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Thursday, August 21, 2008


Ive just finished coding an application for the iphone/ipod touch. It gives the illusion of a 3d hologram jumping off the screen.

Here’s a video of it in use, featuring the Cat from my award-winning but unfinished cartoon PSS:

The application works by assuming a constant viewing angle (35-45 degrees), typical for when the device is placed on a tabletop. The 3d scene’s perspective is warped using anamorphosis, the same technique used in Hans Holbein’s painting The Ambassadors. This application does the exact same but updates dynamically.

The software uses the ipod’s built-in gyroscope to calculate rotation on the y-axis, so we can look around the environment around by turning the device, there are also controls for manual rotation with a slider on the left hand side of the screen.

My programming knowledge is limited, if any iphone developers want to collaborate on this stuff please get in touch!


Happy Birthday Hayden Panettiere!

hayden18thbday Hayden Panettiere celebrates her 19th birthday today, August 21. Last year Hayden celebrated by registering to vote, making an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman and throwing a big party. No word yet on how she plans to celebrate this year.

check out her myspace page:

did you know she is a singer/musician.

Mummified Iceman's Ancient Job Determined

Before his body froze and mummified, a now-famous Neolithic guy dubbed the Iceman took his last steps while donned in a coat and leggings made of sheep's fur and moccasins made of cattle leather. That was more than 5,000 years ago.

The 45-year-old man apparently trekked up the Schnalstal glacier in the Italian Alps before dying, and a new study reveals more about how he lived.

The body of the Iceman (also called Ötzi, Frozen Fritz and Similaun Man) was discovered in 1991 by accident by German tourists and made headlines around the world. At first he was thought to have died recently.

Since then, the ancient mummy has undergone a slew of examinations from which scientists have gleaned bits of information about the man’s last steps on Earth, ranging from his last meal (unleavened bread and meat) to the cause of death. The most recent verdict is the Iceman died of head trauma.

Still, questions have abounded regarding Ötzi's occupation, and the new findings provide clues.

"There is a long lasting debate about the socio-cultural state of Iceman's society," lead researcher Klaus Hollemeyer of Saarland University in Germany told LiveScience. "One fraction says he belongs to the gatherer-hunter society, which is more primitive than the more progressive pastoral-agricultural society which followed after."

While clothing made from domesticated animals would support him being a herdsman (pastoral-agricultural society), attire made from wild animals could suggest a hunter-gatherer, the researchers say. Although his clothes were known already to be made of animal skins, their exact origin was uncertain, with previous studies revealing conflicting results.

The new clothing discovery, detailed today in the journal Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, supports the idea that the Iceman herded sheep, cattle and perhaps goat.

The researchers used a mass spectrometer, which measures the heft and concentrations of atoms and molecules, to look for various proteins in hair samples taken from the Iceman's clothing, comparing the results with proteins from the hairs of modern-day animals, including goat, sheep, elk, wild boar and caribou.

"We found that the hairs came from sheep and cattle, just the types of animals that herdsmen care for during their seasonal migrations," Hollemeyer said.

Next, Hollemeyer hopes to use the same technique to analyze the fur from the Iceman's cap and soles of his shoes.

Unknown Insect Discovered on eBay

Scientist discovers a previously unknown insect - after buying it encased in amber on eBay

Dr Richard Harrington thought he was buying just an interesting curio when he paid £20 for the fossilised insect encased in amber.

But it turned out to be a long extinct type of aphid which became trapped in the resin as it seeped from a tree millions of years ago.

It has now been named after Dr Harrington, vice-president of the UK's Royal Entomological Society, who specialises in aphids.

He bought the fossil on the internet auction site from a man in Lithuania.

Because he couldn't identify it himself Dr Harrington, who works at the world-famous Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire, sent it to fossil aphid expert Professor Ole Heie in Denmark. He confirmed that it was from a previously undescribed species.

"I was interested to see what it was because I've worked with a team of people involved in monitoring and forecasting aphids, those of greenfly and their relatives in this country," Dr Harrington said.

"I looked at it with my team and we thought we could identify it down to the level of genus, but we had no idea what the species was."

The 3-4mm insect is encased in a 40-50m -year-old piece of amber about the size of a small pill.

"I had thought it would be rather nice to call it Mindarus ebayi," said Dr Harrington.

"Unfortunately using flippant names to describe new species is rather frowned upon these days."

Instead, Professor Heie named the new species Mindarus harringtoni after Dr Harrington.

"It's not uncommon to find insects in amber... but I'm not sure that one has turned up on eBay that has been undiscovered before. It's a rather unusual route to come by," said Dr Harrington.


Looks like FireCrotch might be back on the Saddle.....sorry Samantha....

From Turden

Billy Bushs indomitable spirit brings joy to America's heart, but he may have just made an enemy in Samantha Ronsom. She’s met him, probably thought she knew him, but nothing would prepare her for what would happen next. Access Hollywood says...

Back in Athens in 2004, we asked Michael which Hollywood celebrity he’d most like to meet.
Lindsay Lohan,” he told us then. “She’s pretty hot.”
Well, Billy Bush reached out Lindsay for messages to Michael during the Beijing games.
Earlier in the week, Lindsay told Billy to tell Michael, “Good Luck.”
So what did Lindsay tell Billy today to say to Michael, following his 8th gold medal win?
“Tell him he’s (expletive) amazing, and I want to meet him.”
Yeah Lindsay is gonna hit that. She watched him do that butterfly kick underwater and hatched her plan right then. She hasn’t gotten any in months, so try not to stare if you see her next week with a cold Bud Light can pressed against her crotch.

