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Interesting Reading #698 – Amazing Battlefield 3, Sixth Mass Extinction, Robot Apocalypse, Body-Scan Pedestrians and much more!

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Apple’s Jobs: The tablet PC ‘crashed and burned’ – “The tablet PC has been largely a vain attempt–certainly compared with the popularity of the iPad–to meld the laptop with a tablet, based on the Windows tablet interface. And Jobs pulled no punches in pointing this out today when speaking at the iPad 2 event today in San Francisco. “We sold almost 15 million iPads in 2010. And remember that’s just nine months. That’s April through September,” he said. “That’s more than every tablet PC ever sold. The tablet PC crashed and burned. The modern tablet PC is the iPad.”..”

Apple iPad 2 vs The Competition – A Comparison Chart – “Today, Apple announced the iPad 2 and the tech world is buzzing with the details about this latest tablet offering to hit the market. Unlike last year when the iPad was the sole member of this growing class of devices, the Apple iPad 2 will join a growing rank of tablets that come in every shape, size and platform. To help you navigate this complex world of devices, we summarized the major features of the top tablets that are now or will soon be available. Take a look at the devices and see how they compare on paper….”

What Apple hopes you didn’t notice about iPad 2 – “But a dream-made reality comes with limitations and imperfections, especially in the gadget business. Like any good magician, Jobs used sleight of hand to distract from the things we’re not supposed to see. On the morning after, it’s time to take leave of our hearts, return to our heads and name them….”

Battlefield 3 is simply amazing – “The buzz surrounding the release of the game play trailer for Battlefield 3 has shaken the PC gaming community to the core. Simply put, it is amazing, and we believe that it could be the reason that many PC gamers might return to their PCs again….” See also: Battlefield 3 Blog

Battlefield 3 vs Black Ops screenshot comparison: DICE’s made a winner – “Battlefield 3 has just started to come out of the shadows and needless to say, it looks absolutely amazing. So we decided to see how what we have seen of BF3 so far stacks up against the current online FPS king, Black Ops. In terms of pure eye candy, Battlefield 3 is a graphical power house. The technical capabilities and superiority of the Frostbite 2 engine are overly evident. However, how the two games will play when put next to each other is a totally different matter….”

New camera makes seeing the ‘invisible’ possible – “The science similar to the type used in airport body scanners could soon be used to detect everything from defects in aerospace vehicles or concrete bridges to skin cancer, thanks to researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology….”

Is the Navy Trying to Start the Robot Apocalypse? – “Whenever the military rolls out a new robot program, folks like to joke about SkyNet or the Rise of the Machines. But this time, the military really is starting to venture into robot-apocalypse territory: swarms of little semi-autonomous machines that can team up to manufacture complex objects (including, presumably, more robots)….”

LHC ‘has two years to find Higgs’ – “If the LHC does not turn up evidence of the Higgs during this run, physicists say they may have to significantly alter their views of physical laws. The Higgs boson particle explains why other particles have mass, but it has not yet been observed by physicists….”

Pain and Suffering in Germany, or How Linux Lost to XP – “It’s the sad, sad story of the German Foreign Office, to be specific, which recently chose to reverse a decade-old migration to Linux. Now, it’s switching back to Windows instead. “Although open source has demonstrated its worth, particularly on servers, the cost of adapting and extending it, for example in writing printer and scanner drivers, and of training, have proved greater than anticipated,” explained The H, where the story was apparently first reported….”

Murray Hill-based Bell Labs develops 2-inch cube that could replace unsightly cell towers – “But a day could soon come when those sky-high, unsightly cell phone towers that litter the countryside may be replaced with something no bigger than a Rubik’s cube….”

Underwater kite-turbine may turn tides into green electricity – “As a surfer, I know the power of the sea and also that going with the flow is the only way to survive. And that’s what I like about this underwater kite-turbine, being developed by Swedish company Minesto….”

Ancient Origins of the Human Eye Discovered – “Scientists at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory in Honolulu have discovered light-detecting cells in the embryo of a brachiopod, a marine invertebrate, whose organization may be similar to the primitive precursors of the human eye….”

Mutations Found In Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells – “A new study – published in the March 3 issue of the journal Nature and led by scientists at the University of California, San Diego in collaboration with other leading stem cell research groups – finds that the genetic material of reprogrammed cells may in fact be compromised, and suggests that extensive genetic screening of hiPSCs become standard practice before these stem cells are used clinically….”

Apple, Google, Amazon, And Microsoft Make Up 4 Of The Top 10 Most Admired Companies – “Every year, Fortune magazine (where I started out as a reporter) comes out with its list of the Most Admired Companies in the world. In truth, it doesn’t really change much from year to year. Apple, once again for the fourth year in a row, is No. 1, as it should be. The company single-handedly created an entirely new class of touch computing with the iPad last year, and is on it’s way to becoming the most valuable company in the world….”

