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Friday, February 18, 2011

Slice Of History: World's Oldest Wedding Cake

It may not make your mouth water but this is thought to be the world's oldest complete wedding cake dating back to 1898.

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Slice Of History: World's Oldest Wedding Cake
 
The cake which was baked 113 years ago has now got brown icing because the sugars have seeped through to the surface.

It also has a crack in its side due to vibrations from a bomb blast during the second world war.
But tests with a syringe have shown the rich fruit cake inside the ornate icing is still moist - although not edible!
The four-tier cake was orginally displayed in a family bakery until it closed in 1964, then kept in an attic before being donated to the Willis Museum in Basingstoke, where it has just gone on show.

It was given to the museum by the baker's daughter.

Curator Sue Tapliss told Sky News: "The baker's daughter, who was unmarried, donated the cake towards the end of her life because she feared someone might discover it in her attic and think she had been jilted at the alter."

She added: "Pieces of Queen Victoria's wedding cake were auctioned off, but this is the world's oldest complete one."

"We hope it can be enjoyed for a further 113 years."

In 1898 Queen Victoria was on the throne and HG Wells' sci-fi classic War Of The Worlds was published.
It was also the year in which the 21st Lancers made the last ever British cavalry charge at the Battle of Omdurman in Sudan.

David Gilmour featured in new Interactive Guitar Magazine


David Gilmour Guitar Interactive Magazine
David Gilmour is featured in the first edition of a new online interactive guitar magazine called Guitar Interactive. The free magazine does not require a subscription to view and no registration either!
The current edition features loads of articles on David Gilmour's guitar prowess as well as tuition, hints and tips about playing guitar.

If you are familiar with Sky Magazine online in the UK you will be familiar with the format already. Imagine a magazine on your computer screen but with interactive video and features to keep you engaged and having fun! This new Guitar Interactive magazine is just like that! You can click the top corner of each page to turn the pages and play up to 5 hours of interactive video right there on your computer.
Go and view Guitar Interactive Magazine now.

Top 5 Android RSS readers

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We all know news is a daily part of most everyone’s lives. We also know where you get it from is important, too. That’s why I’ve gathered the best Android RSS readers I could find and put them up against each other. Which one takes the cake? Let’s find out!

gReader

 
gReader is an RSS feed client that allows you to view your feeds by site, or view all at the same time. What I like about gReader is its simplicity. The UI is very straight forward and fun to look at. The app syncs with your Google Reader account, and does so in a very fast manner. With that being said, there are a few extra features, like the ability to search for articles. gReader will most likely appeal to people who want their news, and want it fast, with no interruptions. That being said, there is the occansional gripe with gReader. The fact that you can search for articles from a site, but can’t search for a site to add to your news list was a turn off.
Rate & download: gReader

FeedR

 
FeedR allows you to view you feeds by category. Even better, you can color code your categories so that you can find the news that you want to read fast. You have the option to sync with your Google Reader account, but you can also use the app without it. Some extra features are the ability to easily share the news that you read, ability to set the app on your homescreen as a widget and the ability to create a shortcut to an RSS feed on your homescreen. However, FeedR lacks things, like the option to view all of your feeds at the same time and there is that dull UI. The newest version requires Android 2.0 +
Rate & download: FeedR

FastReader

 
FastReader is an RSS feed client that gets you your news in a time efficient manner. The app has 2 tabs, one that shows you each feed, and another that lets you view all of the feeds at once. The UI on the app is too bland for me, and it lacks some features, like search, and is more geared toward people who want to get their news, and don’t care about how the interface looks. You can share stories via email, Facebook, and Digg. However, when you click on a story, the interface gets a bit better. You can zoom in and out, and easily switch to another article. Besides that, FastReader is your ordinary RSS feed client.

FeedSquares

 
Now this is something different. FeedSquares is not your ordinary RSS reader. In fact, there are no apps like it. Instead of giving you a boring list of your feeds, FeedSquares gives you colorful boxes that represent each feed. If you only have one or two feeds that you get news from, then this app is not for you. But if you have a bunch of news from a bunch of places, then look no further. The UI is amazing, and is just fun to use. However, there are always drawbacks. For example, FeedSquares is not as fast as the other RSS feed clients, not even close, and besides a cool interface, no other features are to be found.

