as fast as the Crucial RealSSD C300 128GB drive...."

Texas Student Attends School as a Robot – A Sign of Things to Come (video) - "Freshman Lyndon Baty's immune system is so fragile he can't risk being surrounded by people his own age, yet he attends classes at his high school in Knox City, Texas every day. All thanks to a robot. The Vgo telepresence platform is a four foot tall bot on wheels with a small screen, camera, speakers and microphone at the top. Baty logs into the robot remotely from his home, using his PC and a webcam to teleconference into his classes. Baty can drive Vgo around his school, switching between classes just like regular students. For a boy that has spent much of his life sick and isolated from his peers, Vgo not only represents a chance at a better education, it's also an opportunity for freedom and comradery. Learn more about his story in the local news segment video below. Lyndon Baty's circumstances may be far from typical, but stories like his are going to become much more common in the future as telepresence robotics makes its way into the mainstream...."

Murdoch Reveals News Corp.'s iPad Publication, The Daily - "News Corp. mogul Rupert Murdoch unveiled his iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, today at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. "In the tablet era, there's room for a fresh and new voice," Murdoch said. The Daily will feature nearly 100 pages of original content produced each day. Among the bells and whistles included are HD video and 360 degree photos. Readers can subscribe to the publication which will be delivered to the iPad automatically each morning and can opt to be billed each week for $0.99 or each year for $39.99. Murdoch said that comes down to $0.14 a day..." See also: Murdoch launches iPad-only newspaper The Daily

Harper steps into Web dispute - "Prime Minister Stephen Harper is taking the unusual step of intervening in an ever mounting controversy over Internet billing. Mr. Harper on Tuesday put more heft behind Industry Minister Tony Clement's decision to launch a probe of a regulatory decision that raises the cost of Internet service, announcing he, too, is second-guessing the ruling...."

What the strange persistence of rockets can teach us about innovation. - "A rocket taking off.A rocket taking offThere is no way, of course, to guess how rockets might have developed, or failed to, were it not for the fact that, during the 1940s, the world's most technically sophisticated nation was under the absolute control of a crazy dictator who decreed that vast physical and intellectual resources should be hurled into the project of creating rockets of hitherto unimagined size...."

WikiLeaks: al-Qaeda 'is planning a dirty bomb' - "A leading atomic regulator has privately warned that the world stands on the brink of a "nuclear 9/11"...." See also: Al-Qaida on brink of using nuclear bomb

China Takes Lead in Race for Clean Nuclear Power - "China has officially announced it will launch a program to develop a thorium-fueled molten-salt nuclear reactor, taking a crucial step towards shifting to nuclear power as a primary energy source...."

Interstellar Marines:

Long-Term Test: 3D HDTVs for Movies, Games, and TV - "Three months ago, I bought a new HDTV, a 58-inch Panasonic VT25 plasma. And although it supports all the newfangled 3D technology, I bought it for one simple reason--it arguably produces the best 2D image quality of any TV that was available when I went shopping. Since I brought the TV home, I've spent a considerable amount of time exploring the 3D capabilities of the TV, and feel comfortable rendering judgments about the state of 3D in the home today--for watching Blu-ray, TV shows, and playing console and PC games. The details of my experience and impressions after long-term use are below, but the upshot is that 3D is really not worth the premium price today...." See also: 3-D TV? How about holographic TV?

An Apple E-Book Rule Tightens - "When you see people flipping through e-books on iPads or iPhones, there is a good chance they bought the books through, not Apple. Now, Apple wants to change that. Apple confirmed Tuesday that it would require app developers that sell e-books outside of their iPad and iPhone apps — through a Web site, for example — to also sell the books inside those apps. And purchases that originate in the app must be made through Apple, which keeps a 30 percent cut. "

Denmark approves plan for underwater tunnel to Germany - "Danish plans to build another direct link to Germany moved forward with the approval by parliament of an underwater tunnel. The completed project hopes to connect Hamburg with Copenhagen in just three hours...."

7 Myths Mythbusters Proved That We Still Can't Believe Are True - "Mythbusters! Nerd porn of the highest order! Mr. Wizard for grown-ups -- with explosions! For over seven years we've watched Adam and Jamie's Odd Couple act, watched Grant build the awesomest of machines, watched Tory hurt himself, and watched Kari... well, just watched Kari, really..."

Intel's Billion-Dollar Mistake - "Intel is recalling an untold number of high-end desktop PCs because of a design flaw, and expects the problem to cost the company about $1 billion. The design flaw affects the Intel 6 (formerly codenamed Cougar Point) support chip, which rides alongside the Sandy Bridge processor on motherboards. The flaw could cause performance problems with devices connected via Serial ATA ports, such as hard drives and DVD drives...."

