Interesting Reading #734 - Your iPhone tracks you, Cancer breath test, Why 555?, Coolest keychain and much more!

by | Apr 20, 2011 06:45 PM ET

iPhone Tracks Your Every Move, and There's a Map for That - "Your iPhone or 3G-equipped iPad has been secretly recording your location for the past 10 months. can confirm that: The screengrab above shows a map containing drop pins of everywhere yours truly has been in the past year...."

iPhone Tracker - "This open-source application maps the information that your iPhone is recording about your movements. It doesn't record anything itself, it only displays files that are already hidden on your computer...."

Neuroscientists Reinvent Microphone Based On Mammalian Hearing System - "A microphone is a device that converts mechanical waves into electrical ones. It consists of a diaphragm attached to a coil which sits in a magnetic field. When a sound wave hits the diaphragm, it moves the coil, generating a current. This signal is then amplified by conventional electronic methods. But an interesting question is why the amplification has to be done electronically. Why not mechanically?"

Cancer breath test 'step closer' - "A breath test that can sniff-out cancer is a step closer to reality, according to a preliminary study...."

THE TRUTH ABOUT SMARTPHONES: Our Exclusive Survey On iPhone vs Android - "Recent news that Android has blasted past the iPhone in smartphone market share triggered a huge brawl among fans in both camps about whether the numbers were accurate and which platform would reign supreme. In light of this, we wanted to find out more about what makes people choose one platform over the other. So we wrote up a smartphone survey, which received more than 2,000 responses...."

The weird popularity of real-life Quidditch - "The Harry Potter-inspired game is becoming more than a campus goof. It has full-contact action -- and it has brooms..."

Why Do Fake Phone Numbers Start With 555? - "As soon as an actor in a movie or TV show starts rattling off a phone number, every viewer knows what the first three digits will be: 5-5-5. How did “555” become the convention for fake phone numbers, and are there any real 555 numbers? Let's dial up some answers...."

Call of Duty, Killzone and Mario through colour blind eyes - "Shooting teammates and mistaking foes for friends is par for the course for video gamer Dave Lee. The BBC technology journalist is colour blind and unable to detect the difference between red and green...."

Energy saving light bulbs 'contain cancer causing chemicals' - "Fears have been reignited about the safety of energy saving light bulbs after a group of scientists warned that they contain cancer causing chemicals...."

KEYPORT is the keychain alternative - "Keyport replaces your conventional keychain with a streamlined device that consolidates the everyday personal items (keys, USB flash drive, bottle opener, mini-LED, etc.) that you typically carry on a bulky keychain. About the same size as a traditional auto key fob, the Keyport provides access to each with just the Slide of a thumb...."

Survey shows car downsizing is in, but not for everyone - "Most car buyers expect their next new vehicle to be the same size as the model they currently drive, but those who are looking to downsize are motivated by improved fuel economy, lower maintenance and repair costs, environmental concerns, and improved reliability, according to a new survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center..." See also: OE powertrain execs map out fuel-economy strategies - "U.S. fuel-economy regulations call for 35.5 mpg by 2017"

The 21st Century Beetle NY Reveal

Non-surgical penis enlargement is possible, Italian researchers say - "Some non-surgical methods for increasing the length of the male penis do in fact work, a review of medical literature has shown...."

Trash-Sorting Robot Could Reduce Waste Going to Landfill by 50% - "When it comes to sorting recyclables from trash bound for the landfill, much of the work has to happen by the people throwing away the materials, before waste management comes to pick up trash bins. However, robotics companies are continually working on ways that trash-sorting robots can ensure fewer recyclables head into landfills. ZenRobotics, a Finnish company, has developed just such a robot that can identify and pluck from conveyor belts those materials that should be getting a second life...."

Laser trip wire – the bare essentials

Table pyramid

Gallery: Winning Designs For Skyscrapers of the Future - "The winning design would be based in New Delhi, one of the dirtiest cities on Earth, and incorporates a wind turbine into a circular greenhouse that would help clean the air. The Ferris-wheel-shaped building is made from recycled cars, and waste heat from the on-site recycling center would be used to grow plants to produce biofuels...."

Divided by language, united by gut bacteria – people have three common gut types - "Europe is a divided land. For such a relatively small continent, it is split into 50 different countries and its people speak hundreds of languages. But within their guts, there is common ground. The intestines of Europeans, like those of all humans, harbour massive communities of bacteria. According to a new study, these microscopic worlds fall into just three different groups, which transcend the borders of geography and politics. In gut bacteria, we are united...."

