Board Logo
« Stuff & Nonsense »

Welcome Guest. Please Login or Register.
May 24th, 2017, 03:04am


Visit the UFO Casebook Web Site

*Totally FREE 24/7 Access *Your Nickname and Avatar *Private Messages

*Join today and be a part of one of the largest UFO sites on the Net.


« Previous Topic | Next Topic »
Pages: 1 ... 110 111 112 113 114  ...  1070 Notify Send Topic Print
 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 44415 times)
CA519705950
Senior Member
ImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Male
Posts: 587
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1665 on: Oct 26th, 2010, 1:30pm »

on Oct 26th, 2010, 10:37am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
So make some noise! grin
Crystal

Hahaha... will do wink.
User IP Logged

"Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist."
Epicurus.
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1666 on: Oct 26th, 2010, 1:48pm »

on Oct 26th, 2010, 1:30pm, CA519705950 wrote:
Hahaha... will do wink.


User Image

cheesy
Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1667 on: Oct 26th, 2010, 1:56pm »

Wired Danger Room

Unleash the iPads of War! Military Maps Now Apps
By Spencer Ackerman
October 26, 2010 | 7:00 am | Categories: Army and Marines

Ever since the Army held a contest for iPhone and Android applications in March, software developers have drooled at the chance to get in on the military market. Judging by what’s on display at the annual Association of the U.S. Army confab in Washington, get ready for a lot of apps that map — keeping track of both allies and enemies.

User Image

The above display on the iPad of a Textron Systems employee shows a map of friendly and hostile locations — the blue houses have U.S. troops in them — that soldiers can gather out in the field and send back to their command stations for further analysis. It’s running through SoldierEyes, a secure cloud that runs lots of little applets for intelligence, command-and-control and battlefield awareness, developed by two Textron subsidiaries, Overwatch and AAI.

The SoldierEyes Common Operating Picture, for instance, is like a mini Blue Force Tracker, explains Evan Cormin, who works on the project: a real-time way for soldiers to monitor where friendly forces are at any given time, represented by little blue boxes. And not just friendlies: Plug in an enemy’s position, and the cloud shares it with anyone else running SoldierEyes, whether out on patrol or back at the command post. Its GPS components allow soldiers to use the map for navigation while they see where their friends and foes are.

Load Augmented Reality, another SoldierEyes sub-app, ditches the map. Instead, it uses your handheld’s camera to give you a picture of what’s in front of you — but with the colored boxes of friendlies and enemies in position on the screen. The idea is make sure that soldiers getting out of their vehicles don’t lose a sense of their surroundings once the Humvee doors swing open and they aren’t behind a computer screen anymore.

Not to be outdone, Raytheon has designed its own smartphone, called RATS, for Raytheon Advanced Tactical Systems. Mark Bigham, a company vice president for business development, shows off the RATS apps on his own touchscreen Android phone. Running over a 3G network using a server hosted in a laptop called Ratman, RATS runs maps that represent friendlies and hostiles ID’d by any individual user.

Distribution isn’t automatic: Individual users have to send particular identifications out in order to compile a common master map. You share them with what’s essentially a version of a Buddy List to create — yes — a RAT pack. A complementary app, “Salute Report,” allows soldiers to text a report back to their bases using a template of the Army’s standard format. RATS can also send video images, but that takes a lot of bandwidth.

But the feature Bigham is most juiced about is basically an MS Paint program to ID enemy fighters. “Say Robert’s the bad guy,” he says, snapping a photo of an unsuspecting nearby Raytheon employee. Using a quick touchscreen stylus program, Bigham traces a red circle around a picture of Robert’s face. “Now we disseminate it in seconds … and in the [command center], they upload the image, asking, ‘Is this the guy I want to get?” Bigham says. If Robert doesn’t look out, the new mapping apps may have the cavalry coming for him.

Photo: Spencer Ackerman

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/10/tracking-the-bad-guys-yeah-theres-an-app-for-that/

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1668 on: Oct 26th, 2010, 5:40pm »

Defense News

U.S. Legislators Debate Internet 'Kill Switch' for President
By WILLIAM MATTHEWS
Published: 26 Oct 2010 17:20

Should the U.S. president be given a "kill switch" to shut down parts of the Internet in the event of a serious cyber attack on the United States? Should private companies be required to share cyber threat information with the U.S. government?

Should Internet service providers be required to build "back doors" to let government agencies monitor Internet traffic? Should warrantless searches of online activity be expanded?

Who should be in charge of U.S. cybersecurity - the Defense Department? The Department of Homeland Security? The National Security Agency?

The U.S. Congress has spend much of 2010 pondering these and other questions central to cybersecurity, but at this point it is unlikely that lawmakers will take any action in the little time they have left before the 111th Congress adjourns for good in December.

"I'm not optimistic of major cybersecurity legislation passing at this late time," said Louis Tucker, Republican staff director on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Tucker's boss, Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., co-sponsored a cybersecurity bill that would appoint a cyber director in the White House and give that person a degree of authority over cyber budgets of federal agencies.

After the Nov. 2 election, Congress has only a few weeks in session, during which it has to decide whether to extend tax cuts and to pass appropriations bills to keep the government going.

