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Monday, July 14, 2008

BMW M3 racecar video

How To Beat The Claw Game

This little girl wants a toy from inside the claw game and figures out a way to cheat the game.

read more | digg story

NASA Needs to Take Space Sex Seriously

The US space agency needs to have better consideration for the sexual needs of their astronauts during long missions in space. Also, more research needs to be done to investigate human embryo development in zero-gravity or low-gravity environments, especially if NASA is serious about setting up a colony on Mars in the next 30 years.

read more | digg story

Russian Bar Trios........Acrobatic

This stuff is amazing......

Russian bar trio - America's Got Talent 2008

A performance on the Russian Bar, recorded for Chinese television at the Circus Festival of Monte Carlo. The final stunt is flat out awesome.


Smoking is 'good for your memory and concentration

By David Derbyshire


Smoking can aid concentration and the memory, offering hope of a nicotine pill to help Alzheimer's sufferers

Smoking can help boost memory and concentration, say scientists. The discovery offers hope of a nicotine pill that mimics these effects to treat Alzheimer's disease.

Experts are developing drugs that copy the active ingredients in tobacco that stimulate the brain without causing heart disease, cancer, stroke or addiction.

The move follows the discovery that nicotine can boost the intelligence and recall ability of animals in laboratory experiments.

The researchers, who present their latest findings at a brain conference today, hope that the new drugs, which will be available in five years, could have fewer side effects than existing medicines for dementia.

But they stress the new treatment would not be a cure for Alzheimer's disease. At best it will only give patients a few extra months of independent life.

Tobacco has long been known to have a stimulating effect on the brain. Victorian doctors recommended smoking as a means of sharpening the wits and boosting concentration.

However, the deadly side effects of cancer, stroke and heart disease, mean its benefits have been neglected by medical research.

Professor Ian Stoleman, from the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, has shown that nicotine can improve the performance of rats in an intelligence and memory test.

"The substances that we call drugs have, in the majority of cases, do have a mixture of beneficial and harmful effects and nicotine no exception to this," he said.

"When we started this work 10 years ago we didn't think that we would find beneficial effects on cognitive performance on normal subjects.

"But we were able to find an effect in the sense of the acute administration of nicotine producing small improvements in performance of tasks in normal rats."

His team trained rats to respond to a brief flash of light by standing in an area of a cage. If they moved to the right spot, they were rewarded with a food pellet.

After they mastered the task, the rats responded correctly around 80 per cent of the time. But after being injected with nicotine, the success rate went up 5 per cent.

The difference was much starker when the rats were distracted with loud noises. Then they got the task right 50 per cent of the time without nicotine - but 80 per cent of the time with it.

Prof Stolerman's team have studied how nicotine alters the brain's circuitry to boost memory and concentration - and identified some of key brain receptors and chemical messengers - such as dopamine and glutamate - that are involved.

They also found differences in the chain of events that leads to boosted brain power - and the chain of events that leads to addiction.

"We believe that by building on these differences it may be possible for medicinal chemists to devise compounds that produce some of the beneficial effects of nicotine," he said.

The findings are being presented today at the Forum of European Neuroscience in Geneva.

Drugs companies have been working for 10 to 15 years to develop compounds based on nicotine that produce only beneficial effects. The new discoveries could lead to a new drug - based on nicotine - within "a few years".

Where To Find The Sexiest Girls In The World (Outside The US)

Written by Denis Burke

Photo by Celeste

Rarely do travel guides step up to the question every traveler, male and female alike, cannot help but consider when exploring new terrain: are the locals hot?

Help spread the word!

In advance of choosing your next great escape, you may want to remember the following list, just so your decision will be fully informed. And so, in no particular order, the top 10 cities in the world for hottest girls…


No one is sure what causes it. The wine? The weather? The water? Whatever it is, it so happens that there is a staggering number of beautiful girls in the tranquilo little town of Mendoza, Argentina.

The majority of hot Mendocina women epitomize what you would expect from a smoking hot Latina: Brunette, olive skin, sharp, dark eyes and hourglass curves.

Go out on a Friday or Saturday night in January and there’s a good chance seven out of ten girls you see at the bars will be insanely beautiful.


photo by ~chicchun~

Mixing it up like nowhere else west of Tel Aviv, many Cubans can trace ancestry to several ethnicities. Tall women with striking features.

Havana nights live up to their reputation; the music will stir your soul. This is no place to be a shy gentlemen, but if you can’t open up with a few words of Spanish you’re sunk.


Tokyo’s twenty-something generation is full of movers and shakers. Tokyo is the original mega city, sporting funky styles you’ve never heard of.

Even though it can look a bit like consumerism gone mad, Japanese fashion is grounded to the features and body types of its wearers.

Expect a lot of big beautiful eyes, sleek raven hair, and legs to die for. Contrary to popular myths, Japanese women are very approachable and often speak English.


That’s right, Dubai! It’s not all shopping and golf. With a population drawn from all over the region and the wider world, the ladies of Dubai certainly cause jaws to drop.

As in many predominantly Muslim cities, women find ways of expressing feminine allure in spite of their hair and bodies being largely covered.

Makeup and shoes are rarely worn with such tantalizing effects as they are in Dubai.


photo by El Cabron

A city that spans two continents and is home to some of the most beautiful women in the world. Forget any preconceptions of belly dancers, the women of this city are dynamic, modern and crazy diverse.

Aside from the archetypal Arabian Nights look, you will also find blonds and even the occasional red head. True to Mediterranean fashion, Istanbul residents are meticulous about appearances.

Most Turkish in Istanbul have a smattering of English and maybe a few other languages as well. Bar hopping is the way to go in this town. Can’t find a date at the traditional music café? Try the death metal bar next door.


Prague’s turbulent history has done nothing to quash its appeals. More often than not, Czech women feature in top ten lists of world beauties and with good reason.

Not a capital of style exactly, but certainly well turned out and proud. Prague’s streets teem with blonde haired, blue eyed beauties. A touch of old Europe.


photo by a tai.

Anyone who believes that Parisians are the world’s most serious people about their appearance has never been to Croatia.

In ads, store fronts, everywhere, there is a sense that fashion is not to be taken lightly–and with a population this hot, it’s hardly surprising.

Take typical northern Italian beauty, mix in a dash of Balkan mystique and even a little Greek charisma and you have an approximation of the hugely appealing Croatians.


Amsterdamers are quick to brag that their city has a massive mix of nationalities. Indeed you will hear crazy statistics about up to 40% of the city’s population hailing from elsewhere.

