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Friday, February 11, 2011

The 10 Geekiest Hotels on the Planet


Having spent a good month staying in fairly nasty French B&B’s and hotels, I often found myself dreaming about my ideal place to rest my head. As a first installment, I thought I’d compile a list of the top 10 geekiest hotels in the world. If you’ve got any to add to the list, drop them in the comments!

1. Hotel 1000 – Seattle, USA
Why stay here? – Virtual Golf, super fast wifi and you can change the artwork on the wall with your iPhone

Winner of the Hospitality Tech Magazine 2008 award for innovation, the Hotel 1000 is a nerds dream palace. Any hotel with a golf simulator in it is a winner in my book, but this place also has what they call “a fully integrated IP infrastructure”. That may not sound cool, but when you find out that you can personalize hotel room temperatures, wall art, ambience (and more) all from your iPhone, you’ll be forgiven for letting a solitary tear rolled down your cheek. Rooms start at $199 per night which seems pretty reasonable to me.

2. Wild Canopy Reserve – Southern India
Why stay here? You get to live like an Ewok and nerd out to nature at the same time.

Due to land disputes, the Wild Canopy Reserve is currently closed. But we feel it’s worth featuring anyway. 50 feet up, you’ll get a birds eye view of all the local wildlife (elephants, leopards, tigers and more). The rooms are luxurious and there’s even a jacuzzi. This hotel makes the top 10 list for 2 reasons – i) It has great “nature nerd” appeal ii) Those wishing to fulfil their dream of leaving like ewoks can get pretty close here.

3. Hotel @ MIT – Boston, USA
Why stay here? – Jonny 5 is in the lobby.

Trust MIT to produce a hotel like this. If you have an “@” in your name, that definitely qualifies you for this list. Not only does the Hotel @ MIT have a super geeky name, there is also a robot in the lobby, in-room laser printing, equations on the bed sheets and Chemistry problems on the bathroom walls. I really wouldn’t be surprised if the mini bar fridge was full of mountain dew and the cheetos.

4. Hotel Sidi Driss – Matmata, Tunisia
Why stay here? – It’s the closest Star Wars geeks will ever get to Tatooine.

That’s right folks, for a price, you too can stay on Tatooine. Star Wars geeks the world over flock to these Berber caves year round. Amazingly, you can stay here for less $50 a night. Unfortunately no sign of “womp rats” or even T-16’s for that matter.

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Bethany Hamilton: One-Arm Female Surfer

From :

Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton

  • Home Town
    Kauai, Hawaii, USA
  • Date of Birth
    8th of February, 1990
  • Sport


Bethany Hamilton was born on February 8, 1990 on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. She is one of the most well known female surfers in the world. Bethany's parents were both surfers themselves and started her off at the sport at a very young age. Her two brothers Noah and Timmy also enjoyed surfing. By the time Bethany turned 7, she was surfing without any assistance and by the time she was 8, her parents entered her in the Rell Sun Menehune contest where she scored her first win.

Bethany received her first sponsor when she was 9 years old including Rip Curl and Hanalei Surf Co. In October of 2003, Bethany was surfing on the north shore of Kauai with a friend and her family when a 14 foot shark attacked her and severed her left arm. If she hadn't been with friends, it’s likely Bethany would have died from the attack but they were able to tourniquet her shoulder, bringing her to shore where an ambulance came to get her. Bethany returned to surfing one month after her accident and began competing again in January of 2004.

Involved in a lot of charity work, Bethany is the spokeswoman for the Beating The Odds Foundation as well as for World Vision International. Bethany's autobiography, ‘Soul Surfer’, was released in 2004 and adapted into a feature film in 2008. She also wrote a devotional book for teens called ‘Devotions for the Soul Surfer’ in 2006.

Bethany Hamilton- Career Highlights

Bethany's career highlights came from an early age. In 2002, Bethany took home second place in the Open Women's Divison of the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA). At the 2005 NSSA National Championships, Bethany took the first place prize at the Explorer Women's Division which was her first national title. Bethany took 3rd place at the Roxy Pro Women's Surf Festival which was a 6-Star Association of Surfing Professionals Women's World Qualifying Series Event. In July of 2004, Bethany won the ESPN ESPY award for the ‘Best Comeback Athlete’. In 2006, Bethany placed 3rd in a Billabong Pro Junior competition. 

More Videos Of Bethany Hamilton

100 Greatest Adam Sandler Moments

Credit: NBC — From the SNL stage to the box-office, there's nothing this Brooklyn born comedian couldn't conquer. We take a look at the Sandman's finest moments in movies and television. 22 hr 9 min ago

Click here for full article with pics/videos:

Mission Impossible Squirrel

This takes place in England - the owners of the yard added each piece
of the Rube Goldberg contraption slowly so that when the squirrel
learned one section and got the nuts, they then added the next
Finally it ended with what you see on the clip! It took over 2 weeks to
get to this point.

Experts determine age of book 'nobody can read'

By Daniel Stolte

  UA experts determine age of book 'Nobody can read'

The Voynich manuscript's unintelligible writings and strange illustrations have defied every attempt at understanding their meaning.

