Monday, October 27, 2008

General: Wassup 2008 edition

A classic internet meme revisited.

Very True, True

The original Budweiser Wassup Ad'

Sunday, October 26, 2008

General: Who Knew?

The Stink in Farts Controls Blood Pressure

The new research found that cells lining mice’s blood vessels naturally make the gas and this action can help keep the rodents’ blood pressure low by relaxing the blood vessels to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). This gas is “no doubt” produced in cells lining human blood vessels too, the researchers said.

“Now that we know hydrogen sulfide’s role in regulating blood pressure, it may be possible to design drug therapies that enhance its formation as an alternative to the current methods of treatment for hypertension,” said Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Solomon H. Snyder, M.D., a co-author of the study detailed in the Oct. 24th issue of the journal Science.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Techo: Not Quite 3D

Here's a fascinating article about a new form of electron movement.
It's not something that you can try out on your kitchen table though!

"Working with one of the purest semiconductor materials ever made, they discovered the quasi-three-dimensional electron crystal in a device cooled at ultra-low temperatures roughly 100 times colder than intergalactic space. The material was then exposed to the most powerful continuous magnetic fields generated on Earth."

Monday, October 20, 2008

General: Have you ever used Google Answers?

Here is an example that I found fascinating!
(And you can see the search that I used to get this at the bottom)

Earth is getting a lot of space dust and meteors from space.
On the other hand our atmosphere is losing some gases.
Which one is greater? Is Earth gaining or losing?

Hello, and thanks for the question.

According to Jeff Brown at Washington State University,
several hundred tons of meteorites enter the Earth's
atmosphere every day. The total amount per year can range
from 10 million to 1 billion kilograms.
A lot of this is just dust or micrometeorites, but it adds up.

For example, let's say an average of 500 million kilograms
a year has landed on Earth over the past 10,000 years.
That's 5 trillion kilograms. Or 5 billion metric tons.
That might seem like a lot, but the total mass of the Earth
is over 5 x 1021 metric tons! (That's a 5 with 21 zeroes.)

The Earth also loses mass in several ways.
All the time, we're losing light elements, mostly hydrogen,
from the atmosphere.
In a study
( )
The author points out that
" present the Earth loses matter at a rate of 1 to 3
kilograms per second, the rate and composition varying with
solar cycle (sunspot cycle).
Recent measurements (K. Seki et al, Science 291:1939 2001)
suggest the rate is lower than this, but even with a net
loss of 3 kilograms per second, it would take 50 billion
years to deplete the Earth's atmosphere and at least another
15 trillion years to evacuate the oceans.
For comparison, the total lifetime of the Sun is only
approximately 10 billion years."

Assuming the worst case from this study, say we lose
That works out at: 3*60secs*60mins*24hours*365.25days or
94,672,800 Kg/year

So to answer your question, over long periods of time we gain
more from "space dust" and asteroids than we lose from the
escape of gases, but in some years it may be a net loss.

But gas escape is not the only way we lose mass.
Another way the Earth loses mass is through radioactive decay.
The Earth's interior is peppered with radioactive elements
such as uranium, thorium and potassium 40.
These radioactive elements are mixed in with other rock.
Granite, for example, can contain as much as four grams per
ton of uranium and 13 grams per ton of thorium.
As these radioactive elements decay, they give off heat and
in the process of releasing this energy, the elements also
lose mass.

Gary Collins, who is a physicist at WSU, says …
"it should be possible to figure out approximately how much
mass is lost, but it would be a difficult calculation"

Taken from: "Ask Dr Universe: The Big Questions" at
( )

And "space dust" and meteorites are not the only ways we
gain mass. For one, Earth gains a tiny amount of mass from
the "solar wind," the stream of charged particles from the
Sun's corona. This varies wildly, as you’ll find from the
NASA site on the solar wind here:
"The Solar Wind"
( )

Hope that answers your question,
but if you need clarification, just ask.


Google search used
earth mass gain loss

General: Virtual Worlds becoming mainstream

There's a VERY big seminar on in London Monday and Tuesday.

