Wednesday, February 20, 2008
This is a short article about the history of the $5 Bill:
Note of Caution $5
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5_Silver_US_Dollars_1896.jpg (640 × 277 pixels, file size: 48 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)
From the American currency exhibit at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
A controversial note, this Silver Certificate was part of an educational series. It was deemed inappropriate for American children due to its portrayal of a scantily dressed woman symbolizing liberty. The note was quickly removed from circulation.
Posted by gjblass at 2:36 PM
Barleycorn's in Natick is sweet. Everything about it rocks. I've been there twice now and I'm in love. You brew there so there's no mess at home. Its supervised so you can't F up. There are hundreds of recipes to choose from - everything from chocolate stouts to the hoppiest of IPA's. Best of all, you drink like a fish the whole time. There is a fridge at the back of the place stocked with amateur brewed beers - grab a few, toss 'em down, and then just replace however many you drank when you bottle your own - its a beautiful system!
So who's up for it? The two times I've been there have been in an assist type situation and as a result I haven't had the "full on" brewing experience - or reward. For around $150 you get 5-6 cases - that's right CASES - of beer that is guaranteed to taste better and fresher than anything you could ever buy at the packie.
Posted by Gary at 12:18 PM
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Posted by gjblass at 12:17 PM
Rumor is that out-takes from the now famous Lindsay Lohan photo shoot for New York magazine will be out later today, but for now here are some HQ scans from early copies of the mag, originally due out Friday. There are several copies of each pic here, from different sources and different scanners, of varying quality. It's hard to tell in some if the scanner was crappy of if she really does have that many freckles. I find it hard to believe anyone could have that many freckles but her tits are fantastic, so I'm open minded enough to over look it. All this does beg a fascinating question: can you wack-off so much to a picture that you found on the internet that you get to the bottom of your balls? Hopefully the guy from egotastic will tell us what he discovers.
(needless to say, these are all NSFW. unless you work at New York magazine. then it would probbaly be okay.)
Posted by gjblass at 11:04 AM
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Posted by gjblass at 10:54 AM
As you probably know by now, the U.S. military is going to try to shoot down a dying satellite on Wednesday, around 10:30 PM eastern time (3:30 AM Greenwich Mean Time on the 21st), before it plummets into the atmosphere. That's right smack in the middle of a lunar eclipse, which should make the machine easier to track. Satellite-watchers have figured out where the Navy cruiser will take its shot -- and where the debris cloud is likely to go afterwards.
The red line represents the path of the satellite. The pink shape, bounded by blue lines, is the "restricted area" above the cruisers. (The military has blocked out almost the same area, 24 hours later, in case the first shot misses.) And those yellow splotches are Hawaii. As you can see, the Navy plans to take the satellite out over the Pacific. Which is not unexpected. (Here's an animated graphic.)
More startling, veteran satellite-watcher AT says, is where the debris cloud will go. "To my considerable surprise, it's on an ascending pass that will take the debris cloud across central Canada a few minutes later. Then across a bit of western Africa and eastern Australia." Here's the plot:
UPDATE: Zarya notes that this wasn't the only option of when to take down the satellite, designated USA-193. "The interception could have been set for a time when USA-193 was passing over the area in a southbound direction." That would be around 7:55 AM eastern (12:55 PM GMT) on the 21st. And on the first pass, at least, the debris cloud would appear to steer clear of densely-populated zones.
However, "there are some disadvantages in the southbound option," Zarya cautions. "The interception would occur in the Earth's shadow so optical tracking close to the event would not be possible, and the next few orbital passes overfly significant population centres," including "populated parts of Africa, the Middle East, southern Russia, other south Asian states, the Peoples' Republic of China, and Europe."
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:47 AM
World's Largest Record Collection' for Sale on eBay
A physical music collection purported to be the largest in the world is on sale on eBay, with a minimum reserve bid of $3 million. The collection includes more than 6 million songs on 3 million records and 300,000 compact discs. If you were to buy the whole thing on iTunes by the song -- not that you'd be able to find all of them -- the collection would run you $5,940,000 (in that sense, $3 million is a bargain).
Paul Mawhinney, the Pittsburgh-based publisher of the Music Master record price guide, started the collection about 50 years ago with a Frankie Lane record. His plan hit a rough patch as the collection passed the 160,000 mark: His wife told him that either he had to go or the records did. He stayed, and the records went into a climate-controlled warehouse.
