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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 126949 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #45 on: Jul 11th, 2010, 08:49am »

New York Times

July 9, 2010
3D Coming to Adobe's Flash
By AGAM SHAH of IDG News Service\New York Bureau, IDG

Adobe Systems has started work to bring 3D to its Flash platform, and will preview the technology at the company's upcoming developer conference in October.

A session titled "Flash Player 3D Future" will outline a future version of Flash that will be capable of playing 3D content, according to a program listing for the Adobe Max 2010 trade show, which will be held in Los Angeles Oct. 23-27.

The session will take "a deep dive into the next-generation 3D API coming in a future version of Flash Player," according to the listing. The Flash Player is available as a browser plug-in that allows users to play games or view multimedia content. Google's YouTube uses Flash for video distribution on its Web site.

The session is "going to be big," said Thibault Imbert, a Flash product manager at Adobe in a blog entry.

"If you are into 3D development for games, augmented reality or just interactive stuff like Web sites, you just can't miss the session," Imbert wrote.

Adobe officials were unavailable for comment Friday on a release date for a 3D Flash Player. The company had closed for the day, according to a spokeswoman for A&R Edelman, Adobe's public relations agency.

Adobe already offers tools for 3D animation in Flash, but the new platform could bring richer 3D experiences. This could be an important development as games and videos are increasingly produced in 3D.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/external/idg/2010/07/09/09idg-3d-coming-to-adobes-flash-58275.html

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« Reply #46 on: Jul 11th, 2010, 08:52am »

Gizmodo

Whoa. TechCrunch reports that Google has invested between $100 and $200 million in Zynga, the social gaming behemoth behind Farmville, Mafia Wars, and others, in preparation for the launch of Google Games later this year.

TechCrunch's "multiple sources" say that Google itself, not its venture capital division Google Ventures, has invested between $100 and $200 million in Zynga, a huge power play presumably with the aim of eroding Facebook's social media dominance.

It seems that Google sees Zynga as the best way to hit the ground running with Google Games, a social gaming service from the search company that's set to launch later this year. TechCrunch points to this job opening for "Product Management Leader, Games" at their Mountain View campus as proof that we'll be seeing a lot more about Google's move into gaming in the near future.

With Google Me, the company's purported Facebook killer, continuing to take shape, this major investment in Zynga is just further proof that Google is making a very serious effort to hit Facebook where it hurt, namely, the farms. [TechCrunch]

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http://gizmodo.com/5584118/google-quietly-invests-over-100-million-in-zynga-readying-google-games

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« Reply #47 on: Jul 11th, 2010, 08:58am »

LA Times

Openly bearing arms, beachgoers cite their rights
Members of a South Bay group hope to win public acceptance of the public display of firearms.
By Jack Leonard, Times Staff Writer
July 11, 2010

It was clear this was no ordinary community cleanup.

Trash bags? Check.

Gloves? Check.

Glock .45-caliber handgun? Check.

More than a dozen people packing pistols on their hips strolled down the Hermosa Beach strand Saturday, picking up garbage and distributing fliers about the rights of gun owners.

The event was part of a burgeoning and controversial "open carry" movement nationwide promoting the right to carry guns in public. Although carrying a concealed weapon is illegal without a permit, California allows people to openly carry guns in many areas as long as they are unloaded, though they can keep ammunition with them.

Members of South Bay Open Carry, which organized the beach cleanup, said they hope such events will dispel misgivings about gun owners and make carrying a handgun in public more acceptable. Organizers said they turned the event into a cleanup to demonstrate that they are contributing to the community.

"Just because somebody is carrying a gun doesn't mean that they're a criminal," said Scott Brownlie, a 25-year-old firefighter who stood outside Peet's Coffee & Tea with an unloaded Colt M-4 Carbine slung across his back. "If a lot of people were allowed to carry more … there would be a lot less crime."

Most people walked by the group without a second glance. A police spokesman said the department received no complaints about the event.

Open Carry has drawn criticism from gun control groups that say police, not untrained gun owners, should be protecting the public.

Similar Open Carry gatherings have taken place in recent years in San Francisco and San Diego.

