Thursday, March 31, 2005

NASA - NASA Tests Shape-Shifting Robot Pyramid for Nanotech Swarms

NASA - NASA Tests Shape-Shifting Robot Pyramid for Nanotech Swarms

The first step towards Programmable Matter may be taken on Mars. Or, alternatively, the first slither towards...

"These miniature TETwalkers, when joined together in "swarms," will have great advantages over current systems. The swarm has abundant flexibility so it can change its shape to accomplish highly diverse goals. For example, while traveling through a planet's atmosphere, the swarm might flatten itself to form an aerodynamic shield. Upon landing, it can shift its shape to form a snake-like swarm and slither away over difficult terrain. If it finds something interesting, it can grow an antenna and transmit data to Earth. Highly-collapsible material can also be strung between nodes for temperature control or to create a deployable solar sail."

O'Reilly: BJ Leiderman: Rocking the Bottom of the Dial

Oreilly has a great interview with the Creative mind behind a lot of NPR themes, as well as some radio and TV jingles. He even won an Emmy. He talks about where the Music Industry has come as technology has advanced, and the drawbacks of the Digital Age.

"What I’m referring to is more the negative way a lot of people use technology than the time it takes to learn it. I’m referring to loop-based, heavily quantized music that is taking a lot of the soul out of music—pop, rock ’n’ roll stuff, which is my bag. The building block of music in today’s productions is the loop. I bet if you put any one of the hit songs of today up on the screen and were able to call up a multitrack session from the ’70s or ’80s right next to it, you’d instantly be able to see today’s songs are made up of a lot of chopped-up, perfect little boxy loops. I’m feeling like my parents must have felt when their music gave way to the British Invasion and rock ’n’ roll. It’s like, “Where did all the good music go?”"
O'Reilly: BJ Leiderman: Rocking the Bottom of the Dial Project details for Zero Install Injector

I heard about Zero Install a while back, and blabbed about it to my brother. He mentioned it to Executives at his company, and apparently they are pursuing a patent of the idea. I've felt guilty ever since. By the way, his company is in no way associated with the developers of this project. Project details for Zero Install Injector

The Profits in the Attic - How an old technology has turned Ampex into America's hottest stock.

Ampex is a company that had a strong start doing it's own R&D, and developing some really great digital technologies in the 40's and 50's, only to struggle and almost fall off the Stock exchange. Recently, however, it made an incredible comeback as it litigated it's way back to the top. It held some useful, and some would say, obvious patents used today in digital media everywhere. Is this the right way to do business? While it is perfectly legal to enforce ones patents, there probably ought to be a statute of limitations on enforcing them late in the game, although the patent itself may not have expired.

The Profits in the Attic - How an old technology has turned Ampex into America's hottest stock.

BBC NEWS |Brain chip reads man's thoughts

Reported on the BBC, a paralysed man in the US has been the first to experience a sort-of computer enhanced telekinesis. No use fighting over the TV remote with this guy.

"Mr Nagle's device, called BrainGate, consists of nearly 100 hair-thin electrodes implanted a millimetre deep into part of the motor cortex of his brain that controls movement."

BBC NEWS | Health | Brain chip reads man's thoughts

Why FCC's "broadcast flag" hurts librarians, computer hobbyists | | CNET

Why FCC's "broadcast flag" hurts librarians, computer hobbyists | | CNET

"Manufacturers of HDTV tuner cards for PCs will be barred from selling them unless they're redesigned to include anti-copying restrictions."

University's and Schools will be banned from recording TV for education. Cross your fingers on this one--A decision is expected from the appeals before the July effective date.

It's Your Choice. Taser, or Catheter?

A suspected drug user was taken to a hospital after he told police he had swallowed cocaine. When they tried to insert a catheter, he resisted. My favorite quote regarding the Cop is, "The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating; Linnenkamp has been relieved pending the investigation's outcome." You better believe the suspect was also 'relieved'--Whether he wanted to be or not!

First Coast News | Florida State News

More good news for Firefox users on GoogleBlog

Taking advantage of a feature not available to Internet Explorer users, but included in Firefox, the top results of some searches will be loaded before you click on them to make pages load faster.
Google Blog

wohba!: Lurch the Wonder Watusi

Check out the horns on this animal!

wohba!: Lurch the Wonder Watusi

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Trackback Spam

Emmy Advanced Media - Television Business News: Trackback Spam

Now, that I'm introducing myself to the benefits of Trackback, I've come across this unnerving post.

"Yeah, so? Ah ... glad you asked. Guess where the newest
haven for Spammers is? Yep, Trackbacks. This comes under
the 'nothing is sacred' heading. Sure, you can spend time setting
up bogus Trackbacks by hand, but it is time consuming and probably
won't yield great results on any but the most highly trafficked sites.
But, create a robot to do your bidding and Trackbacks can yield a
zillion clickthroughs from unsuspecting blog readers."