Mawhinney says he kept collecting because he believed "someone had to preserve the music ... the history," but that he's selling now due to "declining health and associated financial concerns."
Here's what your $3 million bid will get you, according to Mawhinney's website:
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:47 AM
1934: Ernest O. Lawrence patents his cyclotron.
Lawrence, a physicist, actually built a working model by 1931 but didn't rush to patent his invention, at least in part because -- according to a colleague -- he felt it unwise to foster the development of scientific discoveries for personal profit.
He would, however, be rewarded. Ernest Orlando Lawrence received the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the cyclotron.
The cyclotron is one of the first circular particle accelerators, a device that moves charged protons between electrodes until they become highly charged particles. The circular configuration means the cyclotron can be relatively compact, a fact that became more important as bigger accelerators were needed.
Lawrence's first model was a complete lash-up, fashioned from wire, brass and sealing wax, but it worked. He applied 2,000 volts of electricity and was rewarded with 80,000-volt protons whirling around in his cyclotron.
When he finally received his patent, Lawrence assigned it to the Research Corporation.
Lawrence, whose name is practically synonymous with science on the University of California Berkeley campus, was originally lured to California with the promise of being able to work across disciplines, in this case chemistry. Cross-pollination was not commonly done in those days, especially at Yale, where he was teaching when Cal came a-courting.
A laboratory was established in his name at Berkeley, and it played a key role in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II. Two laboratories -- Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore -- and the element lawrencium (Lr) bear his name today.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:45 AM
Convert Your HD DVDs to Blu-Ray
From Wired How-To Wiki
HD DVD is dead. Long live HD DVD!
By converting your movies to a more enduring format, you can ensure your movie collection survives the death of the machine that plays them.
The process is simple in principle but excruciating in practice, thanks to the complexity of the technology, the myriad of applications needed and the predations of an industry that doesn't want you format-shifting at all.
Got extra advice? Log in and add it! This page is a wiki, so you can edit it to make it better.
What You'll Need
- A Windows machine with a fast processor
- An HD-DVD drive
- A Blu-Ray burner
- 30GB of free disk space, at least, though 40GB or more is recommended
- An internet connection to download all the software you need
Step 1: Ripping
First, we have to get the original HD DVD movie off the disk and onto the computer. You'll need to have a HD-DVD inside, or hooked up to, your PC, and software to cut through the DRM.
Once done, you'll have a bunch of files on your machine in .EVO format.
Step 2: Transcoding and Authoring
This means getting the rip ready to burn to Blu-Ray disc: transcoding refers to changing the file format and size, while authoring refers to preparing and arranging the files so that players may properly understand them.
If you just want to keep the file on the computer as a backup, you can stop here. Even if no one is making physical HD DVD players, there'll always be software to play the files themselves.
If you're targeting Blu-Ray, however, you'll need to get your hands dirty fixing your files to the required specs. You'll run the ripped HD DVD disk through a bunch of different programs, in the following order:
1. EVOdemux to "demultiplex" the ripped files and pick exactly what you need to keep.
3. eac3to to compress the audio, often necessary to fit movies onto cheaper 25GB Blu-Ray disks.
If you need more help, follow the instructions at the Doom9 forums to ensure you get everything just right. There is also another, slightly different process outlined on the Doom9 forums. If the idea of working your way through all those steps isn't appealing, you might want to wait until enough blind eyes are turned for an all-in-one commercial solution to emerge.
Step 3: Burning
Or you can just keep your old HD machine and change over later.
One can also use a HD capture card with component video inputs to slurp up the output from the Xbox 360's HD DVD player. Install video capture software, hook up the player to the capture card, and go. Watch out for disk space!
Tips & Tricks
Just as with DVDs before them, commercially-burned HD DVD movies have more space than blank disks. When transcoding, check to ensure the resulting file will fit on the target medium. For 25GB Blu-Ray disks, keep files under about 23 GB.