Companies start to announce CougarGate returns - "Following Intel's announcement of a major flaw in the Cougar Point chipset for its latest Sandy Bridge processors, manufacturers with products affected by the fault have started to announce how they're going to address recalls..."

Senators decry link between Egypt, 'kill switch' bill - "Three U.S. senators who want to give the president emergency powers over the Internet are protesting comparisons with the "kill switch" highlighted by Egypt's Net disconnection..."

Tomorrow's Tech: Roads That Clear Snow All By Themselves - "If you live in the U.S., chances are pretty good that you've been affected by the winter storm currently swirling its way across the country. It's the latest in a string of snow and ice blasts that have caused travel delays, highway closures, traffic accidents, and, unfortunately, more than a few fatalities. The weather has also broken the banks of many municipalities. After all, the roads can't exactly clean themselves -- well, not yet...." See also: Amazing Dutch Bike Path Embedded With Solar Panels

Plastic pellet incident at Va. school ends in expulsion, assault charges - "Andrew Mikel II admits it was a stupid thing to do. In December, bored and craving attention, the 14-year-old used a plastic tube to blow small plastic pellets at fellow students in Spotsylvania High School. In one lunch period, he scored three hits...."

Tomgram: Nick Turse, Making Mahem (It's Spelled Correctly!) - "In his State of the Union address, President Obama lauded two fruits that fell from the tree of government support for the basic research of “cutting-edge scientists and inventors”: the Internet and GPS. Though he didn't mention it, that wasn't just any old “government support” and they weren't just any old “cutting-edge scientists and inventors.” We're talking about government-supported work for the U.S. military and for the scientists in its employ...."

LG readying mobile payment system in Europe - "LG's system would use a combination of near-field communication (NFC) and cloud computing to allow certain retailers in Europe to accept payments from customers using NFC-equipped smartphones. Scheduled to launch sometime in 2012, the system would also find its way into interactive TVs and security products sold by LG, Reuters reported this week..." - classic Nintendo 8-bit games online!

Heavy Snow

Cyclose Yasi: Dawn of destruction

Frame of Mind: Inside the Lost Art of Building Handmade Bikes

The rise and fall of Yahoo

Evolution of "Bad Parenting" image

Organized Crime: The World's Largest Social Network

Augmented Reality: AR Door's Vuzix-touchscreen mashup

Exercise reverses brain volume loss in the elderly - "Activity helps protect the brain from the strains of aging. Several different forms of mental exertion seem to provide a bit of reserve that helps hold off the forgetfulness that frequently appears in the elderly, and may limit the impact of age-related dementia. But a study released by PNAS today suggests that it's not just mental activity; physical exercise helps protect the brains of the elderly as well, and can even reverse some of the indications of aging...."

Social networking's next frontier: the Boob Tube - "You already tell your friends which bars and restaurants you're hanging out at, thanks to social networking tools like Facebook Places and Foursquare. A new company called IntoNow, led by a former Google and MTV executive, thinks television is the next frontier...."

Mysterious Night-Shining Clouds Getting Brighter - "DeLand, an atmospheric scientist with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., has found that night-shining clouds — technically known as polar mesospheric or noctilucent clouds — are forming more frequently and becoming brighter. He has been observing the clouds in data from instruments that have been flown on satellites since 1978...."

Kaohsiung Marine Gateway Terminal Looks Like A Building From A Tron Movie - "We've seen all sorts of that stand out with their unique design, but I have to admit that we never saw something like this. This building is completely futuristic, therefore, we decided to show it to you...."

Quora Raises Questions - "Fixed estimated valuation of Quora. An earlier version of the post incorrectly stated Quora had $86 million in financing...."

Clive Thompson on Secret Messages in the Digital Age - "What turned teens into Greek spies? The parent problem. If you're in high school these days, a lot of your socializing happens online, but your parents usually insist on being “friended” so they can check what you're posting. This creates a communication dilemma. You want to post candid updates about your life so your friends know what's going on—but not so candid that your folks catch wind of it..."

12 Post-Apocalypse Floating Cities and Homes: From Crazy Concepts to Reality - "We conclude with the first of the floating projects that is actually alive and working. The Waterpod is an aquatic/terrestrial mobile hybrid created by a group of artists, designers and activists in New York City. It was designed to showcase current technologies for the nomadic, floating living, and as a reflection on what will happen if sea levels continue to rise..."