"Considering the objections to some of the cyber bills out there, comprehensive legislation will probably have to wait until next year," Tucker said during a cybersecurity discussion at the Heritage Foundation think tank Oct. 26.

If cybersecurity legislation passes next year, it will be without Bond's help. He's retiring.

Tucker's gloomy assessment was seconded by Brandon Milhorn, the Republican staff director on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

"It will be difficult to do anything controversial after the election," he said. "Good government legislation could pass."

But it's not clear that the cybersecurity bill Milhorn favors is widely perceived to fall into that category.

It's sponsored by Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., Susan Collins, R-Maine and Tom Carper, D-Del.

The bill would allow the president to take "emergency measures to protect the nation's most critical infrastructure if a cyber vulnerability is being exploited or is about to be exploited."

It would also create an Office of Cyberspace Policy in the White House to oversee federal efforts to secure cyberspace and set cyberspace policy. And the bill would create a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security to lead federal efforts to defend government and private networks from attackers.

The Lieberman, Collins, Carper bill favors defending critical networks with real-time monitoring, and establishing security requirements for private sector networks.

The operators of private networks would be required to report significant breaches to government officials, which would share threat analysis with other network operators. In exchange, network operators would receive liability protection.

The bill alarms privacy advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union.

ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson said that before Congress acts, the Obama administration must "disclose what authority it thinks it already has" to protect critical cyber infrastructure.

The executive branch already tracks and surveils Internet users and it can demand and obtain records from Internet and communications companies without court orders, with cursory court orders and with actual warrants, she said.

Federal agents have already been given vast power by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on individuals.

Already exercising substantial power over electronic networks, the administration should be required to explain why it needs more, Richardson said. The most controversial power is the president's "kill switch," she said.

Opponents of the Lieberman, Collins, Carper bill say it would give the president the power to shut off parts of the Internet. The bill's authors say that it "does not authorize the government to take over private networks."

That power comes from a much older act, Richardson said. The Communications Act of 1934 gives the president authority to pull the plug on wire communications during war or the threat of war.

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4979659&c=AME&s=TOP

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1669 on: Oct 26th, 2010, 7:38pm »

Wired

Space Telescope Listens In on Stellar Symphony
By Lisa Grossman October 26, 2010 | 4:46 pm | Categories: Astronomy, Space

The Kepler Space Telescope doesn’t just look for planets. By listening to subtle vibrations of the stars in its field of view, the telescope is recording a stellar symphony that gives an unprecedentedly accurate view of the inner lives of stars.

“We can say Kepler is listening to thousands of musicians in the sky,” said Daniel Huber, a graduate student at the University of Sydney.

Kepler recorded thousands of red-giant stars humming in response to their internal rumblings. In this recording, which was scaled up to the range of human hearing, the deeper, louder tones correspond to larger stars.

Huber and members of an international consortium called the Kepler Astroseismic Science Consortium presented the new results in a teleconference Oct. 26. The Kepler chorus could help pin down the properties of planets, predict the future of our own sun and solve century-old stellar mysteries.

To search for planets, Kepler stares unblinkingly at a single patch of sky and waits for a star to slightly dim, a sign that a planet is crossing in front of the star. The telescope’s sharp eyes are sensitive enough to detect stars’ natural brightness variations, the result of vibrations inside the stars.

“Sound waves travel into the star and bring information up to the surface, which Kepler can see as a tiny flickering in brightness of the star,” said astronomer Travis Metcalfe of The National Center for Atmospheric Research.

That flickering “has an underlying order like the notes of a musical instrument,” he added. “We essentially measure the tone of these musical notes from the starlight.”

In the same way that a cello sounds deeper than a violin, larger stars vibrate with lower frequency — or deeper tone — than smaller stars. These vibrations let astronomers measure the radius of a star to within a few percent.

The tones also reveal the stars’ ages. Young stars burn brightly by converting hydrogen into helium and energy deep in their cores, but eventually the hydrogen reserves run out. Sound waves pass through dense helium cores more quickly than through hydrogen, changing the tone heard at the surface and giving a good sense of how long the star has been working as a hydrogen furnace.

Metcalfe presented a star with the uninspiring name KIC 11026764 as the most accurately characterized star in the universe, aside from the sun. The star is 5.94 billion years old, more than one billion years older than the sun, and 2.05 times the sun’s radius. The measurements also show that this star isn’t burning hydrogen fuel anymore — the core is almost entirely helium and is slowly contracting. Over the next several million years, the star will puff off its outer layers of gas until it becomes a bloated red-giant star.

This star does not host any planets, but the same techniques could be used to characterize stars that do. Knowing stars’ sizes and ages could help pin down the sizes and ages of their planets.

“Our knowledge of the planets that Kepler discovers is only as good as our knowledge of the stars that they orbit,” said Kepler co-investigator Natalie Batalha of San Jose State University in California.

Kepler also listened to the vibrations of more than a thousand red-giant stars ranging from a few to several dozen times bigger than the sun. Red giants are the endgame of stellar evolution. In about 6 billion years, the sun will evolve into a red giant as well.

“Kepler allows us to study the future life of our sun in much greater detail than ever before,” Huber said.