A bill by Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña (D-San Diego) would, with some exceptions, prohibit civilians from openly carrying handguns. The legislation, which was approved by the Assembly but still needs to pass the Senate, has won backing from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the California Police Chiefs Assn.

Suzanne Verge, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, described Saturday's event as a "public relations stunt."

"People use the guns in a moment of passion, under the influence, when they're angry," said Verge, whose brother was fatally shot in 1978. "I don't think it's going to lessen the risk for children and families who go to the beach."

But Ryan Burbridge and others at the Open Carry event disagreed.

Burbridge, an oil field equipment mechanic, said he carries a firearm whenever he goes shopping or visits a restaurant.

Sporting a Rock Island 1911 pistol in a holster on his right hip and a clip of ammunition on his left side, Burbridge looked toward his wife, Tiffany, and their two children, Brooke, 8, and Noah, 2.

"I would like to have the right to protect my beautiful family and not feel that people are thinking I'm breaking the law," he said. "I'm not trying to intimidate people."

Burbridge said he hoped law enforcement officers would understand that openly carrying firearms is legal. He said he was recently handcuffed and detained before being released when he was peacefully watching a July 4 fireworks show in Long Beach with his family while armed.

Harley Green, founder of South Bay Open Carry, met with Hermosa Beach's police chief last month to explain his group's plans. In response, police published a map that showed large sections of greenbelt, the beach and areas near schools where people are barred from carrying weapons without a permit, even if unloaded.

As the well-armed group spent about an hour picking up litter, the reaction from onlookers was mixed.

Ryan Rogado, a 31-year-old space engineer, stopped to watch.

"If they were handing out weapons here, I would carry one in a second," said Rogado, who owns a handgun but has never worn it in public. "I would be more intimidated by someone who pulls out a concealed weapon."

more after the jump
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-open-carry-20100711,0,684001.story

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« Reply #48 on: Jul 11th, 2010, 09:02am »

Telegraph

Armour made from 'bullet-proof custard'
A new type of liquid armour, nicknamed "bullet-proof custard", is being tested by UK scientists.

By Amy Willis
Published: 12:24AM BST 10 Jul 2010

Scientists claim the new light-weight material could eventually replace the "thick, heavy-layered plates" of Kevlar used in existing bullet-proof vests for soldiers. Researchers at BAE systems in Bristol combined a "shear-thickening" liquid with the existing material used in bullet-proof vests - called Kevlar - to create the new armour.

The chemical formula of the new liquid is being kept secret but scientists say it works by thickening and becoming sticky on impact with a bullet.

Stewart Penny, BAE's business development manager, described the new material as "bullet-proof custard".

He told the BBC: "It's very similar to custard in the sense that the molecules lock together when it's struck."

To test the new armour, scientists used a large gas gun to fire spherical-shaped bullets at more than 300 metres per second.

They fired one set of bullets at 31 layers of untreated Kevlar and another set at 10 layers of Kevlar combined with the new "shear-thickening" liquid.

The results showed that the Kevlar and liquid mix was more effective.

"The Kevlar with the liquid works much faster and the impact isn't anything like as deep," Mr Penny said.

Mr Penny claims the new light-weight material could eventually replace the "thick, heavy-layered plates" of Kevlar used in existing bullet-proof vests for soldiers.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7882505/Armour-made-from-bullet-proof-custard.html

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« Reply #49 on: Jul 11th, 2010, 09:11am »

Telegraph

Mojoceratops, the frilly dinosaur named over beers
A newly discovered dinosaur species has been named "Mojoceratops" in honour of its dramatic bone frill.

By Tom Chivers
Published: 2:32PM BST 09 Jul 2010

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Mojoceratops, a relative of the triceratops which lived 75 million years ago.
Photo: NICHOLAS LONGRICH

Mojoceratops perifania, a hippopotamus-sized herbivore related to the triceratops which lived around 75 million years ago, has a large, spectacular bone frill above its head. Its discoverer, Nicholas Longrich, was trying to think of a name for it while drinking with colleagues, and the name "Mojoceratops" popped up.

Dr Longrich, a palaeontologist at Yale University, told Science Daily: "It was just a joke, but then everyone stopped and looked at each other and said, 'Wait -- that actually sounds cool.

"I tried to come up with serious names after that, but Mojoceratops just sort of stuck."

