Archive for August, 2012

1 | A Simple Solar Oven Makes Salt Water Drinkable | Co.Design: business + innovation + design

Posted in environment, science, technology with tags , on August 27, 2012 by SpenceG


It functions by filling the black boiler with salty sea water in the morning, then tightening the cap. As the temperature and pressure grows, steam is forced downwards through a connection pipe and collects in the lid, which acts as a condenser, turning the steam into fresh water. Once Diamanti established the fundamentals were sound, he experimented with a series of concepts for the aesthetic of the object. “My goal was to design something friendly and recognizable for the users,” he explains. “The process developed quite naturally to determine the current shape; every detail is there for a reason, so the form, as well as production techniques, represent a compromise between technical and traditional.” Primary field studies in sub-Saharan Africa revealed the habit of carrying goods on the head–also a common practice in other areas around the world–and this was integrated into Eliodomestico’s plan. And while solar stills aren’t a totally new concept, Diamanti says it’s rare to find them in a domestic context rather than in missions or hospitals, or as large plants overseen by qualified personnel that serve entire communities. “I tried to make something for a real household that could be operated directly by the families,” he says.

via 1 | A Simple Solar Oven Makes Salt Water Drinkable | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

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Is a $675,000 fine for sharing 31 pirated songs too much? | ExtremeTech

Posted in entertainment, technology with tags , , , , on August 27, 2012 by SpenceG

Joel Tenenbaum is out of options. A Massachusetts District Court judge ruled the $675,000 fine levied against him is indeed appropriate and refused calls for a new jury trial, meaning the former Boston University graduate student will pay a staggering $21,774 for every song he shared over P2P networks.

The case has made its way through the courts over the past five years, with a jury initially finding Tenenbaum guilty of copyright infringement and levying the fine. His lawyers argued the fines were excessive, and the Judge presiding over the case at the time agreed. She lowered the fines to $67,500, or $2,177 per song, which record industry lawyers balked at and appealed to higher courts.

via Is a $675,000 fine for sharing 31 pirated songs too much? | ExtremeTech.

Analysis: Friend and foe; Samsung, Apple won’t want to damage parts deal | Reuters

Posted in technology with tags , , , on August 27, 2012 by SpenceG

While Samsung Electronics is reeling from a patent pounding by its smartphone rival Apple Inc, this is unlikely to damage the other part of their relationship – where Samsung is the sole supplier of Apple-designed chips that power the iPhone and iPad.

At an emergency meeting in Seoul early on Sunday following the damning U.S. legal defeat, the South Korean group’s post mortem was led by vice chairman Choi Gee-sung and the head of the mobile business JK Shin, rather than by CEO Kwon Oh-hyun, whose primary role is in charge of the components business.

The clear message from Samsung is that a strict internal firewall between its handset business and its components operations remains intact.

While it plans to appeal the U.S. verdict, and a damages bill for $1.05 billion for copying critical features of Apple’s popular mobile devices – a sum that could be trebled – Samsung will not want to put at risk its Apple supply contract which is worth billions of dollars.

via Analysis: Friend and foe; Samsung, Apple won’t want to damage parts deal | Reuters.

Going public with depression

Posted in health with tags on August 27, 2012 by SpenceG

Editor’s note: Politicians Jesse Jackson Jr. and Patrick Kennedy have each recently revealed struggles with depression and mental illness. After the death this week of “Top Gun” director Tony Scott in an apparent suicide (it’s unclear whether Scott suffered from mental health issues), CNN’s Kat Kinsman writes that talking freely about personal mental health issues and suicidal thoughts, whether you’re a public figure or a private person, can help those who share the struggle.

(CNN) — I am 14 years old, it’s the middle of the afternoon, and I’m curled into a ball at the bottom of the stairs. I’ve intended to drag my uncooperative limbs upstairs to my dark disaster of a bedroom and sleep until everything hurts a little less, but my body and brain have simply drained down. I crumple into a bony, frizzy-haired heap on the gold shag rug, convinced that the only thing I have left to offer the world is the removal of my ugly presence from it, but at that moment, I’m too exhausted to do anything about it.

I sink into unconsciousness, mumbling over and over again, “I need help… I need help… I need help.” I’m too quiet. No one hears.

Read full story:  http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/22/living/going-public-with-depression/index.html.  Also, pharmacy technician license.

