Interesting Reading #705 - Sperm Whale Have Names? Console games dying? Tablet deathmatch, Missing back seat and much more!

by | Mar 14, 2011 11:43 PM ET

Sperm Whales May Have Names - "Subtle variations in sperm-whale calls suggest that individuals announce themselves with discrete personal identifier. To put it another way, they might have names...."

Japanese quake will likely affect the global supply of gadgets - "Devastating. There are no words to effectively convey the human catastrophe suffered in Japan. Engadget would like to express our sincere condolences to those readers personally affected by recent events...." See also: Quake Sparks Tech Supply Shortage Concerns

Tablet deathmatch: Apple iPad 2 vs. Motorola Xoom - "Let's cut to the chase -- the iPad 2 that Apple just released pulls further ahead in the battle with the only real competitor on the market: the Android OS 3.0 "Honeycomb" Xoom tablet from Motorola Mobility. In our previous comparison of the first-gen iPad and the Xoom, the Xoom showed its mettle as a serious contender, beating the iPad in areas such as its inclusion of cameras and ability to mirror its video display...." See also: Apple's Schiller: White iPhone Coming This Spring, But is it iPhone 4 or 5?

Hacking Times Square With an iPhone - "Viral hoax in waiting or brilliant marketing display of the iPhone's hidden capabilities? Watch and you decide..."

Antarctica, 1961: A Soviet Surgeon Has to Remove His Own Appendix - "If you think House and the guy who James Franco played in 127 Hours are tough, you haven't heard of Leonid Rogozov...."

Timeline of Apple products

AT&T Implementing Data Caps on DSL/U-Verse Lines Beginning May 2 - "If you are an AT&T DSL or U-Verse customer and just so happen to be an extreme data hog, your reign of terror will soon be over. DSL Reports is indicating that AT&T plans to implement new data caps on customers starting May 2 (notices will be sent to customers between March 18 and March 31)..."

Console Games "Dying", says Angry Birds Creator - "Peter Vesterbacka, CEO of Rovio Mobile and creator of the popular mobile game Angry Birds announced his opinion about the future of console games on a panel at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin. Vesterbacka claims traditional console games are much too expensive at $40 or $50 per game. He also said console developers are not as "nimble" as mobile developers due to the time it takes to develop and release new content...."

Inside The Deal That Made Bill Gates $350,000,000 - "On the 25th anniversary of Microsoft's IPO, Fortune is featuring our 1986 cover story in which we followed around a young Bill Gates as he prepared to take his company public. Here's the story of the birth of a billionaire...."

NASA Studies Laser For Removing Space Junk - "A cheap ground-based laser could put space junk out of harm's way, according to a NASA study..."

Cory Doctorow: How free translates to business survival - ""The one thing that everyone should have uppermost in your mind when you're designing your business is that computers are never going to get worse at copying things."..."

Banana dose equivalents of radiation - "After the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the NRC detected radioactive iodine in local milk at levels of 20 picocuries/liter, a dose much less than one would receive from ingesting a single banana...."

Breaking: Toyota halts production at all Japanese plants - "Toyota has halted production at all 12 of its assembly plants in Japan, following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country on Friday. Production won't resume until at least the middle of the week, but could be frozen even longer, the automaker said....."

Japan and the Quake: A Long History of Living with Disaster - "The tremors of Japan's monstrous March 11 earthquake are still being felt as state officials and rescue workers come to grips with the rising body count, a scare over a damaged nuclear plant and the prospect of more aftershocks. Concerns also deepen over the health of the Japanese economy, which has been in the doldrums for years...."

Nuclear Reactors in Japan

Japan's nuclear crisis: the causes and the risks - "Problems began when Friday's massive earthquake knocked out electricity at the Fukushima No 1 power station. Back-up generators kicked in to pump coolant around the reactor cores to prevent the fuel rods from overheating. The generators worked for a short time, but were damaged by the ensuing tsunami, forcing a scramble by engineers to fit mobile battery power units. These were insufficient to cool all of the reactors properly...."

General Electric-designed reactors in Fukushima have 23 sisters in U.S. - "The NRC database of nuclear power plants shows that 23 of the 104 nuclear plants in the U.S. are GE boiling-water reactors with GE's Mark I systems for containing radioactivity, the same containment system used by the reactors in trouble at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. The U.S. reactors are in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Vermont...."

Digital Dark Room: A Guide To Pinhole Photography - "It's been known since the beginning of mankind that light entering through a tiny hole (or aperture) can display pictures in a dark room, but it was 4th Century thinkers Aristotle and Euclid who were first credited with coining the phenomenon as such. In the 18th Century, pinhole devices were used to view solar eclipses, as the apparatus transfers imagery indirectly. At a later point in history, the technology was primarily used in astronomy...."

