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August 12, 2006, 3:29 PM CT

Sharpest Manmade Thing

Sharpest Manmade Thing

A field ion microscope (FIM) image of a very sharp tungsten needle. The small round features are individual atoms. The lighter colored elongated features are traces captured as atoms moved during the imaging process (approximately 1 second).

Reported by: Rezeq et al., Journal of Chemical Physics, 28 May 2006.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 12, 2006, 9:41 AM CT

Color 3D Prints

Color 3D Prints
See this 3D print.

With the help of some friends at CADD Edge we were able to get a color 3D print of our favorite World of Warcraft gnome. All we had to do was export our cleaned up and textured models as VRML files, which they fed right into their ZCorp printer.

If you are interested in doing the same with your video game avatars, I suggest contacting Anvil Prototypes. They are interested in helping people who want to pay to have their characters printed (see their sweet flyer), and took this funny photo of a color-printed gnome in the woods:

(is it just me, or are the monochrome prints from Eyebeam's Dimension so much less fulfilling now?).........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 10, 2006, 6:48 AM CT

Genetics Of Successful Aging

Genetics Of Successful Aging
Scientists have identified genes related to reaching age 90 with preserved cognition, according to a study published in the recent issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. The study, which was conducted at the University of Pittsburgh is among the first to identify genetic links to cognitive longevity.

"Successful aging has been defined in many ways, however, we focused on individuals who had reached at least 90 without significant decline in mental capacity," said lead researcher George S. Zubenko, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and biological sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. "While this is a goal that many of us share, such a definition of 'successful aging' can be determined objectively and consistently across subjects--an important requirement of scientific studies".

While previous research has revealed that genes make important contributions to exceptional longevity, the goal of this study was to identify regions of the human genome that contributed, along with lifestyle factors, to reaching age 90 with preserved cognition.

The study involved 100 people age 90 and older who had preserved cognition as measured by clinical and psychometric assessments. Half of the subjects were male, half were female. Using a novel genome survey method, scientists compared the DNA of the study sample with that of 100 young adults, aged 18-25, who were matched for sex, race, ethnicity and geographic location. Particularly, Dr. Zubenko and his research team attempted to identify specific genetic sequences present in older individuals that may be linked to reaching older ages with preserved cognitive abilities, or conversely, specific genetic sequences present in younger individuals (and not present in those over age 90) that may impede successful aging. The study also looked at a variety of lifestyle factors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption, with the goal of eventually exploring the interactive effects of genes and lifestyle on successful aging.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 10, 2006, 6:43 AM CT

Texts to reveal 'Whodunnit'

Texts to reveal 'Whodunnit'
Psychologists at the University of Leicester are to investigate texting language to provide new tools for criminal investigation.

The forensic linguistic study based in the Forensic Section of the School of Psychology will examine how well an individual can be identified by their texting style.

A prior case where this was used was the investigation of murder a few years ago. At the 2002 trial an alibi was broken based on the evidence that the murderer and not the victim had sent crucial messages from her phone. Text analyses revealed that the texts had not been written by the victim herself, but that they had been faked to deflect suspicion from the killer as there were a number of differences in the texting styles between the victim and murderer. Linguistic analysis is therefore a useful tool which can reveal secrets within the criminal investigation, which otherwise would not be apparent. This present study aims to develop the technique further by investigating text language and style.

The innovative six-month study will assess similarities and differences in texting style, between texts sent by individuals and within and between networks of people who frequently text one another. The researchers are inviting ordinary people to help them with the study by completing an anonymous on-line questionnaire. Although forensic authorship analysis is a growing area of research, this is the first study to focus on mobile phone texting.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 9, 2006, 7:20 AM CT

New Rocket Technology From Purdue

New Rocket Technology From Purdue
Purdue University engineers are conducting research to help NASA develop rockets faster and less expensively for future missions to Mars and the moon.

The NASA-funded research at Purdue focuses on liquid-fueled rockets. Specifically, the work deals with understanding how fuel and a component called the oxidizer interact inside the rocket engine's fuel injectors to cause unstable combustion. The instability results in extreme bursts of heat and pressure fluctuations that could lead to accidents and hardware damage.

Purdue engineers involved in the research earned a best paper award in July from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

"Combustion instability is a complex phenomenon that has hindered rocket development since the beginning of the Space Age," said Nicholas Nugent, a doctoral student in Purdue's School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. "We have to learn more about instability before future engines can be developed and used for space flight. Predicting combustion instability is one of the most difficult aspects of developing a rocket engine."

The paper's findings demonstrate that an experiment can be specifically designed to study instabilities occurring spontaneously, as they do in real engines.