A few days cycling around this city will have you gaping, trying to figure out which international city some of these angels just flew in from…and then there’s the native Dutch! Tall, fit, friendly, cultured, and usually multi-lingual. Do you need anything else?


Be warned, there are already legions of white men trailing around Seoul, laboring under the misapprehension that they are the fairest of them all.

You would do well to adopt a different approach. Though parts of Seoul are ultra-modern, older values are important here and Koreans take relationships seriously. But if East Asian beauty floats your boat you’ve come to the right place.

Don’t confuse westernized with western here- Seoul style is singular and unique. And if anyone tells you that Korean women are docile and humble, you have been misinformed.

You wanna make an impression on a Korean woman? Be prepared to look silly–at least sloppy serenades and grandiose romantic gestures live on somewhere.


It’s all about the accent. Singaporean English (Singlish) is at once sophisticated, endearing, cute, and sexy. Somewhere between public school Londoner, New Delhi socialite, and urban Chinese, this is English as it should be spoken.

Singapore’s year round humidity and relative affluence means that the summer range of fashion is constantly updated and the ladies of this micro-state are always a step ahead of it. Fashion-conscious, self aware, and demure, Singapore is smoldering!

Huge Towering Bag of Vaporized Marijuana

This bag looks like it is well over 6 feet tall and was hooked up to a Volcano vaporizer for minimal health risk and maximum good times.

Click here to see the full pic | digg story

Hong Kong on a Sunny Day: An Awesome Panoramic View [PIC]

A great panoramic shot of Hong Kong on a sunny day.

Click here to see the High-Resolution Pic | digg story

I'll take a Mini with the Works please!

It's important not to underestimate the importance of the 2008 Mini John Cooper Works. According to the Munich vision, John Cooper Works is to Mini what the M division is to BMW.

John Cooper was a true Brit, a simple gas station owner who had clever ideas and a working welding torch. He popularized the rear-engine racing car in the 1950s and ultimately built the cars that won the Formula 1 world championship in 1959 and 1960 in his small two-story workshop behind the gas pumps. Then in the 1960s, Cooper transformed the original BMC Mini from a tiny family sedan into a supercar that won the Monte Carlo rally.

When the second-generation BMW-engineered Mini was launched in 2001, John Cooper's son Mike began producing a highly successful tuning kit for the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S with BMW's blessing. The kits were so successful that at the end of 2006 BMW bought the rights to the John Cooper Works name as Mini's equivalent of BMW's own M division.

And now the fruits of their labor are about to go on sale in Europe, as the 2008 Mini John Cooper Works and 2008 Mini Clubman John Cooper Works hit the showrooms. These are full production cars, not aftermarket specials, and they trundle down the same production line as the standard Mini.

Direct-Injected and Turbocharged
The comparison between M and John Cooper Works is not always flattering for the new Mini supercar. While M has set a demanding standard by transforming BMW cars into unique, fully realized specialty models, the Works treatment focuses on the engine, with only a few styling mods to differentiate the car from its lesser brethren.

The big change is a new, larger-capacity twin-scroll turbocharger and exhaust manifold. Maximum boost pressure has been increased from the 13 psi of the Mini Cooper S to 19 psi here.

The intake valves, pistons and the cylinder head have all been reinforced to cope with the increased temperature, while the compression ratio has been reduced to 10.0:1. There's also a larger air intake to improve the flow into the 1,598cc engine. In addition, the transmission has strengthened gearing to handle the extra available power.

To improve the breathing at the exhaust side of the engine, the catalytic converter and exhaust system have been increased in size to reduce the back-pressure. The new twin stainless-steel exhaust pipes have also been tuned to provide an appropriate soundtrack.

The net result is an engine that develops 208 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and there's 192 pound-feet of torque between 1,850 and 5,600 rpm that can be momentarily increased to 206 lb-ft on overboost. This compares with the 173 hp and 177 lb-ft output of the standard Cooper S. As a result, the Mini's top speed rises from 140 to 148 mph, while acceleration to 100 km/h (62 mph) falls from 7.1 to 6.5 seconds.

These are solid figures that are reinforced by subjective impressions. Turbo lag is minimal and the little engine feels ever eager to rev. The Mini's diminutive size and firm ride contribute to the sensations of speed. It even sounds good, with the occasional pop and fart from the exhaust adding to the sense of fun.

No less important, especially in Europe, is the car's fuel economy. Its average on the European driving cycle of 40.9 mpg is excellent for this class of car, as the rival Ford Focus ST manages just 30.4 mpg.

At the Wheel
The standard suspension setup of the Works is unchanged from the standard Cooper S, although Mini's Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) is standard, so the threshold for the Dynamic Stability Control's (DSC) intervention leaves room for a little fun. The DTC can be switched off if you want to play it safe, and the DSC can be switched off if you don't. There is also the usual Sport function that changes the throttle map to provide more boost lower in the rev range and reduces the steering assistance.

Mini has made some bold claims about the Works' new electronically controlled limited-slip differential's ability to eradicate torque steer, but the reality is a little different. Even on a dry road, you're never left in any doubt about which wheels are driving, and the stability control's tendency to smother the power can also be an irritation. It's much better to turn it off and relearn the art of throttle control.

You can opt for a sport suspension on the Works or a dealer-installed John Cooper Works kit that lowers the car by 0.4 inch. But unless you're a track day fanatic or enjoy an intimate relationship with your chiropractor; you're best leaving well alone. The ride is plenty stiff enough in standard guise, although the Clubman version has a better ride and more stable handling, as you'd expect given its longer wheelbase.

The 2008 Mini John Cooper Works is fun in the way that every other Mini is fun. The ultra-responsive steering, positive gearshift and remarkable agility are all present and correct. The uprated brakes are great, too — they're 0.9 inch larger in diameter than those on a Cooper S and are complemented by Brembo calipers.

A Trip to the Aftermarket
The kind of people who buy a Works want the world to know about it. There's a new front airdam, rocker-sill skirts, rear valance, twin exhaust pipes and unique 17-inch wheels. Some elements are more successful than others — the rear-end treatment looks clumsy — but no one will be left in any doubt that you've spent the big bucks.

The interior treatment is more subtle. There's some elegant piano-black detailing, an Anthracite-color headliner, a 160-mph speedometer and a few checkered flag badges, but that's about it.

Of course, the "fastest ever production Mini" does not come cheap. The 2008 Mini John Cooper Works is expected to be priced at $29,200 (according to BMW North America's estimates last March, of course), while the Mini Clubman John Cooper Works will begin at $31,450.