"Virtual Worlds London, 20-21 October 2008, is the leading European event for businesses seeking to understand and maximize business strategies within virtual worlds. VW London is presented by Virtual Worlds News, the VW business news authority. Virtual Worlds London takes place at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre two blocks from Parliament."

The list of companies sending speakers is impressive all by itself!
Some big name companies you might not think are interested in virtual worlds, but they certainly are.

Featured Speakers

Christian Ahlert, Owner,, MiniBar
Dave Anderson, Head of Interactive, BBC Worldwide
Tony Bicknell, Director, Futuresource
Justin Bovington, CEO, Rivers Run Red

Corey Bridges, Executive Producer, Multiverse

Nic Brisbourne, Partner, DFJ Esprit LLP

David Burden, Managing Director, Daden Limited
Pierre-Oliver Carles, Stonfield Inworld
Mirko Caspar, Chief Marketing Officer, Metaversum GmbH
Bruno Cerboni, Virtual Italian Parks, Chief Executive Officer
Jesse Cleverly, Head of Co-Production and Acquisitions, Drama and Animation Dept, BBC Children's
Harvey Cohen, Founder and President, Strategy Analytics
Victoria Coleman, Vice President, Samsung Electronics

Chris Collins, Director, Enterprise Systems Business
Guy de Beer, CEO, Playcast Media Systems Ltd.
Bruce Damer, Executive Director, Contact Consortium - Virtual Worlds Roadmap SIG
Dick Davies, Executive Producer, Ambient Performance
Francesco D'Orazio, Founder and CEO, Myrl LTD
Rob Edmonds, senior consultant, eLearning and virtual worlds, SRI Consulting Business Intelligence
Ron Edwards, CEO, Ambient Performance
Celia Francis, CEO, WeeWorld
Rohan Freeman, CEO, Sine Wave Company

Matt Furman, Software Engineer, Northrop Grumman
Jim Gatto, Section Leader for Intellectual Property, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Phil Guest, UK Managing Director, Sulake
Adrienne Haik, Chief Operations Officer, Metaversatility
Tracy Harper, Interactive Brand Manager, Orange
Mimi Harris, Communications Director, Rivers Run Red
John Hengeveld, Senior Business Strategist, Intel

Martin Herdina, CEO, Fatfoogoo AG
Adam Hildreth, Founder and President, Crisp
Jonathan Himoff, Founder and CEO, Rezzable Productions
Dan Hon, Co-founder and CEO, Six to Start
Bernard Horan, Senior Staff Engineer, Sun Labs
Chris Howard, Manager, Emerging 3D Internet & Virtual Business, IBM Research
Ian Hughes/epredator, Metaverse Evangelist, IBM

Bruce Joy, Founder and CEO, VastPark
Rupert Key, Director of Engineering, Malden Labs
Mark Kingdon, Chief Executive Officer, Linden Lab
Divinia Knowles, Head Of Operations & Financial Controller, Mind Candy
Roland Legrand, Chief Internet & New Media at Mediafin, Author at
Jeroen Matser, Strategy Director, Tribal DDB London

Karl Mehta, Co-Founder & CEO, PlaySpan
Jean Miller, German Market Development Manager, Linden Lab
Peter Mills, Chief Health Officer, Cigna
Nic Mitham, CEO, K Zero
Philippe Moitroux, CEO, TAATU
Claus Nehmzow, VP, Virtual Worlds/Immersive Experiences Practice Group, Method
Greg Nuyens, CEO, Qwaq
Kim Plowright, Production Manager, Oil Productions Ltd.
Jeffrey Pope, Executive Vice President, ngi Group Ventures / 3Di
Steve Prentice, VP & Gartner Fellow, Gartner
Jim Purbrick, Senior Developer, Linden Lab
Andrew (Roo) Reynolds, Portfolio Executive for Social Media, BBC Vision