Since I'm using Haloscan myself, I will be able to block the IP's of any who abuse Trackback on my blog.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Have you heard of Haloscan

I'm not new to the blogging scene, but I'm definitely a new blogger. (You know always a best-man, never a bride...)So, I'm taking advantage of the features available with Trackback. As such, Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog. I'd suggest you try it too since it only costs $0.00.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Looking to make a statement about Fox News? | | CNET

CNET is reporting on a new device that blocks all access to the Fox news channel.Looking to make a statement about Fox News? | | CNET
My question is, how many Fox-blocker-boxes have been purchased by the Chinese Government?

The Mouse with two brains

A Stanford researcher has just gotten permission to transplant human neurons into a mouse. They plan on stopping if the mouse starts to exhibit human behavior, but think it unlikely.

"It is unlikely that any brain-replacement experiment would work, Weissman and Greely said. Mouse and human brains are very different organs. Unlike humans, mice have brains that specialize in smell. They even have special cells devoted to whiskers. Any implant of human brain cells into an empty mouse brain cavity is likely to turn into a lumpy mess, devoid of structure. Finally, even if the implanted brain cells could organize themselves, they probably would act like a mouse brain, too confined to do anything remotely human."

Of course, these researchers probably never heard of a Octo-Parrot.

Mercury News

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Is a law written for Terri Schiavo Constitutional?

Recent events have raised the hackles of many who say that Congress has acted outside their own mandate. Furthermore, some have questioned the Constitutionality of Pub. L. No. 109-3, recently signed into law by President Bush. The ABA Journal has given a fair hearing to the issue for both sides of the Constitutional argument.


Thursday, March 24, 2005

Who's on the Board?

It's interesting to see who can pop up on the board of directors of some big companies. For example Al Gore has been on the board of directors for Google, and currently Apple. It can expose where a company might be heading in the future. Below are three companies Board of Director listings.

Microsoft Board of Directors (link)

...includes someone from BMW, and Harvard.

Apple Board of Directors (link)

...someone from J. Crew, Al Gore (I wondered where he went), and Arthur Levinson-also on Google's Board.

Google Board of Directors (link)

Arthur Levinson (see above) from Genentech, a leading Biotech Company. Also someone from Stanford, and Intel.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

George on the Ethics of Life

Robert P. George is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University. He was interviewed by the National Review recently regarding the Terri Schiavo case. His comments are worth a careful reading.

There are a number of circumstances in Schiavo's case (i.e. her wishes, the cause of her injury, her ability to be rehabilitated) that have been debated by the media, Michael Schiavo, and the Schindlers. None of these 'unknown's' are relevent as to whether her medical care should be terminated. Michael Schiavo is pursuing her death, because he feels her life is of no value. There is no legal precedent that makes this a valid reason to take a life. In fact all human life has value, and this country was founded with Life as a guiding principle.

What we do know, what is agreed upon by all parties, is that the Schindlers are willing to pay for Terri's care, and that she has commited no crime.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Nano-memory road to unified memory.

Philips R&D will announce in the April issue of Nature, their new Nano-memory development. The unified-memory problem is described by Dr. Karen Attenborough, project leader of the Scalable Unified Memory project at Philips Research.

"The holy grail of the embedded memory industry is a so-called unified memory that replaces all other types, which combines the speed of SRAM with the memory density of DRAM and the non-volatility of Flash. Philips' new phase-change line-cell technology is a significant step towards this goal"

Researchers have been working on unified memory for thirty years, with little to show for it. This will lead to high capacity, small memory cards for portable devices. A PC will boot in the time it takes to turn on the lights. My prediction: Philips will partner with digital camera, and handheld manufacturers (perhaps iPod?) with product available late 2005. Unified memory won't reach the PC market until 2nd, or 3rd quarter, 2006.

Atoms never forget

Philips Develops a Non-Volatile Nano-Electronic Memory Technology

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Firefox extension: Greasemonkey

Have you switched to Firefox yet? If you have, you need to check out the extension called Greasemonkey.

"Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension which lets you to add bits of DHTML ("user scripts") to any webpage to change it's behavior. In much the same way that user CSS lets you take control of a webpage's style, user scripts let you easily control any aspect of a webpage's design or interaction."

Next, you'll want to visit the Greasemonkey script repository and get Google Butler which gets rid of Ads, and adds links to other search engines.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Do we have a right to Privacy?

The Bill of Rights doesn't explicitly grant us this right, although, it doesn't deny it either. Government buildings have burned to the ground incidental to the protection of this right. Charles Dickens tells the story best here.

The word privacy appears to have first been used c.1450. The right to privacy has been discussed in legal(Harvard Law Review) circles as early as 1890. Legally, the right is no longer in force once we publish our data, or commit a crime--or seek to commit a crime, or breath oxygen. Abortion (National Review) runs rampant in this country today because somebody thought we ought to have privacy. Practically speaking, it is impossible, and imprudent to guarantee. New technologies today are both destroying it, and safeguarding it. Confidential information is sold, stolen, and lost. Lastly, you can try to get your cut of the action here.

Update: Oreilly warns us in the article below that our Privacy, is ultimately, in our own hands.