AVSforum has a list of the file sizes of popular HD DVD movies. Some come in at a whopping 27 gigabytes.Also, consider just buying the movie new: a blank Blu-Ray disc is from $15-$25 for write-once media
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:40 AM
Each year, Technology Review publishes its list of 10 emerging technologies that its editors believe will be particularly important over the next few years. This is work ready to emerge from the lab, in a broad range of areas: energy, computer hardware and software, biological imaging, and more. Two of the technologies--cellulolytic enzymes and atomic magnetometers--are efforts by leading scientists to solve critical problems, while five--surprise modeling, connectomics, probabilistic CMOS, reality mining, and offline Web applications--represent whole new ways of looking at problems. And three--graphene transistors, nanoradio, and wireless power--are amazing feats of engineering that have created something entirely new.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:20 AM
| Wine be gone: Wool fibers have to be chemically modified to receive a stable coating of titanium dioxide nanocrystals, which break down organic matter in sunlight. Red-wine stains do not leave uncoated fibers even after 20 hours (top right); unmodified nanocrystal-coated fibers show some stains (middle right). The stain is almost gone in chemically modified fibers because of the firmly attached nanocrystals (bottom right). |
Credit: American Chemical Society
Researchers at Monash University, in Victoria, Australia, have found a way to coat fibers with titanium dioxide nanocrystals, which break down food and dirt in sunlight. The researchers, led by organic chemist and nanomaterials researcher Walid Daoud, have made natural fibers such as wool, silk, and hemp that will automatically remove food, grime, and even red-wine stains when exposed to sunlight.
Daoud and his colleagues coat the fibers with a thin, invisible layer of titanium dioxide nanoparticles. Titanium dioxide, which is used in sunscreens, toothpaste, and paint, is a strong photocatalyst: in the presence of ultraviolet light and water vapor, it forms hydroxyl radicals, which oxidize, or decompose, organic matter. However, says Daoud, "these nanocrystals cannot decompose wool and are harmless to skin." Moreover, the coating does not change the look and feel of the fabric.
"When you burn something, you oxidize it," says Jeffrey Youngblood, a materials engineering professor at Purdue University, who is developing self-cleaning materials that repel oil. "This [titanium dioxide coating] is just burning organic matter at room temperature in the presence of light."
Titanium dioxide can also destroy pathogens such as bacteria in the presence of sunlight by breaking down the cell walls of the microorganisms. This should make self-cleaning fabrics especially useful in hospitals and other medical settings. Daoud says that "self-cleaning property will become a standard feature of future textiles and other commonly used materials to maintain hygiene and prevent the spreading of pathogenic infection, particularly since pathogenic microorganisms can survive on textile surfaces for up to three months."
The idea of using titanium dioxide to make self-cleaning surfaces is not new. Titanium dioxide powder is added to paints and as a transparent coating (roughly 10 nanometers thick) on glass to make self-cleaning windows.
To make self-cleaning wool, Daoud and his colleagues use nanocrystals of titanium dioxide that are four to five nanometers in size. In the past, the researchers have made self-cleaning cotton by coating it with these nanocrystals. But coating wool, silk, and hemp has proved more difficult. These fibers are made of a protein called keratin, which does not have any reactive chemical groups on its surface to bind with titanium dioxide.
The researchers chemically modify the surface of wool fibers, adding chemical groups called carboxylic groups, which strongly attract titanium dioxide. Then they dip the fibers in a titanium dioxide nanocrystal solution. The researchers have outlined this process in a paper that recently appeared online in the journal Chemistry of Materials.
In the paper, the researchers show how the material stands up to red-wine stains, which are notoriously difficult to remove. Titanium-dioxide-coated wool shows almost no sign of the red stain after 20 hours of exposure to simulated sunlight, while the untreated wool remains boldly stained. Other stains disappear faster: coffee stains fade away in two hours, while blue-ink stains disappear in seventeen hours.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:10 AM
After Angela Garbarino was arrested in Shreveport, Louisiana last November on suspicion of drunk driving, she wound up lying on the police station floor in a pool of her own blood with two black eyes, a broken nose, two broken teeth, and other cuts and bruises.
Garbarino says that Officer Wiley Willis beat her up after turning off the police video camera. Willis's attorney insists that Garbarino slipped and fell when Willis tried to prevent her from leaving the room. However, Garbarino says that the extent of her injuries are proof that she was beaten.
The police video obtained by ABC News shows Garbarino demanding the right to make a phone call. "I have the right to call somebody right now and I know that," she yells. Officer Willis instead begins handcuffing her. She wiggles away, he pulls her back sharply by her wrists, and she hits the wall and falls on the floor.