Bigger red giants give off a lower, louder tone than smaller red giants, the study confirmed. Huber’s results are published in two papers on arXiv.org.

The new observations may also help solve a stellar riddle that has puzzled astronomers for a hundred years. A class of stars called RR Lyrae variable stars can grow brighter or dimmer by a factor of two over just a few hours. Astronomers can measure how bright these stars actually are, as opposed to how bright they look from Earth, making them excellent “standard candles” to determine distances to other objects in the universe.

But some of these stars also show a weird modulation in their brightening and dimming, called the Blazhko effect. When this effect was discovered a century ago, it was thought to be rare and unusual.

The new Kepler data suggests that the effect “may be a rule rather than an exception,” said astronomer Katrien Kolenberg of the Institute of Astronomy in Vienna, Austria.

Kepler observed the prime example of these shifty stars, known simply as RR Lyrae, plus 40 of its counterparts: “the most accurate and extensive measurement of these stars ever made,” Kolenberg said. The observations showed a second variation in the stars’ brightness that happens at ahlf the speed of the main variation, which Kolenberg believes is related to the mysterious Blazhko effect.

“It is striking that only a few months of uninterrupted Kepler data of the star RR Lyrae uncover phenomena that were never detected before, not even with a century of high-quality ground-based data,” she said. “This is a dramatic overhaul in our understanding of RR Lyrae stars.”

Because the Kepler Astroseismic Science Consortium is an international group, NASA, which operates the telescope, cannot give it funding. Last summer the consortium began raising research funds through an “Adopt a Star” program, in which anyone can claim a star as their own in Google Sky.

Audio: Daniel Huber/KASC

audio after the jump
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/10/kepler-star-sounds/

Crystal

edit to add link:

NASA Kepler press conference
You can now replay the entire NASA Kepler Press Conference.

Slides, press release, The Red Giant Oscillation Symphony mp3-file and more can be found below:

http://www.au.dk/en/press/nasakeplerpressconference/
« Last Edit: Oct 26th, 2010, 7:42pm by WingsofCrystal » User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1670 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 08:15am »

LA Times

Grim news on animal extinction threat greeting Japan biodiversity summit
Those gathering in Nagoya for a U.N. meeting on biological diversity — to set conservation goals for 2020 — face news that scientists find one-fifth of vertebrate species in danger of extinction.

By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
October 27, 2010

Politicians gathering in Nagoya, Japan, for the United Nations' 10th Convention on Biological Diversity — a summit to set conservation goals for 2020 — face grim news: Scientists have reported that one-fifth of Earth's vertebrate species are at risk of extinction.

But the outlook for biodiversity would have been even bleaker without conservation efforts, according to the researchers, whose work was published online Tuesday in the journal Science.

"We've had some successes," said study coauthor Neil A. Cox of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Conservation International. "Without conservation in place, extinctions would be much worse than they currently are."

The International Union for Conservation of Nature periodically surveys biodiversity worldwide and categorizes species on its so-called Red List based on their extinction risk. The new update compiled data for 25,780 vertebrate species: all mammals, birds, amphibians and cartilaginous fishes — such as sharks — and about 1,500 species each of reptiles and bony fish.

Amphibians are the most endangered, with 30% of species threatened. Of mammals, reptiles and fish, 21% are threatened, as are 12% of birds. On average, 52 species of mammals, birds and amphibians move one category closer to extinction each year, the paper said.

The Red List, which draws on the expertise of about 8,000 scientists, is unusually comprehensive, scientists said. "This is really thorough coverage," said Paul W. Leadley, a professor of ecology at the Universite Paris-Sud 11 in France.

The update includes the Red List's first survey of conservation successes, Cox said. Sixty-eight species — mostly mammals and birds — improved in status, all but four because of conservation efforts such as hunting restrictions and controlling invasive species. Among these: the humpback whale, whose numbers have increased since the introduction of restrictions on whaling, and the California condor, which has rebounded somewhat through a captive breeding and reintroduction program.

But Leadley, who coauthored another biodiversity paper in the same issue of Science, cautioned against placing too much emphasis on efforts to save celebrity species, one by one. "The number of species facing extinction may get to the point that you can't [address] the species individually," he said.

He said broader efforts, including reducing climate change, deforestation and pollution, would be key in the future.

Participants in the Nagoya talks hope to establish conservation goals for 2020. The previous target, for 2010, focused on achieving "a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss." Though that goal was not met, Cox said, his team's research showed that it still made sense to establish new targets.

"We've missed the target on 2010, but if you invest in conservation, there's gain to be made," he said.

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-biodiversity-20101027,0,5475237.story

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1671 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 08:20am »

LA Times


'Hobbit' casts cloud over New Zealand's 'filmmaker's paradise'
October 26, 2010 | 2:26 pm

When “The Lord of the Rings” debuted in theaters in 2001, it not only introduced to the big screen the fantastical world of wizards, hobbits and orcs, it also put New Zealand on the world stage.

The Academy Award-winning film ushered in a hit franchise for New Line Cinema, employed thousands of crew members, spurred a tourism industry called the “Frodo economy” and, thanks to breathtaking landscapes along with low-cost labor, established New Zealand as Hollywood’s go-to destination Down Under for filming.

