Interesting Reading #738 - America's moon base, 2,200 MPG car, SETI is dead, successor to Acura NSX and much more!

by | Apr 26, 2011 09:24 PM ET

Sony admits utter PSN failure: your personal data has been stolen - "Sony has finally come clean about the "external intrusion" that has caused the company to take down the PlayStation Network service, and the news is almost as bad as it can possibly get. The hackers have all your personal information, although Sony is still unsure about whether your credit card data is safe. Everything else on file when it comes to your account is in the hands of the hackers...."

Purdue's Celeritas car scores 2,200MPG from the sun, wins Shell Eco-marathon - "With gas prices topping $4.50 per gallon in some parts of the country, a car that costs a fraction of a penny per mile to drive (and looks like it belongs on the road) is sure to get our attention. The 275-pound, 2,200MPG Celeritas appears to be the closest we've come to having a solar-powered car that could one day take to the streets, however, which explains why the vehicle scored first prize in the Urban Concept category in this year's Shell Eco-marathon...."

Telescopes looking for alien life shut off - "A telescope array in California built to listen for signals from distant alien civilizations has been shut down for lack of money, its operators say...." See also: SETI Institute to shut down alien-seeking radio dishes

Sony to join tablet fray with dual-screen Honeycomb clamshell - "Sony announced plans to join the tablet party with two new entries running Android 3.0 Honeycomb today in a press release. Codenamed the S1 and S2, both tablets will be WiFi-, 3G-, and 4G-capable, and their unusual form factors will be hitting markets in the fall of this year..." See also: Sony's Android Tablets Are Game, Music, Video and Ebook-Downloading Titans

Asus Eee Pad: The tablet that thinks it's a netbook - "Richard Taylor reviews the Asus Eee Pad Transformer - a tablet with a custom-built keyboard which turns it into a device resembling a netbook. It's also one of the first to run the tablet-specific version of Google's smartphone operating system, Android..."

Table for Two and a Tablet, Please - "When E la Carte founder Rajat Suri dropped out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009 and began waiting tables at a chain restaurant adjacent to campus, the seemingly-bizarre life transition proved excellent gossip fodder for his former engineering classmates...."

Honda works on successor to NSX - "President Takanobu Ito says his company is developing a sports car that will be the spiritual successor to the discontinued Acura NSX. But in tune with the times, the new car won't feature the brute V-10 engine that had been envisioned for the next NSX. That vision was scrapped in 2008 during the global financial crisis..."

Getting the Most Out of Your iPhone: 20 Easy Tricks and Tips - "Two editors from Business Insider, Steve Kovach (who frequently writes advice for gadgets and consumer tech) and Jay Yarow (the editor of Business Insider's SAI), took a look at their favorite and most useful Easter eggs that Apple hid in the iPhone. They've collected twenty of them, from how to lock your screen orientation to using the alphabet bar to quickly jump through your list of contacts...."

Facebook Launches Deals to Compete With Groupon - "Facebook's anticipated 'Groupon-killer' offering group-based local coupon deals reportedly launches on Tuesday in five pilot cities in the U.S. including Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego and San Francisco. The service is called Facebook Deals--the old Facebook Deals announced in November appears to be renamed Check-In Deals--and will focus on offering discounts for group activities such as such as 50 percent off movie tickets for four or 75 percent off bowling for six. You will be able to buy local deals using your credit card or Facebook credits, according to The New York Times. You will then print out a voucher that you can take with you to redeem your deal...."

Why gas prices go up much faster than they go down - "Why gas prices go up much faster than they go downYou might have heard over the weekend that skyrocketing gas prices have finally "plateaued." If gas prices were like gravity, you would anticipate they would start plummeting soon. Raise your hand if you expect that...."

Maldives Plans 18-Hole Floating Golf Course - "The course will be made up of a series of floating platforms containing two or three holes each, linked to one another and to a series of surrounding hotels by underwater tunnels. Waterstudio.NL designed the project, which is being engineered by floating-architecture expert Dutch Docklands. Troon Golf is on hand to offer its expertise in the design of the course itself...."

Chernobyl, 25 years later - "TODAY marks the 25th anniversary of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear-power plant in northern Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union. In the early morning of April 26th 1986, an explosion at the plant released a radioactive cloud that spread over large swathes of Europe and western Russia. It has been difficult to gauge the human impact of the accident. Millions of people were exposed to radiation, and 350,000 were permanently evacuated from their homes. In 2006 the Chernobyl Forum, comprising a number of UN agencies, estimated that 9,300 people in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine would die from cancer as a result of exposure to radiation, but others have said that number is far too low ..."

Nuclear Danger Still Dwarfed by Coal - "One must accept a risk of radiation exposure when flying in and out of Narita International Airport, the busiest airport in Japan, just east of Tokyo, but perhaps not for the reason you are thinking...."

Upcoming shuttle launch

Is YouTube Launching a Netflix Competitor?