Another Hot Olympian: Paraguay's Leryn Franco

Another Hot Olympian

26-year-old Paraguayan javelin thrower Leryn Franco gets our vote for another hot Olympian at this year’s games






World's oldest man dies at the age of 138

habib mianindias

According to records Habib Mianindias was born on May 28, 1870

A great-grand father believed to be the world's oldest man has died at the age of 138.

Habib Mian passed away early yesterday morning after a brief illness at his home in the Alwar district, Rajasthan, India.

According to records Habib was born on May 28, 1870.

The grand old man was a witness to the life and times of two kings of Jaipur, the dominance of the British Raj and the decades after the Jaipur princely state of the erstwhile Rajputana merged into the Indian Union after Independence.

The Limca Book of World Records recognises him as the oldest living man in the world in its 2005 edition.

But the Guinness Book of Records did not give him this recognition because his pension papers say he was born on May 20, 1878 at Rajgarh in Alwar district.

Habib Mian also held the distinction of being the oldest Haj pilgrim having visited Mecca in 2004 and the longest beneficiary of old age pension which he has received since 1938.

Habib Mian

Dead at 138: Habib Mian is burried in Jaipur

Habib, who outlived his wife by 70 years, was buried at the Ghat Gate graveyard in the Alwar district, after the "Zuhar" (afternoon) prayers.

Though his birthday had become a public event ever his age came to people's notice, Habib Mian did not celebrate the day this year as he was distressed by the May 13 serial blasts in the city that claimed 68 lives.

Habib Mian

Mourners pay tribute to Habib Mian who was born on the 28th of May 1870

Gold Again for U.S. Women's beach Volleyball

May-Treanor, Walsh first duo to win back-to-back golds

China's Xue, Zhang earn bronze
By the Associated Press
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008 5:45 PM ET

BEIJING (AP) - Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor were prepared for the downpour, just as they were for a young Chinese team that was the latest to challenge their four-year reign over women's beach volleyball.

A look back at May and Walsh's historic win.

"This is just another reason why we play in bathing suits," May-Treanor said.

Ignoring the rain that drenched their uniforms and left them squinting into the sky where the sun should be, Walsh and May-Treanor won their second consecutive gold medal Thursday by beating China in straight sets. It was the 108th consecutive victory overall and 14th straight at the Olympics for the Americans, who did not lose a set in either Athens or Beijing.

"I dreamt about rain last night. It could have been 500 degrees or 500 below, and we'd be happy," Walsh said, after beating Wang Jie and Tian Jia 21-18, 21-18. "The rain makes it better. We felt like warriors out there."

Known as "Six Feet of Sunshine" for her bubbly smile, Walsh's personality couldn't part the clouds that drenched the Chaoyang Park venue for the bronze- and gold-medal matches. It was no day to be at the beach - not for Wang and Tian, and not for the fans who huddled under pastel ponchos and umbrellas.

But the 12,200-seat venue was packed, the dancers in bikinis jiggled to rock music and the players pressed on without concern for the weather. The wet and heavy ball forced them to bump-set instead of doing it over their heads, and the sometimes driving rain made it difficult to look up to receive passes.

It was no problem for the Americans.

And neither were the Chinese.

"The American team is better than we are," said Tian, whose country had never won a beach volleyball medal before picking up a bronze and a silver at home. "They are more experienced and stronger. But we have made great strides for these Olympic Games. This is the best that we could do."

Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser will give the Americans a chance for a gold medal sweep when they play Fabio and Marcio on Friday in the men's final. Athens winners Ricardo and Emanuel will play Renato Gomes and Jorge Terceira, native Brazilians playing for Georgia, in the bronze medal match.

Earlier Thursday, in a matchup of the second-best women's teams from Brazil and China, Xue Chen and Zhang Xi won the bronze medal, beating Talita and Renata 21-19, 21-17.

Walsh put an early end to China's hopes for adding a gold when she quick-hit May-Treanor's pass between Wang and Tian. The Americans dropped to their knees on the wet sand, hugging each other before shaking hands with the officials and running to the stands to embrace their friends and families.

Among Walsh's supporters in Beijing was her husband, Casey Jennings, a fellow beach volleyball pro who failed to qualify for the Beijing Games but made the trip anyway to cheer on his wife. But an hour after the victory May-Treanor hadn't even talked to her husband, let alone seen him.

The former Misty May is married to Matt Treanor, who is a catcher for the Florida Marlins and thus spends most of his summer playing and traveling, just like his wife. The two usually spend just a few days together from February to November, when both sports are in season, and that more than anything else could break up the most dominant pair in the history of women's beach volleyball.

"I wouldn't wish it on anybody. But it's the careers we have and we have to make the best of it," she said. "I'd like to see my husband for more than a day. It would be nice to walk in the door and say, 'Honey, what's for dinner,' instead of having to make food for myself."

Both Walsh and May-Treanor said they want to have babies soon after the games, and if all goes well they would take 2009 off. That would still leave them plenty of time to get back into shape and qualify for the 2012 games in London - if they want to.

"I want to start a family and, like Kerri said, we're not in a rush to get back," May-Treanor said. "Everybody keeps bringing up 2012, but let us enjoy this one first."

Walsh is eager to return, but she has the advantage of having her husband with her on the road. May-Treanor wonders about the demands of motherhood and how it will fit with the pro tours and the Olympic qualification process.

"I'm not done, and I hope Misty isn't done yet, either," Walsh said. "I can't imagine playing without her."