Solar Markets Are Booming in the US -IREC | Use Celsias.com – reduce global °Celsius

Posted in environment on August 17, 2012 by SpenceG

Despite some high-profile negative news stories about solar in 2011, solar markets are booming in the United States, says Larry Sherwood, President of Sherwood Associates, and author of the 2012 Solar Market Trends Report from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. Falling photovoltaic prices, strong consumer demand, and financial incentives from the federal government, states and utilities meant that twice as much photovoltaic solar was installed in 2011, as was installed in 2010.

via Solar Markets Are Booming in the US -IREC | Use Celsias.com – reduce global °Celsius.

McLaren MP4-12C Can-Am revealed – BBC Top Gear

Posted in cars with tags , on August 17, 2012 by SpenceG

For those of a certain vintage, there was an era of motorsport in the 1960s and 1970s that was, frankly, bonkers. Utterly, completely, whole-heartedly and magnificently bonkers. In fact, Bonkers with a capital ‘B’.

It was called the ‘Canadian American Challenge Cup’, shortened to Can-Am, and this wild McLaren MP4-12C racer you’re not-so-secretly coveting above has been built in honour of that fantastic championship, set for a Pebble Beach debut later this week.

Why so fantastic? It was practically an unrestricted, no-holds barred motorsport series that pretty much allowed anything, so long as it passed a safety inspection. And the McLarens of its era were supremely dominant.

via McLaren MP4-12C Can-Am revealed – BBC Top Gear.

SRT Unveils 2013 Viper GTS Launch Edition | Sx-Z

Posted in cars with tags , on August 17, 2012 by SpenceG

Making a special appearance at Pebble Beach this weekend will be the 2013 SRT Viper GTS Launch Edition.

The iconic GTS Blue and dual white striped Vipers feature serialized dash plaques placed inside their cabins to increase collectibility, interiors will be covered in Black Laguna leather and contrast stitching, and they’ll have exclusive five-spoke polished forged-aluminum wheels evolved from prior launch models.

via OFFICIAL: SRT Unveils 2013 Viper GTS Launch Edition | Sx-Z.

DVD Verdict Review – Isle Of The Dead / Bedlam

Posted in entertainment with tags , , , , on August 15, 2012 by SpenceG

Isle of the Dead gives us Boris Karloff as General Nikolas “The Watchdog” Pherides, one of Greece’s fiercest, least sympathetic military men. He takes a break from shelling villagers to visit his wife’s island grave with war correspondent Oliver Davis Marc Cramer, The Adventures of Don Coyote. While on the island, the pair comes across the lively house of the cemetery keeper and a gaggle of quirky houseguests. Among them is Thea Ellen Drew, Man in the Saddle, who is whispered to be a Vuldrini wait, that’s Ghostbusters. Anyway, she supposedly kills people, and people start dying on the island. It might be the plague. It might also be this vampire chick, Thea, so the General talks about killing her. But he never really does; instead, he mumbles a lot and waves his arms wildly whenever Thea walks into the room. Then a nice lady gets buried alive, people run around, and the end credits roll.

via DVD Verdict Review – Isle Of The Dead / Bedlam.

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Rate of Arctic summer sea ice loss is 50% higher than predicted | Environment | The Observer

Posted in environment with tags , , on August 14, 2012 by SpenceG

The view from a yacht’s mast. Summer pack ice is showing a rate of loss 50% higher than anticipated. Photograph: Mike Powell/Corbis

Sea ice in the Arctic is disappearing at a far greater rate than previously expected, according to data from the first purpose-built satellite launched to study the thickness of the Earth’s polar caps.

Preliminary results from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 probe indicate that 900 cubic kilometres of summer sea ice has disappeared from the Arctic ocean over the past year.

This rate of loss is 50% higher than most scenarios outlined by polar scientists and suggests that global warming, triggered by rising greenhouse gas emissions, is beginning to have a major impact on the region. In a few years the Arctic ocean could be free of ice in summer, triggering a rush to exploit its fish stocks, oil, minerals and sea routes.

Using instruments on earlier satellites, scientists could see that the area covered by summer sea ice in the Arctic has been dwindling rapidly. But the new measurements indicate that this ice has been thinning dramatically at the same time. For example, in regions north of Canada and Greenland, where ice thickness regularly stayed at around five to six metres in summer a decade ago, levels have dropped to one to three metres.

via Rate of Arctic summer sea ice loss is 50% higher than predicted | Environment | The Observer.

