Destructive Japan tsunami caught on film
Fresh footage of huge tsunami waves smashing town in Japan
New dramatic video: Tsunami wave spills over seawall, smashes boats, cars
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Destructive Japan tsunami caught on film
The Holmquist family can tell you first-hand what the iPad has done for their autistic 3-year-old son Hudson. After a school therapist suggested the family buy an iPad, the Holmquists decided it was worth a try. Now that the family has been using the iPad for a little while, they'll tell you it is a miracle device.
Hudson was diagnosed with autism in 2010. Before the iPad, he had several violent meltdowns a day. Now, after using the iPad, he has fewer violent meltdowns. According to mother Laura Holmquist, "The iPad has given us our family back." She continued saying, "It's unlocked a new part of our son that we hadn't seen before, and given us insight into the way he connects with his world."
You may be surprised to learn that autism experts aren't surprised by this. In fact, the iPad has been gaining recognition for helping autistic children since it first came out in 2010. Certainly part of the attraction is the number of child-friendly educational apps available. Another key reason why the iPad works so well for autistic children: it lacks a keyboard and mouse. Without these peripherals, there is less distraction for the children.
Photo: Susan Poag via The Times-Picayune
Scientists at the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans have made a genetic-breakthrough of the most adorable proportions -- successfully producing two endangered kittens via in vitro fertilization. With sperm taken from a male African black-footed cat in 2003, the team inseminated an egg in 2005. The embryo remained frozen until last December, when it was finally transferred to a surrogate female named Bijou. Less than three months later, the tiny, fluffy duo were born.
In addition to being one of the world's most threatened species of feline, African black-footed cats are also among the smallest. A fully grown adult will typically be just a fraction of the size of a regular house-cat. Less than 50 specimens are known to exist on the planet -- and 19 of those are housed at facilities in the United States. Experts say that they face threats from weary farmers who try to poison them and from human expansion in their native habitat.
This first successful birth from frozen embryos, however, offers hope for conservationists that the diminutive cats will avoid extinction.
"They haven't reproduced well in captivity at all. This is really prevention, for the future, keeping species from going extinct," says Betsy Dresser of the Audubon Nature Institute. "They're so low in number. If we don't do something, we're going to lose them."
Photo: Susan Poag via The Times-Picayune
A report from The Times-Picayune provides more details on how advances in genetics can help save species like the African black-footed cat:
A goal of the research is to learn how to use much more plentiful domestic cats as surrogate mothers and then spread the technique to other institutions and zoos so the population of the compact, wild cats can be rebuilt and reintroduced in conservation areas, Dresser said."We don't know what the future holds for many of these species," said the facility in a news release. "But we do know that by preserving DNA and working on protocol for creating pregnancies and producing babies through cryo-preservation and surrogate mothers, we are giving these species a shot at survival even when their numbers dip to dangerously low levels."
As hinted at via our tweet on February 28, we've got confirmation that 7Up Retro will be arriving in May.
The launch will be tied to a promotion done in conjunction with NBC's Celebrity Apprentice reality show. You may recall that last year, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the parent of 7Up, used the same show to launch limited runs of Diet Snapple Trop-a-Rocka Tea and Snapple Compassionberry Tea. Apparently the folks at DPSG found that platform successful enough to continue with rollouts.
We've also heard that Snapple's sponsorship of one of BevReview's favorite reality shows, The Amazing Race, will be used to introduce new flavors Papaya Mango Tea and Diet Papaya Mango Tea later this month.
The introduction of a limited time lemon-lime product that uses "real sugar" should provide a nice comparison product to Pepsi's Sierra Mist Natural. While we like the sugar Sierra Mist, we do agree that something in the taste just seems a bit… off.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group experimented with the current limited release "real sugar" trend in soft drinks via Heritage Dr Pepper (bottled by Pepsi) and Dr Pepper with Real Sugar (bottled by Coke). Of course what got this whole thing started was the rollout of PepsiCo's Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback, which after 4 limited edition rereleases, are now permanent parts of the Pepsi lineup. With the recent reboot of 7Up's normal formula, we're looking forward to tasting this sugar-infused version.