( -- While enthusiasts across the world pored over the Voynich manuscript, one of the most mysterious writings ever found – penned by an unknown author in a language no one understands – a research team at the UA solved one of its biggest mysteries: When was the book made?
University of Arizona researchers have cracked one of the puzzles surrounding what has been called "the world's most mysterious manuscript" – the Voynich manuscript, a book filled with drawings and writings nobody has been able to make sense of to this day.

Using , a team led by Greg Hodgins in the UA's department of physics has found the manuscript's parchment pages date back to the early 15th century, making the book a century older than scholars had previously thought.

This tome makes the "DaVinci Code" look downright lackluster: Rows of text scrawled on visibly aged parchment, flowing around intricately drawn illustrations depicting plants, astronomical charts and human figures bathing in – perhaps – the fountain of youth. At first glance, the "Voynich manuscript" appears to be not unlike any other antique work of writing and drawing.

An alien language
But a second, closer look reveals that nothing here is what it seems. Alien characters, some resembling Latin letters, others unlike anything used in any known language, are arranged into what appear to be words and sentences, except they don't resemble anything written – or read – by human beings.

Hodgins, an assistant research scientist and assistant professor in the UA's department of physics with a joint appointment at the UA's School of Anthropology, is fascinated with the manuscript.

"Is it a code, a cipher of some kind? People are doing statistical analysis of letter use and word use – the tools that have been used for code breaking. But they still haven't figured it out."

A chemist and archaeological scientist by training, Hodgins works for the NSF Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, or AMS, Laboratory, which is shared between physics and geosciences. His team was able to nail down the time when the Voynich manuscript was made.

Currently owned by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University, the manuscript was discovered in the Villa Mondragone near Rome in 1912 by antique book dealer Wilfrid Voynich while sifting through a chest of books offered for sale by the Society of Jesus. Voynich dedicated the remainder of his life to unveiling the mystery of the book's origin and deciphering its meanings. He died 18 years later, without having wrestled any its secrets from the book.

Fast-forward to 2009: In the basement underneath the UA's Physics and Atmospheric Sciences building, Hodgins and a crew of scientists, engineers and technicians stare at a computer monitor displaying graphs and lines. The humming sound of machinery fills the room and provides a backdrop drone for the rhythmic hissing of vacuum pumps.

Stainless steel pipes, alternating with heavy-bodied vacuum chambers, run along the walls.
This is the heart of the NSF-Arizona AMS Laboratory: an accelerator mass spectrometer capable of sniffing out traces of carbon-14 atoms that are present in samples, giving scientists clues about the age of those samples.

Age of book 'Nobody can read'
Greg Hodgins checks on the accelerator mass spectrometer, which narrowed the age of the book down to 1404 to 1438, in the early Renaissance. Credit: Daniel Stolte/UANews

Radiocarbon dating: looking back in time Carbon-14 is a rare form of carbon, a so-called radioisotope, that occurs naturally in the Earth's environment. In the natural environment, there is only one carbon-14 atom per trillion non-radioactive or "stable" carbon isotopes, mostly carbon-12, but with small amounts of carbon-13. Carbon-14 is found in the atmosphere within carbon dioxide gas.

Plants produce their tissues by taking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and so accumulate carbon-14 during life. Animals in turn accumulate carbon-14 in their tissues by eating plants, or eating other organisms that consume plants.

When a plant or animal dies, the level of carbon-14 in it remains drops at a predictable rate, and so can be used to calculate the amount of time that has passed since death.

What is true of plants and animals is also true of products made from them. Because the parchment pages of the Voynich Manuscript were made from animal skin, they can be radiocarbon-dated.

Pointing to the front end of the mass spectrometer, Hodgins explains the principle behind it. A tiny sample of carbon extracted from the manuscript is introduced into the "ion source" of the mass spectrometer.

"This causes the atoms in the sample to be ionized," he explained, "meaning they now have an electric charge and can be propelled by electric and magnetic fields."
Ejected from the ion source, the carbon ions are formed into a beam that races through the instrument at a fraction of the speed of light. Focusing the beam with magnetic lenses and filters, the mass spectrometer then splits it up into several beams, each containing only one isotope species of a certain mass.

"Carbon-14 is heavier than the other carbon isotopes," Hodgins said. "This way, we can single out this isotope and determine how much of it is present in the sample. From that, we calculate its age."

Dissecting a century-old book
To obtain the sample from the manuscript, Hodgins traveled to Yale University, where conservators had previously identified pages that had not been rebound or repaired and were the best to sample.

"I sat down with the Voynich manuscript on a desk in front of me, and delicately dissected a piece of parchment from the edge of a page with a scalpel," Hodgins says.

He cut four samples from four pages, each measuring about 1 by 6 millimeters (ca. 1/16 by 1 inch) and brought them back to the laboratory in Tucson, where they were thoroughly cleaned.

"Because we were sampling from the page margins, we expected there are a lot of finger oils adsorbed over time," Hodgins explains. "Plus, if the book was re-bound at any point, the sampling spots on these pages may actually not have been on the edge but on the spine, meaning they may have had adhesives on them."
"The modern methods we use to date the material are so sensitive that traces of modern contamination would be enough to throw things off."