For many, the temptation to purchase the fastest, most exclusive Mini will be too good to resist. But the more discerning might think twice. Although this is a nicely executed conversion, the relatively modest increase in performance compared with the standard Mini Cooper S makes the leap in cost difficult to justify. It's a neat tuning job, but this is not Mini's answer to the M3.

The incredible 'Stone Nudes' who rock climb completely naked

By Daily Mail Reporter

It is a breathtaking - and death-defying feat - which redefines the term extreme sport.

Battling both gravity and the elements, the climber claws her way up a granite boulder by just her fingertips.

For most, the lack of ropes and safety equipment would be a perilous step too far.

But this woman has gone even further and abandoned her clothes to take part in the new sport of naked rock climbing

Enlarge naked rock climber

Death defying: The Stone Nudes abandon equipment, clothes and shoes in a bid to capture the 'true essence of the climbing spirit'

The climber is one of a series of super-fit 'Stone Nudes' captured in action on the cliffs and mountains of America.

Without clothes, specialist shoes or other equipment, participants say the experience captures the 'true essence of the climbing spirit.'

It is the latest extreme sport craze to sweep the US, and is now tipped to become a popular pastime in the UK.

Enlarge naked rock climbers

Incredible: One of the women attempts a tricky overhang, clinging on by just her fingertips and toes

And as these incredible pictures taken in America show, exercise has never been so attractive.

The 'Stone Nudes' idea is the brainchild of California-based photographer and rock climber Dean Fidelman.

His photographs have now been used to create a new 2009 'Stone Nudes' calendar, which he is selling on his website.

Enlarge naked rock climber

Fearless: The sport is a hit in America and is expected to take off in Britain

Dean said: 'This kind of climbing is the sport at its purest, and is intended to inspire and celebrate the human form.

'It requires no equipment which means climbers of all abilities can take part.

'Hundreds of people are now participating in a sport that captures the true essence of the climbing spirit.'

Enlarge naked rock climber

Unconventional: Naked rock climbers view their hobby as the purest form of the sport

The Japanese Town Living in a World Without Waste

By Roger Harrabin
Environment analyst, BBC News

Zero waste: The Japanese island where the rubbish collectors never come

The Mayor of Kamikatsu, a small community in the hills of eastern Japan, has urged politicians around the world to follow his lead and make their towns "Zero Waste".

He told BBC News that all communities could learn from Kamikatsu, where residents have to compost all their food waste and sort other rubbish into 34 different categories.

Residents say the scheme has prompted them to cut down on waste generally and food waste in particular.

If the policy spread, it would reduce the amount of food waste, and so take some of the pressure off high food prices.

Kamikatsu may be a backwater in the wooded hills and rice terraces of south-eastern Japan but it's become a world leader on waste policy.

There are no waste collections from households at all. People have to take full responsibility for everything they throw away.

It's a good idea to send things back to the earth so I support it
Hatsue Katayama

Kitchen waste has to be composted. Non-food waste is processed either in local shops which accept goods for recycling or in Kamikatsu's Zero Waste Centre. There, people have to sort their unwanted items into 34 different boxes for recycling.

Residents have to sort plastic bottles (used for fruit juice, for example) from PET (polyethylene teraphthalate) bottles (used for mineral water) because PET is more valuable when it is separated out.

There are specific boxes for pens, razors and the sort of Styrofoam trays on which meat is often purchased. These have to be washed and dried.

The scheme was adopted when councillors realised it was much cheaper than incineration - even if the incinerator was used to generate power.

Winning idea

Many locals are enthusiastic participants. Take Kikue Nii, who strips labels off bottles then washes and dries them before sending them to recycling.

She takes her other everyday waste to the local shop where she receives a lottery ticket in return for a bag of cans.

Recyling at a local shop
The community uses incentives to encourage recylcing

She has won a £5 food voucher four times. It's not a huge amount but it's better than nothing.

She is also a big fan of composting.

"I think I produce less waste because I have to compost it," she says.

"When I can't use the whole vegetable or meat, I try to cook it again with wine and so on. It makes a very good soup. Everyone should have a composter if they can."

Her neighbours Fumikazu Katayama and his wife Hatsue are ardent composters, too.

Hatsue says: "I have to do it every day; it's certainty a bit of work. But it's a good idea to send things back to the earth so I support it. I just do it naturally now; it's part of the routine."

The Katayamas take the rest of their waste to the Zero Waste Centre for sorting - carrying the waste bag between them.

Global question

Questions remain about the scheme. Some of the composters are boosted by electric power, which creates greenhouse gas emissions.

And it's possible that the savings in greenhouse gases from recycling are negated by the need for people to drive to the Zero Waste Centre.

Yoko Kyoi  converts a silk kimono belt into a bag
Old curtains or kimonos are expertly converted into bags

Natsuko Matsuoka, one of the originators of the centre, disagrees - she says people generally tie in the journey with a weekly shopping trip.

A poll showed that although the Zero Waste policy has many admirers, 40% of people weren't happy about all aspects of the scheme.

The Mayor Kasamatsu Kasuichi is undeterred: "We should consider what is right and what is wrong, and I believe it is wrong to send a truck to collect the waste and burn it.

"That is bad for the environment. So whether I get support or not, I believe I should persuade people to support my policy."

Now he invites other politicians around the world to follow suit.

Mitsubishi’s Electric Car Will Be Released in 2009 for $37,500

July 13th, 2008 by Benjamin Jones

Mitsubishi iMiev

It seems our favorite media darling, the Chevy Volt, will have bit of competition when it comes time for it’s eventual release in 2010. Though we’re not sure if it will make it to the US (like the Smart Car EV), we do know that Mitsubishi’s iMiev will make it to market a year earlier than the Volt and be priced lower.

The iMiev, which we start hearing about earlier in the year, has already been slated by Mitsubishi for commercial sale in Japan in 2009, a full year before the Volt is intended to hit US shores. There are also unconfirmed rumors that the iMiev may also make it to the US after a run of a few years in Japan. However, what’s really interesting about the iMiev right now is that Mitsubishi has just released a price figure of what $37,496 US, which is about $2,500less than we often hear talked about as the price point for the Chevy Volt.

Despite the similarities in pricing and release date, the two cars are very different beasts. The iMiev is based on a current Kei-car produced by Mitsubishi for Japan, and has a 47kW electric motor powered by a 330-volt lithium ion battery pack. The car will have a top speed of 80 mph and an all electric range of about 100 miles. Charging will take place via a normal power outlet and should take about 14 hours to completely charge the battery, though there is all a 220V charge option, which only takes 7 hours.