A New Solar Backpack From...Ralph Lauren? - "It's been a while since we've seen solar technology and high-fashion merged successfully. It was just under a year ago that we took a look at some solar handbags designed by the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Diane Van Furstenburg and there are a few other exceptions but, generally speaking, fashion designers haven't exactly been clamoring over each other to produce hip, stylish, solar-infused products you would actually want to wear on your person. Fashion icon Ralph Lauren is apparently ready to give stylish solar a shot, however,as last week we heard that Ralph Lauren launched a Solar Panel Backpack as part of its RLX line..."

Nissan LEAF™ NISMO RC (Racing Competition) Takes Zero Emission Strategy to a New Dimension – the Race Track - "The name on the back panel, just under the massive adjustable rear wing, says Nissan LEAF™. The powertrain is an 100% zero emission advanced Lithium-ion battery design, just like that found on the world's first affordable mass market electric vehicle. And despite its lack of rear doors, rear seat, trunk, audio system, navigation, carpeting and other amenities, there is a discernable family resemblance. But that is where the similarities between the production Nissan LEAF and the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC end. As indicted by the “RC” – for Racing Competition – this new electric vehicle, which makes its world debut at the 2011 New York International Auto Show on April 20th, is purpose-built to bring new meaning to the term “Racing Green.” ..."

Exposing the memory engine: the story of PKMzeta - "You've got the phone number of a hot date – a vital piece of information that you need to keep in a safe place. You write it in a notepad, you save it on a file in your computer and you try to commit it to memory. This third method – the one involving your brain – is very different to the others...."

10 Most Dangerously Ill-Conceived Theme Park Rides of All Time - "The very idea behind theme park rides is to scare people. They attract the thrill-seeking, the naive and the stupid in their millions every year. Remember when you were a kid and you always wondered if the rides really were that dangerous? Well, turns out some of them were...."

Brains that switch between active areas more often learn faster - "The “flexibility” of a person's brain — how much different areas of the brain link up in different combinations — can be used to predict how fast someone will learn, according to research by an international team from Oxford University, UC Santa Barbara, and UNC Chapel Hill...."

New elastic polymer self-heals in just one minute - "Self-healing polymers are extremely sought after by scientists, as they have many useful—not to mention lucrative—applications. Back in 2009, we reported a polyurethane-based polymeric material that heals itself in roughly an hour when exposed to UV light. That particular polymer, made by Biswajit Ghosh and Marek W. Urban, would be useful as a protective coating for phones, cars, etc. It worked based on the principle of having a reactive chemical component that would split open when physically damaged to create two reactive ends that can then covalently link together under UV light to repair itself...."

Spinning Death Spheres!

Humpback Whales May Be Migratory Astronomers - "An eight-year project that tracked humpback whale migrations by satellite shows the huge mammals follow uncannily straight paths for weeks at a time...."

Whale 'Pop Songs' Spread Across the Ocean - "Music mania is sweeping the ocean, and all the young male humpback whales are in on the latest trend. A new study reveals that, just like humans, humpback whales in the South Pacific follow musical trends that change by the season. Moreover, these songs always move from west to east across thousands of miles of ocean—from the east coast of Australia to French Polynesia—over the course of a year or two. The authors say it's one of the most complex and rapid patterns of cultural evolution across a region ever observed in a nonhuman species...."

The Oil We Don't Spill Is More Ecologically Damaging Than The Oil We Do Spill - "With all the recaps of what's happened (and not) one year on since the Gulf oil spill, Carl Safina is making the media rounds (via Mark Bittman in the New York Times, with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!) bringing up a critically important point. Even with all the ecological devastation that's taken place, and in many ways is still ongoing, in many ways the bigger ecological catastrophe isn't the oil that was spilled by BP-Transocean-Halliburton, but is the oil that isn't spilled and that we burn everyday...."

Obama Pushes Chinese-Style Internet ID System - "A new program being touted by the Obama administration as a solution to online identity theft actually increases the risk of identity theft while providing the government with a national ID system through the backdoor, paving the way for a world wide web in which users will need government permission to access the Internet...."

Muller Misinformation #4: Time to Act - "In a recent interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Dr. Richard Muller made the following statement, simlar to a statement he made in the recent U.S. Conressional hearing..."

[[[Interesting Reading #733 – 10 deadly gadgets, 8 special effects, 5 Ramen hacks, 2D glasses and much more!]]]

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