Ambitious attempt to help the city’s poor by moving them out of troubled housing projects is having mixed results, MIT study finds – “In December 2010, the last remaining resident was removed from the last high-rise building standing in Chicago’s notorious Cabrini-Green housing projects, long a national symbol of urban blight. The relocation was part of Chicago’s ambitious Plan for Transformation, a 15-year enterprise aimed at breaking the poverty cycle in which tens of thousands of the city’s poor have lived, by moving them out of the projects and into better, safer living environments.”

45 Totally Awesome Tutorials And Techniques To Become A Master Of Photography – “This post showcases a list of useful and unique photography related tutorials that will help you learning the skills of a trained photographer. The field of photography has extensively grown over the past few years to such a huge industry with millions of photographers emerging every day around the globe and mastering their skills in different areas of photography….”

The New Virology – “Largely unseen by the world, two dangerous germs homed in on their targets in the spring and early summer of 2009. One was made by man to infect computers. The other was made by nature, and could infect man. The man-made virus could invade a computer running Windows, replicate itself, wreck an industrial process, hide from human operators, and evade anti-virus programs. The natural pathogen could invade human cells, hijack them to replicate billions of copies of itself, and evade the body’s immune system….”

Enter the Map of Life and meet a thorny devil – “The Map of Life (www.mapoflife.org) highlights hundreds of examples of ‘evolutionary convergence’ such as Australia’s thorny devil lizard (pictured) and North America’s desert horned lizard. Despite being separated by 150 million years of evolution, both lizards have evolved the same way of collecting drinking water through their skin. The new website also explains why the fiery colours of autumn leaves that adorn hundreds of different tree species are examples of convergent evolution, as well as exploring the similarities between ants that farm and sea cows that graze….”

Car-mounted cameras alert cops to iffy plates – “With each passing car, the computer registers a license plate number. Tiny cameras mounted atop the patrol car snap photos of each plate, feeding information into the computer. While Bates changes lanes, the computer is checking to see if the car in front of him has been reported as stolen, is connected to a felony crime or is the focus of a search by police across the country….”

Are America’s Best Days Behind Us? – “I am an American, not by accident of birth but by choice. I voted with my feet and became an American because I love this country and think it is exceptional. But when I look at the world today and the strong winds of technological change and global competition, it makes me nervous. Perhaps most unsettling is the fact that while these forces gather strength, Americans seem unable to grasp the magnitude of the challenges that face us. Despite the hyped talk of China’s rise, most Americans operate on the assumption that the U.S. is still No. 1….”

Which Middle Eastern Regime Will Fall Next? – “As Egypt’s revolution reverberates throughout the Middle East, which Arab nation will be next to see a change in leadership? Examining the economic and social conditions in nearby countries might be able to formulate an accurate prediction. Elefint Designs has crunched the data to see which Middle Eastern country might be teetering on the brink of upheaval in their infographic Tension in the Middle East and North Africa….”

Naughty by Nature – “Dramatic case studies illustrating the devastating effects of Klüver-Bucy Syndrome abound in the clinical literature, and they raise intriguing philosophical questions for us to consider. That some patients so stricken are overcome with excessive carnal urges and are not simply using the disorder as a convenient excuse to become freely promiscuous, lewd, and lascivious is perhaps best demonstrated by a 1998 Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery study by Indian neurologist Sunil Pradhan and his colleagues….”

A 40 million-year-old sex act is frozen in time – “Forty million years ago, a female mite met an attractive partner, grabbed him with her clingy rear end and began to mate — just before a blob of tree resin fell on the couple, preserving the moment for eternity….”

Teens Arrested After Flash Mob Incident At Liberty Place – “The group of teens then entered Liberty Place, knocking over promotion signs outside of stores, and then went into the food court and began flipping tables. Police say all the activity inside was caught on surveillance video….”

Mind Body Partnerships White Paper – Advantages and disadvantages of sites like Groupon…

Extreme rain and snow events linked to global warming, study finds – “Authors say a study that looked at the rise in extreme rain and snowfall in the Northern Hemisphere in the last half of the 20th century is the first to show a link to global warming….”