Next, the sample was combusted, stripping the material of any unwanted compounds and leaving behind only its carbon content as a small dusting of graphite at the bottom of the vial.

"In radiocarbon dating, there is this whole system of many people working at it," he said. "It takes many skills to produce a date. From start to finish, there is archaeological expertise; there is biochemical and chemical expertise; we need physicists, engineers and statisticians. It's one of the joys of working in this place that we all work together toward this common goal."

The UA's team was able to push back the presumed age of the Voynich manuscript by 100 years, a discovery that killed some of the previously held hypotheses about its origins and history.

Elsewhere, experts analyzed the inks and paints that makes up the manuscript's strange writings and images.
"It would be great if we could directly radiocarbon date the inks, but it is actually really difficult to do. First, they are on a surface only in trace amounts" Hodgins said. "The carbon content is usually extremely low. Moreover, sampling ink free of carbon from the parchment on which it sits is currently beyond our abilities. Finally, some inks are not carbon based, but are derived from ground minerals. They're inorganic, so they don't contain any carbon."

"It was found that the colors are consistent with the Renaissance palette – the colors that were available at the time. But it doesn't really tell us one way or the other, there is nothing suspicious there."

While Hodgins is quick to point out that anything beyond the dating aspect is outside his expertise, he admits he is just as fascinated with the book as everybody else who has tried to unveil its history and meaning.
"The text shows strange characteristics like repetitive word use or the exchange of one letter in a sequence," he says. "Oddities like that make it really hard to understand the meaning."

"There are types of ciphers that embed meaning within gibberish. So it is possible that most of it does mean nothing. There is an old cipher method where you have a sheet of paper with strategically placed holes in it. And when those holes are laid on top of the writing, you read the letters in those holes."

"Who knows what's being written about in this manuscript, but it appears to be dealing with a range of topics that might relate to alchemy. Secrecy is sometimes associated with alchemy, and so it would be consistent with that tradition if the knowledge contained in the book was encoded. What we have are the drawings. Just look at those drawings: Are they botanical? Are they marine organisms? Are they astrological? Nobody knows."

"I find this manuscript is absolutely fascinating as a window into a very interesting mind. Piecing these things together was fantastic. It's a great puzzle that no one has cracked, and who doesn't love a puzzle?"

More information: http://voynichcent … com/gallery/
Provided by University of Arizona (news : web)

Magnificent & Magical Moonscape of Cappadocia, Turkey [24 PICS]

Click here for the Full Gallery: [24 Amazing Pictures]
 Magnificent & Magical Moonscape of Cappadocia, Turkey [24 PICS]
Balloon Ride
A balloon flying over the fairy chimneys of Goreme - Cappadocia, Turkey by Verity Cridland
 Magnificent & Magical Moonscape of Cappadocia, Turkey [24 PICS]
 Magnificent & Magical Moonscape of Cappadocia, Turkey [24 PICS]
Fairy chimneys near Goreme, Cappadoccia, Turkey
Part of a UNESCO World Heritage site and absolutely fantastic from a photographic, historical, and scenery perspective. by Frank Kovalchek
 Magnificent & Magical Moonscape of Cappadocia, Turkey [24 PICS]
Rock house near Goreme, Cappadocia
A man and his camel near a rock house near Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey by Frank Kovalchek
 Magnificent & Magical Moonscape of Cappadocia, Turkey [24 PICS]

Click here for the Full Gallery: [24 Amazing Pictures]

Now You Can Make DubStep the Same Way You Dance

Using an XBox Kinect to track motion and port it into a MIDI controller for Ableton Live, the Boston Ableton User Group now allows you to make dubsteb bass wobbles with up and down hand gestures.

First Trailer For X-Men: First Class Finally Arrives Online

By Eric Eisenberg

For as little we’ve seen of Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, neither compares to X-Men: First Class. Set to be released on June 3, we’ve been limited thus far to a couple of screenshots and a teaser poster. That changes today.

As first announced yesterday, Fox has launched the first trailer for the Matthew Vaughn superhero film on their official Facebook page. Set decades before Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie, X-Men: First Class tells the story of the bond between Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) before they became Professor X and Magneto.

Check out the trailer below.

For a long day of waiting, that was not too shabby a payoff. I like how the pacing builds and shows off the characters before getting into the action and more fast-paced stuff. The biggest issue, is context. While you can make an argument that this is a teaser, those who haven't been keeping up on news about the film will have no idea who these new players are. The money shot with Magneto lifting the submarine, however, is pretty damn cool. Tell us what you think in the comments section and for more about X-Men: First Class, head on over to our Blend Film Database

For high-res, detailed screencaps from the trailer (containing more than a few surprises) go here.

Van Damme Friday : Behind Closed Doors!

Jean-Claude Van Damme's Reality Show «Behind Closed Doors» • © ITV4 Multi-Channels Coming Soon!

The official Jean-Claude Van Damme - Behind Closed Doors FB page is online now!
Join for regular updates and exclusive media by ITV4 channel.