May-Treanor finally got to talk to her husband when she was going through standard post-match drug testing. He was able to watch the gold medal match over the Internet from the visitor's bullpen in San Francisco, where the Marlins were playing the Giants.

"He cried like a little baby," she said.

Talking to reporters after the Marlins game, Treanor told reporters he didn't think his wife's winning streak will ever be topped.

"What she did was special," he said. "You can say they are the best ever at beach volleyball."

He'll get no argument from the Chinese.

LSD Could Heal Thousands as Therapeutic Tool

Psychedelic drugs could heal thousands

New research into the benefits of hallucinogens alongside psychotherapy is welcome: in my experience they change lives

Andrew Feldmar
Andrew Feldmár,

There is a horrible sense of meaninglessness and chaos that comes from the extreme loneliness of being cut off. Trauma, whether sustained in the family, or in the military during combat, renders millions feeling unsafe, insecure, mistrustful, and in the end isolated, lonely and desperate. Judith Lewis Herman, who wrote the definitive book on trauma and recovery, stated that all so-called mental illness and suffering could be seen as a person's misguided attempt to survive trauma. Fear separates, love unites. We all wish to grow to freedom, to belong, to participate. Hatred is like gangrene, shame is deadly. Forgiveness is but a faint hope.

Sandoz began to market LSD in 1947 as a psychiatric panacea, the cure for everything from schizophrenia to criminal behaviour, sexual perversions, alcoholism, and other addictions. During a 15-year period beginning in 1950, research on LSD and other hallucinogens generated over 1,000 scientific papers, several dozen books and six international conferences, and LSD was prescribed as an adjunct of psychotherapy to over 40,000 patients. The current research using psychedelics heralds a reawakening to the magnificent healing possibilities of these now prohibited substances. After over 40 years of repression or oppression, Rick Doblin of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (Maps), and others are spearheading a more enlightened, less hysterical and terrified approach to the use of these substances. I am participating in what hopefully will be Canada's first government approved clinical trials in 40 years, sponsored and organised by Maps, evaluating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder.

There are many other applications of psychedelic psychotherapy, such as ibogaine, or ayahuasca for the treatment of substance abuse. Large numbers of people could benefit from the use of psychedelics as entheogens, introducing people to spiritual experiences, reducing pain and suffering due to isolation, by the irresistible realisation that each of us is a small part of something much greater than any of us, that separateness is an illusion, there is nothing to fear, and love is accessible, shame can be left permanently behind. Rites of passage, responsibly organised, could benefit everyone.

Despite prohibition, people have often asked me to attend their own psychedelic experiments, to keep them safe, to guide them towards liberation, the end of automatic habit patterns, kneejerk reactions, towards heartfelt responses, love, acceptance and forgiveness. After one session with MDMA, people were able to sustain insights gained, without further assistance from the drug. Psychotherapy proceeded faster and deeper than before: the debilitating effects of shame have been annulled, heavily defended hearts opened, and stayed open, and people acquired the ability to enjoy the sacrament of every living moment without distraction by past regrets or future worries. No small gains!

After three LSD sessions, a patient emerged from what was labelled chronic psychotic depression (she had attempted suicide three times, had been hospitalised, and given several courses of ECT, major antipsychotics and antidepressants), and was able to hold a job, derive pleasure from her days, and look forward to cultivating a varied garden of delights. She moved from cursing me for not letting her die to blessing me for the surprising freedom that opened up for her as a result of her LSD experiences. Psychotherapy, without LSD, would not have been enough, I'm afraid.

I can only hope that if new research with psychedelics proceeds in a responsible, careful and creative manner, the powers that be can begin to support and foster further research into this fascinating realm. I was 27 when I first tasted this incredible substance called LSD. Now I am 68 and for the last two years have been persona non grata in the US, because a border guard Googled my name, and found an article I wrote many years ago on entheogen-assisted psychotherapy. I hope I will be invited into the US before I die to teach professionals how to use psychedelics for the benefit of all.

US, Poland OK missile defense base, riling Moscow

VANESSA GERA and MONIKA SCISLOWSKA | August 20, 2008 06:09 PM EST | AP

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, and Poland's Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, right, shake hands after signing an agreement to place a U.S. missile defense base in northern Poland, at the prime minister's office in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008. The formal signing comes six days after the two countries agreed to a deal that will see 10 U.S. interceptor missiles placed just 115 miles (180 kilometers) from Russia's westernmost frontier. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland — The United States and Poland signed a deal Wednesday to place a U.S. missile defense base just 115 miles from Russia _ a move followed swiftly by a new warning from Moscow of a possible military response.

For many Poles _ whose country has been a staunch U.S. ally _ the accord represented what they believed would be a guarantee of safety for themselves in the face of a newly assertive Russia.

Negotiators sealed the deal last week against a backdrop of Russian military action in Georgia, a former Soviet republic turned U.S. ally, that has worried former Soviet satellites across eastern Europe. It prompted Moscow's sharpest rhetoric yet over the system, which it contends is aimed at Russia despite Washington's insistence the site is purely defensive.

After Wednesday's signing, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed any suggestion the 10 missile defense interceptors _ which Washington says are intended to defend Europe and the U.S. from the possible threat of long-distance missiles from Iran _ represent a threat to Russia.

"Missile defense, of course, is aimed at no one," Rice said. "It is in our defense that we do this."

She denounced an earlier threat from a Russian general to target NATO member Poland, possibly even with nuclear weapons, for accepting the facility.

Such comments "border on the bizarre, frankly," Rice told reporters in Warsaw. "The Russians are losing their credibility," she said, adding that Moscow would pay a price for its actions in Georgia, though she did not specify how.