After coming up with the name, he looked up the etymology of the word "mojo". He found it made perfect sense for the new dinosaur, which like its relatives is believed to have used its large frill in courtship displays. He said: "I discovered that 'mojo' is an early 20th-century African-American term meaning a magic charm or talisman, often used to attract members of the opposite sex.

"This dinosaur probably used its frill to attract mates, so the name made sense."

Mojoceratops is a member of the chasmosaurine ceratopsid family, which lived in what is now North America. They are defined by their frills on their skulls, although with its large heart-shaped display, "Mojoceratops is the most ostentatious," says Dr Longrich.

The dinosaur was discovered when Longrich noticed that a fossil at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, labelled as a Chasmosaurus, didn't fit with other examples of that species. "The fossils didn't look like anything we'd seen before. They just looked wrong," he said. After examination, he determined that it was a new species, and now eight partial skulls have been classified as Mojoceratops.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/dinosaurs/7881640/Mojoceratops-the-frilly-dinosaur-named-over-beers.html

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« Reply #50 on: Jul 11th, 2010, 6:44pm »



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« Reply #51 on: Jul 11th, 2010, 7:37pm »

thanks for a lot of great info, and I do agree with you on the Chinese images, I know for certain the first one is a case of slow shutter speed capturing what is probably a plane.
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« Reply #52 on: Jul 12th, 2010, 07:51am »

on Jul 11th, 2010, 7:37pm, B J Booth wrote:
thanks for a lot of great info, and I do agree with you on the Chinese images, I know for certain the first one is a case of slow shutter speed capturing what is probably a plane.


Good morning BJ,
Thank you. Fortunately DrDil and Icarus99 knew what they were looking at. As you knew. I need all the help I can get in that area. Please pull up a chair and hang out. grin
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« Reply #53 on: Jul 12th, 2010, 07:56am »

Science Daily

Rain of Giant Gas Clouds Create Active Galactic Nuclei: New Research Explains How Galaxy Centers Light Up
ScienceDaily (July 10, 2010) —

Galaxies like our own were built billions of years ago from a deluge of giant clouds of gas, some of which continue to rain down. Now new calculations tie the rain of giant clouds of gas to active galactic nuclei (AGN), the extremely bright centers of some galaxies.

If a gas cloud with millions of times more mass than our Sun wanders too close to the center of a galaxy, it can either be consumed by the supermassive black hole that lurks there or, through shocks and collapse, give birth to new stars.

"For a while, people have known that gas clouds are falling onto galaxies, and they've also known that active galactic nuclei are powered by gas falling onto supermassive black holes," says Barry McKernan, a research associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History and an assistant professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), City University of New York. "But no one put the two ideas together until now and said, 'Hey, maybe one is causing the other!'"

All galaxies are believed to host a supermassive black hole at their center, yet only a fraction of galactic centers show signs of brighter activity due to black hole feeding. The new research provides an explanation for the apparent conundrum: galactic centers which have sustained recent cloud impacts have enough fuel to light up by giving birth to hundreds of stars and feeding the central black hole. Galactic centers that have not been hit for a while (in cosmic terms, for more than about 10 million years) will be relatively inactive and their cores will appear normal.

"It's interesting that only some galaxies are active, even though we think every galaxy contains a supermassive black hole," says K. E. Saavik Ford, a research associate at the Museum and an assistant professor at BMCC. "The cloud bombardment idea provides an explanation: it's just random luck."

The research paper, currently online, will be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708171351.htm

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« Reply #54 on: Jul 12th, 2010, 07:59am »

Science Daily

Computing Power Cracks Egg Shell Problem
ScienceDaily (July 12, 2010) —

Researchers at the University of Warwick and the University of Sheffield have applied computing power to crack a problem in egg shell formation. The work may also give a partial answer to the age old question "what came first the chicken or the egg?"

The answer to the question in this context is "chicken" or -- at least a particular chicken protein. There is however a further twist in that this particular chicken protein turns out to come both first and last. That neat trick it performs provides new insights into control of crystal growth which is key to egg shell production.