We couldn't turn up any trademark filings or early packaging art on 7Up Retro, but keep your eyes open! Remember we're just an e-mail, tweet, or Facebook post away!
Remember that awesome trailer for J.J. Abrams' upcoming secretive project Super 8? The movie has been so under wraps that we don't even really know what it is about yet. Well, the investigative team at ReelzChannel found a clue hidden within the trailer for the summer flick.
A url is hidden in the camera lens in the trailer, s8editingroom.com, a website apart from the official website for the movie — www.super8-movie.com.
The website reveals some seemingly "lost" footage of scientists talking about an (alien?) experiment.
For fans of Abrams, the secrecy around the movie can be frustrating but in an era where leaked pics, scripts, and video hit the net long before a movie's release, it is kind of refreshing to be completely in the dark about one of the most highly anticipated movies of the summer.
What we do know about the movie is that it takes place in the summer of 1979 in a small Ohio town where a group of kids witness a train crash. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town. Abrams has called Super 8 his homage to the Steven Spielberg, who is a producer, movies of the 1970s.
We still have a long way to go until the movie's June 10 opening. We can only wait and see what other breadcrumbs Abrams leaves for us.
While biking is becoming more popular in U.S. cities — L.A. is adding 1,600 bike lanes, Chicago has a new bike plan, and Portland has 17,000 daily commuters — Europe has some amazing biking cities of their own.
The Ecologist has come up with the 10 best biking cities in Europe (in no particular order):
- “With its charming twisty lanes and dedicated bike routes, Lyon is a cyclists’ paradise.”
- The city’s bike sharing program, Velo’v has over 300 stations throughout the city.
- “Cycling is by far the best bet for seeing the sights close to the Tiber, where a picturesque route runs from the Ponte Sublicio to the Ponte della Magliana.”
- “Featuring street lanes geared to cyclists and dedicated left hand turns to make crossing the road safer, Basel tops the list of cities to cycle in Switzerland.”
- “Thanks to the combined efforts of Allied air raids and the Communist predilection for destroying picturesque old buildings and replacing them with big, brash new ones, Berlin’s streets are wonderfully wide, which makes it easy to get around by bike.”
- “With its picturesque setting on the shores of the cerulean Trondheimsfjord, Norway’s fourth largest city has built a reputation for bicycling brilliance thanks to innovations such as the Trampe bicycle lift which takes the effort out of pedaling uphill.”
- “While the many hazards of the Place de la Concorde aren’t the greatest advertisement for cycling in Paris, once you’re a safe distance from the city’s infamously crazy drivers – on the pavement in other words – then cycling in Paris can be a real pleasure.”
- “Surprisingly, given Spain’s reputation for endangering the lives and limbs of cyclists thanks to its motorists’ penchant for going everywhere at top speed, Barcelona has 50,000 regular cyclists and that figure is increasing daily.”
- 37 percent of all Copenhageners bike a total of 1.2 million kilometers each day.
- “The Danish capital has been quietly turning itself into one of the best biking cities in the world; a fact revealed when the International Cycling Union gave it the first ‘Bike City’ award last year.”
- The city is working to build 12 biking “superhighways” — there are already two — and increase biking by 400 percent from 2000.
- “Cycling in London used to be pretty dreadful thanks to an unfortunate combination of rain and aggressive drivers but since the first two Barclays Cycle Superhighways launched last summer, things have become a little easier.”
- There are 600,000 bikes in a city of 750,000.
- “Thanks in part to the narrow streets in the medieval city center, cycling is by far the most efficient way to get around.”
by Ty Dunitz
If there’s one thing the Kinect is good for, it’s facilitating interesting and downright clever hacks. Obviously. If you thought I was going to say ‘gaming’, you’re not a gamer.
In any case, check this out. London Hackspace has developed what they’ve dubbed the Evil Genius Simulator – a device which uses a Kinect to monitor the motions of the aspiring genius’ hands. The higher they’re raised (ideally accompanied by maniacal laughter) the more lightning that jumps between two Tesla coils set up behind it all. This is nothing if not a lesson in basdassery.