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Moss-Covered Forest in Yakushima

Posted in nature with tags , on August 10, 2012 by SpenceG

A woodland in full color is awesome as a forest fire, in magnitude at least, but a single tree is like a dancing tongue of flame to warm the heart. — Hal Borland

RMK life: Roasted Vegetable and Sausage Lasagna

Posted in food with tags , , on August 10, 2012 by SpenceG

You see, we like lasagna the way we like pizza. I can do pizza once in a while, but if I have to eat it too many times in a week: non va bene. It’ll be months before I can even think about a slice. But, here’s the problem: people rarely make a small lasagna. No, everyone expects that they’ll make Texan-sized lasagna, which everyone will eat until their hearts and stomachs are full, and the pan is gone. Then, they’ll sit around the fire and talk about the lasagna they wish they were still eating.

via RMK life: Roasted Vegetable and Sausage Lasagna.

Katy Perry: Cherries!

Posted in entertainment with tags , , , , , , on August 10, 2012 by SpenceG

katy perry cherries

I really like to look like a history book. I can look 1940s, I can look 1970s hippie-chic, or sometimes I’ll pull that ’80s Brooklyn hip-hop kid with the door-knocker earrings. — Katy Perry

Porsche Museum Secrets: Part 2 – YouTube

Posted in cars with tags , on August 10, 2012 by SpenceG

In this second part of the Porsche ‘Museum Secrets’ mini series we take a look at some of the special editions contained in the collection including a prototype 928 and bullet proof 911 (type 996).

Go behind the scenes of this exclusive new storage facility and learn more about some of the hidden treasures contained within. Explore the future of our history.

via Porsche Museum Secrets: Part 2 – YouTube.

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David Duchovny Weighs The Possibility Of ‘The X-Files 3′ | | Bloody DisgustingBloody Disgusting

Posted in entertainment with tags , , , on August 10, 2012 by SpenceG

A few months back TheX-Files writer Frank Spotnitz discussed his strong desire to do a new film in the series saying,”There is a very active and relentless fan campaign for a last movie. I do feel like it would be a terrible shame if that didn’t happen. It feels wrong not to give it an ending around the alien colonisation of earth. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson feel the same.”

Now Duchovny’s speaking for himself and he backs this up 100%. He told Collider, “That book doesn’t close until somebody dies, really. One of the greatnesses of the show was its open-endedness. It was about possibility. It wasn’t about closure. It just couldn’t be. There is no such thing as that story ever ending. Those characters are forever searching. That’s what they do. Even if we’re not watching them, they’re out there, in some dimension. Mulder and Scully are still doing their thing ‘cause that’s their nature…I would love to do another film, or more. I think we’re all game for it. I know I’m kind of perplexed that Fox isn’t more [enthusiastic].”

I can kind of see where Fox is coming from. 2008′s I Want To Believe only grossed $20M compared to Fight The Future‘s $83M (not adjusted for inflation). But Duchovny has a reasonable answer for I Want To Believe‘s financial failure. Head inside for more.

via David Duchovny Weighs The Possibility Of ‘The X-Files 3′ | | Bloody DisgustingBloody Disgusting.

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Woman’s missing digits grow back in phantom form – health – 10 August 2012 – New Scientist

Posted in science with tags , , on August 10, 2012 by SpenceG

A woman born missing a finger and a thumb has grown them back – albeit as part of a phantom limb. This extraordinary occurrence shows that our brain contains a fully functional map of our body image, regardless of what our limbs actually look like.

The woman, RN, was born with just three fingers on her right hand. Aged 18, RN had the hand amputated after a car accident. She later began to feel that her missing limb was still present, and developed a “phantom” hand.

“But here’s the interesting thing,” says Paul McGeoch at the University of California, San Diego. “Her phantom hand didn’t have three digits, it had five.”

via Woman’s missing digits grow back in phantom form – health – 10 August 2012 – New Scientist.

Soft autonomous robot inches along like an earthworm – MIT News Office

Posted in science with tags , on August 10, 2012 by SpenceG

Earthworms creep along the ground by alternately squeezing and stretching muscles along the length of their bodies, inching forward with each wave of contractions. Snails and sea cucumbers also use this mechanism, called peristalsis, to get around, and our own gastrointestinal tracts operate by a similar action, squeezing muscles along the esophagus to push food to the stomach.

Now researchers at MIT, Harvard University and Seoul National University have engineered a soft autonomous robot that moves via peristalsis, crawling across surfaces by contracting segments of its body, much like an earthworm. The robot, made almost entirely of soft materials, is remarkably resilient: Even when stepped upon or bludgeoned with a hammer, the robot is able to inch away, unscathed.

Sangbae Kim, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, says such a soft robot may be useful for navigating rough terrain or squeezing through tight spaces.

via Soft autonomous robot inches along like an earthworm – MIT News Office.