Researchers had long known that a chicken eggshell protein called ovocledidin-17 (OC-17) must play some role in egg shell formation. The protein is found only in the mineral region of the egg (the hard part of the shell) and lab bench results showed that it appeared to influence the transformation of amorphous calcium carbonate (CaCo3) into calcite crystals. The mechanism of this control remained unclear. How this process could be used to form an actual eggshell remained unclear.

University of Warwick researchers Mark Rodger and David Quigley, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Sheffield, have now been able to apply a powerful computing tool called metadynamics and the UK national supercomputer in Edinburgh to crack this egg problem.

Dr David Quigley from the Department of Physics and Centre for Scientific Computing, University of Warwick, said: "Metadynamics extends conventional molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and is particularly good at sampling transitions between disordered and ordered states of matter."

Using these tools The Warwick and Sheffield researchers were able to create simulations that showed exactly how the protein bound to amorphous calcium carbonate surface using two clusters of "arginine residues," located on two loops of the protein and creating a literal chemical "clamp" to nano sized particles of calcium carbonate.

While clamped in this way, the OC-17 encourages the nanoparticles of calcium carbonate to transform into "calcite crystallites" that form the tiny of nucleus of crystals that can continue to grow on their own. But they also noticed that sometimes this chemical clamp didn't work. The OC-17 just seemed to detatch from the nanoparticle or "be desorbed."

Professor Mark Rodger from Department of Chemistry and Centre for Scientific Computing, University of Warwick, said "With the larger nanoparticles we examined we found that the binding sites for this chemical clamp were the same as the smaller nanoparticles but the binding was much weaker. In the simulations we performed, the protein never desorbed from the smaller nanoparticle, but always fell off or desorbed from the larger one. However In each case, desorption occurred at or after nucleation of calcite."

The researchers had therefore uncovered an incredibly elegant process allowing highly efficient recycling of the OC-17 protein. Effectively it acts as a catalyst, clamping on to calcium carbonate particles to kickstart crystal formation and then dropping off when the crystal nucleus is sufficiently large to grow under its own steam. This frees up the OC-17 to promote more yet more crystallisation, facilitating the speedy, literally overnight creation of an egg shell.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100709083751.htm

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« Reply #55 on: Jul 12th, 2010, 08:04am »

Washington Post

N. Korea, U.N. officials to discuss S. Korean warship sinking

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 12, 2010; 8:18 AM

TOKYO -- Military officials from North Korea and the U.S.-led United Nations Command will meet Tuesday to discuss the sinking of a South Korean warship, the U.N. Command said Monday in a statement.

The meeting, proposed Friday by North Korea, raises hopes for reduced tensions on the Korean Peninsula, a flashpoint since the Cheonan sinking in March. The U.N. Command (UNC) said that colonels from both sides will meet for talks in Panmunjom, a village in the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea.

North Korea has denied any involvement in the Cheonan sinking, which killed 46 South Korean sailors and triggered an international investigation -- one that blamed a North Korean torpedo for the explosion.

But North Korea's behavior and its appetite for diplomatic engagement have shifted since late last week. Friday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously condemned the Cheonan sinking, but its ambiguous statement merely implied Pyongyang's responsibility. That ability to avoid explicit blame -- largely the reflection of China's influence in Security Council talks -- led North Korea's U.N. envoy, Sin Son Ho, to call the statement a "great diplomatic victory."

The meeting signals the first conciliatory step by North Korea since the Cheonan incident and suggests that Kim Jong Il's government -- in a pattern that fits its history -- could again replace brinksmanship tactics with compliance. Even Pyongyang's willingness to discuss the matter with U.S. representatives represents a U-turn. North Korea had rejected an invitation to meet with the UNC in late June.

According to the command's statement, North Korea accepted a proposal "to hold colonel-level meetings in advance of General Officer Talks to discuss the sinking."

In June, North Korea rejected a UNC proposal to hold general-level talks, accused the United States of interfering in Korean issues and called instead for South Korea to allow North Korean officials to inspect the Cheonan investigation's methods and conclusion.

South Korea declined that proposal.

After the Security Council decision, North Korea, in a message carried by its state news agency, described its new proposal as a "manifestation of the unshakable will of the army and people of the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] to probe the truth behind the 'Cheonan' case in an objective, scientific and fair way. . . .