ScienceNOW - Up to the minute news from Science

Video: A Self-Planting Seed - "How easy would it be to plant a garden if the seeds buried themselves? That's exactly what the seeds of Erodium cicutarium, a close relative of the Geranium genus, do. Adults of the species, which is considered an invasive menace in several U.S. states, launch the seeds as far as half a meter and once the seeds hit the soil, they drill themselves into it.... "

Cracking the Scratch Lottery Code - "Mohan Srivastava, a geological statistician living in Toronto, was working in his office in June 2003, waiting for some files to download onto his computer, when he discovered a couple of old lottery tickets buried under some paper on his desk. The tickets were cheap scratchers—a gag gift from his squash partner—and Srivastava found himself wondering if any of them were winners. He fished a coin out of a drawer and began scratching off the latex coating. “The first was a loser, and I felt pretty smug,” Srivastava says. “I thought, ‘This is exactly why I never play these dumb games.'”..."

Brain development may be influenced by bacteria in the gut - "A team of scientists from across the globe have found that gut bacteria may influence mammalian brain development and adult behavior. The study is published in the scientific journal PNAS, and is the result of an ongoing collaboration between scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the Genome Institute of Singapore. "

Five Ways To Tell You're Eating Americanized Mexican Food - "The United States is littered from sea to shining sea with places that pass themselves off as Mexican food. Most of the people who work there have probably never been to Mexico or eaten real Mexican food as it's served in Mexico. That's not to say that eating occasionally at the El Toritos of the world is a bad thing, but it's best to go in knowing what to expect. So how do you tell if you're at a real Mexican place or an Americanized facsimile?"

Supercomputer Unravels Structures in DVD materials - "Although the storage of films and music on a DVD is part of our digital world, the physical basis of the storage mechanism is not understood in detail. In the current issue of the leading journal Nature Materials, researchers from Jülich, Finland, and Japan provide insight into the read and write processes in a DVD. This knowledge should enable improved storage materials to be developed...."

Horses, Camels, Rocks, Molotovs: Egypt's Thug Tech - "Egypt runs an ultra-modern security state, with extensive experience wielding the latest tools of repression. That was on display when the government shut down the Internet for six days in order to break up massive protests against President Hosni Mubarak. But as Mubarak's thugs go into suppression mode against protesters in Cairo, they're using low-tech weapons to injure an estimated 500 people at Tahrir Square...."

In Egypt, the Dawn of ‘Sustainable Politics'? - "Kroko discusses the environmental and economic drivers of the unrest in a broader context that includes President Obama's stated pursuit of sustainable economic growth. Here's an excerpt and a link to the rest..."

Do We Really Need the Moon? - "The Moon is such a familiar presence in the sky that most of us take it for granted. But what if it wasn't where it is now? How would that affect life on Earth?"

Plants may detect terrorist bombs in the future

Fed passes China in Treasury holdings - "The Federal Reserve has surpassed China as the leading holder of US Treasury securities even though it has yet to reach the halfway mark in its latest round of quantitative easing, according to official figures. Based on weekly data released on Thursday, the New York Fed's holdings of Treasuries in its System Open Market Account, known as Soma, total $1,108bn, made up of bills, notes, bonds and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, or Tips..."

Fridge Runs for 10 Days Without Power - "Faced with potential power outages across the country this week, many powerless people will be shuttling the contents of their refrigerators outside to keep things chilled. But what happens if you're in warm weather and are the victim of an extended power outage, and even worse, what if instead of milk and leftovers in your fridge, you have a large supply of lifesaving vaccines?"

Why Journalists Aren't Reporting the Real Story about Apple and Foxconn (TCTV) - "Why haven't American technology journalists reported the truth about the working conditions at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China – a 430,000 person factory that manufactures around 50% of all the personal communications devices used in America? Why aren't they doing their job?"

British Channel Island named as first 'dark sky' community - "Sark, population 600, is now the world's first community officially designated to have completely clear, dark skies. The carless island hopes to draw new tourism, especially space enthusiasts and amateur astronomers...."

Invisibility cloak enters the real world - "Scientists are a step closer to creating a Star Trek-style cloaking device after making an object visible to the naked eye disappear for the first time...."

US rolls out less revealing body scanners - "The US Transportation Security Administration yesterday began rolling out new airport scanner software that produces less revealing images of travellers...."

Tech giants to enable IPv6 on "World IPv6 Day" in June - "The Internet Society, an organization dedicated to the good of the Internet, is organizing "World IPv6 Day" on June 8 of this year. Web giants Facebook, Yahoo, and Google, with a combined one billion visitors per day, are participating by enabling IPv6 for their main services that day. Content distributors Limelight and Akamai are also joining the party by enabling their customers to participate. But unlike during the IETF IPv6 experiment, IPv4 won't be turned off...."

[[[Interesting Reading #677 – Best Graphics Cards, Break a $300 lock, People want cheap tablets and much more!]]]

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