"There haven't been a number of, if any, experiments in the past that have been able to achieve an instability without actually forcing it by introducing artificial influences not ordinarily seen in the operation of a rocket engine," said doctoral student James Sisco.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


August 7, 2006, 11:52 PM CT

The oxygen balance

The oxygen balance
Oxygen is one of the most significant keys to deciphering past climates. Oxygen comes in heavy and light varieties, or isotopes, which are useful for paleoclimate research. Like all elements, oxygen is made up of a nucleus of protons and neutrons, surrounded by a cloud of electrons. All oxygen atoms have 8 protons, but the nucleus might contain 8, 9, or 10 neutrons. "Light" oxygen-16, with 8 protons and 8 neutrons, is the most common isotope found in nature, followed by much lesser amounts of "heavy" oxygen-18, with 8 protons and 10 neutrons.

The ratio (relative amount) of these two types of oxygen in water changes with the climate. By determining how the ratio of heavy and light oxygen in marine sediments, ice cores, or fossils is different from a universally accepted standard, researchers can learn something about climate changes that have occurred in the past. The standard researchers use for comparison is based on the ratio of oxygen isotopes in ocean water at a depth of 200-500 meters.

What climate factors influence the ratio of oxygen isotopes in ocean water?

Evaporation and condensation are the two processes that most influence the ratio of heavy oxygen to light oxygen in the oceans. Water molecules are made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Water molecules containing light oxygen evaporate slightly more readily than water molecules containing a heavy oxygen atom. At the same time, water vapor molecules containing the heavy variety of oxygen condense more readily.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 7, 2006, 9:52 PM CT

Kayaks Adapted To Test Marine Robotics

Kayaks Adapted To Test Marine Robotics MIT research engineer Joseph Curcio and mechanical engineering graduate student Robert R. Williams
MIT scientists are working toward the day when a team of robots could be put into action like a team of Navy SEALs -- doing such dangerous work as searching for survivors after devastating hurricanes or sweeping harbors for mines.

Working in labs that resemble machine shops, these engineers are taking small steps toward the holy grail of robotics -- cooperative autonomy -- making machines work together seamlessly to complete tasks with a minimum of human direction.

The tool they're using is the simple kayak.

The scientists are taking off-the-shelf, $500 plastic kayaks and fitting them with onboard computers, radio control, propulsion, steering, communications and more to create Surface Crafts for Oceanographic and Undersea Testing (SCOUTs).

Much of the technology being tested is ultimately intended for use in underwater robots, or autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), but testing software on AUVs can easily become a multimullion-dollar experiment.

"I want to have master's students and Ph.D. students that can come in, test algorithms and develop them on a shoestring budget," said Associate Professor John J. Leonard of mechanical engineering. Leonard, together with MIT research engineer Joseph Curcio of mechanical engineering and an intern, Andrew Patrikalakis, unveiled SCOUT last fall in a paper for the IEEE Oceans Conference.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 7, 2006, 3:47 PM CT

Your Own Fortune-Teller

Your Own Fortune-Teller
If you believe in astrology and look forward to the weekly column with cuiosity then inspite of waiting with baited-breath get yourself this amazing Fortune Ball that will tell you what lies in your future anytime. Invented by Dr Ming Fang, a well-known developer of medical and industrial products, the Fortune Ball lets you know your fortune forecast up to thirty days in advance by using the entire Chinese calendar, theories of Astrology, Numerology, I Ching and Biorhythms. And, it can even tell you what the last 30 days were like to strengthen your belief!.

The ball looks at three aspects of your life vis your health, wealth and love life, and the intricately etched crystal ball will glow different colours to let you know what to expect in each area of your life. It takes about 15 seconds for the internal computer to correlate all the data and it will then project the relevant colour onto the etched globe within the crystal ball. The ball is nestled in a chrome base with LCD, so, will make a nice show- piece too with its modern appeal. It sells for $112.68. I want one!!!........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 6, 2006, 10:09 PM CT

Electronic Capacitors from seaweed

Electronic Capacitors from seaweed
New materials for advanced electronics are usually expensive, high-tech substances. But a team of researchers in France has shown that energy-storage components called supercapacitors can be made from a remarkably cheap and humble material: baked seaweed.

Francois Beguin of the CNRS Research Centre on Divided Matter in Orleans, France, and his co-workers say that seaweed, when burned to a charcoal-like form, is just the right stuff for making the electrodes in state-of-the-art supercapacitors. It performs as well as the carbon-based substances currently used in commercial devices, the researchers say.

"People working on carbons are always looking for improved properties," says Mildred Dresselhaus, a specialist in carbon materials at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She points out that coconut shells are already used as a source of porous carbon for water filtration and other applications. "Low-tech routes are usually used when they do the job," Dresselhaus says.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


August 6, 2006, 9:43 PM CT

Split The Network Upside Down

Split The Network Upside Down
My neighbours are stealing my wireless internet access. I could encrypt it or alternately I could have fun.

Split the network.

I'm starting here by splitting the network into two parts, the trusted half and the untrusted half. The trusted half has one netblock, the untrusted a different netblock. We use the DHCP server to identify mac addresses to give out the relevant addresses.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


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