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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 152807 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #105 on: Jul 16th, 2010, 07:48am »

Wired

Human Trials Next for Darpa’s Mind-Controlled Artificial Arm
By Katie Drummond July 15, 2010 | 3:29 pm | Categories: Science

Pentagon-backed scientists are getting ready to test thought-controlled prosthetic arms on human subjects, by rewiring their brains to fully integrate the artificial limbs.

Already in recent years, we’ve seen very lifelike artificial arms, monkeys nibbling bananas with mind-controlled robotic limbs and even humans whose muscle fibers have been wired to prosthetic devices. But this is the first time human brains will be opened up, implanted with a neural interface and then used to operate an artificial limb.

It’s a giant step that’ll transform the devices, which were little more than hooks and cables only 50 years ago. And the progress is courtesy of Darpa, the Pentagon’s far-out R&D agency, who’ve been sponsoring brain-controlled replacement limbs as part of their Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program.

A team of scientists at Johns Hopkins, behind much of Darpa’s prosthetic progress thus far, have received a $34.5 million contract from the agency to manage the next stages of the project. Researchers will test the Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) on a human. The test subject’s thoughts will control the arm, which “offers 22 degrees of motion, including independent movement of each finger,” provides feedback that essentially restores a sense of touch, and weighs around 9 pounds. That’s about the same weight as a human arm.


The prosthetic will rely on micro-arrays, implanted into the brain, that record signals and transmit them to the device. It’s a similar design to that of the freaky monkey mind-control experiments, which have been ongoing at the University of Pittsburgh since at least 2004.

Within two years, Johns Hopkins scientists plan to test the prosthetic in five patients. And those researchers, alongside a Darpa-funded consortium from Caltech, University of Pittsburgh, University of Utah and the University of Chicago, also hope to expand prosthetic abilities to incorporate pressure and touch.

“The goal is to enable the user to more effectively control movements to perform everyday tasks, such as picking up and holding a cup of coffee,” Michael McLoughlin, the project’s program manager, says.

Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/human-trials-ahead-for-darpas-mind-controlled-artificial-arm/#ixzz0tqhKNXNI

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« Reply #106 on: Jul 16th, 2010, 07:54am »

Wired

No matter how frustrated a cyclist gets at badly-behaving drivers, there’s nothing they can really do against two-tons of glass and steel piloted by an idiot. But if you and a few friends happen to be riding the BigDog, a four-wheel, four-man-powered behemoth of a “bicycle”, you could crush drivers and their vehicles like the Hulk crushes… well, like the Hulk crushes everything.



Read More http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/07/giant-four-man-bike-could-crush-cars/#ixzz0tqiaaK40

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« Reply #107 on: Jul 16th, 2010, 07:59am »

LA Times

By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times

July 16, 2010

Reporting from Berlin —

Erich Honecker may be dancing in his grave. The stodgy Communist Party apparatchik vilified in history as the last leader of the dying East Germany would be proud to know that his political heirs are making a comeback.

Germans watching their economic prospects founder, banks getting bailed out by the billions of euros and workers turned out into the streets are taking out their fury by voting in unprecedented numbers for the party called the Left, whose ranks include ideological descendants of Honecker.

In last year's nationwide elections, the party extended its parliamentary bloc from 54 to 76 seats out of 622. In state elections in North Rhein-Westpahlia and Saarland over the last year, the Left managed to win representation in local legislatures in western Germany for the first time.

Experts say the support has grown because of the perceived economic mismanagement by mainstream parties. Another factor is the impending social welfare cut that would have an inordinate effect on the poor and unemployed. Electoral volatility appears to cut across regional lines and also benefits the left-leaning Green Party, which picked up 17 seats in the last parliamentary election.

"Germans don't go to the streets," said Sven Behrendt, an economic expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "They go to the voting booth."

Smooth politicking has also paved the way for the Left's rise.

East German Communists — renamed the Party of Democratic Socialism, or PDS, after reunification — held on to a steady but unchanging bloc of voters in the economically devastated formerly Soviet-controlled states. Then in 2005, under the leadership of the charismatic former Social Democratic Party leader Oskar Lafontaine, a former finance minister, the PDS began joining forces with a far-left western German party. The two merged and branded themselves Die Linke, or the Left.

"Lafontaine is a left-wing populist who really knows how to address the people," said Juergen Falter, a political scientist at the University of Mainz, near Frankfurt. "He knows how to use the anxieties and prejudices of people."