"It's also the case that when you threaten Poland, you perhaps forget that it is not 1988," Rice said. "It's 2008 and the United States has a ... firm treaty guarantee to defend Poland's territory as if it was the territory of the United States. So it's probably not wise to throw these threats around."

Poland has been a staunch U.S. ally in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It sent combat troops into Iraq as part of the U.S.-led coalition and had 2,300 troops deployed there at its peak. That has been reduced to about 900, who will be pulled out in October. At the same time, Poland has been building up its military presence in Afghanistan, where it currently has some 1,600 troops.

Hours after the signing, Russia's Foreign Ministry warned that Moscow's response would go beyond diplomacy. The system to be based in Poland lacks "any target other than Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles," it said in a statement, contending the U.S. system "will be broadened and modernized."

"In this case Russia will be forced to react, and not only through diplomatic" channels, it said without elaborating.

Democratic Rep. Ellen Tauscher, who leads a key appropriations panel for missile defense, praised the deal. But she said that Democratic lawmakers intend to withhold funding for the interceptors planned for Poland until they are properly tested, a move that could delay the deployment for years.

The deal follows an earlier agreement to place the second component of the missile defense shield _ a radar tracking system _ in the neighboring Czech Republic, another formerly communist country now in NATO.

"We have achieved our main goals, which means that our country and the United States will be more secure," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told Rice after the signing.

Many Poles agreed. "After what happened in Georgia, I believe that this is good protection for us," said Kazimierz Dziuba, 49, a hospital worker in Warsaw.

The Georgian conflict "made the Americans agree to this deal sooner because the Russians are getting too bossy," Dziuba said.

Not all Poles were happy, however.

Alina Kesek, an 82-year-old retired office clerk who lived through World War II, when Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union divided Poland between them, and then experienced four decades of Moscow-dominated communist rule, said the Patriot missiles were a "kind of provocation" toward Russia.

"This means a threat from the Russian side," said Kesek. "I am not very pleased with this deal."

Some residents in the northern Polish town of Redzikowo, where the missile defense facility will be located, fear it may expose them to retaliatory attacks or other dangers.

Along with the main deal, the two nations signed a so-called "declaration on strategic cooperation," which is to deepen their military and political partnership.

It includes a mutual commitment to come to each other's assistance immediately if one is under attack _ enhancing existing obligations both have as NATO members.

The declaration also was accompanied by a promise from the U.S. to help modernize Poland's armed forces and to place a battery of Patriot missiles there by 2012.

Rice said the deal "will help both the alliance and Poland and the United States respond to the coming threats."

Poland and the United States spent a year and a half in formal talks, which snagged in the final phase on Poland's demands for the Patriot missiles and other points.

However, the deepening U.S.-Polish friendship dominated Wednesday's proceedings.

"In troubled times the most important thing is to have friends," Rice said. "But it is more important to have friends who share your values and your aspirations and your dreams. And Poland and the United States are those kind of friends."

Approval for the missile defense sites is still needed from the Czech and Polish parliaments. No date has been set for lawmakers in Warsaw to vote, but the deal enjoys the support of the largest opposition party as well as of the government.


Associated Press writers Matthew Lee, traveling with Rice, and Desmond Butler in Washington contributed to this report.

While jatropha is taking off as a biofuel stock, camelina sativa is garnering some attention of its own for its potential as a biofuel that would wor

Written by Jaymi Heimbuch

While jatropha is taking off as a biofuel stock, camelina sativa is garnering some attention of its own for its potential as a biofuel that would work with, not against, food crops.

The pros of the plant include that it doesn’t require much rainfall, yields crops double that of soy beans, produces an oil resistant to colder temperatures, and the leftovers after the oil is extracted makes for good livestock feed. Additionally, it can be grown in rotation with wheat crops, helping to increase wheat yields by 15% while producing up to 100 gallons of camelina oil per acre. Since it produces industrial oil, and not food oil, yet leftovers can be used as food for animals that become food, it would go a long way in reducing the debate swirling around food crops as biofuel. Those are some pretty attractive pros.

The cons include growers not knowing much about the plant, and not a lot of field testing has been done on it (Montana State University is working on more studies on that). However one feels about growing crops to fuel machines, advocates of biofuel may be turning to this plant as an option for a high-yield crop that doesn’t get in the way of other important food crops like wheat.

Via Biofuels Digest, CheckBiotech

Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro Writing Hobbit Themselves

There And Back Again...

Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro have officially announced that they're writing The Hobbit and its follow-up themselves. I never thought so much buzz could come from an announcement about writing, but that's what happens when it's The Hobbit! The news first hit on, where Guillermo confirmed that writing had begun on Hobbit. Additionally, reports from Hollywood Reporter confirmed the news and added that they originally had been searching for a writer to tackle the monumental task, but decided that there was no one better suited for the job than they are. Joining the two will be Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, who wrote the screenplays for the first three Lord of the Rings with Jackson.

When the announcement about The Hobbit was first made last year, Peter Jackson had said that he would not be writing any of the Hobbit movies due to other commitments. However, three factors caused them to reconsider and in the end decide to write the films on their own. 1) The filmmakers saw their schedules open up, 2) During the general discussions about the films, they realized how much affection they had for the material, and 3) They also realized that in order to make the release dates, the process required people intimate with Tolkien's world of Middle Earth. Thus they decided to team up again with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens to write the scripts themselves, which is definitely a good move.