NewsRob

 
The last RSS feed client that we have is NewsRob. NewsRob is a very sleek app that gets you your news from your Google Reader account. The UI is very nice to look at, but as with FastReader, no extra features are to be found. You can sync to you Google Reader account, and do the expected, like mark as read. You can also view all of your feeds at once, which is a nice feature that is non-existent in other apps. As far as getting your news, it does it at the normal speed. Nothing special, but not bad either.
Rate & download: NewsRob

Comparison


So there you have it. gReader is definitely one of the best RSS feed clients out there, with a sleek UI and the extra features that most apps don’t have. Second place goes to FeedR. FeedR is also a top-notch client and while the UI is not very impressive, packs a few features than gReader. But keep in mind that FeedR is $1.99, so you will have to make the descision if the extra features are worth the price. Coming in at third is FeedSquares. FeedSquares was a fun app to use, but it wasn’t really that practical. It was slow on startup, and slow on syncing. If you prefer glam over guts, then FeedSquares is for you. Landing at fourth place is NewsRob. NewsRob was a boring app to use, and didn’t really have any features to its name. I honestly can’t reccomend NewsRob to anyone that wants an RSS feed client that is a good, quality app. Finally, coming in dead last, is FastReader. While FastReader was a bit faster then the other apps, it doesn’t have any features, does not have a widget, and the UI makes me want to claw my eyes out. I believe that FastReader is not even close to the competition, so if you want a good RSS feed client, at least look at the top four.
Well, there you have it! gReader takes the cake when it comes to getting your news, but FeedR is not far behind. As for FastReader, better luck next time.

What do you use for an RSS feed client? Agree or disagree with our results? Let us know in the comments.

New Magnifying Film Can Increase Solar Panel Efficiency up to 300 Percent

From: http://www.mnn.com/

Karl Burkart

HyperSolar magnifying film can increase solar panel efficiency by up to 300%, making solar competitive with fossil fuels.



Solar Panel Magnifying Layer Image courtesy of HyperSolar
As the U.S. government continues to heap billions in subsidies to the world's wealthiest coal and oil companies, the solar industry has been struggling to make it in the United States. This is sad for many reasons, not the least of which is that we're missing out on one of the biggest growth industries in the world.
Currently there are 16 gigawatts of installed solar power globally. That number will grow to about 1,800 gigawatts in the next 20 years, making it one of the best job creators. U.S. engineers invented the solar panel, and the U.S. should be dominating that market. Instead, foreign manufacturers (particularly in China) have taken our IP and run with it, as we become increasingly dependent on foreign oil and dirty coal operations to meet our power needs. 

Fortunately HyperSolar, a new U.S. company, offers a ray of sunny hope on the clean energy frontier. 
The company does not manufacture solar panels. It makes them ultra-efficient using a field of science called photonics. Similar to a microchip that moves individual bits of data around at hyperspeed, HyperSolar's thin magnifying film routes and separates specific light spectrums, delivering them exactly where they're needed to make an array of PV solar cells ultra-efficient.
I saw an early prototype for such a magnifying optical layer a few years back, but the company was "dark" at the time, so I couldn't write about the innovation. But I'm as excited now as I was then for good reason — HyperSolar's optical layer can increase PV efficiency by up to 300 percent!
Theoretically that means cutting the installation cost of a solar array in half. Instead of a home solar system costing $30,000 (or more) it would only cost $15,000 (or less), making the upfront investment much lower and payback periods much quicker. 


This is a great example of a disruptive technology that could get us to the holy grail of "grid parity" — meaning that solar would be as affordable as other sources of energy like coal and natural gas. And no more polluting coal mines or fracking for natural gas! The sun (for at least the next 5 billion years) will provide free and abundant energy. It's up to us whether we want to invest in that technology or continue to destroy our beautiful landscapes for a few more years of "cheap" (i.e. heavily subsidized) coal. 
Innovations like this make several recent reports ring true. If we have the political will to overcome the stranglehold of the fossil fuel industry on our nation's energy policy, we could become 100 percent renewably powered in a 2030-2050 time frame. Check out these two reports and a new study by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) about how large-scale wind power is now cost-competitive with natural gas:
So, what do you think? Can we kick the fossil fuel habit?

Cancer fear over cola colourings: Call to ban ingredient used in Coke and Pepsi

By Sean Poulter
From: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

A health risk? America's National Toxicology Program says both 2-MI and 4-MI found in Coke are animal carcinogens
A health risk? America's National Toxicology Program says both 2-MI and 4-MI found in Coke are animal carcinogens

An ingredient used in Coca-Cola and Pepsi is a cancer risk and should be banned, an influential lobby group has claimed.

The concerns relate to an artificial brown colouring agent that the researchers say could be causing thousands of cancers.

‘The caramel colouring used in Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and other foods is contaminated with two cancer-causing chemicals and should be banned,’ said the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a health lobby group based in Washington, DC.

‘In contrast to the caramel one might make at home by melting sugar in a saucepan, the artificial brown colouring in colas and some other products is made by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulphites under high pressure and temperatures.