Willis pushes her down into a chair three successive times as she repeatedly stands up again, increasingly distraught and screaming, "Get away from me!" Willis is finally shown leaning over her and asking, "Do you understand me?" to which she replies, "Yeah, I understand." Willis then walks over and turns off the camera.
When the video resumes, Garbarino is lying in the floor in a pool of her own blood. There is an apparent cut in what ABC aired, but according to KTBS in Shreveport, Willis turns Garbarino on her back, telling her, "Lay down, don’t move," and she replies, "I can't believe you just did what you just did. I really can't."
Willis has since been dismissed from the police force. KTBS states that "Willis was fired by Police Chief Henry Whitehorn earlier this month for how he treated Garbarino during the whole episode, not for her injuries."
Willis is appealing his dismissal, and his attorney insists that his client was following procedures in turning off the camera. According to KTBS, "Authorities familiar with Shreveport police policy said a person is read their rights and gets an explanation of what's going to happen next. That is followed by a sobriety test. If the person refuses, the officer can turn off the tape and take them to an adjoining room, handcuff them to a bench, fill out the paperwork and charge them."
However, experts suggested to ABC that Willis should have called for female backup when Garbarino began resisting. One criminologist stated, "I think we have a situation where the arrested person is refusing to cooperate and the police officer apparently overreacted."
The complete ABC story can be found here.
This video is from ABC's Good Morning America, broadcast February 19, 2008.
Posted by gjblass at 9:46 AM
Microfiber fabric makes its own electricity?
By Julie SteenhuysenWed Feb 13, 1:21 PM ET
U.S. scientists have developed a microfiber fabric that generates its own electricity, making enough current to recharge a cell phone or ensure that a small MP3 music player never runs out of power.
If made into a shirt, the fabric could harness power from its wearer simply walking around or even from a slight breeze, they reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.
"The fiber-based nanogenerator would be a simple and economical way to harvest energy from the physical movement," Zhong Lin Wang of the Georgia Institute of Technology, who led the study, said in a statement.
The nanogenerator takes advantage of the semiconductive properties of zinc oxide nanowires -- tiny wires 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair -- embedded into the fabric. The wires are formed into pairs of microscopic brush-like structures, shaped like a baby-bottle brush.
One of the fibers in each pair is coated with gold and serves as an electrode. As the bristles brush together through a person's body movement, the wires convert the mechanical motion into electricity.
"When a nanowire bends it has an electric effect," Wang said in a telephone interview. "What the fabric does is it translates the mechanical movement of your body into electricity."
His team made the nanogenerator by first coating fibers with a polymer, and then a layer of zinc oxide. They dunked this into a warm bath of reactive solution for 12 hours. This encouraged the wires to multiply, coating the fibers.
"They automatically grow on the surface of the fiber," Wang said. "In principal, you could use any fiber that is conductive."
They added another layer of polymer to prevent the zinc oxide from being scrubbed off. And they added an ultra-thin layer of gold to some fibers, which works as a conductor.
To ensure all that friction was not just generating static electricity, the researchers conducted several tests. The fibers produced current only when both the gold and the zinc oxide bristles brushed together.
So far, Wang said the researchers had demonstrated the principle and developed a small prototype.
"Our estimates show we can have up to 80 milliwatts per square meter of this fabric. This is enough to power a little iPod or charge a cell phone battery," he said.
"What we've done is demonstrate the principle and the fundamental mechanism."
Wang said the material could be used by hikers and soldiers in the field and also to power tiny sensors used in biomedicine or environmental monitoring.
One major hurdle remains: zinc oxide degrades when wet. Wang's team is working on a process that would coat the fibers to protect the fabric in the laundry.
(Editing by Maggie Fox and Alan Elsner)
(email@example.com ; +1 312 408 8131))
Posted by gjblass at 9:39 AM
Beginning Tuesday, the first product from his company, DoubleTwist Ventures, will enter open beta. Called DoubleTwist, it's a free desktop client that essentially allows any kind of music, photo, or video file to be shared between a long list of portable media players, and through Web-based social networks.
Instead of iTunes songs or videos taken with a Nokia N95 remaining locked on the phone, DoubleTwist software allows for dragging, dropping, and syncing of different media formats no matter the device.