The Left has also replenished its ranks with such fresh faces such as Katja Kipping, a 32-year-old with candy-red hair who won election to the parliament in 2005, and 31-year-old Steffen Bockhahn, who won a seat last year.

"Before they always had these old men," said Peggi Liebisch, the head of a Berlin association that helps single parents. "They would have even more success if they would get some more young people in there."

The party attributes its recent successes to economic turmoil, the continued stagnation in the states of the former East Germany and the deeply unpopular German commitment to the war in Afghanistan, which it strenuously opposes.

"There's a real need for a left-wing party that talks about social justice," said Dagmar Enkelmann, leader of the Left's parliamentary faction. "I consider myself a socialist. This new crisis gives Karl Marx a new meaning. But we have to modernize Marx and learn how to reform our society."

Many observers blame the centrist drift of the Social Democratic Party, known by the abbreviation SPD, for the rise of the Left. Ever since the Social Democrats formed a grand coalition government with the center-right Christian Democratic Union, or CDU, in 2005, they've steadily lost street credibility with leftists.

"Most of the strength of the Left is the weakness of the SPD," said Uwe Meinhardt, a leader of IG Metall, the German industrial union. "If the SPD should recover, I think the Left party will lose again."

But others see the nation as a whole moving toward the left end of the political spectrum, especially concerning economic policy in response to the growing polarization between rich and poor. Even the market-oriented Free Democratic Party has been forced to adjust its rhetoric in the face of an electorate angry over multibillion-dollar bailouts for German banks and their southern European debtor nations combined with proposed austerity measures to cut public spending.

"The dissatisfaction with the injustice has never been so high," said Ulrich Schneider, executive director of Paritaet, a union of charity groups — a sort of United Way, but allowed to lobby. "It's not for the benefit of this party or that party. Even some factions in the CDU are calling to raise taxes."

The rise of the leftist parties also contrasts starkly with the stagnation of the extreme right. Germany's tiny National Democratic Party has never won seats in the national parliament and performs tepidly at the state and local levels. After picking up some support in the early 1990s, experts say, the right withered away, unlike similar parties in neighboring Netherlands or France.

"In Germany, the protest vote tends to go to the left, not the right," said Falter, the political scientist.

Despite advances by the Left and the Greens, the majority of voters still cast ballots for one of the two major centrist parties, the SPD or the CDU. The environmentally minded Green Party disagrees with the Left on such issues as coal mining, preventing them from joining to mount a formidable challenge to the main parties.

more after the jump
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-germany-left-20100716,0,1457997.story

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #108 on: Jul 16th, 2010, 08:01am »

LA Times

July 15, 2010 | 12:59 pm
The Senate put the final nail in the coffin of proposals to create box office futures markets today with the passage of financial reform legislation.

President Obama has said he will sign the bill, which includes a provision inserted at the behest of the major studios that bans trading contracts based on movies' box office performance. The studios said trading in box office futures could create negative publicity before a movie opens and would be easily manipulated, while backers said they would be a valuable financial tool for the industry.

The Senate had been expected to pass the bill. Once a House-Senate committee hammering out the final language of the bill kept the box office futures ban in place, the two firms preparing to create such markets conceded that their days were probably numbered even though they had won approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Richard Jaycobs, the head of Cantor Exchange, said in a recent interview that his company was exploring other options in entertainment finance.

-- Ben Fritz

link:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2010/07/box-office-futures-go-from-critical-to-flatline-as-financial-reform-bill-passes-senate.html

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« Reply #109 on: Jul 16th, 2010, 08:07am »

Telegraph

Police arrest devil-horned suspect
When witnesses to a car crime in the United States reported the suspect had devil-like horns, police had little trouble catching up with Jesse Thornhill.

By Murray Wardrop
Published: 9:39AM BST 16 Jul 2010

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After accosting the 28-year-old, officers noted down on his arrest sheet that his “personal oddities” included "horns, neck tattoos and implant earrings on head”.

The arrest came after police were called to a disturbance in Tulsa, Okalahoma, following reports of a late-night altercation.

On arrival they were told that Mr Thornhill had tried to run down his landlord after an argument, using his people carrier as a “dangerous weapon”.

Patrolmen later picked up the heavy metal fan nearby and he spent the night in Tulsa County Jail before he was released on a $10,000 bond.