On the other hand, the Volt will feature a sportier 120kW motor and 100+ mph top speed, but will only have an electric range of 20 or 40 miles (depending on the speculation and model selection), after which is will switch over to your standard dinosaur burning engine like in most cars these days. Chevy claims that most people never drive over 40 miles in a day, but I’m sure these Volts will be burning enough fossil fuels that calling them “electric cars” will leave a bitter taste in some peoples’ mouths. I think series hybrid or plug-in hybrid is much more appropriate.

While you’re getting hyped up for the iMiev, check out this test drive video from Popular Mechanics:

13 Things Your Waiter Won't Ever Tell You

1. Avoid eating out on holidays and Saturday nights. The sheer volume of customers guarantees that most kitchens will be pushed beyond their ability to produce a high-quality dish.

2. There are almost never any sick days in the restaurant business. A busboy with a kid to support isn't going to stay home and miss out on $100 because he's got strep throat. And these are the people handling your food.

3. When customers' dissatisfaction devolves into personal attacks, adulterating food or drink is a convenient way for servers to exact covert vengeance. Waiters can and do spit in people's food.

4. Never say "I'm friends with the owner." Restaurant owners don't have friends. This marks you as a clueless poseur the moment you walk in the door.

5. Treat others as you want to be treated. (Yes, people need to be reminded of this.)

6. Don't snap your fingers to get our attention. Remember, we have shears that cut through bone in the kitchen.

7. Don't order meals that aren't on the menu. You're forcing the chef to cook something he doesn't make on a regular basis. If he makes the same entrée 10,000 times a month, the odds are good that the dish will be a home run every time.

8. Splitting entrées is okay, but don't ask for water, lemon, and sugar so you can make your own lemonade. What's next, grapes so you can press your own wine?

9. If you find a waiter you like, always ask to be seated in his or her section. Tell all your friends so they'll start asking for that server as well. You've just made that waiter look indispensable to the owner. The server will be grateful and take good care of you.

10. If you can't afford to leave a tip, you can't afford to eat in the restaurant. Servers could be giving 20 to 40 percent to the busboys, bartenders, maître d', or hostess.

11. Always examine the check. Sometimes large parties are unaware that a gratuity has been added to the bill, so they tip on top of it. Waiters "facilitate" this error. It's dishonest, it's wrong-and I did it all the time.

12. If you want to hang out, that's fine. But increase the tip to make up for money the server would have made if he or she had had another seating at that table.

13. Never, ever come in 15 minutes before closing time. The cooks are tired and will cook your dinner right away. So while you're chitchatting over salads, your entrées will be languishing under the heat lamp while the dishwasher is spraying industrial-strength, carcinogenic cleaning solvents in their immediate vicinity.

Volkswagen's 235-MPG Bullet-Shaped Hybrid - Updates

You may feel a little like batman when you get behind the wheel of VW’s upcoming hybrid, but your super power will be in the MPGs. Back in May we talked about VW’s plans to build a diesel-electric hybrid based on their One-Liter Car, with a release date of 2010. We have a few updates about their zippy little car.

The electric and diesel propulsion systems together are expected to get a whopping 235 miles per gallon, that much we know. We also hear that the fuel savings is maximized with a few little tricks – the engine shuts off at stop lights, for instance, the body is very light weight (the concept car weighs 640 pounds, with a body made of carbon fiber), and the aerodynamics are superb (the concept car’s drag coefficient is about half that of an average car).

Dimensions are about 11.4 feet long, 4.1 feet wide and 3.3 feet tall – talk about itty bitty! It’s not far off in size from their three-wheeler idea. But apparently it’s safe, as VW reports that the One-Liter Car is as safe as a GT sports car registered for racing, and comes complete with airbags and crunch control. Yeah, but that doesn’t do much to put your mind at ease when you’re essentially sledding down the road at high speeds.

Because the concept car is made of carbon monocoque, VW planned to wait intil the price of the material dropped to a reasonable amount, which they guessed would be in 2012. However, they’ve decided the cost is competitive enough to go ahead and get cracking, though that means the sticker price may fall between $31,750 to $47,622, according to Britain's Car magazine’s “well placed source.”

We’ll see how all these little nuggets given to us change as the car comes closer to release. It sounds like it’ll be a fun and efficient little car, but I have a hard time seeing Americans riding to work together tandem-style.

Bush gives Isreal the OK to bomb Iran

Well, shit.....its about time!!!

read more | digg story

The New Mozart: Blind girl plays any song after one listen

By Chris Laker

A blind five-year-old pianist from South Korea has stunned the music world after a video of her performance received more than 27million hits.

Yoo Ye-eun, who was born blind and adopted in 2002, has never had a formal piano lesson but can play any song after just one listen.

And now her remarkable talent is set to propel her to stardom as clips of her amazing performance have attracted millions of viewers to Korean website Pandora TV. A similar clip on YouTube has so far received two million hits.

Her display on 'Star King', a Korean talent show, earned the youngster £500 in prize money and moved the studio audience to tears.

Moving: Clips featuring Yoo Ye-eun have taken the internet by storm

The video opens with the gifted youngster being lifted up to the piano seat by the show's host, before settling down to play.

Ye-eun's adoptive mother, Park Jung Soon, said: 'She has perfect pitch even though she has never learnt to play. We never taught her.'

In May she performed a duet of 'You Raise me Up' with seven-year-old British singer Connie Talbot, who last year starred in reality show Britain's Got Talent.

After taking part in the national celebrations for Korea Day, the five-year-old's rise to fame continued last week with a performance in front of the Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong.

The youngster has been dubbed 'a five-year-old genius Mozart' and her performances have led to many offers, including one from doctors who tried but failed to restore her sight.

Ye-eun, whose act includes classics from such composers as Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin, practices every day and says her ambition is to become 'a great pianist.'

High Def Widscreen Panoramic View from Mars

This is just incredible!!!!! Very Large picture.....

Click here for HD PIC | digg story

America's 11 Greatest Beach Towns

Want close? Want old-fashioned? Want a town where you can park the car, drag a beach chair and a cooler of beers to the sand, and then shuffle down the boardwalk in flip-flops? Well, look no further. These are 11 great American seaside escapes, from classic fun-in-the-sun California to New England colonial charm.

read more | digg story

Can’t Find a Parking Spot? Check Smartphone

Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

The system uses a wireless sensor embedded in a 4-inch-by-4-inch piece of plastic, fastened to the pavement adjacent to each parking space.