There's not a single thing to be worried about here, given it was Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens who wrote the screenplays for all three Lord of the Rings. And Guillermo is an accomplished writer as well, so if anything, this is reassuring that they decided not to risk letting someone else mess up the adaptation instead. Both Hobbit films will still be shot simultaneously, with filming tentatively set to start in late 2009. The first film is expected to arrive sometime in 2011, so get ready for one hell of a triumphant return. Although I was really let down by Guillermo del Toro on Hellboy II, I'm still confident that he's the right choice for The Hobbit and I'm already anticipating the return of one of my favorite stories.

25 Most Colorful Lakes on Earth

Peyto Lake


Color is how the human eye perceives the reflection of different spectrums of light. We perceive color just as we perceive taste: sublime, exquisite, horrible and delicious. It provokes us, it enchants us and our whole world revolves around it. Everything from the clothes we wear, to the foods we eat are determined by color.

It’s only fitting then, that we explore some of Mother Nature’s most colorful works.The kaleidoscope of colors presented in this series of spectacular lake images, encapsulate the incredible natural beauty of enclosed expanses of water.

Perito Moreno Lake1. Turquoise and Blue Lakes >

Golden Lake2. Green and Yellow Lakes >

Bolivian Lake3. Purple and Red Lakes >

Lake Tahoe4. Token Sunset Lake Pics >

12 Sports Cut From The Olympics

by Ethan Trex

As the Beijing Olympics wind down, so do the runs of baseball and softball as Olympic medal sports. Although the two sports won’t be on the Olympic schedule for the 2012 Games in London, they won’t be alone; throughout the years the IOC has slashed a number of sports from the official Olympic program. The full list reads like this:

1. Cricket

1904-olympics.jpgCricket made both its Olympic debut and swan song at the second modern Games, held in 1900 in Paris. (Organizers originally wanted to have a cricket tourney at the 1896 Games, but the event didn’t draw enough entries.) Things got off to a rough start when the Belgian and Dutch teams withdrew from the field prior to the start of play, leaving just a British touring team, the Devon and Somerset Wanderers, to take on the French Athletic Club Union’s squad. The teams apparently weren’t even aware they were playing in the Olympics; they thought the two-day match was just a part of the World’s Fair Paris was hosting at the time. According to one contemporary report, the teams squared off in a cycling arena fit for 20,000 spectators but had only a dozen soldiers as an audience. The English side won the match and received silver medals and miniature Eiffel Towers for their trouble; the French team got bronze medals.

Everyone returned home without knowing they had been Olympians, and it wasn’t until the IOC sat down to make a comprehensive record of the Games in 1912 that the two squads received official recognition as gold and silver medalists in cricket. The sport never returned to the Games.

2. Croquet

Like cricket, croquet only saw action at the 1900 Paris Games before fading into Olympic oblivion. The host Frenchmen made the most of the opportunity, though; they claimed all seven medals awarded in the sport. Records are sketchy, but it would seem that across the three events, nine of the 10 competitors were French, which probably facilitated their dominance. Even the players’ first names are lost to history; all we know is that a Mr. Aumoitte and a Mr. Waydelich earned medals and presentation mallets for heading French sweeps of the two singles events, and that Aumoitte teamed with a Mr. Johin to win the doubles event. Since no one earned a doubles silver medal, it’s reasonable to assume the team may have competed uncontested.

3. Basque Pelota

The Paris Games of 1900 saw one last sport make its sole Olympic appearance. Basque pelota, a sport with ancient roots in which teams of two players use a curved basket to fling a ball against a wall in a racquetball-like game, made the Olympic program for Paris. Unfortunately, like cricket, participation was a bit of a downer; only two teams showed up. The duo from Spain, where the sport enjoys great popularity, beat a French pair in the sole Olympic Basque pelota match to claim the gold medals. The score of the game is lost to history.

4. Golf

Golf made its Olympic debut in 1900, but like the cricket match at those Games, it was poorly organized and lost in the shuffle of the Paris Exposition. Men played a 36-hole stroke-play tournament, which American Charles Sands won with a score of 167. Women played a 9-hole round, which American Margaret Ives Abbott won by two strokes with a 47. How poorly organized was the tournament? Abbott apparently never knew she was the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal. She didn’t even know she’d played in the Olympics; she spent her whole life thinking she’d just won a little golf tournament in Paris.

shark.jpgGolf again received a slot on the program at the 1904 Games, albeit with a men’s team event taking the place of the women’s competition. Americans took five of the six medals available in team and singles events, with Canadian George Lyon’s gold in the singles the only blemish on their record. (This feat is admittedly less impressive when one considers that St. Louis hosted the games, meaning 74 of 77 golfers who entered were American.) Golf didn’t make the cut for any Games after that, although certain pros like Greg Norman are agitating for the sport’s inclusion on future programs.

5. Roque

Give yourself fifty bonus points if you know what roque is. The sport is a croquet variant played with short mallets on a hard rolled-sand court with a wall off of which players can bank the balls. The sport’s official rules tout it as “the most scientific outdoor sport in existence,” but it didn’t hold up so well at the Olympics. Roque debuted at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, Americans swept the medals, and the sport promptly disappeared.

6. Jeu de Paume

Jeu de paume, or “real tennis,” is a tennis precursor that was originally played without racquets—players hit the ball with their hands. By the 1908 Games in London, the sport had evolved to the point where small racquets played a key role, but the largely indoor variant remained separate from what we think of as tennis, which was also played at the Games under the name “lawn tennis.” American railroad scion Jay Gould II claimed the gold, and Charles Sands, who won the gold in golf in 1900, competed but lost in the first round. “Real tennis” made a brief reappearance as a demonstration sport at the 1924 Games before fading away.