The idea, according to DoubleTwist founder and CEO Monique Farantzos, is that media files should be more like e-mail. It shouldn't matter what service you create the file in, or on what type of hardware, it all should work together seamlessly, she says.
Farantzos recruited DVD Jon, or Jon Lech Johansen, and the two have been working with about 10 others for the past eight months on the DoubleTwist software. Johansen says DoubleTwist allows him to bring the success he's found to a wider audience.
"It's one opportunity to write something for your Web site for use by a couple thousand geeks," he said in an interview. But with DoubleTwist, the idea is to hide all the complexity of making easy transfers of files from the user so that even non-techie types will understand. "The goal is to make something your parents can use," he said.
It works like this: When a device is plugged into a PC (Windows XP and Vista only right now, Mac OS X coming soon), DoubleTwist launches and recognizes all the media files on the device. Any file can be selected, dragged, and dropped into DoubleTwist to be synched up to a separate device, or shared with other users you've "friended" who also use DoubleTwist.
By adding Facebook compatibility (with OpenSocial platforms next on their list), DoubleTwist users can share media through the social network. A Facebook application called TwistMe will allow users to drag and drop media content into a box on a fellow user's Facebook profile. The friend will then see the shared files show up in his DoubleTwist desktop client.
Social-network compatibility is key to enable real sharing of media between users, Farantzos said. "It closes the loop between the Web, devices, and the desktop."
DoubleTwist also recognizes and imports all iTunes playlists and will read instantly which ones are protected by digital rights management technology. The software automatically plays the song files in the background (sans volume) and re-records them as MP3 files so they can be transferred to any device. Note: DoubleTwist only does this for songs you own or are authorized to play in iTunes.
Farantzos says they're not picking on any one particular brand of DRM, especially since the entire industry, led by Amazon, is leaning toward a DRM-free policy.
"Digital media is dominated by two players, Windows Media and iTunes, and they each have their own agenda...we see ourselves as the Switzerland of digital media. We are format and device agnostic."
Posted by gjblass at 9:38 AM
Gamers will soon be able to interact with the virtual world using their thoughts and emotions alone.
A neuro-headset which interprets the interaction of neurons in the brain will go on sale later this year.
"It picks up electrical activity from the brain and sends wireless signals to a computer," said Tan Le, president of US/Australian firm Emotiv.
"It allows the user to manipulate a game or virtual environment naturally and intuitively," she added.
The brain is made up of about 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons, which emit an electrical impulse when interacting. The headset implements a technology known as non-invasive electroencephalography (EEG) to read the neural activity.
Ms Le said: "Emotiv is a neuro-engineering company and we've created a brain computer interface that reads electrical impulses in the brain and translates them into commands that a video game can accept and control the game dynamically."
Headsets which read neural activity are not new, but Ms Le said the Epoc was the first consumer device that can be used for gaming.
"This is the first headset that doesn't require a large net of electrodes, or a technician to calibrate or operate it and does require gel on the scalp," she said. "It also doesn't cost tens of thousands of dollars."
The use of Electroencephalography in medical practice dates back almost 100 years but it is only since the 1970s that the procedure has been used to explore brain computer interfaces.
The Epoc technology can be used to give authentic facial expressions to avatars of gamers in virtual worlds. For example, if the player smiles, winks, grimaces the headset can detect the expression and translate it to the avatar in game.
It can also read emotions of players and translate those to the virtual world. "The headset could be used to improve the realism of emotional responses of AI characters in games," said Ms Le.
"If you laughed or felt happy after killing a character in a game then your virtual buddy could admonish you for being callous," she explained.
The $299 headset has a gyroscope to detect movement and has wireless capabilities to communicate with a USB dongle plugged into a computer.
The Emotiv said the headset could detects more than 30 different expressions, emotions and actions.
They include excitement, meditation, tension and frustration; facial expressions such as smile, laugh, wink, shock (eyebrows raised), anger (eyebrows furrowed); and cognitive actions such as push, pull, lift, drop and rotate (on six different axis).
Gamers are able to move objects in the world just by thinking of the action.
Emotiv is working with IBM to develop the technology for uses in "strategic enterprise business markets and virtual worlds"
Paul Ledak, vice president, IBM Digital Convergence said brain computer interfaces, like the Epoc headset were an important component of the future 3D Internet and the future of virtual communication.