SAN FRANCISCO — The secret to finding the perfect parking spot in congested cities is usually just a matter of luck. But drivers here will get some help from an innocuous tab of plastic that will soon be glued to the streets.

This fall, San Francisco will test 6,000 of its 24,000 metered parking spaces in the nation’s most ambitious trial of a wireless sensor network that will announce which of the spaces are free at any moment.

Can’t Find Parking Spot? Check Smartphone

Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

Tod Dykstra, left, chief of Streetline, and Scott Dykstra glue down sensors.

Drivers will be alerted to empty parking places either by displays on street signs, or by looking at maps on screens of their smartphones. They may even be able to pay for parking by cellphone, and add to the parking meter from their phones without returning to the car.

Solving the parking mess takes on special significance in San Francisco because two years ago a 19-year-old, Boris Albinder, was stabbed to death during a fight over a parking space.

“If the San Francisco experiment works, no one will have to murder anyone over a parking space,” said Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, whose work on the pricing of parking spaces and whether more spaces are good for cities has led to a revolution in ideas about relieving congestion.

“It will have a cascade of positive effects on transportation and the economy and environment,” he said. About a dozen major cities are in discussions with technology companies to deploy so-called smart parking systems, though San Francisco is ahead in its efforts.

New York City is not among them. The Bloomberg administration’s plan for easing traffic through a congestion pricing plan died in the State Legislature this spring, though high gas prices are reducing traffic somewhat on their own.

Not that New Yorkers need any reminders of their traffic problems, but a study released in June by Transportation Alternatives, a public transit advocacy group, reported that 28 percent to 45 percent of traffic on some streets in New York City is generated by people circling the blocks.

The study also said that drivers searching for metered parking in just a 15-block area of Columbus Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side drove 366,000 miles a year.

Gavin Newsom, San Francisco’s mayor, said that better parking systems were part of a broader approach to managing congestion without imposing restrictive tolls, as used in London and Singapore to discourage driving in downtown areas.

For Mr. Newsom the largest part of the challenge is replacing the city’s aging infrastructure.

“When I watch the movie ‘Vertigo,’ ” I still recognize every single traffic signal,” said the Mr. Newsom, referring to the 50-year old Alfred Hitchcock film.

SFpark, part of a nearly two-year $95.5 million program intended to clear the city’s arteries, will also make it possible for the city to adjust parking times and prices. For example, parking times could be lengthened in the evening to allow for longer visits to restaurants.

The city’s planners want to ensure that at any time, on-street parking is no more than 85 percent occupied. This strategy is based on research by Mr. Shoup, who has estimated that drivers searching for curbside parking are responsible for as much of 30 percent of the traffic in central business districts.

In one small Los Angeles business district that he studied over the course of a year, cars cruising for parking created the equivalent of 38 trips around the world, burning 47,000 gallons of gasoline and producing 730 tons of carbon dioxide.

To install the market-priced parking system, San Francisco has used a system devised by Streetline, a small technology company that has adapted a wireless sensor technology known as “smart dust” that was pioneered by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

It gives city parking officials up-to-date information on whether parking spots are occupied or vacant. The embedded sensors will also be used to relay congestion information to city planners by monitoring the speed of traffic flowing on city streets. The heart of the system is a wirelessly connected sensor embedded in a 4-inch-by-4-inch piece of plastic glued to the pavement adjacent to each parking space.

The device, called a “bump,” is battery operated and intended to last for five and 10 years without service. From the street the bumps form a mesh of wireless Internet signals that funnel data to parking meters on to a central management office near the San Francisco city hall.

Streetline has technology that will display open parking spaces on Web sites that can be accessed through wireless devices like smartphones. They are also developing a low-cost battery-operated street display that will be able to alert drivers to open parking spots nearby.

The San Francisco project is part of a more ambitious sensor network that will use technology for a range of services. It will be possible to monitor air quality as well as deploy noise sensors that act as sentries for everything from gunshots to car crashes. Advocates assert that wireless sensor technology is now so inexpensive and reliable that it is practical to use for essential city services.

“The broader picture is what we’re building is an operating system for the city that allows you to talk to or control all the inanimate objects out there to reduce the cost and improve quality of city services,” said Tod Dykstra, chief executive of Streetline, the company that is supplying the wireless sensor technology to San Francisco.

Mr. Newsom thinks that San Francisco will rally behind the sensor technology and will expand it to all of the city’s on-street and parking garage spaces in 2010.

“There isn’t a person who hasn’t experienced the travails of going around the block multiple times searching for a parking space, using gas and wasting time and generating greenhouse gases,” he said. “It will scale in people’s consciousness to the point that the public will demand more.”

New Backpacks Keep Cow's Farts - Scientists To Study Assgas

Now here is something you’d think you’d only see on The Simpsons. And yet, here it is – scientists are testing out plastic backpacks the capture a cow’s gassy expulsions, to see if this can combat global warming. By capturing the methane expelled by cows, Argentine scientists hope that they’ll be better able to understand the impact the gas has on global warming.

Considering that cow flatulence makes up over 30% of Argentina’s greenhouse emissions, and that methane is >23 times more heat-trapping than CO2, I can see why the scientists interested in pursing this. They’re also changing up cows’ diets to see if that helps them produce less gas, giving them clover and alfalfa rather than grain to help them produce as much as 25% less gas – kind of a major DUH thing to do considering cows are evolved to eat clover and alfalfa and not grain anyway, so a diet of grain is bound to give them a bit of indigestion.

Anyway, the backpacks don’t seem to bother the cows much, and we’ll have to wait and see the results of these odd tests – and wait to see if someone figures out how to run cars on the methane collected from feedlots…and, um, other sources. Personally, I say we all just eat less red meat and skip manufacturing yet more plastic or wasting time on selective breeding.However, I love the fact that cattle emissions is getting the attention it needs, and I won’t bash on this backpack much – and I won’t even get started on the long list of issues to using this on a large scale – because it’s likely not going to be a realistic solution to global warming anyway.

This Colgate Toothpaste Packaging Is Awfully Deceptive

Logan thought this bonus pack of Colgate contained two equally-sized tubes of toothpaste. After all, the boxes are exactly the same size. Yet when he opened the bonus box, he found a smaller box containing a mini tube of toothpaste.