‘Chemical reactions result in the formation of two substances known as 2-MI and 4-MI which in government-conducted studies caused lung, liver, or thyroid cancer or leukaemia in laboratory mice or rats.’
America’s National Toxicology Program says that there is ‘clear evidence’ that both 2-MI and 4-MI are animal carcinogens, and therefore likely to pose a risk to humans.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, found significant levels of 4-MI in five brands of cola.

The executive director of the CSPI, Michael F Jacobson, has petitioned America’s food regulator, the Food & Drug Administration, to take action.He said: ‘Carcinogenic colourings have no place in the food supply, especially considering that their only function is a cosmetic one.’

Mr Jacobson said the name ‘caramel colouring’ does not accurately describe the additives, explaining: ‘It’s a concentrated dark brown mixture of chemicals that simply does not occur in nature.’

Popular drink: The Beatles drinking bottles of coca cola in Paris in 1964. Scientists say its 'caramel colour' is a mixture of chemicals that does not occur in nature
Popular drink: The Beatles drinking bottles of coca cola in Paris in 1964. Scientists say its 'caramel colour' is a mixture of chemicals that does not occur in nature

He added that while regular caramel could not be described as healthy, ‘at least it is not tainted with carcinogens’.

U.S. regulations distinguish between four types of caramel colouring, two of which are produced with ammonia and two without it. The CSPI wants the two made with ammonia to be banned and has received backing from five prominent cancer experts, including several who have worked at the National Toxicology Program.

The type used in colas and other dark soft drinks is known as Caramel IV, or ammonia sulphite process caramel. Caramel III, which is produced with ammonia but not sulphites, is sometimes used in beer, soy sauce, and other foods.

The CSPI admitted that any risk associated with consumption of the chemicals would be extremely small. It said the ten teaspoons of sugar found in a can of regular cola would be more of a health problem.
However, it argued the levels of 4-MI in the tested colas still may be causing thousands of cancers in the U.S. population alone.

Earlier this week, it was claimed that Coca-Cola’s secret recipe had been leaked. It was even suggested it might be possible to recreate the taste and look on the kitchen table.

The leak claims were denied by the company, where a spokesman said: ‘Many third parties have tried to crack our secret formula. Try as they might, they’ve been unsuccessful because there is only one “Real Thing”.’

Coca-Cola and Pepsi did not respond to a request for a response to the CSPI claims.
This morning Coca-Cola rejected the CSPI’s concerns.

A spokesman said: ‘Our beverages are completely safe. CSPI’s statement irresponsibly insinuates that the caramel used in our beverages is unsafe and

maliciously raises cancer concerns among consumers.

'This does a disservice to the very public for which CSPI purports to serve.
‘Studies show that the caramel we use does not cause cancer.’

The company said its drinks do not contain 2-MEI. It said they do contain 4-MEI in trace amounts.
It said: ‘These extrapolations by CSPI to human health and cancer are totally unfounded.’

Maybe its time to revisit the Pepsi Clear:





What I think Obama is meeting with Jobs, Schmidt, and Zuckerberg about


Tonight Obama is meeting with Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, and Mark Zuckerberg. There's been a lot of speculation about what they're going to discuss. Here's what I think.

Where's Steve? Where's Steve?

16 Rockin’ Refrigerator Concepts

Since its introduction in 18th century, refrigerator has become an indispensable part of every household. Ever since its inception, refrigerators have maintained the same old rectangular shape. However, in an era where creativity plays a key role in every product, the boring destiny of fridge is seeing a change with more and more innovative designs. Take a tour into the future with 16 awesome refrigerator concepts below.

Futuristic Biopolymer Fridge

Awesome_Fridge_Concepts_1
Four times smaller than a conventional refrigerator, the ultra slim Bio Robot is a biopolymer based fridge without doors, drawers, or even a motor. Each item you put in the fridge is stored in its own biopolymer vacuum bubble at its own optimal temperature by bio robots. Designed by Russian industrial design student Yuriy Dmitriev, the fridge can be hung vertically, horizontally, and even on the ceiling.

Smart Fridge Concept

Awesome_Fridge_Concepts_2

Source: GadgetHer
Smart Fridge is a concept that turns your fridge into a trust-worthy cooking companion. The fridge can track the ingredients available inside it, make a menu list of all that can be prepared with the available ingredients, and give a step-by-step instruction of the dish being prepared. The Smart Fridge also tells you when you are running low on a particular ingredient. The concept was conceived by Ashley Legg, while the visual impressions of the gadget were done by Yanko Designs.

Self-Cleaning Fridge

Awesome_Fridge_Concepts_3
While we all know how important it is to clean the fridge regularly, we all hate the task of cleaning it. However, it won’t be a problem any more with the futuristic Self-cleaning Fridge thanks to nano-tiles which can scan and move old food items to the front of the fridge. The highly intelligent fridge is also equipped with a ultraviolet reader which analyzes the weight of each plate before and after a meal to track the calorie intake of a user, and two touch screens that display menu suggestions and shopping lists.