20 worst-named tech products

Dropbox attempts to kill open source project - "Yesterday morning I woke up much earlier than I wanted. Instead of lying in bed, wishing I was asleep, I decided to get up and check out Hacker News. Better to waste my time reading industry news than lying around. One headline in particular caught my attention: “Dropship — successor to torrents?“. The name was an obvious reference to Dropbox and the suggestion it could replace torrents was enticing. Data storage and distribution has been a long time interest of mine and I can't resist reading about the industry. I had no idea that by the end of the day I'd have received a fake DMCA takedown notice, correspondence with Dropbox's CTO, and witness the near killing of an open source project...." See also: Dropbox: A File Sharer's Dream Tool?

Building a better battery - "“What we are trying to do is put different pieces of a puzzle together,” said Argonne National Laboratory scientist Daniel P. Abraham. The puzzle is a lithium-rich compound material, Li1.2Co0.4Mn0.4O2, that holds key insights into the development of more powerful and robust batteries for electric cars. Using a suite of advanced techniques, including the resources of the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Photon Source at Argonne, Abraham and his colleagues have pieced together both the long-range and local structure of this compound, devising a model that could explain how such materials operate on the electrochemical level — and how to use them to build a better battery..."

Porsche Rolls Out the World's First Hybrid - "Porsche rolled into the New York Auto Show with Semper Vivus, a meticulous $750,000 reproduction of the series hybrid Ferdinand Porsche built in 1900. The car provided a nice contrast to the $95,000 Panamera S Hybrid making its North American debut at the show...."

Bees' royal jelly secret revealed - "There's more than one way to turn a commoner into royalty. Honeybees create queens by feeding their larvae royal jelly, the secret ingredient of which has now been identified...."

Human GPS Microchipping: Embrace it or ban it? - "Who are you? Where are you? What have you done? Tiny GPS microchips with your personal info can be slipped under your skin, leaving you lighter, ID tossed in the shredder. But wait... is this a sensible techno-transfusion? An H+ enhancement that liberates us from Luddite wallets crammed with primitive currency and dozens of stupid, unwieldy cards? "

Will Israel's Electric Cars Change the World? - "The People's Republic has been busy creating a bourgeoisie, and the middle class does like to drive. Beijing's next five-year plan foresees at least 170 million new vehicles, or perhaps twice that, according to Agassi. The lower estimate alone is as many cars as there are in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Britain combined. The 8 million barrels of oil that would be required every day to fuel them is about as much as the U.S. imports every day. "Do you know what the price of oil will be in five years if they're not using electric cars?" Agassi asks...."

Why gold could hit $5,000 - "Fears of inflation and global turmoil have sent precious metals surging, with gold trading at all-time highs above $1,500 an ounce. How much further can it climb?"

One Tough, American-Made Solar Backpack - "In the market for a solar backpack? Consider the new Solar Backpack from Eclipse Solar Gear of Round Rock, Texas: made in the good old U.S. of A., these bags are built to military specifications and look pretty tough..."

The gadgets police use to snarf cell phonedata - "If a police officer stops you in the course of investigating some matter, can she peruse the contents of your mobile device as she might demand your identification or the contents of the glove compartment of your vehicle? Does a routine traffic stop allow access to your phone's photos, videos, text messages, and contacts?"

Squeeze power: First 'practical nanogenerator' developed - "For the past several years, scientists from around the world have been engaged in the development of nanogenerators – tiny piezoelectric devices capable of generating electricity by harnessing minute naturally-occurring movements, such as the shifting of clothing or even the beating of a person's heart. So far, while they may have worked in principle, few if any of the devices have been able to generate enough of a current to make them practical for use in consumer products. Now scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology are claiming to have created "the world's first practical nanogenerator."..."

Most powerful millimeter-scale energy harvester generates electricity from vibrations - "A new energy harvester developed by University of Michigan researchers can harness energy from vibrations and convert it to electricity with five to ten times greater efficiency and power than other devices in its class...."

TweetingSeat - "TweetingSeat is an interactive park bench which is designed to explore the potential for connecting digital and physical communities. The bench logs its usage by uploading images of its users and environment to a live Twitter feed, allowing people to interact with it both in person and virtually...."

Alcoholic Vervet Monkeys

A good reason not to drink like a monkey:

Man Sues Goldrush Strip Club, Claims He Got So Drunk He Put $18,930 on His Credit Card - "​One of the many devilish brilliances of the nightlife industry is that customers end up making buying decisions when they're already a little drunk. What's another $14 gin and tonic when you've already had a few $14 gin and tonics? In fact, why not buy the whole place a round? Right? We've all woken up and thought, We spent how much last night?"

M.I.T. Media Lab Names a New Director - "On Tuesday, the university plans to announce that Joichi Ito, known as Joi, will become the fourth director of the M.I.T. Media Laboratory, which was originally founded by the architect Nicholas Negroponte in 1985 and has since become recognized for its willingness to take risks in developing technologies that are at the edge of the computing frontier. .."