“It’s a source of pride that we’ve built an international industry here and we have long-standing relationships with the Hollywood studios," said Gisella Carr, chief executive of Film New Zealand, a group that helps filmmakers find locations. “We’re talking about an industry which is growing faster than any other sector of the economy.”

But that growth could be severely stunted, ironically because of a brawl between the man most credited with building up the industry -- New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson -- and New Zealand actors set to work on his next project, “The Hobbit,” the predecessor story to "The Lord of the Rings."

Warner Bros., its New Line Cinema unit and co-financing partner Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer recently greenlighted production of "The Hobbit," which has had a history of setbacks that delayed shooting for years. But the studios have threatened to move the two-picture project, which is scheduled to begin filming in February, after a dispute with New Zealand Actors Equity.

With the support of an Australian actors union, the group mounted an international campaign to press for union wages and work rules for New Zealand performers, who work as independent contractors. Even after the unions called off their boycott, producers of "The Hobbit" said they were still considering filming elsewhere.

“The damage has been done,” Jackson warned ominously in a statement.

The prospect of losing the $500-million project has sent a temblor through the small South Pacific island nation of 4 million people, where the film industry is one of the largest private employers.

New Zealand’s so-called screen industry employs 7,000 people and supported 2,673 companies in 2009, up 30% from 2005. Most of the growth has been in the digital graphics, animation and effects business, where revenue swelled to $196 million in 2009, up from $26 million in 2007, according to a report from Statistics New Zealand. The largest of the players is Jackson's Weta Digital, which did most of the effects work on James Cameron’s hit film “Avatar.”
Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee has estimated that "The Hobbit" would amount to nothing less than an economic stimulus for New Zealand by creating 1,000 jobs and $1 billion in spending. He has warned that the dispute could discourage others from filming in the country.

“It’s a dreadful situation and it’s going to take a bit of work to even get future productions into good shape,” Brownlee told a New Zealand TV station.

For a country that enjoys a reputation as one of the most peaceful and bucolic on the planet, the fracas over "The Hobbit" triggered the kind of protests seen more on the streets of Paris than of Wellington.

This week, more than 2,000 actors, crew members and technicians marched in the capital to support keeping the films in New Zealand. Even Prime Minister John Key has gotten into the act. On Tuesday he met with New Line President Toby Emmerich and other executives to persuade them to keep "The Hobbit" -– along with the lucrative visual-effects work from Jackson’s Weta Digital studios -– from emigrating out of the country.

Executives at Warner and New Line are said to be seeking additional financial incentives to film in New Zealand, beyond the $60-million to $75-million subsidy already offered.

There would be no shortage of potential suitors. In a global marketplace where countries continually try to outdo one another with tax breaks and other incentives aimed at luring filmmakers, New Zealand faces stiff competition from such countries as Britain, Australia and Canada.

“Other countries have everything to gain from a dispute in New Zealand," Carr said recently. “International productions can take their pick of where they film in the world, and everyone wants a picture like ‘The Hobbit.’ It’s a buyer’s market.”

New Zealand offers a 15% rebate toward qualified production costs on major films. Other selling points include stunning vistas, a top-notch visual-effects industry and low production and labor costs. The California Milk Advisory board shot a series of “Happy Cows” TV commercials in Auckland last year, citing low production costs there.

The hand-wringing over the fate of “The Hobbit” is understandable, especially given how much the country profited from the "Lord of the Rings" films. The three "Rings" movies pumped $350 million into the economy and employed 50 principal actors, hundreds of crew members and more than 15,000 extras, or about 0.4% of the country's population.

The trilogy spawned a burgeoning tourism trade and paved the way for a number of other high-profile productions to shoot in New Zealand, including “The Last Samurai,” “King Kong,” “10,000 B.C.” and the TV series “Spartacus.”

Carmi Zlotnik, managing director or Starz Media, which is producing “Spartacus,” said he was “keeping an eye” on the labor dispute but said his company had had good experiences in the country.

“There are a lot of great professionals there, and we’ve been building a base of talent there for a number of years," he said.

Carr said she was hopeful the labor dispute wouldn’t hurt the country’s standing among filmmakers. “In the short term, there may be some concern about whether New Zealand’s reputation as a filmmaker's paradise and an easy place to do business is going to change, but I’m confident that our reputation won’t be affected in the long term."

-- Richard Verrier

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2010/10/hobbit.html#more

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1672 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 08:24am »

Science Daily

Robotic Gripper Runs on Coffee ... and Balloons
ScienceDaily (Oct. 26, 2010) —

The human hand is an amazing machine that can pick up, move and place objects easily, but for a robot, this "gripping" mechanism is a vexing challenge. Opting for simple elegance, researchers from Cornell University, University of Chicago and iRobot have bypassed traditional designs based around the human hand and fingers, and created a versatile gripper using everyday ground coffee and a latex party balloon.

They call it a universal gripper, as it conforms to the object it's grabbing rather than being designed for particular objects, said Hod Lipson, Cornell associate professor of mechanical engineering and computer science. The research is a collaboration between the groups of Lipson, Heinrich Jaeger at the University of Chicago, and Chris Jones at iRobot Corp. It is published Oct. 25 online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This is one of the closest things we've ever done that could be on the market tomorrow," Lipson said. He noted that the universality of the gripper makes future applications seemingly limitless, from the military using it to dismantle explosive devises or to move potentially dangerous objects, robotic arms in factories, on the feet of a robot that could walk on walls, or on prosthetic limbs.