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/12/AR2010071201645.html

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« Reply #56 on: Jul 12th, 2010, 08:09am »

Washington Post. Sponge Bob Square Pants is at it again. rolleyes

Karzai to push for removing up to 50 ex-Taliban officials from U.N. blacklist

By Colum Lynch and Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, July 12, 2010; A01

UNITED NATIONS -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai plans to seek the removal of up to 50 former Taliban officials from a U.N. terrorism blacklist -- more than a quarter of those on the list -- in a gesture intended to advance political reconciliation talks with insurgents, according to a senior Afghan official.

The Afghan government has sought for years to delist former Taliban figures who it says have cut ties with the Islamist movement. But the campaign to cull names from the list, which imposes a travel ban and other restrictions on 137 individuals tied to the Taliban, has taken on renewed urgency in recent weeks as Karzai has begun to press for a political settlement to Afghanistan's nearly nine-year-old conflict.

The diplomatic outreach at the United Nations has been met with resistance from U.N. officials, who are demanding more evidence that the individuals in question have renounced violence, embraced the new Afghan constitution and severed any links with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

On Tuesday, Richard C. Holbrooke, President Obama's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, traveled to New York to meet with U.N. officials to press them to move forward on the delisting process, according to sources familiar with the talks.

The United States opposes the delisting of some of the most violent Taliban fighters, including leader Mohammad Omar. But Holbrooke is eager to reach agreement on removing a slate of purportedly reformed Taliban members ahead of a major international conference in Kabul this month that is aimed at bolstering stability in Afghanistan.

Thomas Mayr-Harting, an Austrian diplomat responsible for overseeing the terrorism list, has made it clear that a specially charged U.N. committee he leads will not approve the delisting solely to boost the peace process. He has also voiced frustration that Afghanistan has not made a detailed case for delisting.

"Let me make this absolutely clear: If this information is to be taken into consideration in the course of the ongoing review, receiving it must be a matter not of weeks but of days," he told the U.N. Security Council on June 30.

In October 1999, the Security Council imposed sanctions on members of the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan at the time, for refusing to surrender Osama bin Laden to U.S. authorities in connection with al-Qaeda's role in the August 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa. In January 2001, more than 100 Taliban leaders were added to the list.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the United States ushered through resolutions that added al-Qaeda members and their supporters to the blacklist. The measures include a travel ban, an arms embargo and a prohibition on the direct or indirect provision of funds or economic resources.

The stringent requirements of the U.N. review process have undercut Karzai's efforts. The Afghan president is now planning to make a more modest request that 30 to 50 names be delisted to "remove all those Taliban who are not part of al-Qaeda and are not terrorists," according to a senior Afghan official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as did others quoted for this article.

Russia has repeatedly rebuffed requests for removing former Taliban officials from the list, arguing that it has seen insufficient evidence that they have broken links with the armed insurgency and its al-Qaeda allies. Moscow has long had antipathy for the Islamist Taliban movement, which shares some roots in the mujaheddin resistance that drove Soviet forces out of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Russia also sees the Taliban and al-Qaeda as maintaining ties to Islamist militant groups in Central Asia and the Caucasus. When the Taliban was in power, Russia provided military backing to the Northern Alliance, which resisted Taliban rule.

"The Russian position is perfectly reasonable," said Richard Barrett, who heads an expert panel established by the Security Council to monitor enforcement of the sanctions against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. "People should not come off the list just because there is a political process. Mullah Omar and others aren't prevented from participating in the political process even though they are on the list."

As it awaits Afghanistan's request to delist more former Taliban officials, the Security Council has proceeded with its review of about a dozen individuals whose names were submitted for removal several years ago.

Among them is a former Taliban education minister, Mullah Arsala Rahmani, who is a member of the Afghan senate.

Rahmani said in an interview that after he spoke with a U.N. delegation in Kabul last month, he was led to believe that he "was going to be removed from the blacklist," although he said he was not told that explicitly.

"I'm very happy I'm going to be removed," Rahmani said.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/11/AR2010071103505.html

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« Reply #57 on: Jul 12th, 2010, 08:17am »

New York Times

July 11, 2010
Google’s Do-It-Yourself App Creation Software
By STEVE LOHR

Google is bringing Android software development to the masses.