Logan writes:

I bought some toothpaste last night as my wife an I had been surviving on tiny, dentist-issued travel tubes for the past couple weeks. We're lazy, so to save ourselves the trip after the next big tube was gone, I decided to buy a double pack of toothpaste. Thinking that the marginal savings of bundled toothpaste was the way to go, I grabbed a healthy sounding combo and was one may way. When I got home though, I was in for a big surprise. When I pulled the "Bonus" tube out of its box, it was actually in another, smaller box. Whaaaaat? Why the double boxing? Was it for packaging reasons? Or was it to hide the widespread reach and effectiveness of the the product shrink ray?

This isn't the feared Grocery Shrink Ray. This is deception, pure and simple. The weasels running Colgate's marketing team stuck to the law by printing the net weight on both boxes, but they clearly want consumers to assume that the boxes are the same size.

Way to waste an extra box, Colgate!

Rebooting the Body with Ketamine

A family struggles to get an experimental German treatment prohibited in the United States. The treatment will put their son in a coma for five to seven days, during which his body is filled with massive amount of ketamine in an attempt to “reboot” the system.

read more | digg story

Nintendo Introduces Wii Motion Plus

Nintendo's just announced Wii MotionPlus, an accessory for the Wii Remote. The add-on attaches to the bottom of the Wii-mote and more accurately traces motions in 3-D space by better orienting the controller. Hit the jump for the full press release details.

We expect Nintendo to divulge more at its E3 press conference tomorrow.

July 14, 2008
Nintendo's upcoming Wii™ MotionPlus accessory for the revolutionary Wii Remote™ controller again redefines game control, by more quickly and accurately reflecting motions in a 3-D space. The Wii MotionPlus accessory attaches to the end of the Wii Remote and, combined with the accelerometer and the sensor bar, allows for more comprehensive tracking of a player's arm position and orientation, providing players with an unmatched level of precision and immersion. Every slight movement players make with their wrist or arm is rendered identically in real time on the screen, providing a true 1:1 response in their game play. The Wii MotionPlus accessory reconfirms Nintendo's commitment to making games intuitive and accessible for everyone. Nintendo will reveal more details about the Wii MotionPlus accessory and other topics Tuesday morning at its E3 media briefing.

Read More:

Bugatti Successor planned

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Bugatti is preparing a successor to the 16-cylinder Veyron in 2011 or 2012, but the future model won't take a radically different path, according to CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen.

Paefgen, who heads both Bugatti and Bentley, was interviewed by the Dutch publication AutoVisie. He said that by 2011 or 2012, "there will be a completely new model" to replace the current Veyron, which is adding a targa model in 2009. The newcomer, added Paefgen, "must fit into the Bugatti history but also to the Veyron. A totally different direction is not an option."

Paefgen also told the publication that he wants to take Bugatti back into motorsports (Pierre Veyron was the co-driver of the 1939 Le Mans winner) — but "not with the Veyron."

What this means to you: Paefgen knows his automotive history well and appreciates how much the heritage of Bugatti underpins the brand.

Iphone firing on all cylinders(almost)


It's not the groundbreaking, industry-changing event that the original iPhone was. But the iPhone 3G is a worthy upgrade to Apple's smartphone, and fixes a few flaws that kept many people from buying the first version.

The addition of fast 3G wireless data, GPS and a more flexible, extensible operating system mean the iPhone is now entirely competitive with almost every other smartphone on the market. And its new, lower purchase price will remove the final obstacle to purchase for many people. In short, this phone is about to become very, very popular, as it deserves to be.

Physically, the phone is nearly identical to the previous generation. It measures 2.4 x 4.5 x 0.4 inches, and weighs 4.8 ounces, making it just 0.1 inch wider and 0.3 ounces lighter than the iPhone 1.0. It feels substantially thinner, thanks to tapered edges, which make it sit more comfortably in the hand. Instead of a silver aluminum back, the new iPhone has a plastic backing, available in either glossy black or shiny, iMac white. The screen and 2-megapixel camera are identical to those in the older iPhone, but the external speakers are much improved. Call quality was noticeably clearer in our initial tests.

App Store

The most innovative and compelling feature of the new iPhone has nothing to do with the hardware -- it's a software upgrade. In fact, this upgrade is available for free to current iPhone owners (and as a $10 software upgrade for iPod Touch owners). The App Store contained within the iPhone 2.0 operating system transforms the iPhone/iPod Touch from mere devices into a full-blown platform, massively multiplying their usefulness by providing a wide array of new applications. There are more than 550 apps available in the App Store so far (although more than 100 appear to be public-domain e-books), ranging from useful toys and productivity apps to iPhone games to apps for scientists and science lovers. And Apple has really nailed the customer experience here. Browsing, purchasing and downloading mobile software has never been easier.

Photos: Jonathan Snyder/


Fast Data and GPS

One of the biggest shortcomings of the iPhone's first-generation model was its reliance on AT&T's slow EDGE data network. The new 3G data support means that the iPhone can download data 2-3 times faster than the old model. Of course, it still has WiFi support, and based on early reviews, you may want to use WiFi whenever it's possible, because 3G usage will drain the iPhone's batteries quickly.

It's probably not a must-have feature for most users, but the addition of a GPS receiver is a welcome enhancement. The iPhone OS can now use a combination of GPS data and triangulation from WiFi hotspots and cell-tower locations to establish its location. This feature has worked well in our testing so far, and we expect its usefulness to expand as an increasing number of applications start to take advantage of it.

Sign Up and Activation Problems

Thanks in part to heavy demand and insufficient capacity, the phone's launch today did not go smoothly. The iPhone went on sale in dozens of countries worldwide today, and in some cases, there were distribution problems. AT&T's and Apple's servers both suffered from heavy traffic loads, preventing many customers from being able to begin using their phones (greatly irritating some users, and provoking mirth among others). We tried for several hours to activate our iPhone, only succeeding about 2 p.m. Pacific -- five hours after we'd purchased the phone.

The problems seem to have cleared up now, however, and reports suggest that activation is proceeding much more quickly. Part of the activation process must be completed in an Apple or AT&T store, part of it can be done via iTunes. It lacks the innovative simplicity of the original iPhone's hassle-free sign-up process, but on the whole, it's a less onerous sign up than you'll face in most cellphone stores.

Bottom Line

If you already have an iPhone (first generation) or an iPod Touch, this is not a necessary upgrade. Instead, upgrade the operating system via iTunes, and you'll be able to take advantage of the App Store and all the software it contains.