7. Lacrosse

Despite lacrosse’s relative popularity in the English-speaking world, it never really caught on as an Olympic sport. It made the program in the 1904 and 1908 Games, and since only five teams combined entered the event over the two Games, every team that played won a medal. Canada won both golds and a bronze (they sent two teams in 1904), while American and British teams claimed the two silvers. Lacrosse was a demonstration sport at the 1928, 1932, and 1948 Games, but it never regained its medal status.

8. Rackets

If you haven’t noticed a pattern yet, it’s worth pointing out that if you hosted an early set of Games, you could pretty much railroad whatever sport you wanted to onto the program to help your countrymen get medals. The rackets competition at the 1908 Games in London was no exception; every single entrant was British. The sport itself is very similar to squash, which originated as an offshoot of rackets in the 19th century, and remains popular in the U.K. The seven-man all-British field included John Jacob Astor V of the famed Astor family; he won a gold in doubles and a bronze in singles competition.

9. Polo

Apparently the Olympics could never quite figure out how to handle polo, as it popped on and off the program throughout the first 40 years of the modern Games. Polo was a medal sport at five different Games, with competitions appearing in 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924, and 1936. Only the British team competed in all of these Games, although the U.S. and Argentina both managed to claim gold medals during this time.

10. Water Motorsports

Motorboat racing first appeared as a demonstration sport at the 1900 Games, and in 1908 it received full medal status. Captains in three classes were set to race five laps around an eight-nautical-mile course in the only Olympic event to ever involve motors. However, the English weather didn’t feel like complying and whipped up a ferocious gale. Two boats entered each class, but due to the terrible weather, boats started to fill with water, ran aground, suffered engine problems and had to quit. As a result, only one boat finished each race, meaning that the only Olympic water motorsports medals ever handed out were gold. The British boat Gyrinus won two of the races.

11. Tug of War

Unlike some of the other discontinued sports, tug of war had a fair amount of staying power; it made the program for every Olympics between 1900 and 1920. The sport was played in pretty much the same way you remember from grade-school field days, but it was also a magnet for Olympic controversies.

As we’ve covered before, the 1904 gold medal–winning American squad was ostensibly representing the Milwaukee Athletic Club, which was terrific until further research established that the team was actually composed of ringers recruited from Chicago. Scandal struck again at the 1908 Games when the American squad protested that the police boots worn by the British pullers from the Liverpool Police team were equipped with illegal cleats for extra traction. When the protest failed, the American pullers left the Games in a huff. All told the British teams grabbed five medals to the Americans’ three before the sport fell off the program following the 1920 Games.

12. Rugby

Rugby union has enjoyed intermittent medal status as well. It was part of the Games in 1900, 1908, 1920, and 1924 before the IOC pulled the plug. Like many of the other doomed sports, participation was a bit of a problem; none of the four competitions ever included more than three teams. Perhaps the best story came from the 1920 Games, when a band of relative neophyte American rugby players showed up in Antwerp and shut out France in the tournament’s only game to win the gold. Most impressively, this was American team member Morris Kirksey’s second gold of the 1920 Games; he pulled off the rare feat of winning gold in two sports after running for the victorious American squad in the 4×100m relay. (Kirksey also took home the silver in the 100-meter dash.)

Although rugby hasn’t been on the program since 1924, there have been attempts to bring it back to the Olympics—the sport made the finals for addition to the 2012 Games before losing out to squash and karate.

Copy and Paste for iPhone

Copy and Paste for iPhone from Cali Lewis on Vimeo.

Show Notes

When Apple released the iPhone, the praise was consistent and so was the criticism. The praise was about the revolutionary interface and the criticism was about the lack of 3G, GPS and Copy and Paste. Apple made 3G and GPS happen, but they said Copy and Paste isn’t a priority. The first place we saw copy and paste for iPhone was on an application called MagicPad. The guy behind that app, Juviwhale, met a college student, Zac White. Zac White figured out how to implement copy and paste on any iPhone App without violating the iPhone SDK agreement.

Zac started a non-profit, open-source community project called OpenClip. When a developer adds the OpenClip framework to an iPhone app, that app gains copy and paste functionality. On Brief 410, I demo copy and paste on the iPhone using un-released versions of Twittelator, WordPress and MagicPad.

Apple forbids applications from running in the background because it would take up too much of the iPhone’s resources. Also, developers are not allowed to create plug-ins that make their apps work with other apps on the iPhone. Zac White’s Open Clip framework uses a shared space on the iPhone. Any application that includes Open Clip can then access the common area and write to it, and read from it, thereby enabling copy and paste between participating apps.

The key to making OpenClip work is adoption. Zac’s framework is non-profit. It’s open-source, and his project makes the iPhone even more useful. I recorded an audio interview with Zac so if you want to listen, it’s here. In our audio conversation, Zac talked about the ideal implementation and problems to be solved. Developers who are interested in finding out more can find the video here.

6 Insane Sports That Could Be in the Next Olympics

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Sure, we were inspired when Michael Phelps broke every world record ever despite a presumably painful condition that causes him to shit gold medals. But take a look down the roster of Olympic events and you'll see those ... other sports. The ones that draw crowds with less energy and a higher concentration of parents than a 5 year-old's piano recital.

Luckily, there's a tier of sports-in-waiting that are "officially recognized" by the Olympic Committee and could be added at any time. Here are six that make us wonder what the hell they're waiting for:


If you watch some of the track and field events and think how much cooler it would be if the contestants were in helicopters, then rotorsports are for you. That's right, helicopter racing is among the sports recognized by the International Olympic Committee, but were apparently considered too awesome to include in the games. With top speeds over 200 miles an hour, it's all of the fun of Formula One racing with the added bonus of giant, spinning, metal blades of death.