The company will offer a software tool, starting Monday, that is intended to make it easy for people to write applications for its Android smartphones.

The free software, called Google App Inventor for Android http://appinventor.googlelabs.com/about/ has been under development for a year. User testing has been done mainly in schools with groups that included sixth graders, high school girls, nursing students and university undergraduates who are not computer science majors.

The thinking behind the initiative, Google said, is that as cellphones increasingly become the computers that people rely on most, users should be able to make applications themselves.

“The goal is to enable people to become creators, not just consumers, in this mobile world,” said Harold Abelson, a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is on sabbatical at Google and led the project.

The project is a further sign that Google is betting that its strategy of opening up its technology to all kinds of developers will eventually give it the upper hand in the smartphone software market. Its leading rival, Apple, takes a more tightly managed approach to application development for the iPhone, controlling the software and vetting the programs available.

“We could only have done this because Android’s architecture is so open,” Mr. Abelson said.

Mr. Abelson is a longtime proponent of making intellectual and scientific resources more open. He is a founding director of the Free Software Foundation, Public Knowledge and the Creative Commons, and he helped initiate M.I.T.’s OpenCourseWare program, which offers free online course materials used in teaching the university’s classes.

The Google project, Mr. Abelson said, is intended to give users, especially young people, a simple tool to let them tinker with smartphone software, much as people have done with computers. Over the years, he noted, simplified programming tools like Basic, Logo and Scratch have opened the door to innovations of all kinds. Microsoft’s first product, for example, was a version of Basic, pared down to run on personal computers.

The Google application tool for Android enables people to drag and drop blocks of code — shown as graphic images and representing different smartphone capabilities— and put them together, similar to snapping together Lego blocks. The result is an application on that person’s smartphone.

For example, one student made a program to inform a selected list of friends, with a short text message, where he was every 15 minutes. The program was created by putting three graphic code blocks together: one block showed the phone’s location sensor, another showed a clock (which he set for 15-minute intervals), and third linked to a simple database on a Web site, listing the selected friends.

An onscreen button would turn on the program, Mr. Abelson explained, for perhaps a few hours on a Saturday night when the person wanted his friends to know where he was.

A student at the University of San Francisco, Mr. Abelson said, made a program that automatically replied to text messages, when he was driving. “Please don’t send me text messages,” it read. “I’m driving.”

A program by a nursing student at Indiana University enabled a phone to send an emergency message or make a call, if someone fell. It used the phone’s accelerometer to sense a fall. If the person did not get up in a short period or press an onscreen button, the program automatically texted or called the person designated to receive the alert.

“These aren’t the slickest applications in the world,” Mr. Abelson said. “But they are ones ordinary people can make, often in a matter of minutes.”

The Google tool, of course, works only for phones running Android software. A sign-up with a Google Gmail account is required. The tool is Web-based except for a small software download that automatically syncs the programs created on a personal computer, connected to the application inventor Web site, with an Android smartphone. When making programs, the phone must be connected to a computer with a U.S.B. link.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/12/technology/12google.html?ref=technology

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #58 on: Jul 12th, 2010, 08:25am »

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July 12, 1960: Etch a Sketch? Let Us Draw You a Picture
By Tony Long July 12, 2010 | 12:00 am | Categories: 20th century, Gadgets, Games

1960: The Etch a Sketch goes on sale.

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The technology behind this children’s toy is both simple and complex. Simple, in that an internal stylus is used, manipulated by turning horizontal and vertical knobs to “etch a sketch” onto a glass window coated with aluminum powder.

Complex, because the Etch a Sketch employs a fairly sophisticated pulley system that operates the orthogonal rails that move the stylus around when the knobs are turned. The stylus etches a black line into the powder-coated window to create the drawing.

Along with the aluminum powder, the guts of the toy include a lot of tiny styrene beads that help the powder flow evenly when the sketch is being erased (by shaking), recoating the screen for the next drawing. As for how the aluminum powder sticks to the window, well, it pretty much sticks to everything.

Arthur Granjean, a Frenchman, was the Etch a Sketch’s inventor (he called it L’Ecran Magique, or “The Magic Screen”). After failing to get some of the bigger toy companies to bite, he sold his invention to the Ohio Art Company, which has manufactured it ever since.