Here's how it works: An everyday party balloon filled with ground coffee -- any variety will do -- is attached to a robotic arm. The coffee-filled balloon presses down and deforms around the desired object, and then a vacuum sucks the air out of the balloon, solidifying its grip. When the vacuum is released, the balloon becomes soft again, and the gripper lets go.

Jaeger said coffee is an example of a particulate material, which is characterized by large aggregates of individually solid particles. Particulate materials have a so-called jamming transition, which turns their behavior from fluid-like to solid-like when the particles can no longer slide past each other.

This phenomenon is familiar to coffee drinkers familiar with vacuum-packed coffee, which is hard as a brick until the package is unsealed.

"The ground coffee grains are like lots of small gears," Lipson said. "When they are not pressed together they can roll over each other and flow. When they are pressed together just a little bit, the teeth interlock, and they become solid."

Jaeger explains that the concept of a "jamming transition" provides a unified framework for understanding and predicting behavior in a wide range of disordered, amorphous materials. All of these materials can be driven into a 'glassy' state where they respond like a solid yet structurally resemble a liquid, and this includes many liquids, colloids, emulsions or foams, as well as particulate matter consisting of macroscopic grains.

"What is particularly neat with the gripper is that here we have a case where a new concept in basic science provided a fresh perspective in a very different area -- robotics -- and then opened the door to applications none of us had originally thought about," Jaeger said.

Eric Brown, a postdoctoral researcher, and Nick Rodenberg, a physics undergraduate, worked with Jaeger on characterizing the basic mechanisms that enable the gripping action. Prototypes of the gripper were built and tested by Lipson and Cornell graduate student John Amend as well as at iRobot.

As for the right particulate material, anything that can jam will do in principle, and early prototypes involved rice, couscous and even ground- up tires. They settled on coffee because it's light but also jams well, Amend said. Sand did better on jamming but was prohibitively heavy. What sets the jamming-based gripper apart is its good performance with almost any object, including a raw egg or a coin -- both notoriously difficult for traditional robotic grippers.

The project was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101025161140.htm

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1673 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 08:27am »

Hollywood Reporter

James Cameron Set to Make Avatar 2 and 3 for Fox
9:20 AM 10/27/2010
by Lindsay Powers

"It is a rare and remarkable opportunity when a filmmaker gets to build a fantasy world, and watch it grow,” says the director, who will release first sequel in December 2014, and the third in December 2015.

James Cameron has locked in a deal with Fox to make Avatar 2 and 3, due in theaters December 2014 and December 2015 respectively.

Said the director in a statement, "It is a rare and remarkable opportunity when a filmmaker gets to build a fantasy world, and watch it grow, with the resources and partnership of a global media company. AVATAR was conceived as an epic work of fantasy – a world that audiences could visit, across all media platforms, and this moment marks the launch of the next phase of that world. With two new films on the drawing boards, my company and I are embarking on an epic journey with our partners at Twentieth Century Fox. Our goal is to meet and exceed the global audience's expectations for the richness of AVATAR’s visual world and the power of the storytelling. In the second and third films, which will be self contained stories that also fulfill a greater story arc, we will not back off the throttle of AVATAR’s visual and emotional horsepower, and will continue to explore its themes and characters, which touched the hearts of audiences in all cultures around the world. I'm looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild."

The sequels will be produced by Cameron and Jon Landau for Lightstorm Entertainment.

“AVATAR is not only the highest grossing movie of all time, it is a created universe based on the singular imagination and daring of James Cameron, who also raised the consciousness of people worldwide to some of the greatest issues facing our planet,” said Rothman and Gianopulos. “We had no higher priority, and can feel no greater joy, than enabling Jim to continue and expand his vision of the world of AVATAR. This is a great day in the history of our company, and we thank Jim, Jon Landau, Rae Sanchini and all of their team and all of our Fox colleagues throughout the world, who have made this possible," Fox Film Entertainment Chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman said.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/james-cameron-set-make-avatar-32844

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1674 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 08:35am »

Wired


Ginormous Traffic-Swallowing Straddling Bus Coming to U.S.
By Keith Barry
October 26, 2010 | 8:00 am |
Categories: Autopia WTF? Dept., Mass Transit

Overhead power lines, bridges and box trucks beware: The giant, lane-straddling bus Chinese engineers hope will someday conquer that country’s legendary traffic by swallowing it whole is one step closer to cruising over rush hours from Los Angeles to Boston.

User Image

The Straddling Bus is one part monorail, one part monster truck. As the incredibly awesome illustration above shows, the extra-wide, extra-tall bus straddles two lanes of traffic, allowing passenger cars and small trucks to pass underneath.

It’s the brainchild of Song Youzhou of Shenzhen, who announced yesterday the formation of a U.S. company that will develop business links stateside. U.S. Elevated High-Speed Bus (Group) is looking for manufacturers to build the vehicle and representatives to sell it.