Steve Jobs responds to iPhone tracking concerns, and accuses Google - "Apple chief executive vents opinion on discovery that iPhones keep record of connections with cell towers in their vicinity and says Android tracks too..."

"Spacetime has No Time Dimension" -- New Theory Claims that Time is Not the 4th Dimension - "Z32SpacetimeWormholes (1) Einstein never interpreted time "t" as a fourth dimension of space. Space is not 3D + T, space is 4D. With clocks we measure numerical order of material change. This numerical order is the only time that exists in a physical world. With this approach all immediate information transfers of quantum physics are explained in a more appropriate way. 4D space is a medium of quantum information transfers...."

We Could Make Our Roads Into Solar and Piezo-Electric Generators

- "Talk about the efficient use of space: if you're going to have roads (and hopefully you'll have bike lanes), why not put that space to work producing energy? Called the Solaroad, the project is the brainchild of Dutch research firm TNO..."

Artificial Sweeteners: Pretty Sweet Diet Tool - "Are zero calorie sweeteners actually making us eat more? We recently reported that artificial sweeteners can lead to weight gain. However, a new study is contradicting that finding. According to a small study conducted at the University of Florida, choosing a zero calorie sweetener over sugar may not lead to caloric compensation later in the day...."

Brain imaging demonstrates that former smokers have greater willpower - "A study, completed by researchers from Trinity College and the Research Institute for a Tobacco Free Society, Dublin, Ireland, compares former smokers to current smokers, and obtains insight into how to quit smoking might be discovered by studying the brains of those who have successfully managed to do so...."

Enormous statue of powerful pharaoh unearthed - "Archaeologists unearthed one of the largest statues found to date of a powerful ancient Egyptian pharaoh at his mortuary temple in the southern city of Luxor, the country's antiquities authority announced Tuesday. The 13 meter (42 foot) tall statue of Amenhotep III was one of a pair that flanked the northern entrance to the grand funerary temple on the west bank of the Nile that is currently the focus of a major excavation..."

Scientists create stable, self-renewing neural stem cells - "In a paper published in the April 25 early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco and colleagues report a game-changing advance in stem cell science: the creation of long-term, self-renewing, primitive neural precursor cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) that can be directed to become many types of neuron without increased risk of tumor formation...."

Man discovers a new life-form at a South African truck stop - "Then, one day, things changed. He was looking through specimens when he found something more interesting than anything he had ever seen before. It was a fossil that looked like a cross between two different kinds of animals. It had the wrong mix of parts. It was--he would come to convince himself--a single individual of an entirely new order of beasts...."

Bill introduced directing NASA to establish a moon base - "Throughout the Bush administration, NASA had been given the goal of preparing for long-duration missions in space, first to the Moon and then eventually Mars. Upon reaching office, the Obama administration performed a detailed analysis of NASA's priorities and budget, which revealed some ugly truths: NASA didn't have the money to build the systems needed to accomplish any of this, and even if it were to get a budget infusion, the schedule was unworkable. The report recommended we give up on Mars, skip the Moon, and focus on developing the technology to enable long-duration space travel...."

REAL Space Act - "To direct the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to plan to return to the Moon and develop a sustained human presence on the Moon..."

Wearing a Casio Enough to Become Terror Suspect - "The watch can be found the world over and costs only a few euros. According to secret documents obtained by SPIEGEL through the WikiLeaks whistleblower platform, US interrogators at Guantanamo Bay identified potential terrorists by the watch they wore on their wrist...."

Study Shows How Bacteria Could Generate Radio Waves - "It may not seem something to get bent out of shape over, but there's a scientific controversy that's been brewing over whether or not bacteria generate radio waves. Now a team at Northeastern University thinks they've figured out the mechanism that bacteria might use to manufacture radio signals..."

Early universe may have had ONE dimension not three... and now we know how to prove it, say scientists - "Did the early universe have just one spatial dimension? That's the mind-boggling question at the heart of a theory scientists say they are on the brink of solving...."

Oozing Through Texas Soil, a Team of Amoebas Billions Strong - "Scientists found the vast and sticky empire stretching 40 feet across, consisting of billions of genetically identical single-celled individuals, oozing along in the muck of a cow pasture outside Houston...."

Money flowing into "open courseware" on college campuses - "With an infusion of money from US stimulus spending, groups like The Gates Foundation, and the private sector, the technological landscape in higher education is changing rapidly. In the recent past, classroom tech extended to YouTube videos, bare-bones online courses, or collaborative systems like Moodle; now, the emphasis is all about open courseware and analytics to monitor student behavior...."

[[[Interesting Reading #737 – SpaceX's Mars Dream, Nook = world's best tablet value, Anti-helium, Cancerous peanut butter and much more!]]]

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