50 Years of Making Fuzz, the Sound That Defines Rock ‘n Roll – “Fifty years ago, a faulty connection in a mixing board gave birth to fuzz, which is a term of art. Although it came to define the sound of rock guitar, fuzz appeared first in neither guitar nor rock, but in the bass solo of country singer Marty Robbins on “Don’t Worry.” The band and producers debated whether to keep the weird sound or record another take. It stayed, and the song entered the Top 40 in February of 1961 and remained for 12 weeks. In an otherwise sweet and mostly acoustic tune, those incongruous 19 seconds of buzzing presaged decades of distorted guitar to come. The fuzz kicks in at the 1:39 mark…”

GDC 2011: Minecraft, Amnesia Win Big At Independent Games Festival Awards – “Frictional Games’ dark survival horror title Amnesia: The Dark Descent won three awards while Mojang’s indie mega-hit Minecraft took the Seumas McNally Grand Prize in tonight’s 13th annual Independent Games Festival Awards presentation. Minecraft, which has sold over 1.3 million copies of its beta, also won the night’s audience award, attracting a plurality of over 5,000 e-mail veified votes made on igf.com….”

CHAIRMAN MAO’S Underground City – “In 1969, Chairman Mao commanded the construction of a second Beijing beneath the surface of the original city, designed to accommodate all six million of its then inhabitants so that if nuclear war did kick off, folk would still have somewhere to hang out and play Mah Jong while the rest of us burnt to death in a shower of atomic rain. War never came, but the city is still there….”

Android hit by rogue app viruses – “More than 50 applications available via the official Android Marketplace have been found to contain a virus. Analysis suggests that the booby-trapped apps may have been downloaded up to 200,000 times….”

Audio slideshow: Human Planet – “From the icy Arctic to Africa’s dense jungles – and the mountain tops of Mongolia to the deep waters of the Pacific – the BBC series Human Planet has explored mankind’s incredible relationship with nature….”

Google: We’re Working to Help Good Sites Caught by Spam Cleanup – “When Google updated its algorithm late last week to weed out low-quality content factories from the top of search results, the changes didn’t sit well with all. Many well-known sites that pop up in search results despite having little good information, including Associated Content and Mahalo, were downgraded, according to an analysis by independent SEO software firm Sistrix….”

6 Things Social Networking Sites Need to Stop Doing – “Social networking is here to stay. Virtually everyone reading this has an account with one of these sites, if not more than one. And who are we to criticize? We have “share” buttons on every page of this website. Social networking sites are how humans interact now, and it will continue until the day the zombies eat through our network cables. That’s what makes increasingly annoying and/or invasive social networking practices so much harder to swallow. We want all of the below to stop and, barring that, at least not get any worse. But if they don’t, what are we going to do? Ditch our computers and go live in the woods?”

Piracy is Theft? Ridiculous. Lost Sales? They Don’t Exist, Says Minecraft Creator – “The “piracy is stealing” argument raises its head in the media every week and is on the lips of anti-piracy outfits and copyright holders every day. To them, every unauthorized copy is a lost sale and another small dent in the company spreadsheet which, when added to a million others, will destroy it bit by bit. To the maker of Minecraft, however, its an opportunity. Piracy is theft? You must be kidding. Lost sales? They don’t exist….”

Documents Reveal TSA Research Proposal To Body-Scan Pedestrians, Train Passengers – “Giving Transportation Security Administration agents a peek under your clothes may soon be a practice that goes well beyond airport checkpoints. Newly uncovered documents show that as early as 2006, the Department of Homeland Security has been planning pilot programs to deploy mobile scanning units that can be set up at public events and in train stations, along with mobile x-ray vans capable of scanning pedestrians on city streets….”

Earth’s sixth mass extinction could already be underway – “Life on earth is on the verge of a mass extinction comparable to that which wiped out the dinosaurs, scientists at UC Berkeley have warned. Such events have happened only five times before in the last 540 million years, and each saw three-quarters or more of all animal species become extinct….”

Mind vs. Machine – “In the race to build computers that can think like humans, the proving ground is the Turing Test—an annual battle between the world’s most advanced artificial-intelligence programs and ordinary people. The objective? To find out whether a computer can act “more human” than a person. In his own quest to beat the machines, the author discovers that the march of technology isn’t just changing how we live, it’s raising new questions about what it means to be human….”

Are Physical Interfaces Superior to Virtual Ones? – “Humans have enormous capacity for spatial memory. Why don’t our user interfaces take advantage of that?”

Common Ibuprofen Reduces Parkinson’s Occurrence Risk – “Harvard studies have concluded that simple ibuprofen, taken by millions on a regular basis, means that those throngs have close to a 40% lower risk of developing debilitating Parkinson’s Disease (PD). However don’t get mixed up, aspirin and acetaminophen did not prove to have the same results and ibuprofen is by no means a means of pure prevention experts say….”

[[[Interesting Reading #697 – iPad3 rumors, Edible 3D printer, detecting cancer, molecule microscope and Much More!]]]

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