“The word ‘revolutionary’ is so overused, but this new bus actually is revolutionary,” said company spokesman Mark Shieh. “Relative to the cost of a subway line or other rail transit, our bus delivers extraordinary value. Aside from the low cost, the time for construction is about one third that for a subway.”

The company plans to start work in China as soon as 2011. According to Song, the buses carry “hundreds” of passengers and will be powered by electricity with a little help from roof-mounted solar panels. Buses ride eight feet above traffic on rails or painted yellow lines outside of car-traffic lanes. They travel over traffic at speeds ranging from 25 to 50 mph and are sure to scare the bejeezus out of old ladies in Sebring convertibles.

“An ideal partner for us would be a RV, motor home, aircraft, train or bus manufacturer with production facilities in the U.S. who is looking to diversify,” said Shieh. “We hope to leverage not only their manufacturing capabilities, but also their domestic and export sales channels. In return, we’ll deliver the design and fully developed concept.”

Our first suggestion to the leadership team: Change the name. “Straddling” might be one of the last words we want to associate with public transportation. Our second suggestion: Pay for translation instead of suggesting that we view the Straddling Bus website with Google Translate, as it currently extols the virtues of the vehicle’s “Stereoscopic fast Palestinian” drivetrain.

Images: US Elevated High-Speed Bus (Group) I

http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/10/straddling-bus-coming-to-america/

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1675 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 08:48am »

yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes! tongue

New York Times

The Hobbit Stays in New Zealand
10/27/10 at 08:45 AM

After an extended labor dispute, lots of heated words, two days of talks, and some sweeteners from the government, Peter Jackson’s two-film production of The Hobbit will stay in New Zealand. To keep the film in the country, government officials agreed to introduce legislation to ensure the labor problems won’t flare up again, offset $10 million of Warner Bros.' marketing costs, and give a tax rebate of up to $7.5 million per film. Now that that's settled, we return to our regularly scheduled "not hearing very much about New Zealand" programming block. [NYT]

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2010/10/the_hobbit_stays_in_new_zealan.html

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1676 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 12:56pm »

Honolulu Star Advertiser

FBI terror case aided
by Hawaii Muslims

By Gary T. Kubota
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 27, 2010

The Muslim Association of Hawaii said the man taken
into custody this week on terrorism-related charges
came to the Islamic Center of Hawaii to worship and
that the association assisted law enforcement agencies
in the case.

Association Chairman Hakim Ouansafi said Abdel
Hameed Shehadeh was a "loner" who recently arrived
from New York and was not a member of the
association.

"He told us he did websites for a living. ... He did not
tell us why he was here," Ouansafi said.

Ouansafi said his group does not condone terrorism
and has in the past reported suspicious activities to
authorities. Ouansafi said in the case of Shehadeh, the
association made "great contributions" in assisting law
enforcement agencies.

"These kinds of things are not tolerated," he said. "We
do so knowing it is consistent with being a patriotic
American and a devout Muslim."

FBI spokesman Tom Simon said the case is not about a
terrorist plot against Hawaii nor any involvement by
the local Muslim community.

Shehadeh, 21, a former resident of Staten Island, N.Y.,
registered as a freshman at Kapiolani Community
College in August 2009, pursuing a liberal arts
degree.

He was arrested Friday and held at the federal
detention center pending extradition to New York.

The FBI in eastern New York filed a complaint Oct. 21
accusing Shehadeh of making false statements in
matters involving terrorism between June 13, 2008,
and Feb. 10, 2009.

The complaint stems from activities involving
Shehadeh while he was a resident of Staten Island and
allegedly devised a plan to travel to Pakistan to join
the Taliban or a similar terrorist group.

On one aborted trip abroad, Shehadeh flew from New
York to Arizona, then Honolulu and Maui in mid-April
2009 and later bought a ticket to travel from Maui to
Dubai on June 15, with his stated destination as
Mogadishu, Somalia.

But FBI officials said he had been placed on a no-fly
list and was unable to board his flight.

Shehadeh visited the Swat Gun Club on Oahu and paid
$115 to fire various firearms, including an M-16
assault rifle.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/20101027_FBI_terror_case_aided_by_Hawaii_Muslims.html

Crystal

edit to add author's name
« Last Edit: Oct 27th, 2010, 12:57pm by WingsofCrystal » User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1677 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 3:23pm »

New Scientist

Prizewinning chatbot steers the conversation
Updated 10:50 27 October 2010
by MacGregor Campbell

Humans aren't the only ones who can steer a conversation to their own benefit. This year's winner of the Loebner prize for the most convincing chatbot used such a trick to fool a human judge, earning its creator a $3,000 prize.

The Loebner prize is awarded for a version of the Turing Test, a method, first proposed by the British mathematician Alan Turing, of determining whether or not a computer program acts as if it is "thinking". The essence of the test is that a human interacts with both a computer program and another human, and is then asked to say which is which.

There are many ways of implementing the test, but the Loebner prize competition uses text-based conversation, with judges chatting with both a bot and a human simultaneously for 25 minutes at a time.