Sure there's the issue of whether this is really a sport as the helicopter is doing the work, but the same argument applies to Dressage, and Olympic event which is basically slow horse dancing, where the rider does fuck all except tell the horse where to go. You decide what looks cooler:

Anytime you have fast moving machines you also get the potential for some fearsome crashes and, just like NASCAR, a lot of us would tune in just for that. The difference is that when a helicopter goes down it doesn't just crash, it also breaks apart into big, angry pieces looking to take down everyone else around it.

Tell us that wasn't more entertaining than watching some guy swim really fast.


Wushu is a Chinese martial art that is also among the sports recognized by the IOC. Jet Li was a Wushu champion and fucking Darth Maul (Ray Park) used it. When we found out that some Wushu events like duilian involve two or more people and weapons, we wondered why the Olympics aren't made up of nothing but that.

OK, so the fighting is choreographed ahead of time. But, so is the floor exercise in gymnastics and you have to agree that watching two guys perform a scene from a Kung Fu movie right before your eyes is way more interesting than watching some dude in tight shorts do cartwheels by himself. The video up there alone should demonstrate the crazy amount of skill required to avoid getting impaled by a 4 foot-long spear.

Sure, it's easy when no one is trying to stab you in the face.

Competitors are judged on style and technique. We're not sure whether points for coming closest to death are also given but if not, they should be.

Speed Skiing

This sport was a demonstration sport in 1992 and needs to be brought back, just for the sheer ball-rattling craziness of it. Speed skiing is the second fastest non-motorized sport in the world with a world record of 156 miles an hour. The only sport where people go faster without an engine is skydiving. Yes, to go faster than these guys go on skis, you have to throw yourself out of a fucking plane.

The rules are simple, don't die and go as fast as you can, in that order, as dying is an automatic disqualification. It seems going downhill on two-10 inch wide planks twice as fast as most people will ever drive isn't insane enough because the skiers are constantly trying to find ways to gain more speed. Innovations in the sport include a shell to cover your fat ass to reduce drag and a parachute to help slow you down (or to wrap up your bloody, pulpy body after you crash).

If you want to get a sense of the sheer speeds involved here, check out the video of this skier biting it Six Million Dollar Man style.

Yeah, he appears to still be going over 100 MPH even after he's skidding along the ice on his face. When you crash at those speeds, you're actually going so fast that the friction of your suit against the snow actually causes it to melt and burn you.

That's right, because it isn't enough that you might die from fright or being thrown like a rag doll, you also have to worry about burning large areas of your body on fucking snow.

LeCanne (Canne De Combat)

LeCanne appeared in the 1924 Olympics, but was never brought back, presumably because watching two guys bash each other with sticks while jumping around like fucking Neo from the Matrix caused spectators back then to crap their bloomers and/or drop their monacles.

The sport was developed back in the old timey days when men still carried canes, even if they had two perfectly good legs. It was like having a wallet chain, except that it didn't make you look like a douche. Eventually someone figured out the cane could also be used to smack the shit out of muggers. Soon a new martial art was born and became awesome, despite being French.

Today it's known as Canne De Combat and points are scored by smashing your opponent upside the head, torso or calf. Nut shots are not allowed unless your opponent is actually trying to take your wallet. Competitors wear padding similar to fencers and the cane itself is made out of light weight wood so the fighters can't knock each other out (apparently that used to be a real problem).

Unlike fencing, where the competitors are restricted to stepping back and forth on a narrow mat, Canne fighters run around the ring like the freaking Tasmanian Devil. And while it already looks like a fucking ninja video game, there are some events that up the ante by equipping each fighter with two canes. By next year we expect them to add a cage to the ring and glue broken glass to the canes.

Tug of War

You might think we can't seriously be talking about the playground game with two teams pulling on a rope. You'd be wrong. This favorite of Boy Scout jamborees, fat kids at summer camps and cheesy 80's celebrity T.V. competitions was an official sport for five Olympic games from 1900-1920. In 1912 only two teams competed so although Britain claimed the Silver medal, those fuckers in fact finished in last place.

The event was a carryover from the ancient Olympic games except that they dropped the requirement that the competitors be nude, probably due partly to the dangers of rope burn and the risk of an accidental man-orgy should the other teams suddenly let go of the line.

The event was played out just like the playground, with two teams of eight players pulling until one team had pulled the other past a line. Though, at the international level the sport looks less like your awkward uncle at a picnic and more like an angry, grunting science.

The sport is already a serious affair with 55 nations competing at the world championships. Plus the rule book is 84 pages long, including 11 official referee signals, which seems like overkill for a sport that is the equivalent of a group arm wrestle.

Dueling Pistols

Sure, the Olympics still have a bunch of shooting events but they are all pretty much boring, consisting usually of a bunch of people standing quietly and taking shots at paper targets. This is a little like watching bowling, but without even that level of athleticism. It's time to bring back dueling pistols.

Yes, we said bring "back". Dueling pistols was an actual Olympic event, though that was only in one Olympics (1906). After that it was discontinued because the losers were dead.

Alright, that last part isn't true, though it would have been awesome if it was. The event actually consisted of competitors shooting the shit out of mannequins with bulls eyes on their chests. To appease the more bloodthirsty in the crowd, the mannequins were dressed in frock coats, apparently so fans could better pretend that actual people were being gunned down in the name of sport.

Die fucker!