Tree House Fridge

Awesome_Fridge_Concepts_4
Source: Gearfuse
Yanko Design’s Tree House Fridge is a perfect example of how visual impression can totally take over functionality. Resembling tree house in our childhood, the fridge has separate “branches” which work as separate fridges with different designs. One has holes as a fruit shelf which gives you the feeling of picking up a fruit from a tree. Another is like a bird house to keep eggs. Doors can slide away when a hand is placed in front of it.

IceCloud Fridge

Awesome_Fridge_Concepts_5
Source: Behance
IceCloud Fridge by Fanni Csernátony is a futuristic makeover of Nigeria’s zeer pot for the year 2050 when space, energy and water will be our most precious treasures. The fridge uses evaporating water to keep things cool naturally. The hanging structure makes it perfect choice for houses with limited space.

Neff Portable Fridge

Awesome_Fridge_Concepts_6
Source: The Design blog
To reduce the energy consumption for cooling, German designer Stefan Ulrich has decided to harvest the leftover energy from the kitchen to power the fridge through an innovative combination of new materials. Dubbed as Neff, the portable fridge can either be mounted on the wall or placed on the table.

Electrolux Flatshare Fridge

Awesome_Fridge_Concepts_7
The Lego-like fridge design is Stefan Buchberger’s solution to the food conflict between roommates who share one fridge. The Flatshare fridge consists of up to four stackable modules on top of a base station which allows each roommate to have his or her own secure and secluded refrigerator space. Each module can be further customized with add-ons like bottle openers or a whiteboard.

Celsius Stackable Modular Refrigerator

Awesome_Fridge_Concepts_8
Source: Hardware Sphere
Designed by Angeline Meloche, Celsius is a conceptual stackable fridge with individual rooms for different items such as vegetables or beverage, meats or fishes. You can purchase the basic one-shelf version and expand the refrigerator by stacking one to each other. It features controls 5 temperature settings which can be controlled by a touch sensitive front panel.

Electrolux Soft Refrigerator

Awesome_Fridge_Concepts_9
Source: OhGizmo!
Using heat-insulating membrane and modular vented shelving, the collapsible fridge concept by Electrolux can be size-optimized based on how much food there are inside the fridge which will not only save your kitchen space but also reduce the energy needed to keep the fridge running.

Koolie Shopping Cart Fridge

Awesome_Fridge_Concepts_10
Source: Behance
Koolie is a space-saving fridge design which doubles as a shopping cart or a picnic basket.   The fridge features a built-in RFID field that detects all the new food items placed inside and charges a predefined credit or debit card automatically when you leave the store through cashier gates.

Nord Fridge

Awesome_Fridge_Concepts_11
Source: Behance
Composed with right and clear geometry on the surface, Olga Kalugina’s Nord fridge features a bunch of new elements inside: an inclined triangle shelf  which can be used as a cellar or a place for juice, a movable shelf which can be moved or taken out, a height-changing shelve which can be made higher or lower.

Samsung Fridge

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Source: Appliancist
GRO Design has come up with an idea to make a fridge which looks more like furniture piece than appliance. Designed to work vertically as well as horizontally, the fridge can easily blend in various contemporary interiors and layouts.

Window Fridge

Awesome_Fridge_Concepts_13
Source: Ubergizmo
It’s not uncommon for us to open the fridge door and waste several minutes thinking about what you want to get. To help you save time and energy, the Window fridge comes with a transparent door which helps you make a decision before opening the door. It also comes in a long tube design that makes it a snap to turn on the inside.

Shift Refrigerator

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Source: Yanko Design
The Shift Refrigerator is another fridge concept to save energy by minimizing the outflow of cool air. Designer Yong-jin Kim adds a a smaller compartment in the big fridge with the hope that it will be used to store the most used food items. The smaller the door is opened, the less electric power is used.

iFridge

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Source: Leonidlucenko
Inspired by Apple’s neatly designed products, iFridge is a mini fridge design with two separated rooms to store snacks, fruits and drinks.

Teleport Fridge

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Source: Tuvie
The Teleport Fridge is the first design that utilizes the technology that all sci-fi fans have dreamed of: teleportation. The fridge uses touchscreen as the teleportation interface. All you have to do is to call or email the grocery store and your orders will be placed right inside your fridge.
Having just big enough fridge saves your space at home and makes it possible to use the fridge as a shopping cart or a picnic basket.   Koolie has an RFID field build inside so that it detects all the new food items placed inside and charges a predefined credit or debit card automatically when you leave the store through cashier gates. You just need to enter you PIN.

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