But if you don't have an iPhone, now is a very good time to buy one. The price cut is worth less than Apple's ads would have you believe, since the $200 price ($300 for the 16GB version) is coupled with a two-year cellular service contract. In the U.S., AT&T's iPhone 3G contract will cost $10 more than the old version did ($70 for a package with unlimited data usage and the minimum number of minutes, 450 per month), pretty much erasing any price difference.

But let's put this in context: the handset and service pricing are extremely competitive with other smartphones (including a wide variety of iPhone-like iClones). While the iPhone still has some notable shortcomings -- no replaceable battery, a mere 2 megapixels in the camera, no video recording capabilities -- it is an impressively useful, well-thought-out device, and comes at a reasonable price.

Add in the growing array of software in the iTunes App Store, and you have a device that will get more useful, not less useful, with time. You can't say that about most other phones.

Specs: Apple iPhone 3G
3G wireless data
2-megapixel camera
iPhone 2.0 OS
3.5-inch multi-touch LCD
320 x 480 pixel display

$200 (8GB) or $300 (16GB), with two-year AT&T contract (prices and carriers will vary in other countries)

This day in tech 1850-Dr Gorrie's Ice maker

John Gorrie's ice-making machine got a dramatic debut.
Diagram: U.S. Patent 8,080, May 6, 1851.

1850: Florida physician John Gorrie uses his mechanical ice-maker to astonish the guests at a party. It's America's first public demonstration of ice made by refrigeration.

William Cullen had demonstrated the principle of artificial refrigeration in a University of Glasgow laboratory in 1748, by allowing ethyl ether to boil into a vacuum. American Oliver Evans designed in 1805 -- but never built -- a refrigeration machine that used vapor instead of liquid. Jacob Perkins used Evans' concept for an experimental volatile-liquid, closed-cycle compressor in 1834.

Nonetheless, mid-century cooling in the tropics and subtropics -- and in the temperate summer -- relied on natural ice blocks carved from frozen lakes and rivers in the North, kept in shaded sheds and cellars under layers of sawdust for insulation, and often delivered at great expense by specially fitted ice ships.

Gorrie was born in the tropics, on the Caribbean island of Nevis. He received his medical education in New York state before settling in the Florida cotton-shipping port of Apalachicola. There, he served at various times as mayor, justice of the peace, postmaster and bank president, besides carrying on his medical practice.

It would be another half-century before the causes of the killer diseases malaria and yellow fever were discovered, but Dr. Gorrie knew they relied on heat and moisture to propagate. He urged the draining of swamps and the enforcement of hygiene in the town's food market.

Gorrie also sought to improve the survival rate of his feverish patients by cooling them down. He suspended pans of ice water high in their sickrooms, so the cooled, heavy air would flow downward.

But ice was expensive in the Florida summer and often completely unavailable. Gorrie wanted to make it mechanically. He wrote:
If the air were highly compressed, it would heat up by the energy of compression. If this compressed air were run through metal pipes cooled with water, and if this air cooled to the water temperature was expanded down to atmospheric pressure again, very low temperatures could be obtained, even low enough to freeze water in pans in a refrigerator box.

Gorrie began tinkering with compressor-coolers and had a working model by the mid 1840s. The power source was irrelevant to his invention: It could be driven by wind, water, steam or the brute force of an animal.

He applied for patents in 1848 and had a prototype built in Ohio by the Cincinnati Iron Works. It was described in Scientific American the following year, but Gorrie still had to attract venture capital to fight the existing ice-block industry.

He arranged a dramatic demonstration of his machine for a social, rather than medical, occasion. It was a muggy July in Florida. Ice from the North had been exhausted. Gorrie attended an afternoon reception given by the French consul to honor Bastille Day.

The doctor first complained about drinking warm wine in hot weather, then suddenly announced, "On Bastille Day, France gave her citizens what they wanted. [Consul] Rosan gives his guests what they want, cool wines! Even if it demands a miracle!"

Then he signaled for waiters to enter with bottles of sparkling wine on trays of ice. Mechanically made ice in the sweltering Florida summer: It was a sensation. Smithsonian magazine dubbed that party the "chilly reception."

Gorrie received a British patent a month later and U.S. patent 8,080 on May 6, 1851, but he failed at business. His business partner died, and Gorrie's inefficient, leaky machines were mocked in the press by the ice-shipping establishment. He died in poverty and ill health in 1855, still in his early 50s. It would take Frenchman Ferdinand P.E. Carre's closed, ammonia-absorption system (patented in 1860) to make way for practical, widespread mechanical refrigeration.

Florida has honored Gorrie by placing his statue in the National Statuary Hall collection in the U.S. Capitol. (The other Florida statue is Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith.)

So, have a happy Bastille Day (or joyeux Fête Nationale), chill out and lift a cold one to the father of refrigeration. You can use the very words spoken 158 years ago: "Let us drink to the man who made the ice: Dr. Gorrie."

Microsoft cuts price of XBOX $50, adds new 60GB model

SEATTLE (AP) -- Microsoft Corp. is trimming the price of its Xbox 360 video game console to make way for a new model with a bigger hard drive.

Starting Sunday, Microsoft's mid-range Xbox 360 console with a 20-gigabyte hard drive will cost $299 in the U.S., down from $350.

Blogs have carried rumors of the decision since June, when photos depicting the $299 price tag were posted to the Internet.

An updated Xbox 360 is set to arrive in stores in early August. The $350 replacement will sport a 60GB hard drive, significantly more space for storing the games, TV shows and movies Microsoft sells on its Xbox Live Marketplace Web site.

Microsoft also is expected to give the Xbox a little extra appeal by streaming movies and TV episodes through a high-speed Internet service offering by Netflix Inc. The long-rumored deal could be announced as early as Monday at a video game conference in Los Angeles.

Microsoft did not adjust prices for its more basic Xbox 360 Arcade version, which has just 256 megabytes of storage and costs $280, or for the Xbox 360 Elite, a $450 model with a 120GB hard drive.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company released its next-generation game console in 2005, a year ahead of competing machines from Nintendo Co. and Sony Corp.

As of the end of May, Microsoft had sold 10.3 million Xboxes in the U.S., according to data from market researchers NPD Group. By comparison, Nintendo had sold 10.2 million Wii consoles, and Sony had sold 4.5 million PlayStation 3 machines.

Nintendo has kept the Wii's price at $250 since its U.S. launch in November 2006, while Microsoft and Sony have made several cuts to console prices in different regions. Currently, PS3 models cost $400 to $500 in the U.S.