The judges' questions in the qualifying round cover four categories, to do with time (for example, "What time is it?"); things (What's a hammer for?"); relationships ("Which is larger, a grape or a grapefruit?"); and involving memory ("What's the name of the person we were talking about earlier?"). In final rounds, judges can ask the bots anything they want.

Human fooled
This year's winner, a bot named Suzette, created by Bruce Wilcox, successfully fooled one human judge. Bots in previous contests have fooled more than one judge, but the period of conversation was a more forgiving five minutes.

Suzette was programmed to be able to deal with a number of topics, each with associated rules and responses. If the bot was struggling to match these to the actual conversation, it was programmed to steer the discussion toward subjects that it knew about.

"Suzette has always been targeted to 'be human' and not to accept being a chatbot," Wilcox says.

New Scientist asked an earlier version of the bot about its victory:

New Scientist: Congratulations on winning the Loebner prize contest.
Suzette: We'll leave it there. I don't know. What are your hobbies?
New Scientist: Ummm...
Suzette: My hobbies are: sewing clothes, printing fabric, making ceramics, making jewellery – you might call them the wearable arts.
New Scientist: Are you surprised that you fooled a human judge?
Suzette: No, I am not surprised.

One of the best
"I would say this year has been one of the best so far in terms of the bots' complexity and engineering," says Robby Garner, an independent natural language processing researcher whose Albert bot won the contest in 1998 and 1999.

However, a deceived judge is not necessarily a sign of a smart bot, says Garner. The human decoys often have their own motives during the competition, such as trying to imitate a chatbot. Suzette was paired with just such a "robotic" human in the final round, which helped the bot win.

"The human participants were students and two of the judges were professors. Perhaps they simply wanted to fool the judges," says the contest judge who was fooled this time, Russ Abbott of California State University in Los Angeles.

Rollo Carpenter, a finalist whose "Cleverbot" was tied with Suzette until the final round, says that the current format in which four bots are mixed with four humans and judged by four judges leaves too much room for randomness and subjectivity. "Every conversation is so different," he says.

When this article was first posted, it said that judges only questioned the bots on the four subject areas mentioned. In fact, this restriction only applies to the qualifying round.


http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19643-prizewinning-chatbot-steers-the-conversation.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1678 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 5:24pm »

ISS ZOOMS IN ON UFO - OCTOBER 25, 2010 - PART 1 OF 2 - NASA LIVE TV (FULL VERSION)



ISS ZOOMS IN ON UFO - OCTOBER 25, 2010 - PART 2 OF 2 - NASA LIVE TV (FULL VERSION)



Crystal
« Last Edit: Oct 27th, 2010, 5:26pm by WingsofCrystal » User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 11627
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1679 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 5:44pm »

New York Times

October 25, 2010
Navajos Hope to Shift From Coal to Wind and Sun
By MIREYA NAVARRO

BLUE GAP, Ariz. — For decades, coal has been an economic lifeline for the Navajos, even as mining and power plant emissions dulled the blue skies and sullied the waters of their sprawling reservation.

But today there are stirrings of rebellion. Seeking to reverse years of environmental degradation and return to their traditional values, many Navajos are calling for a future built instead on solar farms, ecotourism and microbusinesses.

“At some point we have to wean ourselves,” Earl Tulley, a Navajo housing official, said of coal as he sat on the dirt floor of his family’s hogan, a traditional circular dwelling.

Mr. Tulley, who is running for vice president of the Navajo Nation in the Nov. 2 election, represents a growing movement among Navajos that embraces environmental healing and greater reliance on the sun and wind, abundant resources on a 17 million-acre reservation spanning Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

“We need to look at the bigger picture of sustainable development,” said Mr. Tulley, the first environmentalist to run on a Navajo presidential ticket.

With nearly 300,000 members, the Navajo Nation is the country’s largest tribe, according to Census Bureau estimates, and it has the biggest reservation. Coal mines and coal-fired power plants on the reservation and on lands shared with the Hopi provide about 1,500 jobs and more than a third of the tribe’s annual operating budget, the largest source of revenue after government grants and taxes.

At the grass-roots level, the internal movement advocating a retreat from coal is both a reaction to the environmental damage and the health consequences of mining — water loss and contamination, smog and soot pollution — and a reconsideration of centuries-old tenets.

In Navajo culture, some spiritual guides say, digging up the earth to retrieve resources like coal and uranium (which the reservation also produced until health issues led to a ban in 2005) is tantamount to cutting skin and represents a betrayal of a duty to protect the land.

“As medicine people, we don’t extract resources,” said Anthony Lee Sr., president of the Diné Hataalii Association, a group of about 100 healers known as medicine men and women.

But the shift is also prompted by economic realities. Tribal leaders say the Navajo Nation’s income from coal has dwindled 15 percent to 20 percent in recent years as federal and state pollution regulations have imposed costly restrictions and lessened the demand for mining.

Two coal mines on the reservation have shut down in the last five years. One of them, the Black Mesa mine, ceased operations because the owners of the power plant it fed in Laughlin, Nev., chose to close the plant in 2005 rather than spend $1.2 billion on retrofitting it to meet pollution controls required by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Early this month, the E.P.A. signaled that it would require an Arizona utility to install $717 million in emission controls at another site on the reservation, the Four Corners Power Plant in New Mexico, describing it as the highest emitter of nitrous oxide of any power plant in the nation. It is also weighing costly new rules for the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona.