After interviewing Mr Thornhill’s landlady, who was also involved, the arresting officer noted: “While in the street Jesse attempted to strike her with his vehicle. But missed due to [her] jumping out of his path. Jesse was located & arrested.”

Among Mr Thornhill’s other ghoulish features not noted by police are his tattooed eyebrows, lengthened earlobes and brandings.

The horns are created by surgically implanting Teflon lumps under the skin to gradually stretch the scalp into the desired shape. Wearers have to undergo a number of procedures to achieve the size of Mr Thornhill’s horns.

link:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7893828/Police-arrest-devil-horned-suspect.html

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« Reply #110 on: Jul 16th, 2010, 08:09am »

Please be an angel

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www.soldiersangels.org

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« Reply #111 on: Jul 16th, 2010, 08:12am »

Washington Post.

No early reports of damage after 3.6-magnitude quake centered in Montgomery County hits just after 5 a.m.

No traffic or transit delays have been reported because of the earthquake, which the U.S. Geological Survey says is the largest to hit the area since 1974. || Story by Mike McPhate

more after the jump
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/local-breaking-news/dc/mild-earthquake-felt-across-re.html?hpid=dynamiclead

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« Reply #112 on: Jul 16th, 2010, 12:47pm »

OK, you wash me next......


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« Reply #113 on: Jul 16th, 2010, 2:44pm »

Cool depiction of the "fourth dimension".....

http://www.wimp.com/fourthdimension/
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« Reply #114 on: Jul 16th, 2010, 5:13pm »

Wow! Nice posts Swamprat! Danke!
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« Reply #115 on: Jul 16th, 2010, 5:14pm »

Improv Everywhere



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« Reply #116 on: Jul 16th, 2010, 6:43pm »

Goofy family with pets photos. Some silliness for this afternoon.

http://weirdplanet.net/2010/07/18-awkward-pet-photos/

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« Reply #117 on: Jul 16th, 2010, 9:24pm »



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« Reply #118 on: Jul 17th, 2010, 07:42am »

Phantoms and Monsters

Friday, July 16, 2010
Xiaoshan Airport UFO Investigation to Begin....2nd Sighting in Chongqing


http://tucsoncitizen.com/paranormal/2010/07/15/media-in-china-reports-second-ufo-sighting-in-chongqing/ - Witnesses saw it again yesterday.

Around 8pm in the evening, a UFO was spotted hovering over Chongqing’s Shaping park for more than an hour. Eyewitnesses describe the same UFO that closed Hangzhou’s Xiaoshan Airport on July 7th. It appeared exactly one week after the last one, but it was observed in a different location.

A witness surnamed Chen gave an account to the media. “I stared at it and it did not move,” Chen said. “After hovering for an hour, the thing started to fly higher and finally out of people’s sight.”

A probe into the UFO incident that closed the airport last week has turned up nothing. A team of UFO experts from Shanghai and Beijing gathered in Hangzhou to assist with the investigation.

The experts aren’t receiving much cooperation from airport officials, though. The officials say again that the radar caught nothing and refuse to turn over radar images from July 7th.

Video and more after the jump

http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/07/xiaoshan-airport-ufo-investigation-to.html

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« Reply #119 on: Jul 17th, 2010, 07:47am »

Wired

Nation’s Spies, Contractors Brace For Post Expose
By Spencer Ackerman July 16, 2010 | 1:24 pm | Categories: Spies, Secrecy and Surveillance

That acrid scent in your nostrils? It’s the intelligence community’s hair on fire. No, not from an imminent terrorist attack, but from an imminent series on the community’s expansive use of contractors since 9/11, courtesy of the Washington Post and PBS’ Frontline.

We haven’t read the series, set to drop starting Monday. But John Noonan of the Weekly Standard tweeted at us with a memo that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence sent to its contractor partners, warning that reporter Dana Priest will probably publish “a compendium of government agencies and contractors allegedly conducting Top Secret work.” Whoa.

If reporters call trying to follow up what Priest reports, the memo warns, contractors need to shut their mouths. “Employees should be reminded that they must neither confirm nor deny information contained in this, or any, media publication, and that the publication of this website does not constitute a change in any current ODNI classifications,” the memo states. “They should also be reminded that if approached and asked to discuss their work by media or unauthorized people, they should report the interactions to their appropriate security officer.”

Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/nations-spies-contractors-brace-for-post-expose/#ixzz0twXYxrJw

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