Fiona 'Foe' Romeo, Head of Digital Media, National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory
Dave Rolston, PhD, Chairman and CEO, Forterra, Inc.
Cindy H. Rose, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Walt Disney Internet Group EMEA
Nikolai Roth, VP Sales, Weblin / zweitgeist GmbH
Andrew Schneider, Founder & President, Live Gamer
Joey Seiler, Editor, & Virtual Worlds Weekly
Dr. Yesha Y. Sivan, Shenkar College Software Department, Metaverse Labs. Ltd.
Christopher V. Sherman, Founder, Virtual Worlds Management
Rob Smart, Emerging Technology Specialist, IBM Hursley
Carlos Domingo Soriano, Director for Internet and Multimedia, Telefónica R&D
Hanno Tietgens, TUEV NORD 3D Consultant, Buero X Media Lab
Henrik Torstensson is VP Business Development of Stardoll
Sibley Verbeck, CEO, The Electric Sheep Company

Niniane Wang, Engineering Manager, Lively Engineering Lead, Google, Inc.
Keith Weiner, CEO and co-founder, Nortel DiamondWare
Dolf Wittkamper, Senior Director, Philips Design
David Wortley, Director , Serious Games Institute, Coventry University
Alex Wrottesley, Co-Founder, Near

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Techo: Buckypaper!

An amazing material!

Here's an excerpt -

Future planes, cars may be made of `buckypaper'


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - It's called "buckypaper" and looks a lot like ordinary carbon paper, but don't be fooled by the cute name or flimsy appearance. It could revolutionize the way everything from airplanes to TVs are made.

Buckypaper is 10 times lighter but potentially 500 times stronger than steel when sheets of it are stacked and pressed together to form a composite. Unlike conventional composite materials, though, it conducts electricity like copper or silicon and disperses heat like steel or brass.

"All those things are what a lot of people in nanotechnology have been working toward as sort of Holy Grails," said Wade Adams, a scientist at Rice University.


General: Squashed Philosophers

Now this is a very nifty site,
A Readers Digest version of the thoughts of the great philosophers.

As the site says -

Glyn Hughes'


Their own ideas, in their own words, neatly honed into little half-hour or so reads.
"Like reading the bible without all the begats" - Jim Curtis

Thursday, October 16, 2008

General: You'll be glad you read this...

Well what do you know, it turns out that -

web-browsing is good for the brain!

All the goodness of reading and more!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

General: Daylight Saving

Most Aussies will need to put their clocks forward at 2AM tomorrow morning.
(I'm sure most of us do it before we go to bed, Shhhh!)

Here is a possible downside to the practice (typo's and all) -

"When I was a kid we never had drought after drought.
Then we started with daylight saving.
We started with a little bit, but now we have six months of the year daylight saving.
it has just become tpp for the environment to cope with.
It is so logical, for six months of the year we hqve an extra hour each day of that hot afternoon sun.
I read somewhere that scientiic studies had shown there is a lot less moisture in the atmosphere which means we get less rain.
I believe this extra one hour is slowly evaporating all the moisture out of everything.
Whycan't the Governmentget the CSIRO to do studieson this, or better still get rid of daylight savings.
They gave to do something before itis too late."

This comment was sent to a newspaper.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Techo: 4 Teraflop in a 1U rack-space!

Now that's Impressive!

With the world’s first teraflop many-core processor, the NVIDIA® Tesla™ S1070 computing system speeds the transition to energy-efficient parallel computing.
With 960 processor cores and a standard C compiler that simplifies application development, Tesla S1070 scales to solve the world’s most important computing challenges—more quickly and accurately.

Feeding HPC Industry’s Relentless Demand for Performance.
Keeps pace with the increasing demands of the toughest computing challenges including drug research, oil and gas exploration and computational finance.

Many-core Architecture Delivers Optimum Scaling across HPC Applications.
Parallel performance from 960 cores capable of concurrent execution of thousands of computing threads and scalable architecture meets computational demands of applications whose complexity has outstripped the CPU’s ability to solve them.

Which leads to things like This -

Evolved Machines is reverse-engineering brain circuits to develop a new paradigm for device technology. Their research work requires the large-scale simulation of neuro biologically realistic neural circuits which require enormous parallel computing capacity. Simulation of a single neuron involves 200,000,000 differential equation evaluations per second, requiring approximately 4 gigaflops. A neural array engaged in sensory processing requires thousands of neurons, thus, the detailed simulation of neural systems in real time requires more than 10 teraflops of computing power.