Although the traditional Etch a Sketch comes in a red plastic housing, it is now available in several colors.

Source: Howstuffworks.com

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2010/07/0712etch-a-sketch-goes-on-sale/

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« Reply #59 on: Jul 12th, 2010, 08:33am »


Marine absorbs IED blast, walks away
6/23/2010 By Sgt. Mark Fayloga, Regimental Combat Team 7

SOUTHERN SHORSURAK, HELMAND PROVINCE, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan — Cpl. Matt Garst should be dead.

Few people survive stepping on an improvised explosive device. Even fewer walk away the same day after directly absorbing the force of the blast, but Garst did just that.

A squad leader with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Garst was leading his squad on a patrol in Southern Shorsurak, Afghanistan, June 23 to establish a vehicle checkpoint in support of Operation New Dawn.

The men were four miles from Company L's newly established observation post when they approached an abandoned compound close to where they needed to set up their checkpoint. It would serve well as an operating base — a place for the squad to set up communications and rotate Marines in and out of. But first, it had to be secured.

As they swept the area with a metal detector, the IED registered no warning on the device. The bomb was buried too deep and its metallic signature too weak. Two men walked over it without it detonating.

At six feet, two inches tall and 260 pounds with all his gear on, Garst is easily the largest man in his squad by 30 or 40 pounds — just enough extra weight to trigger the IED buried deep in hard-packed soil.

Lance Cpl. Edgar Jones, a combat engineer with the squad, found a pressure plate inside the compound and hollered to Garst, asking what he should do with it. Garst turned around to answer the Marine and stepped on the bomb.

“I can just barely remember the boom,” Garst said. “I remember the start of a loud noise and then I blacked out.”

Since Garst's improbable run-in with the IED, his tale has spread through the rest of the battalion, and as often happens in combat units, the story mutates, the tale becoming more and more extraordinary about what happened next: He held onto his rifle the whole time … He actually landed on his feet … He remained unmoved, absorbing the impact like he was muffling a fart in a crowded elevator …

What really happened even eludes Garst. All went black after the earth uppercut him. When he came to, he was standing on his feet holding his weapon, turning to see the remnants of the blast and wondering why his squad had a look on their faces as if they’d seen a ghost.

Marines in Company L think Garst is the luckiest guy in the battalion, and while that may seem a fair assessment, it was the enemy’s shoddy work that left Garst standing. The three-liters of homemade explosive only partially detonated.

Marines who witnessed the event from inside the compound caught glimpses of Garst’s feet flailing through the air just above the other side of the building’s eight-foot walls. The explosion knocked him at least fifteen feet away where he landed on his limp head and shoulders before immediately standing back up.

Not quite sure of what had just happened, Garst turned back toward the blast, now nothing but a column of dirt and smoke rising toward the sun.

“My first thought was, ‘Oh s---, I just hit an IED,’” he said. “Then I thought, ‘Well I’m standing. That’s good.’”

Garst’s squad stared at him in disbelief. The square-jawed Marine has a tendency to be short-tempered, and the realization that the blast was meant to kill him spiked his adrenaline and anger.

“It pissed me off,” he said.

He directed his men to establish a security perimeter while letting them know in his own way that he was OK.

“What the f--- are you looking at?” he said. “Get on the cordon!”

Garst quickly radioed back to base, calling an explosive ordnance disposal team and quick reaction force.

“I called them and said, ‘hey, I just got blown up. Get ready,’” he said. “The guy thought I was joking at first. ‘You got blown up? You’re not calling me. Get out of here.’”

Once EOD cleared the area, Garst led his squad the four miles back to their observation post — just hours after being ragdolled by an IED blast.

“I wasn’t going to let anybody else take my squad back after they’d been there for me,” he said. “That’s my job.”

The next day Garst awoke with a pounding headache and was as sore as he’d ever been in his life.

“Just getting up from trying to sleep was painful,” he said.

But he saw no reason being sore should slow him down. He popped some ibuprofen and after a day of rest, Garst was back out on patrol, showing his Marines and the enemy that just like his resolve — Cpl Matt Garst is unbreakable.

http://www.marines.mil/unit/imef/Pages/MarineabsorbsIEDblast,walksaway.aspx

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