What If Every Environmentalist is Actually Wrong? - "All too often, even within the environmental movement, I find people taking "sides" over whether this or that approach is the strategy that will help wean us off fossil fuels, halt global warming or reverse the ecological destruction we see around the Globe. Whether it's green traditionalism versus eco-modernity, veganism versus a reduced meat diet, or no growth economics versus clean development...."

Headphones Meant Not to Filter out Background Noise - "As oil reaches recording break highs, more and more people are turning to bikes to get them around and of course nobody wants to leave behind creature comforts like music while driving. Problem is most of today's headphones are designed to filter out background noise. That's not very safe for a bicyclists since hearing what's coming is important. The Semicircle headphones are designed to fit in your ear without blocking background noise...."

Bummer! AT&T Implements Broadband Caps - "AT&T is planning to send out letters next week notifying subscribers about a coming broadband cap of 150 GB per month for DSL subscribers and 250 GB per month for U-verse subscribers, says company spokesman Seth Bloom in an interview at SXSW. The company says that the move will affect less than 2 percent of its customers, and customers who go over the cap will pay $10 for each 50 GB bucket of data. The cap compares with other broadband caps offered by Comcast and Charter and reflects AT&T's experience trialing tiered broadband back in 2009...."

A meltdown-proof nuclear reactor may alleviate fears - "But what rarely gets mentioned in these sorts of discussions are nuclear technologies under development that may someday lead to safer — and possibly cleaner — nuclear facilities...."

How the Japan Earthquake Shortened Days on Earth - "The massive earthquake that struck northeast Japan Friday (March 11) has shortened the length Earth's day by a fraction and shifted how the planet's mass is distributed...."

Anamorphic Drawings: Hidden Images Revealed

GreenNH3 patent pending machine makes fuel from simply air and water using clean renewable energy - "Never before seen GreenGas machines make Green sustainable fuel from air and water at any location where fuel is needed in any quantity...."

Early Europeans unwarmed by fire - "The logical argument that ancient human ancestors had to have mastered fire before departing balmy Africa for the often freezing climes of Europe is being challenged by a review revealing that there is no evidence to support the idea...."

Ex-Bank of America Employee Can Prove Mortgage Fraud Part 1

Another Inside Job - "Count me among those who were glad to see the documentary “Inside Job” win an Oscar. The film reminded us that the financial crisis of 2008, whose aftereffects are still blighting the lives of millions of Americans, didn't just happen — it was made possible by bad behavior on the part of bankers, regulators and, yes, economists. What the film didn't point out, however, is that the crisis has spawned a whole new set of abuses, many of them illegal as well as immoral...."

Report: Toyota to limit U.S. Prius V to five seats, other markets seat seven - "The Prius V is set to go on sale in the third quarter of this year, but the model being sold in the U.S. won't be the same as the European and Japanese versions. The New York Times reports that the hybrid wagon will come with only two rows of seating here in the U.S., while three rows will be offered overseas...."

Jamming may leave GPS in the wilderness - "Australian researchers have raised concern over the growing vulnerability of global positioning system (GPS) devices to accidental and intentional attack...."

Taking Control of Cars From Afar - "Researchers who have spent the last two years studying the security of car computer systems have revealed that they can take control of vehicles wirelessly...."

Inventing the Future of Energy: A Q&A with ARPA-e's Arun Majumdar - "Every day the U.S. imports $1 billion worth of oil. Yet, the nation is no closer to weaning itself from such foreign oil than it was 40 years ago when President Carter called energy reform the "moral equivalent of war."..."

Antitrust subcommittee to examine Google search ranking system - "US Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) is adding his voice to a growing chorus calling for congressional hearings over Google's alleged anticompetitive business practices. Lee recently noted his concerns in a letter to Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, just as Kohl announced that the subcommittee would examine complaints about Google's ranking system...."

China not to change plan for nuclear power projects: government - China will not change its plan for developing nuclear power projects but will learn a lesson after a massive earthquake in Japan resulted in a radioactive leakage, Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Zhang Lijun said Saturday. "China has 13 sets of nuclear power installations in operation and tests have shown all of them are safe," Zhang told a press conference on the sidelines of the national parliamentary session in Beijing...."

Open-source cellphone networks are now on every continent - "Three men who believe that cellphone service should be cheap and accessible to everyone have found a way to make it happen. The creators of OpenBTS, the open-source cellphone network, launched a startup and have delivered cheap cellphone networks to the world's biggest mobile tech corporations, governments and other clients on every continent. (Yes, even Atarctica—the Australian base is connected via OpenBTS.)..."

Wearable PET scanner maps rat brains in real time - "A miniaturised scanner that can peer into the brains of freely-roaming rats has been demonstrated by researchers...."

[[[Interesting Reading #704 – Atlantis found? Hydrogen storage? No more bees? TSA radiation? And much more!]]]

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