First detailed map of the Human Cortex

Cortical core: Scientists used a new type of brain imaging called diffusion spectrum imaging, along with mathematical analysis, to build a map of the cortical architecture of the human brain, shown here. The blue lines represent neural fibers connecting different parts of the brain. To make the map easier to understand, only the strongest connections are shown. Letters indicate anatomic subregions of the brain.
Credit: Indiana University, University of Lausanne, EPFL

The first high-resolution map of the human cortical network reveals that the brain has its own version of Grand Central Station, a central hub that is structurally connected to many other parts of the brain. Scientists generated the map using a new type of brain imaging known as diffusion imaging. The technique maps the largely inaccessible tangle of the brain's white matter--the long, thin fibers that ferry nerve signals between cells. Scientists hope that using the noninvasive method to study neural connections in people with Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and autism will shed light on how changes in brain architecture are linked to these complex diseases.

"The fact that such a core exists gives rise to many questions we can now ask about it," says Olaf Sporns, a neuroscientist at Indiana University, in Bloomington, and senior author of the study, published this week in PLoS Biology. "What goes on there? And how is it involved in passing messages between different parts of the brain?"

Conventional imaging techniques, such as structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), reveal major anatomical features of the brain. But in humans, the brain's finer architecture--the neural projections that connect its different parts--has, until recently, remained hidden. "The brain we've been looking at with conventional MRI or CT scans all these years is not the real brain," says Van Wedeen, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, who was also involved in the study. "We're just seeing a shadow of its surfaces."

Diffusion imaging is a new twist on MRI that uses magnetic resonance signals to track the movement of water molecules in the brain.In gray matter, water tends to diffuse multidirectionally. But in white matter, it diffuses along the length of neural wires, called axons, and scientists can use these diffusion measurements to map the fibers.The newest incarnation of diffusion imaging, called diffusion spectrum imaging, allows scientists to perform a very difficult feat: determining the direction of overlapping nerve fibers. "That's very important for noninvasive mapping of brain connectivity," says Wedeen, who developed the technique.

Wedeen and his collaborators used diffusion spectrum imaging to image the brains of five healthy volunteers, generating a wiring map of the entire cortex. To reveal the core of the network, Sporns used a mathematical technique to repeatedly prune away the connection points with the fewest links. "If you do it gradually, you end up with a set of nodes remaining that are highly interconnected," he says.

The most highly connected node, which Sporns dubbed the core, is located at the back of the head, in parts of the brain known as the posterior medial and parietal cerebral cortex. The node lies on the shortest path between many different parts of the neural network. "It's highly connected amongst itself, but also highly central with respect to the rest of the brain," says Sporns. "Network studies in other fields, from the Internet to protein interaction networks, suggest that these kinds of highly connected nodes tend to be very important for determining what the network does as a whole."

Previous functional brain-imaging studies have also highlighted this region: it's one of the most metabolically active parts of the brain, particularly when people are cognitively at rest, meaning that they are awake and alert but not engaging in any particular task. "People refer to this as the resting state, daydreaming, or self-referential processing," says Sporns. As part of the new study, Sporns and his colleagues also used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure blood flow to different parts of the brain. They found that it correlated with the level of white-matter connectivity in the individual subjects.

The researchers want to use the imaging technique to look at clinical conditions such as schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimer's disease, all of which have been linked to disturbances in brain architecture. "We would like to know where the disturbances are and whether we can understand something about the clinical condition based on the connectivity," says Sporns.

However, scientists will likely need to improve the technique before they can use it to study patients. Getting enough detail to make the maps requires longer scanning times than are typical in clinical settings. "Right now, this probably isn't practical to look at large populations of patients," says Marco Catani, a clinical neuroscientist at the Institute of Psychiatry, in London, who was not involved in the study.

The researchers are already trying to refine their approach, generating new methods to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of the data they collect. They consider their new map just the first of many drafts. "We're not yet at the level where we can sequence the brain with the same kind of precision with which we could sequence the genome," says Wedeen. "Only when we see the organs of the brain--a few hundred areas of gray matter with distinct functions, and the connections between them--will we have an image of the brain that is comparable to what we expect the structure to be."

Energy from Waves

Catching waves: A U.K.-based company has come up with a simple design for a device that harnesses wave power: a water-filled rubber tube floating just under the ocean’s surface. Waves create bulges inside the tube that travel along it and drive a turbine attached at the other end.
Credit: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK

The ocean's waves have enough energy to provide two trillion watts of electricity, according to the Department of Energy's office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Extracting that enormous resource of power, however, has proved to be a herculean challenge.

A new device being developed by U.K.-based Checkmate SeaEnergy could help tap a portion of this wave power. The device, aptly named the Anaconda, is a long, water-filled rubber tube closed at both ends. It currently exists as a small laboratory-scale model, but it could eventually be 200 meters long and seven meters in diameter. At such a size, it will be capable of generating one megawatt of power at about 12 cents a kilowatt-hour, which is competitive with electricity costs from other wave-power technologies.

The one-megawatt Anaconda, which will use about 110 tons of rubber, should be lighter and cheaper than other wave-exploiting designs, says John Chaplin, a civil-engineering professor at the University of Southampton, in the United Kingdom, who is testing the lab-scale device. It is also simpler, with fewer moving parts and hinges, which means less maintenance. Since it is a pliant rubber tube, it should be able to survive severe weather conditions. "We don't really know how Anaconda works in big waves yet, but intuitively, it seems likely that it's going to be able to survive big waves," Chaplin says.

The Anaconda will face plenty of competition from other wave-power devices that have already reached commercial-scale deployment. Scotland-based Pelamis Wave Power's snakelike device was the first to provide power to the grid when it was installed off the coast of Orkney, Scotland, in 2004. In October 2007, Pelamis deployed three of its 750-kilowatt devices--770-ton, 120-meter-long chains of metal cylinders--off the coast of Portugal. Other companies, such as Finavera Renewables of Vancouver, AWS Ocean Energy of Scotland, and Ocean Power Technologies of Pennington, NJ, are testing bobbing buoy-type devices. In addition, others are developing technology to exploit tidal energy.

The Anaconda floats horizontally just below the ocean's surface, tethered to the ocean floor at one end, facing oncoming swells, with a turbine attached, at the other. A wave hitting the tube creates a bulge in the water inside. The bulge travels down the tube with a speed that depends on the diameter of the tube, wall thickness, and elasticity of the material, Chaplin says. The tube is designed so that the speed of the bulge is the same as the speed of the wave. The wave travels outside the tube alongside the bulge, making the bulge bigger and bigger, so that it drives the turbine with maximum power.