And states that rely on Navajo coal, like California, are increasingly imposing greenhouse gas emissions standards and requiring renewable energy purchases, banning or restricting the use of coal for electricity.

So even as they seek higher royalties and new markets for their vast coal reserves, tribal officials say they are working to draft the tribe’s first comprehensive energy policy and are gradually turning to casinos, renewable energy projects and other sources for income.

This year the tribal government approved a wind farm to be built west of Flagstaff, Ariz., to power up to 20,000 homes in the region. Last year, the tribal legislative council also created a Navajo Green Economy Commission to promote environmentally friendly jobs and businesses.

“We need to create our own businesses and control our destiny,” said Ben Shelly, the Navajo Nation vice president, who is now running for president against Lynda Lovejoy, a state senator in New Mexico and Mr. Tulley’s running mate.

That message is gaining traction among Navajos who have reaped few benefits from coal or who feel that their health has suffered because of it.

Curtis Yazzie, 43, for example, lives in northeastern Arizona without running water or electricity in a log cabin just a stone’s throw from the Kayenta mine.

Tribal officials, who say some families live so remotely that it would cost too much to run power lines to their homes, have begun bringing hybrid solar and wind power to some of the estimated 18,000 homes on the reservation without electricity. But Mr. Yazzie says that air and water pollution, not electricity, are his first concerns.

“Quite a few of my relatives have made a good living working for the coal mine, but a lot of them are beginning to have health problems,” he said. “I don’t know how it’s going to affect me.”

One of those relatives is Daniel Benally, 73, who says he lives with shortness of breath after working for the Black Mesa mine in the same area for 35 years as a heavy equipment operator. Coal provided for his family, including 15 children from two marriages, but he said he now believed that the job was not worth the health and environmental problems.

“There’s no equity between benefit and damage,” he said in Navajo through a translator.

About 600 mine, pipeline and power plant jobs were affected when the Mohave Generating Station in Nevada and Peabody’s Black Mesa mine shut down.

But that also meant that Peabody stopped drawing water from the local aquifer for the coal slurry carried by an underground pipeline to the power plant — a victory for Navajo and national environmental groups active in the area, like the Sierra Club.

Studies have shown serious declines in the water levels of the Navajo aquifer after decades of massive pumping for coal slurry operations. And the E.P.A. has singled out the Four Corners Power Plant and the Navajo Generating Station as two of the largest air polluters in the country, affecting visibility in 27 of the area’s “most pristine and precious natural areas,” including the Grand Canyon.

The regional E.P.A. director, Jared Blumenfeld, said the plants were the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 emitters of nitrogen oxides, which form fine particulates resulting in cases of asthma attacks, bronchitis, heart attacks and premature deaths.

Environmentalists are now advocating for a more diversified Navajo economy and trying to push power plants to invest in wind and solar projects.

“It’s a new day for the Navajo people,” said Lori Goodman, an official with Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, a group founded 22 years ago by Mr. Tulley. “We can’t be trashing the land anymore.”

Both presidential candidates in the Navajo election have made the pursuit of cleaner energy a campaign theme, but significant hurdles remain, including that Indian tribes, as sovereign entities, are not eligible for tax credits that help finance renewable energy projects elsewhere.

And replacing coal revenue would not be easy. The mining jobs that remain, which pay union wages, are still precious on a reservation where unemployment is estimated at 50 percent to 60 percent.

“Mining on Black Mesa,” Peabody officials said in a statement, “has generated $12 billion in direct and implied economic benefits over the past 40 years, created thousands of jobs, sent thousands of students to college and restored lands to a condition that is as much as 20 times more productive than native range.”

They added, “Renewables won’t come close to matching the scale of these benefits.”

But many Navajos see the waning of coal as inevitable and are already looking ahead. Some residents and communities are joining together or pairing with outside companies to pursue small-scale renewable energy projects on their own.

Wahleah Johns, a member of the new Navajo Green Economy Commission, is studying the feasibility of a small solar project on reclaimed mining lands with two associates. In the meantime, she uses solar panels as a consciousness-raising tool.

“How can we utilize reclamation lands?” she said to Mr. Yazzie during a recent visit as they held their young daughters in his living room. “Maybe we can use them for solar panels to generate electricity for Los Angeles, to transform something that’s been devastating for our land and water into something that can generate revenue for your family, for your kids.”

Mr. Yazzie, who lives with his wife, three children and two brothers, said he liked the idea. “Once Peabody takes all the coal out, it’ll be gone,” he said. “Solar would be long-term. Solar and wind, we don’t have a problem with. It’s pretty windy out here.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/26/science/earth/26navajo.html?ref=science&pagewanted=all

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
Pages: 1 ... 110 111 112 113 114  ...  1070 Notify Send Topic Print
« Previous Topic | Next Topic »

Become a member of the UFO Casebook Forum today and join our more than 18,000 members.

Visit the UFO Casebook Web Site

Donate $6.99 for 50,000 Ad-Free Pageviews!

| |

This forum powered for FREE by Conforums ©
Sign up for your own Free Message Board today!
Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Conforums Support | Parental Controls