I dunno how comfortable I’d feel turning my back to two operating Tesla coils, but the dramatic effect is anything but un-awesome. Imagine this thing weaponized. Exo-skeleton-clad supersoldiers of the future shooting lightning from their hands.
All thanks to Microsoft.
Japan's earthquake will be a major test for search-and-rescue robots like Quince, developed by Chiba Institute of Technology roboticists, shown here during a demonstration.
Japan's leading experts in rescue robotics are deploying wheeled and snake-like robots to assist emergency responders in the search for survivors of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the country last Friday.
Details are still scarce, but I've gotten word that at least two teams plan to use their search and rescue robots, one team in Tokyo and another in or around Sendai, the city that suffered the most damage in the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami. I'm waiting confirmation about a third team, also in Tokyo. (There is no information about the presence of robots at Japan's troubled Fukushima nuclear power plants, though that would be an ideal application for teleoperated repair and inspection robots.)
Dr. Robin Murphy, director of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) at Texas A&M University, in College Station, and one of the world's top experts in rescue robotics, confirms that a team led by Satoshi Tadokoro of Tohoku University, in Sendai, and a team led by Eiji Koyanagi from Chiba Institute of Technology's Future Robotics Technology Center, have deployed, or are about to deploy, their robots.
She reports that Dr. Tadokoro is "en route" to Sendai, where he lives, with the Active Scope Camera, a remote operated 8-meter-long snake-like robot that carries a scope camera and can slither through small spaces. According to Dr. Murphy, it's "possibly the most capable robot for tight spaces." At the same time, Dr. Koyanagi will use an agile robot called Quince, which has tank-like tracks and is capable of driving over rubble and climbing stairs, around his home area in Tokyo.
Here's a video of the Active Scope Camera:
Here's a video of Quince:
Dr. Murphy, an IEEE Fellow whose team has taken robots to disaster sites like the World Trade Center after the September 11, 2001 attacks and New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, tells me that robots have been used in at least one previous earthquake, the 2010 Haiti disaster. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, she says, used a SeaBotix underwater remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, to investigate bridge and seawall damage as part of the U.S. assistance to the Haitian government.
For a disaster like the Japan quake, she says several types of robots could prove useful, including:
• small unmanned aerial vehicles like robotic helicopters and quadrotors for inspection of upper levels of buildings and lower altitude checks
• snake robots capable of entering collapsed buildings and slithering through rubble
• small underwater ROVs for bridge inspection and underwater recovery
• tether-based unmanned ground vehicles like sensor-packed wheeled robots that operators can drive remotely to search for survivors
As it happened, Japan's leading rescue robotics experts, a cadre led by Dr. Tadokoro, who heads the International Rescue Systems Institute, were actually in the United States when the earthquake hit! The 21 faculty and students and their rescue robots were in Texas participating in an exercise and workshop that CRASAR organized. The group headed back to Japan on Friday as soon as they heard the news.
Dr. Murphy, who leads the volunteer search-and-rescue robotics group Roboticists Without Borders, part of CRASAR, says the Japanese welcomed her group's assistance; she's now on standby awaiting a formal request. CRASAR's robotic arsenal includes the AirRobot and iSensys helicopters, a VideoRay ROV for underwater inspection, a AEOS water vehicle with a sonar suited for bridge inspection, and several ground robots like the Inuktun VGTV, a tracked vehicle that can change its shape.
Like most search and rescue robots, the systems the Japanese are deploying are designed to go where humans can't easily reach. According to a 2007 paper, the Active Scope Camera is a snake-type of robot whose body is covered by "cilia," small filaments that vibrate, allowing the robot to crawl at a speed of 4.7 centimeters per second, climb over obstacles, follow walls, and make turns in tight spaces.
Quince is a mobile robot equipped with four sets of tracked wheels, some of which can move up and down to allow the robot to negotiate obstacles. It carries cameras as well as infrared and carbon-dioxide sensors for detecting the presence of survivors trapped under rubble.
Our thoughts go to the Japanese people affected by this tragedy. We hope emergency personnel can locate all survivors as fast as possible -- and if robots can help, great.
Image: Chiba Institute of Technology; videos: DigInfo and Chiba Institute of Technology