This sport is tailor made for today's more violent society. Plus the frocks could be replaced by the opposing teams' jerseys, bringing even more nationalistic fervor to the event.

If you're thinking that people wouldn't really want to see this event, a poll before the 2000 Olympics proves you wrong. Dueling pistols finished second in a list of sports people would choose to bring back, thus confirming that nothing brings the world together like simulated murder.

Intel's Nehalem chip promise large gains in power efficiency

Power efficiency: The Nehalem architecture features a power-saving control unit that monitors the workload of individual cores. It can shut down inactive cores and divert spare power to active ones.
Credit: Intel

A significant shift in the way that many future computers will handle data is being prepared by the world's biggest microchip maker. On Tuesday, at its Intel Developer Forum (IDF), in San Francisco, the company revealed further details of Nehalem, a more power-efficient chip architecture that will be at the heart of many future products. Intel disclosed power-saving features that promise to let servers, desktop, and laptops run faster without needing more power.

Rajesh Kumar, an Intel fellow and a key architect involved with developing Nehalem, described the tricks used to make the architecture less power hungry. Importantly, a new power-saving control unit on the chip itself has the sole task of monitoring the workload of each of the chip's individual data-processing units, or "cores." If only two cores of a four-core machine are active, for instance, the control unit will completely shut down the inactive cores and divert spare power to active ones. The unit can also moderate the speed and power consumption of each core independently.

In addition to moderating the manner in which the cores crunch data, Intel researchers considered the behavior of the transistors within each core. With Nehalem, these are made using so-called 45-nanometer technology. On this scale, the materials used to make the transistors tend to persistently leak electricity, even when they are shut off.

So, to further save power, Intel's engineers developed a way to shut off transistors when they aren't in use. "The concept is trivially obvious and has been around for decades," says Kumar, "but doing it was hard." It required developing new transistor technology to ensure that the switch had low resistance when it was on but an extremely high resistance when off.

Using the same amount of power, a Nehalem machine can throw more processing cycles at a problem. In simple terms, Intel says, Nehalem will enable high-end desktops to render 3-D animation almost twice as quickly as the fastest chips available today, making video games more realistic and bringing high-quality animation software closer to the masses.

Nehalem has garnered quite a bit of attention from industry analysts since the first details were revealed, in 2007. This is because it's the first time in more than two decades that Intel has completely overhauled the way that data flows between different components on a chip. The overhaul is necessary because, as engineers add more cores to processors, bandwidth becomes a concern, and it becomes harder to prevent data bottlenecks from reducing performance. "It's a massive redesign," says Nathan Brookwood, founder of Insight64, an analyst firm. "It has tremendous implications for Intel and all of Intel's partners."

Prior to Nehalem, Intel chips had an external memory controller that moved information between the processing cores and the chips' memory, where frequently used data is stored. Because the controller was separate from the processors, several cores had to share bandwidth. By integrating the memory controllers into the processors, Nehalem has more than three times as much bandwidth. A similar approach was implemented by rival chip maker AMD in 2003, but Nehalem is Intel's first chip design with such a feature.

Another performance boost comes from the fact that each processor core can accept twice as much data using a feature called multi-threading. As long as software is written to exploit multi-threading, it can effectively transform a dual-core machine into a quad-core one.

Multi-threading is one of the features that will enable Nehalem machines to run more exciting applications. At IDF, Rick Willardson, Intel's product marketing engineer for desktop CPUs, showed off the winning entry in a contest to find the best new application for Nehalem--a program that quickly searches photo libraries using an original picture as the query. In the demo, Willardson searched for a picture of two kids on a beach towel with an American flag design using a picture of a flag found online. The demo machine took only a couple of seconds to find hundreds of matching images from a photo library.

Super Microscopes

Nicholas Fang, 33

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Superlenses for watching cells

Credit: Thomas Chadwick
Hear Fang discuss how superlenses can improve microscopes.

The resolution of the best conventional light microscopes--which, unlike higher-resolution electron microscopes, can magnify living cells--is about 400 nanometers. That's good enough to let ­biologists tell cells apart, but it's not good enough to let them observe the workings of organelles within the cell, such as metabolizing mitochondria, which are about 200 nanometers across. Nicholas Fang hopes that within the next few years, his tech­nology will enable biologists to watch living cells at a resolution as fine as 15 nanometers (about the size of a protein molecule), revealing not only cell organelles but their molecular workings (see "Life Left in Light," September/October 2008).

Objects smaller than the wavelength of the light being shined onto them--several hundred nanometers, in the case of visible light--scatter the light as so-called evanescent waves. These waves move in such a way that they can't be collected and redirected by conventional lenses. But in 2005 Fang developed the first optical superlens--a device that can collect evanescent waves to soup up the performance of a light microscope.

At a small workbench in his lab, Fang stamps out nanoscale silver gratings that make it possible to convert conventional light-­microscope parts into superlenses. To pattern his metal structures onto fragile glass slides and other microscope parts, he starts by coating a coverslip with a thin film of silver. Separately, he carves a pattern--the inverse of the final, desired one--into a reusable stamp. He places the stamp over the cover­slip and applies an electrical voltage, causing a reaction in which the silver dissolves and is pulled into the crevices of the stamp. Once the stamp is removed, the silver coating of the coverslip is left with the grating pattern.

Using this method, Fang create­s intricate nanoscale patterns in about five minutes. The stamping doesn't break the delicate devices and doesn't need to be done in a clean room. And Fang says the process should be amenable to mass production of superlenses that could turn every biologist's microscope into a nanoscope. --Katherine Bourzac